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Friday, August 23, 2019

Ladies Of Jazz - Mary Lou Williams & Barbara Carroll

Autumn In New York
In A Purple Grotto
Ladies Of Jazz
Mary Lou Williams & Barbara Carroll
Recording Engineer: Kenneth Grayson & Bob Doherty
Cover Design: Arnold Saks
Supervision: Ahmet Ertegün & Herb Abramson
Atlantic Recording Corporation
Atlantic 12711


Side One: Barbara Carroll, piano; Joe Shulman, bass; Her Wasserman, drums
Side Two: Mary Lou Williams, piano; Carl Pruitt, bass; Bill Clark, drums

From the back cover: Since it has long been the conviction of this writer that a woman's place is in the groove, the back-to-back flower arrangement that brings two of the jazz world's greatest feminine talents in juxtaposition on one economy-size LP seems to me a move as desirable as it is decorative.

The status of girl instrumentalists in jazz has been the subject of intermittent debates for two or three decades. Inevitably the girl musician is faced both with the advantage of being a novelty and with the handicap of curiosity value, an element that sometimes drive her, against her will, into the synthetic surroundings of an all-girl combo or band. Thus the prospect of taking up music as a career confronts her with conflicting prejudices. As Barry Ulanov observed in a recent issue of Down Beat (Jan. 9, 1958): 'That women can be suffered to play any instrument in highly demanding, unmistakable discriminating male company has been proved many times now... How strange it is, really, that jazz should be so long in accepting women as instrumentalists, and equally curious that women should have taken so long to demand a sizable place for themselves in jazz. It may be that jazz musicians are more conservative than they – or we – usually think."

My belief that Ulanov is right has its foundation in several personal experiences involving endeavors to secure recognition and employment for some of these musicians. Barbara Carroll is an important case in point. Born Jan. 25, 1925 in Worcester, Mass., with a background of studies at New England Conservatory and a U.S.O. tour with the inevitable all-girl trio, she arrived in New York in 1947 and began to gig along the then jumping 52nd street scene. To musicians willing to look beyond visual values it was immediately apparent that Miss Carroll was the first musician of her sex to execute, with complete confidence and uncommon competence, the type of jazz then known as bebop. To many, though, the concept of a girl playing bop piano was strictly a novelty' for almost two years she remained perched on this precarious level of semi-acceptance.

In March, 1949 I managed to finagle her recording debut as a sidewoman (if that is the word) of two sessions for obscure labels; one date was led by the late Serge Chaloff, the other by Eddie She. It was evident then, as it is today, that the sound of Bud Powell had not escaped Miss Carroll's ears. Little by little, as her style began to formulate itself more firmly and her personality made its charming impact on audiences around Manhattan, Barbara began to widen her following. By 1952, when she first played at the Embers, she had shaken off the "not-bad-for-a-girl" stigma forever. The trio heard with her at the once-hip East Side bistro was the same group featured on the Broadway stage in 1953 in Me And Juliet and heard on Side One of this record. The sympathetic vibrations between Barbara and her bassist were both musical and personal; in September, 1954, she became Mrs. Joe Shulman, cementing a partnership that was broken tragically by Shulman's death in August 1957.

The seven tracks on Barbara's side of this LP reflect, both in matter and in manner, the environment in which she matured musically and the setting in which she ultimately met her greatest success. The manner is that of the modern jazz soloist, drawing inspiration from Powell but adding to it a touch that is in no way stigmatized by being termed distinctly feminine. The matter, as the titles show, is the vast cornucopia of show tunes and songs the have earned their widest popularity, at least in New York, in the area east of Fifth Avenue, where the audiences are sophisticated enough to dig My Funny Valentine and Autumn In New York for the great tunes they are, but probably too sophisticated ever to have heard of Bud Powell. Miss Carroll caters to their taste with preeminent grace, striking a beautiful balance between the impact of her first influences and the requirements of her later settings.

The relationship of Mary Lou Williams to jazz history goes back longer than Barbara's and has it roots in an early and honorable phase when Kansas City jazz was a living, fire-breathing entity. If Mary Lou's is a name less familiar to some present day jazz followers than that of her vis-d-vis on these sides, it will be because she has only recently emerged from a period of retirement and meditation that may well be unique in jazz.

