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Jack Chapman and His Drake Hotel Orchestra: Honolulu Blues

May 8, 2010

Jack Chapman's Drake Hotel Orchestra, from

Jack Chapman and His Drake Hotel Orchestra
Honolulu Blues

Recorded in 1923

Jack Chapman’s orchestra was a Chicago band that (according to the picture above) seems to have been part of Edgar Benson‘s musical empire. I really don’t know anything else about the band, although the Red Hot Jazz site has what seems to be a complete discography. The band on the record is slightly largar than the one in the photograph: there are two violins audible in the bridge of the last chorus, but only one in the picture. The instrumentation is unusual: the photograph shows no brasses—only reeds, strings, and rhythm—and the same is true on the record.

As for this record, there’s nothing special about it, except that it’s delightfully understated. “Hawaiian” music was one of the big fads of the 1920s, and like most of the musical fads of the time, it was susceptible to abuse. Here the arrangement is simple and straightforward, with no tricky breaks or modulations, and just enough ukulele behind the vocal to give us the proper Hawaiian atmosphere. It’s the musical equivalent of relaxing on a tropical beach with nothing to do all afternoon, or at least for the next two minutes and fifty-two seconds.


From → Hot Dance

One Comment
  1. Javier Soria permalink

    The vocalist on this recording saxophonist and clarinet player Clark Meyers.

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