Lee Collins [tp], Bob McCracken [cl], Bert Johnson [tb]
Ralph Sutton, Don Ewell [pn], Dale Deacon Jones [sbs],
Smokey Stover [dm]
Songs: Fidgety Feet, Chinatown My Chinatown, Basin Street Blues,
Big Butter & Egg Man, Royal Garden Blues, If I Could Be with You,
The Bucket's Got A Hole In It, After You've Gone, Save It Pretty Mama,
Original Dixie Jass Band One-step, St. James Infirmary, Indiana.
Lee Collins--Club Hangover Airshots Vol. 2
IAJRC Journal—U. S. Jazz Magazine
Two compact discs of very solid Dixieland jazz with plenty of playing time. The fidelity is rather low but the music quality is quite good. I am glad that Bill Bissonnette of Jazz Crusade made these sides available again. Most of these sides had seen life briefly on vinyl as Rarities LP 31 and 32. This music is valuable not only for its historical value but also for the fact that it is darn good music.
Lee Collins surely was not over recorded in his life. He had a few sides with Jelly Roll Morton in 1924, some work with blues singers a bit later on. Also he recorded those few but marvelous sides known as Jones and Collins Astoria Hot Eight and then some things with Mezzrow and a couple of other things.
A bit of explanation on the second volume is in order. Ralph Sutton is on the first date, the 4 tunes beginning this volume, and then Don Ewell is on the rest. Ewell does not appear on volume one at all. The band is very tight and shows the fact that they were working quite steady over a period of time. I wonder if they appeared any other places beside the Club Hangover in San Francisco? Anyway, if this type of music is your ilk, these are good recordings to add even though, as mentioned, the fidelity isn't all that good.
Boxell's Jazz Website - New Zealand
These two fascinating CDs are live recordings from the Club Hangover
circa 1953. The recordings were originally put out on CBS radio in San
Francisco. The trumpet man in the two line-ups featured is Lee Collins,
a vastly underrated jazzman. Collins was a New Orleans contemporary of
Louis Armstrong and studied under the same music teacher, Peter Davies.
Collins replaced Armstrong in King Oliver's band when Louis left in 1924.
Collins' playing is similar to Armstrong's when he was leading his Hot
5 and Hot 7. Whereas Louis went on to change his style to suit the big
bands of the 30's and 40's and varying it again when he hit the road with
his Louis Armstrong Allstars in the 50's and 60's, Lee stayed playing
a hot 20's style horn. Like so many other traditional American jazzmen
of the period, Collins moved around, playing in New York, Chicago before
ending up in San Francisco. In 1951 he accompanied Mez Mezzrow to Europe.
On a second tour, in 1954, he returned home early with what later turned
out to be emphysema that then slowly killed him.
The quality of the recordings is not quite 'BBC', but the quality of the
jazzmen is never in doubt and Lee Collins is magnificent. Any failings
of the sound quality is more than made up for by the opportunity to listen
to a unique jazzman on some unique recordings. No serious jazz collector
can pass these CDs up.
- Geoff Boxell
Kings Jazz Review - England
A member of the Young Eagles band at the age of twelve, Lee Collins was
born in New Orleans at the turn of the last century, and in 1960 he died
in Chicago of a stroke after suffering badly a long period of illness.
In 1924, as Jimmy Lyons of CBS announces when introducing the West Ends
Blues track on this album, Lee joined King Oliver, and around that period
he, Collins, also recorded with Jelly Roll Morton. The West End Blues
number here is perhaps the Lee Collins version of it when he was with
the "King" all stars, and not the well-known version by Louis
Armstrong. Ralph Sutton, in 1968 was a founder member of the World's Greatest
Jazz Band, and during the prior decade when the air shots were recorded,
he was pianist at the Eddie Condon Club in New York, and who today can
be frequently heard at clubs and venues in London, England.
Although Lee Collins is undoubtedly the star of the recordings, special
note is merited for the Pud Brown period of clarinet playing with honk
sax on The Johnson Rag which is impressive, but if the tune is dedicated
to James P. then it's out of kilter.
The eight and a half minutes of I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say is
Influenced by Fats Waller and Earl "Fatha" Hines, Don Ewell
(Vol.2) in brief, led a five piece in St Louis, which included trumpeter,
bandleader Jewey Jackson, who in 1924, was with Fate Marable on the riverboats.