A native Pittsburgher, Mary spent the 1930s as pianist and arranger with the Andy Kirk orchestra, mainly in and around Kansas City. Throughout most of this time she was virtually the only internationally prominent female jazz instrumentalist. During the 1940s she was heard with her own trio or combo around New York. Though she was among the fist musicians of the older generation to appreciate the newer developments in jazz (Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell were among her closest friends and disciples), the caprices of time and fashion seemed to have left her in limbo by the end of 1952. Without honor in her own country but still remembered by record fans overseas, she spent all of 1953 in England, and the following year in France.

It was during a night club engagement in Paris that Mary made her decision. Too many years of one-nighter tours, crazy hours and rotten liquor, too many signs around her of sickening lust for fame and material wealth, convinced her that the time had come to quit: "Life looked mean and ugly to me, music bored and irritated me – I was unhappy and fed up with everything," she told a reporter for Hue Magazine. And then began the period that kept Mary Lou Williams from the public eye for almost three years. Helped in her decision by her old friend, pianist-singer Hazel Scott, she turned to prayer and meditation; convinced that the world was headed catastrophe, she set out to prepare her friends for it by writing and talking to them. Back in New York in December 1954, she set out to make her home a haven for musicians who were down on their luck. She prepared herself for acceptance into the Catholic faith and in May, 1957, along with Lorraine (Mrs. Dizzy) Gillespie, was baptized at St. Ignatius Church.

After almost two years out of work, two years in which every waking moment has been devoted to helping others, Mary found herself heavily and seriously in debt. Providentially, a Redemptionist priest, Father John Crowley, who had once played saxophone, convinced her that God had given her a great gift that should not too unused. In July, Mary Lou Williams, just past her 47th birthday, and held in saintly awe by the hundreds she had befriended during her self-imposed exile from the world of jazz, returned at last, as a participant in the American Jazz Festival at Newport Rhode Island.

Mary today has found renewed faith in life, in music and in herself. Once again she has blessed night club audiences with her superlative blend of traditional and modern jazz influences; her trio is in demand and her future, perhaps for the very first time in her long and torturous career, seems reasonably secure.

The trio heard with Mary Lou on her side of this disc includes two sidemen who have worked with her off and on since the late 1940s. Bill Clark, the drummer, is best known as a member of the George Shearing quintet from 1953-56.

Like Barbara, Mary has adapted a fundamentally progressive keyboard style to the requirements of the better show tunes: purely by coincidence Richard Rodgers and Cole Porter are represented on both sides of this record. But because she has enjoyed for many years a corollary reputation as a composer and arranger, two Williams originals are included. The first is Opus Z, for which Mary shares credit with another talented young pianist-composer whose work she has encouraged, Herbie Nichols (his other compositions include Lady Sings The Blue). In The Purple Grotto, dedicated to Al "Jazzbo" Collins and named for the record program he ran on WNEW, is a moderato blues.

Throughout her seven performances Mary maintains a gentle, almost stealthy brand of swing, sometimes achieving a Garner-like lag in the beat and always bearing in mind and hand the essential nature of the piano as a vehicle for ambidextrous, ten-fingered expression rather than a mere medium for the single-note solo line exposition.

It is doubtful whether, after hearing these sides, you will conclude there is a school of Feminine Jazz in the sense that there is a Dixieland or West Coast style. Indeed, the only conclusion that can and should be drawn from these fourteen performances is that the more adroit and inspired of our distaff contributors have done much to enrich the jazz sense, and to impose on it their distinctive and distinguished individual personalities. – Leonard Feather, Author of The Book Of Jazz (Horizon Press)

From Billboard - March 24, 1958: Repackaged item spotlights two top Jazz pianists in a program of standards. Their contrasting styles – Miss Carroll concentrating more on melodic improvisation and Miss William's mainly concerned with chordal and harmonic variation – are shown to excellent advantage. Miss Williams' set includes two originals. Good potential.

My Funny Valentine
Taking A Chance On Love
You Took Advantage Of Me
'Tis Autumn
The Lady's In Love With You
Love Of My Life
Autumn In New York
You're The Cream In My Coffee
Surrey With The Fringe On Top
Opus Z
From This Moment On
In The Purple Grotto
'S Wonderful

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Amore Musica - Renato Renzi

Amore, Musica
e... Renato Renzi
Rezar Records R-1501

From the back cover: Renato Renzi, born in Rome, Italy, is one of the best known of the modern romantic Italian singers. In this LP he displays to the listener his wonderful voice. Renato began a career in music after leaving medical school and was discovered by the adopted son of Giacomo Puccini, the conductor Giulo Gesare Carignani with whom he studied for seven years.

