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Friday, January 17, 2020

Happy Moods - Ahmad Jamal

Happy Moods
Ahmad Jamal
Cover Photo: Chuck Stewart
Cover Design: Emmett McBain
Engineer: Ron Malo
Supervision: Jack Tracy
Recored Jan. 20 and 21, 1960 at Ter-Mar Recording Studios, Chicago
Argo LP 662
Chess Producing Corp.

Ahman Jamal - Piano
Israel Crosby - Bass
Vernell Fournier - Drums

From Billboard - March 14, 1960: Jamal has another likely dual-market pop and jazz seller with this offering. The pianist's distinctive approach is heard to strong effect on such gems as "You'd Be So Easy To Love," "Time On My Hands" and "Pavanne." The set is nicely balanced to include mood tunes and swingers. Good Cover.

Little Old Lady
For All We Know
Excerpt From The Blues
You'd Be So Easy To Love
Time On My Hands
I'll Never Stop Loving You
Speak Low
Rhumba No. 2

Blue Mist - Sam Taylor

Harlem Nocturne
Blue Mist
Sam (The Man) Taylor
And His Orchestra
MGM Records E3292

From the back cover: Tenor-sax jazzman, Sam Taylor was born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1918. All during his childhood, he was interested in music, but it was only when he began attending high school in Gary, Indiana in later years that he began teaching himself to play clarinet. By 1934 he was playing the instrument professionally. It was while he was at Alabama State Teachers College that he learned to play the alto, soon changing to the tenor sax which has remained his favorite and specialty. From the college band, Sam passed on to the orchestra of Sherman (Scatman) Crothers. The year was 1938. From there he passed to other jobs, with the Sunset Royal Entertainers, the Cootie Williams Orchestra and the Cab Calloway Orchestra. Shortly after this, he began to free-lance, appearing as side-man-soloist with many great TV-radio-recording orchestras and as the conductor-soloist (as in this recording) of his own great orchestra. Currently it is in the latter role that he is heard most frequently by American jazz fans.

Harlem Nocturne
To A Wild Rose
September Song
Bluer Than Blue
The Very Thought Of You
Lonely Love Affair
Don't Take You Love From Me
Indian Summer
As Time Goes By
Someone To Watch Over Me
Blue Mist
Tara's Theme

Introducing Roberta Sherwood

Cry Me A River
Introducing Roberta Sherwood
Vocal with Accompaniment
Directed by Jack Pleis
Decca Records DL 8319

From the back cover: This is a story of a singer who was so good that by word-of-mouth alone, her enthralled audiences pushed her into the Big Time. Singing in a Miami Beach night-spot called Murray Franklin's Lounge, Roberta Sherwood gradually developed a host of admires who seemed to have a great deal to say in her behalf. It wasn't long before word of this unusually gifted song-stylist reached important show people and influential columnists.

Roberta Sherwood show every promise of becoming a singing star of the first magnitude and very soon, at that. She is a real virtuoso. She has a style and voice-sound that is immediately recognizable and unmistakably her own. It is impossible to type her or describe whom she sounds like or suggest, on first hearing. Ask anyone who has heard her of whom he is reminded, and you will receive as many wide and varied responses: "She sounds like Ethel Merman and Tommy Lyman wailing The Torch." says Walter Winchell. According to Louis Sobol: "For the quality of her voice, you will have to conjure up a blend of the best of Libby Holman, when Libby was at her best, Dinah Shore, and Doris Day. No tricks, no over-arrangements – but an effortless delivery that holds the customers spellbound and keeps them clamoring for more". Says Variety: "One minute she can conjure up a Billie Holliday, the next a Judy Garland. And as a femme variation of a Billy Daniels she can toss in her own brand of extras."

All agree on one salient point; her phenomenal versatility. She can and does sing anything and everything – from hillbilly to the most sophisticated ballads, from rock 'n roll to spirituals, from the most dramatic standard to the latest pop hit.

