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The Scene

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Album Review

Jimmy Rushing made his mark singing the blues with Count Basie, though he recorded a number of memorable records under his own name during the last two decades of his life. Fortunately this compilation of live performances (presumably from New York City club remote radio broadcasts circa 1965-1970) shows Rushing was still very much in top form late in life, and here he's joined by tenor saxophonists Al Cohn and Zoot Sims (who frequently worked in clubs with the singer), pianist Dave Frishberg, bassist Major Holley, and drummer Mousie Alexander. The eight songs are all favorites recorded by Rushing and likely performed countless times during his career. The singer opens with a rousing "'Deed I Do," swinging like mad, followed by a sincere "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You?" with Cohn and Sims working their magic behind him. The vocalist's rendition of "I Want a Little Girl" is heartfelt, while he shows his playful side with "Goin' to Chicago," backed by Frishberg's blues-drenched piano, and the loping "Every Day I Have the Blues" is a spirited take of one of Rushing's signature songs. Two instrumental tracks, highlighted by Sims' "The Red Door" (co-written with Gerry Mulligan), feature the saxophonists with Alexander and an unidentified pianist and bassist. The audio quality is typical for a '60s broadcast, but fans of Jimmy Rushing will be delighted with these long-hidden treasures.


Born: 26 August 1901 in Oklahoma City, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

He was known as "Mister Five-By-Five" -- an affectionate reference to his height and girth -- a blues shouter who defined and then transcended the form. The owner of a booming voice that radiated sheer joy in whatever material he sang, Jimmy Rushing could swing with anyone and dominate even the loudest of big bands. Rushing achieved his greatest fame in front of the Count Basie band from 1935 to 1950, yet unlike many band singers closely associated with one organization, he was able to carry on afterwards...
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