Bob Howard

A Chronological Study, Vol. 5

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Bob Howard was a Fats Waller-inspired vocalist who also occasionally played piano. He recorded extensively from 1935-38 as a leader (used by Decca in hopes of competing with Waller), and all of those recordings (he only made five earlier and four later titles) were reissued in the 1970s on five LP's by the Rarities label. The final volume, other than an alternate take of "Pardon My Love" from 1935 (which finds Howard joined by a group including altoist Benny Carter, Ben Webster on tenor and pianist Teddy Wilson), is taken from his later 1938 sessions. Howard's vocalizing is usually easy to take and his backup quartet (Frank Froeba or Billy Kyle on piano, guitarist Teddy Bunn, bassist Haig Stephens and drummer O'Neill Spencer) is swinging and supportive; the pianists and Bunn get short solos. The tunes range from jive songs and a few early-'30s standards to Waller's "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now." Swing and vintage jazz collectors will want all five of these albums.