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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Music For Non Thinkers - Guckenheimer Sour Kraut Band

Second Hungarian Rhapsody
Music For Non-Thinkers
Guckenheimer Sour Kraut Band
RCA Victor LSP-1721

I love music that is made with the intentions of being good, like a "song poem", with results that can rocket to badtastical levels pretty quickly. However, I'm not a big fan of music made to sound bad in an effort to be "funny". However, this set made me laugh out loud more than once. Not at how "bad" the music is... but at how amazingly talented the musicians had to be to perfectly destroy the type of music they attack on this album. Truly a fantastic effort that sounds as fresh today as it did when it was recorded.

From the back cover: In the interest of peace and harmony, this album was recorded on Sunday, December 29, 1957, on the main floor of Grump's store in San Francisco. The Herr Doktor Guckenheimer is in reality Richard Grump, widely known merchant, author, artist and serious composer. The recording equipment was installed in Grump's famed Steuben Room. Mr. Grump is pleased to announce that sonic breakage of this valuable glass was kept at a minimum.

Second Hungarian Rhapsody
Grad aus dem Wirthaus Katarina Polka
In M√ľnchen steht ein Hofbrau Haus
Um die Ecke rum
In der Heimat da gibt's ein Wiedersehen
Star and Strips Forever
Raymond Overture
Komme ein Birdie Yet
Gruss aus Minneapolis
Der Juss (II Bacio)
Made wasch dich
Rheinwein Polka
Come Vere The Band Ist Playing

On The Sunny Side Of The Strip - George Shearing

Bernie's Tune

On The Sunny Side Of The Strip
Swinging Shearing Sounds Recorded "Live"
George Shearing And The Quintet
Produced By Dave Cavanugh and Tom Morgan
Capitol Records ST1416

From the back cover: "I always like 'live' recording," George says, " especially when jazz is involved. The audience provides greater emotional tension and stimulation. And this makes everdoby happy – us and the listeners."

Heard with George in the album are vibraphonist Emil Richards, guitarist Jean "Toots" Thielmans, bassist Al McKibbon, and drummer Percy Brice. That's the line up except on the Latin things. And, since no Shearing album could boast a variety of favorite Quintet styles without Latin representation, the group presents two selection that are favorites wherever they play: Mambo Inn and Drume Negrita.

"Conga drummer Armando Perrazza joins us on these" George comments, "which probably make this the only Quintet around with six men. Then, of course, there's the audience too – if you want to count its contribution. But I guess that would swell us all out of proportion. Then we would have to stop calling this a Quintet."

From Billboard - September 5, 1960: This recording with the George Shearing Quintet (and every so often his sextet) was recorded at the Crescendo in Hollywood. The audience applause add a lot to the record, plus the fact that the Shearing crew plays here in a fine relaxed style. A very strong new Shearing LP for pop and jazz fans.

As I Love You
The Nearness Of You
Mambo Inn
Bernie's Tune
Some Other Spring
Spring Joy
Drums Negrita

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tender Is The Night - Guitars Unlimited

Tender Is The Night
Listening To Brazilian Guitars
Guitars Unlimited
Produced by David Cavanaugh
Condutor Arranger: Jack Marshall
Guitarists: Bob Bain, Tony Rizzi, Howard Roberts, Bill Pitman, Al Hendrickson and Dennis Budimir
Percussion and Bell: Frank Flynn and Stan Levey
Bass: Joe Mondrago
Drums: Shelly Manne
Capitol Records ST 173

From the back cover: This is the second time around for these Guitars Unlimted. The first was an album called "Quiet Nights & Brazilian Guitars"... and it didn't scream at you with "new" sonics of too-precious (or much-too-overstated) cleverness. It merely styled eternal feelings into harmonious contemporary moods for today's kind of listening...

Yeah... "overstated cleverness" is so annoying! However, "harmonious contemporary moods" captures the audio concept in words. Good engineering and fine guitar work.

Tender Is The Night
Espesa No Aqui
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Cuando Sali De Cuba
The Second Time Around
Mujer-Con Ojos Cafe
Close Your Eyes
Halfway Is Nowhere
A Happening
Let Me Love You Tonight
The Moon Is Low

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Great Love Themes From Motion Pictures - Max Steiner

Dark Victory
Great Love Themes From Motion Pictures
Max Steiner And His Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM-1170

