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Friday, November 21, 2014

Viva Kenton!

Mexican Jumping Bean
Viva Kenton!
Exciting Latin Rhythms With The Kenton Touch
Produced by Lee Gillette
Capitol Records
SW 1305
1960

Piano: Stan Kenton
Saxes: Jone Bonnie, Marvin Hollady, Chuck Mariano, Jack Nimitz and Bill Trujilo
Trumpets: Bud Brisbois, Bill Chase, Rolf Ericson, Roger Middleton and Dalton Smith
Trombones: Jim Amlotte, Bob Knight, Kent Larsen, Archie LeCoque and Don Sebesky
Bass: Pete Chivily
Drums: Jimmy Campbell
Percussion: Tommy Lopez, Mike Pacheco and William Rodriguez

From the back cover: In this album, both standards and originals by Gene Roland are presented in the colorful Latin tempos that the band plays for dancers. The outstanding arrangements by Gene Roland offer a deft, tropical approach to the traditional Kenton sound.

From February 15, 1960 Billboard: Kenton serves up some exciting, swinging ork treatments of Latin standards and originals – all tasteful, stirring Latin tempos. Line-up includes "Adio" "Artistry In Rhythm," (Kenton's theme), "Mexican Jumping Bean," etc. Fine Sound.

Mexican Jumping Bean
Siesta
Cha Cha Sombrero
Chocolate Caliente
Aqua Marine
Opus In Chartreuse Cha Cha Cha
Cha Cha Chee Boom
Adio
Mission Trail
Artistry In Rhythm

Lonely Girl - Julie London

Lonely Girl
Julie London with Al Viola, Guitar
Producer: Bobby Troup
Engineer: John Neal
Cover Photography: Ray Jones
Liberty LRP 3012
1956

Available from the usual online vendors, so I will not be posting a sample. Shared because this album could be my favorite mid-50s vocal set. London was an amazing talent and this album features one of her most stunning covers. The set seems conceptually "risky" for a "pop" album (just London and Viola working together), but the results work so well and will engage you all the way through.

What makes the set even more amazing, by today's standards, is that the music was recorded before auto-tuning, and digital editing. This is just London and Viola making extremely soft, intimate music, perfect, with no editing.

From the back cover: It's remarkable when you realized that Julie has such a paradoxical appeal. She seems to capture everyone from the housewife to the severest jazz critic; from the rock-and-roll-loving teen ager to the modern-sound-craving college student. And this is the girl who sang professionally for the first time only a scant seven months ago! It's undeniable that Julie's voice is not a big voice. And she may have vocal coaches throwing their hands in the air as she defies many of their precious fundamentals. But the end result is something no vocal coach could ever teach. Warmth and heart and sensitivity are not to be learned from teachers.

Al Viola is responsible for the imaginative guitar accompaniment you hear behind Julie's voice. Just as Barney Kessel and Ray Leatherwood were such an important part of her first album, "Julie Is Her Name"; Al is certainly an integral part of the exciting mood created in "Lonely Girl". This may be one of the first times a gut-stringed Spanish guitar has been used in this way, and I think it makes for a tremendously interesting blend of voice and background. Al came to California via Brooklyn ten years ago and has progressed rapidly from he Page Cavanaugh Trio days to one of the most sought-after guitarists in Hollywood.


Lonely Girl
Fools Rush In
Moments Like This
I Lost My Sugar In Salt Lake City
It's The Talk Of The Town
What'll I Do
When Your Lover Has Gone
Don't Take Your Love From Me
Where Or When
All Alone
Mean To Me
How Deep Is The Ocean
Remember

Cugi's Cocktails - Xavier Cugat

Cugi's Cocktails
Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
Mercury MG 20832
1963

Available from your usual online vendors, so I will not be posting a sample. Shared because the copy I found still contains the original illustrated sleeve featuring an advertisement for a "portable" Mercury Phonograph made by Philips in Holland.

The set itself is very good period Latin featuring a mix of a straight "big band" and more "space age" sounding tracks. "Zombie" sounds as if Arthur Lyman might have help record the tune.

