Louis Jordan

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The great proto-rhythm-and-blues combo leader was still knocking out Top Ten R&B hits when these live recordings -- issued on an English import LP -- were made in spring 1949 at the Empire Room in Hollywood. The program consists mostly of familiar hits like "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie," "Five Guys Named Moe," "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" and "Buzz Me," often served as they are on the Decca originals. Occasionally, though, we get longer instrumental breaks, giving modern listeners a chance to hear how good a swing/jump band the nifty Tympany Five (expanded to seven or eight here) was in its heyday. Trumpeter Aaron Izenhall, tenor Josh Jackson and pianist Bill Doggett log some stimulating solo time, as does the wild and crazy leader on alto. The Hollywood crowd is pretty tame in comparison to those in other cities, but the Tympany Five generates plenty of pizzazz all by itself.