Coon-Sanders Nighthawks, one of the most popular bands of the 1920s, was also one of the finest of the decade. Co-led by pianist Joe Sanders and drummer Carleton Coon, the orchestra became famous through their radio programs and were a household name until Coon's death in the early '30s. Sanders' arrangements were consistently exciting and full of surprises; the co-leaders were both hot singers (no dull ballad features); and the musicianship of the group (which grew during the time covered by this CD from eight to ten pieces) was impeccable. The first volume of their records has the orchestra's initial 23 recordings: one selection from 1921 ("Some Little Bird") and 22 from the 1924-1925 period. During the era, few regular outfits were on the same level as the Nighthawks (other than those led by Fletcher Henderson and Paul Whiteman). With short solos from a variety of obscure horn players, many memorable numbers (including "Red Hot Mama," "Some of These Days," "Everything Is Hotsy-Totsy Now," and "Flamin' Mamie"), and Sanders' inventive charts, the jazz-oriented band always put on a great show. Although their most significant recordings will be included in later volumes, this particular CD is highly recommended to 1920s collectors.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow