Having already been in business a few years, McKinney's Cotton Pickers really came into their own in 1928 with the addition of arrangers Don Redman and John Nesbitt. Redman, whose sophisticated charts had already lit up classic Fletcher Henderson sides, helped forge the transition from early jazz to swing with his fluid and streamlined writing and an Ellington-like acuity in using soloists. This top-notch Frog disc nicely spotlights many Redman and Cotton Pickers highlights from 1928-1929, thanks in large part to John R.T. Davies fine remastering job. In addition to some harmless vocal numbers (often featuring Redman), song highlights include "Four or Five Times," "Milenberg Joys," and "Plain Dirt." With such personnel as Benny Carter, Fats Waller, and Coleman Hawkins on hand, this last track and a few others feature one of the best and most star-studded of the group's lineups. A standout addition to the handful of Cotton Pickers discs already available.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook