Omer Simeon

1926-1929

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Omer Victor Simeon (1902-1959) was a fine clarinetist who was strongly grounded in the grand musical traditions of his native New Orleans. In 1996, 19 examples of his early work were reissued in chronological formation by the EPM Musique Jazz Archives label. Simeon is mainly heard as sideman and featured soloist with Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers, King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators, Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces, Reuben "River" Reeves & His River Boys, and an eight-piece band calling themselves the Dixie Rhythm Kings. "Smoke House Blues" and "Beau Koo Jack" are two of the very few titles ever issued under Simeon's name. A sequel volume (which seems never to have materialized) could have continued to trace his steps as he spent the 1930s working for Earl Hines and Horace Henderson; ran with Walter Fuller, Coleman Hawkins, James P. Johnson, Jimmie Lunceford, and Kid Ory in the ‘40s, and spent his last years gigging and recording in New York with trombonist Wilbur de Paris. What you get here is a practical introduction to an excellent clarinetist whose best work combined the fluency of Buster Bailey and the organic intensity of Edmond Hall. Hopefully this collection will eventually be supplemented by a more complete and thorough reexamination of Omer Simeon's recorded legacy.

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