A great introduction to one of the finest of all jazz trumpeters. Henry "Red" Allen (1908-1967) was described as “the last great trumpeter to come out of New Orleans”. A unique artist, he was, along with Louis Armstrong, the outstanding stylist of the 30s for his instrument, and won a high reputation as a close rival to Armstrong. His hard-hitting style really swung with an irresistibly fierce drive. He splayed his solos across bar-lines with the most sophisticated rhythmic command. At the same time he could create the most heartfelt blues and ballad performances (e.g. I Cover The Waterfront) – certainly one of jazz history's all-time greats.
Ride, Red, Ride undertakes the difficult task is distilling the finest from Allen's dazzling career onto two CDs. The final selection presents 44 true jazz masterpieces, spanning from his first important session in 1929 (It Should Be You) through to his glorious, late quartet recordings of 1962 (Biffly Blues). A number of the many classics he produced alongside the great Coleman Hawkins are included, such as the wonderful Heartbreak Blues (on which his tone is described as “burning incandescently”). Allen is also featured in groups led by several of the other great names in jazz: King Oliver, James P. Johnson, Lionel Hampton, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory and so on. He plays too on a classic Billie Holiday number (The Mood That I’m In) and on Lucky Millinder’s frenzied tribute to him Ride, Red, Ride, but Red Allen had a distinctive vocal style of his own, and can also be heard singing on several tracks (When My Dreamboat Comes Home).
Altogether a superb addition to Retrospective’s series of top jazz trumpeters, following on from such as Red Nichols (RTS 4227), Bobby Hackett (RTR 4208) and Billy Butterfield (RTR 4203).