Throughout his life Chick Webb battled terrible physical handicap. Downbeat magazine described him in 1939 as ï¿½??deformed, dwarfish and delicate." Despite all personal adversity Chick was regarded by his contemporaries as the finest drummer in jazz. Buddy Rich said of him, ï¿½??He represented true hipness. His playing was original, different, completely his own,ï¿½?ï¿½ and Gene Krupa stated, ï¿½??I found direction when I first heard Chick. He changed everything around me not long after I came to New York. He thought in an original way and knew exactly what to do, particularly in a big band. All of us in that ï¿½??learninï¿½?? grooveï¿½?? in the 1930s were enlightened by him.ï¿½?ï¿½ Using a drum kit custom built for his specific needs, Chick fronted one of the finest big bands of the swing era. Not only did his band feature some of the best instrumentalists and arrangers of the day, it also proved the launching pad and nurturing ground for the phenomenal talents of Ella Fitzgerald, with the band producing one of the biggest hits of the swing era in ï¿½??A-Tisket, A-Tasketï¿½?ï¿½, a number one for 10 weeks during summer 1938. Chick and Ella had finally arrived and the band became a national attraction. However Chickï¿½??s health began to steadily deteriorate, yet he carried on playing and recording, even being carried to and from his drum kit at gigs. On June 16, 1939, Chick Webb died of tuberculosis of the spine, aged just 32. The recordings in this box set are testament to his abilities, with tracks ranging from his earliest recordings up to a broadcast mere weeks before his death, providing telling evidence of the collective energy Chick Webb and his band could muster, and that Chick himself played with undiminished fervour almost until the day he died. His short life had been a story of inner strength and perseverance.
Disc 11. Heebie Jeebies 3:05
Disc 21. Are You Here To Stay? 3:09
Disc 31. You Showed Me The Way 3:06
Disc 41. Spinnin' The Webb 3:04