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Friday, January 1, 2016

Sketches Of Brazil - Charlie Byrd

Etude #11
Sketches Of Brazil
Music Of Villa-Lobos
Charlie Byrd
Produced by Teo Marcero
Engineering: Frank Ray Moore
Cover Art and Design: Henrietta Condak
Columbia CL 2782

From Billboard - February 24, 1968: Charlie Byrd, popular jazz guitarist, is also Charlie Byrd, classical virtuoso. Byrd in his latest LP plays a group of etudes and preludes by Heitor Villa-Lobos, the Brazilian composer. Though complex to the dedicated guitarist, Byrd perform these pieces with polish and precision, offering the listener a delicately woven mood session with a master on the solo guitar.

From The back cover: That is what music, and all other art, for that matter is all about – a torrential river born of innumerable tributaries. In this collection, the masterful Charlie Byrd navigates the monumental tributary that is Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). This remarkable prolific Brazilian composer wrote hundreds upon hundreds of works, including five operas, fourteen ballets, choral works, orchestral and chamber music as well as his famous Bachianas Brasileiras. Here he is represented by a group of Etudes written in 1929 and Preludes composed in 1940 for solo guitar. They are complex enough to challenge the guitarist but delightfully accessible to the listener. Charlie Byrd plays them all with consummate dedication.

Prelude #1Prelude #2
Prelude #3
Prelude #4
Prelude #5
Etude #1
Etude #5
Etude #7
Etude #8
Etude #11

The Touch Of Your Lips - Mel Torme

The Touch Of Your Lips
Mel Torme
Music Arranged and Conducted by Marty Paich
Produced by Dave Pell
Venise 7021

This set is available from your online vendors but may not be associated with this title or cover art.

Something To Live For
I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You
I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You
I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
Prelude To A Kiss
I 've Got The World On A String
Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
I Surrender Dear
I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
Don't Worry 'Bout Me
One Morning In May
I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dinner In Buenos Aires - Terig Tucci

Clavel Del Aire
Dinner In Buenos Aires
Salon Orchestra under the direction of Terig Tucci
RCA Victor LPM 1019

These recordings were made in Studio 2 of RCA Victor's 24th Street Studios, New York City, on March 11, 12 and 25, 1954, under the supervision of Herman Diaz Jr.

The fabulous cover model is waiting for a fancy hotel restaurant waiter to place a nice meat pie in front of her. A recipe for Empanadas (Meat Pie) along with Jogote (Ground Meat) is supplied on the back cover along with this about Terig Tucci:

Terig Tucci, who conducts the salon orchestra in these selections is a native of Buenos Aires whose talents as a composer, arranger and conductor have gained him distinction both in Argentina and in the United States. In recent years, he has been musical director of Latin-Amercian programs for International General Electric and a musical commentator for the World Broadcasting Co. He has spent many years as conductor and musical director on the staffs of both the National Broadcasting Company and the Columbia Broadcasting System. Three of his compositions are included in this collection – Senda Pampeana, Estilo Crillo and Serenata Incaica. The latter was used as a theme in the film, Kon-Tiki – Notes by John S. Wilson

The Jigote sound pretty darn good: 1 1/2 lb. ground meat, 1 hard boiled egg, 1 onion, capers, olives, raisins, chile or tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. The set, however, lacks the "spice" I expected to hear from this RCA period product.

Clavel Del Aire
Ay Mi Cholita
Senda Pampeana
Estilo Criollo
El Bigote De Tomas
Adios Pampa Mia
Pericon Por Maria
Salud, Dinero Y Amor
Serenata Incaica
Donde Hay Un Mango

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Soft Lights, Soft Music

Melody Of Love
Soft Lights, Soft Music
Top Favorites Played In Waltz Time
Tiara Spotlight Series
TMT 7550

My Wild Irish Rose
Take Me Out To The Ball Game
Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland
You Tell Me Your Dream
I Love You Truly
Love's Old Sweet Song
Melody Of Love
Down By The Old Mill Stream

