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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Be There At 5 - Glenn Osser

It All Depends On You
Be There At 5
Conversational Music For Cocktails
Mercury Records MG 20218

From the back cover: Arranger-Conductor – Glenn Osser. Popular arranger and conductor was born in Munsing, Michigan. Graduate of University of Michigan – Majored in music. Came to New York and started arranging for big bands such as Bob Crosby, Bunny Bergen, Red Nichols. Arranger and assistant conductor for Paul Whiteman. Worked on the Fred Allen Show and Prudential Show. Arranged dramatic background for several top TV shows as, U.S. Steel Hour, Alcoa and Goodyear. Presently staff conducting for the quintet featured on this album.

Piano – Andy Ackers. Born in New Haven, Connecticut. Studied at the Yale School Of Music. Came to New York and worked with top bands; Glen Gray Casa Loma Band, Jerry Wald, George Paxton, Artie Shaw. Worked as special accompanist for Kate Smith, Georgia Gibbs, Jane From an and Mindy Carson. Conductor on top networks, NBC, ABC and had his own show on CBS. Does a lot of free lance work on radio & TV shows and recording sessions. Composer and member of Ascap.

Guitar – George Barnes – composer, conductor, arranger and electronics expert, is one of the busiest guitarists around today. Hails from Chicago Heights, Illinois. From a musical family, has worked with Ted Weems, Tommy Dorsey, and Ray Noble orchestras. Staff conductor at NBC and ABC networks in Chicago for four years. Started working in New York on the Hit Parade Shows. Does free lance work and is constantly working recording dates.

Vibraharp – Phil Kraus. Born in New York City. Started playing Xylophone at the age of eight. Studied at the Julliard School Of Music. Worked with Merle Pitt Combo at Station WNEW in New York City. Army for 4 1/2 years and played in "This is The Army" show. Upon discharge, went back to WNEW to join the Roy Ross Orchestra. Has worked several radio-TV shows, including NBC's Spectaculars, Martha Ray Show and Producer's Showcase. Has recorded with Percy Faith, Andre Kostelanetz, Morton Gould, Neal Hefti, Benny Goodman and Ralph Burns Orchestra, to mention a few. Plays all the percussion instruments and currently has his own studio as an instructor.

Bass – Jack Lesberg. From Boston, Massachusetts. Had private tutoring. Come to New York in 1943. Worked with such names as Eddie Condon, Leonard Bernstein and the City Symphony for 3 years. Does a lot of free lance work. Has worked the Hit Parade and also with Gordon Jenkins and the Raymond Scott Quintet. Made a world-tour with Louis Armstrong, playing in Australia, Africa and all of Europe.

Drums – Jimmie Crawfor. Studied with Jimmy Lunceford in his home town of Memphis, Tennessee. Later on, joined the Lunceford band and worked 14 years with him. Was in Army and played in the army bands of Walter Gross and Sy Oliver for two years. Played in New York's Cafe Society, uptown and downtown, for three years. Also worked with the Harry James and Benny Goodman bands. Worked several TV shows including the Perry Como Show, Arthur Godfrey Shows, and the summer of 1955, on the Vaunghan Monroe TV Show. Has worked in many Broadway musicals including "Pal Joey," "Alive And Kickin'," Paul & Ruth Draper show and more recently, Sammy Davis' Jr. "Mr. Wonderful."


From Billboard - July 20, 1960 (Mercury-Wing MGW 12209 release review): A bright, attractive-sounding collection, played by a group consisting of vibraharp, guitar, piano, bass and drums. The first three toss the melodies around between them, the vibes helping to provide a fresh-sounding feeling to touch oldies as "Stars Fell On Alabama," Little White Lies," "Louise," Out Of Nowhere," and "Ain't Misbehaving," Good mood item.

It All Depends On You
Stars Fell On Alabama
Polka Dots And Moonbeams
Little White Lies
Don't Get Around Much Anymore
I'm Glad There Is You
Louise
A Sinner Kissed An Angel
Out Of Nowhere
P.S. I Love You
Ain't Mishehavin'
When We're Alone

Lecuona's Afro-Cuban Suite - Noro Morales


Lecuona's Afro-Cuban Suite
Noro Morales and His Orchestra
Arranged by George Siravo
Vik LX-1100
1957

From the back cover: About The Artist-Conductor - Noro Morales: Born in Puerto Rioc, Noro showed early musical ability for the piano. Art fifteen he joined a band led by his father and made up largely of the Morales clan. The orchestra was appointed official court orchestra of Venezuela and performed out of the city of Caracas. After the death of "Papa" Morales, Noro took over the leadership of the orchestra. Later Noro made his way to New York and after five years with the El Morocco-band, he decided to organize a rumba band the likes of which had never been heard. Since then he has had one of the greatest Latin American bands in the country and is best known for the Morales Latin style. To further emphasize Noro's dexterity at the piano, an accident put his left arm in a sling just before the three recording sessions presented in this fine album were begun. However, Noro met the situation with a true spirit of "showmanship" combined with talent and inventiveness and provides the listener with the most rewarding renditions of Afro-Cuban music to date.

