From the Record Shelves #78

Honolulu Blues

78 rpm Brunswick A 9170

This performance is a bit crazy or maybe one should say experimental. Red Nichols and his Five Pennies keeps it down to six musicians on this date in September 1931. Vic Berton’s use of his timpani is effective and ear catching. Eddie Lang’s distinct guitar is heard alone and then Joe Venuti does a verse with his specialty the four string playing on the violin with “Hawaiian” music glissandi. Nichols plays the bridge with a mute.

After the verse the boys go wild. Double tempo piano breaks by Fulton McGrath and after that the virtuoso clarinet of Jimmie Dorsey. In the final ensemble Red Nichols has an unusual “dirty” trumpet sound and leads the band to the end with a well-timed timpani break in the middle.

As a whole the session that is close to the end of the long Brunswick series is a return in spirit and format to the earlier days of “The Five Pennies”