Panama Francis

Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans, Vol. 2

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The revival of the Savoy Sultans by drummer Panama Francis resulted in a hot five-horn nonet that was actually superior to the original group from the 1930s. The second of two Classic Jazz sets from 1979 is the equal of the first. With such fine swing-era veterans as trumpeters Francis Williams and Irv Stokes, altoists Norris Turney and Howard Johnson, tenor saxophonist George Kelly (who was also in the original group), pianist Red Richards, rhythm guitarist John Smith, bassist Bill Pemberton, and the drummer/leader, this group could really swing up a storm. Highlights of this very enjoyable LP (which, with Volume One, will hopefully be reissued eventually on CD) include Lucky Millinder's "Shipyard Social Function," a couple of heated Al Cooper tunes, and a 15 1/2-minute version of "Perdido."