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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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The Scene: Live in New York

HighNote HCD 7196



  1. Deed I Do
  2. Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You?
  3. I Can't Believe that You're in Love with Me
  4. I Want a Little Girl
  5. The Red Door
  6. Goin' to Chicago
  7. I Cried for You
  8. Everyday I Have the Blues
  9. It's Noteworthy
  10. Good Morning Blues

Jimmy Rushing - Vocals (tracks 1-4, 6-8, 10)
Zoot Sims, Al Cohn - Tenor saxes
Dave Frishberg - Piano
Major Holley, John Beal - Basses
Mousey Alexander - Drums

It may seem strange to find a blues shouter like Jimmy Rushing in the company of a couple of comparatively "modern" tenor-saxists. But Jimmy Rushing was always an adaptable singer (he even recorded with Dave Brubeck), and he works well with tenorists Zoot Sims and Al Cohn, who fit in seamlessly with his blues vocals. All three men made their name with big bands: Rushing with Count Basie, and Sims and Cohn as part of Woody Herman's famous "Four Brothers" sax team.

The sleeve-notes are imprecise about the recording details, but these tracks seem to have been recorded at various New York clubs in 1965. If the date of 1965 is correct, this was seven years before Rushing died. The personnels are doubtful, too, as the rhythm sections are uncertain for the two tracks where Jimmy Rushing is absent. The sound quality is also somewhat variable, but quite acceptable.

Jimmy Rushing was unique - not only for his gritty, slightly hoarse voice but also for his shape and size, which led to the affectionate nickname "Mr Five-by-Five". Some of the songs here, such as Good Morning Blues, had been in Jimmy's repertoire for years, and he is not always accurate with some lyrics, but this doesn't seem to matter. What matters is the way in which Rushing projects the songs with forthright conviction.

The two tenorists get their chance for several solos - although their sounds are so similar that they are difficult to distinguish between. They also fill in sympathetically behind the vocals. The pianist gets some solo spots, and the bassist on Everyday I Have the Blues is readily recognisable as Major Holley - from his hum-along bowed bass solo.

The CD lasts for about 53 minutes and is full of cheerfully swinging jazz.

Tony Augarde 

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