Monday, November 28, 2011

Scott Joplin: Ragtime Classics

Un poco atronadora la toma de sonido en esta "anónima" versión de una buena parte de los clásicos del rey del Ragtime. Pero, en fin, son todos los que están y, como introducción, pues bueno, podría servir. Más cositas de ragtime en próximos posts.
-Jay Bee Rodríguez

Scott Joplin (ca. 1867 – April 1, 1917) was an American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later dubbed "The King of Ragtime". During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the "Maple Leaf Rag", became ragtime's first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.

Joplin was born into a musical African American family of laborers in Northeast Texas, and developed his musical knowledge with the help of local teachers. During the late 1880s he travelled around the American South as an itinerant musician, and went to Chicago for the World's Fair of 1893 which played a major part in making ragtime a national craze by 1897.
Publication of his "Maple Leaf Rag" in 1899 brought him fame and had a profound influence on subsequent writers of ragtime. It also brought the composer a steady income for life with royalties of one cent per sale, equivalent to 26 cents per sale in current value.

During his lifetime, Joplin did not reach this level of success again and frequently had financial problems, which contributed to the loss of his first opera, A Guest of Honor. He continued to write ragtime compositions, and moved to New York in 1907. He attempted to go beyond the limitations of the musical form which made him famous, without much monetary success. His second opera, Treemonisha, was not received well at its partially staged performance in 1915. He died from complications of tertiary syphilis in 1917.

Joplin's music was rediscovered and returned to popularity in the early 1970s with the release of a million-selling album of Joplin's rags recorded by Joshua Rifkin, followed by the Academy Award–winning movie The Sting which featured several of his compositions, such as "The Entertainer". The opera Treemonisha was finally produced in full to wide acclaim in 1972. In 1976, Joplin was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

02.Euphonic Sounds
03.Fig Leaf Rag

04.Gladiolus Rag

05.Heliotrope Bouquet
06.Maple Leaf Rag

07.Pine Apple Rag

08.The Ragtime Dance

09.Scott Joplin's New Rag

10.Solace: A Mexican Serenade

11.Stoptime Rag
12.Sunflower Slow Drag


14.The Cascades
15.The Easy Winners
16.The Entertainer

17.A Breeze from Alabama

19.Binks' Waltz

20.Combination March


22.Felicity Rag

23.Original Rags

24.Palm Leaf
25.Paragon Rag
26.Search-Light Rag


28.Sugar Cane

29.The Great Crush Collision

30.The Favorite

31.The Nonpareil

32.The Strenuous Life
33.Wall Street Rag


Saturday, November 5, 2011

King Oliver and his Orchestra, 1929-1930

Otra recopilación impecable avalada por el buen hacer del ingeniero John RT Davies que -es opinión ya muy extendida- hizo un servicio a los clásicos hot de los años 20 mucho más adecuado que el de las propias compañías oficiales americanas. Se trata de grabaciones de la orquesta de King Oliver fechadas entre enero de 1929 y septiembre de 1930, donde pese al deterioro de su salud (y también de su carrera profesional) el maestro deja aún abundantes pruebas de su dominio de la trompeta ("Sweet Like This", "Nelson Stomp", "What You Want Me To Do", "Too Late"), acompañado por algunos de los más reputados músicos de aquellos años: los trompetistas Louis Metcalf, Punch Miller,Red Allen y Bubber Miley; los trombonistas Jimmy Archey y Clyde Bernhardt; los saxofonistas Teddy Hill, Charlie Holmes y Omer Simeon; los pianistas James P. Johnson y Louis Russell, entre otros.
Algo más de la mitad de estas grabaciones aparecieron hace años en un doble álbum RCA, pero amén de la superioridad sonora, aquí tenemos también la totalidad de las tomas alternas, incluida la rarísima tercera toma de "Nelson Stomp", ordenadas, por cierto, todas en el segundo disco para mayor comodidad. Algunos trabajos orquestales francamente insuperables en composiciones propias ("Too Late", "I Must Have It", "You're Just My Type"), y también alguna que otra magnífica versión de clásicos muy conocidos ("St James Infirmary", "Frankie And Johnny"), en el que resulta probablemente, junto a la recopilación de sus grabaciones de 1923, el testamento sonoro definitivo del maestro de Nueva Orleans.

-Jay Bee Rodríguez

Disco 1:

01. West End Blues 3:32
02. I've Got That Thing 3:23
03. Freakish Light Blues 3:08
04. Call Of The Freaks 3:21
05. The Trumpet's Prayer 3:12
06. Can I Tell You? 3:09
07. My Good Man Sam 2:55
08. What Do You Want Me To Do? 3:11
09. Sweet Like This 3:26
10. Too Late 3:10
11. I'm A Lonesome Sweetheart 2:44
12. Want You Just Myself 2:54
13. I Can't Stop Loving You 2:50
14. Everybody Does It In Hawaii 3:04
15. Frankie And Johnny 3:07
16. New Orleans Shout 2:39
17. St. James Infirmary 3:39
18. When You're Smiling 3:21
19. I Must Have It 2:54
20. Rhythm Club Stomp (Cursihip Glide) 2:54
21. You're Just My Type 2:26

Disco 2:

01. West End Blues (alt.) 3:35
02. I've Got That Thing (alt.) 3:22
03. Freakish Light Blues (alt.) 3:10
04. Call Of The Freaks (alt.) 3:16
05. The Trumpet's Prayer (alt.) 3:11
06. Can I Tell You? (alt.) 3:09
07. My Good Man Sam (alt.) 2:50
08. Everybody Does It In Hawaii (alt.) 2:52
09. Frankie And Johnny (alt.) 3:08
10. Edna 2:41
11. Boogie Woogie 3:08
12. Mule Face Blues 2:56
13. Struggle Buggy 3:00
14. Don' You Think I Love You? 2:48
15. Olga 3:25
16. Shake It And Break It 2:32
17. Stingaree Blues 3:12
18. What's The Use Of Living Without Love? 3:25
19. You Were Only Passing Time With Me 2:56
20. Nelson Stomp 1 3:09
21. Nelson Stomp 2 3:11
22. Nelson Stomp 3 3:10
23. Stealing Love 3:20

part 1 - part 2 - part 3


King Oliver's "I Must Have It" (1930) on guitar
by Jay Bee Rodríguez

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cornet and Piano duos: Ruby Braff & Ralph Sutton

During 1979-1981, the great stride pianist Ralph Sutton recorded an extensive series of albums for the tiny Chaz label. Included in the releases were a quartet set with cornetist Ruby Braff, bassist Jack Lesberg, and drummer Gus Johnson, and a duet project with Braff. All of the Sutton dates were elusive and out of print for years, until Chiaroscuro began reissuing some of these valuable sets. Braff and Sutton both had the knack of hinting at earlier greats while still sounding very much like themselves. In fact, those who are familiar with the cornetist will have no trouble identifying him within a few notes. Among the songs that are happily swung are such gems as "Shoe Shine Boy," "You Can Depend on Me," "Sunday," "I Would Do Anything for You". While never wandering too far from the melodies, the two lead voices consistently come up with plenty of fresh ideas and always show their enthusiasm and affection for the vintage music. Easily recommended to fans of small-group swing and trad.
-Scott Yanow

01. Big Butter and Egg Man
02. Royal Garden Blues

03. I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby

04. Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do

05. Sunday

06. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

07. Get Out and Get Under the Moon

08. (I Would Do) Anything for You

09. I Ain't Got Nobody

10. Shoe Shine Boy

11. I Believe In Miracles

12. I've Found A New Baby

13. Shine
(Quartet, vol. 3)
14. Enrico Rava & Franco D'Andrea: I'm Coming Virginia



The Legendary Sidney Bechet : 1932-1941

Temas correspondientes a 12 sesiones diferentes fechadas entre 1932 y 1941, uno de los mejores períodos en la carrera del primer maestro del saxo soprano. Bechet viene acompañado, entre otros, por Mezz Mezzrow (clt, alt), los pianistas Earl Hines y Jelly Roll Morton, los trompetistas Rex Stewart y Red Allen, y los bateristas Kenny Clarke, Sid Catlett, Zutty Singleton y Baby Dodds. Sonido impecable en una perfecta introducción a este gran maestro de Nueva Orleans, sobre un repertorio más que familiar a los aficionados al jazz tradicional.

- Jay Bee Rodríguez

- High Society
- Shake It and Break It
- When It’s Sleepy Time Down South
- Baby Won’t You Please Come Home
- Stompy Jones
- Indian Summer
- Blues in the Air
- Wild Man Blues
- Really the Blues
- Save It, Pretty Mama
- Weary Blues
- Sidney’s Blues
- The Sheik of Araby
- Muskrat Ramble
- The Mooche
- Maple Leaf Rag
- Strange Fruit
- Twelfth Street Rag
- I’ve Found a New Baby
- Mood Indigo
- I’m Coming Virginia
- What is This Thing Called Love



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Footage of Louis Armstrong in Denmark (1933)

Incomparable documento gráfico y sonoro: el maestro en vivo en Copenhague a comienzos de los 30, interpretando con su orquesta "I Cover The Waterfront", "Dinah" y "Tiger Rag". Qué podemos decir, excepto... ¡bendito Youtube y bendita Internet, por permitirnos disfrutar y compartir cosas como ésta!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Louis Armstrong in digital stereo, Great Original Performances 1923-1931

Editado originalmente en formato LP en 1985 por cuenta de BBC Records (pero sólo con 16 temas) ésta es la edición digital de 1997 de la que resulta ser, para mucha gente, la mejor restauración sonora de las fundamentales grabaciones de Louis con sus Hot Five, Hot Seven y demás formaciones a finales de los años 20.
O quizás, simplemente, la más asequible a oídos "modernos". En realidad, de ninguna manera cambiaría, personalmente, esta recopilación por la integral de cuatro CDs de JSP, pero el caso es que nada nos impide disfrutar también de los controvertidos experimentos sonoros del ingeniero Robert Parker (y su "estéreo virtual"), habida cuenta de que los resultados son en algunos de los casos sinceramente espectaculares ("Willie The Weaper", "Potato Head Blues", "S.O.L. Blues", "Hotter Than That", "West End Blues"). Como lo es la propia música también, evidentemente. En realidad, y salvando solamente la ausencia de tres o cuatro temas que deberían ser inevitables en cualquier recopilación de este período ("Big Butter and Egg Man", "Cornet Chop Suey", "Weather Bird", "Beau Koo Jack"), yo diría que está muy cerca de ser la perfecta antología/introducción, en un sólo disco, del Evangelio del Jazz.
-Jay Bee Rodríguez

01. Wild Man Blues
02. Snake Rag

03. Muskrat Ramble

04. Willie the Weeper

05. Alligator Crawl

06. Potato Head Blues

07. Melancholy Blues

08. Weary Blues

09. Twelfth Street Rag

10. Keyhole Blues

11. S.O.L. Blues

12. Gully Low Blues

13. That's When I'll Come Back to You

14. Ory's Creole Trombone

15. Struttin' With Some Barbecue

16. Hotter Than That

17. Symphonic Raps

18. West End Blues

19. Muggles

20. Save It, Pretty Mama

21. St. James Infirmary

22. Knockin' a Jug

23. St. Louis Blues

24. Lonesome Road



Bix Beiderbecke - Singin' the Blues [1927]

Cornetist Bix Beiderbecke's greatest recordings were mostly made in 1927. This definitive CD (reissued in 1990) has most of Beiderbecke's best-loved work, including "Singin' the Blues," "I'm Coming Virginia," "Ostrich Walk," "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," and his solo piano classic "In a Mist." Most of the recordings were cut with Frankie Trumbauer's Orchestra, although there are also two titles from the Broadway Bellhops, a similar group. The beauty of Beiderbecke's horn outshone virtually every other brassman in the 1920s other than Louis Armstrong, and he never sounded better than on these records. Beiderbecke is joined by such notables as C-melody saxophonist Trumbauer, guitarist Eddie Lang, clarinetist Jimmy Dorsey, trombonist Bill Rank, and clarinetist Don Murray, among others. In addition to the titles mentioned, the renditions of "Clarinet Marmalade," Hoagy Carmichael's "Riverboat Shuffle," and "Wringin' and Twistin'" are among the other highlights. Essential music that in one form or another belongs in every serious jazz collection.
-Scott Yanow

01. Trumbology
02. Clarinet Marmalade
03. Singin' The Blues
04. Ostrich Walk
05. Riverboat Shuffle
06. I'm Coming Virginia
07. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
08. For No Reason At All In C
09. Three Blind Mice
10. Blue River
11. There's A Cradle In Caroline
12. In A Mist
13. Wringin' And Twistin'
14. Humpty Dumpty
15. Krazy Kat
16. The Baltimore
17. There Ain't No Land Like Dixieland To Me
18. There's A Cradle In Caroline
19. Just An Hour Of Love
20. I'm Wonderin' Who

Cornet - Bix Beiderbecke
Banjo - Eddie Lang (tracks: 19, 20) , Howdy Quicksell (tracks: 1, 2, 4 to 7) , John Cali (tracks: 17, 18)
Clarinet, Saxophone [Alto] - Jimmy Dorsey (tracks: 1 to 3)
Clarinet, Saxophone [Tenor], Saxophone [Baritone] - Don Murray (2) (tracks: 4 to 7, 9 to 11, 14 to 20)
Directed By - Sam Lanin (tracks: 17, 18)
Drums - Chauncey Morehouse (tracks: 1 to 7, 9 to 11, 14 to 16, 19, 20) , Vic Berton (tracks: 17, 18)
Guitar - Eddie Lang (tracks: 3, 8, 9 to 11, 13 to 16)
Piano - Bix Beiderbecke (tracks: 13) , Frank Signorelli (tracks: 14 to 20) , Itzie Riskin (tracks: 4 to 7, 9 to 11) , Paul Mertz (tracks: 1 to 3)
Saxophone [Alto] - Bobby Davis (4) (tracks: 14 to 20) , Doc Ryker (tracks: 2, 9 to 11)
Saxophone [Bass] - Adrian Rollini (tracks: 9 to 11, 14 to 16, 19, 20)
Saxophone [C-melody] - Frankie Trumbauer (tracks: 1 to 11, 13, 17 to 20)
Trombone - Bill Rank (tracks: 1, 2, 4 to 7, 9 to 11, 14 to 20) , Miff Mole (tracks: 3)
Trumpet - Hymie Farberman (tracks: 17, 18) , Sylvester Ahola (tracks: 19, 20)
Tuba - Joe Tarto (tracks: 17, 18)
Violin - Joe Venuti (tracks: 14 to 20)
Vocals - Irving Kaufman (tracks: 17 to 20) , Seger Ellis (tracks: 10)
Arranged By - Bill Challis (tracks: 4, 5, 7, 9 to 11) , Don Murray (2) (tracks: 6, 15) , Fud Livingston (tracks: 3, 14) , Paul Mertz (tracks: 1)

All tracks recorded in New York, Feb. to Sept. 1927.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Johnny Dodds with Louis Armstrong: New Orleans Stomp, 1926-27

This CD features some less well known recordings by Dodds from 1926-27. Not all are top class performances, but three sessions make this release a must - buy for fans of classic jazz. First, the three performances by "Lil's Hot Shots" (in fact, Louis Armstrong's Hot Five moonlighting for Vocalion rather than Okeh). Second, the April 1927 Black Bottom Stompers session featuring Armstrong, Earl Hines and Roy Palmer. Armstrong was again operating extra-contractually, and the contrast between these restrained performances and the more florid renditions of the same tunes a month later by the Hot Seven is fascinating. Third, the October 1927 Black Bottom Stompers session features a Creole Jazz Band style two trumpet lead with the excellent George Mitchell (of Red Hot Peppers fame) and the more idiosyncratic Natty Dominique. "Come On and Stomp, Stomp, Stomp" is the standout track, a wonderfully driving performance with Dodds in imperious form.