Spicy Songs For Cool Knights - Katie Lee

Woman, Go Home
Spicy Songs For Cool Knights
Katie Lee
Specialty Records SP5000

Art Direction: John Ewing
Photography: Bernie Friedman
Recording: Bunny Bobyn
Production: Bud Freeman

From the back cover: A rancher's daughter from Tuscon, Arizona, Katie Lee graduated from college, came to California to fight the battle of Hollywood. Waiting for her "break" in motion pictures she worked as a singer with obscure instrumental groups in various West Coast lounges. Her own harsh appraisal of her talents as a jazz vocalist, cocktail style, led her to search for more unique and less competitive avenue for her talents.

At parties and "casual" dates she began to experiment with the folk songs she had learned as a child. She studied for a year to improve her unschooled talents on the guitar.

Finding Los Angeles peculiarly unreceptive to unknown folk singers Katie Lee, along with three other entertainers, organized and opened Hollywood's "Cabaret Concert," an off-beat night club with Greenwich Village overtones. Burl Ives caught her act, helped her with repertoire, interpretation and bookings. She became increasingly interested in collecting folk songs and folk song lore. Carl Sandburg gave her additional aid.

Katie insists the brotherhood of folk singers is an uncharted group devoted to mutual assistance. Harry Belafonte has helped her with calypso and Caribbean songs. Josh White worked with her to develop a dramatic guitar style.

For the past two years Katie Lee has been playing the hotel circuit as an entertainer. Eight weeks out of very year she lectures on folk songs and folk lore.

From Billboard - December 16, 1957: There's something oddly attractive in the manner chirp Katie Lee handles this package of "spicy songs." Altho her voice lacks the range and polish of many other singers, it's adequate enough to attract sales, particularly among egghead, ex-urbanite class of buyers. Some of the selections might properly be termed folk tunes, i.e., "Venezuela." tho it's the title that will pique the interest.

The Knight
Johnny Ringo
My Mother Chose My Husband
Poor Miss Bailey
The House Of The Rising Sun
Blow The Candles Out
Lavender Cowboy
Lotsa Money
The Eddystone Light
The Frozen Light
Woman, Go Home

Harem Twist - George Chadian's New England Ararat Orchestra

Harem Twist

Harem Twist
George Chadian's New England Ararat Orchestra
Ara Records - Lincoln, Rhode Island
ARA 1003

From the back cover: George, a great-great-great-great-grandson of the illustrious Hoseh Yallah Noah, has in her honor invented the Harem Twist. However, he found that to honor her properly, her Twist had to be danced by a group, as no single dancer can do it justice.

Also from the back cover: The New England Ararat Orchestra is one of the very few orchestras in the entire country that play not only Armenian, Greek, Turkish, and Arabic music, but also American music. Their popularity is evident by the constant demand for their services.

Musician credits (from below the back cover photo): Front Row, left to right: Costa Provas, Tambourine; Harry Papuan, Dumbeg; George Chakoian, Oud. Second Row, left to right; Diran Der Mardirosian, Congo Drums; Jack Chakoian, Sax; Carl Narsasian, Clarinet. Also on the recording but not in the photograph are two former members of the band: Chris Acadian, Dumbeg and Vahe Der Manuela, Piano.

Cover model/dancer: Asmahan
Photo by Stephen Fenerjian

Hye Bar & Amarat Special
Sweet Spring
Duke Bounce
Dance Of Laz
Don't Make Me Twist
Hopscotch Twist
Harem Twist
Just One Glance
Plato's Rock
Sweet Girl
Shish Kebab Twist & Good Night Twist

Machito With Flute To Boot

Machito With Flute To Boot
Machito And His Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Produced by Teddy Reig
Roulette Birdland R 52026

Featured soloists:
Herbie Mann - Flute
Johnny Griffin - Tenor Saxophone
Curtis Fuller - Trombone

Available from the usual online vendors, so I will not be posting a sample.

