Harry "Sweets" Edison / Harry Edison Orchestra

Sweets

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Neither an innovator nor an iconoclast, trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison is simply one of the bluesiest, hardest-swinging, and downright tastiest jazz musicians of the 20th century. A consummate sideman who worked steadily throughout his career (even getting gigs recording soundtracks in the '50s), Edison created music that always reflected his journeyman aesthetic and unerring sense of swing. Recorded in 1956, Sweets is one of the quintessential Edison albums showcasing the former Count Basie bandmember at the height of his abilities with a stellar ensemble of other Basie-ites, including tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, guitarist Barney Kessel, pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Joe Mondragon, and drummer Alvin Stoller. Rolling from blues to standards and back to blues, the album is a veritable "how-to" book of swing. In fact, leadoff track "Hollering at the Watkins" finds Edison building one of his trademark perfect solos in which each chorus gains more energy as the trumpeter seems to grab hold of the band, making it swing harder as his lines pucker with melodicism and timing. It's also nice to hear guitarist Kessel really get to rock out a bit, bending his notes Tiny Grimes style, without ever dropping the time. However, it's not just the blues tunes that keep your attention but such ballads as "Willow Weep for Me" and "Love Is Here to Stay," featuring Edison and Webster in top mellowed-out form.

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