Ace of Rhythm

Ace of Rhythm

by Jabbo Smith
     
 
During the 1920s, Jabbo Smith was a promising young cornetist whose versatility and chutzpah invited comparison with Duke Ellington's first-chair soloist Bubber Miley. Both men suffered from the disease of alcoholism, and Bubber, who also contracted tuberculosis, perished when he was only 29 years old. Although Jabbo survived and would live past the age of 80, he was

Overview

During the 1920s, Jabbo Smith was a promising young cornetist whose versatility and chutzpah invited comparison with Duke Ellington's first-chair soloist Bubber Miley. Both men suffered from the disease of alcoholism, and Bubber, who also contracted tuberculosis, perished when he was only 29 years old. Although Jabbo survived and would live past the age of 80, he was inactive for most of his life and never came anywhere near matching the triumphs of his youth, many of which are documented on Pearl's Ace of Rhythm, a 25-track sampler of recordings made between November 1927 and February 1938. Unlike Smith's entry in the Classics Chronological Series, Ace of Rhythm contains numerous examples that were not issued under his name. This allows for a pleasantly varied overview as Jabbo is heard filling in for Bubber with Duke Ellington's Orchestra and participating in an unusual chamber jazz session with the Louisiana Sugar Babes (a quartet that included pianist James P. Johnson, pipe organist Fats Waller, and multi-reedman Garvin Bushell) and with a scruffy little outfit operating under the nominal leadership of Banjo Ikey Robinson; during the lusty opus bearing the title "Got Butter on It," Smith delivers a handsome scat vocal in the manner of Louis Armstrong. All of this serves as a prelude to 16 marvelous performances by Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces (also known as Four Aces and the Jokers), a sturdy little group whose variable personnel included Robinson, clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Omer Simeon, tubists Hayes Alvis and Lawson Buford, and pianists Cassino Simpson and Earl Frazier. The interplay between Smith and Simeon is particularly exciting, and "Jazz Battle" is probably the best record that this group or its leader ever made. "Rub Me Some More" was recorded in 1930 by Lloyd Smith & His Gut-Bucketeers. (Discographical evidence indicates that the cornetist on this tune is not Smith at all but Clarence "Count" Rich.) Finally, the producers of this collection were wise enough to include only the instrumental number from Jabbo's Decca session of February 1, 1938, by which time he had switched to using the trumpet. There are numerous options available to those who are curious about Jabbo Smith's early recorded works. EPM Jazz Archives beat them all with a double-disc set packed with 48 tracks representing pretty much every recording made between 1928 and 1938 involving Jabbo Smith. Dipping back to 1927 to include the Ellington sides and carefully choosing some real gems from the cornetist's heyday, Pearl's Ace of Rhythm is an excellent compromise between the exactitude of the Classics compilation and the thoroughness of EPM's ultra-complete edition.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/19/1998
Label:
Pearl
UPC:
0727031107224
catalogNumber:
1072

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jabbo Smith   Primary Artist,Trumpet
James P. Johnson   Piano
Fats Waller   Organ
Louis Metcalf   Trumpet
Cass Simpson   Piano
Wellman Braud   Bass
Sonny Greer   Drums
Hayes Alvis   Bass
Walter Bishop   Drums
Lawson Buford   Bass
Garvin Bushell   Clarinet,Bassoon,Alto Saxophone
Harry Carney   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Duke Ellington   Piano
Fred Guy   Banjo
Rudy Jackson   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton   Trombone
Omer Simeon   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Sam Simmons   Tenor Saxophone
Ben Smith   Alto Saxophone
Alfred Taylor   Drums
Connie Wainwright   Guitar
Elmer James   Bass
Leslie Johnakins   Alto Saxophone
Banjo Ikey Robinson   Banjo,Guitar
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra   Track Performer
Otto Hardwick   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Willard Brown   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Louisiana Sugar Babes   Track Performer
William Barbee   Piano
James Reynolds   Piano

Technical Credits

Colin Brown   Producer
Tony Watts   Liner Notes
Richard Myers   Composer

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