Suitable for anyone interested in the history of jazz trumpeting from 1923 to 1945, Living Era's Hot Trumpets compilation is packed with great jazz performances. The choice of an alphabetical rather than stylistic progression, however, shuffles the deck and jumbles the mix, disrupting context and confounding one's sense of historical progression. Maybe it's got something to do with waiting until the 19th track to hear King Oliver, simply because his surname begins with "O." The fact that the survey stops short of anything resembling bebop -- no Dizzy Gillespie or Howard McGhee on this roster -- probably makes the entire issue irrelevant, as these 25 trumpeters/cornetists all drew upon similar taproots of the hot to swing jazz tradition. There are similarities between Louis Armstrong, Henry "Red" Allen, Bill Coleman, Frankie Newton, Roy Eldridge, Charlie Shavers, and Buck Clayton, but each of these men was gloriously individualistic. Bix Beiderbecke, Bunny Berigan, Billy Butterfield, Ziggy Elman, Harry James, Yank Lawson, Red Nichols, and Wingy Manone were all kindred spirits, as were Duke Ellington's Bubber Miley, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart, and Ray Nance. On even more primal ground, Punch Miller is heard with Albert Wynn's Gutbucket Five, and a thrilling progression of Smiths occurs as Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces are followed by the great Joe Smith backing blues empress Bessie Smith. The subtle segue from Bessie's "Baby Doll" to Muggsy Spanier's "Relaxin' at the Touro" is among the more logical transitions on this richly rewarding if slightly scrambled jazz compendium of traditional trumpets and crusty cornets.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf