Tribute to Louis Armstrong
Louise Tobin, Peanuts Hucko, Randy Sandke, Al Grey, John Bunch, Jack Lesberg & Jake Hanna
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An unusual album in that it appears to be a collection of two separate Dixieland jam sessions recorded a few years apart, each septet shares Jack Lesberg on bass, Peanuts Hucko on clarinet, and the male vocalist, Louise Tobin. The first session includes trombonist (and Armstrong colleague) Trummy Young, trumpeter Billy Butterfield, drummer Gus Johnson, and pianist Marty Napolean - a mighty impressive unit, even if most of these fellows were in the twilight of their careers. The later session substitutes Al Grey on trombone, Randy Sandke on trumpet, John Bunch on piano, and Jake Hanna on drums. The opportunity to contrast the distinct swing styles of Al Grey and Trummy Young is worth the price of the CD. Grey surprisingly holds his own in a genre in which he might not be completely comfortable. Tobin sings nicely on a few numbers, with a voice somewhat reminiscent of Jack Teagarden. The tunes are all warhorses that have been played umpteen times ("Summertime," "Basin Street Blues," "Sheik of Araby," and ten others), but they are all performed passionately with lots of decent, if uneventful solos.