This CD has a variety of performances that Johnny Dodds recorded for the Paramount label during 1926-1929. Dodds, arguably the top jazz clarinetist of the 1920s, was a powerful player with a cutting tone. Some of his best-known recordings were with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers, and Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Seven, in addition to dates that he led. The second volume in the Black Swan series has Dodds as a sideman on sessions with Jasper Taylor's State Street Boys, Jimmy Blythe's Washboard Ragamuffins, Blind Blake, the Dixieland Thumpers, the Paramount Pickers, Lovie Austin, Junie Cobb, Viola Bartlette, and Freddie Keppard. Although one wishes that the recordings were programmed complete and in chronological order, when combined with Vol. 1, most of Dodds' Paramount recordings are available on the two discs. Among the other players featured along the way are legendary New Orleans cornetist Freddie Keppard (who is on four numbers), pianist Jimmy Blythe, blues guitarist/singer Blind Blake, cornetist Natty Dominique, and trombonist Kid Ory. Collectors of 1920s jazz who do not already own these performances (a few of the numbers are alternate takes) will definitely enjoy this set of New Orleans/Chicago classic jazz.
Paramount Recordings, Vol. 2 Review
by Scott Yanow