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From the back cover: By now, more than a quarter of a century has passed since the voice and the face of Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby eased themselves snugly into the American consciousness. With this voice and face fitting together so agreeably the years have brought Crosby a curious position. He has become, as one critic phrased it, "a member of American royalty." There's a grain of truth in the observation since in our Republic we maintain no royalty and as a result the more lasting celebrities must serve as crowned heads. In a harrowers sense, however, Crosby is less royalty than he is a kind of jug-eared, mellow-lunged Everyman set to song.
Of the two theories, Crosby himself yields more readily to the latter. In his autobiography, entitled "Call Me Lucky," Crosby expressed it this way: "I think that every man who sees one of my movies or who listens to my records or who hears me on the radio believes firmly that he sings as well as I do, especially when he sings in the bathroom shower. It's no trick for him to believe this because I have none of the mannerisms of a trained singer and I have very little voice. If I've achieved any success as a warbler it's because I've managed to keep the kind of naturalness in my style, my phrasing and my mannerisms which any Joe Doakes possess..."
For All his self-depreciation, Crosby's commoners is an illusion which punctures easily. Imitators of the Crosby sound can be found everywhere but on one yet sounds exactly like him. Joe Doakes – you and me – we have confidence in our bathroom baritones and we imagine we sound like Bing; actually we all sound like Joe Doakes. There is only one Bing Crosby and – the time has come now to face the issue squarely – he happens to be that unique, awesome creature, an artist. That is to say, an artist with no humbling ol' Frog in the Throat, as Billy Rose called him, as many things – genial troubadour, light comedian, glibly learned conferenciar, man about sports, even, in the last decade or so, an actor who can walk off with one Oscar (for "Goin' My Way") and very nearly cop another (for "Country Girl"). The races has been a slow one. Somewhere between the early 1930s (when Bing was singing "Mississippi Mud" with the Rhythm Boys) and the present we began to take this crooner less and less for granted. He does deserve some gratitude for single-handily making the word "crooner" less calculated to peel the skin. But never before, to my knowledge, has Bing Crosby ever won recognition for what he is, an artist. Perhaps we have waited too long.
Still, the word "artist" and Bing Crosby clasp hands only with a suspicious uneasiness. But then, the popular entertainer has been facing this dilemma since Shakespeare's day – when can the popular entertainer claim the mantle of artist" When do we dare cross the bridge? And yet this bridge for popularity with mere talent to popularity with art has been crossed before with no loss to anyone – no loss at all to the entertainer and for the public a gain of deeper awareness and a more profound appreciation of the entertainer's stature. As a parallel to Crosby, in American literature there is the bridge-crossing example of Ring Lardner, who wrote sardonic fables about ballplayers and was immensely popular. Lardner became an artist when the critics, in a flash of awe, suddenly discovered he actually was one – and everybody said then that they knew it all the time. Ring Lardner, Walt Disney, Cantinflas, Fred Astaire, Babe Ruth, Brando – not ordinary men, not merely popular entertainers, but artist.
It may be a little more than coincidence that while Lardner's major influence was Mark Twain, it was Bing's inevitably good fortune to be influenced by Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke, two of America's more conspicuously vital giants of the trumpet. The coincidence grows more interesting, however, when you remember that the three of them – Mark Twain, Louis, Bix – were all products of the Mississippi River culture, the American heartland. If Larder was, after Twain, the "most American" of our writers the voice of Harry Lillis Crosby is the most American of any singer's. This voice of Bing Crosby reflects America with poignant accuracy to foreigners and Americans alike and one reason might just be the very same Mississippi heartland echoes of Satchmo and Bix (and Mark Twain as well; one imagines Huckleberry Finn on his raft singing and the voice of Bing Crosby floating out over the Mississippi).
Our idolatries, in Whitney Balliett's phase, are often "either presumptuous of too late." There is no presumptuousness in calling Bing Crosby an artist and it is not too late for, after all, haven't we known it all the time?
Now, as for this album, which is Crosby's first on Verve imprint, it is also his first with such a thoroughly modern, swinging orchestra in accompaniment. The songs, moreover, are among those rare few that Bing has never before recorded, Buddy Bregman orchestrated the songs, conducted a hand-picked group of Hollywood's foremost musicians and – most important – conceived the idea in the first place. Although it is quite a musical package – muscular and tender, driving and romantic, pulsating and lyrical. For Bing Crosby, the artist, it is a somewhat different treatment to add to the many already on record and, as you will hear, an ingeniously varied and durable one.
From Billboard - October 20, 1956: This is Bing's first album on Verve, and he draws support from a modern, swinging group of musicians. The package contains a list of great tunes which Bing never recorded before; reason enough to make this attractive to the faithful. Tunes include "Mountain Greenery," "Blue Room," "Have You Met Miss Jones" and other great ones, most dating from the golden age of show music. Bregman orchestrated the songs brightly, and Bing sings them with his casual charm and technical perfection.
