Compare Trummy Young's vocal on Jimmie Lunceford's "Easy Street," or the songs he sang in front of his own All-Stars in 1945 (see Classics 888) with the infrequently heard speech and singing voice of Lester Young. Trummy had a high, smooth delivery that sounded quite similar to Lester's speaking tone as heard on live broadcasts and Prez's outrageously naughty improvised singing on his Verve recording of "It Takes Two to Tango." These men had a lot in common. They both hung out with Billie Holiday, not as her boyfriends but as pals, drinking and smoking companions who could be trusted. The fundamental common denominator was: hipness. Trummy and Prez were definitively hip. They both eased into early modern jazz without any problems whatsoever. Trummy's activity during the mid-'40s is outlined in detail by this core sample of rare recordings. Listen to Trummy's passionate singing on "Talk of the Town," a shaming and blaming exercise that could never have been written by a woman. Rather than merely hassling his ex, Trummy seems to be demonstrating the loneliness that all people have in common. "Hollywood" is a jam, but the band on "Good 'n Groovy" is considerably tougher. Ike Quebec, for example, sounds as truculent as a truckload of nails. Buck Clayton's been lifting weights. It's 1945 and the music is changing. There's bop in the air, and R&B is everywhere. The phrase "Rattle and Roll" describes a throw of the dice but the music is about carousing and getting into harmless trouble. "I'm Living for Today" is Trummy's ode to feeling good and refusing to worry about anything. Keynote recording artist Kenny Kersey drives "Behind the Eight Bar" with exceptionally fine boogie piano, and the band rocks out. Just in case you thought "Four or Five Times" was antiquated, check out Trummy's ultra cool version with lyrics describing DTs and military insubordination, a special treat for the V-Disc audience. A fabulous five-minute "Tea for Two" boils over largely because Roy Eldridge puts it in the broiler. Some of the white singers included in this part of the chronology sound terribly square. The hip antidote to the white vocal group billed as the Holidays can be found on "Tidal Wave" (no relation to the Fletcher Henderson tune), which is a big-band boppish feature for Herbie Fields, who disturbs the peace using both alto and tenor saxophones. The Hot Record Society proceedings of Trummy Young's Big Seven, like most of the material brought out on HRS, have plenty of solid solos based upon original compositions of inconsistent creative merit. George Johnson's "Frutie Cutie" and "Johnson Rock" are simple melodies designed for uncomplicated jamming. On the other hand, "Blues Triste" and "Lucky Draw," composed by pianist Jimmy Jones, are beautiful, elegant mood pieces, every bit cool as Trummy and Prez and Lady Day.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf