Johnny Windhurst

The Imaginative Johnny Windhurst

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Trumpeter Johnny Windhurst made a very strong impression while playing with Sidney Bechet in 1945 (when he was only 18) and was associated for a time with Eddie Condon in the early '50s. Unfortunately, excessive drinking eventually stunted his career, and he never fulfilled his potential, passing away before his time. This obscure but valuable LP was Windhurst's only recording as a leader. It was only the third release from George Buck's soon-to-be prolific Jazzology label. Windhurst is showcased in Cambridge, Massachusetts with a quartet (pianist Jim Andrews, the up-and-coming bassist Buell Neidlinger and drummer Walter Gifford) for six numbers, while "When You're Smiling" has Bud Blacklock on piano and tenor saxophonist Hamilton Carson sitting in. The decision to record the performance was made at the last second, and the spontaneous set features Windhurst at his peak on such numbers as "Back In Your Own Back Yard," "Strut Miss Lizzie" and "Lover Come Back to Me." A historic gem.