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Monday, May 21, 2018

Best Plucking In Town - A Quartet Of Great Guitar Stylists

Best Plucking In Town
A Quartet Of Great Guitar Stylists
Barney Kessel, Grant Green, Oscar Moore, Mundell Lowe
Design & Concept: Howard Goldstein/George Alpert
Photography: Don Victor
CP Parker Records PLP 826
Manufactured by Apex Record Corporation - Hollywood, California

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art and jacket notes.

Uneven sounding budget jazz compilation.

From the back cover: Here we have some variation with small groups and some large aggregations playing well conceived charts. It is this pot pour, to some extent, that make this recording a listeners delight, for it is not true that variety is still the spice of life?

Roulette - Oscar Moore, guitar; Joe Comfort, bass; Carl Perkins, piano
On The Sunny Side Of The Street - Grant Green, guitar; Specs Williams, organ; Joe Carroll, vocal
Up Tempo - Oscar Moore, guitar; Joe Comfort, bass; Carl Perkins, piano; Pacheco, bongos
Blues For A Stripper - Mundell Lowe, guitar with Orchestra conducted by Mundell Lowe
Body & Soul - Barney Kessell, guitar; Red Mitchell, bass; Larry Bunker, vibes; Pete Candoli, trumpet; Harold Land, tenor sax; Mel Lewis, drums; Jimmy Rowles, piano
Cheetas' For Two - Barney Kessell, guitar; Red Mitchell, bass; Larry Bunker, vibes; Pete Candoli, trumpet; Harold Land, tenor sax; Mel Lewis, drums; Jimmy Rowles, piano
Theme From Samson & Delilah - Oscar Moore, guitar; Joe Comfort, bass; Carl Perkins, piano; Pacheco, bongos
Yes, He's Gone - Mundell Lowe, guitar; Geo. Duvivier, bass; Alice Darr, vocal
Have You Got A Penny, Benny? - Grant Green, guitar; Joe Carroll, vocal
Walkin' Home - Oscar Moore, guitar; Joe Comfort, bass; Carl Perkins, piano; Pacheco, bongos

Larry Clinton In Hi-Fi

Larry Clinton In Hi-Fi
Larry Clinton With Helen Ward
RCA Victor LPM 1342

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover and jacket notes.

From the back cover: Clinton was responsible for some of the most enduring hits in the dance band repertoire, as a glance down the list of selections in this set will show. There are numbers written or arranged by Clinton and originally featured by his band. For these high fidelity re-creations he has held to the general outlines of the original arrangements, although sometimes they many not come out exactly as veterans of the dancing Thirties remember them. This is not because they have been extensively revamped, but simply because there is no definitive, finished version of any Clinton arrangement. They keep changing in numerous subtle ways as they are played over and over again, and new ideas or variants crop up. The arrangements that the Clinton band was using in 1938 and 1939 (which encompasses most of these numbers) had already started to change by 1940 and 1941, and they continued to go through slight mutations until Larry broke up his band in 1949.

Helping Larry to harken back to the golden age of dance bands is Helen Ward, who was swinging out ballads vocally for Benny Goodman a couple of years before the Clinton band established these numbers in the public fancy. Helen left Goodman to marry and retire from music when she was twenty. Since then she has been one of the most decorative matrons in Rye, New York, making a few rare forays into recording studios to reveal, as she does here, a voice with the same lilting appeal that used to arouse the gallants who flocked around the Goodman bandstand.

From Billboard - March 9, 1957: To one class of album buyers – those who were dancing and romancing in the late 1930s – this could strike a responsive chord. Program includes such well-known Clinton vehicles as "Dipsy Doodle," "My Reverie," "Study In Brown," etc. Oddly, Helen Ward, the one-time Goodman thrush handles the vocals instead of Clinton's Bea Wain, but few would quarrel with that change. Today's kinds may not know about Clinton, but once exposed, they'll find these numbers extremely danceable. We've heard higher fi elsewhere, incidentally.
Dipsy Doodle
My Reverie
In A Persian Market
Deep Purple
Our Love
Johnson Rag
Study In Brown
Heart And Soul
Satan Takes A Holiday
Bolero In Blue
Study In Surrealism

First Place - J. J. Johnson

First Place
J. J. Johnson
Columbia CL 1030

J. J. Johnson - Trombonist
Max Roach - Drummer (courtesy of Emarcy Records)
Paul Chamber - Bassist
Tommy Flanagan - Pianist

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art and jacket notes.

