Hickman Trio / Art Hickman & His Orchestra

The San Francisco Sound, Vol. 2

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The first jazz-oriented orchestra to feature a saxophone section, predating Paul Whiteman, was led by Art Hickman in San Francisco during 1917-1921. Until Archeophone reissued nearly all of Hickman's recordings on two CDs, his orchestra's performances were completely unavailable for over 80 years. The San Francisco Sound, Vol. 2 covers Hickman's output of 1920-1921 and shows that his ten-piece group was more of a syncopated dance band than an out-and-out jazz group. Also including trumpet, trombone, violin, piano, two banjos, bass, Hickman on drums, and second piano, the ensemble was most notable for featuring Clyde Doerr and Bert Ralton on various reeds. Two of the most enjoyable selections, "Nightingale" and "Sweet Little Stranger," are by the Hickman Trio, consisting of Doerr, Ralton, and pianist Frank Ellis. Although there are no individual solos to be heard on any of these performances (solos did not begin to become common on jazz records until 1924), the music is jazzy and rhythmic, hinting at what was to come. It is particularly interesting hearing Hickman's versions of a few songs identified with Whiteman during the era. The recording quality is surprisingly good overall and this music definitely has its charm.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:48
2
3:18
3
3:03
4 2:43
5 3:04
6 2:55
7 2:48
8
3:06
9
3:16
10
3:21
11 2:39
12
3:00
13
3:02
14
3:02
15
3:06
16
3:02
17 3:14
18
3:08
19
2:57
20
3:06
21
3:09
22
3:11
23
2:59
24
3:10
25
3:09
blue highlight denotes track pick