“THEY ADVISE BUCK-AND-WINGIN'”: FAYARD, HAROLD, and BOBBY MAKE MUSIC at DECCA (1937)

There’s something weirdly irresistible about jazz records with tap-dance passages, especially in this multi-media age when we expect to see as well as hear.  The tradition goes back to Bill Robinson, Fred Astaire, and forward to Jack Ackerman and Baby Laurence, among others.

A charming example of the phenomenon is the two sides the Nicholas Brothers (Fayard and Harold) recorded for American Decca, with a small, well-disciplined yet hot band — Decca studio players (who were also recording with Dick Robertson, the Andrews Sisters, Frank Froeba, and Teddy Grace) including Bobby Hackett, cornet; Ralph Muzzillo, trumpet; Al Philburn, trombone; Sid Stoneburn, clarinet; Frank Signorelli, piano; Dave Barbour, guitar; Haig Stephens, string bass; Stan King, drums.

I single out Bobby because he has a pearly eight-bar bridge on the first side, and to me, eight bars of Hackett is like a previously unknown Yeats fragment.  On the second side, Philburn and Stoneburn take the solos.  But listen closely to the underrated but distinctive Stan King throughout.  I don’t think the sides sold very well, because Decca did not repeat the experiment.

and the flip side:

Perfectly charming.

May your happiness increase!

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3 responses to ““THEY ADVISE BUCK-AND-WINGIN'”: FAYARD, HAROLD, and BOBBY MAKE MUSIC at DECCA (1937)

  1. You’re right Michael – Stan King is on top of his game here. Any tap dancer would have enjoyed dancing to his impeccable beat – it often pushed them to try something new. (Is it just me, or do I hear some Big Sid in a few spots?)

    Your entry heralds the truly good ‘old’ days, where entertainers did well who could sing, dance, play an instrument, tell jokes, change outfits etc. all during their 15 minutes on stage. With just his trap set alone Stan would have been welcomed.

  2. Don "Zoot"Conner

    Interesting,nice background.

  3. DAN MORGENSTERN

    Right about Stan King underrated. Manny Klein said he had the best and most unflappable time of any drummer he played with.

    >

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