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Blues, Boogie and Bebop

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Album Review

A powerful vocalist and a wickedly expressive alto saxophonist, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson is celebrated with this JSP reissue compilation containing 15 choice cuts recorded in London, England, in May 1980 and March 1982. The earlier of the two dates yielded an album with the title Fun in London; unfortunately, an eight-minute jam called "The Theme" was excluded from this reissue. Vinson never ever fit into anybody's pigeon holes; a formidable improvising instrumentalist who excelled both as a balladeer ("Roxanne," "That's All") and as a straight-ahead hard bopper ("Travelin'," "Somebody Else Has Taken My Place," "Cleanhead's Thing," "Fun in London," "Straight Away"), Vinson's worldly command of the sax and his hormonally charged astringency as a blues shouter constitute two of the great dependable forces in all of blues and jazz. The words he puts across on "Meat's Too High" touch upon inflation, taxes, groceries, and human sexuality.


Born: 18 December 1917 in Houston, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

An advanced stylist on alto saxophone who vacillated throughout his career between jump blues and jazz, bald-pated Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (he lost his hair early on after a botched bout with a lye-based hair-straightener) also possessed a playfully distinctive vocal delivery that stood him in good stead with blues fans. Vinson first picked up a horn while attending high school in Houston. During the late '30s, he was a member of an incredible horn section in Milton Larkins's orchestra, sitting...
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Blues, Boogie and Bebop, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson
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