Buster Bailey: Memphis Blues - His 47 Finest 1924-1958

Jazz history has produced few masters to rival the phenomenal technical mastery of William C. “Buster” Bailey (1902-1967). Given different social conditions he might have forged a career as a classical soloist, but it was as a superlative jazz performer that his long career (46 years!) almost traced the development of the form, from its earliest days right through to the Sixties. Retrospective’s Memphis Blues presents 47 remarkable examples of his artistry. From a 1924 track with Louis Armstrong and the Red Onion Jazz Babies, Bailey’s story is followed through his landmark tenures with Fletcher Henderson (Hocus Pocus) and John Kirby (St. Louis Blues), interspersed with his outstanding contributions to many other bands, such as those of Clarence Williams, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton and, especially, Red Allen.
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Tracks listed in new releases section of this issue A native of Memphis, Tennessee, William C 'Buster' Baily was a clarinet virtuoso whose discography reads like a history of jazz. Although seldom leading his own band, he had a recording caree that extended more than 40 years until his death in 1967. From the earliest recording here, (with Louis Armstrong, SANTA CLAUS BLUES) his clarinet playing was much in demand and this collection has him on dates with Bessie Smith, Fletcher Henderson, Clarence Williams, Henry 'Red' Allen, Teddy Wilson and many more jazz greats including that all star line up that recorded as Capitol International Jazzmen and featured Nat Cole, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and Bill Coleman amoung others. I am sure that for many however, the highlights of this set will be the inclusion of all the ttracks from his 1958 album ALL ABOUT MEMPHIS which featured quartet and septet recordings with Bailey as leader and had Vic Dickenseon on trombone. Apart from a number of Bailey compositions, there are fine versions of W.C.Handy's BEALE STREET and BLUES MEMPHIS BLUES in a tribute to the city of his birth. A great way to end a very enjoyable set.

- In Tune International

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