The fourth volume of Jazzin' the Blues, as with the first three, features obscure swing era singers and some performers who fall between jazz, blues, folk, pop and even country. In fact most of the nine main performers have little in common musically. Phil Pavey is heard in 1929 with backing from pianist Spencer Williams. Pavey is essentially an early country singer who yodels even while most of his picturesque material is actually comprised of blues. American saxophonist Willie Lewis led a successful big band in Europe during the mid- to late '30s. His one selection with his "Entertainers," the previously unreleased "Who Taught You That," features both vocalists and excellent musicians playing early swing in 1932. The Edgewater Crows is an unidentified quartet that performs a vocal blues and the instrumental "Swinging Rhythm Around." Singer Corney Allen Grier has two OK but forgettable numbers, but Jack Sneed's two selections are unusual in that they mix together a calypso feel with swing. Although he is joined by the nucleus of the John Kirby Sextet, the trumpeter is obviously Joe Guy and not Charlie Shavers. Savannah Churchill was an important singer in the '40s and '50s. She is heard on her first date, four songs from 1942 in which she is joined by the Dixieland-ish Jimmy Lytell's All-Star Seven. Beverly White is cheerful and swinging on her four selections, but most notable is her backup trio which includes pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith and guitarist Al Casey. Billie Hayes shows plenty of spirit on her three numbers, including the topical "Man Shortage Blues." Concluding this varied collection is Richard Huey's Sundown Singers, an a cappella group (except for the use of quiet drums) from 1943 that falls between swing and doo wop. There is a lot of interesting and very rare material throughout this colorful program.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow