Bunk Johnson

1944 [#1]

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Trumpeter Bunk Johnson recorded extensively with his band of New Orleanians during 1944-45, including multiple performances of some of their selections. The American Music label, in their series of Bunk CDs, have straightened out the music to an extent, although some alternate takes have still only come out on sets by Japanese companies and the performances have not been reissued in strict chronological order. This CD has 15 selections from four sessions that took place within a five-day period. Johnson is joined by drummer Baby Dodds and the nucleus of what would six years later be the George Lewis band (Lewis on clarinet, trombonist Jim Robinson, banjoist Lawrence Marrero and bassist Alcide Pavageau). In general, Bunk sounds fairly strong and, although Lewis is sometimes out of tune, the joy of the ensemble oriented music overrides any occasional technical deficiencies. Myrtle Jones helps out with a vocal on "My Life Will Be Sweeter Someday." Among the better selections are "We Will Walk Through the Streets of the City," a previously unreleased version of "Sister Kate," "There's Yes Yes in Your Eyes," "Panama" and "When the Saints Go Marching In."

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