"Gimpy" Peach Johnson | 11/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The folks at Timeless Records sure know how to do CD reissues. I've been delighted with every one of their CDs I have bought, and this disc is no exception. "The Chicago Hot Bands 1924-1928" contains tracks from some excellent, but often-overlooked dance bands. Maybe you've heard about the Benson Orchestra of Chicago or Ray Miller, but how about Lloyd Turner and His Villa Venice Orchestra, Al Katz and His Kittens, or Al Handler and His Alamo Cafe Orchestra? These bands and several others are well represented in fun, exciting arrangements. The real highlight of the disc is the six recordings by Thelma Terry and Her Playboys, representing that band's entire recorded output. With a young Gene Krupa on drums and Ms. Terry slappin' the bass for all it's worth, any one of these recordings is worth the cost of the disc. Like Steve Brown's bass work with Goldkette or Whiteman? You simply have to hear Thelma Terry! Another of my favorites on this CD is Ray Miller's really swingin' arrangement of "My Honey's Lovin' Arms."
With the exception of the Benson Orchestra's recording of "Copenhagen," all of the tunes on this CD were recorded electrically, and thanks to the efforts of sound engineer John R. T. Davies, the sound is fantastic. The recordings are clear and full-sounding with minimal surface noise. The rather brief liner notes by Brian Rust shed a little light on the musicians and their recordings, but some of the notes are already out-of-date. Rust says that almost nothing is known of Thelma Terry, but a detailed article outlining her entire life is now available online at the Red Hot Jazz Archive. A healthy dose of photographs are included in the booklet.
My only complaint with the CD is that the layout and organization is rather poor. The back of the case provdes a track listing in small type, but the bands are not identified! Somehow, they found enough space to include composer credits, timing, recording date and even matrix number for each track on the back of the case, but still left out the bands!? The back of the booklet duplicates the information on the outside of the case. If you want to know what band is playing each tune, you have to pull out the booklet, open it, and find the discography section near the back. The discography lists the bands, personnel, recording location and date, matrix number, and then song titles. From the outside of the CD packaging, you would have no way of knowing that Thelma Terry has any recordings on this disc, let alone her entire output. Her name only appears on the inside of the booklet. Despite the poor layout, this is really an excellent disc, one that any fan of 1920s jazz and dance bands will enjoy. Highly recommended!"
Wonderful ticket for time travellers.
fluffy, the human being. | forest lake, mn | 03/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"ready for some audio time-travel? chicago 1924-28, sound good? well, here's your ticket. this is a fantastic collection of jazz recordings from that place and that era. the sound quality is excellent - bright and clean, and the performances are lively with a spirit of their times. i wasn't born until 1961, but this music makes me nostalgic for the 20's. fine stuff, indeed."