Music Library Review of the Week

Music Library Review of the Week

Thursday 8/8, 11:15am

Album: South | Artist: Bennie Moten | Genre: Jazz | Label: Bluebird

In the 1920s and early 30s Bennie Moten's KC orchestra was the most popular and successful jazz band in the midwest. Its arrangements were advanced for the time and with a basic stomping beat Moten helped define the Kansas City sound. After a few acoustic sides for another label, Moten signed to Victor Records in 1926 and produced a series of top selling early electrically recorded 78s. "South" (tr. 15) dates from 1927 and remained in print until RCA stopped making 45 singles. The piece is an excellent introduction to the band and recommended to any programmer playing early jazz. There are only a few other standard titles on this collection: "Sugar" (tr. 3), "Twelfth Street Rag" (tr. 5), "Trouble in Mind" (tr. 12). All of the selections are worth airing for solos and tight ensembles. However, a steady diet of the group's four-beat pulse can be monotonous. These records go through 1928. Count Basie joined the band in 1929 and took over after Moten died at age 40. Well recorded with fine transfers. - Louis Harrison (American Pop)