An outstanding set in so many ways. Top shelf "tiki/exotica/jazz" period release.

From the back cover: Machito has for years been one of the leading exponents of Afro-Cuban jazz. His experimentations and excursions into this realm have been highly successful and in this collection he once again shows the extent of his understanding and experiences in this complicated but adventurous music.

In a previous Afro-Cuban album, "Kenya," Machete's main interest was in presenting the various percussion instruments such as bongos, timbales, guiros, congas and maracas. In this set, the concentration is more on presenting the featured soloists in relationship to the full sound of the Machito orchestra. It also places heavy emphasis on authenticity of rhythm whereas the Kenya album was keyed to a greater reliance on melody.

All material in this album was written and arranged by the featured flutist, Herbie Mann. It should be noted here that Herbie Mann has written and arranged for countless small ensembles; this however, marks his first effort with a big band. His effort is an excellent one! Not only in his talented performance on flute always prevalent, but throughout, his keen awareness of authenticity marks the album as a unique jazz accomplishment. Along with his regular flute used on such numbers as "Ring A Levio" and "Carabunta," he uses the alto flute on "Bacao," a lovely slow Afro-rhythm melody, the E-flat flute on "Brazilian Soft Shoe," which features Johnny Griffin on tenor and Curtis Fuller on trombone with a quick samba rhythm and a very different African flute which can be heard on "The African Flute" which features a 'Bata' rhythm in 6/8 time, and "Love Chain" which carries a 'baba' rhythm and features the use of a chorus of voices.

We have mentioned the various rhythms used because this too is a pronounced part of this collection. There is the calypso rhythm in "Calypso John," the rumba beat in "To Birdland And Hurry," the mambo drive in "Answer Me" and the cha cha sound in Machito covers such countries as Brazil, Jamaica, Haiti and Africa. There is even a touch of the middle-east countries in "Afro-Jazziac".

Two very out of the way numbers should be noted: "Afternoon Death" is a very morbid, mournful piece which features Johnny Griffin and Curtis Fuller, as well as Herbie Mann. This number represents ancient African sacrificial ceremonies when the sacrifice meant just that – afternoon death." "Carabunta" is another number filled with authentic, legendary meaning. The rhythm called 'santo lukumie' is used in religious ceremonies in Africa.

The extraordinary is the key to the album. It is the type of original, inventive and experimental work that creates and fosters ideas that push the boundaries of jazz beyond the four walls of a dimly lit night club for the cold, impersonal air of a recording studio. This is jazz in action, jazz that creates a setting for the free expression of the soloist, and at the same time reaches down to the roots of the music and offers the primitive rhythms that are its origins. – Bud Katzel

Brazilian Soft Shoe
Ring A Levio
Afternoon Death
To Birdland And Hurry
Calypso John
The African Flute
The Davis Cup
Answer Me

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Soft And Warm - Roberto Rossani

Blue Moon
Soft And Warm
Roberto Rossani conducts his Orchestra and Chorus
Somerset P-12300

From Billboard - January 11, 1960: A sexy cover proves an eye-catcher. No type or title at all on the front – merely the art, with the more prosaic information, relative to artists and songs on the back cover. Lush performances by work and chorus of such standards as "If I Loved You." "All Things You Are," "Blue Moon," etc. Big orchestral sound. Set was cut in London.

I've never seen a Somerset or other U.S. label manufactured period jacket that features this level of provocative cheesecake art not to mention the exclusion of cover type. Unfortunately, the set is not as hot as the cover art.

If I Loved You
All The Things You Are
I'll See You Again
Blue Moon
There's A Small Hotel
I Surrender Dear
Some Enchanted Evening

Belly Dancers' Music

Side 2
Belly Dancers' Music
Standard Phono Corp. LP-423

Cover photo taken during the actual performance of the famous Belly Dancer "Yolanda" at the Cabaret and Restaurant "Zapion Pavilion" L.I.C., N.Y. - Photo & Cover by C. Daphnides

No musician credit.

