Loren McMurray • The Moaninest Moan Of Them All

Before Coleman Hawkins, Sidney Bechet, Frank Trumbauer, Jimmy Dorsey, and Adrian Rollini made their first recordings, there was Loren McMurray (1897-1922). A technically skilled alto-saxophonist and clarinetist who occasionally played tenor, baritone, and soprano and was practicing to also master the bass clarinet, McMurray made a strong impression for a short time. Unfortunately his tragic death at age 25 from an infection cut short his life and he has been largely forgotten ever since. Archeophone has compiled a two-CD set containing 49 of McMurray’s best recordings plus a selection by the Eddie Elkins band on which the group plays without the then-stricken saxophonist. The accompanying 80-page booklet is filled with rare information about McMurray but it has a few faults that are rather surprising for the Archeophone label. No credits are given anywhere for the lengthy liner notes. Colin Hancock put together the notes which are based on a lengthy article by Mark Berresford originally for Vintage Jazz Mart. Also missing is a listing of the personnel. While each of the performances is discussed and some of the other soloists and lead voices are sometimes mentioned, it is hit and miss. It is true that some of the personnel is probably lost to history, but considering that the cast occasionally includes trumpeter Phil Napoleon (always impressive whenever he appears), pianist Jimmy D
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Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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