by Red NicholsRed Nichols


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By 1929, Red Nichols had been active as a recording artist for nearly eight years. He had been making a name for himself as a leader since 1925, usually in the company of a superhuman trombonist by the name of Miff Mole. While some folks might focus upon the presence of Jimmy Dorsey, seasoned early jazz addicts will also cherish the opportunity to commune with the spirits of Miff Mole, Vic Berton and Arthur Schutt. The first three selections reveal what these men were able to accomplish under optimal conditions,( i.e. without vocals or violins). The band is wonderful, especially when Adrian Rollini introduces "Allah's Holiday" with the bass saxophone or takes a weird solo during "Roses of Picardy" using an ebonite tube full of holes with a clarinet mouthpiece stuck in the end of it. This bizarre instrument was identified as the E flat "hot fountain pen." It has a reedy, often slightly congested sound. The Captivators session brings on a veritable sitz bath of early-'30s smooth dance band effects. The instrumental takes were shipped straight to Germany, while Scrappy Lambert's vocal tracks were foisted upon the American record-buying public. Glenn Miller sounds as though he's blowing his trombone into a wine bottle during the instrumental version of "I'm Marching Home to You." At their best these sides enable the listener to cultivate a pleasantly false sense of well-being. Miller, Jack Teagarden, Babe Russin and multi-instrumental Benny Goodman made for a perfectly reasonable Five Pennies until Scrappy showed up and started singing "On the Alamo." After he ran out of breath, they gagged the Lamb and recorded a perfectly good instrumental take. A 19-piece Five Pennies band -- including four violins -- deliberately created a movie soundtrack malaise before the arrangement kicked the band into a suitably rambunctious background for Teagarden's handsome vocal on "Sally, Won't You Come Back?." Two weeks later, swollen to 20 players with Lambert attached to its neck like a pilot fish, the band cut three more sentimentally disturbed numbers. On June 12 of 1929, Nichols carved his band down to 12 units. Apparently incapable of making more than a handful of records without singers, he now induced Red McKenzie to moan and groan his way through "Who Cares?." Fortunately, "Rose of Washington Square" came out as a hot instrumental, enabling the listener to enjoy the combined energies of Pee Wee Russell, Bud Freeman, Joe Sullivan and Dave Tough. By this time you might as well completely surrender to the pop music esthetic of mid- to late- 1929 and simply enjoy the lyrics to "I May Be Wrong, But I Think You're Wonderful." Lambert is, well, useful as a concise articulator of the words to "They Didn't Believe Me," one of the few songs Jerome Kern would be remembered for if he hadn't slept in and missed the boat when the Lusitania sailed off on its rendezvous with German torpedoes in 1915. If you forget that this is supposed to have something to do with jazz, it feels like a two-bit lieder recital. So what the hell. After all is said and done, it really is a lovely old tune.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/17/2004
Label: Melodie Jazz Classic
UPC: 3307517133229
catalogNumber: 1332

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Red Nichols   Primary Artist,Trumpet
Benny Goodman   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Gene Krupa   Drums
Pee Wee Russell   Clarinet
Jack Teagarden   Trombone,Vocals
Carl Kress   Banjo,Guitar
Miff Mole   Trombone
Adrian Rollini   Bass Saxophone
Babe Russin   Tenor Saxophone
Joe Sullivan   Piano
Red McKenzie   Vocals
Vic Berton   Drums
Larry Binyon   Flute,Oboe,Tenor Saxophone
Arnold Brillhardt   Clarinet,Flute,Bassoon,Oboe,Alto Saxophone
Jimmy Dorsey   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Tommy Fellini   Banjo
Manny Klein   Trumpet
Fud Livingston   Clarinet
Glenn Miller   Trombone
Lou Raderman   Violin
Arthur Schutt   Piano
Herb Taylor   Trombone
Murray Kellner   Violin
Joe Tarto   Bass
Pete Pumiglio   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Jack Hansen   Bass
Art Miller   Bass
Alfie Evans   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Irving Brodsky   Piano
Leo McConville   Trumpet
Bill Trone   Trombone
Dudley Fosdick   Mellophonium
Tommy Thunen   Trumpet
Henry Whiteman   Violin
Joe Raymond   Violin
Jim Crossan   Flute,Bassoon,Oboe,Tenor Saxophone
Georg Beebe   Drums
Maurice Goffin   Violin
John Egan   Trumpet
Chick Condon   Drums
Harold "Scrappy" Lambert   Vocals

Technical Credits

Paul James   Composer
Rudolf Friml   Composer
Red Nichols   Director
Jerome Kern   Composer
Milton Ager   Composer
Shelton Brooks   Composer
Jesse Greer   Composer
Otto Harbach   Composer
Isham Jones   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
MacDonald   Composer
Ballard MacDonald   Composer
Glenn Miller   Arranger
Herbert Reynolds   Composer
Herb Taylor   Arranger
Jack Yellen   Composer
Sam M. Lewis   Composer
Anatol Schenker   Liner Notes
Kay Swift   Composer
Joe Young   Composer
Harry Akst   Composer
Harry Ruskin   Composer
Henry Sullivan   Composer
Harry Tierney   Composer
Hayden Wood   Composer
Billy Rose   Composer
Joseph McCarthy   Composer
James Hanley   Composer

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