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Chubby Jackson: Ooh, What an Outfit!

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If a film made during the mid-1950s featured a scene in jazz club, it always included one particular stock character: the guy who was juiced out of his mind, throwing his head back and yelling things like “Go, man, go!” toward the stage. Chubby Jackson didn’t need way-gone cats like that because he did the yelling himself. Remote radio broadcasts made at the Royal Roost for New York’s WMCA capture an impressive set by Jackson’s powerful 17-piece band, marred somewhat by his exhortations, not to mention the insufferable commentary of radio host Symphony Sid. Thankfully this two-disc document is drawn from different sources, and not all of them include the bassist-turned-bandleader chewing up the scenery.

Jackson’s career boasts an odd confluence of work. He cut his teeth with the bands of Charlie Barnet and Woody Herman. After leading a short-lived bop sextet, the big band bridged the gap between Herman’s First Herd and the sonorities later heard on Birth of the Cool. (The band was together for only a year and didn’t live to see its token release, an EP.) Later in life, he hosted kids’ television shows, recorded a square-dance album and played with Lionel Hampton. As always, Uptown crams the CD booklet full of photos, vintage articles and detailed notes.

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