MEMPHIS NIGHTHAWKS / Jazz Lips -CD *Delmark-216
The Memphis Nighthawks got together in Champaign-Urbana, IL, were members of the U. of I. Jazz Band and took their name from a 1932 recording though neither group came from Memphis. Ron DeWar (soprano sax, clarinet, C Melody sax) has since worked in Chicago, notably with pianist Judy Roberts. Co-founder Steve Jensen (trumpet) also co-founded the Jazz Members Big Band. Trombonist Joel Helleny moved to New York and did the trombone solos on the soundtrack of Cotton Club, was only 20 when these sides were cut in the late 70’s. The rhythm section includes bass saxist Dave Feinman who later had the Gatemouth label. Mike Miller (banjo, guitar) was sometimes abetted by guest drummer Bob Kornacher of the Dixie Stompers . Joe Klee in The Mississippi Rag said “From the opening track this band moves like a house afire”!