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Jimmy Rushing with Count Basie & Bennie Moten 1930-1938
Jimmy Rushing, Count Basie, Bennie Moten
Jimmy Rushing with Count Basie & Bennie Moten 1930-1938
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1


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Let him Swing you
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 04/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Even if you have a lot of the Bennie Moton band's recordings including some of the Rushing vocals here, and even if, as everyone who wants to treat his ears right should and as I do, you own everything that Basie recorded in the 1930s, and thus including these Rushing sides, it is nice to have a purely Rushing CD, to hear his voice, song after song, all together. There are some times when the wonder of non-stop total Rushing is the best thing you can do.

Back before Basie, before Moten, Jimmy played a bit of Piano in LA clubs before he ever sang. He must have rocked that box as the saying goes. One night they asked Jimmy to sing a tune during the intermission. The portly Wilberforce music grad started something that never stopped for 50 years, and you can keep it going with these records.

This includes the first recordings Jimmy did with Bennie Moten in the early 1930s. Although Jimmy had cut a few great sides with the Oklahoma Blue Devils and others in the 1920s, he really hit his stride when he joined the Bennie Moton Orchestra. Moton's band combined old Oklahoma Blue Devils like Basie, Rushing, Eddie Durham, and Walter Page and blended them in with the greatest Kansas City Jazz band of its epoch. When Moten died, the band had a vote. Blue Devils leader and the ultimate swing bassist Walter Page and a cat named Bill Basie from New Jersey were tied in votes for band leader. Being a gentleman, Page deferred to young Mr. Basie. This band became the Basie Orchestra which you may have heard of.

Basie's band started out as an act that featured the Basie led orchestra with Trumpeter Hot Lips Page, and Mr. Jimmy Rushing listed as equal attractions to the band itself. Page went off and started a solo career when the band was offered to go to NYC and the big time. Rushing whose singing wowed audiences was the band's big attraction along with emerging stars like Buck Clayton and Lester Young and a new band singer they picked up in NYC named Holiday.

These recordings cover the Moton years and the years up to 1938 when the Basie band completed its rip off contract with Decca and became only moderately exploited by Columbia. While Jimmy did a few recordings on the side, noteably with Benny Goodman, this CD contains only music made with Basie.

Here we have the great KC blues at which he has no competition, not even from the great Joe Turner. Yet, Jimmy never saw himself as blues singer. In fact, after John Hammond's attempt to force Billie Holiday to become a Blues Singer failed and Billie left Basie, Mr. Five By Five, as Jimmy was known due to being about as tall as he was wide, was adamant that the band never needed another singer. Jimmy could handle ballads, but his real skill was making the band jump on up tempo numbers. Now Will You Be Good, Georgiana, and Pennies from Heaven on this CD really dazzle even though I have listened to them for a couple decades.

What I think Jimmy had that none of the other blues shouters had was a musical nature. He was more than just loud sound and rhythm. He approached the blues and the ballads as a musician. He had a degree in Music from Wilberforce and had been a solo pianist.

What a powerful voice he had. And how he could swing. With all his size, do you know that Jimmy was renown as a dancer. I've seen him move and swing in movies, and what glory, what soul, what music!

I have heard Jimmy Rushing swing a whole big band. I mean, of course, in the swing and power of his voice, singing lead, he could get the band to swinging like any great instrumental soloist. But I have seen and heard Jimmy swinging the old and New Testament Basie bands, just by his mere prescence, hand clamping, shouting, and shaking himself, on tunes when he wasn't singing, on dates where Jimmy wasn't even formally with the band, just showed up to hear some music!

Let him swing you