It is with good reason the Renato Renzi is called "The Romantic voice of Italy" and not only is he accomplished in the realm of music but he has also appeared in various films, among them "Domenica D'Estate", an Aldo Favrizi film and "I Pappagalli" with the famous Italian movie luminary, Marcello Mastroianni.

Mala Femmina
Comme Facette Mammeta
Reginella Campagnola
Un Giorno Ti Diro
Tango Delle Rose
Love Me With All Your Heart
Quando, Quando
Quando M'Innamoro
Arrivederci Roma
Ciao Ciao Bambina (Piove)

Joy Apollo 100 - Tom Parker

Apollo 100
Featuring Tom Parker
Produced by Miki Dallon
By Arrangement With Tara International
A Youngblood Production
Art Direction: Herb Burnette
Photos: John Donegan
Pinwheel Studios - Nashville, Tennessee
Mega M31-1010

From Billboard - February 26, 1972: "Joy" by Apollo 100 on Mega Records which is No. 8 on the Hot 100 this week, is based on the Bach chorale, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." The success of the pop version is further evidence of the growing interdependence between classical and popular music.

Joy (Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring)
Mad Mountain King (Hall Of The Mountain King)
Mendelssohn's 4th (Second Movement)
Jazz Pizzicato
Reach For The Sky
Evil Midnight (Danse Macabre)
Air For The G String
Exercise In A Minor
Classical Wind

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Jazz Song Book With Les Brown And His Band Of Renown

Willow Weep For Me
Jazz Song Book
With Les Brown And His Band Of Renown
Coral Records CRL 7557311

Personnel on:

I Remember Your
Our Love Is Here To Stay
The Claw
Apple Honey

Trumpets: All Porcino, Wes Hensel, Dick Collins, Jerry Kadowitz, Clinton McMahan
Trombones: Roy Main, Dick Kenndy, J. Hill, Clyde Brown
Reed: Mat Utal, Ralph La Polla, Bill Usselton, Al Aaron, Butch Stone
Rhythm: Donn Trenner, piano; Jules Bertaux, bass; Mel Lewis or Bob Neef, drums.

Personnel on:

I Only Have Eyes For You
Let's Get Away From It All
Willow Weep For Me

Trumpets: We Hensel, Dick Collins, Jerry Kadowitz, Clinton McMahan
Trombones: Roy Main, Dick Kenney, J. Hill, Clyde Brown
Reeds: Mat Utal, Ralph La Polla, Bill Usselton, Al Aaron, Butch Stone
Rhythm: Donn Trenner, piano; Jules Bertaux, bass; Mel Lewis, drums

Personnel on:

King Phillip
Chelsea Bridge
Don't Get Around Much Anymore
Pizza Boy

Trumpets: Wes Hensel, Dick Collins, Jerry Kadowitz, Clinton McMahan
Trombones: Roy Martin, Dick Kenney, J. Hill, Clyde Brown
Reeds: Matt Utal, Ralph La Polla, Bill Usselton, Al Aaron, Butch Stone
Rhythm: Donn Trenner, paino; Jules Bertaux, bass; Jack Sperling, drums; Tony Rizzi, guitar

From the inside cover:

Buddy De Franco

At 36, after well over a decade as a figure of great influence on his instrument, Buddy De Franco continues to forge ahead, to try. Not anything new for him. DeFranco was among the first clarinetists to endeavor to mesh the oder swing elements with the ideas of Charlie Parker in the Forties. "In music – just as in everything else – there are constant periods of change, and the artist must be prepared for them. It's like a surf-boarder waiting for a wave. When it comes, he must be ready for it." DeFranco told John Tynan of Down Beat.

As a member of the reed section of Gene Krupa's orchestra, and later with Charlie Barnet, Tommy Dorsey and the progressive Boyd Raeburn in the Forties, DeFranco made his name. He soon began to win polls, going on to reign supreme in the clarinet division for 11 years. Now others have challenged him; Tony Scott and Jim Giuffre have grown in stature, and recognition, from critics and fans, has come their way. But to many, Buddy is still "King Of The Clarinet." As Leonard Feather wrote during the course of a review of a DeFranco record. "Mr. DeFranco did for the clarinet what Bird did for the alto – placed it on a new plateau of harmonic and melodic imagination, dazzling technical brilliance, and an exciting new way of swinging."

