From the Record Shelves #65

Chicago Mess Around

LP Classic Jazz Masters Riverside 8808

When Paramount made recordings in Chicago in the 20s the musical direction was given among others to Lovie Austin. She had a solid musical education and was at the time working at the Monogram Theater in the city.

The groups were mostly small with three to five members. On this we hear a cornet player whose identity is not certain, probably Natty Dominique doing a stop chorus and the singing clarinet of Johnny Dodds. The latter come into the Austin small groups that recorded instrumentals and accompanied singers as a replacement for another fine clarinet player, Jimmie O’Bryant whose drinking had led to bad health at this time in 1926.

With Lovie Austin on piano doing the accompaniment is Eustern Woodfork who has a good banjo sound. He was a Chicago South Side musician who also recorded with Junie and Jimmie Cobb during the 20s. About the singer Henry Williams I know nothing.

Overall the performance has a New Orleans feeling with its combination of intensity and relaxation made possible and under good control by these fine musicians.