There were two different Savoy Sultans but they were closely related in style. The original group was led by saxophonist Al Cooper and performed regularly at the Savoy Ballroom during 1937-1941 and remained active up until 1946. Considered one of the hardest-swinging of all small groups of the era, the band consisted of two trumpets, three reeds including altoist Rudy Williams, and (for a time) tenor saxophonist George Kelly, plus a three-piece rhythm section. The Sultans had seven recording sessions for Decca during 1938-1941 but these are a bit erratic due to some of the horns being slightly out of tune. The Savoy Sultans' reputation therefore is largely due to the praise given by contemporaries including Dizzy Gillespie. The second Savoy Sultans were formed by veteran swing drummer Panama Francis in 1974 to play a concert; five years later, he formed the ensemble as a regular band. Using the same instrumentation (plus rhythm guitar) as its predecessor, Francis and his hot combo (which was superior to the original band) recorded for Black Blue in 1979 and Stash during 1982-1983. Among the sidemen were trumpeters Francis Williams, Irv Stokes, and Spanky Davis; the reeds of Norris Turney, Howard Johnson, Bobby Watson, and George Kelly (who was in the earlier group); and pianist Red Richards. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

Al Cooper and his Savoy Sultans - Second Balcony Jump
Panama Francis And The Savoy Sultans - Take The A Train
Al Cooper – Jumpin' at the Savoy
Take the a Train
Swingin' in the kitchen with 'Al Cooper & his Savoy Sultans'
Norfolk Ferry
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