Big Jay McNeely

The Deacon, Unabridged: Vol. 2: 1951-52

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A collection of all the sides Big Jay McNeely recorded for Imperial Records in 1951 and 1952, along with his first few Federal Records tracks from that year, this anthology, although chronological, is neatly divided into vocal and instrumental pieces. The first half dozen or so selections feature the Three Dots and a Dash vocal group, while the rest of the disc is made up of the muscular tenor and baritone-driven saxophone instrumentals that were McNeely's stock in trade. The lead track, "Insect Ball," is probably the most striking of the vocal sides, while the instrumental highlights include "Deacon Rides Again," the cranked-up "The Goof," "Penthouse Serenade" (which shows that McNeely can play soft and pretty when the piece calls for it), and the proto-rock & roll of "Big Jay Shuffle."

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