Richard M. Jones

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1927-1936)

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In 1995, two different European reissue labels set out to reissue the complete recordings of pianist, composer, and bandleader Richard M. Jones. Classics concentrated upon recordings that were either issued under his name or featured him as a primary participant. Document also put out two volumes, in addition to a third compilation focusing upon his achievements as a backer of female blues singers. Vol. 2 of his Complete Recorded Works focuses upon sessions he led between June 1927 and August 1936. The "Boar Hog Blues" and a pleasantly scruffy treatment of Fats Waller's "Squeeze Me," which feature the cornet of Willie Hightower, were released on Black Patti records with the band billed as Hightower's Nighthawks. Almost everything else on this disc originally came out on the Victor, Gennett, Paramount, and Decca labels under the banner of Richard M. Jones & His Jazz Wizards. Midway through 1935 he temporarily changed the name to Jones' Chicago Cosmopolitans. A rather peculiarly scripted tribute to Joe Louis features a very theatrical narrative by one George D. Washington. And a smolderingly passionate vocal on "Trouble in Mind" is delivered by the composer himself: Richard M. Jones. Backing him on this session was old-time New Orleans trumpeter Lee Collins. Unfortunately, back in Vol. 1, Document squandered a lot of space on examples of Jones backing blues vocalists. While those recordings are excellent and well worth hearing, the balance of recordings that were actually issued under his name was shifted so that Vol. 2 had no room for nearly 16 minutes of outstanding traditional jazz that was waxed at what could be considered as this artist's all-time greatest recording session. This took place during the spring of 1944, near the end of his life. If you want to hear that music, you'll have to consult Vol. 2 of the Classics Chronological edition.

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