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Jumpin' At the Deuces

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Album Review

This two-CD release is part of the History label's From Swing to Bebop Series. This edition features Slam Stewart and Cozy Cole as leaders of their own groups on recordings made from 1944 through 1946 for Continental, Manor, and Musicraft. These combos included some very impressive jazz artists, such as Erroll Garner, Charlie Shavers, Shorty Rogers, Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas, Red Norvo, and others who were to become jazz icons. Sometimes the two rhythm men are part of the same group, as on eight cuts from a 1945 Cole-led session. As expected, there are several cuts where Stewart engages in his archetypal simultaneous bowing and humming gambit, as on such cuts as "Coppin' Out" and "Dark Eyes." But the CD also has Stewart vocalizing without singing into the bass on "Oh Me, Oh My, Oh Gosh." It turns out he has a pleasant, unassuming way with a tune. The second CD showcases Cole's prowess as one of the foundations of swing drumming. He gets in some solid solos on such tracks as "Look Here." These sessions have Cole working in groups that included not only Shavers, but Aaron Sachs and Billy Taylor. And one of the nice features of this CD is that listeners get to hear them at their best, even though some of the material may be somewhat lightweight. June Hawkins shows up for some vocals with the group headed by Byas. This CD is of interest not only for the quality of its performances and for its focusing on two seminal figures of jazz, but also because it was part of the stand that swing was taking against "the new music, bebop."


Born: 21 September 1914 in Englewood, NJ

Genre: Jazz

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

Slam Stewart was a superior swing-oriented bassist whose ability to bow the bass and hum an octave apart made him famous in the jazz world. He had thought of the idea while studying at Boston Conservatory when he heard Ray Perry singing along with his violin. In 1936, Stewart was with Peanuts Holland's group and the following year he started playing regularly with guitarist/singer/comedian Slim Gaillard in a group logically dubbed "Slim and Slam." "Flat Foot Floogie" became a huge hit and kept the...
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Jumpin' At the Deuces, Slam Stewart
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