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Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Feet - David Carroll

Blue Blazer
Happy Feet
David Carroll And His Orchestra
Arrangements by David Carroll
Produced by Quincy Jones
Mercury Records MG 20846

From Billboard - January 26, 1964: David Carroll puts together smart, modern vocal stylings with slick instrumental arrangements here, somewhat in the style popularized earlier by Ray Conniff, and turns out a highly listenable album of pop material.

"Modern vocal stylings" in my opinion, might have been added so that Carroll's 1964 Mancini-like approach would sound less "dated"or at least "well-worn". Only on Hallelujah Gathering do the Dick Williams Singers background vocal treatments seem to mesh completely and creatively with the instrumental arrangement.

In hindsight, regardless of how the album shoehorns into the "light-pop" musical timeline, the instrumental arrangements were strong enough to stand on their own sans The Dick Williams Singer's contribution. The sample above was one of several tracks which Carroll or Quincy Jones decided not to use the Dick Williams Singers. Cool stuff.

My Kind Of Girl
A Doodlin' Song
Learnin' The Blues
Don't Blame Me
Opus One
Blue Blazer
Hallelujah Gathering
The Best Is Yet To Come
Happy Feet

Adventure In Sound - Brass - Pete Rugolo

Brass At Work (Rugolo) - MG20261

Brass At Work (Rugolo) - SR60044

Adventure In Sound
Brass in Hi-Fi (from back cover)
Pete Rugolo And His Orchestra
Mercury Records SR60044& MG20261

I'm not sure why there is a difference in play length between the two samples, unless Rugolo re-recorded the set for the stereo disc.

From the back cover (MG20261): Like the companion album, Reeds in Hi-Fi (MG 20260), this set of new arrangements by Pete Rugolo is designed to showcase a particular group of instruments to maximum musical effect with an eye on the fan interested in high fidelity recording qualities. Four trumpets, four trombones, three French horns and tuba were used with a variety of sectional breakdowns, special mute effects, and all the available tone colors that could conceivably be derived from this instrumentation. "We made a complete orchestra out of a brass section," say Pete, and the results brilliantly bear out his contention.

From Billboard - March 9, 1959 (listing under "Reviews and Ratings of New Jazz Albums): Here's an interesting sound experience, whereby Rugolo utilizes our trumpets, four trombones, three French horns and a tuba in a variety of sectional breakdowns, and special mute effects. Selections range in mood from the Lunceford-like "My Mother's Eyes" to the Kenton concert piece "Salute." Ace musician line-up includes Barney Kessel, Maynard Ferguson, Andre Previn, Pete Candoli, Ray Linn, etc. A sock stereo package for both pop and jazz fans.

My Mother's Eyes
All The Things You Are
Can't We Talk It Over
God Child
Brass At Work
Song For Tuba
Rose For David
Everything Happens To Me

Hawaiian Festival - Lani Kai

Moon Over Hawaii (titled differently on other releases)
Hawaiian Festival
Lani Kai and His Hawaiians
Diplomat DS 2424

Repacked tracks from a number of sources including this long list of reissues: Hawaiian Record Mystery Covers.

Hawaiian Love Song
Hali Loci
Love's Lost
Moon Over Hawaii
Hawaiian Shores
To My Sweetheart
Hawaiian Stars
Beautiful Girls And Sunshine
Chanting Guitars
Sailing In The Sunset
Dreams Of Hawaii
Waikiki Moods
Girl Of The Island
Hawaiian Skies
Island Dreams
Island's Goodbye
Hula Mula
Luau Lei
Dancing Surf

Classic Gems

Classic Gems
The New London Symphonic Orchestra
Conducted by Lionel Atkins
Cover Design by C. Arnold Carlson
Golden Tone C4019

A gem of a cover. Classical music featured on the disc.

Slavonic Dances
Dance Of The Trumblers
Ballet Egyptian
Dance Lithuanian

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Music For Listening And Dancing - John Senati

Music For Listening And Dancing
John Senati And His Orchestra
Roy McRoy On The Trumpet
Grand Prix Series K143

Super budget mood package that sounds like it was created using material from more than one source.

Mack The Knife
Darling My Heart Is Yours / Standing In The Rain / Sing, Nightingale Sing
Two Hearts In May / If I Had A Love That Loved Me
Wine, Women & Song
Love Is A Story / Missouri / Two Blue Eyes
Lovely May
Morning Journals

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Millions Strings - Helmut Zacharias and Werner Muller

Monte Carlo Melodie
A Million Strings
Helmut Zacharias And His Magic Violins
Werner Muller And His Orchestra
Decca DL 8382

For a 1956 effort, this is a very good lush strings set that may have been the inspiration for David L. Miller's 101 Strings Orchestra which apparently began releasing records in 1957. Both Zacharias and Muller would go on to make a number of interesting space age recordings.

From the back cover: This album emphasizes the spell of the violin – the cumulative effects of the orchestra of Werner Muller and Helmut Zacharias sound figuratively like a million strings.

Two of Muller's numbers in this album have an interesting history. The song "Bistro" was written by two Belgains, a lilting waltz in which Werner alternates the French sound of the Musette with lush strings. "Monte Carlo Melodie" was written by an American, Al Frishc. Muller gave it its first recording, and it is now sweeping the country.

From Billboard - November 17, 1956: Violinist Zacharias fared well sales-wise with his recent single waxing of "White Lilacs," and his latest LP – a worthy successor to his "Wine Woman and Waltzes" package – should also spark a healthy return. Zacharias and his Magic Violin are lushly effective on six romantic selections, while Werner Muller's ork reflects an equally lyrical sweet-string mood on six other Continental instrumentals. Fine for deejays.

I Want To Be Happy
When The White Lilacs Bloom Again
Lisbon Antiqua
Blue Blues
Monte Carlo Melodie
Spanish Violins
The Song From Desiree
The Elephant Tango

Thrill To The Fabulous Carol Bruce

Thrill To The Fabulous Carol Bruce
Tops L1574

Available from at least one online vendor so I will not be posting a sample.

Surprisingly nice mood/blues set from a vocalist better known for her stage productions. Bruce trades in the typical forceful "broadway" vocal stylings that you hear from most period cross-over artists for a more listenable (to my ears) subtle and soulful blues sound.

From the back cover: Carol's rise to supremacy in the musical comedy field was given initial impetus when she scored resounding success in Louisiana Purchase. Not satisfied with holding down a lead role in this show, she was also featured vocalist on the Ben Bernie radio show and simultaneously made her bow in the upper bracket supper club circuit, appearing at the Cafe Pierre, the Sert Room of the Waldorf-Astoria and the Persian Room of the Plaza.

Hollywood was inevitable and after the close of Purchase, Carol was signed by Universal Studios. Here she made her quota of pictures including This Woman Is Mine with Franchot Tone, Keep Em Flying with Abbott and Costello and Behind The Eight Ball with the Ritz Brothers. Personal appearances and numerous club dates followed in the wake of her Hollywood stint. Her return to New York was an auspicious one when she wowed fans and critics at the famed 'jewel box' of the East – the Copacabana. Then came a co-starring role on the Al Jolson Show and an appearance at the Paramount Theatre on Broadway.

Carol's greatest personal triumph, however, was her recreation of the immortal Helen Morgan role of "Julie" in Kern's and Hammerstein's classic Showboat. To play this part had always been an ambition of Carol's and it was a dream come true when she found herself on stage playing her favorite character. when the show opened at the Ziefeld Theatre in New York, the critics were unanimous in their praise and heaped accolades on the young star – Carol Bruce. The called it one of the truest and most moving portrayals of a role ever witnessed on the American musical stage. Her magnificent job won for her the Donaldson Award and a coterie of fans who will never forget the Julie as played by Carol Bruce, nor the songs as sung by her.

Showboat was followed a season later by "Along Fifth Avenue". She then started doing a considerable amount of Summer Stock work appearing in Bloomer Girl, One Touch Of Venus, Annie Get Your Gun, Lady In The Dark and others.