Over the last decade, the clarinetist has had big and small bands and recorded prodigiously. He continues to impress; and I would venture to say that definite progress has been made towards his ultimate goal; "To experience a somatic feeling in addition to the intellectual experience in modern music. "As Buddy says: "You gotta have both – the cerebral and the feel, the funk."

Frank Rosolino

They build cars and jazzmen in Detroit. Trombonist Frank Rosolino is just one of the may jazzmen who was born and raised there. He first attracted attention with the Gene Kruppa band in the late Forties, came into his own with George Auld's jumping quintet in 1951, and moved to national prominence as trombone soloist with the Stan Kenton orchestra, a few years later.

Tired of the road, Rosolino planted roots in sunny Los Angeles in 1955 and has seldom strayed far from the warmth and smog of Southern California since. Currently, the trombonist is employed at one of the last bastions of modern jazz in the LA area, The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, and is active in studio and recording work.

According to Down Beat's John Tynan: "His clowning on the job, at record dates, or with a band on the road has become fabled among musicians who know the stocky trombonist as one of the most likable and extroverted jazzmen in the business."

Much of his humor-filled personality come through in his playing. But it's when he's most serious and really gets down to blowing that you realize his capacity. A man of his time, his conception is essentially modern, his technique, imposting. More important, there is a sense of perspective to Rosolino's work, a vitality and earthiness that grows from hearing, understanding and assimilating what came before as well as what's happening now in jazz.

Terry Gibbs

Terry Gibbs' middle name is ENERGY. He's constantly on the move when playing, and if I'm to believe interviews, in his every day life as well. It all began for vibraphonist Terry in Brooklyn 35 years ago. Reared in a section of that borough which produced such jazz notables as Al Cohn and the late Tiny Kahn, Gibbs first came to the ears of jazz fans in 52nd Street jazz cellars in the mid-Forties. But it was not until he had toured with a star-filled Buddy Rich band, and went on to join the great Herman Herd in 1948 that he burst into the national jazz picture.

Leaving the Herman band in 1949, after a year of fun and "wailing", Gibbs worked with a short-lived band composed of Stan Getz, George Wallington, Kai Winding, Curly Russell and Stan Levey. The next step was the formation of a sextet with Charlie Shavers and Louis Bellson, which was hired in toto by Tommy Dorsey. "Terrible Terry" did not remain with "That Sentimental Gentleman" too long, for he never got anything to play. In 1951, however, he swung into action by joining the Benny Goodman Sextet

For the last half dozen years or so, Gibbs has had his own group, a group that reflects the leader's outgoing attitude about jazz. Like many of his former colleagues in the great Herman band – Shorty Rogers, for one; Jim Giuffre, for another – the vibraphonist's home-base in now in California. The warm weather, however, has not stunted his restless spirit which is accessible these nights shooting through his new big band in Southern California clubs - and here on a shouting run-down of an old Woody Herman favorite, Apple Honey, and a swingin' "put on" of horror movies, The Claw.

Don Fagerquist

Trumpeter Don Fagerquist, a disciple of Dizzy Gillespie, was first heard to advantage in 1944 and 1945 with Gene Krupa's band. Krupa had a band with modern arrangements and inclinations in those days. Fagerquist's budding style had a chance to blossom, and then to mature in the bands of Artie Shaw, Woody Herman and Les Brown later on.

Today, Don is interesting and often cogent, and reminds the listener, especially on I Remember you, that a musician can be a factor in jazz without breaking new ground; that while brining small, individual twists to an established style, he can crave a place for himself.

Ronnie Lang

Ronnie Lang, who plays alto flute, flute, alton and baritone sax during his two outings, joined Les Brown in 1949 and remained with the Band Of Renown until a little over a year ago, when he left to free-lance. Previous to his tenure in the Brown reed section, Lang spent time with bands fronted by Earl Spencer, Ike Carpenter and Skinnay Ennis.

Faced with selecting soloists for this album, Les mentioned Ronnie almost immediately. "He's so under-rated, and plays so well." Brown told me when he was last in New York. Listening to Lang's two tracks, it becomes obvious that his ex-employer's faith is well placed.

To the alto sax, Lang brings a Parker-like conception, somewhat softened by a sound that is more mellifluous than that of the master. The earthy in this man of many reeds manifests when he takes to the baritone sax; his sound is darker; his phrasing, not as jagged, but more even. The results: a rolling rhythmic feeling and gutsy power not often accessible in his work on the smaller saxophone.

