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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Moonlight Cocktail - Stanley Black

Moonlight In Vermont
Moonlight Cocktail
Stanley Black
His Piano and Orchestra
London Records LL 1709

From the back cover: For Stanley Black, as it did for all of us, it started with piano lessons. But it soon became apparent that Stanley was no ordinary pupil. He was not merely a model student, he was gifted and from the performance of music to composition was for him a short and easy step.

At the age of twenty-three he broke into the highly-competitive world of film music. It was an open door to success and many men would have been content to confine themselves to this field alone. Stanley has continued his association with the screen right up to the present time but nowadays his commissions in the film world are only one of the outlets for his many musical accomplishments.

At the outbreak of war, Stanley Black was quick to join up, leaving as he thought, the world of music behind him. But once in the R.A.F. he was soon conscripted into applying his unique talents to the entertainment of his fellow servicemen. Upon his release from the services the possibilities seemed so numerous that at first it was difficult to choose between them. After a brief period of free-lancing, however, he was signed up as conductor of the B.B.C. Dance Orchestra, an appointment which lasted until 1952. Stanley Black's work for the B.B.C. was recognized in 1951 by his selection to appear with his orchestra in the Royal Command Variety Performance.

The Moon Got In My Eyes
Moonlight Cocktail
The Moon Of Manakoora
Moonlight In Vermont
Moon Country
How High The Moon
Moonlight Serenade
Blue Moon
The Moon Is A Silver Dollar
Moon For Sale
Moonlight And Shadows

Merrill At Midnight - Helen Merrill

Merrill At Midnight
Helen Merrill with Hal Mooney and His Orchestra
EmArcy - Mercury Records
MG 36107

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art and jacket notes.

From the back jacket: 

About Helen Merrill by Helen Merrill

Helen Merrill's biographical background has been sketched previously on her first three EmArcy Long Plays. In capsule form, she was born in New York, July 21, 1930; has been singing professionally since she was 15; absorbed an early jazz apprenticeship by working sessions with such major jazz instrumental voices as Bud Powell, Miles Davis and J.J. Johnson; has had band experience with the Earl Hines All-Stars. She is now a single; has worked an increasing number of the career-determining jazz rooms, and she is the first young modern American vocalist to have achieved a pulsating personal success in South America.

Helen is not concerned with categories. She takes her singing seriously, but she does not expend polemical energy in worrying about whether people term her a "jazz singer" or not. "I'm a musician," she explained succinctly. "I don't care what you call what I do; I'm interested in producing the best music I can with what I have."

What, then, are the ingredients of a jazz singer? In compiling a list of the qualities a jazz singer must have, in her estimation, Helen described those virtues that many critics and musician have been ascribing to Helen herself.

"You must have, first of all," she underlined, "the natural feeling to be a jazz singer. You must have the ability to give yourself honestly; you must have the freedom to give of yourself from the inside musically and emotionally. I don't mean 'giving' in the showbiz sense; I mean expressing what you really feel.

"A jazz singer must have a natural ear for chord changes. She must be aware, very aware of the music behind her and she must try to become part of it. A jazz singer must feel the way a musician does, because she is a musician. You must be aware of what musicians are aware of – the lines, the changes, the beat. Your personality should come through in your phrasing. There is no one correct way to phrase – especially in jazz. There is no textbook. You phrase what you are."

Another index of Helen's aims as a musician is her list of favorites. "For my kind of singing, I like Billie Holiday. Not necessarily the way she sounds today, although I did hear her in excellent form recently; but in previous years, it was Billie Holiday who gave me the courage to express what I felt. The fact that she made me feel I could continue. I was very different from other young singers starting at the time I did, and it was very hard for me to get work as a singer. But I felt if Billie could make it, maybe eventually I could."

Unlike many of her contemporaries, Helen does not derive obviously from any one school, especially not the dominant O'Day-Christy-Connor line. She is original. "I think the reason I am not derivative is precisely because I do use music as a complete emotional outlet. I can't borrow from too many other people; I can only sing myself."

Helen's tastes in non-vocal jazz indicate a wide range of listening acumen and curiousity. "I just like good music. I like Thelonious Monk, Miles Davies, the Modern Jazz Quartet, George Russell's compositions, Oscar Pettiford, Ray Charles, Marion McPartland. And More. I listen to everybody."

Of singers today, Helen is enthusiastic about Sarah Vaughan in particular. "She's one of the greatest jazz singers. She's over-looked sometimes in terms of jazz and is called other things, but she's a giant. She has, first of all, an amazing instrument, and she has the ability to sing very inventive, musical things with pretty changes. She not only sings them very well, but very naturally."

Being natural is an essential vocational – and avocational – condition for Helen. "This, after all, is the one field in so-called show business in which you can be natural, and express what you feel at the time. I always sing spontaneously. It doesn't always work out, but sometimes you can get some very worthwhile things by allowing yourself to be spontaneous.

About Helen Merrill by Hal Mooney

Harold Mooney, who arranged all the songs on these two February, 1957, sessions, scored for Helen with her need for spontaneity in mind: "I was just trying to get a cushion for Helen to express herself, because Helen is the kind of singer who demands complete freedom. She doesn't know, for instance, how she's going to treat the next bar or the next eight bars. From an arranging standpoint, I felt I had to leave the scores wide open so that the backgrounds would be compatible with anything she might do. I tried to make the music both unobtrusive, to a point, and yet stimulating to the artist."

"The basic characteristics of Helen," Mooney concluded, "is that she has tremendous feeling. She has great soul. She's completely honest one hundred percent of the time. She's always striving to convince not only her audience but herself of the validity of what she's doing. And she has that unique sound, a sound I can best describe as intimacy, natural intimacy."

Soft As Spring
Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair
Lazy Afternoon
The Things We Did Last Summer
After You
If You Go
If I Forget You
If Love Were All
Easy Come Easy Go
I'll Be Around

Mambo Mania - Perez Prado

Tomcat Mambo
Mambo Mania
Perez Prado and His Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM 1075

From the back cover: In addition to the music and the way it is played, it is the instrumentation of the Prado band that sets it in a very special class of its own. To four saxes, four trumpets, one trombone and bass, three percussionists are added to keep the beat rocking, to keep it on its steady upward climb. There is a regular drummer with the usual assortment of bass drum, snare and cymbals, but there are also both a conga and bongo-drummer, adding that special Latin sound without which Prado would not be Prado.

From Billboard - January 29, 1955: Perez Prado was one of the ringleaders in the swing-over to mambo rhythms in the Latin-American field last year, so his name on a mambo package is bound to pack extra sales appeal. A "mad" candid closeup of the mambo king adorns the cover, and it's eye-catching enough to account for additional sales. Prado is one of the better mambo exponents around today, and this LP features 12 of his best selections, including his own "Marilyn Monroe Mambo," "St. Louis Mambo" and "Skokiaan."

Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White
Ballin' The Jack
Tomcat Mambo
April In Portugal
Mambo A La Kenton
The High And The Mighty
Marilyn Monroe Mambo
St. Louis Blues Mambo
A La Billy May
Mambo De Chattanooga (Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy)
Mambo En Sax

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Big Hits from The Fabulous 50s - Lew Raymond

Chain Gang
Big Hits From The Fabulous 50s
Lew Raymond Orchestra
Tops L1592

Cover model: Jayne Mansfield

C'est Si Bon
Chain Gang
Kiss Of Fire
Cross Over The Bridge
Allegheny Moon
A Girl, A Girl
Teach Me Tonight
Papa Loves Mambo
Vaya Con Dios
Oh My Papa
Sweet And Gentle
Moonlight Gambler

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Benji's Second Run
Music From The Original Sound Track
Composed, Arranged and Conducted by Evel Box
*Recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, Sheffield, Alabama
Engineer: Jerry Masters
**Recorded at United/Western Studios - Hollywood
Engineer: Jerry Barnes
***Recorded at Clover Studios - Hollywood
Engineer: Robert Appere
Mulberry Square Productions
KSE 33010
Manufactured by Epic Records

