Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Little Ramblers - Crosswords

The California Ramblers recorded with almost obscene frequency during the 1920s, under a baffling array of pseudonyms. I enjoy their small-group records chiefly for the commanding bass sax of Adrian Rollini, however Rollini is regularly joined by other fine hot musicians including Bobby Davis, Chelsea Quealey, the Dorsey Brothers and Red Nichols.

Those still labouring under the once-fashionable idea that this music is somehow not 'real' jazz need only listen to this record. Here the Little Ramblers exhibit hot breaks and solos, a myriad of different ensemble textures, infectious rhythmic momentum and an overall concern for balance in an arrangement - many of the features of Jelly Roll Morton's celebrated Red Hot Peppers records.

While the vocal may not be to modern tastes and the arrangement is almost certainly based upon a stock chart, these are concerns common to much of the jazz of the 1920s.

Here's Crosswords - enjoy it for what it is. I particularly like the high-stepping rhythm and the passages where the bass sax and trombone play in harmony:

1 comment:

M. Figg said...

The Ramblers remain one of the most under-appreciated early JAZZ outfits of the pre-swing era. Even their more overtly "commercial" recordings still burn with creativity and rhythm. Great writing, way to spread the Gospel of Rollini!

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