Trombonist J.C. Higginbotham was born in Social Circle, GA on May 11, 1906 and passed away in New York City on May 26, 1973. Almost invariably heard as a sideman on recordings made during the 1920s, '30s and '40s, he is both a legendary and overlooked figure whose powerful tonalities are instantly recognizable once you get to know him. In 1996, the Best of Jazz label sought to illuminate Higginbotham's legacy by assembling a survey of his best work recorded between March 1929 and January 1940, with bands led by Luis Russell, Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Henry "Red" Allen, Benny Carter, Mezz Mezzrow and Coleman Hawkins. During this time period, Higginbotham is known to have recorded only four titles under his own name. Unfortunately, this compilation does not include two selections recorded for Blue Note during the spring of 1939 and released under the heading of the J.C. Higginbotham Quintet; furthermore, of the two sides recorded on February 5, 1930 with Luis Russell's group and brought before the public as the products of J.C. Higginbotham & His Six Hicks only one -- the magnificent "Give Me Your Telephone Number" -- is included here. If there is one nagging flaw in the logic of this anthology, it is the omission of the original flip side, the "Higginbotham Blues." This being said, it's very nice to have a whole disc devoted to this artist; hopefully one day it will inspire a more thorough retrospective, perhaps in the form of an intensive series touching upon every session the man ever participated in and including every side on which he is audible.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: Henry "Red" Allen
feat: Mezz Mezzrow
feat: Coleman Hawkins