The wonderful New Orleans clarinetist George Lewis (1900-1968) was a late bloomer, at least on record. He was not quite 43 when, in 1943, he first recorded as a leader, but by the time of these 1953 performances his unrefined artistry and popularity were in full flower, thanks in part to the trad revival of the 1940s and '50s. Lewis led one of the Crescent City's outstanding bands, whose pungent, sometimes rowdy ensembles and spirited soloists always pleased their audiences. This set contains eight studio cuts that are a highlight of Lewis's career, plus four live--and most lively--ones that are all previously unissued. They're from the same 1953 sessions at Hollywood's Beverly Cavern that were instrumental in cementing Lewis's reputation. Included are a sublime "Honeysuckle Rose," which is not usually associated with classic jazz players, and "Burgundy Street Blues," Lewis's signature, which is enhanced by singer Monette Moore's charming New Orleans travelogue-in-song.
with Avery "Kid" Howard, Jim Robinson, Alton Purnell, Lawrence Marrero, Alcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau, Joe Watkins, Monette Moore