This Pete Johnson CD collects a number of rare recordings from radio airchecks, film soundtracks, radio transcription discs, and unissued alternate takes, featuring the pianist in a variety of settings; the fidelity is surprisingly good on most tracks. His inventive "Bus Robinson Blues," and the lively boogie woogie "Dive Bomber" are piano solos; he's heard with occasional partner Albert Ammons in a revival of their "Boogie Woogie Prayer," as well as an untitled duet and two rehearsals. Johnson accompanies singers Lena Horne and blues great Big Joe Turner, and also with small groups that include Hot Lips Page on trumpet and either Budd Johsnon or Ben Webster on tenor sax. Johnson sits in with Benny Goodman & His Orchestra for "Roll 'Em" (not the Mary Lou Williams piece with the identical name). Several tracks are taken from the soundtrack to the film Boogie Woogie Dream, and unfortunately include dialog, though it is mercifully brief. A nice touch is the inclusion of the various radio announcers; the introduction to a 1940 broadcast is a hilarious parody of the often pompous classical announcers, though long time Metropolitan Opera radio host Milton Cross plays along with the insulting script denouncing boogie woogie as he introduces Johnson and Ammons' "Boogie Woogie Prayer." Detailed liner notes by Konrad Nowakowski, the vintage photographs, and fairly detailed discography add to the value of this recommended CD.
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