DRUM FACE Volume 1 & 2

Jazz Crusade 2006 JCCD 3114 17 tracks 58 min

Drumface, Butterfinger Blues, Beau Koo Jack, Tight Like That, West End Blues, Smilin’ The Blues, Who Stole The Lock Off The Hen House Door, Ubangi Man, Bugle Call Rage, Clarinet Marmalade, Look Over Yonder, Royal Garden Blues, Scunch Lo, Swing It, Heckler’s Stomp, Zutty’s Hootie Blues, China Boy

Jazz Crusade 2006 JCCD 3115 17 tracks 66 min

Moppin & Boppin, Ain’t Misbehavin, Jungle Dreams, Duces Wild, Clambake In Bd, , That’s Aplenty, Crawfish Blues, China Boy, Where The Blues Were Born In New Orleans, Washington & Lee Swing, Aunt Hager’s Children, St Jame’s Infirmary Blues, Sweet Georgia Brown, At Sundown, I’ve Found A New Baby, Chinatown My Chinatown, Bourbon Street Parade

Zutty Singleton: the name conjures up the image of jazz’s all time great drummer standing as a giant in his field standing way above his contemporaries. This man’s career started 1915 and didn’t end until the early 70s. You name the classic jazz band or famous name, black or white, and at sometime you can bet Zutty played with them. These CDs cover his recording sessions 1927-69 (though apparently his first recording was with Fate Marabel in 1924). As you can imagine the style of jazz played covers the spectrum from purist New Orleans to mainstream. He also recorded with bee-bop players, but we are spared that. Reading the covers tells you that the other jazzmen on the CDs are basically a Who’s Who of American traditional jazz from the classic periods.

The sound quality varies from the pristine to the rather muzzy (surprisingly the worst is ‘Chinatown’ on volume 2 recorded in 1967. It is such a hot number though, you can understand its inclusion), but all shew the master at work and most feature him at some time; all, though, give an indication of the man’s genius. Myself I love the early recordings, especially those with Louis Armstrong (2 of which ‘Tight Like That’ and ‘West End Blues’ have conversations between Armstrong and Zutty leading into them. Armstrong also talks with others on ‘That’s a Plenty’ though that track has Mutt Carey on trumpet. They all really sound like back stage ‘chat’ and ‘reminisce’ rather than scripted chat show material, and help give some insights into the life of these black musicians and their gradual acceptance into a white world). But can I go past ‘Aunt Hagar’s Children’ and St James Infirmary Blues’ by the Omer Simeon Trio? Such tracks are what jazz dreams are made of.

Any serious collector of jazz needs these CDs for not only are they a tribute to the man that Orson Wells called ‘the world’s greatest drummer’, but also something of a history of American traditional jazz.