Anyone with the slightest appreciation for Louis Prima's incredible Vegas shows of the '50s and '60s will instantly recognize Butera's name … and his hard-driving, don't-tell-'em-it's rock 'n' roll sound. Butera, with his band The Witnesses, backed Prima for the better part of 20 years, but had an equally interesting career before the Vegas run. Here Bear Family collects the whole of the four sessions Butera cut for RCA in 1953/54 19 tracks including gems like Chicken Scratch and Easy Rockin', 6 previously unreleased sides and two unheard alternate versions, all featuring his sweet-and-greasy, strip-joint-in-New Orleans sax.
The Louis Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Seven Sessions were recorded between 1925 and 1928 by Louis Armstrong with his Hot Five and Hot Seven groups. According to the National Recording Registry, "Louis Armstrong was jazz's first great soloist and is among American music's most important and influential figures. These sessions, his solos in particular, set a standard musicians still strive to equal in their beauty and innovation." These recordings were added to the National Recording Registry in 2002, the first year of the institution's existence.
Lou Busch was a major arranger/conductor who created an alter ego for himself in the guise of Joe 'Fingers' Carr, the ragtime and honky-tonk pianist. Lou Busch, who played piano with Hal Kemp in the '30s, re-emerged in the '50s and '60s as a ragtime revivalist. These 1960 and 1961 LPs (the latter with Ira Ironstrings) capture his finest finger work as you hear six sweet medleys plus Too Fat Polka; Stumbling, and more!
This exciting CD has 20 diverse performances that were originally produced by Leonard Feather for the Victor label during 1946-47. The first eight selections feature various versions of Esquire's All-American Award Winners and have some unique combinations of musicians. "Long Long Journey" was the first record to match together Duke Ellington (who verbally introduces the song) and Louis Armstrong, and on "Snafu" Armstrong takes a surprisingly modern solo that hints at bebop. Trumpeter Charlie Shavers creates a remarkable improvisation on "The One That Got Away," ltoist Johnny Hodges plays beautifully on "Gone with the Wind" and other key players include tenor saxophonist Don Byas, trumpeter Buck Clayton, trombonist J.J. Johnson and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. In addition, there are selections featuring trombonist Jack Teagarden, the 52nd Street All-Stars (with Shavers, Hawkins and tenorman Allan Eager), the tenor of Lucky Thompson, trumpeter Neal Hefti, altoist Benny Carter, singer Mildred Bailey and solo piano records by Art Tatum and Erroll Garner. The mid-to-late '40s were a particularly rich period for jazz and this highly recommended CD is filled with gems.