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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mr. Bongo Has Brass - Jack Costanzo

Bei Mir Bist Du Schöen
Mr. Bongo Has Brass
Jack Costanzo
Music Coordinator: Bill Hitchcock
Jacket Design: Thadd Roark / Ken Chapman
Zephyr High Fidelity ZP 12003 G
Zephyr Productions Inc.

From the back cover: The bongos have become the amateur musician's delight. Here at last is an instrument on which he can express the rhythmic inspiration that's been pent up within him for too long... Rumpus-rooms and back yards across the nation are swinging to the enthusiastic bongo beats of the homestyle musicians.

The one man most responsible for the growth of this bongo craze is "Mister Bongo," Jack Costanzo. He was the first bongo drummer to join a jazz orchestra when, in 1947, he became part of the Stan Kenton organization. His musicianship was so unique that Kenton had "Bongo Riff" written to feature Costanzo.

Since leaving the Kenton organization to work as a soloist, Jack Costanzo has been featured with Nat Cole, Peggy Lee, and Francis Faye. He was featured with Buddy Rich in the Betty Garble-Harry James show. He has been seen on such unlikely programs as "Person to Person" with Ed Murrow and Marlon Brando. He has been a constant performer on "Shower of Stars," N.B.C. Spectaculars, the Colgate Comedy Hour, the Red Skelton Show, the Perry Como Show and the Ed Sullivan Show.

As bongos become an accepted, standard rhythm instrument, Jack Constanzo's musicianship and virtuosity places him more firmly in the gallery of contemporary jazz greats.

Diga Diga Doo
Bei Mir Bist Du Schöen
Young Man With A Horn
Blue Prelude
Barney Google
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Street Scene
The Continental
El Diablito
Burlery-Q Bongo
Man With The Golden Arm

A Pell Of A Time - Dave Pell

Jazz Goes To Siwash
A Pell Of A Time
Dave Pell's Jazz Octet
RCA Victor LPM-1542


Leader - Tenor Sax: Dave Pell
Trumpet: Jack Sheldon
Trombone: Bobby Burgess
Baritone Sax: Pepper Adams
Bass: Tom Kelly
Piano: Marty Paich
Guitar: Tommy Tedesco
Drums: Mel Lewis
Supervision: Shorty Rogers

On Suze Blues, G Tune and Cameo substitute Ray Sims from Burgess and Paul Moe for Paich.

From the back cover: Ever since the start of the Octet, I have tried to achieve a certain sound and conception. This formula of sound and conception has been so successful that I have maintained it in all of my recording work up to this time.

Most of the tunes we (the Octet) have played in the past were of relatively short duration. In other words, we never went into a studio, like some jazzmen, and deliberately wailed for forty minutes; that was not our kind of jazz. We have planned every album carefully, and I was always able to get the very top arrangers to create our sound. We had a different product to sell; ours was, as some critics have put it, "Gray Flannel Suit Jazz" and "Mortgage-Paying Jazz." Yes, we have been playing jazz that didn't exactly have that "down-home" type feeling. Ours was the sort that had to have the melody at the beginning and again at the end. We never let one particular soloist get going; sixteen bars, or a release here and there, were all I'd want, because of things in the past were contrived and designed to sound refined or, if I have to say it, commercial. (Ed. note: No apology whatsoever is made for the Pell conception or the superb brand of Pell "Gray Flannel Suit Jazz." You will be hearing more of the same on his following album. It is very much admired.)

This was the formula, then, and by its very adoption it became necessary to hold down the soloists and to hold myself in check as well. In the past year or so, our group has been playing many dances, and the formula has been just right for that kind of performance. However, about forty percent of our work has been in the jazz clubs and in the concert halls. On the concert stage our arrangements were just dandy, but the soloists could never get going because of the shortness of the pieces involved. Yet with a minimum of work I found the most of the tunes could be extended in a certain way so as to give the guys more freedom. Why not, therefore, make an album that still basically sounds like our group but has all the free swinging qualities of a session without the tight arrangements and the confinements they cause. Personally, I've always wanted to play more on a session, but never felt that I should because there were seven other men each of whom, in fairness, has to have his chance to "blow,"

Well, here is our first free-blowing album, and I hope it's"funky" enough to please even the most dyed-in-the-wool fan. Again, nothing should be taken away from the tremendous arrangements done by Marty Paich, Bill Holman, Paul Moe and Jack Montrose. Without these very talented men, the charm of this or any of our other albums would be lost.

Personnel of the Octet was changed quite a bit for this album. When the Octet plays clubs or one-nighters, sometimes my first team, which includes most of the men who were with me when we left the Les Brown band, are not able to work steadily because of studio commitments. However, when the Octet was booked into a long engagement at one of the top nighteries on the Sunset Strip, replacements became necessary. I felt it only fair to make this recording with the new group, and I'm sure you'll agree that all of the newer men are as fine as those who were with me in the past. actually, only three of the guys have recorded with me before: Ray Sims, Tommy Tedesco and, of course, Marty Paich. Joining the Octet for the first time is the biggest talent on trumpet since Fagerquist – Jack Sheldon. Nor can words express my sincere admiration for all the other "newcomers," and that especially goes for Pepper Adams.

I hope you enjoy our first venture into the "funky" world of "down-home" type jazz. It's been fun all the way, and that's how it should be to listen to. – Dave Pell

Jazz Goes To Siwash
Suze Blues
Grey Flannel
Angel Eyes
G Tune
Sandy Shoes
Love Me Or Leave Me
Theme There Eyes

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Engine, Engine Number 9 & Other Country Favorites

Engine, Engine Number 9
Engine, Engine Number 9
Crown Records STEREO CST 453

Engine, Engine No. 9
Hilo March
Please Daddy, Let's Go
Walkin' By Myself
Hey Baby
I'm Not Shuckin'
Everybody's Rockin'
It's Too Late For Cryin'
Like The Dickens I Do
O.K. Doll
Lovable One

Album No. 1 - James Darren

Sweet Lorraine
Album No. 1
James Darren
Cover Photo: Bob Coburn
Colpix A Division Of Columbia Pictures Corp.
Packaged by Helm Graphic, New York
CP 406

From the back cover: If it hadn't been for a chance ride in a New York City elevator, James Darren might be lead-footing it these days behind the wheel of a racing sports car instead of being one of the finest rising young motion picture stars and recording artists in America

That first fast rise that resulted in the one he is now enjoying took place in the Brill Building, the caption of New York's Tin Pan Alley, and it was a chance meeting with Miss Joyce Selznick, the Columbia Pictures eastern talent director, on that ride that is responsible for the fact that Jimmy's black hair and brown eyes are exposed for all to see and not covered by a crash helmet and racing goggles.

Jim, who carries a muscular 170 on his 5 foot eleven inch frame, says that his love for sports car racing is so strong that he may have turned to it if he hadn't made it in show business.

But make it in show business he did and in big way.

From his chance meeting with Miss Selznick in the elevator came a contract with Columbia Pictures and a succession of increasingly more important roles, leading up to his starring role in the popular success, "Gidget". It was in "Gidget," too, that an important juncture in Jim's expanding career was reached.

Jonie Taps, who doubles as music executive for Columbia Pictures and general manager of the studio's Colpix Records, remembered that Jimmy had done some semi-pro singing in night clubs around his home town, Philadelphia. So Jimmy was given a song to sing in the film, a number called "There's No Such Thing." The immediate reaction from the music trade, disc jockeys and the public was so favorable that Colpix decided to rush out another Darren side. For this they chose the title song of the film, "Gidget."