From the back cover: The life of Maximilian Raoul Steiner reads like one of the movies for which he has created the music. Born in Vienna, where his grandfather, Maximilian Steiner, owned the famous Theater an der Wien (Theater on the Wien), scene of the performance of early Mozart operas. Max grew up in exciting and talented company. Both Steiner's father, Gabor, and his grandfather were close friends of Johann Strauss and Offenbach. At the age of fourteen Max Steiner wrote and conducted his first operetta, Beautiful Greek Girl. It was presented at the Orpheum Theater in Vienna and ran for one year. Florenz Ziegfeld invited him to come to America in 1914. Max did many shows for Florenz. Hollywood called in 1929 and Steiner soon became responsible for much of its music. Max Steiner was decorated by the French Government with the award of Officer de L' Academie Francaise in recognition of his accomplishments in the world of the theater and music. He was also awarded the Bronze Medal by the King of Belgium in 1936 and received the World Cinema Medal in Venice the same year. Subsequently, he was presented the Golden Globe Award by the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents for the best original music score of 1947, and the Statuette conferred by the Cinema Exhibition in Vienna for the best musical score of 1948.

The most amazing boost in years has been given the music business by the music originating in Hollywood. During 1955 music trade magazines shoed that five out of the six top tunes were from motion pictures. 1956 promises to be on of the greatest years in the history of movie music, since every studio is readying more music than ever before. Where will Hollywood music-man Max Stiener be? Among the top... as always. – Lyle K. Engle (noted film authority and author of the column "Music from Hollywood" in Modern Screen Magazine. Mr. Engle has chosen Great Love Themes as Modern Screen's Album of the Month.

Out Of The Blue
Unfinished Sonata
A Star Is Born
Life Of Emile Zola
Dark Victory
As Long As I Live
Adventures Of Don Juan
Johnny Belinda
One Wish
While You're Away

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Manhattan Serenade - Joe Lipman

Manhattan Serenade
M-G-M Records E3353

Available for download from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample.

Graphically bold early 50s cover art sets the tone for this mood concept package that still sounds fresh today.

Here's a Billboard review for the M-G-M 1954 10" release (E 238): Ace-arranger Joe Lipman's first album for M-G-M is nice light summer fare and could make good late-night, romantic programming for deejays. His instrumental arrangements here are on the conservative side but eminently listenable. The Manhattan albums theme is an old one, but nonetheless commercial.

This is the 1956 Billboard review for this 12" release: Manhattan in its many moods has fascinated composers. The Subject is obviously a good one for a package of theme music, and here it is. Selections depict the various sections of the city at different times. The performance is lush.

From the back cover: Although youthful in appearance, Boston born Joe Lipman is a veteran of over 15 years in the music business. He has achieved a notable reputation both as an arranger and orchestra conductor.

Joe started his musical studies at the ripe age of seven, which he continued studiously through high school. After two weeks in college he decided to concentrate on music and accepted a job as arranger and pianist with Benny Goodman's orchestra. It was his excellent work with Goodman that attracted the attention of Bunny Kerrigan who hired him as conductor and arranger of his newly organized band. While traveling with Kerrigan, Joe was inspired to arrange one of the great jazz classics, "I Can't Get Started With You."

Joe Lipman's career included collaboration with Jimmy Dorsey and Artie Shaw. He was also staff arranger for Perry Como and has conducted and arranged for such luminaries and Nat "King" Cole and Sarrah Vanghan.

Joe likes to maintain a normal home life in a suburb of New York City with his wife and three children.

Manhattan Masquerade
New York Nocturne
Manhattan Moonlight
Penthouse Serenade
Harlem Nocturne
Park Avenue Fantasy
Manhattan Serenade
Midnight In Manhattan
Street Scene
Central Park Romance
Autumn In New York

Waltzing On Air - Frank DeVol

Silver Moon
Waltzing On Air
Frank DeVol And His Orchestra
Capitol Records

Nice early 50s waltz market entry featuring "mood" touches on a few of the arrangements which adds life to the set.

I Wake Up Smiling
Two Hearts In Three Quarter Time
I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
Vienna Dreams
The Boy Next Door
Waves Of The Danube Waltz
Silver Moon
For You
The Merry Widow Waltzes
Du Und Du
When I Grow Too Old To Dream

Symphony Jazz Quintet

Symphony Jazz Quintet
Recorded at Gilfoy Sound Studios - Bloomington, Indiana
Mastered and Manufactured by The Custom Fidelity Company - Hollywood, California
Liben Music Publications - Cincinnati, Ohio

Marie Speziale - Trumpet
Paul Piller - Trombone
Frank Proto - Bass and Piano
Robert Bradley - Bass and Valve Trombone
David Frerichs - Drums and Tablas

From the back cover: The Symphony Jazz Quintet is a group of musicians from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The group was originally formed in 1966 as a diversion (the way some symphony musicians from string quartets, trios, woodwind quintets, etc.) from the large orchestra scene. Things were fairly simple then. A session at somebody's house or teaching studio just playing some standard tunes or blues changes was about the extent of it. A local newspaper reporter thought it would be a great idea, if the group were to give a concert and set one up at the University of Cincinnati. For the occasion Frank wrote a few arrangements and a couple of original compositions. The concert was so successful that the Quintet was booked for another one immediately. After the second concert the group was appointed Ensemble In Residence at the University's College Conservatory of Music. Since then the Quintet has been featured regularly with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and has built up, in addition to a very extensive and varied concert repertoire of its own, a huge library of material that features them as soloists with the Orchestra.