On flute, a "lighter" facet of Lang's personality emerges. Realizing the very nature of the instrument does not permit power or sweep, he creates movement and portrays emotion in an almost flippant way, exercising his rhythmic sense more than he does on the other instruments.

Zoot Sims

John Haley Sims, better known as Zoot, is a free soul. Loose, uninhibited, well versed in the blues, and perhaps the most rhythmically vital of the modern tenor men, Zoot can laugh, cry, talk, sing and swing on his horn. "Zoot is one of the best rhythm sections I know," says his one-time employer Woody Herman. "He can swing more by tapping his toe than most guys with a band behind them."

Another excellent, succinct description of Sims was given during an interview by ex-George Shearing sideman, Jean "Toots" Thielemans, to wit: "Zoot isn't one of those cold, calculating musicians who thinks ahead as he plays. He just flows and lets phrases tumble out. There may be better technicians and some with a keener harmonic sense but nobody swings like Zoot."

Zoot has been swinging "professionally" since he joined Kenny Baker's orchestra in 1941 at 16. Though found in small groups during the last few years, notably Gerry Mulligan's and his own in leadership with kindred soul – Al Cohn, he traveled with big band for many years. Most widely identified with Woody Herman's "Four Brothers" Herd, Sims also has added pulsing life to Bobby Sherwood, Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich and Stan Kenton orchestras.

Once heavily influenced by Lester Young, Sims has come to a point in his development where one is conscious of his roots, but is more than aware that he has his own voice... and uses it as an individual should.

A final note – Bill Holman's arrangements for Zoot relate very well to the way the tenor man plays. Both show him to advantage; both set a particular mood; both allow Sims sufficient freedom...

From Billboard - August 8, 1960: This is an unusual album for Les Brown. Instead of only the Les Brown crew, which is pretty good by itself, it also features a soloist on each tune, mean of the stature of Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Ronnie Lang, Zoot Sims, Frank Rosolino and Don Fagerquist. Each of these men comes thru with strong performances and the ork backing is mighty fine too. Tunes are mainly standards, from "I Remember You," to "I Only Have Eyes For You".

King Phillip Stomp
Willow Weep For Me
Don't Get Around Much Anymore
'S Wonderful
Apple Honey
I Remember You
The Claw
Pizza Boy
Let's Get Away From It All
Love Is Here To Stay
I Only Have Eyes For You
Chelsea Bridge

12 Instrumental Syrtaki Dances

Του Άντρα Του Πολλά Βαρύ 
12 Instrumental Syrtaki Dances
MG Margophone 
MARGO 8055

Μαρία Με Τα Κίτρινα
Του Άντρα Του Πολλά Βαρύ
Μια Κεφαλλωνίτισσα
Πάμε Για Υπνο Κατερίνα
Ασπρά Κόκκινα Κίτρινα Μπλε
Ο Χάρος Βγήκε Παγανιά
Δεν Καταλαβαίνω Τίποτα
Συρτάκι Στην Αθήνα
Το Συρτάκι Της Αγάπης
Χορός Για Δύο

Les Brown's In Town!

Swamp Fire
Les Brown's In Town
By Glenn Osser
Les Brown And His Band Of Renown
Engineer: Jim Malloy
Decca Records DL 74607

Trumpets: Don Smith, Jack Laubach, Bobby Clark, Jules Vogel, Don Fagerquist
Trombones: Ron Smith, Milt Bernhart, J Hill, Stumpy Brown
Alto Saxophones: Matt Utal, Bob Davis
Tenor Saxophones: John Newsome, Abe Aaron
Baritone Saxophone: Butch Stone
Piano: Geoff Clarkson
Bass: Don Bagley
Drums: Lloyd Morales

From the back cover: In the fall of 1937, after my first dance orchestra "The Duke Blue Devils" disbanded, I took a shot at freelance arranging in New York – and had the good fortune to share an apartment on 58th Street with Glenn Osser – also a freelance arranger. Although I had a good foundation of music from my studies at Ithaca Conservatory Of Music and Duke University, I have always maintained that my post-graduate work was done by looking over Glenn's shoulder at the scores he wrote for Charlie Barnett, Bob Crosby, Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman, Al Goodman, At Roth, etc. Glenn taught me more than any single individual in my musical career. Two thousand scores later, he's still among the very top of America's arranging fraternity.

