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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Touch Of Latin - Mr. Acker Bilk

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
A Touch Of Latin
Mr. Acker Bilk With The Leon Young String Chorale
Atco 33-168

From Billboard - August 1, 1964: The smooth tenor clarinet stylings of Acker Bilk are devoted this time around to such Latin melodies as "Estrellita," "Frenesi,""La Paloma" and others. Lush strings offer background. Easy and beautiful listening all the way.

Maria Elena
La Paloma
Lonely Senorita
Adios Mi Chaparita
Bossa Luna
Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps
Adios Marquita Linda
Pancho's Love Song

Monday, November 23, 2015

The 50th State - Charles Bud Dant

Maui Island Chant
The 50th State
Charles Bud Dant And His Orchestra
Coral CRL 57270

From the back cover: Charles Bud Dant is a talented conductor-composer-arrange who has written, orchestrated and performed the music for radio and TV shows such as "Comedy Hour," "Meet Corliss Archer" and "The Dennis Day Show"; he has been musical director for NBC in Hollywood, and arranger for many top orchestras. Listen now, as Mr. Dant and his orchestra brilliantly and authentically interpret this outstanding collection of island favorites.

From Billboard - August 10, 1959: Familiar Hawaiian tunes with a couple of new novelties pegged to the entry of the island group into the Union ("The Fiftieth State," "Hawaii is the 50th Star"). These are choral arrangements and very satisfying. Could attract customers who dig Hawaiian.

I hear a number of space age gimmicks, both choral and instrumental, that will be used on super light pop arrangements through out the 60s. Those tracks do not, however, work all that well in support of the more classic 50s cover art Coral selected to help market this project. I've picked one of several tracks, by way of example that is very much different in tone from the rest of the set. This tune does support the "exotic" vibe of the cover.

The Fifth State
Island Medley
A Song Of Old Hawaii
Keep Your Eyes On The Hands
Maui Island Chant
Song Of The Islands
Hawaii Is The 50th Star
Sweet Hawaiian Medley
Cocoanut Grove
My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii
Ua Like No A Like
Hawaiian Wedding Song

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Blues In The Night - Morton Gould

Sophisticated Lady
Blues In The Night
Morton Gould
Arrangements by Morton Gould
RCA Victor Red Seal

Likely one of Gould's better mood music "theme" sets which plays through somewhat like a soundtrack. Gould's arranging, generally conservative for his time (especially for the release date of 1960), slips between the soft and dramatic to his more typical big band approach, more often then not, during the same song. The mix may not suit all, but the total sonic trip is a solid one to my ears.

From the back cover: The fantasies, which, Mr. Gould remarks, develop from the periphery of the blues, are improvisatory in feeling but written down on score paper as precisely as if they were a four-movement symphony in G-flat minor, in which key none of these is – or many symphonies, for that matter.

Even the electronic devices and techniques are part of the scores which Mr. Gould has prepared. This then, is an amalgamation of individual inspiration and electric wizardry, but the free-jazz factor underlies Mr. Gould's writing. It does so because many of these men, who are experienced and resourceful in playing the symphonic repertory, are accomplished jazz artists also. They can bring to the performance of music on paper not only the surety of expert symphonic readers and stylists, but the necessary waywardness of the popular improviser. They can "play strict and keep loose," as the early-nineteenth-century conductors used to say to their bands, if this has been reduced to English correctly.

Blues In The Night
Birth Of The Blues
Old Devil Moon
Limehouse Blues
Mood Indigo
St. Louis Blues
Sophisticated Lady
Big City Blue
Deep Purple

Sentimental Me - Ken Griffin

Ting A Ling
Sentimental Me
Ken Griffin
Rondo-lette A17

Budget organ set which is collectible perhaps only for the sweet cover photo of the late 50s model featuring a "vampire-like" stare. Strangely… from the back cover, Griffin is also giving us a taste of The Transylvania Trance.

Sentimental Me
My Blue Heaven
Souvenir Waltz
Miller's Daughter
Beautiful Wisconsin
You, You, You Are The One
Five Foot Two
Ting A Ling
Skater's Waltz
Take Me Out To The Ball Game
Tiger Rag

Songs Of Safety Manners Health - Frank Luther

Songs Of Safety
Manners Can Be Fun
Health Can Be Fun
Frank Luther
Song-Stories With Orchestra And Sound Effects
Vocalion VL 73683

Lionel - Lionel Hampton And Orchestra

Plays Drums, Vibes, Piano
Lionel Hampton And Orchestra
Audio Fidelity
AFSD 5849

I agree with Billboard's assessment. The entire set is excellent, but the "smooth" tracks are standout in my opinion.

From the back cover: Lionel Hampton has lived a world dominated by music for most of his life. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1913, and later moved to Birmingham, Ala., and then Chicago, where he began his musical career. His first achievement in this area was playing the big drum in the children's band of the Chicago Defender, a newspaper. It wasn't long before he was holding forth on drums with small jazz bands in the Windy City. In 1928 he went to California, where he got some instructions in piano from Teddy Weatherford, a leading keyboard exponent. On the West Coast he played in various bands, including that of Paul Howard. He was a member of the Les Hite Band when Louis Armstrong took it over in 1930. Although Hampton made several recordings with the Armstrong organization playing both vibes and drums, it was not until 1934, when he formed his own band at Sebastian's Cotton Club, in Los Angeles, that he worked seriously on the vibes and became a real specialist on the instrument. Two years later, Benny Goodman heard him and made several disks with him. Goodman also hired Hampton for his trio, making it a quartet, along with Teddy Wilsion and Gene Krupa. Hampton remained with Goodman from 1936 to 1940, and then left to form his own big band. Since that time his orchestra has enjoyed increasing popularity as one of the outstanding jazz organizations in the country.

