Rifftides reader Ted Arenson writes in response to yesterday’s posting about bees and a piece of bee-oriented music:
How about Hamp and the Ellingtonians great recording of “Buzzin ‘Round with the Bee?”
That’s a fine reminder of the many all-star sessions that Lionel Hampton recorded for RCA Victor in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Victor usually listed the records as by “Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra,” suggesting a studio full of musicians. In fact, the bands were combos of as few as six and no more than ten players. They included a cross section of the most prominent jazz artists of the period and helped to overcome the reluctance of major record companies to combine black and white musicians in the studios.
With thanks to Mr. Arenson and at the no doubt small risk of soliciting a tsunami of suggestions about jazz pieces having to do with bees, we bring you “Buzzin’ ‘Round With The Bee.” Lionel Hampton, vibes and vocal; Cootie Williams, trumpet; Lawrence Brown, trombone; Johnny Hodges, alto saxophone; Jess Stacy, piano; Alan Reuss, guitar; John Kirby, bass; Cozy Cole, drums.
Readers with sharp eyes may have noticed that the record label lists Mezz Mezzrow on clarinet, but he is nowhere to be heard on that track or on “Whoa Babe” and “Stompology,” the other two from the April 14, 1937 session. The Mosaic label has a five-CD box of Hampton’s Victor sessions from 1937 to 1941, amazingly not yet sold out. To see my Jazz Times review of the set, go here.