Ted Weems

The Complete, Vol. 2

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It wasn't until the 21st century that the complete recordings of the Ted Weems Orchestra began to be reissued systematically. Although the ASV Living Era, Collector's Choice, and Retrieval labels did a marvelous job of dallying with the discographical evidence and reintroducing Weems to the public at large, Renovation's chronologically stacked surveys of virtually every recording made by Weems beginning in 1923 is an effort of unprecedented thoroughness. Weems led a solid little Midwestern dance band that utilized real jazz elements and almost invariably served up pleasant and sometimes catchy vocals. This volume covers the second half of the Weems Orchestra's pre-Chicago period (1926-1929). Other than the leader's trumpet-blowing brother Art Weems, none of the names of the instrumentalists are likely to ring very many bells even amongst those who pay attention to details from so long ago. Vocals, on the other hand, (and there are no instrumental tracks here), were mostly by clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Parker Gibbs and drummer Dusty Rhodes. Additional singers were banjoist Art Jarrett (like Gibbs, a friendly if rather benign crooner) and the band's tuba handler Sam Oliver. These recordings are typical of jazz-inflected pop music of the '20s in that the band generally cooks really nicely and each vocal chorus is the icing on the cake.

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