Other Places: Hot Lips Page & A Real Record Store


Speaking of quasi-forgotten trumpeters of the 1930s and ‘40s (see the Benny Carter item in the previous exhibit), in his current post, blogger and frequent Rifftides correspndent Bruno Leicht highlights Hot Lips Page. Here’s some of what he writes about that musician of astonishing gifts:

‘Hot Lips’ was a joyful trumpeter with a big tone, directly influenced by Louis Armstrong. Most commercial studio dates don’t reflect his daring trumpet excursions; they rarely let you hear adequately how he really sounded. — He sometimes went to the extreme, as the following great interpretation of “I Got Rhythm” from 1940 shows.

To hear Lips in that remarkable recording, another in which he plays and sings in collaboration with Artie Shaw, a third one with his own band, and to read about Page, go here.


With ironic intent, I have occasionally used the term “your corner record store” when suggesting that you seek out certain recordings. Well, there are a few actual record stores left, as opposed to the virtual ones on the internet. In The Chicago Tribune last week, Howard Reich wrote a profile of one of the biggest, oldest and—believe it or not— most profitable. It is Chicago’s venerable Jazz Record Mart. To read Howard’s piece, go here.

Coming soon: new Doug’s Picks and a few recommendations from the never-ending stream of new releases.

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  1. Chuck Mitchell says

    The Howard Reich piece on Jazz Record Mart was very encouraging. I started buying blues albums there in the ninth grade, circa 1964, when the shop was a storefront at 7 West Grand, just north of the Loop and up the stairs from a subway stop on State Street. Even then, with a much smaller floor space, they had everything both novices like me and middle-aged collectors could want; plus the benefit of Bob Koester’s expertise, which was both completely knowledgeable and utterly profane. I always appreciated the fact that he respected this 14 year-old enough to not hold back on the cursing. The rest of the staff was no less astute, if somewhat more laid back, and that included the great Bruce Iglauer, who eventually built Alligator Records into one of the powerhouse independent imprints.

    There are other independent retailers who are poised to hold their own against the digital tides, including the next phase of the revolution, streaming on demand from the “cloud,” which looks to do away with ownership altogether. Amoeba Records in LA and SF, Music Millenium in Portland OR, and Austin’s Waterloo are just a few. They know their customers intimately and are beholden to the concept of consumer, not shareholder, value. That’s something the few remaining national chains still carrying music aren’t really focused on.

    I’ve tried to put dollars, promotional programs, and (where possible) in-store performances at the independent retail level, especially for touring artists like The Bad Plus and Bela Fleck. It always yields positive results. It’s hard to deny the convenience of Amazon or even iTunes, where the selections are deep and the gratification instant. But indie retail needs to be supported wherever it exists. Besides, the fresh air is good for you. I’m getting out from behind this computer and hitting Other Music in Manhattan right now.

  2. says

    In Todd Bryant Weeks’ fine biography of Page, “Luck’s In My Corner: The Life and Music of Hot Lips Page” (Routledge, 2008), there’s a detailed analysis and transcription of Page’s “I Got Rhythm” solo.