Recent listening, current

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

57. Bud Freeman / Swingin' with the Eel (1998)

If you like listening Hawk and want to hear the preeminent tenor who predated him, or if you like old Chicago jazz and robust swing, then this very nice collection of Bud Freeman sides should merit your attention. The sound quality is excellent, and there is a variety of material to hear, all recorded from 1927 to 1945. Freeman's hard driving and assertive style on the tenor pops right out among the fold on freewheeling dixieland improvisations and the cooler swing tunes. They called him "The Eel" because of the long, meandering, "serpentine" solos he would take. For the price of admission you also get the leaders and sidemen Freeman recorded with like Eddie Condon, Benny Goodman, Pee Wee Russell, Joe Venuti, Tommy Dorsey, and a score of others. I like the sides where Russel's tortured, sopping wet clarinet trades places with Freeman's dry and direct statements on the tenor sax, driven hell bent for leather by Eddie Condon's guitar. Wow, that sound!

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