When approached to record an album of published arrangements by Osser, I did not favor the idea at all, insomuch as all of my recorded arrangements in the past have been tailor-made for my particular personnel. But after hearing these published arrangements at one of our rehearsals, I changed my mind and this album is the result. Here is superior arranging, by a superior musician – one whom I'm happy to count as a life-long friend. – Les Brown

From Billboard - February 6, 1965: The swingin' Band of Renown in a package of fresh, big band arrangements by Glenn Osser. The 17-piece band maintains its clean sound. Some top solo work by Faerquist, Newman, Clarkson and Morales. The opener "Swamp Fire," sets the pace for this album of 16 greats. First-rate arrangements and sound.

Swamp Fire
Under Paris Skies
Love Theme From "La Strada"
One Note Samba
Piccolo Pete
Stage Band Boogie
P.S. I Love You
Matilda, Matilda
Till Then
G'Won Train
Summertime In Venice

Les Brown's In Town

Spanish Monster
Les Brown's In Town
Capitol Records T746

From the back cover: Dancers all across the nation gather to hear Les, for his band tours far and wide. The group has appeared in Hollywood at the Palladium more times than any other band, and he had his men often set up their stands in the tops spots of New York City. As part of the Bob Hope Show, the band has also done a lot of traveling overseas. In its annual tours, though, Brown's group aims first of all at the crossroads, the small towns, army camps, and campuses of America.

One of the greatest kicks for the band is playing in some of these smaller places year after year. For example, there's a town in the center of Kansas where the band has played a one-night stand for over eight summers. It's one of the big nights of the year, partially a town holiday, with people from miles around jamming the local veteran's hall where the dance is held. Then there's a large pavilion in Indiana where, summer after summer, hundreds of couples dance under the stars to Les Brown's music.

The places in which the band appears are many, and they are all different. But whether it's a lakeside resort in Wisconsin, a ballroom in Oregon, or a college auditorium in Arizona, the result is the same: more renown for the band, more poll-winning popularity.

Just You, Just Me
Harlem Nocturne
Checkin' In
Moonlight In Vermont
The Continental
Spanish Monster
Meanwhile Back On The Bus
Ridin' High
Nina Never Knew
On A Little Street In Singapore
The Piccolino

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Wish Me A Rainbow - Living Voices

Chova Chuva
Wish Me A Rainbow
Living Voices
Arranged and Conducted by Bob Armstrong
Produced by Ethel Gabriel
RCA Camden CAS-2147

Wish Me A Rainbow (from the film "This Property Is Condemned")
My Cup Runneth Over (from the Broadway production "I Do! I Do!")
What Makes It Happen (from the Broadway production "Walking Happy")
Constant Rain (Chove Chuva)
Anyone Can Move A Mountain
Tiny Bubbles (Hua Li'i)
Kissing Bridge
The Shadow Of Your Smile (Love Theme from "The Sandpiper")
A Place In The Sun

I Can't Stop Loving You - Exotic Guitars

Till Love Touches Your Life
I Can't Stop Loving You
Exotic Guitars
Arrangements by Bill Justis
Produced by Randy Wood
Lead Guitar: Al Casey
Engineers: Thorne Nogar & Fern Dorrell
Cover Design & Photo: Studio Five, Inc.
Recorded at Annex Recording Studio, Hollywood, Calif.
Ranwood Records, Inc. R8085

I Can't Stop Loving You
El Condor Pasa
September Song
My Sweet Lord
Who's Sorry Now
Till Love Touches Your Life
Theme From "Love Story"
Hava Nagila

Indian Love Call - The Exotic Guitars

Sabre Dance
Indian Love Call
The Exotic Guitars
Arranged and Conducted by Bill Justis
Produced by Randy Wood
Recorded at Annex Studios
Solo Guitar: Al Casey
Cover Design & Photos: Studio Five, Inc.
Ranwood Records, Inc. R8051

Indian Love Call
La Paloma
Battle Hymn Of The Republic
Pearly Shells
Red Roses For A Blue Lady
Sabre Dance (From Ballet Gayne)
Vaya Con Dios
Green Door
Petite Fleur
Moon River

Dick Contino At The Fabulous Flamingo In Las Vegas

Flying Home
Dick Contino
At The Fabulous Flamingo In Las Vegas
Mercury Records SR 60079

Dick Contino - Vocalist, Accordion, Emcee
Don Stanly - Bass
George Everback - Drums
Thomas Maxfield - Piano
Joe Passalaqua - Guitar

From the back cover: Dick Contino and his gang of fun making musickers run thru a rollicking typical 40-minute set, such as they do nightly about six months of every year in the fun capitol of the world, Las Vegas. The ex-Fresno butcher boy, who rose to fame on Horace Heidt's magic carpet, compresses into one set herein all the hits which he's synonymous with "Mr. Accordio" wallops every emotional chord, ranging instrumentally from the torrid "Lady Of Spain" to the haunting "Edd Tide." He gambols vocally through backroom hit's like "Peg O' My Heart" and bounces right back with such a heart-crashing working of "Baby, Baby, All The Time" that it threatens to put the Bobby Troup standard into the immortal class.

