Jimmy Rushing

Complete Goin' to Chicago and Listen to the Blues

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Nearly as wide as he was tall, Jimmy Rushing had a voice that could boom, and he more than held his own against the horn section during his long association with Count Basie's orchestra, and that Basie period (from the late '30s to the early '50s) has to be considered the peak of Rushing's recorded output. But that shouldn't stop anyone from checking out Rushing's later work, and this set, drawn from sessions held in New York in 1954, 1955, and 1957, is a perfect example of this fine singer's assured vocal style, which bridged the gaps between the blues, swing jazz, and R&B with seemingly effortless ease. Working with an all-star swing band that included Buddy Tate, Emmett Berry, Lawrence Brown, Vic Dickenson, Sammy Price, Freddie Green, Walter Page, and Jo Jones, Rushing rolls through a classic set featuring impressive versions of Leroy Carr's "How Long," his signature tune, "Goin' to Chicago," a tender "See See Rider" (where most singers would belt this chestnut out, Rushing gives it a veneer of sweetness), and the lovely ballad "Don't Cry Baby." The band itself plays it all swing, with just a touch of jump blues and R&B attitude, but it is Rushing's singing that holds it all together, his vocals again sitting at the juncture of all these different musical streams as effortlessly as a cork rides out a rainstorm.

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