Various Artists

Jumpin' Jive: Jump Blues Essentials

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As mid-priced compilations go, this disc delivers a lot of value -- not only state-of-the-art masters (so the trumpets and saxes sound like their bells are right in the room with you, and the vocals are up-close-and-personal), but a creative selection, crossing between the bluesier side of the big band era (Lionel Hampton's "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop") through the work of Big Jay McNeely ("The Deacon's Hop") to Roy Brown ("Boogie at Midnight"), and to the place where jump blues spawned rock & roll (Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88"). Not that all of this material isn't available elsewhere (though some of it, such as Margie Day's "Little Red Rooster" and Louis Prima's "Robin Hood/Oh Babe," isn't all that ubiquitous), but it's handy and the notes by Peter Grendysa are above-average in depth and range for a compilation like this.

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