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Chicago Breakdown

Sonny Clay's Plantation Orchestra


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Sonny Clay Plays
Jelly Roll Morton


Recorded in Los Angeles, California on February 2nd 1926 featuring William Blakeney trumpet, William Woodman Sr. trombone, Leonard Davidson clarinet & soprano sax, James Carson clarinet & tenor sax, Sonny Clay piano, Louis Dodd banjo, and Willie McDaniels drums.

*Chicago Breakdown" was composed by Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton.

Sonny Clay's band deliver this familiar Jelly Roll Morton theme with a refreshingly different approach.

James Carson's exciting tenor saxophone is both soothing to the jazz listener's ear and does well to mask the fact that the piano here is far different from that of Morton.

In fact instead of trying to match the impressive attack of the tune's composer, here Sonny decidedly stays more toward the chordal approach commonly used for ensemble playing.

Clay, who was once the drummer for Morton's touring band, incorporates his own master percussionist
Willie McDaniels whose favorable input is particularly noticeable towards the end.

William Woodman, Sr., aka "Woody", was the patriarch of a musical family that became the teen-aged "Woodman Bros." band in the 30's. These young men were school friends with Charlie Mingus and later recorded with him in Los Angeles, including trombonist Britt Woodman, who appears in the "All God's Children Got Rhythm" section of "A Day at the Races (1937)." Britt later played with Les Hite, Benny Carter and Wilbert Baranco and became world famous with Duke Ellington in the 1950's. -Daniel Weinstein

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