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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Patti Bown Plays Big Piano


Waltz De Funk

Patti Bown Plays Big Piano
With Joe Benjamin, Bass & Ed Shaughnessy, Drums
Columbia CL 1379

From the back cover: One of the most vocal and enthusiastic heralds of this new talent was arranger Quincy Jones, also from Seattle. It was Quincy, given the opportunity of assembling his own band for the Harold Arlen Show, Free And Easy, who finally brought Patti to New York late in 1959 to work as pianist with his band. It was, however, a discerning man about records named George Painkin who brought an acetate test record of Patti's playing to Columbia. The impact on one hearing was powerful and convincing. She was signed on the spot.

Born in Seattle on July 26, 1931, Patti Bown began playing by ear before she was three years old. Neither of her parents had musical training although her mother was able to play simple blues and children's songs at family gatherings. Amazingly enough, Patti and her four sisters were all born with perfect pitch.

Augustus Bown, Patti's father, was a longshoreman and her mother, Edith Cahill Bown, a hairdresser. Both were determined that their children should receive the very best education possible, and their history was one of continual poverty, the five Brown girls and their one brother were denied nothing in the way of cultural opportunities.

Patti's first formal music lessons began when she was six – on a second hand upright bought by her father for all of ten dollars. Her studies were continued in elementary and high schools and then, with the aid of music scholarships at Seattle University, the University of Washington and the Cornish School of Fine Arts. In addition, a great deal of study with books on harmony and composition was patiently undertaken.

The concert stage was the goal, not only for Patti, but for her sister Edith, also an accomplished musician. The sisters, in fact, had dreams of working together as duo-pianists.

Patti's contacts with jazz were the usual ones that any urban Negro youngster might have had. She heard her share of gospel songs and blues as a child, and then, with her contemporaries, grew up with the music of Basie, Ellington and, in the Forties, of Parker, Gillespie and the other modernists on the radio and the phonograph. A closer alliance to jazz came with her sister Edith's marriage to Jerry Valentine, an arranger who has written for Miles Davis, Art Blakey and other prominent bands and vocalists.

Opportunities of launching a concert career are limited, and Patti engaged in several non-musical jobs while waiting for her chance, among them washing windows, typing  and working as a stock clerk in a department store.

All the while, however, she was also playing jazz and developing her own approach to the piano – and "going to bed and walking up thinking about music." Patti sees the piano as a lifetime challenge and has some very definite ideas about herself and her playing. She believes in using the whole piano and being, both in personality and appearance, positive, individual and strong. Her playing has a definiteness, assurance, and strength that accurately reflect who and what she is.

Patti has what jazz magician call "time." The beat is always there – not vaguely implied, it's explicitly there to be heard and felt. And the listener will hear and feel that beat on every track of this record, in the ballads, and especially in the four Brown original blues and gospel-based compositions.

One of those compositions is called "Head-Shakin'", a pretty descriptive title not only for the piece itself,  but for this entire collection. Only it doesn't quite go far enough. This record not only contains head-shaking' music but foot-tapping', finger-snappin', happy, melodic jazz as well.

Nothin' But The Truth
It Might As Well Be Spring
Waltz De Funk
I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair
Head Shakin'
G'won Train
Sunshine Cake
Give Me The Simple Life
I Didn't Know What Time It Was
Always True To You In My Fashion

Impressions Of The Middle East - Herbie Mann



Impression Of The Middle East 
Herbie Mann
Recording Engineers: Tom Dowd, Phil Iehile & Bruce Vergessen
Album Design: Marvin Israel
Supervision: Nesuhi Ertegun & Arif Mardin
Atlantic Recording Corporation
Atlantic 1475

Atlantic Records extends its thanks to the Turkish Tourism and Information Office in New York City for its cooperation in supplying the pictures for the covers of this album.

