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Album Review

Tenor saxophonist Hal Singer, who had a surprise hit with "Cornbread," which led to him leaving Duke Ellington's orchestra shortly after joining it (he had temporarily become more popular than Ellington), was a honker if not a screamer. His 16 R&B-ish sides that are reissued on this CD are full of spirited and joyfully repetitious tenor. Most of the chord changes are related to "Flying Home" or the blues, although Singer did sneak in a couple of ballads ("Indian Love Call" and "Easy Living"). Singer did not have any future hits that would quite equal "Cornbread" (a one-note blues that is the leadoff cut), but he remained a popular attraction on the R&B circuit for a decade. These jump sides (which also include such memorable numbers as "Hot Rod" and "Rock 'N' Roll") might be a bit lightweight compared to the bop music of the time, but they are quite fun. This is Hal Singer's definitive set.


Born: 08 October 1919 in Tulsa, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Equally at home blowing scorching R&B or tasty jazz, Hal "Cornbread" Singer has played and recorded both over a career spanning more than half a century. Singer picked up his early experience as a hornman with various Southwestern territory bands, including the outfits of Ernie Fields, Lloyd Hunter, and Nat Towles. He made it to Kansas City in 1939, working with pianist Jay McShann (whose sax section also included Charlie Parker), before venturing to New York, in 1941, and playing with Hot Lips Page,...
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