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Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Man And His Dream - Acquaviva

Always The Sea
A Man And His Dream
Acquaviva And His Orchestra
MGM/Lowe's Inc. E3696
1958

Notes from the back cover explain that Acquaviva's artistic approach was "conceptual" in nature: Men dream of many things during the course of their lives – fame, wealth, love, the achievement of ideals, the establishment of important ideas. But, always, in each man's life there is one dominant dream, one he strives after more than the others.

My own special dream as I grew up was to conduct a special sort of orchestra in a special sort of music. In my reviews, I visualized a symphonically-seated orchestra that would bring to "pop" music all of the dazzling musical coloration, all of the thrilling mass of composers like Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov and other of the immortals. Somewhere, I knew there was possible a bridge between classical and "pop" selections – I hoped to help erect that bridge.

As I built a career as a professional musician, I met many other who shared my ideas and were excited by their possibilities. There were composers who wanted to expand their scope of expression, arrangers who had strikingly original ideas for orchestrating. Music, after all, had to exist before we could convince anyone to sponsor the creation of a hugh orchestra, so we set to work. The first results of these experimentations were set forth in an MGM long-playing set called "Music For Your Midnight Mood." You, the public, seemed to like our "new" music very much. The success of that recording told me that my dream had come true. – Acquaviva


Also see: The Exciting Sound Of Acquaviva

Curtain Time
Always The Sea
This Might Be Love
Everyday
One Moment More
New York In A Nutshell
A Man With A Dream
Road Show
Alone With You
Am I In Love
Joni
Prayer For Peace

Johnny Smith


Yesterday
Michelle
Johnny Smith
Personnel: Johnny Smith - guitar, Hank Jones - piano, George Duvivier - bass and Don Lamond - drums
Director Of Engineering: Val Valentin
Cover Design: Acy R. Lehman
Cover Photo: Irv Elkin
Engineer: Bob Arnold
Cover Guitar: (Johnny Smith Model Guitar) Gibson JS.
Verve/MGM Records Division V6-8692
1967

Gatefold/die-cute cover jacket design.

From the inside cover: During the fifteen years since he recorded his famous version of Moonlight in Vermont, Smith has made many albums, but it is probably no exaggeration to say that on none of them has he had an accompanying unit so well attuned to his needs as this. His three companions are fellow spirits in terms of technical ability and devotion to music. Despite extraordinary instrumental facility, none is a exhibitionist, for their facility is at all times governed by good taste.

From Billboard - June 24, 1967 "Jazz Spotlight": A soft, but vibrant style pervades each tune – each a first class performance.

Memories Of You
Manha De Carnaval
Here's That Rainy Day
Yesterday
Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Michelle
My Favorite Things
Golden Earrings
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
The Girl From Ipanema

Kid's Bible Club

The Gospel Story
Kid's Bible Club
Song 'N Stories
Sword Records
S-1410-LP

From the back cover: Uncle Earl and members of the Kid's Bible Club join together in presenting this delightful collection of favorite children's Sunday School songs. Also included are several lesson-stories by the one and only Uncle Earl.

Harpo At Work!

Imagination
Harpo At Work!
Harpo Marx
Mercury SR60016
1958

From the back cover: One of the problems in the life of Harpo Marx is that people can't forget he is one of the funniest men who ever lived. This fact does not leave much room for believing what is equally true, that Harpo Marx is a serious, uniquely tasteful and enormously satisfying musician. – Bernard Asbell.

From Billboard - October 13, 1958: Mercury Records last week announced a 13-package stereo disc release, emphasizing the themes of "sound and symphony." It is the firm's third stere issue, boosting its catalog to 38 items.

Harpo Marx made several albums on Mercury including an earlier release, Harpo In Hi-Fi. The mono release of this album features different cover art.


Both of these late 50s Mercury LPs are excellent "mood music" releases that rank right up there with the best mood producers of his time. The arrangements are inventive, if not cutting edge. His two albums could be the best period "pop-harp" albums I've heard.

Laura
My Blue Heaven
The Man I Love
Taking A Chance On Love
Imagination
Aye, Aye, Aye
Harpo Woogie
All The Things You Are
Sweet Sue
Solitude
In A Sentimental Mood
I Got Rhythm

Mood In Sax

Ai No Song
Casbah No Onna
Harlem Nocturne
Mood In Sax - 1
Kil Og Yun
Midnight Sun Pops
Produced by Eastern Music
Mood Music Library
Sun Music Records
SKS-001

Here's an interesting set to enjoy if you consider how companies marketed packages when released. In this case we have a Japanese press marketed as part of a "Mood Music Library". There are a least a few other releases issued in the series, all of which feature some sort of "Western" model on the cover.

I believe this set was also released inside of another jacket which features a "Western" female model on the cover.

The production budget, for the most part, went into producing the expensive heavy cardboard gatefold affair and dark red vinyl.

The artist(?) is noted on the disc as "Kil Og Yun", or Midnight Sun Pops.

The music sounds locally produced rather than an imported budget set.

Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
Stardust
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Harlem Nocturne
Over The Rainbow
Londonderry Air
Yube No Himtsu
Kimi Koso Waga Inochi
Koi No Sizuku
Yogiri Yo Konta Mo Arigato
Ai No Sono
Casbah No Onna

Threshold - Pat Williams

The Witch
Threshold
Pat Williams
Capitol Records ST-11242
1973

Found in the dollar bin at my local record store, this LP features way more than a dollar's worth of extended tracks. For your enjoyment, each tune plays through like a mini-soundtrack that feature a variety of "sound moods" along with the driving jazz groove.

From Billboard - June 14, 1975 Billboard Jazz Beat feature: Pat Williams guest conducted the USC Jazz Ensemble playing works from his Grammy nominated LP, "Threshold".

Also see: Shades Of Today.

And On The Sixth Day
The Witch
Threshold
A Lady Beside Me
Mr. Smoke