Before Ford Motor Company created the Sunshine Special, and before it was FDR’s official Presidential limousine, Frenchy’s String Band recorded “Sunshine Special” for the Columbia Records label. This is a vary rare mp3 from a band that has little by way of documented history. Recorded in Texas 1928-ish, Sunshine Special’s rhythm slowly oozes along like an armadillo crossing the scorching highway pavement in the hot Texas sun.
“Sunshine Special“ (play/download mp3)
Johnny Dodds was one of the greatest clarinetist of the turn of the 20th century. The list of musicians that he played with are an who’s-who of jazz legends, and after playing with Louis Armstrong’s ensamble, Dodds moved to Chicago and started his own band, the Johnny Dodds’ Trio. “Blue Piano Stomp” one of their earlier recordings from 1928. This number has some blues-y elements and swings with elegant improvisation as the trio plays notes that dance with each other like they’re at a Chicago formal.
“Blue Piano Stomp“ (play/download mp3)
Nick Lucas is known in jazz-guitarist circles as: “The Grandfather of jazz guitar.” In 1922 he cut 2 sides, “Teasin’ the Frets” and “Pickin’ The Guitar.” These are the first solo jazz guitar instrumentals ever recorded. You can hear Nick’s inventiveness as he teases the frets of his guitar, telling a story through song that will light up your imagination with child-like glee.
“Teasin’ the Frets“ (play/download mp3)
Pianist Jason Moran is joined by an all-star band of: Lonnie Plaxico, Eric Harland, Stefon Harris, and Greg Osby for this piece. These are the lions of jazz today all joined on a fabulous session. Feel that strength?
“Snake Stance“ (play/download mp3)
Visit Jason’s official website to hear more music.
Fore day creep means to sneak around at night and cheat. Blues legends Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson turned infidelity into a full-time job. Every woman in the post-war blues circuit knew this, but no one put their foot down on 78 with as much style as Ida Cox. “Fore Day Creep” was recorded in Chicago along with 3 other sides in the summer of 1927. A bluesy piano number, Ida Cox announces in “Fore Day Creep” that she will make her man sleep with a bull dog because she knows he’s a genuine fore day creep. Enjoy this swinging number with your partners, ideally during the day.
Ida Cox, “Fore Day Creep“ (play/download mp3)
Very little is known about the life or career of Blind Leroy Garnett, apart from the supposition that he came from the Fort Worth area of Texas. A pianist whose style encompassed boogie-woogie and ragtime, he recorded eight sides between 1929 and 1930, featuring vocals by James Wiggins (himself a highly talented blues pianist) and Marie Griffin. Two of his Paramount Records sides were recorded with Wiggins in Richmond, VA in October of 1929.
Blind Leroy Garnett – “Louisiana Glide“ (play/download mp3)
On March 26, 1928, Duke Ellington recorded the first version of “Black Beauty,” a song he once called The Portrait of Florence Mills. It is thought to be his tribute to the woman he hailed as one of the best black female performers of the 1920s.
Duke Ellington – “Black Beauty” (play/download mp3)
Louis Armstrong & All His Stars – “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” (mp3)
Louis Armstrong truly was the Pops of Jazz. “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” is a classic instrumental jazz favorite highlighting his technique and tone. With his All-Stars playing behind him, his cornet weaves us in-and-out of crescendos and decrescendos. This jazz standard transports you dancing with your sweetheart at a summer soiree.
A soulful rendition of “I Must Have That Man.” Billie Holiday’s intimate crooning and impeccable timing doesn’t disappoint. Lady Day confirms that, like her voice, heartbreak is timeless. Recorded in New York, early on in her career, you feel her personal tragedies in this gem. But, like Billie, the end of this sorrowful song is triumphant with a strong brass finish.
Billie Holiday – “I Must Have That Man” (mp3)
Jelly Roll Morton – “Smoke House Blues” (mp3)
Sassy piano sounds fill the room while listening to one of the first great composer and piano player of Jazz, Jelly Roll Morton. ¬†With a charismatic and driven spirit, Jelly Roll Morton worked as a piano player in a whorehouse as a teenager, a pimp, and even a comedian before coming a well known member of his band Red Hot Peppers. ¬†In¬† this song ‚ÄúSmokehouse Blues,” you can hear his composing at his best. From the engaging sound of the piano throughout the song to the resonating solos of the other instruments, ‚ÄúSmokehouse Blues‚Äù really throws you back into the times of the late 20s. ¬†