01 - Drop That Sack (Armstrong)
02 - Gatemouth (Armstrong)

03 - Too Tight (Armstrong)

04 - Flat Foot (Armstrong)

05 - I Can't Say (Armstrong)

06 - Idle Hour Special (Blythe)

07 - Someday Sweetheart (Spikes Brothers)

08 - Carpet Alley - Breakdown (Smith-Clifford)

09 - Memphis Shake (Clifford)

10 - New Orleans Stomp (Dodds)

11 - Weary Way Blues (Minor - Blythe)

12 - After You've Gone (Creamer - Layton)

13 - Joe Turner Blues (Handy-Hirsch)

14 - Lady Love (Dominique)

15 - Pencil Papa (Hardin)

16 - Forty And Tight (Melrose)

17 - Indigo Stomp (Dodds)

18 - Meloncholy (Melrose-Bloom)

19 - Red Onion Blues (Williams)

20 - Gravier Street Stomp (Dodds)

Recording information: Chicago, IL (03/11/1926-10/08/1927).

Personnel: Johnny Dodds (clarinet); Louis Armstrong (vocals, trumpet, cornet); Bud Scott (guitar, banjo); Johnny St. Cyr (banjo); Stump Evans (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); Norval Morton, Barney Bigard (tenor saxophone); Natty Dominique (cornet); Roy Palmer, John Thomas , Fayette Williams, Kid Ory (trombone); Charlie Alexander , Lovie Austin & Her Blue Serenaders, Teddy Weatherford, Lil Armstrong, Earl Hines (piano); Jimmy Bertrand (drums, washboard); Baby Dodds (drums).



Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra, 1924-25

Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra, 1924-1925
(The Chronological Classics, 633)

Fletcher Henderson (1897-1952) was very important to early jazz as leader of the first great jazz big band, as an arranger and composer in the 1930s, and as a masterful talent scout. Between 1923-1939, quite an all-star cast of top young black jazz musicians passed through his orchestra, including trumpeters Louis Armstrong, Joe Smith, Tommy Ladnier, Rex Stewart, Bobby Stark, Cootie Williams, Red Allen, and Roy Eldridge; trombonists Charlie Green, Benny Morton, Jimmy Harrison, Sandy Williams, J.C. Higginbottham, and Dickie Wells; clarinetist Buster Bailey; tenors Coleman Hawkins (1924-1934), Ben Webster, Lester Young (whose brief stint was not recorded), and Chu Berry; altoists Benny Carter, Russell Procope, and Hilton Jefferson; bassists John Kirby and Israel Crosby; drummers Kaiser Marshall, Walter Johnson, and Sid Catlett; guest pianist Fats Waller; and such arrangers as Don Redman, Benny Carter, Edgar Sampson, and Fletcher's younger brother Horace Henderson. And yet, at the height of the swing era, Henderson's band was little-known.

