Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Delmark Issues Apollo Performances

Late, late at night on any given Saturday (or Sunday, really) I will have inevitably fallen asleep watching Saturday Night Live. When I wake up, the show’s over, but I never have the energy to climb the stairs to the comfort of my bed. So I recharge my lazy bones by surfing the cathode rays and always find myself laughing as another soulless crooner gets booed offstage on Showtime at the Apollo.

It’s damn entertaining to see these wannabes fail so miserably, but it’s also kind of sad. It didn’t used to be that way, though, and Delmark’s new Apollo Series CDs are proof:

Jumpin’ at the Apollo (pictured) has saxophonist Illinois Jacquet blowing in his usual, party-time style with Charles Mingus, Sir Charles Thompson, Leo Parker, Freddie Green and others taking a solo from time to time. The disc features 16 Jacquet tunes, five alternate takes and two Wynonie Harris vocal numbers.

McVoutie’s Central Avenue Blues presents saxophonist Jack McVea (who became an R&B star with his hit “Open the Door Richard”) in a blues setting with singers Tarrant, Harris & Henderson, but there are instrumental sides and must-hear solos that make the album enjoyable for jazz fans also. Seven of its tracks are previously unreleased.

Piney Brown & Eddie Mack followed the R&B blueprint laid out by the flamboyant Wynonie Harris, who raised hell on the bandstand by shouting his blues at volumes loud enough to wake the dead. Hoot and Holler Saturday Night! gives ample evidence of the lasting contributions of Brown and Mack to the growth of R&B during its formative years.

Finally, The Back Porch Boys finds down-home blues stringers Alec “Guitar Slim” Seward and Louis “Jelly Belly” Hayes jamming with Blind Willie McTell, Champion Jack Dupree and Brownie McGhee over the course of twenty tracks.

Originally Published