The censors must have had a conniption with this Soundie. While there are only casual references in the production files – by this time Soundies executives were used to the concerns in the half-dozen censorship states – a careful listen to the lyrics, which go a step beyond “double-entendre,” leave one a bit slack-jawed.
Campbell “Skeets” Tolbert led a jazz combo that played in a high-energy, almost frenetic manner that is often referred to as “jump blues. Or “jump jazz.” Tolbert enjoyed playing in the upper register and often employed bluesy, staccato phrasing. In this he shares a stylistic pallet with Pete Brown, Lem Davis, Earl Bostic and, of course, Louis Jordan. His 1944-45 combo included some important musicians on the nascent bop scene. Trumpet player Leonard Hawkins was on Dexter Gordon’s second date as a leader and would later play in Billy Eckstine’s big band. Ebenezer Paul’s string bass was heard throughout Harlem, and something in the back of my memory says that he organized the jam sessions at either Minton’s on Monroe’s. The rest of the combo, on the other hand, is totally unknown to me: Alfred Page, tenor sax; Robert Harley, piano and Joseph Nicholas, drums.
“Blitzkrieg Bombardier,” a Skeets Tolbert composition, is ostensibly about flying a wartime bomber on a blitzkrieg mission. This is one case where I will assert that, after one listen to the song, you will hear another meaning to the lyrics altogether — and not see me as the “mind with the dirty man.” Beyond the lyrics, there are some fine solos from Tolbert, Hawkins and Harley, making this a fine example of small group jazz from the mid-1940s.