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Sid Catlett: 1944-1946

The great Catlett was among the first jazz drummers to emphasize tasteful, restrained, musical playing. During his solos you can sometimes hear a relationship between his work and the theme. Catlett fit in with everyone from Dixielanders to boppers. Much in demand as a sideman, he also cut a fair amount of sides as a leader from 1944-6. Stylistically this is late swing era stuff with some bop influence. We’ve got a trio with Sid, Art Tatum and Barney Bigard, and a quartet with Sid, tenorman Ben Webster, bassist John Lindsay and pianist Marlowe Morris. The final tracks are R&B selections with organist Bill Gooden on a couple of them. In between are larger combos with trumpeters Charlie Shavers, Joe Guy and Gerald Wilson, altoists Willie Smith and Bullmoose Jackson, tenormen Illinois Jacquet, Bumps Myers and Frank Socolow, and clarinetist Ed Hall. It’s interesting to hear Guy, who’s most well known for his playing on Jerry Newman’s early ’40s recordings at Minton’s and Monroe’s, among the birthplaces of bop. He was probably the first trumpeter to be influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, but never developed a fully-evolved bop style. Still, he plays forcefully and coherently. Wilson also improvises with power and lucidity, and Myers and Jacquet also impress.

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