Magnificent Muggsy! Another of the all-time greats of jazz trumpet is added to the Retrospective roster. Inspired by King Oliver, Chicago-born Francis Joseph Julian “Muggsy” Spanier (1901–1967) developed a unique sound for his cornet playing – especially a wonderful skill with mutes – and a lusty, driving lead to his Dixieland-style bands. Relaxin’ At The Touro (his tribute to the doctor who saved his life in 1938 at the Touro Infirmary) has been taken as the title for this compendium of Muggsy’s finest work, covering his career from his first (pre-electric) session with The Bucktown Five in 1924 to his performances in the mid-50s with such as Earl Hines. Unusually for Retrospective we have chosen to dedicate the first CD to all 16 of the superlative Ragtime Band recordings of 1939, always referred to as “The Great Sixteen”, and to all eight of the 1940 quartet recordings he made with Sidney Bechet as “The Bechet-Spanier Big Four” – both high points in the history of classic jazz.
Enhanced by fellow-trumpeter Digby Fairweather’s booklet notes, this is altogether a superb addition to Retrospective’s series of top jazz trumpeters.