Memories of the Twenties, Stomp Off

Benny Waters

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Memories of the Twenties, Stomp Off Review

by Scott Yanow

This is a well-conceived set featuring one of the few veterans of the 1920's still active in the late 1980's. Benny Waters, 86 at the time, is heard with pianist Keith Nichols' Cotton Club Orchestra on seven selections, revisiting songs that he had recorded with (and sometimes arranged for) Charlie Johnson's Paradise Ten during 1927-29. Waters' tenor solos on such numbers as "Walk That Thing," "You Ain't The One" and "Hot Tempered Blues" is quite memorable. The other soloists from the English band (including Nichols) are consistently excellent. The remaining seven performnaces feature Waters (who plays clarinet on "Gravier Street Blues") exploring six hot numbers from the 1920's with Keith Nichols Jazz Kings, an octet sometimes reminiscent of Clarence Williams. Although this Stomp Off album is not that well-known, it is a near-classic.