Cocktails Dinner & Dancing - Shep Fields

I Can't Get Started

Shep Fields Plays
For Cocktails, Dinner and Dancing
Produced by Morty Palitz
Original Painting & Cover Design by Si Leichman
Jubilee JGM 1056

From Billboard - December 2, 1957: There's nothing "rippling" about this set, even if the lengthy notes say so. Most of the selections spotlight a cocktail type piano with rhythm accompaniment, with a few others featuring strings as well. It's fairly attractive listening music which, on the basis of the name, can probably sell some copies, especially in Field's home base area of Houston.

The Billboard reviewer is too kind. This set is stylistically unfocused and a bit of a budget mess.

From the back cover: The orchestra: Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm.

A sound, a distinctive sound, one that can be instantly recognized and identified with a singer or an orchestra, is a requisite for success in music. No sound is more easily recognized than the Rippling Rhythm that has helped keep Shep Fields at the top of the musical heap for more than twenty years.

She was born and educated in Brooklyn. At Erasmus Hall High and St. John's University until his father's death made income necessary. He had started his band in high school, played dances and proms all over Metropolitan N. Y. When he left college, he picked up the band business again. Soon he was looking for that distinctive sound. He tried hundreds of musical innovations. None gave him the thing he sought.

Then, in an off-moment, at a soda-fountain, a voice humming through a straw gave him the musical idea that became his "Rippling Rhythm". Fields parlayed the sound of the soda straw into a million-dollar" enterprise. He and his music have been heard coast-to-coast, sold millions of records, appeared at such as the Waldorf-Astoria, Statler in New York, Paramount Theatre, Meadowbrook, Ambassador in Los Angeles, Glen Island Casino, etc,. etc., etc.

In 1952-53, Shep and his orchestra began playing the "Prom" and Xmas Season in Texas and around the Southwest. He liked the territory so much he decided to make Houston his headquarters. So, for more than 3 years now, he has been affiliated with the Shamrock-Hilton Hotel there, playing for 3 to 6 months each year. His band plays the rest of the year on tour around the Southwest at special Civic functions, dances at Colleges, etc. For more than two years, Shep was a Disc Jockey in Houston.

If I Could Be With You
I Can't Get Started
Let's Fall In Love
Linger Awhile
The Way You Look Tonight
The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful
Soft Lights And Sweet Music
One Night Of Love
Love Is The Sweetest Thing
Sweet And Lovely
Three O'Clock In The Morning

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bach Ground Blues & Green - Laurindo Almeida - Ray Brown

Fughetta II
Bach Ground Blues & Green
Laurindo Almeida
Ray Brown
Century City Records CCR-80102

"Bach Ground" is the classically inspired interplay between guitarist Almeida and bassist Brown who are occassionally supported by a drummer who adds a subtle rhythm line. The "classical" tracks are set in-between the first and last track which are heavy on the "brazilian guitar / jazz bass" fusion. The best stuff, as always, from Almeida and friends.

The back cover scan isn't "crooked", it would appear that the cover was "designed" that way.

Brazilian Green
Pega Joso
Make The Man Love Me
Just A Bossa Nova
Conversa Mole
Preludio II
Preludio I
Fughetta IV
Mo' Greens

Come Dance With Us - Greg Finley

Come Back To Sorrento
Come Dance With Us
Greg Finley And His Orchestra
Al-Fi C 4077

Also released, featuring the same cover art, on Golden Tone 14077 and as Your Dancing Party - Westerfield S 14077 (I can not find a cover image, only a listing for the Westerfield release).

More likely than not, this is a collection of stock tracks and the name "Greg Finley" was made up.

The sample, Come Back To Sorrento picks up into the song to finish up as a nice lounge jazz piece.

Swanee River
Adios Muchachos
Little Brown Jug
Old Black Joe
The Merry Window Waltz
In Old New York Cha Cha
Come Back To Sorrento