This second volume of the complete recordings of Bill Coleman presented in chronological order opens with ten vocal tracks of surprising warmth and intimacy. Remember those marvelous records that Coleman made with Fats Waller & His Rhythm in the mid-'30s? These rare and pleasant performances from 1940 and 1941 are faintly reminiscent of those Rhythm sides, although naturally neither of the vocalists heard here comes anywhere near Waller's candid charm and effervescence. Eddy Howard does sound remarkably cozy with his two little love songs, and Chick Bullock -- said to have been the most heavily recorded vocalist of the 1930s -- turns in what might well be his best performances on record. What really makes these pretty pop tunes sparkle and glow is the combination of great instrumentalists. Collectively speaking, trombonist Benny Morton, clarinetists Edmond Hall and Jimmy Hamilton, saxophonists Bud Freeman and George James, electric guitarist Charlie Christian, and pianist Teddy Wilson turn each of these songs into relatively substantial jazz. Even "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" -- once Irving Berlin's famous kvetching lyrics are out of the way -- swings with abandon largely thanks to the presence of master percussionist J.C. Heard. The Bill Coleman chronology leaps rather abruptly to a pair of swing-to-bop blowing sessions involving tenor saxophonist Don Byas recorded in Paris on January 4 and 5, 1949. Coleman sings his own "Bill's Brother's Blues" and wields his horn magnificently alongside Byas, particularly on "Liza," "What Is This Thing Called Love?," and "St. Louis Blues." This portion of the Bill Coleman story ends with a session led by pianist Jack Dieval and featuring smoky tenor saxophonist Paul Vernon. Coleman sings again, this time on "I Can't Get Started" and a briskly rendered "Tea for Two."
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: Eddy Howard
feat: Eddy Howard