The album is mentioned in a September 2, 1972 Billboard article covering Cincinnati entertainment as the Symphony Jazz Quintet's first album.

Prelude And Ednabaras - Frank Proto
From The Diary Of A Fly (Bela Bartok transcribed by Frank Proto)
Abstraction In Three Parts - Frank Proto

Bossa Nova - George Shearing

George Shearing Bossa Nova
With Woodwinds and Brazilian Rhythm
Arrangements by Clare Fischer
Capitol Records
ST 1873

Available from your usual online resources so I will not be posting a sample.

Bossa Nova seems like the perfect vehicle for Shearing. Credit should be given to the arranger, of course, who takes the Shearing combo sound to new sparkling heights on this project.

From Billboard - May 11, 1963: Shearing turns in his interpretation of a number of bossa favorites and standards with the bossa beat here. Besides his vigorous piano and rhythm section, the album also features the subtle shadings of a woodwind section gently painting in the backgrounds.

One Note Samba
Blue Prelude
Samba Da Borboleta
On Green Dolphin Street
Come Rain Or Come Shine
Manha De Caraval
Algo Novo
Black Satin
Amazona's Legend

Latin Affair - George Shearing

This Is Africa (ST 1275)
Latin Affair
The George Shearing Quintet
Capitol Records T 1275 & ST 1275

Shearing's band helps to drive this set forward with ringing vibes and a "variety of Latin rhythm instruments" to create a classy set which sounds good today and would have pleased Shearing fans in 1959 as he competed for attention amongst the many exotica and Latin releases of the day.

From the back cover: In "Latin Affair" – his (Shearing) third Latin album for Capitol – George again displays the impeccable taste, coupled with easy swinging skill, that have made him a top favorite everywhere.

From Billboard - November 30, 1959: Shearing serves up his usual, lightly swingy, delicately phrased instrumental treatments of a group of Latin themes and standards... all dressed up in an infectious Latin beat. A variety of Latin rhythm instruments are heard on the backing along with Shearing's piano, vibraphone and guitar.

All Or Nothing At All
Let's Call The Whole Thing Off
Afro #4
It's Easy To Remember
Estampa Cubana
You Stepped Out Of A Dream
Mambo Balahu
Dearly Beloved
Cuando Sono El Gaznaton
This Is Africa

Sax In Silk - Bobby Dukoff

Sax In Silk
Bobby Dukoff
His Tenor Sax And Orchestra
With The Ray Charles Chorus
RCA Camden CAS-2173 (e)
Selections in this album were formerly included in "Sax In Silk" (LPM-1040) and "Sax In Satin" (LPM-1167)

From the back cover: "The Sound Is Jazz - The Mood Is Tranquil - The Style Is Refreshing."

The sound is dated for a late 60s re-release, especially marketed at that time, as a "jazz" set.

From Billboard - November 13, 1954 (original release): Here is a listenable album of mood music that should have its strongest appeal to the older jazz-based crowd. For Dukoff is a jazz tenor man, who has played for some of the top works in the land. And the tunes, a wonderful collection, are also from the 1930s in the main. It is sensuous music, smoothly arranged. A sumptuous mood set that will please many.

From the back cover: Bobby Dukoff is a unique talent. He is essentially a brilliant jazz musician who has played in the big bands of Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Charlie Spivak, Carl Hoff, as well as many others. He has also used his creative imagination in the field of audio engineering. In one of his experiments with multiple recording techniques, he decided to record himself paying six saxophone parts. This experiment disc so impressed RCA Victor that they offered him a recording contract. On this record Bobby doesn't play all six parts himself. In various selections he is accompanied by such outstanding jazz stars as Mundell Lowe, guitar; Don Lamond and Jimmy Crawford, drum; Trigger Alpert, bass; Dick Hyman, piano and Hymie Shorter, lead sax.

Do I Worry
My Melancholy Baby
Should I
It's The Talk Of The Town
I Can't Give You Anything But Love
Body And Soul
Let's Fall In Love
You've Changed
Star Dust