The Moaninest Moan: Rediscovering Loren McMurray

While fishing for excuses for being beyond my deadline, I told the publisher this was the most important jazz release we have ever covered. For historical value At the Minstrel Show, which included a double CD and a related book along with extensive album notes, probably has the story of Loren “Mac” McMurray beat, but for jazz value, I think this one takes the cake. It stands out from releases of classic recording sessions, even when beautifully restored and annotated, because in the end that music has been frequently made available, and those stories made familiar. Product of Our Souls is a serious contender; it told the story of James Reese Europe and his compatriots, and was also released as a compliment to a full-length book. But Europe and the Clef Club is a story that will have no trouble getting told. Europe had an hour on NPR in early August. Another contender for most significant album might be The Missing Link: How Gus Haenschen Got Us From Joplin to Jazz and Shaped the Music Business, but, objectively, I think this new release accomplishes more, while also being more enjoyable. It is no coincidence that all the above are from Archeophone Records, or that Colin Hancock co-authored the album notes on both The Missing Link and today’s focus, The Moaninest Moan of Them All: The Jazz Saxophone of Loren McMurray, 1920-1922. Loren McMurray will be known only to the fanatic
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