From the Record Shelves #130

Take Your Time

LP Ace of Hearts AH 165

This trumpet player should not be forgotten. It was in the summer of 1968 that I bought the LP. The holidays from school had just started and when I got home and turned on the record I got a shock because I did not know anything about the musicians, I only chose it because it looked good and was from a jazz period that interested me.

I soon found out that Jabbo Smith had composed all of the tunes himself and that he was also doing the vocals in a mature way.

Later I learned that he came out of the Jenkins Orphanage Band from which he escaped at 16 to start a professional career, joining Charlie Johnson’s Orchestra in Atlantic City and making record sessions with them and Duke Ellington in New York in 1927, and then those ”Rhythm Aces” records in Chicago from January until April in 1929.

It’s a fantastic record where everything and everyone is good. On this tune I dig the single string banjo solo of Ikey Robinson, the long (!) phrase that Omer Simeon starts his clarinet solo with, the brutal, swinging chord solo from Cassino Simpson at the piano and the precise tuba playing from Lawson Buford.

And then Jabbo himself on trumpet of course. On the back of the record I have his signature where he wrote ”Best wishes from ’Jabbo’ Smith to Paul Strandberg Thanks”. He was quite a bit embarrassed when I came up to him with the record, because then in 1977 it was one of his first gigs in an attempt at a comeback, and he did not play good. But only some time later he managed surprisingly to get his chops back, made some nice records in France and played in the One More Time Show.

I wrote to him when he was in hospital near his end and got a signed photo that has its place on the wall, so here he is fondly remembered.