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Strictly Jive

Chick Webb

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Album Review

Strictly Jive is the Hep label's 25-track salute to Chick Webb, a formidable percussionist who led one of the toughest big bands of the 1930s. Strictly Jive concentrates upon the years 1935-1940, a period of time that represents the second half of the ten-year Webb dynasty. The Chick Webb orchestra was a jazz incubator from which emerged seasoned instrumentalists like Taft Jordan, Sandy Williams, Garvin Bushell, Hilton Jefferson, and Eddie Barefield, as well as future bandleaders John Kirby and Louis Jordan, and renowned composer and arranger Edgar Sampson. Saxophonist Wayman Carver, one of the few flutists in jazz during the 1930s, was a featured soloist with Chick Webb and may be heard piping away in front of the band on Wilbur Sweatman's "Down Home Rag." Most people who have heard of Webb associate him with his star vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, a dynamic woman who assumed leadership of the band after 30-year-old Chick Webb succumbed to spinal tuberculosis on June 16, 1939 in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.

Biography

Born: 10 February 1909 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s

Chick Webb represented the triumph of the human spirit in jazz and life. Hunchbacked, small in stature, almost a dwarf with a large face and broad shoulders, Webb fought off congenital tuberculosis of the spine in order to become one of the most competitive drummers and bandleaders of the big band era. Perched high upon a platform, he used custom-made pedals, goose-neck cymbal holders, a 28-inch bass drum and a wide variety of other percussion instruments to create thundering solos of a complexity...
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