Various Artists

Rare Live Cuts Cafe Society

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Meade "Lux" Lewis and Pete Johnson with Joe Turner singing. The cuts here include Holiday singing a soft, achingly beautiful "I'm Gonna Lock up My Heart (And Throw Away the Key)" backed by the Frankie Newton Orchestra and some hot piano by Ammons and Lewis, plus some acceptably hot instrumentals by the Newton orchestra. The stuff is precious enough, as live tracks by a group of legends in their respective fields from an era that usually excluded live recording; Joe Turner and Pete Johnson's "Low Down Dog" even lays a big chunk of the foundation for rock & roll, only heightening the intrinsic value of the release. But the condition of the master discs, among the rarer jazz and R&B documents of the period, is often just short of deplorable. The producers have done their best, but the deep gouges and surface noise on Lewis's "Yancey Special," Turner and Johnson's "Honey Dripper," and many of the other cuts severely limit the appeal of this CD to an academic listening experience. The remaining seven cuts come from Frenchy's in Milwaukee, WI, and feature Ammons and Johnson, with Williams on two cuts, years after the trio's breakup, plus three tracks by the Red Feather Trio (Russ Zarling on clarinet, Tommy Sheridan at the ivories, and Harry Lindeman on drums); they're more derivative, especially of Benny Goodman, and less original than Ammons at his best here.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:29
2 3:30
3 2:26
4 3:38
5 2:46
6 3:42
7 3:09
8 2:32
9 2:39
10 3:01
11
1:32
12 5:20
13 5:00
14 6:32
15 2:47
16 3:16
17 3:47
18 2:53
19
5:35
20 2:51
21 3:36
blue highlight denotes track pick