About the Arranger - George Siravo: Although Lecuona's Afro-Cuban Suite marks a first for Siravo as an arranger in the Latin-American category he come by his talent quite naturally, having arranged for many of the top recording artists: Frank Sinatra, Doris Day and Vic Damone to name a few. He also possesses a musical ability on the sax, clarinet and flute, having played with the late Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Jan Savitt and Artie Shaw. George has also composed a number of fine compositions. He tackled this suite assignment with a sound musical foundation. His musicianship, his flare for doing the difficult and the impossible, plus his creative ability all are evident in this exciting new album.

About the Composer -: Ernesto Lecuona: Born in Cuba, Ernesto Lecuona made his pianistic debut at age five and was considered a genuine child prodigy. He studied with the famous Spanish composer Joaquin Nin. At fifteen he was certified as a teacher of singing and piano by the National Conservatory at Havana. This was the time that he organized his own band and began composing. At age seventeen Lecuona came to the U.S. to give a piano recital and make his first Victor record. He toured from 1919 to 1922 at which time he returned to the U.S. for an engagement at the Roxy Theatre in New York City. He studied with Maurice Ravel, composer of the famous Bolero. In 1928 he introduced his now immortal Malaguena which has often been compared with the music of Liszt and Chopin. Since that time, Lecuona has written for more than 30 musical productions and composed literally hundreds of compositions that are known and loved in North and South America. Nice of those compositions are included in this album suite. Lecuona is one of those rare artists who is a much at home in the classical field as he is with popular music A gifted composer, pianist-conductor Lecuona claims to be most happy when he is alone with his piano and his music.




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Brief Interlude - Otto Cesana

Illusion
Brief Interlude
Composed and conducted by Otto Cesana
Capitol Records T1032
1958

Interesting track titles along with the mention of "jazz" influence on the back cover suggest that this set might play like a late 50s mood concept LP. However, the marketing does not translate into a sound that is anything more than a straight-laced "soundtrack-like" project.

From the back cover: Cesana says about the sources of Brief Interlude: "From jazz... I derived sincere sentiment: in fact, it is this naive but deep and honest feeling that is the life-blood of all real jazz. To the great harmonists such as Debussy and Wagner I own a great deal of my harmonic dexterity; from Beethoven comes my knowledge of thematic development and some sound principles of musical form, and to Rimsky-Korsakov, that meticulous master of orchestration, I owe most of my knowledge of orchestration. Of course for over-all sincerity and emotional intensity, I offer a very low bow to that monument of integrity - Tchaikovsky."

Hi!
Entre-Nons
Confession
Summer Affair
Strolling Along
Deception
Nostalgia
Always You
Heavenly
Matador
Illusion
Omar The Tent-Maker

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lonely Spell - Bob Manning

These Foolish Things
Lonely Spell
Songs By Bob Manning
Orchestra conducted by Monty Kelly
Capitol Records T682
1956

From Billboard - February 11, 1956: The well-schooled baritone voice weaves a romantic spell for the lonely lover set. Tho he has never been a big artist on single disks, the lad sings in a warm and convincing style and the hand-holders and dreamy dancers will without doubt go for this sampling.

Alone Together
You Call It Madness
I Hadn't Anyone Till You
When Your Lover Has Gone
I'm Thru With Love
You've Changed
Time Was
My Ideal
I Had The Craziest Dream
Love Letters
These Foolish Things
P. S. I Love You

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tea Dansero - The Ramblers

Vente
Tea Dansero
The Ramblers
Coral CRL 57253
1959

The cover art suggested to me that this album was going to sound like one of the typical period "Parisian-themed" accordion sets I find from time-to-time. On the back cover I noted a number of the tunes featured on the track list that I favor, tunes that are frequently covered by Latin and "exotica" artists of the time. My curiosity level went up and wondered if The Ramblers might sound like The Three Suns. My hopes would not to be dashed when the first track passed by on my turntable. This is a terrific set produced by a trio who, not to take away from The Three Suns who produced fine recordings, sound like a much larger combo. The arrangements create variety and a unique sound that you could identify again if you happened to hear a Rambler's tune playing on your radio. Good stuff!

Bob Bain – Guitar, etc.: In addition to his work as a member of various orchestras, Bob has become well established as conductor, arranger and soloist on a great many recordings. He is frequently heard with the Nelson Riddle orchestra and accompanies many top recording artists. He has several movie credits including "Sing, Boy, Sing," at 20th Century-Fox. His early back-ground include the Tommy Dorsey and Henry James orchestras and the NBC staff orchestra

Frank Flynn – Percussion, etc.: Frank's fine drum and vibraphone work is heard on innumerable recordings, including the Nelson Riddle orchestra and Frank Sinatra. His current TV credits include "Bachelor Father," and "The Ann Southern Show." He has also been staff drummer at CBS.

Ed Carver – Accordion, etc.: A member of the NBC staff orchestra, Ed is currently heard daily on the Curt Massey Show and many other programs. He has done considerable motion picture work and is extremely active as a recording musician.

From the back cover: In this album they play a combined total of more than twenty-five musical and rhythm instruments! Guitarist Bob Bain contributes his Spanish guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, banjo and several percussion instruments. Ed Carver is much in evidence with his fine accordion, Musette accordion, celeste, bells and nova chord. Percussionist Frank Flynn turns in a magnificent performance on bongo drums, conga drum, boo-bams, timbale, vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, bells, chimes and assorted Latin rhythm instruments.

So it is easy to see why The Ramblers sound very little like a trio. It is almost impossible to listen to this album and visualize it as being performed by three men, even by three musicians as fine as these.


Ferns
Malaguena
Brazil
Margarita
Vente
Bésame Mucho
Misirlou
Bonita
Dancer
Ozone
Adios

Latin American Stylings - Jose Melis

Jungle Rhumba
Latin American Stylings
Mercury Records
MG 20127
1956

Perhaps the best Melis set that I've collected. Strangely, this varied set contains 5 vocal numbers by a female vocalist who receives no credit on the package. Those tunes help hold your interest as the tracks play through, but Melis solos numbers are better.

From the back cover: A serious artist, inventive jazz man, sensitive composer, and able TV comic, Jose Melis is undoubtedly one of the most versatile pianists on the record scene today. Yet – for all his varied talents – he is still best known for his unique and exciting keyboard approach for Latin American rhythms – a technique which is brilliantly showcased here on 12 familiar pop and Latin standards.

Cuban-born Jose was as authentic infant prodigy. At the age of three he was playing scales, and at six was admitted to the celebrated Havana Conservatory of Music, giving his first public concert the following year. Music literally became his whole life, and a succession of scholarship awards enabled him to study it in its various forms all over the world.

Jose was barely into his teens when the Cuban government awarded him a scholarship to study in Pairs. No sooner had he arrived in France, than he won still another competition, which enabled him to study under the noted French pianist Alfred Cortet. On his return the Havana, Jose did concert work including appearance with the famed Havana Symphony Orchestra.

However he yearned for new musical fields to conquer, and shortly thereafter moved to Boston where he studied under harpsichordist and concert pianist Erwin Bodky. At the end of three years, he won still another scholarship to New York's famed Julliard Graduate School Of Music.

World War II wrought tremendous change in Jose's personal and professional life. As a U.S. Soldier, the serious young classical musician discovered jazz, or rather it discovered him when his fellow G.I.s insisted he adapt his naturally long-hair aptitudes to their juke box-conditioned musical tastes.

It was also while in service that Jose formed the friendship that ultimately brought him his present day success on TV. He and another rookie – Jack Paar, then a comparatively minor comedian became close friends, and, while both were still in uniform, Melis played the organ (Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" – with jazz variations) at Paar's wedding in Hersey, Pa.

Paar was impressed with his buddies talent, and when CBS decided to star him on his own early morning TV show after the war, Jose was the first artist signed for the program.


Carmen Boogie
Juba Dance
Eli, Eli
Jungle Rhumba
Mama Inez
Tempus Fugit
Say Si Si
Serenade In Blue
Don't You Love Me Anymore
These Foolish Things
Why Should I
Don't Call It Love

Rumba For Moderns - Belmonte

Rumba Rumbero
Rumba For Moderns
Belmont and His Orchestra
Produced by Johnnie Camacho
Cover Statue by Leo Amino from Sculpture Center
RCA Victor LSP-1663
1958

Terrific late 50s big band Latin set featuring an outstanding, colorful jacket.

From Billboard - November 17, 1958: Belmont and his work have been making a name for themselves of late, and this album, their second on the label, should increase their rep. Set features bright rumba tunes, and includes "rumba Rumbero," "Bien, Bien, Bien" (as spelled in the review) and "Walter Winchell Rumba," among others. Good dance set here.

