Various Artists

Anthology of Scat Singing, Vol. 2

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AllMusic Review by

In 1995 the Masters of Jazz label released a three-volume Anthology of Scat Singing. Taken as a whole, the set constitutes a well-rounded survey of creative jazz vocals recorded during the years 1924-1941. The second installment neatly traces a chronological path from October 1929 to April 1933. Like its companion volumes, this entertaining grab bag of vintage jazz vocals is recommended for listeners of every stripe. It opens with "Goin' Nuts," a lively exercise by the Six Jolly Jesters, a bizarre hybrid that blended members of the Duke Ellington orchestra and the Washboard Rhythm Kings; vocals are by trumpeter Freddy Jenkins and drummer Sonny Greer. This recording is directly linked to "Washboards Get Together," a riotous instrument-by-instrument inventory jam along the lines of "Mama Don't Allow," voiced by washboard virtuoso Bruce Johnson. "Lawd, Lawd" was sung by trumpeter Frankie Newton with Cecil Scott & His Bright Boys, a unit that originated in Springfield, OH. "New Kinda Blues" was recorded in California in February 1930 by Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders with a vocal trio that included young Lionel Hampton. There's plenty to absorb and learn from in this collection. Henry "Red" Allen inserts a scat chorus into a love song; George Thomas and Dave Wilborn each sound off in front of McKinney's Cotton Pickers; Ethel Waters chirps "I Got Rhythm" backed by the Dorsey Brothers; and Count Basie (who was seldom heard as a vocalist) scats up "Somebody Stole My Gal" with Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra. Trumpeter Ward Pinkett uses his voice on King Oliver's 1931 recording of "Stop Crying"; the State Street Ramblers' washboard percussionist Alfred Bell takes the kazoo out of his mouth for a bit of scat during "Stomp Your Stuff"; and there are two early offerings from that world-famous extrovert Cab Calloway. Bing Crosby is heard twice with the Mills Brothers and on two additional recordings with backing by Lennie Hayton and Isham Jones. "Jig Time" and "Somebody Loses, Somebody Wins" are performed by pianist George "Bon Bon" Tunnell, guitarist Slim Furness, and bassist Bob Pease. Billed as the Three Keys, this vocal trio sounded similar to the Spirits of Rhythm. "Shag" is one of the great rowdy records of the 1930s. It was waxed in 1932 by Sidney Bechet & His New Orleans Feetwarmers, with a frantic vocal by bassist Wilson Myers and hoots from the rest of the band. "Doin' the New Low Down" combines the charm of the Mills Brothers and Cab Calloway's edgy intensity, with swinging accompaniment by Don Redman's orchestra. This excellent sampler closes with two Louis Armstrong sides from early 1933. His band's rendition of "Sweet Sue" is garnished with a pleasantly strange wordless vocal by saxophonist Budd Johnson.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:35
2 3:11
3 3:09
4 3:12
5 3:30
6 2:43
7 2:49
8 3:08
9 3:09
10 2:47
11 3:07
12 3:12
13 2:56
14 2:54
15 3:10
16 3:08
17 2:36
18 3:16
19 3:10
20
2:22
21 3:05
22 3:07
23 3:31
24 2:42
blue highlight denotes track pick