Henry "Red" Allen / Buck Clayton / Harry "Sweets" Edison / Roy Eldridge

Swing Trumpet Kings

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This double CD gathers together three former LPs that are unrelated except that they feature swing-era trumpeters in the 1950s. The most consistent date is the largely predictable Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton and Vice Versa. The two complementary trumpeters Edison and Clayton are joined by tenorman Jimmy Forrest (in excellent form) and a supportive rhythm section. Despite the title, there are no Clayton originals on the date, although Edison does contribute four mostly blues-based tunes. The music (which includes two alternate takes and a ballad medley) swings and is as tasteful as one would expect. Taste is not the main quality one thinks of while hearing the inaccurately titled Red Allen Plays King Oliver (few of the songs have anything to do with Oliver). The frequently uptempo music is quite exciting, has its erratic moments, and is often on the verge of going out of control; check out the false ending to "Bill Bailey." Trumpeter Red Allen sounds like he had been playing a little too long for the loud and drunken Metropole audience, taking wild chances, while clarinetist Buster Bailey (who always had very impressive technique) sometimes comes across as a bit nuts. The music (which also has solo space for trombonist Herb Fleming and either Bob Hammer or Sammy Price on piano) is certainly full of spirit and adventure. Roy Eldridge tries his best on Swing Goes Dixie, playing melody lines and riffs to the Dixieland standards in the ensembles (some of which might have been written out), although his more modern solos do not always fit the music. The band (which includes trombonist Benny Morton, clarinetist Eddie Barefield and pianist Dick Wellstood) is excellent, and the repertoire (which is highlighted by "That's A Plenty" two versions of "Royal Garden Blues," "Jazz Me Blues" and "Bugle Call Rag") is certainly unique for an Eldridge date. Roy was in prime form during the era, and he shows the influence of early-'30s Louis Armstrong on some spectacular solos. This historic reissue is certainly worth picking up by Dixieland, swing and mainstream collectors, for all three of these sessions were formerly rare.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 08:50 Amazon
2 05:51 Amazon
3 06:47 Amazon
4 09:04 Amazon
5 08:58 Amazon
6 05:16 Amazon
7 06:38 Amazon
8 03:19 Amazon
9 03:45 Amazon
10 03:57 Amazon
11 06:29 Amazon
12 03:13 Amazon
13 03:21 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick