Entertainment Weekly - 7/30/99, p.75
"...Just 20 years old when he recorded this 2-CD collection's hottest performances...he was already a challenger to reigning trumpet king Louis Armstrong..." - Rating: A-
Personnel includes: Jabbo Smith (vocals, trumpet); Monette Moore (vocals);
Omer Simeon (clarinet); Edgar Sampson (alto saxophone, violin); Benny Carter
(reeds); Earl Frazier (piano); Ikey Robinson (banjo).
Recorded in Chicago, Illinois & New York, New York in January 1928 through
October 1930. Includes liner notes by Chris Albertson.
Digitally remastered by Jonathan Wyner.
Trumpeter Jabbo Smith is featured in sessions from 1929, along with sessions by bandleaders Alex Hill and Lloyd Smith that were once thought to include him but since determined otherwise. Like the earlier Biograph CD, this disc has superior sound for such vintage recordings, with all the instruments blended very well. In additional to Smith's powerful trumpet and spirited scat singing, clarinetist Omer Simeon and banjo player Ikey Robinson add some choice solos, though they don't approach the virtuosity of their leader. Previously reissued by Riverside shortly before they went bankrupt, this classic jazz is available again and well worth acquiring. ~ Ken Dryden