Luis Russell & His Orchestra

Luis Russell and His Louisiana Swing Orchestra

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Pianist Luis Russell led one of the finest jazz bands between 1929-1931, a unit that featured such talented soloists as trumpeter Red Allen, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, altoist Charlie Holmes, and clarinetist Albert Nicholas, in addition to one of the top rhythm sections of the era (with bassist Pops Foster and drummer Paul Barbarin). This two-LP set includes almost all of their recordings (leaving out just three lesser sessions) and has very enjoyable (and frequently exciting) music that serves as a transition between New Orleans jazz and swing. In addition there are two earlier dates (including one with Nicholas, trumpeter Bob Shoffner, and Barney Bigard, who ranks as one of the top tenor players of the era) and Russell's complete session of 1934, which features cornetist Rex Stewart. There are a few minor mistakes in the personnel listing and the dates are not included, but otherwise this is a definitive release of a somewhat forgotten classic band.