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After Hours In Harlem

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Album Review

From a historic standpoint, this is a significant CD reissue (a straight reproduction of a long-out-of-print Onyx Lp from 1973), but the shaky recording quality makes it of primary interest to serious jazz record collectors. The great swing trumpeter and vocalist Hot Lips Page is heard in several live jam sessions during 1940-41 that were saved for history by Jerry Newman, a college student who owned portable disc recording equipment. The first four selections, recorded in Newman's apartment during a party, matches trumpeter Page in a trio with tenor saxophonist Herbie Fields and pianist Donald Lambert. While Lambert, who rarely recorded, was a great stride player, Fields was just a so-so and overly heated tenorman, and he sometimes gets in the way. The other five numbers feature Page jamming in a club (possibly Monroe's Uptown House) with musicians who vary greatly in quality. The young Thelonious Monk is heard at the beginning of his career, but he is only on two numbers, sounding surprisingly influenced by Earl Hines during his short spots. Guitarist Tiny Grimes on "I've Found a New Baby" shows off the strong influence of Charlie Christian, while trumpeter Joe Guy does his best but is overshadowed by Page; other saxophonists pass through without making much of an impression. Actually, the most remarkable moments during this CD are Page's brilliant scat singing on "Konk," sounding like an extension of Leo Watson. Interesting and historic music, but not essential.

Biography

Born: 27 January 1908 in Dallas, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

One of the great swing trumpeters in addition to being a talented blues vocalist, Hot Lips Page's premature passing left a large hole in the jazz world; virtually all musicians (no matter their style) loved him. Page gained early experience in the 1920s performing in Texas, playing in Ma Rainey's backup band. He was with Walter Page's Blue Devils during 1928-1931, and then joined Bennie Moten's band in Kansas City in time to take part in a brilliant 1932 recording session. Page freelanced in Kansas...
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After Hours In Harlem, Hot Lips Page
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