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January/February 1998

Jim Self
Basset Hound Blues

It may have started in 1919 with the Louisiana Five's "Yelping Hound Blues," in 1921 with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's "Bow Wow Blues," or in 1922 with The Original Memphis Five's "That Barking Dog-Woof! Woof!" But whatever his inspiration, tuba virtuoso Jim Self deserves special commendation for reviving this once popular novelty by featuring his own basset "hornman" Stanley in rhythmic punctuations and call and response figures on the opening title tune. Long on ears, this canine is so hip that he almost upstages his master and such equally sleek-coated Hollywood swingers as tenorman Pete Christlieb, pianist Terry Trotter, bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Steve Houghton. With ample solos all around, the tightly arranged, boppish tunes are evenly divided between originals and standards. The musical program concludes with an all too brief coda entitled "Stanley's Last 'Howl'."

Originally published in January/February 1998
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