Roy Eldridge

The Nifty Cat Strikes West

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Trumpeter Roy Eldridge's first studio album as a leader in six years and only one of two from a 15-year period (his swing-based style was out of vogue) matches his fiery and competitive playing with trombonist Grover Mitchell, the tenor of Eric Dixon, pianist Bill Bell, bassist Norman Keenan and drummer Louis Bellson on five standards and two group originals. At the time Eldridge was a member of Count Basie's Orchestra (an association that only lasted a brief time) and all of the players on this LP (except of course pianist Bell) were also Basie-ites. It is therefore not too surprising that the music swings, the solos are quite melodic and that no real surprises occur. The results are pleasing if conservative.