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Cecil Gant: Hit That Jive, Jack

Duration: 3:00 minutes

Hit That Jive, Jack (Johnny Alston/Skeets Tolbert) - 3:00
Blues in L.A. (Cecil Gant) - 3:35
I Gotta Gal (Cecil Gant) - 2:55
Sloppy Joe's (Cecil Gant) - 3.00
Time Will Tell (James V. Monaco/Mack Gordon) -
What's on Your Worried Mind (Cecil Gant) -
Long Distance Call (Muddy Waters/John Lyon/Billy Rush) -
Am I to Blame (Billy Fazoli/Raymond W. Klages) -
Boogie Blues (Cecil Gant) - 2.50
My Little Baby (Henry Glover/Sally Nix) - 3.54
That's the Stuff You Gotta Watch (Edgar Battle/Noble Sissle) - 2.52
Cecil's Boogie (Cecil Gant) - 2.26


Cecil Gant was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1913 and worked area clubs until enlisting in the army during World War II. His performance during a 1944 War Bond rally in Los Angeles launched his recording career as a singing pianist. Gant was billed as the “G.I. Sing-sation” as he toured the country. Gant’s gravelly but infectious voice, plus a piano style combining blues, boogie-woogie and a touch of swing, gained him some notoriety. Gant had a hit with his original “I Wonder” for the small independent label Gilt Edge and recorded a number of discs for them between 1944-1948. Unfortunately, the musician’s battle with alcoholism and fragile mental state hampered his career. He returned home to Nashville, making a few records at the dawn of rock’n roll before succumbing to a heart attack there on February 4, 1951, two months shy of his thirty-eighth birthday.
The discographical data and personnel lists for these sessions are sketchy, liking coming from a number of record dates for several labels between 1945 and 1950. Gant’s upbeat treatment of “Hit That Jive, Jack,” a swing tune that was a hit for Nat King Cole, includes a few liberties with the lyric and some fun scatting in unison with his swinging piano. A few tracks sound recorded after the transcription era, with audible reverb on the vocals. Gant’s rollicking treatment of “Time Will Tell” includes vibes, guitar, bass and drums, the same instrumentation for his narrative setting of Muddy Waters’ “Long Distance Call.” A real obscurity is the Edgar Battle/Noble Sissle composition “That’s the Stuff You Gotta Watch,” a solo feature for Gant that best demonstrates the strength of his piano playing. Six of the songs are originals by the pianist, including a rousing boogie woogie instrumental “Cecil’s Boogie,” the late night-flavored vocal “Blues in L.A.” and the very similarly constructed “I Gotta Gal,” plus the medium boogie “What’s On Your Worried Mind.” Cecil Gant may be little known today, but his songs have been recorded by a number of artists, including Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Woody Herman, Tony Bennett, The Mills Brothers, B. B. King and Roosevelt Sykes.
Note: tracks 5 & 7 have reverb, so they were likely recorded in 1950 in Nashville.
Cecil Gant-piano, vocals
unknown bass-1, 4, 5, 7, 8
unknown electric guitar- 5, 7
unknown drums-1, 4, 5, 7, 8
unknown vibes-5, 7
unknown tenor sax-8

 
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