Plays Bessie Smith: Trombone Cholly

Vic Dickenson

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Plays Bessie Smith: Trombone Cholly Review

by Scott Yanow

This set is unusual for, although it is a tribute to Bessie Smith, there are no vocals. Trombonist Vic Dickenson takes the place of Smith's favorite trombonist, Charlie Green, and his witty sound and expressive slides are well-showcased in a sextet with trumpeter Joe Newman and tenor saxophonist Frank Wess; Milt Hinton was the natural choice for the bass spot. Bessie Smith, though known as the "Empress of the Blues," actually recorded a lot of other material throughout her career so there is more variety on this enjoyable set (which is not recommended to 1920s purists) than one might expect.

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