1952 wasn't that
long ago, was it? When you look at jazz, it seems like only yesterday. Many of the same items that piqued our senses back then exist in today's art & entertainment world. The songs on this album are still popular today. The musical arrangements, ensemble interplay leading to solos around the room and fours by the drummer, are still in use today. Improvisation is still as much fun, and live audiences still enjoy a party atmosphere. True, I'm not old enough to remember '52; however, the music from that era has followed me, as it has you.
Trad jazz is a piece of history that we just don't want to turn loose. And trumpeter Dewey Jackson? Well, he carried the torch confidently. From St. Louis he worked riverboats, theaters and clubs, had his own orchestra, and never strayed far from this classic form of jazz. Jackson (1900-1966) only made two recordings in his lifetime. This session at a St. Louis nightclub, recorded by Bob Koester and Steve Szabo and never before released, has rough spots throughout. Tracks are clipped at the end and the balance wanders somewhat with nearly every selection. Unlike a studio recording, this one lets the music flow around a central microphone.
The music, however, represents pure trad jazz with high spirits and superb musicianship. Each of the five artists proves his dedication and polish. Jackson's trumpet soars high and low, while Don Ewell's piano strides all over the room, giving the band a hearty bass line. Trombone and clarinet join the party with applicable roles while drummer Booker T. Washington carries the unit from its bottom foundation. Together, they celebrate trad jazz the way we've always felt it.