From Billboard - March 31, 1958: Set can appeal to both pop and jazz fans. Hampton presents an attractive variety of standards with his usual smoothness. Virtuosity is displayed to greatest effect on such fare as "Lullaby Of Birdland" "The Man I Love" and "Stardust." Sound is excellent.

Just One Of Those THings
Lazy Thoughts
The Man I Love
One Step From Heaven
Darn That Dream
Tracking Problem
Lullaby Of Birdland
Blues For Stephen
And The Angels Sing
Our Love I Here To Stay
I Know That You Know

Monday, November 16, 2015

Presenting Ernie Henry

Presenting Ernie Henry
Contemporary Series
Riverside PLP 12-222
Bill Grauer Productions
Ernie Henry, alto sax; Kenny Durham, trumpet; Kenny Drew, piano; Wilbur Ware, bass; Art Taylor, drums
New York; August 23 and 30, 1956

Material is available at your usual download vendors so I will not post a sample. However, I thought the jacket notes might be of interest and add information found on Henry's Wiki page.

Henry died of a heroin overdose at age 31 at the end of 1957.

From the back cover: Henry was born in September, 1926, in Brooklyn. (A good case could probably be made out for the existence of a Brooklyn 'school' of modern jazz. Note, for example, three who grew up in the same neighborhood as Ernie and played with him in kid band: Max Roach, Cecil Payne, and Randy Weston.) The Henry family began on piano at 8, violin at 10, and turned to the alto sax while in high school, beginning in the style of Johnny Hodges, who of course was the alto man at the time.

His professional career began after his army service in 1947 he was on 52nd Street with Dameron; he spent the next two years with Dizzy Gillespie's band, also worked with Charlie Ventura and Georgie Auld, and was with Illinois Jacquet in 1950-51. Since then it has been largely free-lance, with increasing emphasis on developing his own writing and arranging skills.

Ernie's first memory of hearing Charlie Parker dates back to 1939, when he happened to catch a radio broadcast of the Jay McShann band from the Savoy Ballroom and, he recalls, was immediately impressed. Obviously Henry, like every other current alto man, has been heavily influenced by Parker. But it should be equally obvious that this is one of those presently rather rare instances of an alto man who is no mere Bird imitator. Instead Ernie's goal has been the legitimate creative act of absorbing parts of Parker's revolutionary accomplishments into the framework of his playing and of moving on from there in his own personal direction.

One important quality, lacking in many of those direct "followers," which Bird had and Ernie also possesses, is a deep understanding of the blues (as evidence of this, note Cleo's Chant). Another vital asset is his interest in what today sometimes seems a lost art: the ability to play ensemble jazz. The sound that Ernie and Kenny Dorham achieve together is clearly something all their own. It involves a close rapport that not even the best musicians can hope to establish quickly and easily: the fact is that Kenny and Ernie have known each other for a long time and have worked-out extensively in the Henry basement, although this was their first opportunity to demonstrate in a recording studio their cohesive playing and thinking.

Kenny Dorham appears through the courtesy of ABC-Paramount Records

Dorham's brilliant solo work is of coarse also a great asset to the record. Kenny was a member of the original Jazz Messengers, and is currently the successor to the late Clifford Brown with Max Roach's group. Kenny probably hits his high point for this album with his rich, haunting choruses on the ballad I Should Care. Pianist Kenny Drew, Art Taylor on drums and the remarkable young Chicago bassist Wilbur Ware, all demonstrate rare taste and skill in handling Henry's arrangements.

He is striving towards new things, both in his own playing and in a group sound. Ernie himself feels that he is just barely beginning to make this happen; we feel that he underestimates himself drastically. But even if you want to consider it as just a starting point, this first Ernie Henry LP achieves so much more than most that the prospect is truly awesome.

Gone With The Wind
Active Ingredients
I Should Care
Cleo's Chant

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Tribute To Hank Williams - Slim Boyd

Careless Love
A Tribute To Hank Williams
Vol. 2
By Slim Boyd (Curley Williams)
Coronet Records CXS 130

Window Shoppin'
My Bucket's Got A Hole In It
Crazy Heart
Lovesick Blues
Wedding Bells
House Without Love
Rosewood Casket
Bury Me Beneath The Willow
Careless Love
Can I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight Mister
Letter Edged In Black
Carry Me Back To Old Virginny

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hawaiian Paradise - Charles Miller

My Tane
Hawaiian Paradise
The Charles "Kaipo" Miller Serenaders
Featuring: Ray Kinney, Iwaiani Kamahele and Sol Kanahele
From The Royal Hawaiian Hotel
Sunset A Product Of Liberty Records

Hawaiian Paradise
On Our Parting Day
Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au)
Hapa Haole Hula Girl
Pua Carnation
My Tane (My Man)
Sweet Someone
Keep Your Eyes On The Hands
Lei Hinahina

50 Fabulous Hawaiian Favorites

Medley #1
50 Fabulous Hawaiian Favorites
Leroy Holmes And The Southwinds
Produced by Leroy Holmes
United Artists Records UAL 3353

One of a series of UA albums featuring "50" songs (medleys) on disc packaged inside jackets that were produced with similar cover treatments.

From Billboard - April 11, 1964: Hawaiian music gets a striking showcasing in this roundup of 50 songs of and about the islands by Leroy Holmes. The maestro see to it that rhythms sway and chart the tempo enchants and it's to his credit that the Hawaiian load never gets tiresome.