Herb Morand & the Harlem Hamfats

New Orleans to Harlem

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During 1936-39 the Harlem Hamfats recorded 75 selections. Of the 51 that they cut during 1936-37, this 1996 CD has 23. Performing during an era when swing and big bands dominated jazz, the Harlem Hamfats were a most unusual group for they played what was essentially good-time New Orleans jazz that also looked toward the string band tradition. Trumpeter Herb Morand was the leader and worked well with the unique sound of clarinetist Odell Rand. In addition to the rhythm section (pianist Horace Malcolm, either John Lindsay or Ransom Knowling on bass and Fred Flynn or Pearlis Williams on drums), the band featured guitarist Joe McCoy and the mandolin of Charlie McCoy; both McCoys and Morand took occasional enthusiastic vocals. The music was often quite heated and the band had its own sound. This collector's CD has many of the Harlem Hamfats best performances and is easily recommended to fans of prebop.

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