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Isham Jones: ’Neath Egyptian Skies

April 12, 2010

Isham Jones and His Orchestra in 1922. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Isham Jones and his Orchestra
’Neath Egyptian Skies

Recorded in 1923

The last time we heard from Isham Jones, he was playing a blues number, one of the big trends in early-1920s popular music. Here, on the other side of that record, he plays a pseudo-Oriental song, one of the other big trends of the time. Jones (who did most of his own arranging in the early 1920s) uses the standard “oriental” tricks: repeated rhythmic phrases in the background and plenty of chromatic runs. But he does it with good taste, creating just the atmosphere he wants.

There are no jazz solos in this arrangement, but in the second chorus you can hear the unmistakable muted trumpet of Louis Panico playing the melody with his own unique expression.

Isham Jones’ band had a long and distinguished history after Isham Jones. In 1936, Jones retired from the music business to raise chickens and rake in royalties from his hit songs. The band was taken over by his young singer and reed player Woody Herman, who kept it going, with short interruptions, for another fifty years. As far as I know it’s still going, though Woody Herman himself has been dead since 1987.

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From → Hot Dance

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