It's no coincidence that many of the tenor saxophonists who embraced soul-jazz in the '60s -- folks like Jimmy Forrest, Willis "Gator" Jackson, Arnett Cobb, and Wild Bill Moore -- had been part of swing's honker school in the late '40s and early '50s. With their big, fat tones and extroverted, groove-oriented, relentlessly swinging approach, the honkers helped pave the way for soul-jazz. And for the aforementioned sax men, the transition from honker music to soul-jazz and organ combos came easily. Assembled by Delmark in 2003, For Jumpers Only! looks back on the honker era with enjoyable results. This compilation contains a few examples of vocal-oriented jump blues, including Erline Harris' "Jump and Shout" and Cab Calloway's "Shotgun Boogie" (both from 1950). But instrumental honker music dominates the CD, and anyone interested in hearing the roots of '60s soul-jazz will appreciate 1940s or '50s grooves by honkers like Cobb ("Top Flight"), Jackson ("On My Own"),and Illinois Jacquet ("Bottoms Up"). It should be noted that three of the selections have previously appeared on some of Delmark's Honkers & Bar Walkers compilations, and that For Jumpers Only! isn't the most generous CD in the world. In contrast to the 64-minute Honkers & Bar Walkers, Volume 3 disc that Delmark put out in 2002, this release only lasts 33 minutes. But then, For Jumpers Only! certainly isn't expensive by 2003 standards; Delmark gave this budget-line release a recommended retail price of only $7.98 in the United States. Those who aren't overly budget-minded would probably be better off with one of Delmark's Honkers & Bar Walkers CDs, all of which are highly recommended. But for those on a budget, For Jumpers Only! offers a pleasing, if brief, sample of grooves from the honker era.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson