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The Ultimate Jazz Archive 4 - Mckinney's Cotton Pickers, Vol. 1

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Album Review

During 1979-1984 on three double LPs, French RCA (in their Jazz Tribune series) reissued the complete output of McKinney's Cotton Pickers (one of the great big bands of the 1928-1931 period). All of the master takes have since been reissued on CD by the Classics label but, due to the inclusion of the alternate takes, the LP series has yet to be equaled. For the first two-fer, there are six rare alternates plus 27 regular takes. Covering the Cotton Pickers' first (and best) year, this set has many highlights, including "Four or Five Times," "Milenberg Joys," "Cherry," "Nobody's Sweetheart," "Don't Be Like That," "There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder," "I Found a New Baby," and the original version of Don Redman's "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You." In addition to work with the regular band (which featured such fine players as trumpeters Langston Curl and John Nesbitt, tenorman/singer George Thomas, and Redman himself on alto, clarinet, and vocals), there are a few numbers on which Redman leads an integrated band that includes sidemen from Jean Goldkette's Orchestra along with an all-star date (continued on the second two-fer) that has such guests as altoist Benny Carter, tenor great Coleman Hawkins, and pianist Fats Waller. Essential music.


Formed: 1926

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s

William McKinney was a drummer who by 1923 had retired from playing in favor of conducting and managing a big band. In 1926 his outfit became known as McKinney's Cotton Pickers, and the following year they scored a major coup by hiring arranger/altoist/vocalist Don Redman away from Fletcher Henderson. As the band's musical director, Redman put together an outfit that competed successfully with Henderson and the up-and-coming Duke Ellington. The lineup of musicians by the time they started recording...
Full bio
The Ultimate Jazz Archive 4 - Mckinney's Cotton Pickers, Vol. 1, McKinney's Cotton Pickers
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