The Famous Door Record Label series by producer Harry Lim and now remastered and re-released through Progressive Records and the GHB Jazz Foundation represents one of the finest collections of mid-1970s Jazz. It showcases performers at the peak of their performance prowess. This session originally released on LP as Famous Door HL-130 is no exception. It features an extraordinary lineup of New York City Jazz musicians in support of Mousey on this, his first recording date as a band leader. Included are also several alternates which provide different approaches regarding tempo or arrangement on the day of the studio session and allow a unique look into the soloists abilities across different takes of the same tune.
Elmer 'Mousey' (sometimes spelled 'Mousie') Alexander, was an American jazz drummer born in Gary, Indiana in 1922 to Assyrian parents from Iran. (At only 5’4’’ tall his tiny appearance behind the drums earned him the nickname 'Mousey'). He grew up in Chicago, which of course had one of the most important jazz scenes in the United States. And after formally studying percussion, he started playing in various jazz clubs around town. After serving in the Navy during WW II, he appeared with Billie Holiday in Chicago in 1948. That appearance helped launch a career which included performing and recording with the who’s who of jazz including Benny Goodman, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Doc Severinsen and the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra just to name a few. He even performed at the White House for Richard Nixon along with Pearl Bailey.
This release, 'The Mouse Roars', recorded for Famous Door in 1979, is of particular importance because it is the only session Mousey Alexander recorded as a leader. He sadly suffered a massive stroke the following year and never recorded under his own name again. The GHB Jazz Foundation acquired the Famous Door catalogue in 1992 and has prioritized getting exceptional recordings like this one out to fans around the world. This historic session is a must for every jazz enthusiast.