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  • Jelly & James: the Music of Jelly-Roll Morton and James P. Johnson
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Jelly & James: the Music of Jelly-Roll Morton and James P. Johnson


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Audio CD, October 20, 1992
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 20, 1992)
  • Original Release Date: 1992
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Entertain
  • ASIN: B00000DSHG
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,804 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Farrar Hudkins on June 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Here Dick Hyman re-creates the sound of two early jazz legends, in arrangements from big band to theatre orchestra, solo, duo, and trio. The cool thing is that even though Hyman has, in his orchestration, created the same instrumentation that would have existed at the time, he doesn't restrict his players by having them improvise in any particular style: Joe Venuti sounds like Joe Venuti, Ruby Braff sounds like Ruby Braff, and so forth. Despite the fact that the recordings were done in 1973 and 1975 (at 30th Street Studios NYC), the sound quality is excellent -- I am not sure if Sony has remastered the tapes or not for this 1992 re-release, but in any event it sounds fantastic.

Things to listen for:

- "The Finger Breaker" and "Caprice Rag"... Dick is amazing when he plays solo stride piano...

- The duet with Ruby Braff on "Snowy Morning Blues"...

- The fantastic arrangements of "Black Bottom Stomp" and "Selections from Runnin' Wild"...

... and the soulful playing of everybody involved, including the legendary versatile drummer Panama Francis and the late great Venuti and Braff, Phil Bodner, and Milt Hinton.

This one never stays on my shelf for very long.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By El on May 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Listening to this music brought me pure joy. The virtuosity and musicality of Dick Hyman combine to make a gift that keeps on giving through the decades. Some of my favorites from this collection of treasures include "Pep," "The Finger Breaker," "Caprice Rag" and "You've Got to Be Modernistic." The fact that Jelly and James was, at the time of this Amazon visit, ranked 200,267th on the site, says a lot about the era in which we're living. Lily Tomlin once fretted, "Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world." I thank the stars above that Dick Hyman has achieved enough success in our mediocre world to be able to continue making albums.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "Gimpy" Peach Johnson on September 9, 2013
Format: Audio CD
I've had these recordings on LP for years and always treasured them. I was delighted when I discovered that they had been reissued on CD and quickly snapped up a copy. Dick Hyman has beautifully orchestrated the music of Jelly Roll Morton and James P. Johnson, even if the arrangements have that "1970s-trying-to-be-1920s" feel. Nevertheless, the variety of instrumentation from one track to the next coupled with superior musicianship makes this disc a treat from start to finish. From Hyman's scintillating solo piano rendition of Morton's "Fingerbreaker" to the swinging trio rendition of "The Perfect Rag" (with no less than Joe Venuti on violin, Hyman at the piano, and Panama Francis on drums), to Ruby Braff's cornet on James P. Johnson's "Steeplechase Rag," this is a smartly-programmed set. The bands feature a who's who of jazz too: Hyman, Venuti, Braff, Vic Dickenson, Bob Wilber, and more. The sound is big and clear as a bell with almost no noticeable tape hiss (despite this disc being mastered from tapes made in the 1970s). This may not have been exactly how either Morton or Johnson envisioned their music, but it works and the whole CD is a joy. Highly recommended!
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