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Porter Grainger (1923-1929)

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Album Review

Porter Grainger was an obscure pianist from the 1920s whose biggest claim to fame was that at one point he accompanied Bessie Smith. This CD from the Austrian RST label reissues nearly every recording that he ever appeared on but unfortunately Grainger does not take a full solo on any of them. He backs a variety of mostly indifferent blues singers (Gladys Bryant, Ethel Finnie, Dolly Ross, the yodelling Clint Jones and Ada Brown) and is buried behind such vocal groups as the Harmony Hounds, the Jubilee Singers, the Three Jazz Songsters and the Four Cry-Babies! In general the music is pretty mediocre and Porter Grainger's role is fairly minor, making this a well-packaged but ultimately rather frivolous CD.

Biography

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s

Very little is known about pianist Porter Grainger despite the fact that he appeared on many records in the 1920's, mostly backing blues and vaudeville singers. Not considered that great a pianist, Grainger's main fame during his lifetime was as a composer for musical shows. He was playing music professionally at least as early as 1916 and in the 1920's wrote for several shows. Grainger was Bessie Smith's accompanist in the 1928 production Mississippi Days and recorded with her in addition to Gladys...
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Porter Grainger (1923-1929), Porter Grainger
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