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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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KANSAS CITY FRANK MELROSE

Bluesiana

Delmark DE 245

 

 

 
1: How Come You Do Me Like You Do?
2: Sugarfoot Strut
3: I Got Rhythm
4: The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
5: Corrine Romp
6: Bluesiana
7: Original Stomp
8: New Orleans Blues
9: Body and Soul
10: You Took Advantage of Me
11: The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
12: Have You Ever Felt That Way
13: Oh, Lady Be Good
14: Bud's Blues
15: Boy in the Boat
16: Little Sound on Schiller Street
17: If You're a Viper
18: Rosetta
Frank Melrose – Piano, violin
Pete Daily - Cornet
Bill Helgart – Trombone
LeRoy Smith – E-flat clarinet
Boyce Brown – Sax
Jack Dailey – Guitar, banjo
Willie Sherman – Bass
Harold "Sleepy" Kaplan – Drums
June Davis – Vocals (tracks 6, 12, 17)

This album was recorded in 1940 (the year before Frank Melrose died) in Chicago, the city where he mainly worked as pianist and bandleader. He sometimes called himself Kansas City Frank (or even the less politically-correct Broadway Rastus!), which explains why he is so titled on this CD. He was friendly with Jelly Roll Morton and some of his early piano discs were mistaken for Morton recordings. But this set exhibits Frank Melrose playing in a variety of styles.

Body and Soul and Boy in the Boat are piano solos – the latter a stride piano performance which sounds like a much older recording than the gently thoughtful Body and Soul. Most of the tracks have Frank leading a Dixieland band notable for the extrovert cornet of Pete Daily and the serpentine saxophone of Boyce Brown. Their version of Oh, Lady Be Good is particularly exhilarating. Three tracks have bluesy vocals by June Davis.

The recording quality is often quite good for the period, although some tracks sound as if they were recorded at different times under different conditions. However, these previously unknown recordings are of historical as well as musical interest.


Tony Augarde

 



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