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Butterfly Airs

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Album Review

The always subtle and creative cornetist Bobby Hackett is teamed with pianist Sir Charles Thompson's trio on this live reissue. The dozen songs were originally issued, along with two others ("Poor Butterfly" and a second version of "How High the Moon"), on a pair of LPs put out by the obscure Honeydew label. It is a pity that all 14 performances were not reissued on this CD, since the 12 songs only total 62 minutes. The recording quality is decent but not impeccable; however, it is improved from the LPs. Thompson's boppish solos and accompaniment work surprisingly well with Hackett, and the cornetist plays melodically, showing that he was much more than a Dixieland player. Few surprises occur on this relaxed and sometimes sleepy outing (things do not pick up much until the final two songs), but the overall results are pleasing and lightly swinging.


Born: 31 January 1915 in Providence, RI

Genre: Jazz

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

Bobby Hackett's mellow tone and melodic style offered a contrast to the brasher Dixieland-oriented trumpeters. Emphasizing his middle-register and lyricism, Hackett was a flexible soloist who actually sounded little like his main inspiration, Louis Armstrong. When Hackett first came up he was briefly known as "the new Bix" because of the similarity in his approach to that of Bix Beiderbecke, but very soon he developed his own distinctive sound. Originally a guitarist (which he doubled on until the...
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