The Chronological Fletcher Henderson 1927 (Classics 580)Buy Track
Fletcher Henderson (piano, arranger), Joe Smith (trumpet), Tommy Ladnier (trumpet), Russell Smith (trumpet), Jimmy Harrison (trombone), Benny Morton (trombone), Buster Bailey (clarinet, alto sax), Don Redman (alto sax), Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Charlie Dixon (banjo, guitar), June Cole (tuba), Kaiser Marshall (drums).
Composed by Larry Shields.
Recorded: New York, March 19, 1927
Fletcher Henderson's pioneering jazz band relied heavily on the talents of his sidemen, and his arrangement of Fidgety Feet calls for many of the vast solo resources of the band. While several other band members solo, the star of this track is trombonist Jimmy Harrison, whose aggressive breaks and virtuosic solo set the stage for the band's trademark swing feeling.
The arrangement uses Harrison as the spark plug to jump-start the first strain's driving two-feel. He has a solo break early in the chart which showcases his enormous, round sound and overpowering swing feeling. Later, other instruments get a chance at the breaks, but none convey the power of Harrison's trombone. Harrison gets his full solo about halfway through the tune. Here, he shows why he was considered - alongside Coleman Hawkins and Louis Armstrong - to be the most sophisticated improvisers of his day. Rhythmically, his ideas fit right into the pocket, and melodically he incorporates wide leaps, expressive rips and even some chromaticism - a difficult feat on his awkward instrument. The range he employs is also impressive; he pops out high notes as cleanly as he executes in the lower register.
Even during the cacophonous ending, Harrison's resonant sound rumbles underneath the rest of the band and supports the final hit, ending the song with the same booming exuberance with which he started it off.
Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra
Jumpin' With The Big Swing Bands (Savoy 17182)Buy Track
Jimmie Lunceford (alto sax, bandleader), Trummy Young (trombone, vocals),
Eddie Tompkins, Paul Webster, Sy Oliver (trumpets), Elmer Crumbley, Russell Bowles (trombones), Willie Smith, Earl Carruthers, Dan Grissom, Ted Buckner (reeds); Edwin Wilcox (piano); Al Norris (guitar); Moses Allen (bass); Jimmy Crawford (drums).
Composed by Con Conrad & J. Russell Robinson. Arranged by Sy Oliver.
Recorded: New York, January 6, 1938
Although he is best-known for his work with Louis Armstrong in the 1950s and 1960s, trombonist Trummy Young made his name with Jimmie Lunceford in the 1930s. Margiewas his most prominent feature as well as one of the band's biggest hits. Young both sings and plays on this swinging arrangement by Sy Oliver. Young's singing style is breathy and joking, his high-pitched tenor a perfect match for the light, jaunty feel of the piece. However, what really stands out is his trombone work. Young plays with unrivaled control of his instrument, staying mostly in the upper register, where he produces a smooth, bright tone. His breaks feature large leaps in pitch, which are very difficult to execute. To top it off, he ends the tune on a high F#, near the absolute top of the instrument's range. The overall effect is one of infectious, danceable swing as well as musical virtuosity. Young was a perfect fit with the Lunceford band and his exposure there helped him launch a long and successful career in jazz.
It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
The Duke Ellington Carnegie Hall Concerts, December 1944 (Prestige 24073)Buy Track
Duke Ellington (piano, composer), Shelton Hemphill (trumpet), Rex Stewart (cornet), Taft Jordan (trumpet), Cat Anderson (trumpet), Ray Nance (trumpet, violin, vocal), Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton (trombone), Claude Jones (trombone), Lawrence Brown (trombone), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sax), Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor sax), Al Sears (tenor sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Fred Guy (guitar), Junior Raglin (bass), Hillard Brown (drums).
Composed by Duke Ellington & Irving Mills.