The perfect way to acquire drummer Chick Webb's recordings is to get his two Classics CDs which contain all of his performances as a leader, other than Ella Fitzgerald's features (which are in a separate Ella series) and a few numbers from Webb's final dates. On the first of the CDs, Webb leads a pickup band in 1929 (for "Dog Bottom" and "Jungle Mama"), an early orchestra in 1931 (highlighted by the first version ever of Benny Carter's "Blues in My Heart"), two numbers from 1933, and all of his classic swing sides of 1934. With arranger/altoist Edgar Sampson providing such compositions as "When Dreams Come True," "Don't Be That Way," "Blue Lou," and "Stompin' at the Savoy" (all of which would become better-known for their slightly later Benny Goodman recordings), trumpeter Taft Jordan taking some vocals purposely influenced by Louis Armstrong, Jordan, trombonist Sandy Williams, and tenor saxophonist Elmer Williams coming up with consistently hot solos, and the drummer/leader driving the orchestra, this was one of the top jazz big bands of the era. Highly recommended as is Classics' 1935-1938 Chick Webb volume.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow