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Don Redman

The first great arranger in jazz history, Don Redman's innovations as a writer essentially invented the jazz-oriented big band with arrangements that developed yet left room for solo improvisations.

After graduating from college at the age of 20 with a music degree, Redman played for a year with Billy Paige's Broadway Syncopators and then met up with Fletcher Henderson. Redman became Henderson's chief arranger (although Fletcher was often later on mistakenly given credit for the innovative charts) in addition to playing clarinet, alto, and (on at least one occasion) oboe. Redman, whose largely spoken vocals were charming, recorded the first ever scat vocal on "My Papa Doesn't Two Time" in early 1924, predating Louis Armstrong. Although his early arrangements were futuristic, they could be a bit stiff, and it was not until Armstrong joined Henderson's orchestra that Redman (learning from the brilliant cornetist) began to really swing in his writing; "Sugar Foot Stomp" and "The Stampede" are two of his many classic charts.

It was a shock to Fletcher Henderson when Redman was persuaded in 1927 by Jean Goldkette to direct McKinney's Cotton Pickers. Redman soon turned the previously unknown group into a strong competitor of Henderson's, composing such future standards as "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" and "Cherry." He sang more, emphasized his alto over his more primitive sounding clarinet (guesting on some famous recordings with Louis Armstrong's Savoy Ballroom Five in 1928), and made a strong series of memorable records. In 1931, Redman put together his own big band which lasted (if not prospered) up until 1941. After that, he freelanced as an arranger for the remainder of the swing era, led an all-star orchestra in 1946 that became the first band to visit postwar Europe, and eventually became Pearl Bailey's musical director. Although he recorded a few sessions in the late '50s, Don Redman's main significance is for his influential work of the 1920s and '30s. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: An Anthology Of Big Band Swing (1930-1955)

Disc 1

1. Rockin' In Rhythm

2. House Of David Blues

3. Saratoga Drag

4. Savage Rhythm

5. Chant Of The Weed

6. St. Louis Blues

8. Down South Camp Meeting

9. Avalon

11. The Darktown Strutter's Ball

12. Polka Dot Rag

13. Stompin' At The Savoy

14. Peg O' My Heart

15. One O'Clock Jump

16. Casa Loma Stomp

17. South Rampart Street Parade

18. Liza

19. Dunkin' A Doughnut

20. You Rascal, You

Disc 2

1. Panassie Stomp

3. Jamaica Jam

4. Okay For Baby

5. Blues In The Groove

6. Murderistic

7. Swingmatism

8. Savoy

9. Blue River

10. Chicago

11. Fish Market

12. Gambler's Blues

13. I've Got You Under My Skin

14. Skyliner

15. Million Dollar Smile

16. Midriff

17. Bear Mash Blues

18. The Continental

19. The Blue Room

20. One O'Clock Jump

x

Track List: Black Legends Of Jazz

Disc 1

1. Somewhere Along The Way

2. Mahogany Hall Stomp

3. Solitude

4. Jumpin' At The Woodside

5. When The Sun Sets Down South

6. Night Hop

7. Blues In The Dark

8. Sweet Lorraine

9. Melancholy

10. After You've Gone

11. Mood Indigo

12. Lullaby Of Birdland

13. Midnight Sun

14. Body And Soul

15. Down South Camp Meetin'

16. Cavernism

17. Good Morning Heartache

18. Flying Home

19. Tishomingo Blues

20. Snowy Morning Blues

Disc 2

1. Yancey Special

2. Coquette

3. Something To Live For

4. Sepian Bounce

5. King Porter Stomp

6. Bump It

7. Sugar Foot Stomp

8. For Dancers Only

9. I Won't Be There Long

10. Chant Of The Weed

11. Good Morning Blues

12. Passionette

13. Blue Serge

14. Liza (All The Clouds'll Roll Away)

15. Rebecca

16. Blow Top Blues

17. Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie

18. Keep It (In The Groove)

19. One O'clock Jump

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