From the back jacket: J.J.'s emergence into universal jazz recognize by listeners, critics and musicians occurred only after a number of years of apprenticeship, self-searching, and not a little scuffling. He was born in Indianapolis January 22, 1924; studied piano at 11, and trombone at 14. He told J. Lee Anderson of Theme magazine (he won their 1956 poll too): "... during my second year of high school, I began to hang out with a bunch of fellows, all musicians. As time went by, these particular guys induced me to take up an instrument to sort of fill out their little ensemble. There were all kinds of players except a trombonist. We used to be great record fans... that was a period of great Basie doings, Jimmie Luneceford, Duke Ellington, all the terrific big bands – and we used to spend a lot of time at each other's house listening to what was going on."

J.J.'s father, recognizing how serious the youngster had become about music, bought him a trombone. J.J. was graduated in 1941, and the next year, was on the road despite his family's opposition. He worked with Snookum Russell in 1942 when he met Fats Navarro. "Fats had a tremendous influence on my musical outlook in general," J.J. told Anderson, "because he was already playing so great and I was still trying to get with it, so to speak." When the Russell band evaporated, J.J. returned home. Benny Carter came through Indianapolis; in need of a trombonist, he let J.J. sit in for a couple of sets. J.J. left town again and was with Carter for nearly three years. "Benny Carter," J.J. emphasized in the Anderson review, "is one of the greatest musicians I've ever had the pleasure of working with. The whole time that I was with Benny's band, it was one continuous education in music."

After Carter came Basie, and J.J. was with the Count from 1945-46. Basie wasn't recording much at the time, and J.J. can be heard in solo only on Rambo and The King. J.J. returned home again after Basie; and somewhere around this time, he also played in various small combos on 52nd Street. During this period, he was further developing the ability to adapt the newly commanding jazz conception of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and others to the trombone. J.J. became the first throughly modern jazz trombonist on that instrument for most of the younger modern trombonists.

J.J.toured with Illinois Jacquet from 1947 - 49; worked with the Woody Herman and Dizzy Gillespie bands; went to Japan on a rather stormy Oscar Pettiford USO tour in 1951; and then, to quote from his talk with Anderson again, "things began getting sort of wound up, going around in circles for me, so I decided to leave the jazz scene for an indefinite period. I wanted to get my thoughts collected and see just what I wanted to do."

From August 1952 to June 1954, he was a blueprint inspector in a factory, and gigged occasionally, but not too frequently. I remember talking with him at Birdland during the spring of 1954; and it was clear by then that his relative inactivity as a musician was beginning to weigh on him. His job represented security; but the drive, the need to resume full-time musical living was becoming increasingly compelling. In August 1954, he teamed with trombonist Kai Winding for what resulted in two surprisingly successful years. The surprise was due to the fact that a two-trombone front line was unprecedented in jazz, and there were doubts at first whether the jazz public might not find that instrumentation limiting in sound. Rarely, however, has a new combo been received so warmly so quickly. They recorded a sizable number of albums, traveled and re traveled the jazz night-club circuit, and played the Newport Jazz Festival a month before their dissolution. The team split not because of a diminution of bookings, but because both by then had become attached and challenged by the idea of heading (and exploring with) units of their own.

Kai formed a septet with a front line of four trombones while J.J. added his horn the Belgian-born tenor, flutist and clarinetist, Bobby Jaspar. In the summer of 1957, J.J. toured the Scandinavian countries wth his present unit; and initial reports as of this writing, indicate that J.J. will win al Scandinavian polls for some time to come.

From Billboard - October 28, 1957: "First Place" refers to the trombonist's ascendance to the top rung of many recent jazz polls. In this new package, he adds more frosting to the cake. On these dates, contrary to previous ones, there's more free improvising and swinging blowing which is all to the good. Group also included Max Roach, drums; Paul Chambers, bass, and Tommy Flanagan, piano.

It's Only A Paper Moon
Paul's Pal
For Heaven's Sake
Harvey's House
That Tired Routine Called Love
Be My Love
Cry Me A River
Nickels And Dimes

12 By 12 - Jimmy May

Strangers In The Night
12 By 12
The Swinging Big Band Of Jimmy May
Heritage Record Co.
Rite Record - Cincinnati, Ohio
Sides #20073 & 20074

From the back cover: ...Jimmy was born October 22, 1942, in Dayton, Ohio, and has been leading a band since he was thirteen.

There Will Never Be Another You
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Watermelon Man
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
I Cover The Waterfront
My Kind Of Town
On The South Side Of Chicago
Georgy Girl
In The Arms Of Love
Strangers In the Night (Cha-Cha)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ridin' High With the Sabres

Ridin' High With the Sabres
RCA Victor LPM-1376

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art and jacket notes.

