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The Cotton Pickers (1922-1925)

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Album Review

Since the band was essentially a studio construct, the membership of the Cotton Pickers was fairly fluid, and Brunswick Records used the moniker to put out several sides of small combo dance music, usually blues foxtrots. The early incarnation of the band featured trumpeter Phil Napoleon and saxophonist Bennie Krueger, whose strong lines and polyphonic arrangements sounded black and Southern to northern audiences, and tunes such as "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" (included here) were particularly popular. By 1924, the Cotton Pickers were almost an entirely different group, with only trombonist Miff Mole held over from the earlier lineup, and were fronted by Frank Trumbauer, whose style was less Dixie and more "cool" pop. More a brand than a band, the Cotton Pickers name allowed mainstream white jazzmen to play blacker and hotter and still keep their day jobs. Of particular note here is the percussion solo by Jack Roth on "Walk, Jenny, Walk," which starts on the woodblock and moves to a dampened cymbal, all at brisk speed, preceding the famous drum solo on the surf hit "Wipe Out" by some 40 years.


Formed: 1922

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s

Cotton Pickers was the generic band name that Brunswick Records used on its small jazz band recordings made in 1922-1923, 1924-1925, and again in 1929. These were intended to compete with popular dance records issued on other labels by groups such as Ladd's Black Aces, Bailey's Lucky Seven, and the Memphis Five. The earliest incarnation of Cotton Pickers was led by clarinetist Bennie Krueger and included trumpeter Phil Napoleon, trombonist Miff Mole, and pianist Frank Signorelli, all of who also...
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The Cotton Pickers (1922-1925), The Cotton Pickers
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