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The Port of Harlem Jazzmen (1939)

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Teddy Bunn

The Port of Harlem Jazzmen were a tremendous all-star ensemble that recorded for Alfred Lion's label in 1939 and 1940. The earliest sessions featured trumpeter Frankie Newton and trombonist J.C. Higginbotham as the horn stars; virtuoso soprano saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet joined the group for its second recording session in 1939 and remained on board through 1940 as the band's identity changed to the Sidney Bechet Blue Note Quartet. This 19-track CD contains stomps, ballads, originals and reworked ditties over this period, showing how Bechet gradually become a dominant element of the band's sound. While Mosaic issued a definitive Port of Harlem Jazzmen album, this will suit those who either missed it or want a worthy companion volume.