Conductor: McHenry Boatwright & Skitch Henderson (Skitch Henderson appears through the courtesy of Columbia Records)
Produced by Richard Mohr
RCA Victor Orchestra and Chorus
Chorus Director: Lenoard de Paur
RCA Victor Red Seal STEREO LSC-2679
From the inside cover: Leontyne Price was gaining recognition as a superb interpreter of contemporary music during the months she was winning acclaim as Bess. The producers of Porgy and Bess arranged schedules to allow her to sing a number of recitals both here and abroad. Finally, in May 1954, she left the company and that fall made her formal New York debut.
Her ascent to the pinnacle of her profession was swift and studded with triumphs in the opera houses of San Francisco, Vienna and Chicago, at La Scala, Covent Garden, Salzburg and finally at the Metropolitan Opera where she made her debut in January 1961. The ultimate seal of success was stamped on her meteoric rise when she opened the Met's 1961-62 season as the star of Puccini's The Girl Of The Golden West.
"...in the rarefied craft of acting with the voice alone, she has few, – if any – equal's wrote a leading magazine.
William Warfield, one of today's great vocal artists, had made a highly successful New York debut, his first tour of Australia, and had been featured as Joe in MGM's Show Boat before starring in Porgy and Bess. His portrayal of the humble cripple was acclaimed in Europe and gain in New York during the 1961 revival. He toured Europe for our State Department again in 1955 as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra on its first Continental tour. The following year he made his third such trip – a recital tour through Africa, the Near East and Western Europe. In 1958 concerts took Warfield around the world twice. In between these tours as a cultural emissary, the baritone has won acclaim in countless concerts and recitals throughout the Americas and Europe, as De Lawd in the television production of Green Pastures, and as featured artist in recent Casals Festivals.
John W. Bubbles, or, as he is known to followers of vaudeville, just plain Bubbles, was Gershwin's choice to create the role of Sportin' Life. "Many people questioned my choice of a vaudeville performer for an operatic role," wrote Gershwin, "but on the opening night they cheered Bubbles," A vaudevillian for more than forty years, he is still active in show business, not only on the vaudeville circuit but also as a frequent guest on TV's "Tonight" show.
McHenry Boatwright was eductated at the New England Conservatory, taking first a degree in piano and then returning to take one in voice. Launched by a command performance for President Eisenhower and an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, the baritone made his concert debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1958. Since then he was won acclaim not only in this country but also in the Far East and in Europe, which he toured for the first time in 1961.
Skitch Henderson is equally at home in any type of music, be it Gershwin, Brucker or boogie-woogie; be it for records, concert or television. At present Henderson, who is Music Director of NBC, is in charge of music for the "Tonight"show. He also composes a great deal for other television shows and is active as a guest conductor with leading symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Canada, in England and on the Continent.
Leonard de Paur has won wide recognition in music, notably as a conductor and arranger. He is probably best known as the founder-director of the de Paur Infantry Chorus which, during the years 1946-57, gave more than one thousand concerts in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and the Orient. He is currently at work on a recorded anthology of America Negro folk music and is organizing a tour with the newly formed de Paur Chorus
From Billboard - September 21, 1963: One of the most exciting albums in Victor's fall release. Price and Warfield are at the top of their powers in an intense realization of this history-making Gershwin score. Supporting roles are dramatically portrayed by John W. Bubbles ("Sportin' Life) and McHenry Boatwright (Crown). Skitch Henderson conducts.
These selections were previously issued by GTJ on ten-inch, long-playing records L-2 & L-6 (1953). They have been remastered and reprocessed in 1955 using latest audio-engineering techniques for improved quality
From the back cover of L-12011:Not since the Original Dixieland Jazz Band made its startling impact upon the national consciousness in 1917 has there been anything like the Firehouse Five Plus Two. During 1950 their phenomenal success was one of the outstanding events in the popular music world. By the years end the FH5 was a national institution, a household phrase, and quite possibly America's favorite jazz band.
They kept their enthusiasm high through a series of strenuous professional engagements which found them playing for almost every imaginable kind of audience. The year began with a New Year's dance for the Carson City (Nevada) Volunteer Fire Departement. Back in Hollywood, their Monday nights at the Mocambo, on the Sunset Strip, became nationally famous, partly because of the many movie stars (Ginger Rogers, Ann Miller, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Barbara Stanwyck, etc.) who danced at their Charleston contests. These Monday nights continued for the better part of the year, with almost everyone in show business coming in to hear them.
Among their first and best friends was Bing Crosby, who had known them from their Beverly Cavern days. Bing invited them to play for his Pebble Beach Golf Tournament in January, and then asked them to his CBS Chesterfield radio program in February. They were responsible for an avalanche of fan mail, and came back for four more guest appearances during the year.
The movie colony took them up, Louella Parsons had them on her Sunday broadcast, they played at swank Ocean House in Santa Monica, and Charlie Farrell's exclusive Racquet Club in Palm Springs. Ed Wynn invited them to be guest on his Camel TV show in April. Through the summer they packed the Mocambo Monday nights; reservations had to be made two weeks in advance. In June and July they did two movies: Republic's Hit Parade of 1951 and MGM's Grounds For Marriage.
In the Fall they repeated their hit performance of the preceding year for Frank Bull & Gene Norman's famous Dixieland Jubilee at the Shrine Auditorium before almost 6,000 cheering fans. In October the National Broadcasting Company flew them to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, en route, for a Milton Berle TV show, and a personal appearance on Martin Block's WNEW Make Believe Ballroom.
Christmas Day they appeared on Walt Disney's One Hour in Wonderland over the whole NBC-TV network, and played their version of Jingle Bells, which had been a hit record of the holiday season. TO start 1951 off in their own spectacular way, they became the first jazz band to play in Pasadena's Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day before an audience estimated at two and a half million people!
It is difficult to believe they managed to play as often as then did (an average of three times a week), and keep the band a spare-time hobby. Yet, during all this busy year, Ward, Clarke, Ed and Frank were hard at work for Walt Disney, completing Alice In Wonderland. All four had still other interests. Ward expanded his fleet of antique cars with a 1911 Seagrave hook & ladder, and a 1910 Maxwell for use as a Chief's car in parades. His paintings were seen in half a dozen exhibitions. Clarke was busy with his experimental theater work. Frank built a modern house and learned dozens of classic piano rags. Ed wrote a play and continued breeding his champion French Bulldogs.
Harper did art designing for several movies (including The Thing at RKO), painted covers for Colliers and other leading magazines, taught at Los Angeles art school, and began a new career as a movie actor. Monte and Danny, the two professional musicians in the band, were in demand for outside jobs, and found time to venture out into the business world, Monte into real estate and Danny into wholesale photograph record distribution.
In Movie terms, we dissolve" to 1952, and a group of very tired firemen who find it increasingly difficult to maintain the fiction they are performing solely for their own pleasure. After playing a dance concert or night club till 2 a.m., it was pretty tough to be at a desk or drawing table at 8 a.m. They tried to confine their playing to weekends, but their wives and children took a dim view of even that.
One day Frank Thomas sent Ward an inter-office memo: "We are supposed to be playing jazz for fun. When it stops being fun, we ought to stop playing." A band meeting was called and the decision was unanimous: the recording session of May 1952 (at which When You Wore A Tulip, Lonesome Railroad Blues & Runnin' Wild were made) was to be their last public until they felt like playing again. Knowing that, the band really enjoyed the date, and played with remarkable spirit and drive.
On a job, in a club or at a dance, after playing a particularly wild set, Ward used to step panting to the house mike and gasp, "We're gonna take a rest!" Now, with the record session behind them, Ward's announcement that the band was going to "take a rest" for a long time created a sensation in the music business. To the amazement of the booking agency which handled them, Ward flatly turned down job after job.
This was one of the few instances in the history of jazz and popular music where a band as successful as the FH5 refused offers estimated conservatively as in excess of $100,000 because they'd rather have some time to work at their regular jobs, attend PTA and cub scout meetings, go fishing, or catch up on their sleep. During their vacation, whey they were resting, they worked at Disney on Peter Pan, The Lady And The Tramp and Sleeping Beauty. Ward also directed and produced Melody, the 1st Cinemascope cartoon. Harper was busy designing submarines for 20 Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and trains for The Great Locomotive Chase.
But in the Fall of 1953, the old urge to play returned, and so the boys dug out the fireboats. To be sure they kept their amateur standing, they decided to concentrate on entertaining in Army, Navy and Veterans Hospitals. Ward appears on Here's To Veterans, the VA broadcast carried by almost every station in the country. Rehearsals started for a coast-to-coast TV show, and they signed a new long term recording contract with GTJ. During 1954 and 1955 they played when the spirit moved them, usually confining their activities to Friday or Saturday nights. They are still the despair of the professional booking agents, turning down lucrative jobs and accepting those they think might be fun: college and high school dances, fire department parties, the Los Angeles Art Directors' frolic, and the annual Dixieland Jubilee in Los Angeles. And, for the first few weeks after the opening, they played weekends at Disneyland. Now, once again, their lunch hours at the studio are filled with two-beat, and the phone at the Kimball house keeps ringing with offers. The word is out, and the FH5 is off on the latest chapter of their remarkable story.
Also from the back cover:
Frankie & Johnny, St. Louis Blues, Down Where The Sun Goes Down & Copenhagen were recorded at Radio Recorders' Studio B in Hollywood, Calif., July 20, 1950 with Ward Kimball, trombone; Danny Alguire, trumpet; Clarke Mallery, clarinet; Frank Thomas, piano; Harper Goff, banjo; Ed Penner tuba; Monte Mountjoy, drums. Lowell Frank was the recording engineer. The loud scream which starts Frankie & Johnny is Harper's ida of how Johnny sounded when Frankie shot him. On St. Lousi Blues Ward is responsible for that police whistle and cry of "La Rhumba". Sweet Georgia Brown is another in their Charleston series with a vocal in the style of Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys of the '20s. Harper does the vo-do-do-de-o stuff, and the off-beat cymbal is struck (and choked) by Ward.
