James P. Johnson

Giants of Jazz

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This three-LP box set serves as a near-perfect retrospective of the music of the great stride pianist James P. Johnson. There are two piano solos from 1921 (including his famous "Carolina Shout"), numbers on which the pianist accompanied Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters, some heated combo sides, more classic piano solos (including "Riffs," "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and "Jingles"), jams with clarinetist Pee Wee Russell and trumpeter Frankie Newton and a generous amount of Johnson's 1943-45 performances. The accompanying booklet is definitive, making this a highly recommended set even for collectors who already have the majority of these exciting performances.