Cootie Williams

His Best Recordings 1930-1943

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AllMusic Review by

One always has to wonder when a "best recordings" moniker is placed on a musician's dates if they are known primarily as a great soloist. In jazz, this is a particularly tricky subject, especially for Williams, one of the premier improvisers in Duke Ellington's Orchestra. Of these 22 selections, nine are with Duke and eight in miscellaneous ensembles. Though Williams did record small group sessions with Ellington, it is as a leader of his own big band that likely constitutes his personal best, and there are only seven of those cuts present. Since the trumpeter led bands from 1941-1949 before exclusively sticking and staying with Ellington, the Classics label recordings are more vital as a window into Williams collective finest works. This CD, while containing some great vintage jazz, really only scratches the surface.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:59
2 2:54
3 3:29
4 3:04
5 3:04
6 2:49
7 2:53
8 3:24
9 2:45
10 2:52
11 2:37
12 2:53
13 2:19
14 2:33
15 2:44
16 2:59
17 3:18
18 2:47
19 3:19
20 3:07
21 3:13
22 3:05
blue highlight denotes track pick