From the back cover: Ridin' High is a particularly apt title for this album, since the boys have been doing just that since they won first prize in a world-wide U.S. Army Air Force talent contest a few years ago. Although they have been swinging together for more than eight years, they are all still comparative youngsters. Native Californian Dick Henson, who sings top tenor and plays bass, is the oldest at twenty-five. Ohioan Jerry Wright, lead tenor and piano-man, is twenty-three; and Colorado-born but California-bred Fritz Weybright, drummer and low-baritone, is only twenty-two.

The Sabres were fellow students when they first met at Chaffey College, Ontario, California, in 1948. After perfecting their rich blend and unusual style, via appearances at campus functions, the trio heeded the invitation of Uncle Same in the early Fifties, and joined the Air Force.

Talent-wise Special Service officers decided to keep the act together, and the boys spent two years entertaining G.I.'s stationed in the Far East. During that tour the Sabres simultaneously discovered how great soldier-audiences are, and developed unexpected new abilities of their own as performers. Eager to maintain their status as a three-mn U.S.O. unit, The Sabres augmented their old vocal and instrumental numbers with experimental bits of comedy and impersonations of top record stars and singing groups.

Since many patrons in Tokyo niteries – where they also appeared – didn't dig their jokes, they worked out elaborate mute gags, thereby uncovering an engaging gift for pantomime as well. Consequently, when they were discharged in 1955, all three young men had acquired more poise, polish and high-voltage showmanship than most entertainers do in ten years.

Their new-found sales-savvy and general audience know-how paid off immediately, with bookings at plush Hollywood night spots and the swank Sahara Hotel, in Las Vegas, where the Sabre's good looks, easy songmanship and novel arrangements made them one of the most talked-about new acts to hit the West Coast in years.

An RCA Victor executive signed them to a recording contract a few months ago, and this package is the initial album-result of that pact.

From Billboard - March 16, 1957: RCA Victor's new vocal group, winners of a U. S. Army Air Force talent contest a few years ago, sing with verve, showmanship and a smooth blend. These are fresh, high-spirited performances on a group of swingy standards – "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Moon Over Miami," "Who's Sorry Now," etc. Sales prospects are necessarily conservative in view of group's newness, but package serves to introduce them to jocks, and if the spinners give them a send-off, the album might show surprising returns.

Life Can Be Beautiful
Moonlight In Vermont
Sweet Georgia Brown
Moon Over Miami
Who's Sorry Now
The Thrill Is Gone
Love Nest
My Shawl
My Strongest Weakness
What Makes The Sunset

Friday, May 18, 2018

Walkin' Beat - Sandy Nelson

Beat From Another World
Walkin' Beat
Sandy Nelson
A&R Coordinator: Ed Barsky
Art Directions: Woody Woodward
Cover Photo: Ivan Nagy
Sunset - A Product Of Liberty Records

I'm Walkin'
Party Time
Drum Stuff
Tijuana Jail
Jump Time
House Party Rock
Soul Drums
Teen Beach
Beat From Another World
Here We Go Again

Vic Damone - I'll Sing For You

A Village In Peru
I'll Sing For You
Vic Damone
Mercury Wing
WING MGW 12113

The Girl Next Door
There's No You
And This Is My Beloved
Why Was I Born
This Love Of Mine
Time On My Hands
Walkin' My Baby Back Home
Until You Came Back To Me
Nina Never Knew
Alone At Last
A Village In Peru
Something To Remember You By

Trumpeters Holiday

Trumpeters Holiday
Epic LN 3252

Wingy Mannone And His Orchestra

She's Crying For Me (3 Oct. 1934): Wingy Mannone (tp); George Brunies (tb); Sidney Arodin (cl); Terry Stand (p); Unknown (g); Bonnie Pottle (b); Bob White (dm).

West Wind; Shoe Shine Boy (10 March 1936): Mannoe (tp); Brunies (tb) Matty Matlock (cl); Eddie Miller (ts); Gil Bowers (p); Carmen Mastren (g); Artie Shapiro (b); Ray Bauduc (dm).

Red Allen And His Orchestra

Believe It Beloved (23 Jan. 1935); Henry Allen (tp and vo); Pee Wee Erwin (tp); George Washington (tb); Buster Bailey (cl); Luis Russell (p); Danny Barker (g); Pops Foster (b); Paul Barbarin (dm).

