Thomas Jefferson

Sleepy Time Down South

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Thomas Jefferson was one of the finest Dixieland trumpeters to emerge from New Orleans during the 1950s/'60s. The initial release by the tiny Maison Bourbon label, which came out with at least nine LPs, puts the focus on the trumpeter/vocalist on seven Dixieland standards and his own basic "Ting A Ling." Some of the raving in the liner notes is a bit absurd ("Now that you have in your hand the finest Dixieland Record ever..."), but this is a fine showcase for Jefferson, who is joined by trombonist Waldren "Frog" Joseph, clarinetist Clarence Ford, pianist Phamous Lambert, bassist Lloyd Lambert and drummer Stan Williams. Although Jefferson mostly performs a repertoire associated with Louis Armstrong (including "Sleepy Time Down South," a version of "Tiger Rag" that is too fast for his sidemen, "Bill Bailey" and "Mack the Knife") and his singing sometimes has Armstrong's raspiness, his trumpet playing is fairly original. A lively Dixieland date that, due to its obsolete label, may never be reissued on CD despite its quality.