Television has not been denied the beauty and talent of this beautiful star. She has gone before the cameras on such shows as Toast Of The Town, Show Time USA, The Earl Wrightson Show, The Is Show Business, The Faye Emerson Show, The Milton Berle Show and Musical Comedy Time. She has also turned in superlative acting jobs in strictly dramatic roles on Studio One and The Armstrong Circle Theatre, etc.

Miss Bruce's successful revival of Pal Joey on the summer circuit in 1951 led to the equally successful revival of the show on Broadway. Miss Bruce subsequently took over for Vivienne Segal in New York and then toured the states as "Vera Simpson". Mr. Jack Hylton of London was so impressed with Carol's performance that he immediately signed her to create the role in his London production. Miss Bruce became an overnight sensation and the complete toast of London during her nine month stay. During this time, Carol also appeared at the London Palladium with Noel Coward. Upon her return to the States, she did many television appearances and added new laurels last summer when she re-created the role of "Mother God'damn" in Shanghai Gesture>

Miss Bruce also has recorded many platters for Columbia, RCA Victor and TOPS. She performed "Lady In The Dark" May 1957 at the Ann Arbor Festival.

Blue Skies
Blue Prelude
I Get The Blues When It Rains
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
Carol's Blues
I'll Be Seeing You
St. Louis Blues
The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else
Calypso Blues
The Glory Of Love
Blue & Brokenhearted
Take Me In You Arms

Happy Cha Cha Cha - Laurindo Almeida

The Suspense Cha Cha (mono version)
The Suspense Cha Cha (Dimensional Stereo)
Happy Cha Cha Cha
Laurindo Almedia And The Danzaneros
Produced by Bill Miller
Capitol Records T1263/ST1263

Excellent, jazz-inspired period space age cha cha set, featuring original, inventive Almeida material.

From the back cover: These twelve tunes were composed and arranged by guitarist Laurindo Almeida, who is backed up here by the same impressive array of instrumental talent that first recorded them for the sound track of the Hecht-Lancaster motion picture, Cry Tough.

Especially well know to jazz fans are the names of Allan Reuss, (co-featured on guitar with Laurindo) and trumpeter Don Fagerquist, whose soft and fluid stylings provide one of the real highlights on this album. The rhythm section consists of percussion stars Alvin Stoller, Milt Holland, and Chico Guerrero, with Joe Mandragon on bass and Dante Varella at the piano. (Jimmy Rowles takes over the key broad duties on the last tune, "Big Town.")

Latin tempos come quite naturally to Brazilian-born Laurindo Almeida, who has established himself as one of the world's most accomplished and versatile performers since coming to this country in 1947. Although he is well remembered as a featured soloist with the Stan Kenton band, Laurindo's career has been largely devoted to studio work for the past few years, and his many Capitol recordings and concert appearances have earned him international renown as a classical guitarist.

From Billboard - November 30, 1959: A happy group of cha chad featuring guitarist Almeida arranged and composed all the tunes in the set, and many of the tunes here were used in the flick "Cry Tough." With Almeida are a group of potent jazz names who perform the tunes with spirit. A very good set for cha cha fans.

Sarita's Mambo
Mambo Sin Mayores Consecuencias
The Suspense Cha Cha
13 Perros
Happy Cha Cha Cha
Mambo A La Teen
Luna De Miel
Club Caballero
Pica Pau
Big Town

Monday, December 14, 2015

Living Strings Play The Music Of Hawaii

Lovely Hula Hands
Living Strings Play The Music Of Hawaii
Pickwick (RCA Camden CAS-661)

1966 Pickwick reissue (from RCA masters).

Strong Hawaiian/Lush Stings/Light Pop space age set. The sample features "jazz-inspired" passages.

Sweet Leilani
To You Sweetheart, Aloha
Song Of The Island
Pagan Love Song
Drifting And Dreaming
Lovely Hula Hands
The Hawaiian Wedding Song
Blue Hawaii
Aloha Oe