Stuff Smith

Sweet Swingin' Stuff

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Stuff Smith's swinging violin was recorded sporadically over the last decade of his life, but this long out of print LP, released in 1959, is a rewarding session. With pianist Jimmy Jones, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Denzil Best, Smith explores a number of traditional favorites from around the dawn of the 20th century that one doesn't expect to hear in a jazz setting, including "A Bird in a Gilded Cage," "After the Ball," and "To a Wild Rose," all of which are enjoyable. Smith's hoarse but entertaining vocals are featured as well on several songs, including "Mighty Lak a Rose," "O' Promise Me," and a campy medley which includes a brief chorus during both "Buffalo Gals" and "Blue Tail Fly" in the one brief medley. Trumpeter John Letman is added on several tracks, generally soloing briefly utilizing his mute. Overall, this low-key date is not one of the high points in the violinist's career, but, because this LP has never been reissued since 20th Fox abandoned record making, it will be one of the most difficult releases in Stuff Smith's discography to find, and it is worth picking up.

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