Break From St. James/Boogie Woogie
3
Posted in 1930s,Honey,Piano Blues on 04.23.08

I hadn’t heard of Mosaic Select until the other I heard a story on Fresh Air about a new Boogie-Woogie Box set released released by them. Mosaic appears to be somewhat like an American grown Bear Family records specializing in box sets of jazz artists – especially of well known jazz artists little known recording periods. I’m not really an expert in jazz by any means – but these sets look fantastic – The Complete Charlie Parker on Benedetti? Yes Please.

Mosaic’s three disc set of boogie-woogie might be the first serious look at boogie woogie and blues piano in the pre-war era. The set is limited to 5,000 copies and priced at $49 which is high considering the set it self looks like a JSP Box, but without the shadiness and with excellent and extremely well documented notes.

I’m going to pick three tracks, one from each disc just to sample the set, the first track is a showy piece (even for a boogie woogie number) by Meade Lux Lewis – that is a perfect example of the style and just a great composition. The next is an star-studded number with Pete Johnson on piano and Hot Lips Page on trumpet and the great Joe Turner on vocals who complains about the tempo being too fast at the end of this unissued take. I think the tempo is is just right – and the last third of the side has some of the best call and response from a vocalist and his band that I’ve heard. The last track is from the great Cripple Clarence Lofton with a track that sounds like proto-southern soul, wonderful play between the drummer and Lofton, though it features more Lofton’s warbly voice than his fantastic piano skills (though he gets his lines in), I’m just in love with this track.

Buy It Here!!

Meade Lux Lewis – Bear Cat Crawl (1938)
Pete Johnson And His Boogie Woogie Boys – Jump For Joy (1939)
Cripple Clarence Lofton – Strut That Thing (1935)

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3 Comments so far
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By Stuart on 04.24.08 12:18 am

Mosaic rocks the house!, but stay away from that Bird / Benedetti set. It’s for serious Bird collectors only. The sound is horrible and it’s a lot of short clips or songs where you can’t hear the whole band. It’s for music historians only. But I have a bunch of other Mosaic sets…they’re awesome!


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