From October 12, 1963 Billboard: Cugi runs the gamut from "Cube Libre" (guaracha) to a "Singapore Sling" (rhumba) with tasty stops along the way to mambo, bossa, cha-cha, and so on. Cugi's Latin rhythm has long been a favorite among those who love to dance or just dream of far-away places. Best Tracks: "Manhattan" and "Blue Champagne."

Cuba Libre
One Mint Julep
Old-Fashion
Daiquiri
Cocktails For Two
Rum And Coca-Cola
Cugi's Cocktail
Grasshopper
Blue Champagne
Zombie
Manhattan
Singapore Sling

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Milko Kelemen

Hommage À Heinrich Schütz
 
Milko Kelemen
Philips 6500 314
1972

From the back cover: "Hommage à Heinrich Schütz," a choral work written in 1964, was inspired by study of motels by Schütz. The basic idea of the composition is the evolution from speech sounds to mixtures of sung tone organized vertically and horizontally, and back again to the wide spectrum of sound produced by whispering.

Composé for two pianos and orchestral groups
Conductor – Ernest BourOrchestra – Südwestfunk Orchestra*Piano – Alfons Kontarsky, Aloys Kontarsky
Floréal for orchestra
Conductor – Jochem SlothouwerOrchestra – Norddeutscher Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg*
Changeant for cello and orchestra
Cello – Siegfried PalmConductor – Christoph von DohnányiOrchestra – Westdeutscher Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Cologne*Violin – Saschko Gawriloff
Hommage À Heinrich Schütz
Choir – Gächinger Kantorei*Conductor – Helmut Rilling*Soprano Vocals [Solo] – Yvonne Cianella
Surprise for string orchestra
Conductor – Milko KelemenOrchestra – Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin*

Blood, Sweat & Brass - The Phoenix Authority

Journey To The Center Of Your Mind (The Amboy Dukes)
Blood, Sweat & Brass
The Phoenix Authority
Produced by Bob Shad
A Red Lion Production
Mainstream MRL-303

Arrangements: Ernie Wilkins
Trumpets: Ray Copeland, Lloyd Michaels, Joseph Newman and Woody Shaw
Trombones: Benny Powell and George Jeffers
Guitar: Kenneth Burrell and David Spinosa
Drums: Herbie Lovelle and Grady Tate
Organ, Piano and Rocksichord: Frank Anderson and Frank Owen
Bass: Charles Rainey
Flute, Alto Sax, Baritone Sax and Tenor Sax: Hubert Laws and Chris Woods

Command styled set and gatefold jacket featuring the photos from the inside as seen above. The set consists of light jazz arrangements that struggle to find just the right blend between the brass section, the vibe of the original song and the solid straight up jazz passages that hold the project together.

Spinning Wheel
Everyday People
Come Together
Get Back
Honky Tonk Women
Sugar Sugar
Susie Q
Baby It's You
One
Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Down On Me

Monday, November 17, 2014

Country & Western Love Songs - The Magnificent 7

I Walk The Line
Country & Western Love Songs
The Magnificent 7 (Guitars Plus Brass)
Power Records
Apple Honey Series DS 395

From the back cover: Seldom does a group of seven fine musicians get together at a recording session and hit it off with such a perfect blending of color and harmonies as heard in this album.

Room Full Of Roses
Walking The Floor Over You
A Heartful Of Love
I Walk The Line
Let Me Go Lover
Just A Little Lovin'
You Don't Know Me
Till I Waltz Again With You
Don't Worry
Crying In The Chapel

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The 13 Fingers Of Sir Julian

Canadian Sunset
The 13 Fingers Of Sir Julian
Hugo & Luigi Producers
RCA Victor LPM-2372
1962

From the back cover: When you listen to Sir Julian play the organ, you'll be convinced he actually has been gifted with thirteen fingers. To be sure, all he has is the normal complement – eight fingers and two thumbs. But when he sits in at the organ, he plays like one possessed of a least three more fingers than is normal. If the title of this album startles you, listen to The Thirteen Fingers of Sir Julian… and see what we mean.

The three Sir Julian LPs I have in the collection are all fun plays. Julian arrangements are creative and feature just enough space age pop/jazz touches to keep me interested.

I selected Canadian Sunset to share Julian's "jazz" vibe.

