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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sparkling Music For Fireside Listening - The Mayfair Strings

Sparkling Music For Fireside Listening
The Mayfair Strings
King 2009

Total budget. Recycled mood licensed from EMI, London. This King release is so cheap that it makes Allegro Royale pressings look like high-end collectibles. The cover is a stunning piece of graphic design that features hastily stenciled violins (yes… the production department took a grease pencil and roughed out the violin shapes) that they then superimposed over a stock photo of hell.


Catari Catari
The Blue Danube
Chiquita Mia
Emperor Waltz
Just For A While
Du And Du Waltz
Love's Last Word Is Spoken
Love's Dream After The Ball

Alefria Nortena

Yo Quiero Olvidar
Alegria Nortena
Dueto Torreon
Rafael Gama Y Sus Texanos
Discos Azteca, Inc.

Yo Quiero Olvidar
Nuevamente Volvere
Dame Un Besito
Sangrando Traigo El Corazon
Caunto Te Quise Triguena
Estoy Enamorado
Mujer Linda Mujer
No Supe Quererte
Recuerdo De Mariquita

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Maharaja Of The Saxophone - Lynn Hope

Sands Of The Sahara
A Ghost Of A Chance
The Maharaja Of The Saxophone
Lynn Hope
King 717

This King set appears to have been released (according to the Wiki copy below) right about the time Hope quit the music business. So, depending on the circumstances, King may have had to scramble to find an image that they could use on the cover. The hand-tinted photo image/cover is graphically dated for a 1961 release, but nonetheless, pretty darn cool looking.

The set itself, as the Billboard review suggests, is "expressive" in that Hope manages to put his special "slow burn" or "jazz twist" on every song. He must have put on a good show.

The set receives 3 Stars from Billboard - January 30, 1961: Lynn Hope's sultry sax is featured here on a group of expressive instrumentals of originals and standards.

From Hope's Wiki page: Lynn Hope (September 26, 1926 - February 24, 1993) was an American Jazz and Blues tenor saxophonist noted for his outlandish dress style in the 1950s (he would often wear a fez or turban.) His most prolific period for recording was from 1951 to 1957 for Aladdin Records. Hope, who later converted to Islam and changed his name to El Hajj Abdullah Rasheed Ahmad, appears to have been inactive musically from 1960 until his death.

Tenor saxophonist Lynn Hope was noted for his apparel and instrumental remakes of established pre-rock pop anthems. Hope joined King Kolax's band when he graduated from high school in Birmingham during the '40s. He later converted to Islam, and became noted for wearing a turban, though few ever called him Al Hajji Abdullah Rascheed Ahmed. Hope signed with Miracle in 1950, but the contract proved invalid. He moved to Premium, where he cut "Tenderly," a song that was later picked up by Chess. Hope recorded often for Aladdin between 1951 and 1957, doing such reworked standards as "September Song" and "Summertime." While these numbers were often performed with little or no melodic embellishment or improvisation, the flip sides were often fierce up tempo blues or jump tunes. "Tenderly" earned Hope his only hit in 1950, reaching number eight R&B and #19 pop. He made his last sessions for King in 1960, then dropped out of sight. [Artist Biography by Ron Wynn]

Rose Room
Body And Soul
Sands Of The Sahara
Blue And Sentimental
OO Wee
A Ghost Of A Chance
Full Moon
Little Landslide

The World Of Harry Partch

The World Of Harry Partch
Conducted by Danlee Mitchell under the supervision of the composer
Columbia Masterworks MS 7207

From the inside gatefold cover (Partch's artistic statement): The work that I have been doing these many years parallels much in the attitudes and actions of primitive man. He found sound-magic in the common materials around him. He then proceeded to make the vehicle, the instrument, as visually beautiful as he could. Finally, he involved the sound-magic, and the visual beauty in his everyday words and experiences, his ritual and drama, in order to lend greater meaning to his life. This is my trinity: sound-magic, visual beauty, experience-ritual.

Reading Partch's statement might help the listener understand his approach. My first impression was that I was listening to a single stream of sound, that featured few "intersecting devices" and that the stream may have have been created by someone (with a rhythm sense) who had just discovered a room full of instruments and started to bang away for the fun of it. Much of the sound created by Partch also reminds me of the structure I hear in Gamelan (music from Java and Bali, Indonesia).

Barstow (side 2) is different in that the vocal overlays help to create a more dense sound experience. The vocals also create "Zappa-like" moments in the work. At least that is what I hear. I don't know what Partch's conceptual influences are. Partch used a made-up term "Hobo Concerto" to label the narrative.

If you want more of a break down, I suggest finding a copy because the book-fold is bursting with copy that explains each track in depth.

From Billboard - May 3, 1969: Current interest in Harry Partch should be parlayed into interest for this disk from one of the most individual of today's composers. The original instruments as as fascinating as their use here. "Daphne of the Dunes" and "Castor and Pollux' are engrossing instrumental pieces, which benefit from the originally of sound as well as construction. The narratives in "Barstow" enhance that piece.

