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Five Feet of Soul

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Album Review

Just about to turn 60, Jimmy Rushing recorded his only LP for Colpix in early 1963 with a large group packed with Basie alumni (Freddie Green, Gus Johnson, Joe Newman, Snooky Young, Budd Johnson, Milt Hinton) as well as alto heroes Phil & Quill (aka Phil Woods and Gene Quill) and a pair of tenor mainstays, Zoot Sims and Al Cohn (Cohn actually arranged the date). Despite a host of solo voices (and egos) inherent to the session, Rushing managed the date with his usual good feeling. The songs, most of them ones he had never recorded before, are nevertheless great candidates for the Five-by-Five treatment; "Just Because" and "Heartaches" are especially good, Rushing giving the first a quick, inertia-filled performance, the latter a more graceful blues reading. He also airs a few of his own songs ("Please Come Back" and "Did You Ever"), slides his way through the Bessie Smith/Billie Holiday standard "'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do," and reclaims Clarence Williams' blues standard "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" from the country audience that had latched onto it. Rushing does betray a sign of his age — his power in holding lines is obviously diminished from his mid-'50s records with Columbia — but his joyous sense of swing comes through clearly.

Biography

Born: August 26, 1901 in Oklahoma City, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

He was known as "Mister Five-By-Five" — an affectionate reference to his height and girth — a blues shouter who defined and then transcended the form. The owner of a booming voice that radiated sheer joy in whatever material he sang, Jimmy Rushing could swing with anyone and dominate even the loudest of big bands. Rushing achieved his greatest fame in front of the Count Basie band from 1935 to 1950, yet unlike many band singers closely associated with...
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Five Feet of Soul, Jimmy Rushing
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