Rumba Rumbero
Linda Mujer
Blen, Blen, Blen (as spelled on the back cover)
Miami Beach Rumba
Paranpampin
Peanut Vendor
El Cumbanchero
Mama Inez
Negra Consentida
La Mulata Rumbera
Cachet Walter Winchell Rumba

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Music For Non Thinkers - Guckenheimer Sour Kraut Band

Second Hungarian Rhapsody
Music For Non-Thinkers
Guckenheimer Sour Kraut Band
RCA Victor LSP-1721
1958

I love music that is made with the intentions of being good, like a "song poem", with results that can rocket to badtastical levels pretty quickly. However, I'm not a big fan of music made to sound bad in an effort to be "funny". However, this set made me laugh out loud more than once. Not at how "bad" the music is... but at how amazingly talented the musicians had to be to perfectly destroy the type of music they attack on this album. Truly a fantastic effort that sounds as fresh today as it did when it was recorded.

From the back cover: In the interest of peace and harmony, this album was recorded on Sunday, December 29, 1957, on the main floor of Grump's store in San Francisco. The Herr Doktor Guckenheimer is in reality Richard Grump, widely known merchant, author, artist and serious composer. The recording equipment was installed in Grump's famed Steuben Room. Mr. Grump is pleased to announce that sonic breakage of this valuable glass was kept at a minimum.

Second Hungarian Rhapsody
Grad aus dem Wirthaus Katarina Polka
In München steht ein Hofbrau Haus
Jagermarsch
Um die Ecke rum
In der Heimat da gibt's ein Wiedersehen
Star and Strips Forever
Raymond Overture
Komme ein Birdie Yet
Trinklieder
Gruss aus Minneapolis
Der Juss (II Bacio)
Made wasch dich
Rheinwein Polka
Come Vere The Band Ist Playing

On The Sunny Side Of The Strip - George Shearing

On The Sunny Side Of The Strip
Swinging Shearing Sounds Recorded "Live"
George Shearing And The Quintet
Produced By Dave Cavanugh and Tom Morgan
Capitol Records ST1416
1960

Available, at least on CD, so I will not be posting a sample.

Lively Shearing offering that fit nicely in the 1960 market place with help from percussionist Armando Perrazza. You also get to hear Shearing's voice on the LP as he introduces tunes.

From Billboard - September 5, 1960: This recording with the George Shearing Quintet (and every so often his sextet) was recorded at the Crescendo in Hollywood. The audience applause add a lot to the record, plus the fact that the Shearing crew plays here in a fine relaxed style. A very strong new Shearing LP for pop and jazz fans.

From the back cover: "I always like 'live' recording," George says, " especially when jazz is involved. The audience provides greater emotional tension and stimulation. And this makes everdoby happy – us and the listeners."

Heard with George in the album are vibraphonist Emil Richards, guitarist Jean "Toots" Thielmans, bassist Al McKibbon, and drummer Percy Brice. That's the line up except on the Latin things. And, since no Shearing album could boast a variety of favorite Quintet styles without Latin representation, the group presents two selection that are favorites wherever they play: Mambo Inn and Drume Negrita.

"Conga drummer Armando Perrazza joins us on these" George comments, "which probably make this the only Quintet around with six men. Then, of course, there's the audience too – if you want to count its contribution. But I guess that would swell us all out of proportion. Then we would have to stop calling this a Quintet."


Jordan
As I Love You
Confirmation
The Nearness Of You
Mambo Inn
Bernie's Tune
Some Other Spring
Spring Joy
Drums Negrita

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tender Is The Night - Guitars Unlimited

Happening
Tender Is The Night
Listening To Brazilian Guitars
Guitars Unlimited
Produced by David Cavanaugh
Condutor Arranger: Jack Marshall
Guitarists: Bob Bain, Tony Rizzi, Howard Roberts, Bill Pitman, Al Hendrickson and Dennis Budimir
Percussion and Bell: Frank Flynn and Stan Levey
Bass: Joe Mondrago
Drums: Shelly Manne
Capitol Records ST 173
1970

From the back cover: This is the second time around for these Guitars Unlimted. The first was an album called "Quiet Nights & Brazilian Guitars"... and it didn't scream at you with "new" sonics of too-precious (or much-too-overstated) cleverness. It merely styled eternal feelings into harmonious contemporary moods for today's kind of listening...

Yeah... "overstated cleverness" is so annoying! However, "harmonious contemporary moods" captures the audio concept in words. Good engineering and fine guitar work.

Tender Is The Night
Espesa No Aqui
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Cuando Sali De Cuba
The Second Time Around
Mujer-Con Ojos Cafe
Close Your Eyes
Halfway Is Nowhere
A Happening
Let Me Love You Tonight
The Moon Is Low