483

Various Artists: Anthology of Swing Strings (1930s-1950s): Professor Visits Harlem or Swingin

Andrew Velez By

Sign in to view read count
Various Artists: Anthology of Swing Strings (1930s-1950s):  Professor Visits Harlem or Swingin The strings go zing-zinging on Professor Visits Harlem. Quite unlike any other anthology you're likely to have run into of late, we're treated to three decades of jazz string ensembles, starting off "Two Violins One Siday," a group whose 1931 take on "Dinah" is very finah.

It was not until the '30s that the jazz swing string ensemble really took off. The earliest example here from that period is the Bay Ensemble, with an absence of any artist identification on the label. Their rendition of "Exactly Like You" has an easy crooning quality that suggests the early vocalizing of Bing Crosby. Inexact the recording information may be at times, there is no question about the continuing vibrancy of this nascent jazz.

Among the familiar names popping up throughout is bass master Milt Hinton on a 1933 rendition of "Goofus." And Ellis Larkins on "Liebestraum" no less. Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt are a part of "A Trio Violins" and at their blissfully irresistible best; I hit the repeat button twice on first hearing their version of Gershwin's "Lady Be Good." The title tune of the collection is heard in a breezily insinuating 1937 take by "Strings in Swingtime" under the direction of Vladimir Selinski. They follow it up with a delightfully kitschy "Oriental Stock Exchange."

The limits imposed by segregation are evident in what's absent in this chronological collection. Not until the '60s did black and mixed sections appear regularly and become commonplace. Although many early African-American ragtime, proto-jazz and early jazz ensembles included string sections, all too few of those found their way on to disc. Orchestral string sections such as those of James Reece Europe and Paul Whiteman are not represented for lack of space. Still there is so very much to be glad about here that carping would be ungracious. Especially when Harriet Wilson and Her Singing Strings are among the distaff groups included. Better to rave over their "Sophisticated Swing," yet another piquant pleasure that makes this "Visit" such a unique delight.


Track Listing: Dinah; Exactly Like You; Goofus; Honeysuckle Rose; Oh; Lady Be Good!; Professor Visits Harlem; Oriental Stock Exchange; Sophisticated Swing; Twilight in Turkey; Swinging the Fiddles; High Voltage; Mood in Question; La Cinquantaine; I Love Coffee (a.k.a. Java Jive); Opus III; Tiger Rag; Tempete sur les chords; Liebestraum; The Chair Song; Gymnastics; Ol' Man River; Shu-Man; That's Earl Brother; Swingin' Till the Girls Come Home; Scherzo-Phrenia; Blues in the Closet; Snappy Strings; Countrio.

Personnel: Various artists.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: AB Fable | Style: Hot Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "In For The Out" CD/LP/Track Review In For The Out
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette" CD/LP/Track Review Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette
by Nicola Negri
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "Intuit" CD/LP/Track Review Intuit
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "Solo Gemini" CD/LP/Track Review Solo Gemini
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 12, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!