While Cecil Scott’s orchestra did some traveling, it mostly played in Manhattan. Scott had obtained a long-running engagement at the Ubangi Club, on the site formerly hosting Connie’s Inn, and the stability of the gig allowed him to assemble a fine group of Harlem and Brooklyn-based musicians who preferred not to tour. Scott was not a Duke Ellington or Count Basie, and there as a result there are no stellar names in the band. Still, big band fans will be familiar with such sidemen as Harry Goodwin, Gus Aiken, Jonas Walker, Ed Cuffee, Sonny Austin and a few others. But even if you don’t know a single musician, there is good listening here!
“Mr. X Blues” is probably a Sammy Price melody and arrangement. Cecil Scott introduces the melody (such that it is) of this 12-bar blues. There are fine solos by Harry Goodwin on trumpet, Jonas Walker on trombone, and an unidentified alto sax who I think is Alan “Poopsie” Miller. There is a certain rushed feeling to this entire series, and director William Forest Crouch seemed to be rushing to complete the films. Jonas Walker, for example, is seen playing open trombone, yet on soundtrack he uses a mute. Drummer Sonny Austin is seen playing wire brushes, but would certainly have used sticks on a swing number like this.
But no matter. This film is almost the entire recorded evidence of Cecil Scott’s band, and how lucky we are Scott’s band made it to the Panoram screen!