Fletcher Henderson had a degree in chemistry and mathematics, but when he came to New York in 1920 with hopes of becoming a chemist, the only job he could find (due to the racism of the times) was as a song demonstrator with the Pace-Handy music company. Harry Pace soon founded the Black Swan label, and Henderson, a versatile but fairly basic pianist, became an important contributor behind the scenes, organizing bands and backing blues vocalists. Although he started recording as a leader in 1921, it was not until January 1924 that he put together his first permanent big band. Using Don Redman's innovative arrangements, he was soon at the top of his field. His early recordings (Henderson made many records during 1923-1924) tend to be both futuristic and awkward, with strong musicianship but staccato phrasing. However, after Louis Armstrong joined up in late 1924 and Don Redman started contributing more swinging arrangements, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra had no close competitors artistically until the rise of Duke Ellington in 1927.
-Scott Yanow

01 - Prince of Wails (Schoebel)

02 - Mandy, Make up Your Mind (Clarke, Johnston, Meyer)

03 - I'll See You in My Dreams (Jones, Kahn)

04 - Why Couldn't It Be Poor Little Me? (Jones, Kahn)

05 - Bye and Bye (Nelson, Pease, Vincent)

06 - Play Me Slow (Hagen, O'Flynn, Oflynn)

07 - Alabamy Bound (DeSylva, Green, Henderson)

08 - Swanee Butterfly (Donaldson, Rose)

09 - Poplar Street Blues (Mont, Short)

10 - 12th Street Blues (Heagney)

11 - Me Neenyah (My Little One) (Brown, Spencer)

12 - Memphis Bound (Banta, De Rose)

13 - When You Do What You Do (Johnson, Parish)

14 - I'll Take Her Back If She Wants to Come Back (Leslie, Monaco)

15 - Money Blues (Coleman, Eller, Leader)

16 - Sugar Foot Stomp (Armstrong, King Oliver)

17 - What-Cha-Call-'Em Blues (Roberts)
18 - I Miss My Swiss (Baer, Gilbert)
19 - Alone at Last (Fio Rito, Kahn)

20 - T N T (Schoebel)

21 - Carolina Stomp (Bloom, Costello)

22 - Sleepy Time Gal (Alden, Egan, Lorenzo, Whiting)

23 - Then I'll Be Happy (Brown, Clare, Friend)



Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra, 1924 vol.3
(The Chronological Classics, 647)

During the autumn of 1924, Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra continued to make hot little records for many different labels. The front line begins to look impressive, with trombonist Big Charlie Green sitting not far from Coleman Hawkins and Don Redman. "Forsaken Blues" has an ooh-wacka-ooh brass line and a big nasty bass sax solo by Hawkins after someone -- probably Redman -- makes a noise like an enraged ferret. On the catchy "Cold Mamas (Burn Me Up)," the bass sax is accompanied by a goofus, or melodica, played by the ever-resourceful Redman. Conventional jazz history states that the addition of Louis Armstrong to the Henderson orchestra in September of 1924 initiated a change in this organization's overall chemistry, which would soon become evident. This particular CD provides audible evidence. The diminutive trumpeter from New Orleans-cum-Chicago really did transform Henderson's band beginning with his participation in the session of October 7, 1924. First heard on "Manda," composed by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, Armstrong stands out as King Oliver's right-hand man. "Go 'Long, Mule" has a bizarre novelty solo by Redman using only the mouthpiece of his horn to generate a sort of Punch & Judy cartoon voice.

Four tunes recorded for Pathe Actuelle on October 13, 1924, are notable for the insistent burping sound of Ralph Escudero's tuba. The exciting "Shanghai Shuffle" comes across in two distinctive interpretations, with an oboe solo by Redman on the first version. "Copenhagen" is real jazz with a hot solo from Armstrong, strong trombone breaks from Charlie Green, and a Redman arrangement to make it cook properly. The first of three versions of "Naughty Man" has a fine solo by Green, while on the second he seems to be getting his licks in quickly, and by version number three he muscles in for two solo breaks. But the real highlight here is definitely Armstrong. Everything he blows is remarkably fine, and it's easy to see why he quickly went from being an object of ridicule to the most imitated musician in all of jazz. The man had a lot of soul, and his solos -- along with Redman's arrangements -- quickly transformed Henderson's records from run-of-the-mill dance music into real jazz. The crowning glory on this CD is "Everybody Loves My Baby," both an instrumental take and Armstrong's very first recorded vocal, consisting of merrily shouted outbursts during the coda. Listening to all of these sides in sequence, it is obvious what a difference Louis Armstrong made in this band, and the chronology spells it out unmistakably.