"Gidget" took off where the first record left off and Jimmy Darren was now a triple threat star, because not only had he added recording to his acting but now the major television shows were bidding for his services. And as for those most discriminating critics, the fans, well, suffice to say that more than 2000 charters for local James Darren Fan Clubs have been applied for since the release of "Gidget."

Jimmy, who was born June 8, 1936, in Philadelphia and attended Southern High there, went to New York to study drama and had been at it only a few weeks when he was discovered on that fateful elevator ride. Sportscar driving must share some of his leisure time with tennis and Jim also names photography and painting among his favorite pastimes. And ranch life is another thing that ranks high with this city boy who some day hopes to spend a good part of his time on his own ranch. Meanwhile, he is working hard to realize his burins ambition to be recognized as a top actor and a leading singing star.

From Billboard: August 17, 1959: Jimmy Darren, the young chanter who became both a record start and a coming movie star with "Gidget," has turned out a very enjoyable album here, and one that is certain to appeal to his many fans. There is a close resemblance to Sinatra in his style, but it is not hard to take. And the arrangements are first-rate behind him. Songs include "Let's Fall In Love," "Love Among The Young," "Gidget" and "Let There Be Love." Cover is attractive, too.

Let's Fall In Love
Sophisticated Lady
Let There Be Love
The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else
Sweet Lorraine
There's No Such Thing
Love Among The Young
Does Your Heart Beat For Me?
Mighty Pretty Territory
Walkin' My Baby Back Home

Pay Joey - Bobby Sherwood

My Funny Valentine
Pal Joey
Bobby Sherwood & His Orchestra
Produced by Morty Palitz
Photo: Charles Varron
Design: Si Leichman/Toback
Jubilee LP 1061

From the back cover: Bobby was born in Indianapolis. And that's enough about Indianapolis. He barnstormed out of there on a musical instrument. His folds were the musical vaudevillians, Bob & Gayle Sherwood & Co. 'Pops" was a singer and trombone player. Mother was an accomplished pianist.

When Bobby was 9, his fiddle-playing grandfather, James McDonald, taught him to play a banjo faster than anyone else in Indiana. Soon the "& C." meant Bobby and his kid sister, Gayle.

The act worked its way to California and settled there. Bobby continued to entertain around the Los Angeles clubs. He's been around the entertainment field ever since. And if there is a more versatile talent, no one has pointed him out.

Bobby has been Bing Crosby's guitar-playing accompanist, a production singer at the Paramount Theatre, a movie actor, a recording star, a featured artist with Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, a Broadway actor, a TV comic, a writer, a TV panelist, an MC, and a famous bandleader with two records that sold over a million, "The Elk's Parade" and "Sherwood Forest".

Most amazing is the variety of his musical ability. Bobby once recorded an entire album with a 15-piece orchestra. Bobby plays ever single instrument heard in that album.

This album of "Pay Joey" music is pure perfect. All the songs heard are in the new moving picture. The pleasures and thrills of a big-band sound and a danceable beat are here. The authenticity of a movie sound track or an original cast album is here out of the portrayal of Bobby Sherwood feels for the Ned Galvin role. – Mort Goode

There's A Small Hotel
Do It The Hard Way
Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered
You Mustn't Kick It Around
I Could Write A Book
My Funny Valentine
The Lady Is A Tramp
I Didn't Know What Time It Was
That Terrific Rainbow
A Great Big Town

Monday, March 16, 2020

Arthur Murray Modern Waltzes - Les Baxter

The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
Arthur Murray
Modern Waltzes
Les Baxter and His Orchestra
Capitol T548

The Champagne Waltz
Carolina Moon
Vienna Dreams
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
The Shadow Waltz
Cuban Love Song
Jeannine, I Dream Of Lilac Time
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Moonlight Madonna
The Arthur Murray Waltz
The Boy Next Door
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

Serenade To Love - Henri Rene

Love, Your Spell Is Everywhere
Music For Romance
Serenade To Love
Henri Rene and His Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM 3049 (10 inch 33 1/3)

From the back cover: The life of Henri Rene, who conducts the music on this record, is a contradiction of most of the established cliches for building a successful career in music. For example: there are many excellent musicians in this country who were raised and who received their musical education abroad and who then came to this country to work as musicians. On the other hand, there are many native-born American musicians who got their preliminary musical education here, went abroad for the finishing touches, and immediately returned home.