12 Street Rag & Wabash Blues were recorded at RCA Victor's Studio in Hollywood, Calif., Oct. 7, 1950 with the same personnel. Seth Perkins was the recording engineer.
Sobbin' Blues, Sweet Georgia Brown & Lonesome Mama Blues were recorded at Radio Recorders' Studio B in Hollywood, Calif., March 9, 1951 with the same personnel. Val Valentin was the recording engineer.
Firechief Rag, Just A Stomp At Twilight, Who Walks In When I Walk Out were recorded at Capitol Records' Melrose Studio A, June 12, 1951 with the same personnel except Dick Roberts replaced Harper Goff on banjo. Roy Duann was the recording engineer. Frank pumps an old camp-meeting organ on Twilight and the gadget which makes the "marching men" on Who Walks In comes from the Walt Disney Studio's arsenal of sound effects. – Lester Koenig, October 31, 1955
Frankie And Johnny
Sweet Georgia Brown
Just A Stomp At Twilight
Down Where The Sun Goes Down
St. Louis Blues
12th Street Rag
Lonesome Mama Blues
Who Walks In When I Walk Out
From the back cover of GTJ L-6: Danny Alguire, cornet: Born Chickasha, Oklahoma, August 30, 1912. At five he was the youngest member in the Ft. Worth, Texas, Rotary Clubs Boys Band, playing mellophone. He got hi first trumpet in 1928. In 1935 he joined the now historic migration out of the Dust Bowl, arriving in Los Angeles with his horn, suitcase and 35c in cash. Averaged a dollar and a half a night plus tips as a professional musician until 1938 when he got steady job in Bakersfield, California. In 1939, he met Benny Strickler, the young trumpet player who was the greatest single musical influence in his life. Strickler later helped him get a job with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. In 1942, he joined the Navy as radioman, and served on the Alchiba (AKA-6), an attack cargo vessel engaged in amphibious operations. Four officers and two other enlisted men abroad also liked jazz, and with them Danny played two-beat in the South Pacific for a year and a half. After the war, he gave up music for a fingerprinting job with the Los Angeles Police Department. When jazz came back in 1949, he quit the Police Department for the Firehouse Five, and has been with them ever since.
Harper Goff, banjo: Born at Fort Collins, Colorado, March 16, 1911. Moved to Santa Ana, California, in 1920. When Harper was twelve his father died and from that time Harper supported himself and contributed to the support of his family. From 1924 - 1929, he attended Santa Ana High School. During the summers he worked as a cowboy riding the range back in Colorado, and used the money earned to finance his following year at school.
He got his first banjo in 1925, and taught himself to play it since he couldn't afford lessons. He never played with any band or musical organization until the Firehouse Five.
From the age of six his life's ambition was to become a magazine illustrator. He won a scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and studied there for two years. In 1935 he got his first movie job at Warner Bros. as a production illustrator. During the war he designed and supervised the camouflage of several West Coast war plants. After the war he enjoyed great success as a commercial artist, with fifteen of his double-spread paintings appearing in Esquire and other pictures in Coronet, Colliers, This Week, Argosy and True.
Recently he found time to start a promising career as a movie actor, appearing in William Wyler's Detective Story for Paramount. At the end of 1951 he was working directly with Walt Disney at the Disney Studios on plans from future productions.
Ward Kimball, trombone and leader: Born in Minneapolis March 4, 1914. His early childhood was spent in Parsons, Kansas. His father moved to California to get warm in 1920. Ward heard his fist jazz band in front of a girlie show at Ocean Park and remembers being impressed with the way the trombone man played the horn with his foot. In the 6th grade Ward decided to be an artist when he won the grand prize (10c Hershey bar) for a drawing of a steamboat. Went to high school in Santa Barbara, California, played in the school band, and later in the Santa Barbara Symphony. In '31 put his horn away to devote himself exclusively to art, at the Santa Barbara School Of Art, and then at Walt Disney Studios in Hollywood. At Disney's since 1934, as an Animation Director, Ward has created such characters as the jazz crows in Dumbo, Jimmy Cricket in Pinocchio, the mice & Lucifer (the cat) in Cinderella, the Mad Hatter party, Tweedledum & Tweedledee & the Cheshire Cat in Alice In Wonderland.
A talented artist, he has exhibited paintings widely in So. California. He is known throughout the country for having a complete full-sized railroad (The Grizzly Flats RR) consisting of 3 Baldwin locomotives, 600 feet of track, depot, water tower, etc. in his back yard. He also collects old automobiles & fire equipment, and is an ardent member of the Horseless Carriage Club of So. California.
Clarke Mallery, clarinet: Born in Los Angeles, May 17, 1919 and lived in the Pasadena area since. He became interested in music at an early age; his mother was a fine singer, and his family were all musically inclined. He studied violin at first, then switched to clarinet, which he played in the Pasadena High School band. While at high school, he also sang with a local dance orchestra led by his older brother. At high school he was an outstanding track star, which led to a scholarship at the University of Southern California, Class of 1940.
