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Album Review

Tenor sax player Hal "Cornbread" Singer spent his career moving with ease between jazz, R&B and early rock & roll, and his hard, muscular sax sound is unmistakable, practically defining the words "searing" and "scorching" on key instrumentals like "Cornbread" (his first big solo hit) and its follow-up, "Beef Stew." Both tracks are included here in this collection of his earliest solo sides for Savoy Records, along with two late-'40s sessions with pianist Sir Charles Thompson and Chicago shouter Carl Davis, Singer's first side with Coral Records, and "Spo-Dee-O-Dee," his lone Mercury Records recording. Singer was never wilder or more dynamic than on these wonderful sides, and he shows remarkable versatility on pieces like "Disc Jockey Boogie" and his slightly slowed version of "Rock Around the Clock," even though his attack mode is roughly the same. The horn-blasts during the breaks in the latter song are nothing less than a force of nature, while his rough-hewed gentleness on "Blue Velvet," the final track here, is full of a kind of rugged beauty. This is a marvelous compilation, and an ideal introduction to an important sax man.


Born: 08 October 1919 in Tulsa, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Equally at home blowing scorching R&B or tasty jazz, Hal "Cornbread" Singer has played and recorded both over a career spanning more than half a century. Singer picked up his early experience as a hornman with various Southwestern territory bands, including the outfits of Ernie Fields, Lloyd Hunter, and Nat Towles. He made it to Kansas City in 1939, working with pianist Jay McShann (whose sax section also included Charlie Parker), before venturing to New York, in 1941, and playing with Hot Lips Page,...
Full bio
1948-1951, Hal Singer
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