Various Artists

The Jubilee Shows, Vol. 4: Nos. 77 & 78

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The fourth in an extensive series of reissues, this set features two of the Jubilee radio shows, both of which were recorded the same day. Show number 77, which has Lena Horne as a charming emcee, features a later and mostly undocumented version of the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, with the leader's brother, Horace Henderson, on piano and Dexter Gordon (who has a couple short solos) on tenor. The mostly obscure personnel sounds fine on "Jeep Rhythm," "Rose Room," and "Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie." Lena Horne sings "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Mad About the Boy," there is a forgettable comedy skit, and the Charioteers (a vocal quartet backed by a rhythm section) swings on "Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet" and "All I Need Is You." The second show has Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman back as emcee and features an intriguing version of the Cootie Williams big band, which at the time included altoist Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Sam "The Man" Taylor on tenor, and the up-and-coming pianist Bud Powell. They perform "Roll 'Em" and "Air Mail Special," backing the great Ella Fitzgerald on "A-Tisket, a-Tasket" and "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me." In addition, a sextet from the group plays "Let's Toot" and the Ink Spots perform "If I Didn't Care," "Java Jive," and "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening." Overall, these are two of the better Jubilee programs, showing the wealth of jazz-oriented black entertainment that was active in the mid-'40s.

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