This is a very appealing double album from French RCA's Jazz Tribune series. The first 22 of the 34 selections (including four rare alternate takes) feature the Cab Calloway Orchestra of 1933-1934, a vastly underrated early swing band which, in addition to its colorful leader/singer, features good soloists in trumpeter Lammar Wright, clarinetist Eddie Barefield, and tenor saxophonist Walter "Foots" Thomas. Highlights include "Harlem Hospitality," "The Lady with the Fan," "Harlem Camp Meeting," "Kickin' the Gong Around," "Margie," and two remakes of "Minnie the Moocher." In addition, this two-fer (which has all of Calloway's recordings for Victor) contains four long-forgotten items from 1949, including a hilarious version of "I Beeped When I Shoulda Bopped" (in which Calloway satirizes not only bebop but his own style), six numbers from his older sister Blanche Calloway in 1931 (highlighted by "I Need Lovin'"), and two obscure items from singer Billy Banks in 1932. This album, (which contains over 100 minutes of high-quality and entertaining music) is well worth searching for.
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