Roberta Sherwood has been a part of show business all her life. She was born in St. Louis, but because her parents were int he entertainment field, she spent her childhood living out of trunks on tours all over the country. Although the Sherwood family never hit the Bit Time, they were always active. Roberta made her professional debut at the age of five. At that time she and her younger sister Anne did a duet – starting with a dancing act and later adding singing to their routines.

When Roberta's parents died, she and Anne continued to troupe. Then Roberta met and married Don Lanning. Lanning, who hails from Ohio, is an ex-actor who had played leads in several Broadway shows. He retired from show business and the couple settled in Florida. Roberta continued to sing occasionally, first in a restaurant-lounge her husband owned, then in other nightspots in and around Miami. She refused to take bookings that would make traveling necessary – not wanting her three sons, Don, Jerry and Bobby, to have the same kind of disrupted childhood she had known.

It was at Murray Franklin's Lounge that her great appeal really became manifest. It has become a favorite haunt of people who visit the resort city, many of whom come just to see and hear Roberta.

From Billboard - April 28, 1956: You could sense a new star was being born five minutes after Roberta Sherwood made her debut on the big time in the Eden Roc Hotel's Cafe Pompeii. For more than 20 years she has been singing in Miami and Beach spots, and was recently signed by Decca.

She mad her entrance from among the Eden Roc tables, crooning her way to the stage. Onstage she held them with her first tow Decca recordings, "Cry Me A River," "I Get Lost In His Arms" and her upcoming "Lazy River." Whether in husky voice tones, loud or high pitch, she moulded her listeners into her moods. She uses no prima donna tactics, just stands up squarely and sings. This is what get her audience.

I Got Lost In His Arms
I Hadn't Anyone Till You
I Miss You Most Of All
Gee But I Hate To Go Home Alone
In A Strange Pair Of Arms
Cry Me A River
Lazy River
All Alone – Always
Take Your Shoes Off, Baby
The Glory Of Love
I Used To Love You
This Train

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Big Band Dixie Sound - Ted Heath

King Porter Stomp
The Big Band Dixie Sound
Ted Heath And His Music
London Records LL-3138

From the back cover: Ted Heath entered the music world when his father taught him the tenor horn. At seven Ted was playing in band contests and at 12 he switched to the trombone. Returning from service in the World War, Ted had a couple of lean years till his luck changed and Jack Hylton gave him a job. After the Ted worked his way through most of Britain's top bands and held the trombone chair on many record sessions with top American stars.

In 1942 Ted became fired with the idea of having a band of his own. It all came about when he heard Glenn Miller's American Band of the AEF, then stationed in Britain. The forceful swing and full-bodied brass sound so fascinated him that he became determined to form a band which would play the kind of music he believed in.

Ted Heath and his Music were heard for the first time on a BBC broadcast in 1942, but not until the war ended could Ted really think about building up a regular orchestra. In 1945 the American trumpet player and arranger, Toots Camarata came to Britain as musical director of the film "London Town." Camarata commissioned Heath to provide the music for the film and in this way the band achieved a degree of permanence. When the film was completed Ted Heath's orchestra began touring and broadcasting regularly.

A small but fanatical following quickly sprang up; the band started coming top in the polls run by British musical papers; yet the music was still too advanced for most of the general public. But Ted refused to compromise; he preferred to wait for the public to catch up with his ideas. That they have now done so is reflected in the present-day sales of Ted Heath's records, and the crowds which flock to see the band wherever it appears. And Ted Heath's music is just as popular here in America, as it is in Britain, as proved by the heavy demand for his records in the United State and the enormous success of his two American tours.

That's A Plenty
I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
The Darktown Strutter's Ball
Muskrat Ramble
Riverboat Shuffle
King Porter Stomp
Someday, Sweetheart
South Rampart Street Parade
High Society
At The Jazz Band Hall

Pastel Blues - Nina Simone

Strange Fruit
Pastel Blues
Nina Simone
Produced by Hal Mooney
Cover Photo by Maurice Seymour
Philips PHM 200-187
A Division of Mercury Record Productions, Inc.

Lisle Atkinson - Bass
Bobby Hamilton - Drums
Al Schackman - Harmonica and Guitar
Rudy Stevenson - Flute and Guitar

Be My Husband
Nobody Knows When You're Down And Out
End Of The Line
Trouble In Mind
Tell Me More And More And Then Some
Chilly Winds Don't Blow
Ain't No Use
Strange Fruit

Golden Hawaiian Hits - The Banjo Barons

Medley 4
Golden Hawaiian Hits
The Banjo Barons
Arranged and Conducted by Marty Manning
Produced by Ted Macero
Cover Photo: William M. Graham/Galaxy
Columbia CS 8783

1. Medley
My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii
Pagan Love Song
Hawaiian War ChantMedley

2. Medley
Hello, Aloha!—How Are You?
Adventures In Paradise
I've Found A Little Grass Skirt For My Little Grass Shack In Hawaii

3. Medley
Song Of The Islands
King's Serenade
The Cockeyed Mayor Of Kaunakakai

4. Medley
A Song Of Old Hawaii
Maori Brown Eyes
It Was In Kalua

5. Medley
Honolulu Punch
Hawaiian Holiday
Mele Kalikimaka

6. Medley
Tropic Trade Winds
Lovely Hula Hands
Aloha Oe

7. Medley
Blue Hawaii
Hawaiian Paradise
The Hawaiian Wedding Song

8. Medley
For You A Lei
An Old Hawaiian Custom
The Hawaiian Christmas Song

9. Medley
In A Little Hula Heaven
Cocoanut Grove
Pretty Red Hibiscus

10. Medley
Hawaii Calls
Hawaiian Hospitality
To You Sweetheart, Aloha

11. Medley
I Want To Learn To Speak Hawaiian
When Hilo Hattie Does The Hilo Hop
On The Beach At Waikiki

12. Medley
Sweet Leilani
Aloha, Kuu Ipo, Aloha
South Sea Island Magic
Hawaii Ponoi

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Walkin' My Cat Named Dog - Norma Tanega

A Street That Rhymes At 6 A. M.
Walkin' My Cat Named Dog
Norma Tanega
Arranged, Produced & Conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe Productions
Engineer: Gordon Clark
Recorded at Stea-Phillips Studios
Cover Photo: Pat McCallum
Cover Design: Bob Crewe
New Voice 2001
Distributed by Bell Records

From Billboard - May 14, 1966: Basing the album on her hit single, "Walkin' My Cat Named Dog," the singer-composer also debuts her new single "A Street That Rhymes At Six A. M." With a definite talent for composing off-beat lyric ballads and a unique vocal style, Miss Tanega will be creating hit tunes for a long time to come.

You're Dead
Treat Me Right
Don't Touch
Walkin' My Cat Named Dog
A Street The Rhymes At 6 A.M.
I'm Dreamin' A Dream
What Are We Carving?
No Stranger Am I
Hey Girl
I'm The Sky

Easy To Remember - Royale Concert Orchestra

Easy To Remember
Royale Concert Orchestra
Recorded in Europe
Allegro Long Play1508

Lady Of Spain 
Who´s Sorry Now
Tea For Two
My Gal Sal
Beautiful Ohio
I Know That You Know
Time On My Hands
Sweet Lorraine

Just For You - Cyril Stapleton

I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now
Just For You
Cyril Stapleton and His Orchestra
London PS 109

From the back cover: Few can be more aware of the magic power of music than Cyril Stapleton. He is himself an accomplished artist of the most romantic of instruments and is as much at home in the repertoire of the classics as he is in the field of light music. He made his first broadcast at the age of 12 playing as a solo violinist on the old 5NG radio station at Nottingham, the town where he was born. He must indeed be one of the youngest veterans of radio for he broadcast regularly for B.B.C. Birmingham studios in the years between 1928 and 1932. By this time, having reached the age of eighteen, he went to Czechoslovakia to study briefly under Seven, the famous teacher of the violin. On his return to England his early study and outstanding talent were rewarded by a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music in London.

At the same time as he entered the college, Cyril Stapleton joined up with Henry Hall and his newly formed B.B.C. Dance Orchestra and under his baton took part in the first transmission ever to go out from Broadcasting House. In 1935 he transferred to Jack Payne's Orchestra and took part with it in an extensive tour of South Africa. It was in 1937 at the age of 23, that he first set out on his own, forming a small orchestra which played regularly at the West End restaurant. His first broadcast with his own band took place in March 1939.

The outbreak of the war caused Cyril Stapleton temporarily to set aside his musical career and he insisted in the R.A.F. where he remained for the next five years. The end of this period, however, found him as a member of the R.A.F. Symphony Orchestra and following demobilization he chose to free-lance for a while, playing with nearly every broadcasting orchestra and appearing regularly with the Philharmonia and National Symphony Orchestras.

The rest of the story is well known to radio listeners, for Cyril Stapleton's new orchestra formed in 1947 was soon to occupy the key spots of the B.B.C. programs. As conductor of the B.B.C Show Band he became famous not only as the creator of all that is best in light music, but also as a popular and quick witted broadcasting personality.

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
Bye Bye Blackbird
Tell Me Tonight
April Showers
Ain't She Sweet
For Me And My Girl
I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now
If You Were The Only Girl In The World
Beer Barrel Polka
Anything Goes

Mam'selle Gisele - Gisele MacKenzie

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White
Mam'selle Gisele
Gisele MacKenzie
Conducted by George Siravo, Sid Bass and Neal Hefit
Produced and Directed by Herman Diaz, Jr.
Recorded at Webster Hall, New York City
December 10, 11 and 13, 1956
Vik LX-1075
A Product Of The Radio Corporation Of America

MacKenzie's Wolfie and Brunhilda, pet dachshunds are pictured with her on the cover. The pups go everywhere with their mistress, and when she played a Las

From the back cover: Finding an artist to realize the full potential of such material is difficult, for what is necessary here is a talent representing a fusion of cultures. Canadian-born Gisele MacKenzie, of course, is an ideal choice for this role. A native of Winnipeg, she speaks French fluently. (In fact, she corresponds in French with family and friends in Canada.) As for her musical training, at the age of three Gisele started to study the piano (her mother was a concert pianist and singer) and at seven she took up the violin. She gave her first public violin recital at twelve and at fourteen she enrolled at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music.

To the American public, however, Miss MacKenzie is widely known as a television and recording artist. Her warm contralto voice was long featured on such top radio and TV programs as Bob Cosby's "Club 15" and "Your Hit Parade," and she now has her own TV show on the NBC television network each week. In the singles record field, Miss MacKenzie has a string of notable waxing including the best-selling Hard to Get, originally presented on a TV show back in 1956.

Miss MacKenzie brings to these songs the fresh, warm vocal style that has made her one of the country's outstanding singers. It is a happy, youthful sound, and one of the technical excellence. The latter quality, one might say, differentiates her style from that of so many Gallic singers, whose essential equipment is made up of sobs and tears. – Paul Ackerman (As music editor of The Billboard, Paul Ackerman maintains an international view of the musical scene)

C'est si Bon
Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles mortes)
La Vie en Rose
September In The Rain (En September sous)
The River Seine (La Seine)
Under The Paris Skies (Souls le ciel de Paris)
Passing By (Vous qui passez sans me voir)
Tell Me That You Love Me (Mon Chaland)
Dinner For One Please, James (Un seul)
Comme Ci, Comme Ca (Clopin-Clopant)
Hands Across The Table (Ta Main qui se plisse)
Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (Cerisier roses et pmnniers blancs)

Play Girl - Nancy Steele

Don't Make It So Hard, Daddy
Play Girl
Sophisticated Songs by Nancy Steele
Joe Davis Records JD-118

