Alchemia Garden: the album’s wonderful title, creates an enchanting, ambiguous effect. Lucas Niggli relates the organic, biological and growing, which develops on its own and is cultivated and maintained in the form of the garden, to the metamorphosis of material, the scientific search for something unknown which historically has been seen to generate something new.
At age 33 for this one, Mance (piano), with Bob Cranshaw (bass) and Mickey Roker (drums), has all the jazz and blues bases covered, going back to boogie and stride, through swing and bop, with a couple of more modernistic numbers rounding out this complete overview of classic American soul-based black music. Mance evokes wonderfully patient, romantic notions on "Creole Love Call," with creamy, molasses-like melodicism stirred by Roker's expert brush work. "Yancey Special" has Mance digging in and getting down as Roker shuffles along. "In the Evening" is much more tinkling and upbeat here than Leroy Carr wrote it, whereas the hard-swinging "Jumpin' the Blues" is as much fun to hear as it must have been to play…
‘The blues come to Texas, loping like a mule,’ Blind Lemon Jefferson sang through a shower of surface noise as he made his recording debut in March 1926. He established the primacy of Texas blues musicians that continued unchallenged for the next 30 years, encompassing the likes of Henry ‘Ragtime’ Thomas, Texas Alexander, T-Bone Walker, Smokey Hogg, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, Clarence Garlow, Lil’ Son Jackson, Lowell Fulson and Frankie Lee Sims. Other famous musicians recorded when they were passing through Texas, and that included Lonnie Johnson, Walter Davis, The Mississippi Sheiks, Robert Johnson, Roy Brown, Joe Turner, Honeyboy Edwards, Memphis Slim and Jimmy McCracklin.
The most complete Blues Project collection ever assembled, the two-disc Anthology compiles 36 tracks taken from their three albums on Verve and their two records on Capitol as well as rare singles, previously unreleased songs and alternate versions, and material from solo projects.
The blues recording industry began in New York City and for most of the 1920s, musicians travelled from all parts of the country to make their mark in the recording studio. Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey were amongst the most popular female singers but they were soon rivaled by the likes of Lonnie Johnson, Robert ‘Barbecue Bob’ Hicks, Texas Alexander and Mississippi John Hurt. Kansas Joe McCoy cut ‘When The Levee Breaks’, justly famous in its Led Zeppelin incarnation, in the city.