Proper presents a chronological survey of recordings made by Tiny Bradshaw between September 19, 1934 and July 25, 1951 for the Decca, Regis, Manor, Savoy and King labels. The material reissued on this double disc traces a stylistic progression from swing to bop to R&B. Tiny Bradshaw's early Decca recordings, made in New York during September and October 1934 are dominated by the leader's vocals. Remastered with reverb, these energetic stomps sound something like records of a similar vintage made by Taft Jordan and the Washboard Rhythm Kings. One thing about young Bradshaw: he seems to have been almost entirely incapable of subtlety. On most of these early records he sings loud and fast, scatting himself breathless and carrying on, going off like a cap pistol over and over again; in live performance, Bradshaw danced and cavorted like Cab Calloway. The band contained trumpeter Shad Collins as well as reedmen Russell Procope and Happy Caldwell. Bradshaw hollers through "Ol' Man River" in a manner similar to Bob Howard or Putney Dandridge. Bradshaw's 1944 band consisted of 14 decidedly modern-sounding players, including West Indian trumpeter Talib Dawud, baritone saxophonist Charlie Fowlkes (a veteran of Lionel Hampton's band destined for years of service with Count Basie), and legendary saxmen Big Nick Nicholas and Sonny Stitt. Bradshaw's Manor and Savoy recordings, made between February 1945 and March 1947, document a transitional period during which he posed as a crooner, took one tentative step towards bebop with "V2" then dove headlong into re-bop and R&B, the stylistic turf where he would live out the rest of his career. His King sessions took place in Cincinnati and New York beginning on November 30, 1949. This is the material for which Bradshaw is best known and remembered. "Well, Oh Well," recorded on February 8, 1950, is his masterpiece. After years of searching for the right groove, it was only during the last few years of his career that Tiny Bradshaw found his natural element in the King label's patented formula of hand-clapping, foot-stomping R&B with backbeat drumming, boogie woogie piano, call-and-response band vocals, electrically amplified guitar and growling, squealing saxophones.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2