01. He's The Hottest Man In Town
02. I Never Care 'Bout Tomorrow
03. Forsaken Blues
04. Cold Mamas (Burn Me Up)
05. Manda
06. Go 'Long, Mule
07. Tell Me, Dreamy Eyes
08. My Rose Marie
09. Don't Forget You'll Regret Day By Day
10. Shanghai Shuffle
11. Words
12. Copenhagen
13. Shanghai Shuffle
14. Naughty Man
15. One Of These Days
16. My Dream Man
17. The Meanest Kind Of Blues
18. Naughty Man
19. How Come You Do Me Like You Do?
20. Araby
21. Everybody Loves My Baby (Vocal)
22. Everybody Loves My Baby (Instr.)
23. Naughty Man



Clarence Williams with Louis Armstrong and Eva Taylor, 1921-1926

Clarence Williams - 1921-24
(The Chronological Classics, 679)

Although this is not the most essential of the Clarence Williams CDs released in the complete Classics series, all of the releases are highly recommended to fans of early jazz. Many of these titles are quite rare and historical. First Williams is heard as a singer on five period numbers from 1921 ("The Dance They Call the Georgia Hunch" is the most memorable) and has a vocal duet with Daisy Martin on "Brown Skin (Who You For)." Williams also takes four piano solos and on most of the other titles features the great soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet (heard in his earliest recordings); "Wild Cat Blues" and "Kansas City Man Blues" are classics. In addition Louis Armstrong joins the group on three numbers, two of which have vocals from Eva Taylor.
-Review by Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

01. If You Don't Believe I Love You Look What a Fool I've Been
02. Roumania
03. Dance They Call the Georgia Hunch, The
04. Pullman Porter Blues
05. Decatur Street Blues
06. Brown Skin (Who You For)
07. Mixing the Blues
08. Weary Blues, The
09. Wild Cat Blues
10. Kansas City Man Blues
11. Achin' Hearted Blues
12. 'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do
13. New Orleans Hop Scop Blues
14. Oh Daddy! (Oh Daddy! You Won't Have No Mama at All)
15. Shreveport Blues
16. Old Fashioned Love
17. House Rent Blues (The Stomp)
18. Mean Blues
19. My Own Blues
20. Gravier Street Blues
21. Texas Moaner Blues
22. Of All the Wrongs You Done to Me
23. Everybody Loves My Baby

Personnel: Clarence Williams (vocals, piano); Erskine Hawkins (trumpet); Daisy Martin (vocals); Buddy Christian (banjo); Chappie's Hot Dogs (violin, alto saxophone, cornet, trombone, tuba, piano); Eva Taylor (violin); Sidney Bechet (clarinet, soprano saxophone); Joseph Samuels (clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Buster Bailey (soprano saxophone); Jules Levy, Jr., Tom Morris , Louis Armstrong, Thomas Morris (cornet); Ephraim Hannaford, Aaron Thompson, John Mayfield, Charlie Irvis (tuba); Larry Briers (piano, drums).
Recording information: New York, NY (10/11/1921-11/06/1924).
Ensembles: Clarence Williams' Blue Five; Chappie's Hot Dogs.



Clarence Williams - 1924-26 (The Chronological Classics, 695)

The second CD in the Classics label's "complete" Clarence Williams series traces the pianist/bandleader's recordings during a 14-month period. The first six titles feature soprano great Sidney Bechet (who has a unique sarrusophone solo on "Mandy Make up Your Mind") while the first 13 also have Louis Armstrong. The pairing of these two classic and competitive greats is at its zenith on a brilliant version of "Cake Walking Babies from Home"; Satch gets the edge. In addition there are notable contributions on these 23 performances by trombonist Charlie Irvis, tenor-saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, cornetists Joe Smith, Bubber Miley and Ed Allen, clarinetist Buster Bailey and singer Eva Taylor among others. Williams's series of hot performances really epitomized small-group 1920s jazz and every entry in this Classics series is highly recommended. Other highlights include "Coal Cart Blues," "Shake That Thing," "Dinah" (which features Hawkins on baritone), "I've Found a New Baby" and two versions of "Santa Claus Blues."
-Scott Yanow

