As a counterpoint to the boogie woogie piano craze of the era, trumpeter-bandleader Erskine Hawkins turned pianist Avery Parrish loose to wax a slow, atmospheric instrumental blues on a June 10, 1940, session in New York. Hawkins and his horn men come in only at the end of the song, leaving it a showcase for Parrish’s moody pianistics. The lastingly popular (and often rereleased) ‘After Hours’ (first issued as Bluebird B-10879) earned the unofficial title of the ‘Negro national anthem’ and was a tune every club or lounge pianist needed to know, regardless of their race or preferred musical genre. It also served as a theme for several radio programs. The record brought national fame to Parrish, a member of Hawkins’ band dating back to its ‘Bama State Collegians origins in Birmingham, but in 1943 he was hit over the head with a bar stool and was never able to perform again.

The second in the Classics label's reissuance of all of trumpeter/bandleader Erskine Hawkins' early recordings features the orchestra in its early prime. Although underrated in the history books, Hawkins led one of the finest big bands of the era. Among the more memorable selections in this consistently exciting set are "Weary Blues," "King Porter Stomp," "Swing Out," "Swingin' On Lenox Avenue," "Gin Mill Special," and the original version of "Tuxedo Junction." All of the CDs in the valuable series are highly recommended to swing collectors.


Erskine Hawkins And His Orchestra - Treasury Of Jazz N° 70Erskine Hawkins And His Orchestra - Treasury Of Jazz N° 70Erskine Hawkins And His Orchestra - Treasury Of Jazz N° 70Erskine Hawkins And His Orchestra - Treasury Of Jazz N° 70

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