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:
May your happiness increase!