Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Witherspoon Goes TO KC

Mosaic Records has a well deserved reputation for superb boxed sets of many different giants of jazz. In recent years they have started new series of reissues including Mosaic Select, three CD sets by various artists (often underlooked) and most recently Mosaic Singles that makes available out-of-print classic albums.
Among the most recent releases in the Mosaic Singles series is a classic 1957 recording by Jimmy Witherspoon with Jay McShann and His Band, Goin’ to Kansas City Blues. Originally on RCA, I believe this has been on CD but undoubtedly deleted. Mosaic has made available the entire album with three other recordings from the sessions that had been issued on a French vinyl reissue. Opening up with Jumpin’ the Blues from the pen of McShann and Charlie Parker, Witherspoon handles other McShann classics as Hootie Blues and Confessin’ the Blues, along with Until the Real Thing Comes Along, the classic ballad made famous by Andy Kirk’s Clouds of Joy and the immortal celebration of a legend of KC night life by Joe Turner-Pete Johnson, Piney Brown Blues. Witherspoon contributed a couple of originals, Rain is Such a Lonesome Sound and Blue Monday. He shines throughout backed by the swinging big little band McShann led. Others on the session included Kenny Burrell on guitar, Hilton Jefferson on alto sax, Seldon Powell on tenor sax, Al Sears or Hayward Henry on baritone sax, Emmett Berry or Ray Copeland on trumpet, J.C. Higginbotham on trombone, Gene Ramey on bass and Mousey Alexander on drums. Stereo masters were found for all but two of the thirteen songs heard here. This is a most welcome reissue and available directly from Mosaic at http://www.mosaicrecords.com.

This is an edited version of my review that first appeared in Jazz & Blues Report. www.jazz-blues.com.

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