On Turkish Coffee & Odalisque, the personnel is Herbie Mann, flute; Chick Ganimian, our; Roy Ayers, vibes; Reggie Workman, bass; Bruno Carr, drums; Carlos "Potato" Valdes, conga drums, Hachig Thomas Kazarlan & Geraldien Swee, percussion.

On Incense, the personnel is the same, except that Herbie Mann plays the alto flute.

On Do Wah Diddy Diddy & The Oud And The Pussycat, the personnel is: Herbie Mann, flute; Chuck Ganimian, our; Jimmy Owens, trumpet; Julian Priester & Joe Orange, trombone; Hachig Thomas Kazarlan, clarinet; Reggie Workman, bass; Mohamed Elakkad, zither; Attila Zoller, guitar; Bruno Carr, drums; Moulay Ali Hafid, Robert Marashlian & Carlos "Patato" Valdes, percussion.

On Uskudar, Yavuz & Dance Of The Semites, the personnel is: Herbie Mann, flute, Chick Ganimian, our; Jimmy Owens, trumpet & fluegelhorn; Hachig Thomas Kazarlan, clarinet; Mohamed Elakkad, zither; Reggie Workman, bass; Bruno Carr, drums; Robert Marashilan & Moulay Ali Hafid, percussion.

On Eli Eli, the personnel is: Herbie Mann, flute; Richard Davis, bass; Gloria Agostino, harp; David Nadien, Anahid Ajemian, Al Brown, Bernard Elchen, Leo Kahn, Leo Kruczek, Charles Libove, Dave Mankowitz, Charles McCracken, Marvin Morgenstern, George Ockner, Raoul Poliakin, Max Pollikoff, George Ricci, Aaron Rosand, Tosha Samaroff, Al Schulman, Sylvan Schulman, Karen Tuttle, Emanuel Vardi & Jack Zayde, strings.

Turkish Coffee
Do Wah Diddy Diddy
The Old And The Pussycat
Dance Of The Semites
Eli Eli

Best Coast Jazz - Clifford Brown With All Stars



Best Coast Jazz
EmArcy Custom MG 36039
A Product of Mercury Records Corporation

All Stars

Clifford Brown - Trumpet
Herb Geller - Alto Sax
Max Roach - Drums
Joe Manini, Jr. - Sax
Walter Benton - Tenor Sax
Kenny Drew - Piano 
Curtis Counce - Bass

Photo (Left to Right): Max Roach, Herb Geller, Walter Bention, Joe Mani and Clifford Brown

From the back cover: The personnel on this date represented an amalgamation, for the first time, of a pair of important EmArcy attractions, both of whom have made individual reputations through various LP's on which they have appeared either as leaders or as sidemen on this label during the past year. They are Herb Geller and that two-headed combo-leading team of Clifford Brown and Max Roach.

Clifford and Max, as you should certainly know by now, are currently leading a highly successful quintet. Clifford's trumpet work and Max's fantastic drumming won them a couple of Down Beat awards and, even more important, the respect and adulation of a flock of other musicians from coast (California) to coast (English channel and points east)>

Herb Geller, an unorthodox west coast jazzman, inasmuch as he was born and raised in Los Angeles, is a graduate of the bands of Joe Venuti, Claude Thornhill, Jerry Wald and Lucky Millinder, and has worked with numerous California outfits, including those of Shorty Rogers, Billy May, Maynard Ferguson, Howard Rumsey and Chet Baker. He has been heard with his own quartet as well as in jam sessions and other dates on EmArcy.

Herb has some competition on this session, in the persons of two lesser known but highly promising saxophonists, Joseph Maini, Jr., alto and tenor saxophonist, claims the unusual distinction of having been presented with a tenor saxophone by the great Charles "Yardbird" Parker himself. Now 25  years old, he has worked with Alvino Rey, Noro Morales, Claude Thornhill and other name bands; during a couple of years he spent in New York he became friendly with the immortal Bird, as you may well deduce from these sides. Usually his work and Geller's are easily distinguishable by Maini's more biting tone; in case you are ever in doubt, a helpful hint is the fact that the last solo and closing cadenza on Autumn In New York are by Herb.

