Illinois Jacquet : Swing’s the Thing

Illinois Jacquet will always be famous thanks to his solo on “Flying Home” in 1942 and his influential tone, which essentially started R&B and the popularity of honking, screaming tenors. As with Shavers, five CDs reissue a decade’s worth (1956-66) of his sessions as a leader with most of the single discs containing two LPs worth of material. Swing’s the Thing (LHJ 10228) features a heated outing with trumpeter Roy Eldridge from 1956 and some numbers with organist Wild Bill Davis. Illinois Jacquet and His Orchestra (LHJ 10229) consists of a slightly later and less interesting date with Eldridge plus a more exciting big-band session. The Message (LHJ 10230) costars guitarist Kenny Burrell, the bulk of Bosses of the Ballad (LHJ 10231) finds Jacquet and an orchestra plying lyrical versions of Cole Porter songs, and Go Power! (LHJ 10232) mostly finds the tenor doing his best to overcome Milt Buckner’s completely over-the-top organ. All of these CDs have their moments of interest, but pick up Swing’s the Thing first.