Update On Links

March 18, 2013 - I'm now using various file sites with varying success. With over 200 albums listed here, obviously I cannot upload everything at once. So if you're dying to hear something, please post a comment on that particular post and I will move it up in the priority queue. Enjoy!

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21 April 2013

That Rhythm Man


Back on track again with something that should be in the collection of anyone who appreciates the era represented here. "Chick Webb represented the triumph of the human spirit in jazz and life. Hunchbacked, small in stature, almost a dwarf with a large face and broad shoulders, Webb fought off congenital tuberculosis of the spine in order to become one of the most competitive drummers and bandleaders of the big band era. Perched high upon a platform, he used custom-made pedals, goose-neck cymbal holders, a 28-inch bass drum and a wide variety of other percussion instruments to create thundering solos of a complexity and energy that paved the way for Buddy Rich (who studied Webb intensely) and Louie Bellson. Alas, Webb did not get a fair shake on records; Decca's primitive recording techniques could not adequately capture his spectacular technique and wide dynamic range. He could not read music, but that didn't stop him either, for he memorized each arrangement flawlessly. Although his band did not become as influential and revered in the long run as some of its contemporaries, it nevertheless was feared in its time for its battles of the bands in Harlem's Savoy Ballroom; a famous encounter with the high-flying Benny Goodman outfit at its peak (with Gene Krupa in the drummer's chair) left the latter band drained and defeated.

The perfect way to acquire drummer Chick Webb's recordings is to get his two Classics CDs which contain all of his performances as a leader, other than Ella Fitzgerald's features (which are in a separate Ella series) and a few numbers from Webb's final dates. On the first of the CDs, Webb leads a pickup band in 1929 (for "Dog Bottom" and "Jungle Mama"), an early orchestra in 1931 (highlighted by the first version ever of Benny Carter's "Blues in My Heart"), two numbers from 1933, and all of his classic swing sides of 1934. With arranger/altoist Edgar Sampson providing such compositions as "When Dreams Come True," "Don't Be That Way," "Blue Lou," and "Stompin' at the Savoy" (all of which would become better-known for their slightly later Benny Goodman recordings), trumpeter Taft Jordan taking some vocals purposely influenced by Louis Armstrong, Jordan, trombonist Sandy Williams, and tenor saxophonist Elmer Williams coming up with consistently hot solos, and the drummer/leader driving the orchestra, this was one of the top jazz big bands of the era." (Allmusic.com) Enjoy! +

Tracks

01. Dog Bottom
02. Jungle Mama
03. Heebie Jeebies
04. Blues In My Heart
05. Soft And Sweet
06. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
07. Darktown Strutters' Ball
08. When Dreams Come True
09. Let's Get Together
10. I Can't Dance I Got Ant In My Pants
11. Imagination
12. Why Should I Beg For Love
13. Stompin' At The Savoy
14. Blue Minor
15. True
16. Lonesome Moments
17. If It Ain't Love
18. That Rhythm Man
19. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
20. Lona
21. Blue Minor
22. It's All Over Because We're Through
23. Don't Be That Way
24. What A Shuffle
25. Blue You

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