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Louis Prima

Breaking It Up!

(Legacy)

Last Friday I was channel surfing and happened to notice “Jump, Jive & Wail” playing in the background on teeny sitcom “It Takes Two.” If that doesn’t prove how ubiquitous Louis Prima was this year, then nothing does. I barely know a single person who didn’t pick up a copy of the Capitol Collectors Series disc this year—you know the one, yellow cover with a jolly, surprised-looking cover shot of the King of Lasagna Jazz.


Breaking It Up! compiles Prima’s 1951-1953 recordings for Columbia in the period right before he became the Las Vegas lounge superstar of the mid-‘50s. Prima’s salacious wit is in fine form on “Oooh-Dahdily-Dah” and he heaps on the Italian kitsch on “Basta,” and “Luigi.” It’s obvious that as early as 1951, Prima was already perfecting the riveting combination of humor, Dixieland, and R&B that would mark Prima a swing king and help kick-start today’s retro swing scene.

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Sarah Zupko founded PopMatters, one of the largest independent cultural criticism magazines on the web, back in the Internet's early days of 1999. Zupko is a former Executive Producer for Tribune Media Services, the media syndication arm of the Tribune Company, and a 10-year veteran of Tribune. Her other pursuits involve writing historical fiction and research in the fields of Slavic and German history, as well as general European cultural and intellectual history. Zupko studied musicology, film, and drama at the University of Chicago and media theory at the University of Texas, where she received her M.A.


Tagged as: louis prima
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