Towards the end of 1951, Roy Eldridge moved from Europe, where he had made numerous recordings with top jazz musicians, back to New York. This move coincided with the founding of Norman Granz’s new label Norgran and it goes without saying that the name came up of the small man Roy (nicknamed 'Little Jazz') whenever a trumpeter was required for a studio jig. Like no other, Eldridge was able to switch without a hitch between swing and bebop and, like Dizzy Gillespie, he was also a showman par excellence.
"Rockin’ Chair" is his most famous number and it not only provides the album name but is the best number on this LP, which contains a selection of titles made at three very different recording sessions. Among the four numbers with strings and arrangements by George Williams, the melancholy "I Remember Harlem" is highly recommendable. Then there are four rhythm ’n’ blues numbers which are set alight by the scorching tones of tenor sax player Buddy Tate. That Roy Eldridge is a highly original singer has been known ever since he worked with Gene Krupa; "Jumbo The Elephant", a typical jump number, harks back to these days. The four numbers from 1952 with Oscar Peterson at the piano or organ are without a doubt the highlights of these recordings.
"Rockin’ Chair" is a real treat for swing and mainstream fans alike. A real must-have too, if you want to hear a trumpet being played by a man who masters both the high and low registers without the least difficulty, who changes his style as easily as a chameleon changes its color, and who adds a touch of humor on top of all that.