The Old Masters TOM-57
The band worked in the shadow of Duke Ellington’s Orchestra under the same manager, Irving Mills who also gave them their name. It’s top class early 30s Harlem jazz that we hear. The music is normally much based on riffs and exchange between the brass and saxophone sections with an extended role for the drummer, thus pointing directly forward to the so-called “Big Band Era”.
This number is however a bit different. What catches my attention is mostly the busy arrangement with the use of tom-tom drums and where the lead voice is played by soprano sax in one section which gives it a touch of “savage”.
Since there are no details on the sleeve of the LP I have to consult Brian Rust’s “Jazz Records” discography to learn that the short solos are played by Charlie Holmes on clarinet and Henry Hicks on trombone. From there I also know that the year of recording is 1931.