Body And Soul; Rosetta (29 April 1935): Allen (tp); Dicky Wells(tb); Cecil Scott (cl); Chu Berry (ts); Horace Henderson (p and arr.); Bernard Addison (g); John Kirby (b); George Stafford (b).

Roy Eldridge And His Orchestra

Wabash Stomp; Heckler's Hop; After You've Gone (23-28 Jan. 1937): Roy Eldridge (tp); Scoops Carey (as); Joe Eldridge (as & arr.); Dave Young (ts); Teddy Cole (p); Johnny Collins (g); Truck Parham (b); Zutty Singleton (dm).

Frankie Newton And His Cafe Society Orchestra

Jitters; Frankie's Jump; Tab's Blues (12 April 1930); Frankie Newton (tp); Tab Smith, Stanley Payne (as); Kenneth Hollan (ts); Kenneth Kersey (p); Ulysses Livingston (g); John Williams (b); Eddie Dougherty (dm).

From the back cover:

Joe "Wingy" Mannone is a New Orleans trumpet player, uptown New Orleans, that is. In personality and career, he was very much a figure of the 1930's trumpeter. He is a tasteful, melodic, Dixieland player of marked comic talent. "She's Crying For Me" is decidedly melodic, "West Wind" decidedly Dixie and "Shoe Shine Boy" decidedly comic (in dialogue and vocal). The personnel of his band is drawn from the formerly Gil Rodin Band, later Bob Crosby Band, and his personal style is a happy combination of high-jive Louis, a taste of Big, a dash of Bing.

Henry "Red" Allen comes from New Orleans, downtown. He is both more jazz player and more evolved in Swing style than Wingy, but there is an oblique kinship in their playing and singing, derived from their source – Louis – through "Red" carries the mark more definitely, as in "Body And Soul", which was his biggest record. He and most of his band personnel came from one of the first great, big bands, Fletch Henderson.

"Red" led some of the consistently jumpingest bands in the thirties and early forties, always playing exciting Swing horn – Rosetta.

"Little Jazz" Roy Eldridge, more evolved than "Red" Allen, led equally swinging, jumping bands, Roy was the next important trumpet influence after Louis. Just as, up to a certain time, all trumpet players learned to first play like Louis, those who followed learned first to play like Roy. And Roy's "After You've Gone" is derived from Louis's first big band recordings.

Roy is surely the most exciting trumpet player in the history of Jazz. His playing is indisputably hot, yet there already appears a certain coolness, in that Swing as a music of special technique and ideas anticipates the Contemporary era of Jazz. "Heckler's Hop," Roy's great record, is sheer jazz music.

Roy is commonly referred to as the "bridge". After him came Dizzy Gillespie and The Deluge of new ideas: the attitudes and formal change of Bop.

Franke Newton, who died in 1954 at the age of 48, was a modern trumpet player. Quietly underplaying excitement, always swinging, he was a most sophisticated and yet blues player, and completely, openly individual. His entrance on "Frankie's Jump" is thoughtful, humorous, melodic, very modern. His style and personnel were completely New York, and suck a style certainly existed during the Ellington-influenced era of Cafe Society Downtown, and urbanization of Kansas City jump – "Jitters." And happily, for all our talk of trumpet players, up jumps Tab Smith, swinging on alto saxophone, on all three records. – Albert Avakian

Wingy Mannone And His Orchestra
She's Crying For Me
West Wind
Shoe Shine Boy

Henry "Red" Allen And His Orchestra
Body And Soul
Believe It, Beloved

Roy Eldridge And His Orchestra
Wabash Stomp
Heckler's Hop
After You've Gone

Frankie Newton And His Orchestra
Frankie's Jump
Tab's Blues

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dick Katz: Piano & Pen

Dick Katz: Piano & Pen
Supervision: John Lewis
Cover Photo: Lee Friedlander
Cover Design: Marvin Israel
Recording Engineer: Tom Dowd
Atlantic SE 1314

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover and back cover information.


On Timonium Duologue No. 1, Glad To Be Unhappy & Scrapple From The Apple, the personnel is: Dick Katz, piano; Chuck Wayne, guitar; Joe Benjamin, bass; Connie Kay, drums.

On Aurora, Round Trip, Afternoon In Paris & Ain't Misbehavin', the personnel is: Dick Katz, piano; Jimmy Raney, guitar; Joe Benjamin, bass; Connie Kay, drums.

From the back cover: Dick Katz was born in 1924 in Baltimore where he began to study piano when he was about eight, and became involved with jazz at twelve, partly through the extensive and readily available record collection of his brother Leslie, partly because of the jazz he heard in Baltimore, and, particularly because of the encouragement he received from trumpeter Stanford East.

