Dicky Wells

Trombone Four in Hand

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Dicky Wells is one of the most important swing trombonists, though he is better known for his work as a sideman than as a leader. But when he got the occasional opportunity to lead a record date, which was all too infrequent, he made the most of it. Wells' second LP for the English label Felsted, which was reissued by the American label Master Jazz during the 1970s, was produced by Stanley Dance and also features three additional trombonists: Vic Dickenson, Benny Morton, and George Matthews. The rhythm section is just as strong, with pianist/organist Skip Hall, either Kenny Burrell or Everett Barksdale on guitar (the latter is also heard on electric bass), bassist Major Holley, and drummer Herbie Lovelle. Following a bluesy arrangement of "Blue Moon," the only standard of the date, the band really begins to loosen up. Spirited solos and tight horn ensembles are common features throughout most of the session, with the leader's lively "Wine-o Junction" and his saucy blues "Heavy Duty," which features a terrific guitar solo by Barksdale which especially standing out. Wells and Dickenson share the vocals in the hilarious "Short, Tall, Fat and Small." This first-rate record is long overdue to be reissued on CD, though the Master Jazz edition of the LP is far easier to acquire than the original version.

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