Johnny Maddox & the Rhythmasters

Dixieland Blues

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For Dixieland Blues, bandleader and pianist Johnny Maddox determined to play Dixieland-style arrangements of obscure songs that he knew from the original sheet music, including some that had never been previously given a Dixieland treatment. Not all of these numbers, it must be said, are obscure: there are very few blues and jazz fans who haven't at least heard of W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues," while the same composer's "Memphis Blues" was the first blues Handy ever wrote. At the head of an eight-piece band (which also included another piano player), Maddox played revivalistically reverent, if lively music that likely sounded very much like early New Orleans Dixieland jazz did in the early 1900s. It was recorded, however, with far more clarity than the first actual Dixieland 78s boasted back in the early 20th century. The 2004 CD reissue of this 1959 recording contains a good amount of enhanced CD material, including a few interview excerpts with Maddox; a short video of Maddox performing "Friday Night Blues" -- the only song on the album he wrote (with Randy Wood) -- on solo piano decades after the album release; commentary by Maddox on some of the songs; a Maddox bio; and vintage covers of the sheet music for some of the numbers on the record.

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