In 1939 he took up high jump honors at the Big Ten-Pacific Coast Dual Meet at Berkeley. His best jump in competition was 6' 7 1/2". From earliest childhood he had been interested in drawing and during college worked as a sports cartoonist for the Los Angeles Examiner. After a summer job (1937) at Disney Studios, he decided on a professional career as an artist, and has worked on almost every Disney feature picture since that time, except for 1942-1944, when he was in the army. Clarke's other interests include acting, theatrical direction, and singing.
Monte Mountjoy, drums, Born Nov. 13, 1912 in Roundup, Montana, and grew up in Decatur, Illinois. He played trumpet as a small boy, but soon gave it up in favor of the drums. His interest in jazz started in 1926, playing drums in a band while still in high school. The thought of being a professional musician intrigued him, and he joined the union and went to work with various bands in and around Chicago when he was still in his teens. He played with Eddie Combs, Byron Dunbar, and from 1937 to 1942, with the Tony Hill orchestra.
In 1942 he went into defense industry making rotary diesels for tanks, back home in Decatur. He moved to Los Angeles defense job in 1943. Later, he went back into music and played with the Bob Wills and various Western bands in the Los Angeles area, including T. Texas Tyler and Spade Cooley. In 1949 when the FH5's original drummer, Jim McDonald, had to leave the band because of the press of his work at Disney, Monte jumped at the chance to get back into jazz. Besides playing with the FH5, he is in great demand as a drummer for record sessions, and has made sides for GTJ with Wally Rose and The Banjo Kings.
Ed Penner, tuba: Born Jan. 7, 1905 in Rosthern, a small hamlet in Northern Saskatchewan's wheat country. At thirteen Ed was an accomplished violinist. At the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon he studied harmony, counterpoint and composition, to fit himself for a professional career. He continued studying at the Chicago Musical College from 1925 to 1930 (with Leon Sametini and Leopold Auer), and financed his lessons by working as a saxophonist in dance bands and theater orchestras.
In 1930, after almost fifteen years of study, he decided he would never be a great violinist, and since he had always been interested in drawing, and had studied at the Chicago Art Institute among other places, in 1930 he got a job as staff artist on the Chicago Daily News. He worked on The News for five years, and then in 1935 came to Hollywood and Walt Disney.
He began as an artist with Disney, soon became a writer, and has written exclusively for Disney ever since. Among his credits are Pinocchio, Fantasia, Cinderella, Ichabod & Mr. Toad, Fun & Fancy Free, Make Mine Music, Alice In Wonderland and currently, Peter Pan.
Frank Thomas, piano: Born in Santa Monica, Sept. 5, 1912, raised in Sacramento and Fresno where his father was president of State College. At seven he took piano lessons for six weeks but quit "because lessons weren't any fun." Started drawing at three and at nine asked his folks if there was any profession "where all you do is draw funny pictures and don't have to work?" When they told him about cartoonists, he decided that was what he was going to be.
He went to Fresno State College for two years, and spent his last two years at Stanford, Class of 1933. After Stanford he went to Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, entering in the year Harper left. With his goal still set at cartooning, he applied for and got a job a Disney in 1934, and has been there ever since, except for 1942-1945 which he spent in the Army Air Force.
Before the war, at Disney's he was typecast doing "cute" stuff: Dopey in Snow White, Pinocchio in Pinocchio, Thunder & Bambi, when they were little in Bambi. After the war, he struck a fun of villains, the stepmother in Cinderella, Queen of Hearts in Alice, and lately Capt. Hook in Peter Pan. He, like Ward, heads a unit as Animation Director, and is considered one of the top men in the industry.
Also from the back cover of GTJ L-12012: Mississippi Rag, the first published ragtime composition (1897), was recorded at Radio Recorders' Studio B in Hollywood, March 9, 1951. It features Frank Thomas, piano; with Ward Kimball, trombone; Danny Alguire, trumpet; Clarke Mallery, clarinet; Harper Goff, banjo; Ed Penner, tuba; Monte Mountjoy, drums. Val Valentine was the recording engineer.
Show Me The Way To The Fire was recorded at Capitol Records' Melrose Studio A in Hollywood, June 12, 1951 with the same personnel except Dick Roberts replaced Harper Goff on banjo. Roy Dunann was the recording engineer.
Five Foot Two, San Antonio Rose, South & Chinatown My Chinatown were also recorded at Capitol Records' Melrose Studio A, Nov. 3, 1951, with the same personnel except Harper Goff was back on banjo, and Jerry Hamm replaced Monte Mountjoy, drums. Roy Dunann was the recording engineer. Translation of the introduction to Chinatown: "We are now most happy to present that distinguished artist, Harper Goff, who will favor us with a delightful banjo number."
Runnin' Wild, I've Been Floating Down The Old Green River, When You Wore A Tulip & Lonesome Railroad Blues were recorded at RCA Victor's studio in Hollywood, May 20, 1952 with the same personnel except Tom Sharpsteen replaced Clarke Mallery, clarinet. Seth Perkins was the recording engineer. Sound effects on Runnin' Wild by Ward Kimball's 1914 American La France fire truck.
