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Red Nichols & His Five Pennies 1926-1930

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Album Review

Here's a well-put-together sampler of hot jazz records made by Red Nichols & His Five Pennies between December 1926 and October 1930. Note the presence of reedman Jimmy Dorsey alongside trombone ace Miff Mole, premiere pianist Arthur Schutt; string players Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, and Dick McDonough, and tuba titan Joe Tarto. Further woodwind support materializes in the persons of Pee Wee Russell, Fud Livingston, Adrian Rollini, and Bud Freeman. As the chronology reaches 1929 and 1930, the Five Pennies magically grow larger — as many as 13 pieces — and promising young men like Jack Teagarden, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman began to strut their stuff. This excellent overview includes a couple of vocals; "Sheik of Araby" gets the spicy treatment from Jack Teagarden, and Dick Robertson does a number on "I Got Rhythm." But most of these tunes cook in ways that render lyrics entirely unnecessary.

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