The Royal Bed
I Tired It - And I Liked It
Symphony Conductor Man
Don't Make It So Hard, Daddy
The Shad Who Could Be Had
It's A Bargain
Quit Your Feeling' Around
The Sweater Song
I'm In Love With A Gardener
Miss Saks Is Wearing Slacks
The Tale Of A Millionaire
What Kind Of Guy Is He

John Buehler Introduces The EX-1

Star Wars
John Buehler
Introduces The EX-1
With Ed Wuellner On The Drums

From the back cover: The Yamaha EX-1 is the first organ of its kind in the United States. John Buehler displays its versatility in this album of music for dancing and listening. All songs were recorded without any overdubbing or other special tape tricks.

You Light Up My Life
Blue Hawaii - Song Of Old Hawaii - Aloha Oe
Twelfth Street Rag
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
Night Train
Star Wars (Main Title and Cantina Band Theme)
Blue Danube
In The Mood
Theme from "Exodus"
My Melody Of Love
Green Eyes
Blue Tango

The Percussive Phil Kraus

The Percussive
Phil Kraus
Golden Crest Records TRU-HI-FI CR 3004

From the back cover: Born in 1918, Phil started playing xylophone at the age of 8. Studied drums and other percussion. Graduated from High School in 1935 and went to Juilliard School Of Music on a scholarship from 1935 to 1938. First professional experience was gained in hotels Waldorf-Astoria, Shelton, Governor Clinton. Joined the WNEW staff band being formed in 1939. This group later became known as The Five Shades of Blue and was one of the first to use the vibraphones. From 1941 to 1945 was in the U. S. Army where he played drums and vibraphone in Irvin Berlin's "This is the Army" and in various Army bands. During the infancy of TV, Phil was with such shows as Ted Steele, Morey Amsterdam, Lanny Ross. Later played for Max Liebman Spectaculars, Martha Raye, Side Caesar, Producer's Showcase, Studio One, Perry Como, Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan and other top network shows. He has been in demand for recording sessions with such name bands as Percy Faith, Hugo Winterhalter, LeRoy Holmes, Kostelanetz, Camarata, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman and many other bands and recording stars.

Phil's first solo album under the Golden Crest label is a fabulous demonstration of the combining of a top talent, top material and top sound recording. This record will be a revelation to all, of the amazing versatility of percussion instruments when used by an expert to make music rather than just carrying the rhythm. The regular instruments for the group include the bass, guitar, drums, accordion, Lowrey organ and celeste.

From Billboard - January 26, 1957: Any xylophone lovers among your cusomers? They might be interested in this item featuring virtuosos Phil Kraus. He pounds up quite a storm in a program of standards favorites. It has additional interest in that he is accompanied by a number of instruments not heard too often on disks, ranging from bells to Chinese gongs. Since it requires pretty wide range of equipment to get the full flavor of such instruments, the disk also might find an audience among audiophiles.

Dizzy Fingers
Japanese Sandman
Chinese Lullaby
Just Flippin'
Kashmiri Song
March Of The Siamese Children
In A Persian Market

The "Shepherd" Swings Again - Moe Koffman

What Can You Do
The "Shepherd" Swings Again
The Moe Koffman Quartet
Produced by Marty Palitz
Cover Design by Sid Leichman
Photography by Charles Varon
Jubilee Records 1074
A Product Of Jay-Gee Record Co., Inc
Cover and Liner printed by MacMurry Press, N.Y.

Moe Koffman - Alto Flute, Alto Sax
Ron Rully - Drums
Hugh Currie - Bass
Ed Bickert - Guitar

From the back cover: When The Swinging' Shepherd Blues started to move up the Hit Parade early this year, the most surprised person was Moe Koffman, the man who wrote it.

"It's a blues, a jazz tune," said Moe, but the Top Thirty types weren't listening. This was a tune that reached them.

