by Cliff Jackson


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Jazz Oracle's deluxe edition of early Cliff Jackson recordings opens with a QRS player piano roll dating from mid-1926. It is a fine example of Jackson's artistry; he would also record Sidney Easton's "Hock Shop Blues" with vocalist Rosa Henderson in 1927. Tracks 4-16 document the complete studio recordings (with alternate takes) of Cliff Jackson & His Crazy Cats, also known as his Crazy Kats and his Krazy Kats. The group was formed in 1927 and played regularly at the Lenox Club within sight of the Cotton Club until 1932. These wonderfully arcane and somewhat frantic recordings were made in January and February 1930 and released on the Grey Gull label. Some were also issued under the name of Marvin Smolev's Syncopators. Smolev was a producer and Tin Pan Alley songwriter. Unlike Jackson's entry in the Classics Chronological Series (which extends the time frame all the way up to 1945), this fascinating Jazz Oracle edition hunkers down in the early '30s for five examples of Jackson's skill as an accompanist for vocalists Mattie Hite, Lena Wilson, and Carrie Edwards, then finishes with six performances by a little known group billed as the Sepia Serenaders, with Clarence Grimes blowing the clarinet, Elmer Snowden worrying the banjo, Jackson at the piano, and vocals (on tracks 23-25) by one George Gray. These hitherto hard to find records were waxed for Victor's Bluebird subsidiary on December 14 , 1934. By then Fats Waller & His Rhythm were well on their way to becoming one of the most popular acts in the entire Victor catalog, so the inclusion of so many titles associated with Waller at that time should come as no surprise. Waller played and sang the "Dallas Blues" with the Ted Lewis Jazz Band in March of 1931; he recorded "Breakin' the Ice" with his little Rhythm band in November 1934, and would cut vocal and instrumental takes of "Baby Brown" in January 1935. As a skilled stride pianist, Cliff Jackson's involvement with the Sepia Serenaders naturally put him in line for sharing repertoire with Waller. That's why, in addition to an instrumental treatment of Louis Hooper's "Ridiculous Blues," the Sepia Serenaders patterned the "Nameless Blues" after Waller's "Harlem Fuss" and closed out their session with an extraordinarily well played version of Waller's "Alligator Crawl." Although some of the material on this Jazz Oracle collection also appears on the Classics edition, there is enough excellent jazz on board to justify the purchase of both Cliff Jackson retrospectives.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/26/2003
Label: Jazz Oracle
UPC: 0620588803727
catalogNumber: 8037
Rank: 101906

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Cliff Jackson   Primary Artist
George Gray   Vocals
Clarence Grimes   Clarinet
Andy Jackson   Banjo
Elmer Snowden   Banjo
Mattie Hite   Vocals
Lena Wilson   Vocals
Henry Goodwin   Trumpet
Wayman Richardson   Trombone
Cliff Jackson & His Crazy Cats   Piano
Carrie Edwards   Vocals
Earl Evans   Alto Saxophone
Chester Campbell   Double Bass
Percy Johnson   Drums

Technical Credits

Fats Waller   Composer
Cliff Jackson   Composer
Clarence Williams   Composer
Spencer Williams   Composer
Jack King   Graphic Design
John Marchini   Composer
Sharpe   Composer
John R.T. Davies   Producer
Alex Hill   Composer
James Cavanaugh   Composer
Lloyd Garrett   Composer
Frank Weldon   Composer
Colin Bray   Producer
John Wilby   Producer
Cliff Jackson & His Crazy Cats   Director,Contributor
Sepia Serenaders   Contributor
Hart A. Wand   Composer
Charles J. McCarthy   Composer

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