On this Volume 4, Bessie has the benefit
of some much more professional backing
then on the previously released volumes.
Coleman Hawkins, Buster Bailey, Fletcher
Henderson, James P Johnson and Tommy Ladnier
all have brief appearances.
For the many fans of Bessie Smith, Naxos
has done their usual excellent job in
cleaning up these recordings, by virtually
eliminating noise and hiss. Unfortunately
to me this has just exposed even more
clearly, that whilst Bessie is credited
by many as having developed the classic
jazz and blues female vocal style, none
of this swings much. Bessie seems to me
to have more to do with vaudeville than
No doubt there are many people out there,
who will enjoy hearing their favourite
Bessie Smith recordings in a much higher
quality of reproduction than previously,
but they don’t do much for me. I prefer
other singer’s versions of the songs that
get nearer to a real jazz performance.