Like many great trumpeters, Charlie Shavers got lost in the shuffle somewhere between Louis and Miles and today is known by few. Although he recorded several fine solos as a member of John Kirby and Tommy Dorsey's outfits, he scarcely recorded as a leader, which no doubt has contributed to his obscurity.
However, Empire Musicwerks has resurrected Shavers' recordings from the late fifties and sixties on Everest, a label that was a refuge for many of the stars of the thirties and forties. Shavers is at the helm of a handful top-notch units, all capable of keeping pace with his boisterous precision. His style falls somewhere between the relaxed pacing of Dixieland and the rhythmic fix of swing, with a healthy dose of warmth and humor. "Girl Of My Dreams, a prime example, comes roaring out of the gate with a rhythm section that seems hell-bent on keeping the pedal to the floor. Most of these songs are old standards like "Loch Lomond and "Bye Bye Blackbird that Shavers can really dig into, and wisely there's never another horn to nudge his out of the spotlight.
Surprisingly, a session with Wild Bill Davis, Les Spann, and Grady Tate fails to generate much heat, just as the same combination failed to get things going on an earlier session led by Davis. But there's plenty of tasty soloing to go around otherwise. Empire Musicwerks has provided us with a valuable reissue of a man who, like too many, never got his due.
Girl Of My Dreams; September In the Rain; What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry; Bye Bye
Blackbird; Pennies From Heaven; The Best Things In Life Are Free; Taking A Chance On
Love; In A Little Spanish Town; My Old Kentucky Home; Blues For Choo Loos; All Of Me;
Russin Lullaby; It's All Right With Me; Loch Lomond; Undecided; That Was Yesterday; I Will
Follow You; Chin Up Ladies; Independence Hora 20. As Simple As That.
Charlie Shavers: trumpet; Ray Bryant: piano; Aaron Bell, Tommy Bryant: bass; LeRoy
Burnes, Oliver Jackson, Grady Tate: drums; Wild Bill Davis: organ; Les Spann: guitar.