Side 1

Daphine Of The Dunes

Harry Partch, Frank Berberich, Gary Coleman, Dean Drummond, Richard Lapore, John McAllister, Robert McCormick, Todd Miller, Emil Richards, Michael Ranta, Linda Schell

Adapted Viola, Kithara II, Surrogate Kithara, Harmonic Canons II and III, Chromelodeon I, Cloud-Chamber Bowls, Spoils of War, Gourd Tree, Diamond Marimba, Boo (Bamboo Marimba), Bass Marimba, Pre-recorded Tape

Side 2


Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions from a Highway Railing At Barstow, California
Harry Partch and John Stannard, Voices; John McAlister, Danlee Mitchell, Michael Ranta, Linda Schell.

Surrogate Kithara, Chromelodeon I, Diamond Marimba, Boo (Bamboo Marimba)

Castor & Pollux
A Dance from the Twin Ryhythms of Gemini from Piectra & Percussion Dances
Gary Coleman, Dean Drummond, John McAllister, Danlee Mitchell, Emil Richards, Michael Ranta, Linda Schell.

Leda and the Swan (Kithrar II, Surrogate Kithara, and Cloud-Chamber Bowls)
Conception (Harmonic Canon II and High Bass Marimba)
Incubation (Diamond Marimba and Low Bass Marimba)
Chorus of Delivery from the Egg (All the foregoing instruments)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Big Band Pops - Box Set

Big Band Pops
The Miracle Of Stereo Sound In Motion
10 disc box set
Design: Burt Portnoy
Directional Sound
Premier Albums, Inc.

10 record Premier box set that assembles, in one collection, some of the label's better projects which were also sold as single albums (some or all of them in were produced in book-fold jacket designs) but marketed together in a "series" (Directional Sound). To tie the group of projects together Premier borrowed jacket design from similar graphic work done at Command Records. The "percussion" concept was also innovated by Command. However, none of the albums are "percussive" in the "Command-style" and although there are a number of great space age recordings in this set the cover art for the most part, is misleading. The series seems to have been produced to showcase Premier's range of "stereo" releases but rather comes across as a "space age percussion" set, which it is not.

Jazz & Swinging Percussion
Bill Berry Quartet
Design: Sam Sullman
K-1091 (DS 5002)

Dream Street

From March 20, 1961 Billboard: A handsome package, in book format, with modern design. Berry is an accomplished trumpeter, and with him are Alan Dawson on drums; Alex Cirin on bass and pianist Bob Freeman. Latter has written six originals for the package.

Excellent small combo jazz. The set is presented without the early 60s "percussion" gimmicks as advertised on the jacket. The engineering is very good.

Dream Street
Almost Like Being In Love
Manhattan Blues
Times Square
Broadway And 10th
Schubert Alley
Old Devil Moon
June Is Busting Out All Over
Broadway By Night
How Do You Speak To An Angel
Blow Gabriel Blow
The Night Was Made For Love

Percussive Sounds Of The Big Band
John Evans And The Big Band
K-1092 (DS 5003)

Peter Gunn

Bright and sometimes sexy big band set.


Leader – John Evans
Bass – Clement Mayer
Coordinator – Charles Goldberg
Design – Sam Suliman
Drums – Armand Van Der Walle
Guitar – Freddy Saunder
Piano – John Evans
Production Manager – Sam Suliman
Saxophone – Benny Couroyer, Frank Church, Guy Dossch, Jeff Verhagen, "Prezz" Creado
Trombone – Al Mertens, Paul Annee
Trumpet – Charlie Knectel, Ed Harnie, John Cortois, Louis Hays

St. Louis March Blues
Blue Skies
American Patrol
Kings Cross Climax
Peter Gunn
Strike Up The Band
Jungle Drums
As Time Goes By
Trumpet Blues
Peanut Vendor

Exotic Percussion And Brilliant Brass
John Evans And The Big Band
K 1095 (DS 5006)

An Occasional Man

This particular album is good fun if you are familiar with "exotica." Many songs copy the Martin Denny/Arthur Lyman style of arranging, complete with bird calls. The "exotica" titles are interesting but there is nothing new to hear. Supporting those tracks are more straight forward Lyman-like Latin/jazz tracks. These tracks carried the album and are pretty cool.

Bad And Beautiful
Eso Es El Amor
Mambo Inn
An Occasional Man
Cuban Caper
Quite Village
Return To Paradise
Mambo Italiano
Lisbon Antigua
Cool Mambo

Potent Percussion
Don Catelli And The All Stars
K 1099 (DM 5010)

This album is one of the better LPs in the series. Tracks can be purchased by digital download, so I won't be posting a sample. There is a consistent smooth, smoky, ping-pong lounge vibe to be enjoyed on this set.

