Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Curtis Mosby - 1928

Here's some excellent, obscure early jazz by Curtis Mosby and his Dixieland Blue Blowers.  Mosby, born in Kansas City in 1895, was a drummer, bandleader, promoter, and club owner who was based in Los Angeles in the 1920s.  There his band recorded three sessions for Columbia between 1927 and 1929, resulting in four 78 RPM discs.  Columbia 1442-D represents the sole issued result of the second session, from March 28, 1928.

None of the members of the Blue Blowers are big names, but several of them should be familiar to early jazz aficianados.  Les Hite is in the saxophone section; he later led his own band, which backed up Louis Armstrong for a time in the early 1930s.  Tenor saxophonist Bumps Myers is heard near the beginning of his career, which was a long one; he later played and recorded with Benny Carter, Benny Goodman, Louis Bellson, and many others.  And he's on two of the greatest West Coast blues records ever: "Call It Stormy Monday" by T-Bone Walker and "Memory Pain" by Percy Mayfield.

But back to Curtis Mosby.  These are two fine examples examples of late-20s jazz; I particularly like the moody "Blue Blowers Blues."  The main soloists are trumpeter James "King" Porter and Ashford Hardee on trombone.  Porter also had a long career, including some R & B-flavored singles in the 1940s, but Hardee appears to have recorded only with Mosby.

Shortly after recording his final session for Columbia, Mosby's band appeared in the movie Hallelujah!, one of the first films featuring an all-black cast.  At the time I posted this, the nightclub segment featuring Mosby's band can be seen here.  The last selection his band plays is a speeded-up "Blue Blowers Blues."

Blue Blowers Blues

Hardee Stomp

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