The first of two Classics CDs to reissue the master takes of all of pianist Tiny Parham's recordings as a leader contains more than its share of gems. Parham is heard as co-leader of the Pickett-Parham Apollo Syncopators (which features Leroy Pickett on violin) and also heading his "Forty" Five (a quintet that includes trombonist Kid Ory and a guest vocal from blues banjoist Papa Charlie Jackson). However, the bulk of the CD is by Parham's Musicians, a septet with either Punch Miller or Ray Hobson on cornet, and (starting on Feb. 1, 1929) the atmospheric violin of Elliott Washington. The clever and unpredictable arrangements, along with an impressive series of now-obscure originals, made Parham's ensemble one of the most underrated bands of the era. Highlights include "The Head-Hunter's Dream," "Jogo Rhythm," "Stompin' on Down" and "Blue Island Blues."
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow