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Spirits Of Rhythm
Spirits of Rhythm
Spirits Of Rhythm
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Spirits of Rhythm
Title: Spirits Of Rhythm
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Allegro Corporation
Release Date: 11/1/1996
Album Type: Import
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 608917900415

CD Reviews

Jasper | New England | 09/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's difficult to describe just how perfect, thrilling and unique this music is. The original Spirits Of Rhythm gave us just enough for ONE staggeringly wacky, fantastically creative compact disc. Right off the bat, I can tell you that this is some of the coolest, most manic, most idiosyncratic small-group jazz (that simple term seems hardly enough) that you shall ever hear.

We can start with the instrumentation, which is refreshingly simple and unique. Wildly swinging strummed and picked guitars, percussion played on an old suitcase wrapped in paper (!), bouncing, thumping upright bass, brilliant, loose, utterly joyous group vocals, and the crazed scatting of Leo Watson. With near total disregard for the conventions of the original compositions, as well as the conventions of popular music in general, The Spirits Of Rhythm tear through this set like something from a jazz-lover's fevered dream. There is not a boring moment here. Nothing these guys do is conventional. Leo Watson is a scatting genius, the musicians are rhythmically transcendant. I mean, honestly I don't know if I can describe what's going on here. Maybe The Boswell Sisters meet Raymond Scott meet Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, and Cab Calloway on a 1930s Harlem street corner? Yes, that description might bring us close.

I bought this after reading about the Spirits in Will Friedwald's brilliant book "Jazz Singing." There was another band, also quite excellent, who emulated the Spirits and lasted a bit longer, and they were called The Cats And The Fiddle. The Cats are also worth checking out, though only for brief moments can they touch the Spirits' manic brilliance. There is also a Leo Watson solo disc, "Original Scatman," which features a handful of recordings from a partially reunited Spirits group.

Anyway, this is one of the most precious discs in my collection. As soon as I got it I copied it and hid the original away with five or so of my most rare and treasured compact discs. At the time of this writing, it is readily available and inexpensive. I had to spend a bit on it and buy it used. Whatever it takes, get this disc."