If you’re a fan of jazz guitar, especially that from 1920 to 1950, you need to check out Hittin’ On All Six (Proper Records CD Properbox 9), a four-CD set (with a 52-page booklet) featuring 94 songs by well-known players and lesser-known greats like Lonnie Johnson, George Barnes (“Spotlight” May ’95), Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Bus Etri, Oscar Moore, Arv Garrison, Mary Osborne, Billy Mackel, Al Hendrickson, Oscar Aleman, Chuck Wayne (“Spotlight” March ’95), Bill De Arango and Barry Galbraith.
Whether you have a reasonable-sized jazz guitar record/CD collection or are just beginning to develop an interest – there’s bound to be something you’ll really enjoy on this set. Everything from New Orleans-style jazz to swing to bebop is represented. The four CDs are titled The Early Masters, The Charlie Christian Revolution, Charlie’s Children and New Guitar Concepts.
I have plenty of favorites, beginning with disc one; “At Sundown” (the Manny Klein All Stars from ca. ’46 with a superb George Van Eps chord melody solo) and Dick McDonough doing the “Dick Bernstein Ramble” (from ’34). On disc two I dig “Jeepers Creepers” and “I Got Rhythm” (Oscar Aleman), “Esquire Bounce” (Coleman Hawkins’ Esquire All Stars with Al Casey on guitar), “That’s All” (Lucky Millinder and His Orchestra with Sister Rosetta Tharpe). On disc three there’s “Lament In Chords” (Cole Trio with Oscar Moore on guitar), “Top Hat Bop” (Cole Trio with Irving Ashby on guitar), “Hot In Harlem” (Tiny Grimes Quartet), “Blues A La Red” (Red Norvo All-Star Sextet with Remo Palmieri on guitar) and “Stardust” (Jimmy Shirley). On disc four: “China Boy” (Herbie Haymer’s Orchestra with Dave Barbour on guitar), “Spotlite” and “Allen’s Alley” (Coleman Hawkins’ 52nd Street All-Stars with Mary Osborne on guitar), “Blue Lou” (George Barnes) and “Minuet In Vout” (Slim Gaillard).
A note for those who already have extensive collections of Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt – there will be duplicate material. Christian and Reinhardt are the most represented players on this set, with six songs each.
But there are plenty of other stellar musicians, including Panama Francis, Teddy Wilson, Slam Stewart, Buck Clayton, Stephane Grappelli, Charlie Parker, Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum and Johnny Frigo.
And if all of this isn’t enough for you, the price should be the clincher. I picked this set up at Tower Records for less than $24! What a deal! Very Highly Recommended!
This review originally appeared in VG‘s July ’01 issue.