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Album Review

Some of cornetist Muggsy Spanier's all-time best recordings have been poured into this chronologically convoluted compilation, released by the Giants of Jazz label during the first weeks of 1999. Tapping Spanier's classic Ragtime Band sessions of July-December 1939, the marvelous collaborative jams he waxed with Sidney Bechet for the Hot Record Society during the spring of 1940, and his fabulous Commodore Ragtimers recordings of 1944, this 23-track compendium does a marvelous job of illustrating exactly why generations of traditional jazz lovers have never been able to get enough of this wonderful music. Key participants include trombonists George Brunies, Miff Mole, and Lou McGarity; reedmen Sidney Bechet, Pee Wee Russell, Rod Cless, Bernie Billings, Boomie Richmond, Nick Caiazza, and Ernie Caceres; pianists Joe Bushkin, George Zack, Dick Cary, and Gene Schroeder; guitarists Carmen Mastren and Eddie Condon; bassists Wellman Braud, Bob Haggart, and Sid Weiss; as well as Eddie Condon's preferred percussionist, George Wettling. Now ladies and gentlemen, that is one hell of a collective lineup, and anybody smart enough to grab a copy of this disc and turn it loose with the volume cranked up will quickly understand why everything about this collection elevates it to the upper echelons of reissued traditional jazz. Muggsy is beautiful, and this is why.


Born: 09 November 1906 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

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

Muggsy Spanier was a predictable but forceful cornetist who rarely strayed far from the melody. Perfectly at home in Dixieland ensembles, Spanier was also an emotional soloist (equally influenced by King Oliver and Louis Armstrong) who was an expert at using the plunger mute. He started on cornet when he was 13, played with Elmer Schoebel's band in 1921, and first recorded in 1924. Spanier was a fixture in Chicago throughout the decade (appearing on several important early records) before joining...
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1939-1944, Muggsy Spanier
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