Rene's course was unique. Born in New York City of a father of German, and a mother of French, descent, he was taken to Berlin while still a boy and enrolled in a conservatory, where, over a seven year period, he had a typically thorough German classical education in music. He then immediately returned to this country and stared playing popular music, first as a member of a two-piano teams, later as a member of different dance orchestras. At this point, he was not yet out of his teens; and he was just twenty when he went back to Europe and toured with his own orchestra. Eventually he settled in Berlin as chief arranger for the Eletrola Company, then RCA Victor's German affiliate. A few years later, he became Musical Director for Electrola as well as for UFA (a big German motion picture company) and another picture studio.

In 1936, aged thirty, he once more came home, this time for good; but he spent a year, chiefly in Hollywood, searching for a job. Potential employers were nonplussed, and no wonder. Rene fitted into none of the established grooves. He was an American, thoroughly American, with an American's taste for popular music and jazz – yet he'd grown up in Europe, received a thorough European classical music education, and had spent most of his adult years there. What was he best fitted for?

The right, the perfect solution came along. RCA Victor grabbed him for the post of Musical Director for their international Division, a post which gave ample scope both to Rene's European education and experience and his American tastes.

He held the post (with time out for war service) until a few years ago, when he was appointed Director of Artists and Repertoire for RCA Victor's West Coast Division.

Love, Your Magic Spell Is Evereywhere
A Kiss In The Dark
L'amour, Toujours, L'amour
It Had To Be You
I Kiss Your Hand Madame
Love In Bloom
I Love You Truly

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Snoopy And His Friends - The Royal Guardsmen

I Say Love
Snoopy And His Friends
The Royal Guardsmen
The Story Of Snoopy and The Red Baron in Verse and Song
Voice Characterization: Larry Foster
Dialogue Story Written by Dick Holler and Phil Gernhard
Produced by Gernhard Enterprises
Laurie Mastersound Records SLLP 2042

From Billboard - December 9, 1967: Packaged specially for the Christmas season, this "Greatest hits plus" album should remain on the charts long after the season is past. One side of the disk contains the three "Red Baron" hits weaved into one story. The group's "The Airplane Song" is on the flip side, together with other World War I songs, pop and Christmas tunes. An excellently balanced album sure to hit both the Christmas and pop-rock with impact.

The Story Of Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron
Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron
The Story Of The Return Of The Red Baron
The Return Of The Red Baron
The Story Of Snoopy's Christmas
Snoopy's Christmas
I Say Love
Down Behind The Lines
It's Sopwith Camel Time
So Right (To Be In Love)
Airplane Song (My Airplane)
It Kinda Looks Like Christmas

The Best Of Si Zentner - Volume Two

Burke's Law Theme
The Best Of Si Zentner
Volume Two
Produced by Snuff Garrett
Art Direction: Woody Woodward
Liberty Records LRP-7457

From the back cover: He's been called the man who married the beat to the glide of the trombone. He's been credited with bringing new life into the band business. In truth, Si Zentner has played a key role in the revitalization of popular dance bands principally because he was open enough to realize that today's melodic ditty can be fitted into the repertoire of a modern thinking band.

Zentner's roots go deeply into the band business. When he first released "Up A Lazy River" on Liberty in 1962, he was looked upon as a unique creator, turning an old evergreen into a contemporary popular success. What Zentner did then, and what he is done right through this program of power house selections, is to add a sparkle to what are already intriguing songs of the past happy seasons.

It has been the custom of dance bands in the past to perform only those numbers with which they felt safe – the kind of tunes usually associated with fox trots and lindys. (Remember now, this is the period before the twist was born).

