Albert Nicholas

New Orleans Clarinet

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There aren't too many Albert Nicholas collections on the market, and most of those are sets from his 20-year expatriate stay in Europe at the end of his career, so it's not too hard to make New Orleans Clarinet the first choice as an introduction to this smooth, elegant, and versatile horn man. Covering nearly 30 years of recordings from 1925 to 1954, this fine compilation features Nicholas' work with some of the giants of jazz, including King Oliver ("Sugar Foot Stomp"), Jelly Roll Morton ("Ballin' the Jack"), Louis Armstrong (the oh-so-true "I've Got a Heart Full of Rhythm"), and Sidney Bechet (stunning takes on "Weary Way Blues" and "Old Stack O' Lee Blues"). Nicholas' steady, mellow tone on the clarinet (he played both tenor and alto) never falters on these classic tracks, and on sides like the blistering "Toledo Shuffle" (with Bernard Addison) he shows he can step it up as well. Possibly because he never really embraced bop and stuck close to his traditional jazz and Dixieland roots through the years, Nicholas is somewhat of a forgotten man these days, but a listen to this solid set may well change all that.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:20
2 3:25
3
feat: King Oliver
2:55
4 3:30
5 2:58
6 3:05
7
2:55
8 2:47
9 2:37
10 3:04
11 2:14
12
feat: Baby Dodds
2:30
13
feat: Baby Dodds
3:14
14 3:16
15 2:58
16 4:15
17 3:12
18 2:48
19
3:12
20 3:08
21
feat: Rex Stewart
5:40
22
2:37
23 4:05
24 2:58
blue highlight denotes track pick