Don was with Kid Ory on the West Coast at time of these recordings. A
few years earlier he had moved to Chicago and played with Muggsy Spanier
and Sydney Bechet where he absorbed the blues into his piano style at
the time. An interesting facet of this Vol is to note the blues style
clarinet on the second version of Fidgety Feet. Chinatown is breathtaking.
Relax with Basin Street. ODJB One-Step; the longest tune brings a Dixieland
flavour to the hearings.
Few will be alive today having heard Lee Collins play live in his early
days, a few will be in possession of his 20s Jones and Collins Astoria
Hot Eight, Victor takes, and the 1932 Bluebird Race Label re-issues, and
so, much credit goes out to Jazz Crusade for giving us the opportunity
to listen to these historic CBS Air Shots. Listen to them.
- Ian King
Jazzreview.com - U.S.A.
Trumpeter, Lee Collins (1901-1960), is considered by many to be one of
the prime descendants of the style developed by uddy Bolden and Bunk Johnson.
Born in New Orleans a few short months after Louis Armstrong, the two
shared the same instructor, Peter Davis. Armstrong studied under Davis
at the Waif's Home while Collins attended evening lessons at the teacher's
residence. Lee Collins received additional training from Professor Jim
Humphrey, grandfather of Percy and Willie Humphrey, who were well known
through their appearances with the Preservation Hall bands. Collins recorded
sparsely under his own name but is heard in the recordings of Luis Russell,
King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and later with his own Jones and Collins
Astoria Hot Eight in 1929.
The recordings presented in this CD offering are air shots from broadcasts
originating from San Francisco's "Club Hangover" during the
late summer of 1953. The Club Hangover was immortalized in the late Joe
Sullivan's composition "Hangover Blues." The two volumes place
Lee Collins in the company of pianists Ralph Sutton (1922 - ) and Don
Ewell (1916-1983). Both pianists require little introduction to jazz enthusiasts.
Sutton was a stalwart of the bands of Eddie Condon, George Wettling, Jack
Teagarden and The World's Greatest Jazz Band. He still performs today
as a solo act. Don Ewell is a veteran of the bands of Muggsy Spanier,
Kid Ory and Sidney Bechet and later recorded solo albums for Good Time
Jazz and other labels. Add a couple of great reed players to the mix in
the persons of Pud Brown and Bob McCracken and the whole thing begins
The two CDs combine to include a total of 28 tracks, recorded before a
live audience and result in some of the hottest jazz on record. Collins
is a "young" 52 years of age at the time and is in fine form.
The influence of Louis and Bunk is undeniable and most welcome. In spite
of his few prior recordings, Lee Collins holds a major place in jazz history.
Some tunes must be mentioned specifically as they are quite outstanding.
Among them are West End Blues, After You've Gone, Original Dixie Jass
Band One Step, I've Found a New Baby, If I Could Be With You and I Thought
I Heard Buddy Bolden Say.
Lee Collins plays in a hot and punchy style and when working with the
backing of Pud Brown and the pianists, the music becomes breathtaking.
This is exciting material and highly recommended listening. Thanks to
Dr. Colin Bray for making his collected material available to Jazz Crusade.
- Richard Bourcier
AMG **** Review - U. S. Jazz Guide
This is the companion volume to Lee Collins at Club Hangover, Vol. 1.
There are a few differences between this album and the first volume, the
most significant being that pianist Don Ewell is featured rather than
Ralph Sutton (even though Sutton shows up on the first four tracks). The
other big difference is that, while the play list continues to accent
familiar New Orleans favorites, there are more slower tempo performances
on this disk than on Vol. 1. This allows Collins and his crew to show
that they are just as adept at playing that slow drag tempo unique to
New Orleans traditional jazz. There is also another change in the ensemble,
as Bob McCracken replaces Pud Brown on reeds. The difference between these
two fine players is indistinguishable. Like Vol. 1, this is toe-tapping,
arm-swinging New Orleans jazz at its best, and is recommended. And also
like Vol. 1, the interesting and knowledgeable liner notes by Colin Bray
enhance this release considerably.
- Dave Nathan
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