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Irving Fazola: My Inspiration - His 26 Finest 1936-1946



Here is the only CD available spotlighting the artistry of one of the greatest of all jazz clarinettists, Irving Fazola - the best white clarinet player from New Orleans.

The great clarinettist Irving Prestopnick (1912-1949) became Fazola (from the tonic sol-far: Fah-Soh-Lah) or simply “Faz”. With his graceful phrasing and warm, liquid tone, he could only have come from New Orleans. This huge man, with his essentially melodic style owing something to Jimmie Noone, was the last in the line of New Orleans clarinet players, making a valuable contribution within the Swing Era. “My Inspiration” showcases his artistry with a 26-track distillation of the best of his tragically brief career – excess killed him at the age of only 36.

The survey begins with rare sides recorded with Ben Pollack groups, Sharkey Bonano, Seger Ellis, The Musical Maniacs and Glenn Miller during 1936/7. He went on to become a Bob Crosby star soloist during 1938/40 with whom his mellow-toned jazz classics included My Inspiration, Spain and Skaters’ Waltz. In addition there were memorable recordings with Jess Stacy (Breeze) and Muggsy Spanier (the wonderfully flowing Hesitating Blues etc.). The story ends with seven 1945/6 tracks with his own Dixielanders, including his delightfully wistful Sweet Lorraine, Mostly Faz and the classic Jazz Me Blues. In the words of Digby Fairweather: “With a sound like honey and a virtuoso’s technique, Irving Fazola was arguably the finest clarinettist to emerge in the swing era”.

Irving Fazola: My Inspiration - His 26 Finest 1936-1946