Chick Webb: Liza
Chick Webb & His Orchestra
The Original Decca Recordings: Spinnin' the Webb (Decca)
Nat Story, Sandy Williams, George Matthews (trombone); Gavin Bushell, Louis Jordan, Teddy McRae, Wayman Carver (reeds); Tommy Fulford (piano), Bobby Johnson (guitar), Beverly Peer (bass).
Composed by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin and Gus Kahn.
Recorded: New York, May 3, 1938
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
Jazz fans all know Ella Fitzgerald's hit recording of "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" -- but how many have checked out this version of "Liza" on the flip side of the 78? Yet you would need to look far and wide to find a better exhibition of Swing Era drumming. Webb drives the band with a double dose of what Alan Greenspan might call "irrational exuberance." But you can't resist this beat -- no wonder the dancers stomped so hard at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, where Webb & Co. presided over the spirited proceedings. Listen and enjoy the band that defeated the Benny Goodman ensemble, the most famous jazz group of the age, at a heated Harlem battle a few months before this session. Webb would be dead, at age 30, before the close of the decade, but this track serves notice that he was one of the finest talents the jazz world has produced.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia