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Barrelhouse Stomp

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Album Review

One of two fine Johnny Otis compilations on the Swedish R&B reissue label Juke Box Lil, Barrelhouse Stomp includes a varied mix of rare big band and jump-blues sides Otis and his band cut between 1946-1951. For him, this period marked the beginning of a long career that would find him variously filling roles as bandleader, producer, A&R man, DJ, and in-demand drummer/vibraphonist. His keen eye for talent is evidenced by a lineup here that includes tenor saxophonist Paul Quinchette, bassist Curtis Counce, trumpeter Gerald Wilson, and alto saxophonist Bill Doggett, not to mention a whole coterie of other top, yet obscure players. Adding to the excitement are standout guest spots by honking tenor man extraordinaire Big Jay McNeely and jazz great Ben Webster. The album's first half features big band swingers and blues in the mold of Ellington and Basie (including material by both Basie and his star trombonist Dickie Wells), while the second half spotlights the high-end R&B Otis would switch to by 1947. There's also wealth of excellent arrangements, incredible solo work, and playful vocals to make this collection more than just your average jump blues title. Highly recommended.


Born: 28 December 1921 in Vallejo, CA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Johnny Otis modeled an amazing number of contrasting musical hats over a career spanning more than half a century. Bandleader, record producer, talent scout, label owner, nightclub impresario, disc jockey, TV variety show host, author, R&B pioneer, rock & roll star -- Otis answered to all those descriptions and quite a few more. Not bad for a Greek-American who loved jazz and R&B so fervently that he adopted the African-American culture as his own. California-born John Veliotes changed his name...
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