Walter Benton, the tenor saxophonist on these performances, is also comparatively new to records, though he has been heard on a few sides with Kenny Clarke. Only 22 years old, he is from Los Angeles and was only recently discharged from the Army. He has been working with small combos around Seattle.

In addition to the formidable Max Roach, the rhythm section here includes two distinguished young gentlemen, both well known to followers of the new jazz. Kenny Drew, the pianist, made his professional debut as accompanist at the Pearl Primus dance school. He has been heard in night clubs and recordings with Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz, Lester Young and from 1952 until late '53 was on tour with Buddy de Franco.

Curits Counce, the bassist was born in Kansas City in 1926 and made his bow at the age of 15 with Nat Towles' orchestra. Settling in Los Angeles some ten years ago, he worked for four years with Edgar Hayes' combo and was also heard frequently with Benny Carter, Wardell Gray and Billy Eckstine. Until a few months ago he was a regular member, for almost two years, of Shorty Rogers' outfit in Hollywood. An admirer of the immortal Jimmy Blanton, he is considered to be the outstanding batsman on the west coast.

These two king sized performances – the jumping riff blues tune Coronado and You Go To My Head – were recorded in Los Angeles on August 10, 1954. Since more than a quarter of an hour is devoted to each tune, it will come as no surprise to you that every member of this wonderful group is given ample opportunity to express his ad lib feelings with no holds barred and no restrictions of any kind We feel that the results certainly justify the appropriate description of these sides as "Best Coast Jazz."

You Go To My Head

Concert Jazz - Sauter - Finegan


The Land Between

Concert Jazz
The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra
Ed Sauter & Bill Finegan
RCA Victor LPM-1051

From the back cover: Pictures From Sauter-Finegan Land – An Orchestra such as ours, when it isn't actually playing spends the greater part of its time speeding from one end of the country to the other – from the austere roundness of green New England hills where each town boasts its dingy, streamside factory and white-spired clapboard church – to the brown, angular wilderness of the Southwest. In all, some 200,000 miles of Americana have rolled by, mostly by bus.

In spite of the transient nature of our existence, there are moments when we feel at one with where we are. In this piece we've tried to capture some of those feelings. The bustling, busy highways we know so well are represented by the main theme. Variations of this theme connect the different sections: A snowfall in Vermont – the steel towns of Pennsylvania and Ohio – a prairie schooner in the Southwest – a camp meeting in the Ozarks – a prairie night, the powerful Rockies the seem to rise out of the West like the waves of some ancient angry sea, and, being stopped in their course as if by a Giant Hand, hang poised, threatening to inundate the praises to the East.

Any Roberts reads the poetry that is so essential to this piece. You hear also the oboe and English horn of Ray Shiner and the voice of Anita Darian.

We sincerely hope the pleasure we experience creating the album will be shared by you – Ed Sauter and Bill Finegan

The Loop - Chicago has been called the crossroads of America – In this piece one might find an amalgamation of fragments of attitudes, from the great bands of the past - Novo - Basie - Ellington - Herman - Goodman - McKinley - Solos by Nick Travis - Gene Allen - Joe Venuto

Concerto In F - A paraphrase by Bill Finegan on the second movement of Gershwin's famous Concerto.

The Land Between - Nick Travis, deeply meditative, hanging suspended in a swirling dream world.

Madame X - From a painting by Roualt. The eternal mystery.

Where Or When - Our first love, Sally Sweetland. We hope you appreciate her as we do.

Sadie Thompson  - There's some life in this old girl. A bawdy blues with overtones of Tahiti and Rampart Street.

John Henry - Andy Roberts discourses on the tragedy of one man and his battle with "The Machine".

