The best Lu Watters compilation in the world is a four-CD box set of his Complete Good Time Jazz Recordings. Nothing will ever beat that, and nobody is trying. What the Living Era label presents here are 25 examples of traditional jazz recordings made by this delightful Dixieland revival band in California from December 1941 through February 1950. The instrumental composition of Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band was patterned after that of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band of 1923: two cornets, trombone, and clarinet backed by piano, banjo, and drums; the Yerba Buena added a tuba for extra ballast. The repertoire consisted of hardcore traditional jazz melodies by W.C. Handy, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Richard M. Jones, Louis Armstrong, and Kid Ory interspersed with original compositions by Watters. Certain participants in these heartwarming recording sessions went on to form their own highly acclaimed traditional jazz ensembles: trumpeter Bob Scobey and trombonist Turk Murphy are familiar names among those who are susceptible to this kind of music. Since an entire generation of postwar beer-drinking Dixieland fans held singing banjoist Clancy Hayes in such high esteem, two examples of his robust vocalizing are included as an accurate representation of what this band sounded like at Hambone Kelly's in El Cerrito, CA, in February of 1950. In a world filled with bitterness and gloomy cynicism, this sort of good-time music is becoming more valuable by the minute.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf