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Classic of the Week

May 19, 1994|BUDDY SEIGAL

Jimmy Rushing

"The Essential Jimmy Rushing" (tracks from the mid-'50s)

Vanguard

Rushing was one of the rare singers equally comfortable with blues, jazB: Best known for his work with the Count Basie Orchestra, "Mister 5 x 5" (for his short physical stature and considerable girth) was also at home singing a down-home duet with Muddy Waters or belting out a shouter with the Johnny Otis Show. He had a unique style of phrasing just behind or just in front of a beat that gave his songs a syncopated edge--an effect that complemented a lush, gorgeous tenor that effectively could convey every emotion from near-suicidal sadness to dry bemusement.

For these sessions, this pro's pro was in fine voice and obviously high spirits and was joined by a top-notch group of veteran jazzmen (many of whom were fellow Basie alums), including Sam Price, Walter Page, Jo Jones, Freddie Green and Buddy Tate. Their crack backing, and John Hammond's clean, tasteful production, add to the class of this fine primer on Rushing's brilliance.

MORE CLASSICS:

"Long Player" (1971), the Faces, Warner Bros.

"Throwing Muses" (1986), 4AD

"Women, Whiskey & Fish Tails" (1953-57), Wynonie Harris, Ace/King

"Sheer Heart Attack" (1974), Queen, Hollywood Records

"Monkey Hips and Rice" (anthology), the "5" Royales, Rhino

"Saturate Before Using" (1972), Jackson Browne, Elektra/Asylum

"Daydream Nation" (1988), Sonic Youth, DGC

"Money and Cigarettes" (1983), Eric Clapton, Warner Brothers

"Orgasmatron" (1986), Motorhead, Sinclair

"Hand of Kindness" (1983), Richard Thompson, Hannibal/Rykodisc

"The Best of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Vol. I and II" (1973), The Mighty Clouds of Joy, MCA

"Paris 1919" (1973), John Cale, Reprise

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