Buster Bailey

1925-1940

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Other than four titles from 1959 and an obscure 1958 LP, all of clarinetist Buster Bailey's recordings as a leader are on this definitive CD from the European Classics label. Bailey -- a virtuoso whose occasional display of a wild sense of humor (best heard on "Man With a Horn Goes Berserk") was always a surprise when one considered his cool and subtle tone -- starts off the reissue with two rare (and scratchy) performances from 1925. Otherwise, he heads an all-star group filled with fellow Fletcher Henderson sidemen in 1934, backs singer Jerry Kruger, and heads several overlapping combos mostly consisting of members of John Kirby's Sextet; Kirby's influence is strongly felt throughout the later selections. Highlights overall include "Shanghai Shuffle," "Dizzy Debutante," "The Blue Room," and "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie." Highly recommended.

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