Wild Bill Moore

Complete, Vol. 2: 1948-1955

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This second volume of recordings from tenor saxophonist Wild Bill Moore completes the offerings from Blue Moon, reissues from the Alben, Regal, King, Sensation, and Old Town labels, circa 1948-1955. These sessions are more jazz-oriented than Vol. 1, in part retaining a gutbucket R&B style but moving away from the original rock & roll that he helped establish. The recording quality is naturally better, Moore's presence is confident and self-assured, and his tenor voice is strong throughout, but many of these sides feature a second or third saxophonist. The first two cuts, "Steam Heat" and "Wanda Lee Blues," done in Detroit in 1948-1949 with Moore's Wild Cats, display the last vestiges of his rawer rock & roll or slower walking blues style. The next eight cuts, recorded in New York City between 1949-1950, mark the beginnings of change, though not entirely. Swing trumpeter Jonah Jones, pianist Walter Bishop, second tenor Joe Gayles, and trombonist James Buxton jump-start the typical "Wild Bill's Bounce" and Moore's Louis Jordan-styled vocals on "Mean Old World." Tenor saxophonist Paul Quinichette with Moore form the front line for another four selections, including the modernistic party-time tunes "Balancing with Bill" and the jubilant "Hey Spo-Dee-O-Dee," with pianist Milt Buckner helping drive the band. Also from 1950, but back in Detroit, Moore does a blues-rocker and an easy blues with legendary Detroit jazzmen trumpeter Russell Green and fellow tenor Louis Barnett, but the sound quality is hampered by some fuzzy tape hiss. Two cuts, "Football Boogie" and the soulful ballad "Blue Journey," are from a session in Columbus, OH, in 1954, and feature some outstanding piano playing from the legendary Barry Harris, while back in N.Y.C. in 1955, Moore does "The Wild One" (subtitled "Slow Drag" or "Day Train"), based directly on the changes of Jimmy Forrest's "Night Train." After these recordings, Moore did soul-jazz and organ combo dates, and was the lead soloist on Marvin Gaye's 1971 hit "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)." He left a robust and varied legacy in music that few of his generation can boast.

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