Dick pursued advanced musical studies at the Peabody Institute, the University of North Carolina, and the Navy School of Music during World War II. In 1950, he graduated from The Manhattan School of Music and then did further work with Teddy Wilson at the Juilliard School – all this while doubling as an active jazzman in Greenwich Village and Fifty-Second Street clubs. A further effort at doubling, working during the day in his father's advertising agency, was eventually abandoned for jazz piano.

Katz chose his associates here with care; first, a jazz guitarist as a contrast and foil to his own piano. He approached Jimmy Raney, "a good maker of lines and musical ideas, one of the very best jazz guitarists". Meanwhile, Katz and Chuck Wayne were both working (separately) at the same club and often found themselves playing together for the fun of it. Connie Kay, the thoroughly musical drummer of The Modern Jazz Quartet, was an obvious choice. "Less obviously", Katz says, "I realized only after we began to play them that several of the scores fit Connie's own conception of time perfectly". Joe Benjamin has played with many great musicians, including Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Sy Oliver and Billy Taylor.

Also from the back cover: This is the first LP to be devoted in its entirety to the several talents of Dick Katz; his compositions, his arrangements and his extended piano solos.

In an era when jazz often is seemingly dominated by musical Angry Young Men, it is refreshing to come across a personality who exhibits selective musical intelligence. This album reflects Dick Katz's concern with unity, taste, selectivity, and the integration of group performance.

He is concerned as are Duke Ellington, Jimmy Giuffre and The Modern Jazz Quartet (among others) with form. "The kind of form I mean", says Katz, "is not confined to groups. Individual players like Miles Davis, Ben Webster and Stan Getz all have it. They select, they know how to edit themselves. The same applies to group players need to talk to each other and communicate musically.

Dick Katz first came before the jazz public playing with Tony Scott and made his first records with that poll-winning clarinetist. There are many who consider these records Tony's finest because in them he achieved the ideals Dick outlined above. Of Tony Scott, Katz says, "The six months that I spent with Tony at Minton's Playhouse were like a school to me, because just about every important jazzman used to come by to sit in from time to time. The experience I got was invaluable."

Katz then went on to work with the highly successful trombone team, J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. Stints with Stan Getz, Kenny Dorham, Oscar Pettiford, singers Carmen McRae, Helen Merrill and many others followed. Among the people with whom Katz has recorded are Jay and Kai, Sonny Rollins, Oscar Pettiford, Carmen McRae, Al Cohn, Jimmy Raney, Coleman Hawkins and Buck Clayton. He was presented by John Lewis in his first solo LP appearance in four trio performances in the album, "Jazz Piano International" (Atlantic 1287).

Recognition has come to Katz from many quarters, in particular from fellow musicians. Pianist Billy Taylor, writing in "The Saturday Review", paid him the following tribute: "His melodic lines are well though out and even his most swinging passages have a delicacy rarely found in modern jazz – his sensitive improvisations reflect a perceptive and inventive mind". Tupper Saussy, in his comments in the "Jazz Review" on Katz's solos in "Jazz Piano International" called Dick a thoughtful pianist... his predominant appeal is his immaculacy, both melodic and rhythmic'. In reviewing the same record, I said that one heard a basically individual melodic imagination and willingness and ability to reach the materials at hand, rather than impose merely fashionable phrases onto them. – Martin Williams

From Billboard - October 5, 1959: Dick Katz, a new pianist who is gaining notice in critical circles lately, reveals himself as an interesting new talent here. Altho Katz has played with lot of top groups this is his first starring album. On it he show off sensitivity, imagination, and a strong melodic line. And most important his style is sparse and thoughtful, not overblown. With Katz on this set are Chuck Wayne, Jimmy Raney, Joe Benjamin and Connie Kay. Selectons include "Timonium," "Glad To Be Unhappy" and "Afternoon In Paris."

Duologue No. 1
Glad To Be Unhappy
Round Trip
Afternoon In Paris
Ain't Misbehavin'
Scrapple From The Apple

Monday, May 14, 2018

Silhouettes - Jay Gordon

Jazz Pizzicato
The Jay Gordon Concert Orchestra
Tops Music Enterprises L1551

Feldermaus Waltz
March Of The Toys
American Bolero
Jockey On The Carousel
Jazz Pizzicato
Fantasie Impromptu
American Salute
Dream Sonata
In An 18th Century Drawing Room
Loin Du Bal
Finiculi Finicula
Hejre Kati
The Syncopated Clock