This Soundie is for fans of jazz dance and the music of the big bands. In this case, we are treated to one of the more obscure jazz orchestras from the war years, one led by veteran reedman Cecil Scott. Scott had recorded with Fletcher Henderson in the 1920s and worked frequently with Clarence Williams in the first half of the 1930s. A talented musician and strong soloist, Scott can be heard on dozens of recordings under a large number of leaders.
This Soundie almost certainly features the group that Cecil Scott led at New York’s Ubangi Club from 1942 into early 1945. An article in The Record Changer (September 1953) notes: “Once again [in early 1942], an attempt was made at forming a band when Cecil took a group into the Ugangi Club. In this band was, among others, Henry Goodwin on trumpet, and a young vocalist who is doing very well on her own these days — Ruth Brown.”
In late 1942 the band went on tour and was not able to find work upon its return to New York City. Scott was soon able to assemble another group and once again landed an extended engagement at the Ubangi Club. During this period Scott’s orchestra also appeared at the Apollo Theater and Harlem Opera House.
Unlike many Soundies dancers from this period, the team of Satchel Robinson and Francis Hill brought a carefully rehearsed routine to the studio. The two worked in East Coast nightclubs and theaters and what we see here is part of their regular stage performance.
The band a group of fine, highly professional musicians, many of whom are called upon to solo in the six Soundies from the series. Among the sidemen are Harry Goodwin, Gus Aiken, Courtney Williams, Ed Cuffee and Jonas Walker. It should be noted that a similarity in appearance notwithstanding, the pianist is not Thelonious Monk. (He is the only musician dressed in a light suit and may have been a last-minute replacement for Scott’s regular pianist.) Milt Hinton recognized drummer Hal “Sonny” Austin” He could not recall the drummer’s name but said that he had a “bad personality.”
The tune is titled “Contrasts in Rhythm,” possibly brought to the session by dancer Satchel Robinson. While there is no “contrast in rhythm” whatsoever, the song is composed of two distinct and contrasting musical themes. The first is rather nondescript and includes the “I Got Rhythm” release. The second is a contrafact of Nacio Herb Brown’s melodious “Yours and Mine.”