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- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Henry Red Allen has allways been one of my favorite trumpet players. He stands at the same rank as Louis,Roy Eldridge,Doc Cheatham,Bubber Miley and Buck Clayton. Born in Algiers,Louisiana,January 7,1908,he played with the greatest bands of the twenties: Luis Russell,Fletcher Henderson,Fats Waller;then,he mostly played with his own groups,which included some of the giants of swing.
He died April 17,1967.
This extraordinary 1957 session features some of the greatest stars of the swing era: J.C.Higginbotham,trombone,Buster Bailey,clarinet,Cozy Cole,drums,and Coleman Hawkins,tenor sax;the remaining musicians are Everett Barksdale,guitar,Marty Napoleon,piano,and Lloyd Trottman,bass.Red's unique playing and sound are at their very best; he really plays incredible trumpet choruses here.The imperial tenor of Hawkins delivers hard swinging moments all through the record.And Cozy Cole's drumming is just as essential as Jo Jones'.
"Love is just around the corner" is a marvelous version of this rare song.A beautiful torch song,which has often been associated to Billie Holiday,"I cover the waterfront",finds here one of the best versions ever played.Red's solo should be a model for every trumpet player.But this tune isn't the only masterpiece here;"Saint James Infirmary",another rare tune,even if every jazz lover knows every note and word of it,is another great moment;of course,this isn't Red's greatest version of the tune;for the lucky ones who own Red's amazing live recording at Newport,July 4,1957,this version will seem a little shy;for those who don't know this live recording,try to buy it;I don't know if it has been reissued on CD,but this record contains five of the most essential minutes in the history of jazz ("StJames Infirmary",Red Allen with Jack Teagarden and Kid Ory at Newport,Verve Records).Few musicians recorded "Ain't she sweet";we remember Jimmie Lunceford,Willie "the Lion" Smith,or Fats;curious,because this is truly a beautiful tune.After a good vocal part by Red,the Bean comes in,followed by the definitely very inspired trumpet of Henry."Sweet Lorraine",a sublime standard,gave the opportunity to some musicians to record masterpieces : Nat King Cole, Art Tatum (each of his interpretations are treasures), Earl Hines; Red Allen's can be added to the list. Many reviewers described "I cover the waterfront" as The masterpiece of the session; I personnaly think that "Love me or leave me" is The masterpiece.Recorded a few years after Billie Holiday's terrific version (Verve Records),this five minutes long interpretation is a jewell of swing.Red is at his most expressive;Higginbotham and Bailey are great,Cozy Cole's drumming is a perfection of swing (don't you think Sam Woodyard's drumming was deeply influenced by him? I know the answer,he was one of Sam's favorite drummers,with Jo Jones and Jimmie Crawford);and Hawkins' solo is pure magic.Listening to "love me or leave me",you feel like beeing in Kansas City,some 65 years ago.
Please,if you've never heard of Red Allen,buy this record,you'll discover one of the most important trumpet players.He is an essential link between Armstrong and Roy Eldridge,just as Rex Stewart.Those who are familiar with Red's music won't be deceived: this is simply one of mainstream's greatest hours.A real must.