*Benji's Theme - I Feel Love - Vocal by Charlie Rich
**Benji's Theme - I Feel Love - Instrumental
**Pudding Cup/Officer Tuttle and Bill
**Cindy and Benji
***Encounter with Cat
***Benji's Second Run
*Benji's Theme - I Feel Love - Rhythm Track
**Benji - All Alone
***Trucking with Officer Tuttle and Bill
**Benji's Run With The Group, The Catch
**Benji's Theme - Flashback Run - Instrumental
***Benji and Big Dog - **Home Free
*Benji's Theme - Closing - Vocal by Charlie Rich

Pat Suzuki

How High The Moon (VIK LX-1147)
Pat Suzuki
Miss Pony Tail with Henri Rene and His Orchestra
Arranged and Conducted by Henri Rene
Produced by Herman Diaz, Jr.
Recorded April 28 and May 1, 1958 at Webster Hall, New York City.
VIK LX-1147

Pat Suzuki with Henri Rene and His Orchestra
RCA Victor LSP-2030

From the back cover (LX-1147): It was only six months ago, in this same space on her first album, that Bing Crosby delivered the first major address to the world about Pat Suzuki. Since then, the Crosby endorsement and the Suzuki product have made The Many Sides Of Pat Suzuki (LX-1127) a best-seller on record shelves everywhere.

Bing, for all his implied excitement over his Seattle discovery, left the lengthy exposition of the Suzuki voice to the disc inside the album where it best describes itself. His typically understated approach further coincided with the wishes of Pat Suzuki's old-shoe modesty. Being something of an old shoe himself, and without intentions of dictating any formal rules of procedure, Bing nevertheless established an editorial policy of restraint and punctuality for this and all future Pat Suzuki albums.

Basic facts of Pat Suzuki's twenty-four years include Methodist choir singing in her native California and professional development in Seattle. Now in her first departure from the West Coast since her beginning in 1955, she's moving with her natural drive and grave toward the very core of show business whose grass roots are embedded deep in the cement of Broadway. This year will be memorable for Pat Suzuki's debut in a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, under the direction of Gene Kelly, in which she will dance as well as sing.

Barely more than two years after Pat Suzuki made her professional night club debut at Seattle's fashionable Colony, she was named this year's winner of the annual Downbeat poll of disc jockeys as America's Best New Female Singer."

On the express track to the extraordinary national recognition that is now hers, Pat Suzuki has inevitably been likened to other singers, and the list is remarkable. A Variety reviewer saw traces of Jerri Southern, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt and Sarah Vaughan; another critic found Mabel Mercer, Patti Page and Ethel Merman; and most recently a Billboard writer likened her to Rosemary Clooney in her slow moods and to Teresa Brewer and her faster tempos. Lean Horne, Gogi Grant, Eydie Gorme and Sophie Tucker are other names that have been posted in print as Pat Suzuki sing-alines. When confronted with the point-blank question, "How would you describe your singing?", Pat's pat answer is, "Sort of a cross between Shirley Temple and Lawrence Tibet" – and she probably knows best. Now having been boosted to star status by the star statisticians in the night life, television and recording fields, Miss Suzuki, no longer likened to other singers, has been granted her individuality.

Henri Rene, to whom Pat gives the major credit for the success of her first album, is here again her partner in rhythm and rhyme. – Norm Borrow (Pat Suzuki's Manager).

