Live from the Cotton Club / Various
It’s been closed for over 60 years, but the Cotton Club is still the most famous jazz spot in the world. And now, here’s a way to experience what it was like to watch a show at "The Aristocrat of Harlem"; taped on April 20 and 21, 1931 for German radio, these recordings lay dormant in the vaults for 70 years until discovered by an assistant to the legendary John Hammond, Michael Brooks. These two nights were business-as-usual at the Club—Cab Calloway’s Orchestra accompanies such little-known artists as Lethia Hill, Eddie Rector and the Cotton Club Trio—but for a slice of legendary ambience, you simply couldn’t do better. Also on this 2-CD set are commercial recordings from the Cotton Club era, including a 1929 attempt to re-create the club’s live atmosphere inside a recording studio, recordings by artists (Bill Robinson, Libby Holman, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters, Lena Horne) who gained fame there and unreleased live recordings from the Cotton Club by Duke Ellington and also by "The Tramp Band," a fixture at the club during the ’20s. A hardcover book bursting with photos gives the inside story on who ran the nightclub and the shady individuals who in turn ran them. Another Bear Family historical triumph.
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