Butch Thompson

If You Don't Shake

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Hal Smith has been one of the top classic jazz drummers of the past decade (revitalizing the Chicago jazz tradition) while Butch Thompson is one of the most impressive pianists of pre-swing music. Their set of duets is dedicated to the music of the infamous New Orleans red-light district Storyville. Since Jelly Roll Morton was a frequent resident, four of his songs are here plus tunes by Kid Ory, Bunk Johnson ("King Bolden's Tune"), Clarence Williams, Little Brother Montgomery, Dink Johnson and even Zez Confrey ("Stumbling") among others. Whether most of these songs were actually performed in Storyville is debatable but the style (melodic, rhythmic and influenced by ragtime yet bluish) fits the album's theme. Delightful music by two of the best.