The Song Is You
Star Dust
Black Coffee
Anything Goes
I've Grown Accustomed To You
My Heart Belongs To Daddy
As Time Goes By
How High The Moon
The Lady Is A Tramp
Be My Love
I'll Never Smile Again

Percussion Orientale - David Carroll

Twilight In Turkey
Percussion Orientale
Musical Sounds Of The Middle East
David Carroll And His Orchestra
Mercury Records PPS 2002


Percussion: Bobby Christian, Frank Rullo, Richard Schory, Jerry Slosberg
Piano: Bob Acri
Guitars: Earl Backus, Johnny Gray
Bass: John Frigo, Harold Siegel
Concertina: Vince Geraci
Trumpet: Bill Babcock
Trombone: Earl Hoffman
Harp: Edward Druzinsky
Woodwinds: Howard Davis, Wally Preissing, Mike Simpson, John Cameron, Bob Tootelian

Strings: Fritz Siegal, Herman Clebanoff, Theodore Silavin, Joe Goodman, Dave Chausow, Art Tabacknick, Shirley Tabachnick, Harold Kupper, Al Muenzer, Harold Klatz.

The solo flute passages are by Wally Preissing, solo oboe passages by John Cameron. When two oboes play, Bob Tootelian joins Cameron. The Bakoura solo of Twilight In Turkey is by Mike Simpson. The solo violin passages are by Fritz Siegal.

Mike Simpson arranged Caravan and Twilight In Turkey. All other arrangements by David Carroll.

In A Persian Market
Harem Dance
Ballet Egyptian
Twilight In Turkey
Scheherazade Themes
Danse Orientale
Dance Of The Slave Maidens

Sliver Vibes - Lionel Hampton

Blue Moon (CL 1486)
Blue Moon (CS 8277)
Siver Vibes
Lionel Hampton with Trombones and Rhythm
Columbia CL 1486 & CL 8277 (Columbia Special Products - Special Archives Series)

From the back cover: Arrangements for 'Til You Return, Syklark, For Better or Worse and Poor Butterfly were written by Tony Flanagan; all other are by Two Macero. What's New?, 'Til You Return, Walking My Baby Back Home and For Better Or Worse were recorded March 10, 1960, with the following personnel: Tommy Flanagan, piano; John Mackel, guitar; George Duvivier, bass; Osie Johnson, drums; and Robert Byrne, trombones. Syklark, Speak Low, Day By Day, My Foolish Heart and Poor Butterfly were recorded March 21, with Clifton Best replacing Mackel on guitar, and Santo Russo replacing McGarity on trombone. Blue Moon was recorded March 23 by Camp and Tommy Flanagan, with John Mackel on guitar, George Duvivier on bass and Elvin Jones on drums.

From Billboard - June 4, 1960: Hampton on vibes is supplemented here by a trombone quartet and standard rhythm. Result is a group of performances notable in tonal texture, and with fresh ideas in the arrangements. Ballads "What's New," "Poor Butterfly," etc. Solid wax.

What's New?
Speak Low
'Til You Return
Blue Moon
Walkin' My Baby Back Home
Day By Day
For Better Or Worse
My Foolish Heart
Poor Butterfly

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Golden Horn - Billy Butterfield

Billy Butterfield
The Golden Horn
Arranged, Conducted and Produced by Jack Pleis
Columbia Records CL 1673

From the back cover: The golden horn of Billy Butterfield soars through twelve great trumpet hits in this exciting new collection. Billy's famous tone is burnished to a dazzling polish as he re-creates the magic of these famous solos, one of them is his own superb version of "Stardust."

Billy first gained recognition as a member of the Bob Crosby Bobcats when he was in his twenties. The hit ballad "What's New," written in collaboration with Bobby Haggart, made him even more famous. Later, Billy joined forces with Artie Shaw, doubling with the famous Gramercy Five from time to time, then played with the Benny Goodman orchestra until service with the Armed Forces temporarily interrupted his career.

On his return Billy found himself one of the most sought-after sidemen in New York. The demand for his services kept him close to New York radio, television and recording studios for several years, but eventually he was prevailed upon to form his own touring band. Despite enthusiastic receptions wherever the group played, Billy found his New York work more rewarding, and returned to reuse his status as one of the city's most prominent musicians.

From Billboard - October 9, 1961: Butterfield's fine horn work is utilized effectively on this package, which wraps up a group of sentimental oldies (each associated with a trumpet solo treatment in schmalzy Continental-styled arrangements by conductor Jack Pleis. There are many spinnable sides here, including "And The Angels Sing," "Oh Mein Papa," "Tenderly" and "Star Dust."

