One of the few CD collections devoted to the work of swing drummer Joe Daniels, Empress' Swing Is the Thing presents 24 recordings dating from the years 1936-1942 and originally released on 78 rpm records bearing the Parlophone, Odeon, and Decca logos with the heading: Joe Daniels & his Hot Shots in "Drumnasticks." This approach to marketing was entirely appropriate given his rocksteady beat which would, in fact, work well for those who want to try incorporating more than an hour's worth of vintage British swing into their workout regimen. Daniels, a lively specimen who clearly paid close attention to what was happening on the U.S. music scene, is heard performing a pleasant mix of jazz standards and his own original compositions. His technique, which combines the pyrotechnics of Vic Berton and the shuffle drumming of Cozy Cole with the driven persistence of Gene Krupa and young Buddy Rich, presided over bands in the late '30s and early '40s that had elements in common with the John Kirby Sextet, Art Tatum's Swingtsters, Raymond Scott's caffeinated combos, and Fats Waller & His Rhythm during the final years of that group's existence. For those who are diligently piecing together the mosaic of pre-WWII British jazz, Daniels' sidemen as heard on this handy sampler consist of trumpeters Tommy McQuater, Max Goldberg, and Leslie Hutchinson; reed players Harry Hayes, Cliff Townsend, and Nat Temple; pianists Monia Liter, Abe Walters, Herne Lewis, and Pat Dodd; guitarists Albert Harris, Joe Young, and Arche Slavin, and string bassists Tiny Winters, Dick Call, and Tommy Bromley. This collection is similar to Dutton Vocalion's 25-track Drummer Goes to Town, which covers the years 1936-1939. Both editions (which have only five titles in common and can therefore certainly coexist in the same household) were supplemented in 2007 by Living Era's Dixie Band Stomp, a parcel of Dixieland trad jazz dating from 1951-1955. Virtually all of Joe Daniels' music is stimulating, invigorating, energizing, and uplifting.
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