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Safari Stomp (The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions (1974))

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Album Review

Followed only by Sophisticated Swing, a live album captured at Virginia's Manassas Jazz Festival in December 1974, Safari Stomp was hatched in Valaurisis, France six months earlier on July 17 and appears to constitute pianist and bandleader Claude Hopkins' very last studio recording. Originally released as Black & Blue by the Black & Blue record label, the album's 2003 reissue adds previously omitted titles "Cute," "It's Wonderful," "Who's Sorry Now," and "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" along with several juicy alternate takes. Hopkins, whose recording career began in 1922, is heard in relaxed communion with Louis Armstrong's longtime bassist Arvell Shaw and master percussionist Jo Jones, a cardinal member of the Count Basie Orchestra from 1935-1948. This intimate and pleasantly casual outing compares nicely with latter-day trio recordings by Hopkins' colleagues Duke Ellington and Earl Fatha Hines. Hopkins' music is recommended for tooling around in your ride or preparing a big meal for trusted friends and family.


Born: August 24, 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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Safari Stomp (The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions (1974)), Claude Hopkins
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