Eddie South: 1923-1937

This is, in effect, a document of much historical significance, for Eddie South is undeniably one of the greatest of the few important jazz violinists. The first 16 tracks, some very rare, offer glimpses of an outstanding talent wasted in commercial settings, The material is presumably what South played-and sang-at that time to make a living. Musicians familiar to fans like Teddy Weatherford, Mike McKendrick and Everett Barksdale are on hand, but it is not till Milt Hinton joins South’s Chicago group in 1933 that the rhythm section begins to justify its name. Pianist Antonia Spaulding by that time had clearly got the message from the Grand Terrace! It is when South goes to Paris in 1937, meets Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and an intelligent, sympathetic producer, Hugues Panassie, that he is revealed in all his glory. The last eight tracks are simply superb. South had gorgeous tone, exemplary technique, taste and imagination to match, Django gave him the kind of rhythmic stimulus lacking on the previous records. Although always overshadowed by his guitarist partner, Grappelli was by no means outclassed.