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The Transcription Performances 1935

Claude Hopkins

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Album Review

The Hep record label deserves high praise for having reissued 25 broadcast acetate recordings by the Claude Hopkins orchestra dating from the autumn of 1935. Using arrangements by Benny Carter, Fred Norman and Hopkins himself, this band sounded better at times than they did on their commercially issued records. Soloists include clarinetist Edmond Hall, saxophonists Hilton Jefferson and Bobby Sands, and trumpeters Sylvester Lewis and Washington D.C. native Ovie Alston, who possessed a pleasant singing voice. Three exceptional titles from this collection represent this band at its very finest and more than justify the purchase of the entire album: they are the "Farewell Blues," the "Washington Squabble" and "Chasing the Blues Away," a veritable masterpiece that gradually evolves into an exotic shuffle propelled by growling trumpet and Caribbean percussion.

Biography

Born: 24 August 1903 in Alexandria, VA

Genre: Jazz

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

A talented stride pianist, Claude Hopkins never became as famous as he deserved. He was a bandleader early on, and toured Europe in the mid-'20s as the musical director for Josephine Baker. Hopkins returned to the U.S. in 1926, led his own groups, and in 1930 took over Charlie Skeete's band. Between 1932-1935, he recorded steadily with his big band (all of the music has been reissued on three Classics CDs), which featured Jimmy Mundy arrangements and such fine soloists as trumpeter/vocalist Ovie...
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The Transcription Performances 1935, Claude Hopkins
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Contemporaries