Matty Matlock

Pete Kelly Lets His Hair Down

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In the mid-'50s, actor Jack Webb headed a group that recorded under the fictional name of Pete Kelly, named after his jazz movie Pete Kelly's Blues. In reality, clarinetist Matty Matlock was the leader and he usually supplied all of the arrangements. Pete Kelly Lets His Hair Down, the last in the series, is an obscure LP that differs from its predecessors in that no arrangements were used. Side one of the album has six titles grouped together as "The Blue Side" while the seven from side two are "The Red Side." Nearly all of the songs are ad-lib blues, with the "Blue" numbers being at slower tempos than the "Reds." Each of the horns, pianist Ray Sherman, and guitarist George Van Eps has one feature apiece on each side, with bassist Jud de Naut and drummer Nick Fatool being in the spotlight during "Lobster." There are many fine individual moments during this Dixieland set, making one wish that all of the Pete Kelly albums were reissued in a small box set on CD since they feature some of the very best Los Angeles-based trad jazz players of the era, musicians who appeared on a countless number of movie soundtracks.

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