Monday, 26 December 2011

Alley Cats in the broom closet

Like fantasy baseball fans, jazz fans like to speculate about dream lineups: If only A [insert jazz immortal's name here] had recorded with B, C, and D, wouldn't that have been something? Here's a fantasy for you. Start with Mildred Bailey, my favorite singer of the 1930s. Add, say, Teddy Wilson on piano, and for horns -- oh, what the hell, let's go for it -- Bunny Berigan on trumpet and Johnny Hodges on alto saxophone. Now there's a too-good-to-be-true lineup.

Oh, wait -- it actually happened.

On December 6, 1935, in a recording studio so small it was called "the broom closet," four sides were cut and released as "Mildred Bailey and her Alley Cats." Here for your delectation are two of them, the beautiful Fats Waller-Andy Razaf Willow Tree, and Down-Hearted Blues.

1 comment:

  1. One of the greatest small bands ever recorded! John Hammond bullied so many people and annoyed so many others, but he had wonderful taste -- and Mildred (unlike Billie) didn't mind being brought back to her own version of Bessie Smith's recorded legacy. From the vantage point of 2011, that broom closet sounds pretty good: everyone comes through in splendor. Happy New Year, Kid: keep sharing your pleasures with us!