Mostly Faz is the title of a fine piece of blues recorded in 1945 by New Orleans clarinetist Irving Fazola & His Dixielanders. It's also the name of a 25-track compilation brought out in 2001 by the U.K.'s Jazz Band label. This overview of Fazola's relatively brief career is similar to ASV/Living Era's Faz, a 25-track retrospective released in 1998. Like ASV's offering, the Jazz Band edition includes examples from a 1937 date involving a group who identified themselves as the Musical Maniacs, as well as the Dixielanders session that yielded the title track. What distinguishes this collection are examples of Faz's work with trumpeter Sharkey Bonano & His Sharks of Rhythm in 1936 and several performances by Fazola's own Dixieland Band of 1946. Nobody so far has managed to come up with a truly comprehensive set outlining the complete musical adventures of Irving Henry Prestopnik, whose interesting nickname was bestowed upon him by loudmouth trumpeter Louis Prima. A thorough history of Fazola's professional accomplishments would reel in all kinds of names, including Billie Holiday, Harry James, Bing and Bob Crosby, Claude Thornhill, Ben Pollack, Glenn Miller, Bunny Berigan, and Muggsy Spanier. Although ASV's Faz covers more ground by touching upon a wider range of bands and styles, what you get on Mostly Faz is a really good taste of the man's superb artistry, albeit only as leader or member of four different ensembles. There is no such thing as a superfluous Fazola collection, and this one is highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf