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Monday, June 20, 2022

Hot Pennies - Red Nichols


Row, Row, Row

Hot Pennies
Red Nichols
Capitol Records T775

From the back cover: For 30 years, Red has been recording the music he loves most dearly – American jazz. He was a famous leader at 16, and at 19 was the trumpet-tooting boss of men like Glenn Miller, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and other hot virtuosi of eminence.

Nichols' famed "Five Pennies" waxed scores of hit records, his orchestra played in the pits of a dozen memorable Broadway musical shows, and radio broadcasts throughout the 1920's and 1930's further established the skilled horn man from Ogden, Utah, as an international favorite. Red's abrupt decision in 1942 to abandon music, take a welding job in the Oakland shipyards an remain under the same roof every night with his polio-stricken daughter, is a story that is perhaps without equal in American popular music.

Millions were stirred by the story in October, 1956, when Red was the subject of a "This Is Your Life" program. And in December of the same year, Paramount began the motion picture production of the Nichols story at a cost of $3,000,00.

Here, in "Hot Pennies," Red is showcased in a long-play album recorded in true hi-fi for the first time in his career.

Surrounding the leader are Bob Hammack,  piano; Abe Lincoln, King Jackson and Moe Schneider, trombones' Joe (Blizzard Gizzard) Rushton and his bass saxophone; Billy Wood and Heinie Beau, clarinets; Wayne Songer, alto saxophone; George Van Eps, guitar; Jack Ryan, string bass; Al Stevenson, piano (rhythm); and Rollie Culver, drums. There are no vocals. All selections were recorded in the Capitol Tower on September 7 and 10, 1956.

The tunes are all particularly identified with Nichols and his bright Pennies – have been for years. But essentially, this is a Nichols package, dominated by his punching trumpet and inspiring personality.

From Billboard - February 23, 1957: Nichols' film bio is on the way, and it figures to create interest in this package. Most of the numbers included here are famous Nichols vehicles from the Five Pennies' heyday in the late 1920's, and they've been updated somewhat. The style now may be called a modified Dixieland, with Nichols' cornet sparkling, and sounding better than ever in hi-fi. His colleagues aren't particularly distinguished as soloists, but the ensembles are okay. Dixie fans and nostalgic old-timers constitute your market. "Louisiana" and "Peg O' My Heart" are samples.

Mood Indigo
Maple Leaf Rag
Peg O' My Heart
Marchin' With The Saints
Mama's Gone, Goodbye
Farewell Blues
Blues At Midnight
Row, Row, Row

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