Souther Comfort was recored Jan. 23, 1954, and Lovin' Sam March 20, 1954 at Capitol Records' Melrose Studio A with the same personnel except George Probert replaced Sharpsteen, clarinet; and Monte Mountjoy replaced Jerry Hamm, drums. John Palladino was the recording engineer. – Lester Young - October 31, 1955
China Town, My Chinatown
Lonesome Railroad Blues
Show Me The Way To The Fire
When You Wore A Tulip
Five Foot Two
I've Been Floating Down The Old Green River
I've Been Floating Down The Old Green River, South, Southern Comfort and Lovin' Sam have not previously been released on long playing records. The other eight selections originally issued by GTJ on ten-inch long playing L-16, have been remastered in October 1955 using vastest audio-engineering techniques for improved quality.
I'm Floating Down The Old Green River
The Firehouse Story
Good Time Jazz - Set B
Good Time Jazz Record Co. Inc.
The Firehouse Five Story - Vol. 1 - GTL L-12010 - 1953 & 1955
Recorded under the supervision of Lester Koening at Radio Recorders' Studio B in Hollywood, Calif., with Lowell Frank as recording engineer. The cover was designed by L. C. LeGoullon, incorporating a photo of Ward Kimball's 1914 American La France fire-truck.
The Firehouse Five Story - Vol. 2 - GTJ L-12011 - 1953 & 1955
Recorded under the supervision of Lester Koenig. The cover was designed by L. C. Le Goullon.
The Firehouse Five Story - Vol. 3 - GTJ L-12012 - 1953 & 1955
Lester Koenig supervised all the recording sessions except the May 20, 1952 date which was die by Robert D. Kirstein & Nesubi Ertegun. L. C. LeGoullon designed the cover, incorporating a photo of an 1888 steam pumper from Ward Kimball's private collection of antique fire-fighting equipment.
From the back of the box: The Firehouse Five Plus Two is a national institution, a household phrase, and quite possibly America's favorite jazz band. This collection of thirty-six of their best known performances might well be subtitled The First Five Years, for it documents their story from 1949 to 1954, a story of continuing and undiminished popularity. While there have been many explanations offered for their spectacular success, the simplest is that they enjoy playing, they play happy music, and they make people feel goo. They were directly responsible for the Good Time Jazz Record Company, which was born with their first recording session May 13, 1949, and have been GTJ's exclusive recording stars ever since.
From the back cover of Vol. 1: During 1949 a seven piece jazz band calling itself the Firehouse Five Plus Two burst upon a startled nation playing their own highly original version of jazz of the Twenties, which the smart money had pegged as deader than Prohibition. They became an overnight sensation, spearheaded The Great Dixieland Revival, and brought back the Charleston. At the year's end, when they hit the Mocambo, Hollywood's famed glamour club on the Sunset Strip, they had become the hottest thing in the band business. What is more remarkable, they did all this in their spare time, for they were not professional musicians.
Their story began several years before, at the Walt Disney studios in Hollywood, where a group of animators, writers, and technicians who loved jazz, used to gather in Ward Kimball's office at lunch time to listen to records and play along with the phonograph. They had no intention of starting a jazz band, but one day the phonograph broke down; they decided to see what would happen if they sounded off without it, and they were in business.
At first they played for their own amusement at weekly get-togethers in living rooms. Then the word got around and they were asked to play at friends' parties, and an occasional public dance sponsored by local jazz enthusiasts. The personnel of the band at that time included Disneyites Ward Kimball (trombone), Frank Thomas (piano), Clarke Mallery (clarinet), Jim MacDonald (drums), and Ed Penner (bass sax). One night at a party, Ward and Clarke met Johnny Lucas, a young Pasadena trumpet player, who impressed them so much that they invited him to their next session. Johnny became a fixture, and is heard on the first four recordings. Later, on a vacation rail-fan excursion on the old narrow gauge Denver-Rio Grande in Colorado, Ward met artist Harper Goff who "just happened to have his banjo with him." They stuck up a few tunes (Ward had his harmonica), and the next informal session of the band found Harper firmly installed in the banjo chair.
At first, the band was known as "The Hugageedy 8" (a reference to their passion for antique cars), then as "The San Gabriel Valley Blue Blowers" (the Kimball's live in San Gabriel, a suburb of Los Angeles). Their third and final name came in a round-about fashion: Ward and his wife, Betty, had long been ardent members of the Southern California Horseless Carriage Club, and rarely missed a caravan, for which they'd get out their linen dusters and goggles, and their 1913 Ford. Since the point of these outings was to have a good time, they decided to compound their pleasure by brining the band along. But what to ride in? It had to be older than 1914 to qualify, and it had to hold seven musicians. After weeks of searching, a 1914 American La France Fire-Truck (see cover) was purchased from the city of Venice, California, for $225. It took six months to get it in shape, equipped with workable fire-fighting apparatus, and painted properly. Red fireshirts, white suspenders, authentic fire helmets were acquired and so, early in 1949 the famous Firehouse Five Plus Two ("Available for dances, weddings, picnics, wakes.") emerged upon the scene.
