Freddie Mitchell / Jimmy Yancey

Blues and Boogie/Boogie Bash

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To clear up any possible cause of confusion: although the front cover of this reissue reproduces the front sleeve of Jimmy Yancey's original Blues and Boogie LP, this CD actually combines two albums by two separate artists. One is Yancey's Blues and Boogie; the other is the less famous Freddie Mitchell's Boogie Bash (the spine and back cover do make it clear that the disc contains both of these records, with the booklet reproducing the front cover of Boogie Bash for good measure). What's the link? Well, both were issued as 10" LPs (in the 1940s, according to the sparse liner notes) on the X label, and both are grounded in bluesy boogie, though in quite different ways. Yancey's piano is the only instrumental backing on Blues and Boogie, recorded near the end of his life, mixing instrumentals (which dominate the program) and vocal numbers. The eight songs are a decent sampling of his influential boogie piano, but on the ordinary side material-wise, and probably not the best place to be introduced to his talents. It's not clear whether Mitchell, who played both piano and saxophone, performs on one or both of those instruments on Boogie Bash; some personnel listings of the instrumentalists would really help (the female singer who appears on a few songs is unidentified, as well). At any rate, it's quite lively full-band boogie that mixes late-period big-band jazz with early R&B, the mixtures varying according to the track. Songs like "Moon Dog Boogie" feature some really down 'n' dirty sax, while others are jazzier and give the piano more prominence. He even gets into a Latin groove on "Mama Inez" and "Mary Anne," indicating that perhaps he wasn't certain which way the popular trends of the day would blow and gamely took his chance with a few, though the quality on everything is competent-to-good. Overall, the decision to combine these two obscure albums from the same label and era into one CD is a reasonable one, as both will appeal to fans of blues-R&B-jazz-flavored boogie in different ways, though it's marred by a skip on Mitchell's track "Louise."

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