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It's Hard to Laugh Or Smile

Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra


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Feat. Jack Washington


Recorded in Camden, New Jersey on September 7th 1928 featuring Ed Lewis and Booker Washington cornet, Thamon Hayes trombone, Harlan Leonard clarinet & alto sax, Woody Walder clarinet & tenor sax, Jack Washington alto & baritone sax, Bennie Moten piano & director, Leroy Berry banjo, Vernon Page bass brass, and Willie McWashington drums.

*"It's Hard to Laugh Or Smile" was composed by Bennie Moten.

Jack Washington joined Bennie Moten's Orchestra fresh out of high school. His experience as a performer began on soprano sax when he was thirteen before making a permanent transition to baritone. Aside from brief periods with a couple of other groups, Washington remained with the "Kansas City Orchestra" for the duration until Moten's death in 1935. Afterwards, he joined the "Count Basie Orchestra" where he stayed until their brief disbandment in 1950. Quickly forgotten, Jack Washington was one of the very first strong baritone soloists.
-Matt Chauvin

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