I Love Paris
So In Love
Lady Of Spain
Old Cape Cod
I've Got You Under My Skin
In The Still Of The Night
Always True To You
Small World Isn't It
Glow Worm
Balling The Jack

Brass Band Bash
The Regimental Band Of Windsor Guards
K 1097 (DS 5008)

Guadalcanal March

Straight marching band brass. Whose idea was it to include this LP in the series?

Gualdalcanal March
Stars And Stripes
Spirit Of Liberty
El Capitan
Semper Fidelis
Colonel Bogey
Service Midely
King Cotton
Liberty Bell
Hands Across The Sea
On The Mall
Washington Post

Passionate Percussion
Don Catelli And The All Stars
K 1098 (DS 5009)


Solid and playful covers of many of your exotica favorites.

From Billboard - March 20, 1961: The Don Catelli group tears right into his LP of Latin-American warhorses. Each of the tracks can be judged a Latin-American standard. The music and musicians have been given depth by stereo recording. The small group under Catelli's baton performs admirably.

La Machicha
The Breeze & I
Mama Inez
Jungle Drums
Say Si Si
South Of The Border
Miami Beach Rhumba
Cha Cha #5

Percussion & Piano Honky Tonk
Mike Di Napoli and Trio
K 1094 (DS 5005)

Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight

Here's another disc in the set that doesn't fit the theme of the series if you are going to judge a book by the cover.

Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight
Under The Bamboo Tree
Turkish Honky Tonk
School Days
Honky Tonk Serenade
Kentucky Babe
Meet Me In St. Louis
Mozart Sonata
Merry Oldsmobile
Toreador Song
In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree
La Donna E Mobile

Latin Brass
John Evans And The Big Band
K 1090 (DS 5001)


Good big band Latin, but lacks the punch needed to help the set stand out in the early 60s "space age" market.

April In Portugal
Everyday Is Ladies Day
Mamo Jambo
Teach Me Tonight
Barrippi Mompo
It Ain't Necessarily So
Kiss Me Again Cha Cha
Old Man River Cha Cha
Cha Cha Amigo

Percussion Classics
Karl Reiner Conducting The Hamburg Philharmonic
K 1093 (DS 5004)

More series filler and not, by any means, "percussive".

Ravel's Bolero
Tchaikovski's 1812 Overture
Sizzling Strings Castanets Percussion
Don Luis Quintero and The Madrid Festival Orchestra
Mario Valero Group with Jose Alvarez on Guitar
K 1096 (DM 5007)

Not sizzling or space age.

Fiesta Trianera
La Paloma
Viva Navarra
Capriccio Espanol
Ravel's Bolero
Seranata Espanola
Solea Canastera―Soleares

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hammond Organ Hits - Grant Ashley

Hammond Organ Hits
An Evening Of International Favorites
Grant Ashley
Oscar Records OS-194

La Paloma
Le Pont D'Avignon
A Wandering Minstrel
Tango Elena
Dark Eyes
Blue Danube
Tango Continental
O Sole Mio

The Brilliant Bellson Sound - Louis Bellson

So Long Blues
The Brilliant Bellson Sound
Louis Bellson, His Drums and Orchestra
Arranged By Louis Bellson
Tenor Solo: Aaron Sachs
Piano Solo: Eddie Diamond
Cover Illustration: Larry Harris
Art Direction: Sheldon Marks
Verve V6-2123
Division Of Lowes Incorporated

The Bam Boo or Chromatic Tympani gives this big band jazz set the "space age" edge it needed to sound fresh in 1960. The big band/combo sound is driving and bright all the way through. Solos include Bellson moments of course, but additional solos as credited on the back cover. I found the horn solos to be some of the stand out moments on the album. The sample above is the only track on the set arranged by Bellson and features a few of the more lengthy smoking hot solos.


Drums: Louis Bellson
Trumpets: John Audino, Guido Basso, Ralph Clarke, Fred Thompson,
Trombones: Earl Swope, Nick DiMaia, Juan Tizol
Saxophones: Herb Geller, Nick Nichols, George Perry, Aaron Sachs, Oliver Nelson
French Horn: Joe DeAngelis
Piano: Eddie Diamond
Bass: Charles Parham
Guitars: Lawrence Lucie, Tony Razzi
Boo Bams & Vibes: Jack Arnold

Drum Foolery
It's Music Time
Blast Off
Don't Be That Way
The Hawk Talks
Summer Night
Satin Doll
It Don't Mean A Thing
Speak Low
You Are My Lucky Star
So Long Blues

Also see: Around The World In Percussion

My Fair Lady Highlights - Lanny Ross & Marcia Neil

On The Street Where You Live
Mr Fair Lady Highlights
Lanny Ross & Marcia Neil
Jack Hansen Orchestra
Masterseal MSLP 5001

Terrific jacket photo on this budget Masterseal set. The cover model looks a lot like, or possibly might be, film actress Marsha Hunt?

Opening Medley
On The Street Where You Live
The Rain In Spain
Wouldn't That Be Lovely
I'm An Ordinary Man
I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face
Embassy Waltz
I Could Have Danced All Night
Closing Medley