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Harry Reser's Six Jumping Jacks, 1926-1930

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Album Review

Harry Reser was a truly brilliant banjoist who in the 1920s recorded a series of virtuosic works that would amaze today's guitarists. However much of his work during the decade was with bands that combined together novelty comedy and hot jazz, with his banjo used for brief breaks and for keeping the rhythm section moving. His radio band, the Cliquot Club Eskimos, was a fixture for a decade. A smaller group that was partly drawn from that band, the Six Jumping Jacks, recorded regularly during the second half of the '20s and contains the essence of the Eskimos. Twenty-four of the Six Jumping Jacks' better recordings are on this definitive CD. While there are plenty of hot jazz moments, particularly from trumpeter Earl Oliver and clarinetist-altoist Larry Abbott, and drummer Tom Stacks' many vocals are full of pep and constant joy, the "comedy" can be a little tiring in spots, particularly when Oliver blows into his trumpet mouthpiece (sans trumpet) to get odd sounds. But such numbers as "Say Mister? Have You Met Rosie's Sister," "I Wonder How I Look When I'm Asleep," "There's a Trick in Pickin' a Chick-Chick-Chicken," "She's Got Great Ideas," and the bizarre "Etiquette Blues" definitely have their funny and even charming moments. 1920s collectors with a sense of humor and a high tolerance level will find this CD to be of strong interest.


Born: 17 January 1896 in Piqua, OH

Genre: Jazz

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

When one thinks of pre-bop banjoists, it is of purely rhythmic players whose chordal solos differ little from what they play during ensembles. Harry Reser however was quite a bit different, an outstanding virtuoso who was arguably the finest banjoist of the 1920's. Less an improviser than a brilliant technician who could play novelty ragtime with the speed of a pianist, Reser was also one of the most recorded musicians of the era. Reser actually started on the guitar when he was five and soon he...
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Harry Reser's Six Jumping Jacks, 1926-1930, Harry Reser
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