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Red Nichols & Miff Mole 1925-1927

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Album Review

Cornetist Red Nichols' best-known work in the 1920s was his leadership of the Five Pennies, but he appeared on a countless number of other similar sessions during the second half of the decade. This 1998 CD features Nichols with the Hottentots, the Original Memphis Five, the Arkansas Travellers and the Six Hottentots. Each of the sessions are reissued complete and in chronological order. The overlapping groups all have Miff Mole on trombone along with either Dick Johnson, Jimmy Lytell, Alfie Evans, Jimmy Dorsey or Fud Livingston on reeds; Rube Bloom, Frank Signorelli or Arthur Schutt on piano; Vic Berton or Ray Bauduc on drums; and occasional added musicians. The lack of a bass (other than Joe Tarto on six numbers) is unfortunate, making the music sound a bit unbalanced, and Irving Kaufman's three vocals on one of the Six Hottentots' sessions are just passable. But the advanced arrangements (Nichols' and Mole's playing sometimes borders on the avant garde for the period) and the general unpredictability of the music (even on standards) will certainly keep listeners guessing.


Born: 08 May 1905 in Ogden, UT

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Overrated in Europe in the early '30s when his records (but not those of his black contemporaries) were widely available and then later underrated and often unfairly called a Bix imitator, Red Nichols was actually one of the finest cornetists to emerge from the '20s. An expert improviser whose emotional depth did not reach as deep as Bix or Louis Armstrong, Nichols was in many ways a hustler, participating in as many recording sessions (often under pseudonyms) as any other horn player of the era,...
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Red Nichols & Miff Mole 1925-1927, Red Nichols
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