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Jean Goldkette Bands 1924-1929

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Album Review

Traditionally, the Jean Goldkette orchestra has been remembered mainly as an appendage of the Bix Beiderbecke story, as the short-lived cornetist shows up briefly at different junctures in the Goldkette discography. Perhaps this explains why the Timeless label's sampler of Goldkette's Victor recordings (waxed in Detroit, Camden N. J., Kansas City and Chicago between March 27, 1924 and January 14, 1929) neatly sidesteps each and every record that Beiderbecke ever made with this little dance band. (That material appears on the Transatlantic Radio label's Goldkette compilation, which was released in 2002.) Please note that "Birmingham Bertha" was originally issued as by Jean Goldkette and His Orchestra but was in reality performed by McKinney's Cotton Pickers, an Afro-American ensemble largely led by Don Redman and also based in Michigan. A native of Valenciennes France, Goldkette made a name for himself in Detroit during the early to mid-'20s by providing the public with high quality dance music, some of which found its way onto 78 rpm phonograph records. The examples presented on this collection clearly demonstrate the importance of skilled arrangers (Russ Morgan, Don Redman) and inspired instrumentalists (trumpeter Sterling Bose), trombonists Spiegel Wilcox, Pee Wee Hunt and Tommy Dorsey, reedmen Jimmy Dorsey and Volly de Faut, violinist Joe Venuti and bassist Steve Brown, whose primary influence appears to have been Pops Foster. Most of the singing is done by members of the band; guest vocalists include Hoagy Carmichael (who also plays piano and cornet) and a trio of females who were billed as "Wynken, Blynken and Nod."


Born: March 18, 1899 in Valenciennes, France

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '50s

Although he was a fine classically trained pianist who emigrated to the United States in 1911, Jean Goldkette's importance to jazz is as a bandleader in the 1920s. Goldkette actually had over 20 bands under his name by the mid-'20s, but it was his main unit (which recorded for Victor during 1924-1929) that is the only one remembered today. In 1924, the band included Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and Joe Venuti, with the legendary cornetist Bix Beiderbecke heard on just one selection ("I Didn't Know"); his...
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