Shortly after, they were the hit of a spectacular Horseless Carriage Caravan (sponsored by General Petroleum) to San Diego, with people dancing in the streets along the route; they played a benefit for the late Bud Scott, banjoist and guitarist for the Ory band; made their first two records for Good Time Jazz; the Beverly Cavern, a small night club specializing in jazz, hired them for a series of Monday night sessions.
The New Orleans influence on West Coast jazz, particularly the San Francisco division under the leadership of Lu Watters and Turk Murphy, has been strong for many years. It was inevitable the band would feel its impact. From the beginning they developed along New Orleans lines, with emphasis on an original and exuberant ensemble style. They'd heard the Oliver, Morton, Dodds and Armstrong records, and liked them. Even more important, they profited from association with such friendly New Orleans musicians as Kid Ory, Minor Hall, Ed Garland, Joe Darensbourg, Zutie Singleton and Albert Nicholas, who came to their sessions and played with them.
Up to this time, they thought their only appeal was to jazz fans. But they began to find ordinary people, who had never heard of the jazz cults, like the music when they heard it. From mid-summer on, they became increasingly popular, and wherever they played (an average of three times a week for dances, private parties, civic affairs, parades and benefits throughout the West) they won new friends for jazz.
Many explanations have been offered for the FH5's spectacular rise, ranging from "sociological" analyses to notions of jealous brethren in other less successful bands attributing their success to the fact they wear firehats and ride in a firetruck. One analyst appeared in print with the theory their popularity signifies a longing on the part of The Public to return to happier days of The Twenties before the Great Depression, World War II, the A & H Bombs, and the Cold War. They have also been labeled "a reaction to bop." Perhaps the simplest explanation comes closest to the truth. They are in the unique and extremely fortunate position of playing only because they enjoy it. Their own enthusiasm for jazz, and enjoyment in playing, are contagious and have been responsible for making a great many people, for the first time, aware of the vitality and gaiety inherent in the traditional jazz style. Perhaps a good part of their success in this connection comes from the fact they are not literal copyists of the past. They brought their own personalities, and a fresh, original approach to the jazz classics, taking them out of the museum and making them live again for a new generation.
Johnny Lucas and Jim MacDonald found it difficult to maintain the new and expand FH5 schedule; Danny Alguire and Monte Mountjoy joined the band on corner and drums. Both had been professional musicians who loved jazz but never had a chance to play it. When the FH5 offer came, they leaped at it, and remained with the band through the rise to fame which reached a peak at the year's end when they moved the Monday night sessions from the Beverly Cavern to the Mocambo. At the Mocambo, their revival in the Charleston and their uninhibited, happy music, put them in the national spotlight, and started them on an even more spectacular year in 1950.
Firehouse Stomp, San, Fireman's Lament & Blues My Naughty Sweetie were recorded May 13, 1949 with Ward Kimball, trombone; Johnny Lucas, trumpet; Clarke Mallery, clarinet; bass sax; Jim MacDonald, drums. In addition to his chores as leader, trombonist and some-time vocalist, Ward also operates the siren, fireball, tambourines, slapsticks, gongs, etc.
Brass Ball, Everybody Loves My Baby, Red Hot River Valley & Riverside Blues were recorded Oct. 8, 1949 with the same personnel except Danny Alguire replaced John Lucas on trumpet and Monte Mountjoy replaced Jim MacDonald on drums. Ed Penner learned to play the tuba between the two sessions, and played bass sax only on Everybody Loves My Baby. The whistler on Red Hot River is Harper, and Frank is featured in a celeste solo on Riverside Blues.
Yes Sir! That's My Baby, Pagan Love Song, Tiger Rage and The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise were recorded February 18, 1950 with the same personnel used on the pervious session. World Is Waiting is one of the FH5's show-stopping numbers. The house lights dim, and while Harper plays his tempo ad lib solo, Ward is busy lighting the kerosene lamp fastened to his washboard, just under a small cymbal, (yes, he also plays washboard). and puts on his set of thimbles, getting them on just in time to make an entrance with the tuba and piano for the second chorus, after which Ward favors the audience with a washboard solo. This precipitates a mad race to the finish, between Harper and Ward, usually ending in a dead heat, with both participants in a state of near collapse. Tiger Rag is unusual in that it is the first recorded instance of a fire siren taking a "break". Yes Sir! was the tune they played for their famous Charleston contests at The Mocambo. It is eminently Charlestonable, as a host of movie stars can testify. – Lester Koenig - October 31, 1955
Everybody Loves My Baby
Pagan Love Song
Blues My Naughty Sweetie
Yes Sir! That's My Baby
Red Hot River Valley
World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
These selections were previously issued by GTJ on ten-inch long playing records L-1 & L-2. They ave been remastered and reprocessed in 1955 using latest audio-engineering techniques for improved quality.
