The Vitality Five – High Fever

High Fever (by Joe Sanders, 1926)

The Vitality Five
Michael McQuaid – alto sax
David Horniblow – bass sax
Martin Wheatley – banjo
Andrew Oliver – piano
Nicholas D. Ball – drums

Here’s a great tune composed by Joe Sanders of the Coon-Sanders Nighthawk Orchestra, a very popular dance band of the 20s who had a spectacular career particularly in radio broadcasting.  This one was debuted by the Nighthawks in 1926 and quickly picked up by a number of other bands and recorded in that year.  The first recording I heard of it was by Doc Cooke’s Dreamland Orchestra, a great Chicago dance band which also played a far amount of hot jazz, and featured many great jazz luminaries including the clarinetist Jimmie Noone and the New Orleans trumpet pioneer Freddie Keppard (quite late in his career).  Cooke recorded two versions, one with the Dreamland Orchestra and one a few months later with a smaller version of the band, called Cookie’s Gingersnaps, which was much more of a small-group hot version of the tune than the more refined large ensemble version.  I based this arrangement for the Vitality Five on an amalgamation of both versions, with Michael McQuaid featured on Keppard’s fine hot cornet break at the end!  We recorded this earlier in 2017 at our drummer Nick’s amazing abode, more videos from that session forthcoming.  Thanks for reading and listening!

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