by Muggsy Spanier


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As an encapsulation of Muggsy Spanier's lengthy career, this excellent compilation presents many of the cornetist's most important sessions in something approaching chronological sequence. The survey begins in 1924 with the Bucktown Five, a scruffy little band that included clarinetist Volly DeFaut and pianist Mel Stitzel. A slightly rarer track from 1925 features Stitzel, DeFaut, and drummer Ben Pollack with the Stomp Six. "Bullfrog Blues," a solid tromp with Frank Teschemacher on clarinet, was without a doubt the best record ever made by the Charles Pierce Orchestra. The enclosed discography misleadingly refers to Johnny Mueller's brass bass, an incongruous mistake as Mueller's earthy, heavy-handed string bass playing is one of the most attractive and compelling aspects of this fine old recording. A band known variously as the Chicago Rhythm Kings, the Louisiana Rhythm Kings, or the Jungle Kings made a series of recordings in April and May of 1928. Present were Teschemacher, Mezz Mezzrow on tenor sax, pianist Joe Sullivan, banjoist Eddie Condon, and a feisty young drummer by the name of Gene Krupa. Condon sounds like Jimmy Cagney when he sings "Baby Won't You Please Come Home" and Red McKenzie periodically chortles away as if he were marinating in a steam bath. Here in the 21st century there simply aren't enough opportunities to hear the Ray Miller Orchestra. Garnished with Al Carsella's brief but juicy solo on piano accordion, this hot little group's version of "That's A-Plenty" is a delightful chapter in the saga of Muggsy Spanier. Throughout each of these historical recordings Spanier adds his own personal touches using an unforgettably gutsy, expressive tone. The hippest recording session that Ted Lewis ever presided over took place on March 6, 1931, with Spanier, Benny Goodman, and Fats Waller, who wrings the piano out and sings lustily on "Dallas Blues" and "Royal Garden Blues." Two sides by the Mound City Blue Blowers recorded in June of 1931 feature Coleman Hawkins, Jimmy Dorsey, and relatively sensible vocals by McKenzie. Whoever put this compilation together chose the four very best examples of Muggsy Spanier's Ragtime Band. "Bluin' the Blues" and the bluesy, creamy, laid-back "Relaxin' at the Touro" are masterpieces of old-fashioned jazz, as are two superb selections recorded in 1940 by Spanier and Sidney Bechet with guitarist Carmen Mastren and primal bass man Wellman Braud. Perhaps the nicest surprise of all comes in the form of two very intimate Lee Wiley vocal performances with only Spanier and Wiley's husband, pianist Jess Stacy, providing accompaniment. As if to thoroughly dispel any lingering notions of subtlety, Bob Crosby's Bobcats cough up a rude novelty with the title "You're Bound to Look Like a Monkey When You Grow Old." This wonderful tribute to Muggsy Spanier closes with two satisfying performances recorded in 1942 by his big and not-so-big bands. Here, then, is one of the best Muggsy Spanier compilations ever to have been brought before the public. And the cover photo is suitable for framing.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/20/1994
Label: Asv Living Era
UPC: 0743625510225
catalogNumber: 5102

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Muggsy Spanier   Primary Artist,Cornet,Track Performer
Eddie Condon   Banjo,Vocals
Benny Goodman   Clarinet
Gene Krupa   Drums
Ben Pollack   Drums
Fats Waller   Piano,Vocals
Lee Wiley   Vocals
Ray Bauduc   Drums
Georg Brunis   Trombone,Vocals,Track Performer
Joe Bushkin   Piano
Hank D'Amico   Clarinet
Irving Fazola   Clarinet,Track Performer
Bob Haggart   Bass,String Bass
Ted Lewis   Leader,Vocals
Joe Sullivan   Piano
Frank Teschemacher   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Leigh Kaplan   Banjo,Guitar
Coleman Hawkins   Tenor Saxophone
Red McKenzie   Vocals,Comb
Wellman Braud   Bass,String Bass
Sidney Bechet   Clarinet,Soprano Saxophone
Jack Bland   Guitar
Dave Bowman   Piano,Track Performer
Vernon Brown   Trombone,Track Performer
Nick Caiazza   Tenor Saxophone,Track Performer
Don Carter   Drums,Track Performer
Bob Casey   Bass,String Bass
Rod Cless   Clarinet
Jimmy Dorsey   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Nappy Lamare   Guitar,Vocals
Jim Lanigan   Bass
John Lucas   Drums
Carmen Mastren   Guitar
Mezz Mezzrow   Tenor Saxophone
Eddie Miller   Tenor Saxophone
Morgan   Bass,String Bass
Ralph Muzillo   Trumpet
Floyd O'Brien   Trombone
John Smith   Alto Saxophone
Jess Stacy   Piano
Harry Barth   Bass,String Bass
Sam Blank   Trombone
Tony Gerhardi   Guitar
Hymie Wolfson   Tenor Saxophone
Jack Russin   Piano
Frank Bruno   Trumpet
Charles Pierce   Alto Saxophone
Louis Martin   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Sammy Shapiro   Violin
Mel Stitzel   Piano
Jimmi Cannon   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Ray Miller   Leader
Joe Herde   Alto Saxophone
Marvin Saxbe   Banjo,Guitar,Percussion
Bud Smith   Trombone
Josh Billings   Drums
Stuart Branch   Banjo
Ken Broadhurst   Guitar,Track Performer
Guy Carey   Trombone
Jules Cassard   Bass,String Bass
Max Connett   Trumpet
Jules Fasthoff   Trombone
Dick Fierge   Cornet
Art Gronwall   Piano
Jack Kelleher   Bass,Track Performer,String Bass
Dan Lipscomb   Piano
Bill Paley   Drums
Dave Klein   Trumpet
Johnny Mueller   Bass
Carsella   Piano-Accordion
John "BJ John" Smith   Alto Saxophone
Bernie Billings   Tenor Saxophone
Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Orchestra   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Paul Kettler   Drums
Joe Gish   Bass
Maurice Morse   Alto Saxophone
Lloyd Wallen   Trumpet
Paul Lyman   Violin,Tenor Saxophone
Lyle Smith   Tenor Saxophone
Voltaire de Faut   Clarinet
Léon Schwartz   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Lee Wiley   Composer
Cootie Williams   Composer
Shelton Brooks   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
Jim Lanigan   Brass Band
Elmer Schoebel   Composer
Jess Stacy   Composer
Bert Williams   Composer
Harry Barth   Brass Band
Vic Bellerby   Liner Notes
Ray Gilbert   Composer
Pat Hawes   Contributor
Charlie Crump   Contributor
Jules Cassard   Brass Band
Willard Robison   Composer
Phil Boutelje   Composer
Lew Pollack   Composer
Sam Theard   Composer
Johnny Mueller   Brass Band
Ernie Erdman   Composer
Lloyd Garrett   Composer
Byron Gay   Composer
W. Benton Overstreet   Composer
Billy Rose   Composer
Billy Higgins   Composer
Hart A. Wand   Composer
Marco H. Hellman   Composer
Joe Gish   Brass Band
Billy Meyers   Composer

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