Solo For Joe - Joe Venuto in a nostalgia flight of fancy. And Wiedersehen.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Connie Haines Sings


Stormy Weather

Connie Haines Sings
Accompanied by Ray Bloch and His Orchestra
Recorded under the supervision of Bob Thiele
Coral Records CRL 56055 (10 inch LP)

From the back cover: About Connie Haines

The glamorous Connie Haines had an even more glamorous name to start with. She was born Yvonne Jamis in Savannah, Georgia, a captivating mixture of French and Irish ancestry. She broke into radio at the age of four. At ten she won an audition for singers on an NBC affiliate, WJAX, in Jacksonville, Florida, and was rewarded with a commercial show which billed her as "The Little Princess Of The Air." At fourteen she became the youngest star ever to grace the Roxy Theatre in New York.

She then went on an extended year's tour of Eastern niteries. While at the Colonial Inn in New Jersey, she was heard and hired  by Harry James who had just left Benny Goodman to form his own band. James changed her name to Connie Haines. After three months with the band, she switched to Tommy Dorsey's orchestra and gained further distinction as one of the nation's most popular band singers. With the Dorsey menage at the time were Jo Stafford, the Pied Pipers and a promising lad named Frank Sinatra.

After a long stay, the Savannah thrush left Dorsey and headed for Hollywood. She made several pictures there including "A Wave, A Wac And A Marine," "Moonlight Over Las Vegas" and "Twilight On The Prairie." She also appeared as the featured on such radio shows as Fibber McGee And Molly, Abbott And Costello, Edgar Bergens, Old Gold Show," Chesterfield Supper Club and many others.

While on the Coast, her appearance at the well-known Ciro's drew attention from all sides and gained her an invitation to appear on the famous radio program beamed to the fighting men abroad, "Command Performance," her greatest thrill. In the fall of '47, Connie came East for the first time in years and went into the featured spot at the famed Paramount Theatre in New York. She appeared subsequently at the famous Harem night club in New York; the Chez Paree in Chicago; the Copa in Pittsburgh and the Bowery in Detroit. Connie wound up the year (1948) with her second Paramount Theatre date.

The Savannah songbird went on to television. She made guest shots on Ed Sullivan's video show, Jack Eigen's and opened a month-long stand at the Copacabana in New York. In 1949 she began another chapter in her colorful career. She signed a contract with Coral Records and immediately registered two smash hits: "How It Lies, How It Lies, How It Lies," and "You Told A Lie."

About Ray Bloch

Diminutive, bespectacled Ray Bloch, conductor of Ed Sullivan's CBS-TV "Toast Of The Town," Steve Allen's "Songs For Sale" and CBS-Radio "Big Time," NBC-TV's "Kate Smith Evening Hour," is a tireless working who seems never the least upset by the pressure of combined radio and video chores.

When still quite young, Bloch was brought to America from Alsace-Lorraine, where he was born August 3, 1902. In The United States, his father, a chef, encouraged his musical ambitions making sacrifices in order to pay for lessons. At the age of eight, the Bloch childish soprano could be heard in neighborhood choirs. Singing in choirs didn't appeal to him, but directing them did. So when he was 12, he conducted his first chorus at a Christmas festival. He has been leading choral groups ever since.

Ray Bloch was first employed as office boy at $6.00 a week for the New York French language newspaper, Courier de Etats-Unis. His first job of any importance was a piano player for a leading music publisher. He turned from this to play piano with ballroom bands in the city. During these formative days in the early 1920's he also played with an orchestra quintet which was billed opposite the famed original Dixieland Jazz Band, a fact which gave him the greatest emotional boost of his young professional life.

Bloch's initial experience as a maestro came when his organized a jazz quintet which toured from New York To California. In the late 1920's he switched to radio, as pianist at various stations. In 1931, he acme arranger-accompanist for the popular quartet of the day, the Eton Boys. Following a long stay with this foursome, he became leader of several choral groups, the most notable of which was the Swing Fourteen. His advent into conducting cam through a CBS sustaining series and a prominent sponsored show, "Johnny Presents," which had been fronted by such toppers as Ferde Grofe, Leo Reisman, Russ Morgan and Johnny Green. Early in this series, Bloch had charge of the choral group. Later, he was promoted to orchestra leader. This was the turning point of his career – he launched into an energetic schedule of conducting, coaching, orchestrating and choral directing that gained tempo and laurels with the passing years.

