Chicago: The Living Legendsby Lovie Austin & Her Blues Serenaders
This CD reissue is notable for two main reasons. It finds Alberta Hunter (who had retired from music in 1954 to become a nurse and who in the interim had only recorded once, two weeks earlier) in peak form on such numbers as "St. Louis Blues," "Downhearted Blues" and "You Better Change." In addition, it was pianist Lovie Austin's first recording in a couple decades; she was nearly 74 at the time and working as pianist at a Chicago dancing school. Austin's "Blues Serenaders" (a quintet also including trombonist Jimmy Archey, clarinetist Darnell Howard, bassist Pops Foster and drummer Jasper Taylor) has some concise solo space on the vocal pieces and takes three numbers (including Austin's "Gallion Stomp") as instrumentals. A well-conceived and historic set.
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