Wild Bill Davison (1906-89) was one of the most colorful of all jazz cornetists/trumpeters. He had a distinctive sound and filled his solos with emotions ranging from sarcastic to sentimental. His growls and upper register screams (which were always a joy) made most other Dixieland trumpeters seem a bit bland in comparison. Davison had a long career and was often associated with Eddie Condon.
The Commodore Master Takes is a 1997 collection of the 24 selections that Davison made for the Commodore label during 1943 and 1945-46. They were his first recordings as a leader. At the head of groups that featured George Brunies, Lou McGarity or George Lugg on trombone, and Pee Wee Russell, Albert Nicholas, Joe Marsala, or Edmond Hall on clarinet, Wild Bill is heard in his early prime. The Commodores start off with what is arguably the hottest version ever of “That’s A Plenty” (Brunies never sounded better) and continues through a set filled with Dixieland and swing standards. As was typical of him throughout his career, Davison never plays a dull or uninspired note. Most of these songs would be in his repertoire for the next 40 years yet he managed to always sound enthusiastic and creative within his style. Whether it is “Panama,” “Original Dixieland One Step,” “Big Butter And Egg Man” or “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams,” Wild Bill Davison is fiery throughout. If this particular CD is difficult to find, several European labels have also reissued this classic music. In any format, it belongs in everyone’s collection, along with a dozen other Wild Bill albums.
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