Zentner's curiosity and businessman's acumen propelled him to seek fresher material for his band, a decision which gained for him a spot in the hearts of collegians through constant appearances at their dances and balls. So when the haunting melody "Sukiyaki" broke onto the American popularity charts from Japan, Si rushed to record the tune. When "Burke's Law" became a weeknight fascination of American TV viewers (it was murder watching the old captain fighting those beautiful girls off(, Si cut the "Burke's Law Theme."

If one thing can be said of the trombonist, it is that his ears perk up when he hears a song with staying power. And by transforming the dixielandish "Midnight In Moscow" into a showcase for his band and by saluting the "Peter Gunn" TV series and movieland's "Never On Sunday" and "Charade," Zentner plucked songs recorded by other performers and gave them his own zesty, brassy sound.

Those Lazy-Hazy Days Of Summer
I'm Movin' On
Burke's Law Theme
Wonderland By Night
The Third Man Theme
Midnight In Moscow
Stranger On The Shore
Never On Sunday
Peter Gunn

Straight Up - Harold Vick

Straight Up
Straight Up
Harold Vick
Produced by Brad McCuen
Recorded in RCA Victor's Studio B, New York City
Recording Engineer: Don Miller
RCA Victor LPM-3761


Harold Vick: Leader, Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax & Flute
Virgil Jones: Trumpet
Al Dailey: Piano
Warren Chiasson: Vibes
Everett Barksdale: Guitar (Performs on Like A Breath Of Spring, Lonely Girl and Straight Up
Walter Booker: Bass
Hugh Walker: Drums

From the back cover: When Harold Vick was a young boy his ambition went in two directions. Either he would become a professional basketball player or a professional musician. As he grew up he attained six feet four inches, the height that helps an aspiring basketball player, and he also had talent, evidenced by his winning an award in the sport while at college. At the same time he was developing the skills to be a musician. Again, he had the talent to go with it.

Aptitude must be present, but in the case of some musicians it receives an early chance to show itself. As a child in Rocky Mount, North Carolina (he was born there on April 3, 1936), Vick heard the music of Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby on his grandmother's Gramophone. By the time he was twelve Harold was trying to stay up late and listen to Symphony Sid, whose program of music beamed pretty strongly from New York on a clear night. At the same age his grandmother also began taking him to the "June Germans," annual dances held in a huge tobacco warehouse. These affairs would last, in Vick's words, "from dusk to dawn" and feature several bands, including names like Basie, Lunceford, Calloway and Millinder. The flash, sound and style attracted Vick. "I always found a spot near the reed section and there I would stay all night," he remembers.

It was no wonder that the twelve-year-old Harold made a $15 down payment on a $90 used clarinet. As he tells it: "The fifteen dollars were my life savings and the payment emptied my piggy bank. My grandparents seeing that my interest in music was genuine, finished buying the clarinet for me."

While still in junior high school Vick became a member of the high school band, playing his first concert at the age of thirteen. He had taken piano lessons for a brief period in his childhood, but it wasn't until he came under the tutelage of Charles Woods, a reed teacher, that he began studying in earnest. Vick says that his greatest influence was a cousin, pianist Thomas Cofield, who taught him "about the construction of songs and about chords." Another shaper of his musical mind was the late Prince Robinson, a star tenor saxophonist-clarinetist with McKinney's Cotton Pickers from 1927 to 1934. Then there was Harold's mother who, when he visited her in New York during summer vacations, played for him the records of Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. When he returned to North Carolina, she would send him records of his favorites, virtually impossible to acquire in Rocky Mount.

When Vick as fifteen he received a tenor saxophone for Christmas, and in seven months he was playing weekend jobs. After high school he entered Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he studied psychology and sociology. Although he knew, after two years, that music was to be his life, he decided to finish his liberal arts education before devoting himself fully to his chosen profession. Until his graduation in 1958. Harold helped support himself by working in the house band at the Howard Theater under former Ellington saxophonist Rick Henderson. There he was able to play with pros and absorb the kind of varied experiences that is invaluable to the young musician.

