Chu Berry

Chu [Columbia]

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One of the finest tenor saxophonists of the 1930s (he died in a car crash in late 1941), Leon "Chu" Berry made a lot of exciting music during his 31 years. He only led five sessions in his career (including two for Commodore and a rare date with Charlie Ventura). The first two four-song dates lead off this well-conceived LP. Berry is heard jamming with trumpeter Hot Lips Page (who sings "Too Marvelous for Words") and clarinetist Buster Bailey on the first date, and with trumpeter Irving Randolph and trombonist Keg Johnson on the later session; highlights include "Indiana," "Limehouse Blues," and "Chuberry Jam." Rounding off the album of hot swing is 1936's "Warmin' Up" (from a Teddy Wilson date on which Berry teams up with trumpeter Roy Eldridge) and seven of his feature numbers with Cab Calloway's Orchestra, including Chu's most famous ballad recording, "Ghost of a Chance." A definitive set.