Various Artists

Anthology of Scat Singing, Vol. 3

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Midway through the 1990s, a three-volume Anthology of Scat Singing was released on the Masters of Jazz label, bringing into general availability dozens of creative jazz vocals from the '20s, '30s, and early '40s. Like its predecessors, Vol. 3 is packed with entertaining performances by singers both famous and virtually unknown to the public at large. Nat King Cole, whose "I Like to Riff" is a veritable "how to do it" scat lesson, is probably the most familiar name on this collection, along with Cab Calloway, whose 1935 rendition of "Nagasaki" should be prized among the finest records he ever made. It is also one of the most thrilling examples of scat singing ever performed in front of a microphone. Tiny Bradshaw's reputation rests mainly upon his success as leader of a swing band that gradually became one of the pioneering acts in the newly created category of rhythm & blues. Leo Scat Watson's wild singing technique was unique and peculiarly attractive; on this collection he is heard harmonizing with his primary band the Spirits of Rhythm and sitting in with Gene Krupa for yet another version of "Nagasaki." The individual heard singing "Dinah" with pianist Dave Rose & the Hotcha Trio was trumpeter Louis Prima, destined for fame as one of the rowdier mainstream nightclub acts of the '50s. "Sister Kate" is played by the Alabama Jug Band with a vocal by Hambone Jackson, otherwise known as Banjo Ikey Robinson. A perpetually morphing unit that recorded as the Washboard Rhythm Kings, the Washboard Rhythm Boys, and the Washboard Serenaders is represented here with "Some of These Days," sung by string bassist Ghost Howell, and "Sheik of Araby," which features the voices of kazoo handler Harold Randolph and washboard virtuoso Bruce Johnson. "Blow Gabriel Blow" is credited to George "Bon Bon" Tunnel & His Buddies, while "Swingin' at the Cotton Club" is performed by pianist Toy Wilson & the Three Peppers. "Hangin' Around Boudon" was recorded in Paris in 1937 by trombonist Dicky Wells & His Orchestra in the company of guitarist Django Reinhardt and singing trumpeter Bill Coleman. Another example of vintage continental jazz occurs near the close of the album as Danish violinist Svend Asmussen tears up Duke Ellington's "Ring Dem Bells." The producers of this series ended the third volume rather strangely by tossing in the last seven seconds of Fats Waller's "I Wish I Were Twins," a recording which does, in fact, conclude with a fabulous burst of joyous scat. This chop job approach is likely to bother anyone who really loves Waller's music, and leaves the listener wondering why they didn't simply include the entire song. Of course, Waller's discography contains plenty of songs with scat-filled passages, and "Flat Foot Floogie" or "Georgia May" would have fit in nicely. The three-volume Anthology of Scat Singing stands as a gratifying introduction to some of the happier moments in pre-WWII vocal jazz. In the absence of a fourth installment, which could have included Frankie Newton's Uptown Serenaders' 1937 recording of "There's No Two Ways About It" with vocal by Slim Gaillard and a third frantic romp through "Nagasaki" by Putney Dandridge, it is hoped that interested parties will take it upon themselves to pick up where the Masters of Jazz Anthology of Scat Singing left off.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:39
2
3:22
3 2:59
4 3:27
5 3:09
6 2:46
7 3:13
8 2:45
9 2:48
10
2:35
11 2:49
12 3:02
13 2:42
14 2:48
15 2:59
16 2:30
17
2:29
18 2:53
19 2:32
20 2:15
21
2:38
22 2:39
23
2:55
24 2:29
25 2:54
26 3:10
27 0:07
blue highlight denotes track pick