Perhaps the Kings of Jazz
are not as well remembered as the World's Greatest Jazz Band
. Both groups were active in the same era, featured seven piece units and played similar arrangements. Trombonist, Ed Hubble, has played and recorded with both groups.
The music on this CD was recorded live at concerts in Stockholm and Hanover as part of the band's 1974 European tour. This is wonderful honest jazz played by the pioneers of the type of music heard in the 40s at such memorable spots as Nick's, the St.Regis or Eddie Condon's
. It's New York style hot jazz at its best. When the band kicks into Rosetta
, I almost hear the ghost of Eddie Condon strumming and wisecracking as he always did. Condon would have loved this band.
For those who are new to this style, I'll introduce the players. Pee Wee Ervin
(1913-1981) began his career in the 30s and his trumpet was heard in the bands of Joe Haymes, Ray Noble, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey. His own band was resident at Nick's during the club's heyday in the 50s. Bernie Privin
(1919-1999) is steeped in the traditions of swing bands and was heard with Bunny Berigan, Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet, Glenn Miller's army band and Sy Oliver. I always felt that Privin's work was best showcased within the fabulous Artie Shaw band of 1938-9. Trombonist, Ed Hubble
was born in 1928 and by age 13 was playing in dance bands. A long career took him into all corners of music with many jazz highlights including stints with Red McKenzie, Buddy Rich, Billy Maxted, the Dukes of Dixieland, Don Ewell, Eddie Condon, Bobby Hackett and the World's Greatest Jazz Band.
In the reed section are Kenny Davern and Johnny Mince. Kenny Davern
is the featured player on this Arbors CD and he continues to record great things for the label. The youngest of the Kings of Jazz
was born in 1935 and has been an active player since the mid 1950s when he joined Jack Teagarden in New York. Davern loves New York and chose to remain there when the Teagarden sextet left for the west coast. His credits include Phil Napoleon, Henry "Red" Allen, Herman Autrey, Dick Wellstood, Buck Clayton, Ruby Braff, Dukes of Dixieland and the venerable Eddie Condon. Johnny Mince
(1912-1994), like Pee Wee Erwin, was employed by Joe Haymes and Ray Noble. He is best known for his work within both Tommy Dorsey's big band and his Clambake Seven. The small group turned out some wonderful sides including my favorite Trouble In Mind
. Later years found Mince in the company of Warren Covington, Yank Lawson and Bobby Haggart.
Pianist, Dick Hyman
(1927-) needs no introduction here. His recordings on Arbors Jazz speak for themselves. Hyman is a youngster by comparison to other players in this outfit. His present work is still nothing less than perfect. Major Holley
(1924-1990) is known to a wide variety of jazz lovers. His bass work was incorporated into countless small groups including those of Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Zoot Sims, Oscar Peterson, Lee Konitz and Roland Hanna. Holley swings beautifully on this album. Cliff Leeman
(1913-1986) rounds out the rhythm section. Leeman was an intense but never showy drummer, was nicknamed "Mr. Time." Leeman emerged from the big bands of Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet and Woody Herman. He was often found moving back and forth between traditional and more modern styles. His busiest period from the 50s through the 70s placed him firmly in the vintage camp and he appeared with Condon, Wild Bill Davison, Joe Venuti, Bud Freeman, Bob Crosby and Lawson-Haggart.
The Kings of Jazz
play up a storm on this CD. Highly recommended!