As a vocal coach, one of his proudest achievements was the development of soloists from his vocal groups, a few of which are Jack Smith, Gordon MacRae, Genevieve Rowe, Benay Venuta, Alan Dale, Sally Sweetland and others too numerous to mention. His baton has directed the music of many major shows during the last decade or more.

You Made Me Love You
Darktown Strutters Ball (with Alan Dale)
Stormy Weather
Will You Still Be Mine
My Man
But What Are These
What Has Happened To Joe
Silly No – Silly Yes

Call Of The Wild - Frankie Laine


The Swamp Girl

Call Of The Wild
Frankie Laine
Produced by Irving Townsend
Cover Photo: Leigh Weiner
Columbia CL 1829

From the back cover: Johnny Williams, brilliant young California conductor-arranger, provides Frankie with apposite orchestral and choral support. What Frankie provides in all the ballads in this album is akin to his vocal appearances in nightclubs and on television, through music.

Song Of The Open Road
North To Alaska
The Swamp Girl
Beyond The Blue Horizon
Call Of The Wild
On The Trail 
The Wayfaring Stanger
Tumbling Tumbleweeds
The High Road
Rolling Stone
The New Frontier 
The Girl In The Wood

Muted Memories - Carl Stevens


Harlem Nocturne

Muted Memories
Carl Stevens
His Trumpet and His Orchestra
Mercury Wing MGW 12138

From the back cover: Versatile arranger-trumpeter Carl Stevens leads a group of Mercury All-Stars through this delightful session. Tympanist-Percussionist Bobby Christian has his own LP, MR Percussion (MG 20335 and SR 60015). Guitarist here, but also top vocalist on his own LP (MG 20418 and SR 60064), is Frank D'Rone. Bassist John Frigo switched to fiddle for his own Mercury 12-inch package (I Love John Frigo – He Swings MG 20285). And we can't overlook talented 88-er Dick Marx whose LP's are available under his own name on several other labels.

With trumpet gaining in popularity continually, Carl Stevens, Aurora, Illinois' gift to the valve and mouthpiece coterie, has carved a most unique approach to the rocky up-hill success climb.

While other trumpeters play routine standards in a style that dates back to 1930's, Stevens has a brand new approach. Utilizing all-star rhythm section, Stevens has actually written the musical backdrop for his rendition of the evergreens herein.

On previous trumpet efforts, the headlined horn has played against the tight rhythm section which Benny Goodman introduced. Stevens believes in variety. Not only does he switch the spotlight to his four cohorts for solos, but his own work is backed by a rhythm section that is conspicuous by its musical presence.

Michel LeGrand, writing in Down Beat recently, said modern recording technique is forcing arrangers to score differently!

Stevens, a long way from LeGrand's hometown, Paris, France, proves it with the dashes of tympani, percussion, music-box piano effects and guitar patterns.

And, as to mutes, Stevens raided four music stores of everything in the way of a plunger to the vastest audio-sensation mutes, to gain the fiery effects and the completely restful gimmicks you'll dig herein.

I Concentrate On You
Jeepers Creepers
A Handful Of Stars
Satin Doll
The Song Is You
That Old Feeling
Harlem Nocturne
You Belong To Me
Out Of This World
Younger Than Springtime
What's New

Dorothy's Harp - Dorothy Ashby


Dorothy's Harp
Dorothy Ashsby
Produced by Richard Evans
Engineer: Stu Black
Album Design: Randy Harter
Photographs: Jeff Lowenthal
Cadet Records
Stereo LPS-825

From the back cover: Dorothy's Harp is a magical experience, indeed! It shimmers, glimmers and soars! It's funky, baroque and beautiful. Soulful, haunting, melodic. And besides that, it sounds good. An unbelievably versatile instrument, it offers the simple directness of the guitar, the fluidity and grace of the piano, the Old World delicacy and charm of the harpsichord. Not surprising, really, since all of these instruments evolved from the harp.

