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Shorty & Doc Long On Fun

08 FEB 10 CHRIS SLAWECKI

Shorty And Doc (OJC) is one of those sets that just makes you feel real good. It captures a low-key yet powerful 1961 session that tag-teams two traditional trumpeters who played old-school even back in '61: Shorty Baker, who spent two decades in the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and Doc Cheatam, whose career began in 1920s vaudeville.

This trumpet tandem grooves in deep sympathetic stride in "Good Queen Bess" and each soloist sizzles and pops as they cook through "Baker's Dozen." You might not find a better tune for a blues blowing session than "Night Train," in these skilled hands a slow-rolling locomotive of classic jazz-blues fusion. For the romantic "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," Cheatam sits out to spotlight Baker, who moves softly among moonlight and shadows.

Pianist Walter Bishop Jr., the duo's primary instrumental counterpart, rides rhythm with restrained, contemplative funk, though he sure brings the heat when cooking up "Chitlin's." Drummer J.C. Heard (like Baker and Cheatam, a swing era veteran) locks the bottom down tight.

Shorty And Doc also raises a few fair points: How could this be Cheatam's first session as a featured soloist, even though by the time it was recorded he'd been playing professionally for about four decades? And while the history of jazz -- and the Concord catalog -- is full of tenor sax battles (Very Saxy, for example), why have there been so comparatively few tandem trumpet albums?

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    I Didn't Know What Time It Was

    Shorty Baker & Doc Cheatam, from Shorty ...

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    Satin Doll

    Duke Ellington And His Orchestra, from Har ...

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    Lester Leaps In

    Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, from Very Saxy ...

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