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Review by Scott Yanow: he Hottest of the Philip Lewis/Rhythm Maniacs Recordings


The Hottest Of The Philip Lewis/Rhythm Maniac Recordings (RTR 79064) has 20 hot dance/jazz performances from 1928-30.

While it is true that in the 1920s virtually all of the jazz innovators came from the United States, there was a great deal of rewarding music that was recorded during that decade in other countries. Collectors of 1920s jazz will find that the better British hot dance bands contained plenty of rewarding jazz solos.
Philip Lewis was a musical director for the Decca label but he had very little to do with the recordings that were released under his name. Arthur Lally, who is unfortunately long forgotten, was the musical director of the Rhythm Maniacs, the group that used Philip Lewis’ name. Lally was one of the first jazz baritone saxophonists in history (emerging about the same time as Harry Carney) and he was also excellent on clarinet, alto and bass sax. 24 of the Rhythm Maniacs’ finest recordings, dating from 1928-30, are included on this well-conceived reissue of mostly rare material.
Other than Lally, the two main soloists during these recordings are a pair of Americans who were in Europe at the time: trumpeter Sylvester Ahola and clarinetist Danny Polo. Both deserve to be better known by vintage jazz collectors. While many of these performances include period vocals (these were originally meant to be dance band rather than out-and-out jazz performances) they are easy to take, especially those of Elsie Carlisle. Among the highlights are such numbers as “Doin’ The New Lowdown,” “Diga Diga Doo,” “Tiger Rag,” “Raisin’ The Roof” and “That’s A Plenty.”
This CD is a delight for collectors of early jazz.
Scott Yanow


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