It was about a year ago that The Swingin' Shepherd Blues made its debut in Moe's first Jubilee album, Cool and Hot Sax. That LP also included some other Koffman originals but it was The Shepherd (quickly and fancifully tiled by Morty Palitz, Jubilee's Vice President who felt it gave him "a pastoral message") that inexplicably caught on with disc jockeys and Hit Parade followers.

Almost immediately, Moe was whisked off on hurried junkets to disc jockeys in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Buffalo and New York.

In between trains and planes, he was kept on the run filling commitments as a much-in-demand musician on network programs out of Toronto's Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television studios.

Like so many experienced musicians in the big broadcasting centers, Moe's days are busy ones (he not only plays fluted but can switch with ease from alto to tenor saxophone to clarinet) but there are times when he likes to ease up, to relax and play solos that last more than a few bars.

He found the answer in after hours jazz haunts, the very environment where the strains of The Swingin' Shepherd first floated through to the public. Right from the beginning, it had its listeners whistling and humming the melody.

Jazz fans enjoyed it as much as the kids who were to put it on the Hit Parade.

(Or perhaps The Shepherd's success on the best seller lists is a happy indication that, out of the cacophony created by twanging guitars and off-key voices, it answered the need for something simple but swinging.)

Whatever the reason, it is the first time that a single disc, originally released in a jazz album, has actually made the Hit Parade.

For all we know some of the numbers in this album may travel the same road.

Out of the eight selections you will hear, five are Koffman originals; Flue Salad, Bermuda Schwartz, Cloud Nine, Sure It Is and Marty's Morgue.

And again Moe is featured on both flute and alto saxophone. On Flute Salad Moe plays flute (what else?) as well as on Alone Together, fraught with jungle drums, and Sonny Rollin's Doxy, marking, probably, the first time that this number has been given a flute treatment. The flute also predominates on Marty's Morgue. Moe's musical compliment to Marty Faye's show of the same name on Chicago's WAAF.

As for the rest, Moe switches to alto saxophone Cloud Nine is an up-tempo swinger. Bermuda Schwartz and Sure It Is both move a an easy going medium tempo.

This LO also includes another original: What Ca You Do, penned by the Quartet's 24 year old drummer, Ron Rully.

Besides Rully, the group includes Hugh Currie, a bassist who played with such top British orchestras as Tony Crombie and Jack Parnell, and the Ronnie Scott Quintet on a 1955-56 overseas jaunt.

The guitarist is British Columbia-born Ed Bickert whose considerable talents prompted Tal Farlow to place him alongside Charlie Christian and Jim Hall in a Favorite Musicians' Poll.

Moe, it might be added, has appeared in polls himself.

Just this year, he won the 13th place in the flute division of Down Beat's annual summing up of the best musicians. Admittedly, 13th place is quite a step from the top, but it is, at least, something of a tribute when it's realized that Moe has always known home and abroad as a alto saxist. That is, before The Swingin' Shepherd Blues was recorded.

It was in 1948, in fact, when Moe was 19 years old, that he won an award as a top alto saxist in a Canadian Jazz Musicians' Poll. His ability, even at the young age, so impressed Barry Ulanov, who came to Toronto to make the awards, that the jazz critic predicted Moe Would eventually turn into "a fresh voice in jazz."

As a result of Ulanov's encouraging words, Moe soon after started out on a career as a big band sideman, a five year stint that took him on a series of one-nighters across the United States and back, with such will known bandleaders as Jimmy Dorsey, Tex Beneke and Buddy Morrow.

When Moe finally settled in New York, the pac was just as hectic, but his work was considerably more varied. He played everything from Dixieland clarinet in Wild Bill Davison's band to Spanish dance music and numerous dance band record dates.

Apparently some of that versatility has rubbed off on Moe's current recording activities. To date, the Moe Koffman quartet seems to have come up with a kind of music the bridges the gap between jazz and pops... thanks to The Swingin' Shepherd Blues. - Helen McNamara, Toronto Telegram

Flute Salad
Marty's Morgue
Alone Together
Bermuda Schwartz
What Can You Do
Cloud Nince
Sure It Is