Wonderland By Night
And The Angels Sing
Love Theme From "La Strada"
You Made Me Love You
Melancholy Serenade
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Oh, Mein Papa
Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White
Memories Of You

The Young Man With A Horn - Ray Anthony

The Young Man With A Horn
The Recorded Hits Of Ray Anthony
Capitol Records T373

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art.

The Man With The Horn
For Dancers Only
Cook's Tour
Mr. Anthony's Boogie
Harlem Nocturne
I Wonder What's Become Of Sally?
Mr. Anthony's Blues
Jersey Bounce

Monday, April 2, 2018

100 Strings And Joni - Joni James

100 Stings And Joni
Joni James
Produced by Acquaviva
MGM Records E3755

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art and Billboard reviews.

Lush package production includes a gloss wrap-around book-fold jacket with color interior printing.

From Billboard - April 20, 1959: While Williams (Hank Williams) is the example par excellence (referring to estate record royalties and strong sales for MGM), he is by no means the only artist to have sold consistently and who still sells. Joni James, with 18 albums to her credit, is MGM's "album queen." Even when she was going thru a singles slump, her album product move steadily. Some measure of how the firm regards her sales consistency is seen in the effort going into a new de luxe album package, "100 Strings and Joni," the recording of her Carnegie Hall concert.

From Billboard - April 27, 1959: This handsomely packaged double-fold album spotlights Acquaviva's lush backing (recorded in England with 100 strings) behind the thrush's distinctive piping. Romantic standard selections include "Imagination," "Body And Soul," "My Heart Tells Me," etc. A strong sales entry.

James was married to Acquaviva when this package was produced.

My Heart Tells Me
All Through The Day
Too Young
It Never Entered My Mind
Body And Soul
I Can Dream, Can't I?
Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo
But Beautiful
Wait And See
It Could Happen To You
Maybe You'll Be There

The Magic Touch - Hugo Winterhalter

The Magic Touch
The Magic Touch
Hugo Winterhalter And His Orchestra
RCA Camden CAL-379

From the back cover: To acquire this "magic touch" with the arranger's pen, Winterhalter served a long Swing Era apprenticeship.

He was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on August 15, 1090. He studied violin and reed instruments at St. Mary's High School there.

Later he became a member of the string section of the orchestra at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He soon became leader of the campus orchestra there, and even supported himself for a while by giving music lessons.

When things were slack, he worked as a railroad laborer, a store clerk, and even as a high school teacher.

His professional career began at the age of sixteen. In 1925, he became a dance band sideman at the salary rate of six dollars a performance.

"Although in college the violin was my major interest," he says, looking back, "in the band I played with later I always played reeds."

For a period of twelve years, Hugo was a sideman in many dance bands, among them the name crews headed by Larry Clinton, Raymond Scott and Jack Jenney.

When he left the bustle and constant travel of the road band for the less hectic life of the arranger, Hugo had behind him experience in writing for dance bands, swing bands and vocalists. He even did some writing for dance bands with string sections.

It was while he was arranging for Tommy Dorsey's band in the mid-'40s that he began to make his mark. Many of his scores which were played by Dorsey still sound rich and undated today, some fifteen years later.

"I had been working for twelve years before I got an opportunity to write for strings with Tommy Dorsey." Hugo recalls. "I liked it better than anything I'd ever done before."

His arranging credits also extend to such diverse musical gatherings as those headed by Vaughn Monroe, Count Basie, Will Bradley, Claude Thornhill, Billy Eckstine and Jimmy Dorsey.

