Various Artists

Red Allen & James P. Johnson

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The Meritt record label came out with an extensive series of LPs in the 1980s that were generally comprised of unissued alternate takes and performances, mostly from the 1920s and '30s. This particular album has trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen on all but one session and pianist James P. Johnson on two including one of his own. First there is an alternate take of Wilton Crawley's "I'm Her Papa, She's My Mama" which stars not only Allen but pianist Jelly Roll Morton. There are seven alternates from Johnson's 1939 sessions which also feature Allen, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, tenor-saxophonist Gene Sedric and two vocals from the haunting Anna Robinson. There are also seven titles from two dates led by blues singer Ida Cox with either Allen or Hot Lips Page on trumpet, Higginbotham and clarinetist Edmond Hall, and finally a feature for pianist Ken Kersey ("K.K. Boogie") with Allen's band of 1941. This LP (along with the other Meritt releases) will be quite difficult to find but completists will consider it worth the search.