What is surprising is that, until Dorothy Ashby, the harp has been consistently #1 in Downbeat's Category of "Most Forgotten Miscellaneous Instrument," easily edging such contenders as the theremin and seraphim. Yet, with all the versatility and beauty the harp has offered through the ages, most folks can name only two harpists, and they're remembered for skills other than their harping. David, who played head harp in King Saul's Army Band, achieved his fame first by bonking Goliath in the Super-Philistine, and later by becoming King of the Israelites. What' more, he looked like Gregory Peck. And finally, his harping wasn't that good. Like President Nixon on piano, he played everything in "G"."

Harpo Marx was an incredible harpist who could have done much to popularize the instrument,  but he's remembered primarily for inventing the hydrogen bomb, which he kept in his pocket... next to the telephone, which was invented by Don Ameche. 

So much for history. The fact is the harp has needed a champion for aeons, and  it finally has one in Dorothy Ashby, as one hearing of Dorothy's Harp will reveal.

If you're a professional musician or jazz fan, chances are you're already aware of just how great Dorothy is; if this is your first exposure, you're in for a great treat that'll make you glad to have ears.

Producer Richard Evans' arrangements showcase Dorothy's Harp to perfection and reflect everything that is tasteful and exciting in today's popular music. In addition to the six recent standards, you'll be delighted by two Evan's originals "Tarth Spoken Here" and Toronado" and two Asby originals "Cause I Need It" and "Just Had To Tell Somebody".

The fender piano work of Odell Brown is also first rate, as are the flute and oboe solos by Lennie Druss.

This is the kind of album I'm happy to share with an audience. 

Fitz Peerenboom
WBNS Radio
Columbus, Ohio

By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Canto De Ossanha
Love Is Blue
This Girl's In Love With You
Truth Is Spoken Here
The Windmills Of Your Mind
Cause I Need It
Just Had To Tell Somebody
Fool On The Hill

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Torch - June Valli


Stormy Weather

The Torch
June Valli
With Joe Reisman and His Orchestra
Photo by Jerry Saltsberg and Associates
RCA Victor LPM-1120

From the back cover: The first time I ever heard June Valli, in person, was at the 4-H Club Convention, in Chicago. We were putting on a show there for the youngsters, and Kitty Kallen was to have flown out from New York to join us.

A few hours before the show, Irving Chezar, agent for Kitty Kallen, phoned from New York to tell me that Miss Kallen, ill, was still at La Guardia Airport. He suggested that I substitute June Valli, who was in Chicago.

So June rushed over, had a hurried rehearsal, and then stepped out on the stage and tied the show up in a knot. She's done the same thing for us ever since.

Here is a real young star, in the completest meaning of the that abused word. Millions of America who have enjoyed her on "Hit Parade", our "Toast Of The Town" and other TV shows, will welcome this album – June Valli is now a regular member of your family, instead of a TV visitor. – Ed Sullivan

One For My Baby
I Get It Bad And That Ain't Good 
My Man
Stormy Weather
You're Got Me Crying Again
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
But Not For Me
All Alone
I Get Along Without You Very Well
Body And Soul
Don't Take Your Love From Me

Watusi Trumpets - Claus Ogerman



Watusi Trumpets
Claus Ogerman and His Orchestra
Produced by Andy Wiswell
Liner Photo: Dan Wynn
Recorded in Webster Hall, New York City
Recording Engineer: Mickey Crofford
RCA Victor LPM-3455

It's Not Unusual 
Watusi Trumpets
El Watusi
Right Now
Harlem Watusi
One Step Above
The Joker
La Bamba
Land Of 1000 Dances