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Various Artists: Period's Jazz Digest

David Rickert By

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Period Records was a high-end classical label that also dabbled in jazz and blues for a brief time in the fifties. The Jazz Digest LPs sampled the label's jazz and blues output, a move that at the time was innovative and proved to be quite popular. It was thus possible to hear Charles Mingus and Big Bill Broonzy on the same LP, and for the most part, the tracks featured excellent playing and pristine recording quality.

Since most of the avant-garde Period material has been resurrected on other labels, Empiremusicwerks has collected some of the neglected straight-ahead jazz tracks, most of them dating from the mid-fifties. These artists were familiar figures during the Swing Era who had largely been pushed to the margins by bebop and cool jazz, and it seems appropriate that a classical label dedicated to preserving the past would go after these artists. There's hot jazz courtesy of Charlie Shavers, a bit of Dixieland vocals from Jack Teagarden, and a few rare tracks with Django using an amplified guitar. Early guitar blues from Big Bill Broonzy sit comfortably next to the stylish balladry of Maxine Sullivan and elegant soloing of Pee Wee Russell, and the obscure guitarist Josh White gets his due.

All of the music is performed at a very high level of quality and the collection offers a decent cross-section of styles. Fans of early jazz will find a lot to admire here, while also enjoying the blues tracks that pad out the compilation. Empiremusicwerks has once again created an excellent compilation of unearthed treasures.


Track Listing: "Flow Gently Sweet Rhythm" - Charlie Shavers; "Danse Norvegienne" - Django Reinhardt; "Pee Wee Blues" - Pee Wee Russell; "Davenport Blues" - Jack Teagarden; "Baby Please Don't Go" - Big Bill Broonzy; "I'm Coming Virginia" - Maxine Sullivan; "Rose Room" - Charlie Shavers; "Nuages" - Django Reinhardt; "That Old Feeling" - Pee Wee Russell; "She's Too Much For Me" - Josh White; "Meet Me Where They Play The Blues" - Jack Teagarden; "It All Depends On You" - Pee Wee Russell; "A Letter To My Baby" - Big Bill Broonzy; "Melodie Au Crepuscule" - Django Reinhardt; "Loch Lomond" - Maxine Sullivan; "Evil Hearted Me" - Josh White; "Oh No!" - Pee Wee Russell.

Personnel: Charlie Shavers, Dick Cary, Ruby Braff: trumpet; Jack Teagarden: trombone, vocals; Vic Dickenson: trombone; Buster Bailey, Pee Wee Russell, Edmond Hall, Hubert Rostaing: clarinet; Russell Procope, Hilton Jefferson: alto saxophone; Bud Freeman: tenor saxophone; Billy Kyle, Nat Pierce, Leonard Feather, Dick Hyman: piano; Sammy Benskin: organ; Django Reinhardt, Carl Kress: guitar; Aaron Bell, Charles Potter, Walter Page: bass; Specs Powell, Karl Kiffe, Ray Bauduc, Louis Barnum: drums; Big Bill Broonzy, Josh White: guitar, vocals; Maxine Sullivan, Beverly White, William White, Sam Gary: vocals.

Title: Period's Jazz Digest | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Empire Musicwerks

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