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Great CD showcasing the varied talents of a true jazz star
Yves F. Smierciak | Chicago, Illinois United States | 10/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Franz Jackson is one of jazz most under rated musicians, and a true orginial. He was born in November 1912, started in the music business in the late 1920's with Francois Mousley's band (with Punch Miller, the band sans Franz recorded in 1930 under "Frankie Franko"), played with swing greats Fletcher Henderson (replacing Ben Webster), Earl Hines, Roy Eldridge, Frankie Newton and Fats Waller (to only name a few), did USO shows (ended up as far as Finland at one point in 1947), recorded numerous sessions as far back as 1933 (starting with forgotten trumpet great Reuben Reeves in 1933), and also made arrangements for numerous name bands (besides Hines, and Eldridge, he arranged for Cootie Williams, the Bascomb Brothers orchestra, Lucky Millinder and many others). In the 1950's (after subbing for an ill George Lewis during a tour of the Lewis band in 1956), he decides to start up a trad jazz ensemble that featured many of the classic musicians from the 1920's (Bob Schoffner, Al Wynn, Little Brother Montgomery and many other greats), and made numerous LP's with this band. This CD presents him with a band he was playing with a lot during the latter half of the 1980's (shortly after recording a swing album for his own label, and particpating in some recordings with the author of this review recently reissued by Delmark), led by fine trombonist Jim Beebe and featuring besides Franz, wonderful piano by the late Joe Johnson (who died earlier this year, and was critically under rated in his career) and some fine trumpet by Bob Neighbor (why doesn't he have a CD out under his name?). Franz goes through various aspects of his career in this CD (both New Orleans standards like "Snag It", swingers like "Through For The Night", Cab Calloway's "Minnie The Moocher" and even a touch of jump blues "Huff And Puff"), and there is nary a dull moment on this CD. A great CD by a great musician and an even greater man who has helped many of us in our music careers (and do check out some of the great recordings Franz made with his band with Bob Schoffner, that was a great Chicago jazz band, now only could someone find the tapes of live performances with Jabbo Smith and Preston Jackson from the early 1980's, there was a band I will never forget!) Yves Francois Smierciak"