Because this band works three to six months on the back-bar stage of the Flamingo lounge, the tight little sextet purvey a brand of sharps and flats that's especially contagious. Dig the crowd reaction as proof before, during and after each number.

Featured on the most knocked-out arrangement of "Nature Boy" ever recorded at race-track tempo is Jimmy (Little Red) Blount, a trombone player whose in orbit all during the session.

Lady Of Spain
Ebb Tide
Swinging On A Star
Come Back To Sorrento
Peg O' My Heart
Peggy O'Neil
Flying Home
Begin The Beguine
Baby, Baby, All The Time
Nature Boy
Arrivederci Roma

Monday, August 19, 2019

Mandolino Italiano - Iller Pattacini

Mandolino Italiano
Mandolino Italiano
Iller Pattacini
Conducting The Ricordi Orchestra
Recorded In Italy
Vesuvius Records - Union City, New Jersey
LP NO. 4407/ST
Distributed by MGM Records

From the back cover: "Mandolino Italiano", our opening selection, was written expressly for this album by the brilliant Maestro Iller Pattacini, who not only conducts the famous Ricordi Orchestra, but who has so ably and tastefully arranged all of these selections hereon, as well. "Mandolino Mandolino", successfully presented at the 1961 San Remo Festival, follows. The next four songs are inspired respectively by Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples. We dedicate side two in its entirety to Naples in recognition of its "know-how" of presenting these melodies, both sad and gay, that are among the most beautiful songs that this musical city has ever been able to express.

Mandolino Italiano
Mandolino Mandolino
Canta Se La Vuoi Cantar
Gondoli' Gondola'
Mattinata Fiorentina
Anema E Core
Napule Ca Se Ne Va
Voce E' Notte
Duje Paravise
Spingule Frangese
Fenesta Ca Lucive

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Listen To The Quiet - Joe Bushkin

Street Of Dreams
Listen To The Quiet...
Joe Bushkin
Arranged and Conducted by Kenyon Hopkins
Produced by Andy Wiswell
Capitol Records T 1165

From Billboard - April 30, 1959: Pianist Bushkin and an ethereal-sounding chorus provide easy listening with dreamy, smoothly paced treatments of standards keyed to the title theme – "Two Sleepy People," "Street Of Dreams," "Good Night Sweetheart," etc.

Listen To The Quiet
Two Sleepy People
In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
Dream Along With Me
Street Of Dreams
Three O'Clock In The Morning
Moonlight Becomes You
Sleepy Time Gal
The Party's Over
Put Your Dreams Away
Let's Put Out The Lights And Go To Sleep
Good Night Sweetheart

Brazen Brass New Sounds In Folk Music - Henry Jerome

Green Fields
Brazen Brass
New Sounds In Folk Music
Henry Jerome and His Orchestra
Produced by Henry Jerome
Arrangements by Dick Jacobs
Chief Engineer: Charles Lauda, Jr.
Mixing Engineer: Lawrence McIntyre
Decca Records DL 74344

From Billboard - November 24, 1962: Having given the "Brazen Brass" treatment to Hollywood tunes, Latin favorites, and the big-band oldies, Henry Jerome travels the Ray Charles route, and applies the arrangement technique to a nice collection of international folk favorites. Tunes include "Tom Dooley," the South African "Wimoweh." "Blue Tail Fly," "Red River Valley," among others. The sound is big, bright and brassy, and Jerome fans and deejays will like it.

Tom Dooley
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Across The Wide Missouri (A-Roll A-Roll A-Ree)
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
Green Fields
Red River Valley
The Blue Tail Fly
Goodnight, Irene
On Top Of Old Smokey
Careless Love

Norman Plays Novello - Fred Norman

Norman Plays Novello
Fred Norman & His Orchestra
Featuring Nickelodeon Rag & Heather Hill
Produced by Tony Tamburello
Glenn Productions - GP Records GPN 5004

From the back cover: "The Black Man's Mancini."

