Jabbo Smith

The Complete Hidden Treasure Sessions, Vol. 1

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In 1983 a pair of albums were released that consist of selections performed at two rehearsals in 1961 by trumpeter Jabbo Smith. These excerpts, which have erratic recording quality, would not be of much interest except that they were Smith's only recordings from the 1939-77 period. Jabbo, who was a brilliant player in 1929, had drifted away from music by the 1940s, but was urged by the young sidemen heard on these LPs to try a comeback. Smith sounds better on the dates than he would in 1978, but was clearly rusty and not at the level of his earlier days. Actually his sidemen (which include the Pee Wee Russell-influenced clarinetist Frank Chase, bass saxophonist John Dengler and rhythm guitarist Marty Grosz) often take solo honors on the swing and classic jazz standards, which include more than their share of clams and hesitant moments from the leader. The two albums overall are mostly for jazz historians.