Roy Eldridge generally gets credit for being the link between traditional jazz and bop, but while the admittedly great Eldridge was the major influence on Dizzy Gillespie, he was not the first trumpeter to use a “saxophone style,” i.e., to employ more complex lines and more legato phrasing than the typical New Orleans or Chicago style trumpeter. Among those who recorded using this style before Eldridge were Reuben Reeves, Jabbo Smith and Henry “Red” Allen. The way Allen ran chord changes and double-timed on his 1935 recording of “Body and Soul” was an excellent example of saxophone-style trumpet and forecast Coleman Hawkins’ more famous 1939 version of it. Allens’ searing work was notable for its harmonic daring, which even Eldridge couldn’t handle; he accused Allen of playing “wrong notes.” Not only was Allen ahead of his time, he continued to evolve into the 1940s, as his work here demonstrates.
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