Caravan
On The Street Where You Live
Misty
Canadian Sunset
The 3rd Man Theme
Sir Julian's Mambo
Bach Goes Berserk
Diane
Song From Moulin Rouge
The Peanut Vendor
Sir Julian's Blues
Lover

The Most Unusual Joan Toliver

Feeling Good
In The Name Of Love
The Most Unusual Joan Toliver
Arranged and Conducted by Jimmy Jones
Executive Producer: Fred Weintraub
Philips promotional copy PHM 200-186
1965

Trumpets: Joe Newman, Ernie Royal, Bill Berry
Alto Sax: Phil Woods, Charlie Mariano
Drums: Bobby Donaldson, Grady Tate, Osie Johnson
Tenor Sax: Jerome Richardson
Bass: Milt Hinton, Richard Davis, Art Davis
Baritone Sax: Danny Bank, Romeo Pengue
Singers: Dee Warrick, Cissy Houston, Sylvia Shemwell, Estelle Brown
Trombone: Jimmy Cleveland
Guitar: Kenny Burrell, Wally Richardson, Carly Lynch
Piano: Paul Griffin

From the back cover: I think Joan Toliver's native ability is very unique. This album was a tremendous change-over from what she had been doing. I (Jimmy Jones) gave very little indication of my musical intentions, but her reaction under pressure was great. It's talent of this sort that grows of its own beauty.

The above back cover copy suggests that Toliver was thrown into the session with little preparation. Toliver's management should have sorted this one out before she signed to make this record. However, after reading the Billboard article (below), perhaps the approach wasn't completely unexpected by Toliver whose act, in 1965, was to preform a variety styles.

Toliver does her best to interoperate "blues", "country", "pop" and "pop-rock". The results sound a bit "forced" on some tracks. However, we are offered a glimpse at what the album could have been if Jones, Toliver or her management had arranged a set based on this track (In The Name Of Love). A more blues/jazz orieneted album would have been thematically solid and very cool.

Even the album title suggests that the producer didn't know how to market the set.

The Phillips art department understood the strength of the Toliver sound and provided an excellent cover that captures the best of Toliver's appeal.

Information on Toliver is limited, but I found the below 1965 Billboard article/review written shortly after this album was released. The story suggests that Toliver came from a "folk"tradition.

Exhibiting nothing of her folk formula of yore, Joan Toliver stepped off her opening show Wednesday night (29) at the Bitter End with a blues - feeling song "Squeeze Me." She was supported by a six-man band (the size of the group being an oddity for the Fred Weintraub nightclub) that was also very bluesy. In fact, her last album for Philips Records was blues oriented. But whether she sing folk songs or blues material, the packed nightclub was proof that she has a large and enthusiastic audience.

"One Room Paradise," a good song sung with feeling and verve, was one of her best numbers of the night; it was polished and extremely commercial. She put a lot of atmosphere of old New Orleans into "Old Rocking Chair's Got Me" and "Trouble In Mind".

"I'm Traveling Light" was not only delivered excellently by Miss Toliver, but the flute trailing through the background made the song a standout. She closed with a very effective "Endlessly."

Throughout the entire performance, she exhibited that husky voice her folk fans might remember, but it appears that a new Toliver has come on the scene.

Marimba Echoes - Acapulco Marimbas

Come Closer To Me
Marimba Echoes
Acapulco Marimbas
Snuff Garrett Productions
London Promotional Copy PS 567
1969

Why the "naked lady wearing the lamp shade"? Why not?

This is a conservative set, especially for 1969. Traditional sounding approach, but featuring a few tunes arranged with pleasant space age orchestral passages.

Granada
Spanish Eyes
Guadalajara
Maria Elena
La Bamba
Come Closer To Me
La Golondrina
Guatanamera
Sabor A Mi
South Of The Border
Vaya Con Dios

Cugatango! - Xavier Cugat

Charisse
Cugatango!
Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
House Party Series
Columbia Records CL 2557

This early Cugat 6 track 10 inch LP lacks the energetic arrangements that Cugat would become known for later in his career. The set features instrumental tracks, with the exception of Bob Graham who makes a vocal appearance on the sample above, halfway into the tune.

Adios Muchachos
La Cumparsita
Caminito
Orchids In The Moonlight
Charisse
Jalousie