After serving as musical director for two other major recordings companies, Winterhalter came to RCA Victor, where he could give his musical imagination free rein. Shortly after taking over as pop musical director at Victor, he said, "The records I'm making now give me the first chance I've had to arrange things the way I want to hear them." – Dom Cerulli, Down Beat

On The Alamo
Make Believe Land
It Had To Be You
The Magic Touch
Will-O'-The Wisp Romance
The Mule Driver
Why Can't This Night Go On Forever
Tic Tac Toe
Alice In Wonderland
The Windsor Melody
Bahama Buggyride
I'll See You In My Dreams

Paris Impressions - Erroll Garner

Paris Impressions
Erroll Garner
Photos Courtesy Of TWA, French Government Tourist Office, Air France and Pan America
Columbia Records C2L 9

Bass: Edward Calhoun
Percussion: Kelly Martin

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art and notes.

Jacket notes: On December 1, 1957, Erroll Garner made his first trip to Europe in almost ten years. He spent all of this sojourn in Paris, with a few days away for concerts in Nancy, Brussels, and Amsterdam, and a flying visit to London.

In Paris, during his spare hours between performances at a leading theatre, Garner spent his time as a tourist – absorbing the sights and sounds everywhere. He walked over the city in the crisp winter weather. The hospitality of the French people, the beauties of the landscape, the tempo, the personalities he met, the music, the graphic and performing arts – all these left their impressions on Garner; and Erroll, in turn, produced an outpouring of music in his daily theater performances which won him critical accolades and many new friends. His audiences encompassed all strata of French music lovers. Among the several honors he received while in Paris was the coveted Grand Prix du Disque, which was presented to him by Darius Milhaud at a luncheon of the French Academy of Arts. Upon his return to the States Erroll Garner talked very little about his trip. He seemed to be absorbing the essence of his experiences.

In late March, Garner asked Mitch Miller to schedule a recording date, so that he could "... record my trip to Paris." Hence, these albums, which showcase an eloquently articulated gallery by Garner. He plays some Paris-associated songs, and has composed some selections to round out his portrait of Paris. In addition, Columbia is fortunate in being able to include a camera view by photographer Aram Avakian, who was Garner's aide-de-camp on the trip. Garner has taken his observations and experiences there and fashioned them into a tribute to the French people.

Permeated by the creative spirit which marks Paris, Garner tops his "Paris Impressions" collection with some work in new medium; namely, the harpsichord. This set features Garner's debut as a harpsichordist with some provocative results. In his never-ending search for new sounds, for fuller expression of his ideas, for an orchestral quality, Garner – already acclaimed throughout the world as the outstanding contemporary pianist to emerge from the jazz genre – has trapped still another facet of his versatile artistry. Although Mitch Miller long had suggested that Garner perform on the harpsichord, the pianist didn't essay it until he returned from his French trip. During a 12 month (1957-58) period during which he stepped up his concert schedule, made his debut with orchestra and gave increasing time to his work as a composer and arranger, Garner took this step on harpsichord – one which "kicked" him termendously, and one which he hopes will be stimulating to his listeners.

Thus, in this one-man collection, Garner appears in two media – piano and harpsichord; he functions as performer and composer, arranger and improviser, soloist and conductor. Sixteen of the sides in these two volumes were recorded on March 27, 1958, at Columbia's New York studios, including Garner's own "Don't Look For Me" and "Paris Blues," his first harpsichord efforts. The other two harpsichord tracks in this set, also Garner compositions "written" on the harpsichord, "Cote d'Azur" and "When Paris Cries," were recorded a month later. Garner's Paris visit with members of the late Django Reinhardt's family possibly influenced these latter two – which have a "Gypsy" quality.

At both sessions, Garner was accompanied by his regular personnel, Edward Calhoun on bass, and Kelly Martin, percussionist. As in all Garner recording dates, compositions and arrangements were created on the spot, one-takes flowed freely, swing abounded, and Garner's variety of dynamic, joyous, and moody qualities all showed, interspersed among his highly original conceptions, and laced with his unique an distinctive style. – Martha Glaser

The Song From Moulin' Rouge
I Love Paris
French Doll
Don't Look For Me
Farewell To Paris
Left Bank Swing
Cote d'azure
La Vie en rose
Pairs Midnight
The French Touch
Paris Bounce
Paris Blues
My Man
La Petite Mambo
The Last Time I Saw Paris
When Paris Cries