The seventh of the Classics label's 12 Cab Calloway CDs traces his progress during an 11-month period through 24 recordings. The band's main soloists at the time included trumpeters Shad Collins and Irving Randolph, trombonists Claude Jones and Keg Johnson and especially tenor great Chu Berry (the band gets four instrumentals on this set). Singer June Richmond has a couple of vocals but obviously Cab Calloway is the main reason that the orchestra was working so steadily. With such songs as "Shout Shout, Shout," "Do You Wanna Jump Children" and "F.D.R. Jones" among the more memorable tracks, this CD (along with the others in the valuable series) is well worth picking up.
The swing era may have been at its height during the time covered by this CD (the sixth of 12 put out by the Classics label that reissue all of Cab Calloway's 1930-42 recordings) but the colorful vocalist held onto his audience and remained a household name. With such soloists as Ben Webster or Chu Berry on tenor, trumpeters Shad Collins and Lammar Wright and a rhythm section including guitarist Danny Barker and bassist Milt Hinton, Calloway had a particularly strong (if generally overlooked) orchestra. Among the more memorable selections of the 24 included on this CD are "Swing, Swing, Swing," "She's Tall, She's Tan, She's Terrific," "Bugle Blues" and "Hi-De-Ho Romeo."
Cab Calloway's eccentric personality and wild onstage antics often overshadowed his musical contributions, when in fact, as this superb Columbia sampler demonstrates, the two went hand in hand. On all-time classic tracks like "The Jumpin' Jive," "Reefer Man," and the inexhaustible "Minnie the Moocher," the Hi-Di-Ho man's exuberance and vitality as a performer is grounded by his tight bandleading and the outstanding playing of his orchestra (which, over the years, included such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Barefield and Chu Berry).
The Heat is turned up again for another chapter in the 25-year history of Pierre Lacocque's Mississippi Heat. The Living Blues review of their previous album said 'Warning Shot (DMK 839) showcases bandleader and principal songwriter Lacocque's eloquent harp playing, supported by a cast of heavy hitters that delivers the trademark big band sound and one of the hottest, tightest bands in Chicago today, and the original songs on this album are pure fun and are worthy additions to the great history of Chicago blues. ' Cab Driving Man features 15 new songs with Inetta Visor and Michael Dotson as lead vocalists again. The songs are a wonderful blend of Mississippi, Chicago, boogie, swing and south of the border.