Recorded in New York City in January and February 1957
Capitol Records T895
Piano: Marian McPartland
Strings: Max Cahn, George Ricci, Arnold Eidur & Isadore Zir
Harp: Margaret Ross
Drums: Bill Britto
Bass: James Johnson & James Campbell (alternating)
From the back cover: To everyone who has been lucky enough to hear Marian McPartland and her trio at New York's Hickory House or at other leading nightclubs, and to the many more who have heard her in three previous Capitol recordings – here is a fresh new album of her unique stylings. Assisting Marian in creating these striking vignettes is her usual ensemble of drums and bass; the added individual coloration in this album is provided by harp and string quartet.
An uninitiated listener might at first mistake Marian's euphonious band of jazz for a rather superior form of background music – but not for long. To catch a bar or two of her superlative piano phrasings is to listen, and to keep on listening, to what is obviously once-in-a-blue-moon music.
From Billboard - October 28, 1957: This package takes Miss McPartland further than ever from the jazz scene as her piano is accompanied by four strings and a harp in addition to the regular rhythm backing. Songs are all of the soft, moody school – "Little Girl Blue," "Black Is the Color," "Love Walked In," etc. – a selection which fits a nice mood groove even tho it doesn't allow for the sharp piano vitality present in earlier sets. As a mood set, however, this can do a moderate share of business.
Cover Photograph by Carl Fischer of Brass Mural at La Fonda Del Sol Restaurant, N.Y.
Recording Engineer: Phil Ramone
Supervisor of Engineering: Val Valentin
Recorded in New York City, August 21 & 23, September 14, 1962
Trombone & Piano: Bob Brookmeyer
Guitar: Jim Hall & Jimmy Raney
Vibes: Gary McFarland
Lating Drums: Willie Bobo
Cabassa: Carmen Costa
Tambourine: Jose Paulo
From the inside cover: Jazz with a "Spanish tinge" has existed from before Jelly Roll Morton up to and beyond Chano Pozo. The current accent of the "bossa nova," however, is unprecedented in terms of the numbers of listeners who have been drawn to this fusion of jazz and Latin idioms. Essentially, the "bossa nova" is an advanced, more subtle, more flowing samba with heightened syncopation and jazz-influence harmonies. The most effective stimulus to its American popularity so far had been the Stan Getz-Charlie Byrd Jazz Samba celebration (Verve V/V6-8432). Now, another distinctively lyrical and melodically resourceful instrumentalist, Bob Brookmeyer, has demonstrated viable and just plain enjoyable the "bossa nova." is.
Music From The Metro-Goldwyn - Mayer Picture "Tarzan, The Ape Man"
Produced by Jesse Kaye
Photograph: Shorty Rogers and Denny Miller, star of M-G-M's "Tarzan, The Ape Man"
Cover Photograph by Garrett-Howard, Inc., Hollywood
Composed and Conducted by Shorty Rogers
Trumpets: Al Porcino, Buddy Childers, Don Fagerquist & Ollie Mitchell
Trombones: Harry Betts, Frank Rosolino, Bob Enevoldsen & Marshall Cram
Saxes: Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Bob Cooper, Bill Holman, Chuck Gentry & Bill Hood
Drums: Frank Capp, Modesto Duran, Carlos Rosario, Chico Guerrero & Chach Gonzalez
Piano: Pete Jolly
Bass: Joe Mondragon & Buddy Clark
Leader and Arranger: Shorty Rogers
From the back cover: Hollywood has produced many adventure stories; but this is the first time a film producer – Al Zimbalist – dared to combine the wild, Afro-Cuban music with the Modern School of Jazz and run this type of music through a motion picture. So often, we have been told that Modern Jazz had much of its origination in the jungles of Africa – never has it been so sharply brought out as is Shorty Rogers' music for this jungle picture. The blend of musical excitement with film excitement is quite apparent to anyone who has seen M-G-M's "Tarzan, The Ape Man," Rogers literally "turned himself loose" in order to accomplish his purpose. He had no precedent to go by; nor did he want any. He lived with the picture for two weeks; then, he went to work on the musical arrangements which were to add much to the value of the motion picture. The music, however, has been specially re-recorded for this album in order to retain the complete themes – which, obviously, was not possible to do when filming scenes of various lengths.
Also from the back cover: Short was born Milton M. Rogers on April 14th in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He began playing trumpet while a freshman at the High School Of Music and Arts in New York City.
He spent six months in Will Bradley's band during 1942, and was with Red Norvo – now his brother-in-law – until he went into the Army in 1943. Upon his discharge, he joined the Woody Herman band and stayed for two years. He then went to California to study music-theory and composition under Dr. Wesley La Violette. This was followed by an engagement with the Stan Kenton Orchestra as arranger, composer and trumpet player. Later, he arranged for such artists a Nat King Cole, Woody Herman, Billy Eckstine, Charlie Barnet and others.
Shorty Rogers has been a leading influence in building the West Coast into a "prestige" jazz center. Today, the thirty-five year old trumpeter is one of the busiest musician-arrangers on the West Coast. His work ranges all the way from the Classics to Jazz and in all fields, including motion pictures and TV.
M-G-M Records is grateful to RCA Victor for their permission to use Shorty Rogers in this album. RCA Victor Studios in Hollywood were used for these recordings.