From the Record Shelves #179

Boneyard Shuffle

LP Classic Jazz Masters CJM 24

I look at the cover and see a young Red Nichols in a reflective mood, looking at his mouthpiece with his most precious belonging, the trumpet in the lap. He’s well-dressed, and everything in the music is also of high class: the instrumental technique, the intonation, the tuning, the dynamics, and the timekeeping. The jazz element is mostly provided by the accents.

I listen to volume one of a very good LP project from the 1970s. It’s a Swedish release that includes all known takes with transfers from John R. T. Davies and liner notes by Stan and Steve Hester.

Here, the Five Pennies play a jazz composition by Hoagy Carmichael. Before using this name, the members of the group had made several records together, but now, in December 1926, they were excellently recorded by Brunswick with the new electric system.

The music is full of small interesting details, as arranged interludes, and in those as well as in solos, the whole tone scale often shows up. Everything is well rehearsed, as the multiple takes show.

Jimmy Dorsey is the first soloist with his convincing alto sax playing. Then after a bridge comes an ensemble in Dixie style, which means that Dorsey changes to clarinet and percussionist Vic Berton accompanies on cymbals. Red Nichols follows with whimsical trumpet breaks, then Miff Mole plays a stop-time chorus on the trombone with Berton’s timpani behind. An Eddie Lang solo with glissandi from pulled strings follows, and after an arranged ensemble break it’s the turn of Arthur Schutt on piano, harmonically advanced. In the last chorus, which is again a Dixie ensemble with clarinet, Berton takes cymbal breaks last and finishes the record with an impressive precision timpani phrase.

Boneyard in the title is slang for cemetery.