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I Wish I Could Be Blue

Bennie Moten's
Kansas City Orchestra


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Feat. Eddie Durham


Recorded in Kansas City, Missouri on October 27th 1930 featuring Bennie Moten director, Ed Lewis, Booker Washington, and Hot Lips Page trumpets, Thamon Hayes trombone, Eddie Durham trombone, guitar, & arranger, Harlan Leonard clarinet, alto, & soprano sax, Jack Washington clarinet, alto, & baritone sax, Woody Walder clarinet & tenor sax, Count Basie piano, Buster Moten piano-accordion, Leroy Berry banjo, Vernon Page bass brass, and Willie McWashington drums.

*"I Wish I Could Be Blue" was composed by Bennie Moten, Eddie Durham, and William Basie.

Co-composer and arranger Eddie Durham's guiar solo output on this side consists solely of a 4 bar intro. This record, which had completely flown under my radar previously, is another masterpiece by ED, and one of the few Moten's from this era that would have fit in with the great 1932 sides. Aside from ED's guitar intro, there are no solos, only piano fills from Basie in the first and third chorus, but I don't miss the solos at all. To use Martin Williams' phrase, this side is completely emotionally cohesive, in my opinion. The 4 beat tuba, tempo and harmonies all were more typical of the mid-30's. The sax section voicing in the first chorus (baritone sax lead with alto above and tenor below) is subtle and mellow while the rest of the record shows a band phrasing together in a most singing and swinging manner. Only the clarinet trio of the second chorus is a bit jarring; it sounds like one of the three didn't quite have his part mastered. Apart from that minor flaw, this is a great and unique Moten side. -Daniel Weinstein

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