After graduation Vick began working with a series of bands which used to be called rhythm and blues. First he was with Red Prysock, then Paul Williams, Ruth Brown and Lloyd Price. In 1960 he left Price, came to New York, and gigged with Howard McGhee and Philly Joe Jones. Then he became part of organist Jack McDuff's group for several years. Recently he has appeared with the quartet of pianist Walter Bishop, Jr., and in a big band led by pianist Duke Pearson. Most important, however, has been his emergence as a leader with The Caribbean Suite (RCA Victor, LPM/LSP-3677).

Through the years, some of Vick's preferred saxophonists have been Lester Young, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Gene Ammons and John Coltrane. He credits Miles Davis' former tenorman George Coleman with helping his approach. From this list you can get an idea of Harold's playing attitude. It is modern, but within a tradition that stands for melodic improvisation and that forward thrust known as swing. It has a relaxed, unhurried, unhurried quality that is decidedly very easy listening.

Vick's associates in this album are, like himself, young, accomplished jazzmen who have not made their full mark but are beginning to be heard. Trumpeter Virgil Jones has worked with Lionel Hampton and recorded with Milt Jackson and Roland Kirk. Vibist Warren Chiasson played with George Shearing and also has led his own trio at the Five Spot. Pianist Al Dailey has been a member of Art Farmer's group for the past year or so, as has bassist Walter Booker, who previously worked with Sonny Rollins. Hugh Walker, from Oklahoma, has been free-lancing in New York since coming here in 1966. Guitarist Everett Barksdale, heard on Lonely Girl and Like a Breath of Spring, is the only real veteran present. Once an integral part of the Art Tatum trio, he has been on staff at the American Broadcasting Company for quite a while. – Ira Gitler

If I Should Lose You
Like A Breath Of Spring (Bossa)
Gone With The Wind
Straight Up
We'll Be Together Soon
Lonely Girl
A Rose For Wary (Bossa)
Winter Blossom

Workin' On A Groovy Thing - Mongo Santamaria

We Got Latin Soul
Workin' On A Groovy Thing
Mongo Santamaria
Produced by Billy Jackson
Arranged and Conducted by Marty Sheller
Sound Supervision: Warren Vincent
Engineering: Don Puluse, Stan Weiss & Mark Friedman
Cover Photo: Columbia Records Photo Studio: Don Hunstein & Fred Lombardi
Columbia STEREO CS 9937


Congas and Bongos: Mongo Santamaria -
Trumpet: Louis Gasca & Ray Maldonado
Alto Sax: Sonny Fortune
Tenor Sax: Charlie Owens & Joe Farrell
Baritone Sax: Art Kaplan
Piano: Rodgers Grant
Bass: William Allen
Drums: Bernard "Pretty" Purdie
Latin Percussion: Steve Berrios, Julito Collazo & "Chihuahua" Martinez

Special thanks to Jackie Horowitz and the Columbia Records Secretaries on the first floor of 49 East 52nd Street, featuring Suzanne for special effects on "We Got Latin Soul,"

Workin' On A Groovy Thing
Spinning Wheel
Too Busy Thinking About My Baby
We Got Latin Soul
Getting It Out Of My System
Proud Mary
It's Your Thing
My Cherie Amour
Get Back
Ain't That Peculiar
Twenty-Five Miles

Hawaiian Enchantment - The Hawaiian Islanders

Island Blossom
Hawaiian Enchantment
The Hawaiian Islanders
Wyncote W-9131

Lilac And Spanish Moss
Bird Of Paradise
Hibiscus Blossom
Hawaiian Holiday
Hawaiian Serenade
Mood Hawaiian
Stars Over Hawaii
Island Blossom
Island Mood