Ted Weems is best remembered today as a genial bandleader whose orchestra in the swing era had a safe, middle-of-the-road feel and featured singer Perry Como. After World War II, they had a surprise hit when their 1933 recording of "Heartaches" was reissued. However, back in the '20s, Weems led a hot dance band that played quite a bit of worthwhile jazz. The first volume in the reissuance of the early recordings of Ted Weems finds the band evolving quickly during 1923-1926, hinting strongly at the great orchestra that Weems led in the late '20s. While their excellent singer Parker Gibbs does not emerge until the final number ("My Cutey's Due at Two-To-Two To-Day") and clarinetist Don Watt was not in the band yet, the ensembles are clean, the short solos by the sidemen are purposeful and fit the arrangements well, and the early Ted Weems sound was already present. The vocals of Dusty Rhodes are spirited, Mellophonist Dudley Fosdick (the only significant jazz soloist on that instrument before Don Elliott in the 1950s) gets his spots, and the music is quite pleasing and upbeat. This is a very worthy series for Ted Weems' music of the 1920s deserves to be rediscovered.
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