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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Texas & Tennessee Territory Bands, 3 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Texas & Tennessee Territory Bands: 1928-1931 (Audio CD)
Quite what induced me to buy a disc containing the recordings of five bands I had never even heard of I don't know, but I'm pleased I did, because they are all rather good. All the bands operated in the South, all were (I think) white, with one reservation, and all were genuine hot bands. The bands were those of Sunny Clapp, Mart Britt, Slim Lamar, Blue Steele and Phil Baxter, all of which bands seem to have had something of an incestuous relationship, with sideman and leaders cropping up in several of the bands.
Phil Baxter's band is slightly different but the other four bands are fairly similar with sophisticated but hot arrangements and with soloists with the same two attributes.
Of the sidemen Sunny Clapp, in addition to leading and soloing in his own band, pops up as a trombonist in Blue Steele's band and that of Slim Lamar and Mart Britt, and then as a reeds player in a couple of versions of his own band. He comes across as a fine player on all his instruments, particularly trombone, and as he also composed 'Girl Of My Dreams' he was very much a man of all the talents. There is also some very good trumpet on some of the Slim Lamar and Mart Britt tracks, presumably by Tony Almerico. The general standard of musicianship is very high with all the bands.
Two of the musicians achieved at least some degree of fame. The clarinetist on some of the tracks by Mart Britt and Sunny Clapp is Sidney Arodin, late of New Orleans, said to be a black musician so light he could pass for white, and who appeared on many of the classic New Orleans tracks of the twenties, both black and white. He has a smooth and mobile style owing much to the old masters such as Lorenzo Tio. The pianist Terry Shand appears on some of the same tracks with energetic and tuneful solos and accompaniments. Good as both men are they are not obviously much better than those around them, which shows the high quality of the solo work generally.
The Phil Baxter Orchestra deserves separate mention as it operates in a slightly different way. It is a much tougher band with a fine bluesy trumpet lead and soloist, a very spiky clarinet player, and an accordion player who turns that aberration of the twenties dance band into a genuine blues instrument. Listen and wonder!
Very much a surprise package.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IF YOU'RE EVER DOWN IN TEXAS, 7 Mar. 2011
Barry McCanna (Normandy, France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Texas & Tennessee Territory Bands: 1928-1931 (Audio CD)
Territory bands was the term given given to those outfits that operated well outside the main jazz centres, namely New York, Chicago, and to a lesser extent New Orleans and Los Angeles. They relied upon scouts to spot them, and mobile recording equipment to capture them on wax, and because their appeal was localised their records tended not to be big-sellers and thus they are now comparatively rare.

The first band to appear on this reissue, that of clarinetist Blue Steele, was an exception. Their 1927 Victor recording of "Sugar Babe, I'm Leavin'" sold so well (coupled with "Girl of my Dreams") that it was reissued on Bluebird in 1934, and listening to it now it's not hard to understand why.

In fact, all of the bands featured on this compilation (none of which is a household name) play with what was known as "pep". They were all recorded by Victor, mainly in Memphis, and their hottest numbers have been selected by Retrieval to produce an excellent CD, with audio restoration by John R. T. Davies, and liner note by Brian Rust.
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Texas & Tennessee Territory Bands: 1928-1931
Texas & Tennessee Territory Bands: 1928-1931 by Texas & Tennessee Territory (Audio CD - 2008)
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