Trumpeter and vocalist Louis Prima originally patterned himself after Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. Prima's first recordings, dating from 1934 and 1935, mostly consist of Tin Pan Alley pop tunes cheerfully (and recklessly) run through the wringers of hot novelty dance music, Dixieland and small band swing. Released by JSP in 1994, this parcel of primeval Prima is almost identical to the first volume of his complete recordings as issued five years later by the producers of the Classics Chronological Series. The only quantitative difference between the two albums is JSP's inclusion of an alternate take of "Sing It Way Down Low." Aside from Prima's signature traits of incendiary rowdiness and somewhat manic good humor, this is quite different from the R&B fueled Vegas lounge entertainment that Prima performed with Keely Smith and Sam Butera & the Witnesses during the '50s and early '60s. In 1934 and 1935, Louis Prima sounded more like Wingy Manone or Mezz Mezzrow. When he wasn't clowning or crooning, Prima was capable of blowing a solid bit of trumpet. His sidemen included pianist Claude Thornhill, saxophonist Eddie Miller, and clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, whose participation on "The Lady in Red" transformed a Xavier Cugat cover into one of the best small group jazz records of the 1930s.
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