That's what veteran arranger Fred Norman could be called after his new album, "Norman Plays Novello," a lushly swinging instrumental collection with more than a pinch of timely nostalgia.

One-time big band "charts" expert Norman is graduated on this LP to orchestral arranger and, for the first time on record, leader of his own orchestra – with honors. But the occasion is momentous for other reasons, too. The songs are all by Gene (no-relation-to-Ivor) Novello, some old, mostly new, all melodic and often recalling a time when the popular song was a more gentle, bittersweet medium of universal communication; a time when hearts yearned mainly for other hearts and far-away places. Norman playing Novello revives this sweeter age with a rich, freshly "now," even occasionally jazz-tinged approach to the material.

New Jerseyan Novello has been in the construction business full-time since 1930, but as he puts it (and his tunes back him up), "Music is my first love. Whenever possible I take time out to compose." In 1937 he met and worked with Norman for the first time at, appropriately, that Mecca for big bands during their Golden Age, Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook in Cedar Grove, N.J. They have teamed often since then and, according to Norman, "This new album is the culmination of our friendship and the abilities of both of us.

"I feel 'Norman Plays Novello' is meaningful for another reason," Novello says. "It's unique within my experiences for a black man to arrange and conduct an album like this, one that fits into what is today called the 'easy listening' category. And I don't think anyone could have done as fine a job as Fred Norman.

Norman has proved his versatility time and again over the years. Born in Leesburg, Fla. in 1910, his mother was a pianist in a local church and introduced him early to music. At 14 he took up the trombone and later studied music at the Fessenden Academy, where he boarded. He played in the school band and afterward with professional aggregations that led hi to New York, his current base of operations.

"Up to then, I had never taken any lessons in arranging." Norman reveals, "but I used to go to the Library of Congress in Washington to study what books on orchestrations I could find. Believe me, I learned a lot there. I used to go to listen to the best bands that came to town, too, and also paid close attention to their records... The first arrangement that I wrote was "Penthouse Serenade" for the Elmer Calloway Band, for which I was playing trombone. (Elmer was Cab's brother.) I was very happy to see it included in the permanent repertoire of the band and to notice that the musicians liked to play it."

Norman's arrangements have been recorded by, among others, Claude Hopkins and His Orchestra, Etta James, Damita Jo, Jimmy McGriff, Sonny Stitt and the late Dinah Washington. "The most fantastic experience was working for Dinah Washington," he notes. "What temperament! Dinah always made loud entrances, accompanied by dozens of people and a good stock of brandy. She would announce 'Tea Time!' and distribute the brandy. Then she would start recording saying, 'I'll only do each selection once and you have to get it the first time.' She was terrific. Dinah! She never had to repeat. She only asked to have the introduction played, that's all. When she 2as in shape she recorded a dozen selections in one hour like nothing."

Norman has worked in radio, TV and films, too, although he hasn't played his trombone now for years.

He has arranged and written for big band leaders such as Harry James, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Spivack, Jack Teagarden and Bunny Berigan. His new album, therefore, which brings back the big band sound with a contemporary orchestral bang, seems a natural evolution. – Doug McClelland - Editor, Record World Magazine

Let Me Tell You 'Bout Suzanne
Nickelodeon Rag
Heather Hill
Sunset At Sanibel
Echoes Of Rome
Milano Rose
Apple Turnover
The Secret

I Pretend - Des O'Connor

Never My Love
I Pretend
Des O'Connor
Accompaniment by Alan Ainsworth and His Orchestra
Recording Produced by Norman Newell
Recording Engineer: Peter Brown
Odeon (EMI) SCX 6295
Made and Printed in Great Britain

From the back cover: Most comedians merely sing songs to finish their act but if Des wished, he could just sing and never crack another joke. For proof one only has to listen to this LP. His singing voice compares with the best and one only has to hear the great variety of songs presented here to know Des rates with the top singers of the day. My Cup Runneth Over, The Other Man's Grass, Didn't We are all first class examples of vocal sincerity. Also included is the magical I Pretend, a song that has lasted longer in the 1968 Hit Parade than any other and must always be classed as Des O'Connor's song. – Patrick Hess

My Cup Runneth Over
Dream A Little Dream Of Me
You No-One But You
Just In My Dreams
The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener
I Pretend
This Guy's In Love With You
Sunshine Of Love
Thinking Of You
All I Need Is You
Happiness And Heartaches
Didn't We
Never My Love