During the 1920s, Sam Lanin made hundreds of records with his dance bands using an amazing variety of names which were issued on a diverse assortment of record labels. Released by Frog in 2006, Shake It and Break It focuses upon records cut in 1921 and 1922 by Lanin's Southern Serenaders with a few sides issued under the names Bailey's Lucky Seven or Ladd's Black Aces tossed in to fill out the collection. Remastered by Ted Kendall, these vintage dance band recordings are a welcome addition to a growing body of early 20th century works which have been rescued from oblivion and are circulating at last in the digital format. These rare recordings were made by an ensemble with varying personnel that included trumpeter Phil Napoleon and trombonist Miff Mole with either Frank Signorelli or Jimmy Durante at the piano. The playlist is richly veined with songs by W.C. Handy, Spencer Williams, Noble Sissle, and Eubie Blake, as well as Durante (whose "I've Got My Habits On" was made into a player piano roll by James P. Johnson); Edison's house xylophonist "Friscoe" Lou Chiha, whose "Shake It and Break It" was famously reinterpreted by Sidney Bechet's New Orleans Feetwarmers in 1940, and Irving Berlin's Tin Pan Alley colleague Harry Akst, whose "I've Got the Joys" was a harmless attempt to propose an alternative to the emotional state known as the blues. More substantial examples of "Joys" from the early jazz repertoire would be Jelly Roll Morton's "New Orleans Joys" and the well-known "Milenberg Joys," which Morton composed in collaboration with members of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. Several excellent Sam Lanin collections have materialized since the beginning of the 21st century. This one boldly taps into his very earliest strata, proving that even as early as 1921, Lanin was leading hot bands in the production of exciting, thoroughly entertaining records which sound better than ever today.
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