Jazz, Piano Blues, Early Jazz, Stride, Jazz Instrument

Album Review

The 17 recordings reissued by Jazzology under the heading of Willie "The Lion" Smith & His Jazz Cubs are uncommon and well worth experiencing. This compilation could conceivably be confused with the Timeless label's 24-track reissue of jazz from the mid-'30s played by a small swing band billed as Willie "The Lion" Smith & His Cubs. Both collections are excellent and the two sets have no tracks in common. Jazzology's "Jazz Cubs" edition combines piano solos performed at New York's Ritz Theatre in July 1944, and selections recorded live at Town Hall in February 1971 with a small unit designated as Willie "The Lion" Smith's Washington Cubs. Drawn from an LP on the small time Fat Cat Jazz label, these tracks feature the Lion with Wild Bill Davison's bassist Van Perry, Max Kaminsky's drummer Skip Tomlinson, Virginian clarinetist Tom Gwaltney, and Australian trumpeter Tony Newstead. Vocals are attributed to Johnson "Fat Cat" McRee, a producer, promoter, and record label owner based in Manassas, Virginia. Formerly difficult to obtain, these historic tidbits of Harlem stride piano and traditional ensemble jazz are a welcome addition to the ever-so-slowly-increasing number of digitally reissued works by Willie "The Lion" Smith.
arwulf arwulf, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Ain't She Sweet?
  2. Am I Blue?
  3. Echoes of Spring
  4. Keeping out of Mischief Now
  5. Ida Sweet as Apple Cider
  6. Polonaise
  7. When My Baby Walks Down the Street
  8. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
  9. The Sneakaway
  10. Louisiana
  11. Darktown Strutters Ball
  12. I'll Follow You
  13. Here Comes the Band
  14. Love Is Just Around the Corner
  15. Oh! Baby
  16. Concentratin'
  17. [Untitled]