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Mezz Mezzrow was a jazz clarinettist and saxophonist, bandleader and entrepreneur, primarily associated with New Orleans and Dixieland jazz, whose career encompassed the decades before and after WWII, playing alongside some of the genre’s biggest names and organising many landmark recording sessions. This substantial 45-track collection draws from a significant proportion of the recording sessions in which he participated in the quarter century and more which it covers, selecting material which highlights his distinctive style as an ensemble player, soloist and leader. He was by no means a virtuoso musician but he was a vital catalyst in bringing together excellent orchestras and small groups, in the 1940s forming his own label King Jazz to release some of them. Some of his most notable work was with Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier during this period, but over the years he worked with a host of major names, whose performances are featured here. It’s an entertaining overview of the core career of one of the genre’s colourful and influential personalities.
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