01. Mandy, Make Up Your Mind
02. I'm a Little Blackbird (Looking for a Bluebird)
03. Cake Walking Babies from Home
04. Pickin' on Your Baby
05. Castaway
06. Papa De-Da-Da
07. Wait Till You See My Baby Do the Charleston
08. Livin' High
09. Coal Cart Blues
10. Santa Claus Blues
11. Santa Claus Blues
12. Squeeze Me
13. You Can't Shush Katie (The Gabbiest Girl in Town)
14. Shake that thing
15. Get It Fixed
16. Spanish Shawl
17. Dinah
18. I've Found A New Baby See All 8
19. I've Found A New Baby See All 8
20. Pile of Logs and Stone (Called Home)
21. Wait Till You See My Baby Do the Charleston
22. Livin' High
23. Wait Till You See My Baby Do the Charleston


Clarence Williams' Blue Five:
Louis Armstrong (cnt) Charlie Irvis (tb) Sidney Bechet (sop,sarrusophone-1) Clarence Williams (p) Buddy Christian (bj) Eva Taylor (vcl)
New York, December 17, 1924
73026-B Mandy, make your mind (et vcl,1)
73027-B I'm a little blackbird looking for a bluebird (et vcl)

Clarence Williams' Blue Five:
Louis Armstrong (cnt) Charlie Irvis (tb) Sidney Bechet (sop) Clarence Williams (p) Buddy Christian (bj) Eva Taylor (vcl)
New York, January 8, 1925
73083-A Cake-walking babies from home (et vcl)
73084-B Pickin' on your baby (et vcl)

Clarence Williams Williams' Blue Five:
Louis Armstrong (cnt) Charlie Irvis (tb) Sidney Bechet (sop) Clarence Williams (p) Buddy Christian (bj) Eva Taylor (vcl) Buster Bailey (sop) Don Redman (as)
New York, March 4, 1925
73204-A Cast away (waltz) (et vcl)
73205-A Papa de da da (et vcl)

Clarence Williams' Blue Five:
Louis Armstrong (cnt) Charlie Irvis (tb) Buster Bailey (cl,sop) Don Redman (as,sop) Clarence Williams (p) Buddy Christian (bj) Eva Taylor (vcl)
New York, October 6, 1925
73686-B Just wait 'til you see my baby do the charleston (et vcl)
73687-B Livin' high sometimes (et vcl)

Clarence Williams' Blue Five:
Louis Armstrong (cnt) Charlie Irvis (tb) Don Redman (cl) Buster Bailey (sop) Clarence Williams (p) Buddy Christian (bj) Eva Taylor (vcl)
New York, October 8, 1925
73694-B Coal cart blues (et vcl)
73695-B Santa Claus blues (et vcl;dr out)

Clarence Williams' Trio:
Louis Armstrong (cnt) Clarence Williams (p,vcl) Buddy Christian (bj) Eva Taylor, Clarence Todd (vcl)
New York, October 16, 1925
73721-A Santa Claus blues (et,cw,ct vcl)

Clarence Williams' Blue Five:
Louis Armstrong (cnt) Charlie Irvis (tb) Don Redman (cl-1,as-2) Coleman Hawkins (ts) Clarence Williams (p) Buddy Christian (bj) Eva Taylor (vcl)
New York, October 26, 1925
73738-A Squeeze me (et vcl,1)
73739-B You can't shush Katie [The gabbiest gal in town] (et vcl,2)

Clarence Williams
Big Charlie Thomas (cnt) Buster Bailey (cl) unknown (as) Clarence Williams (p) Buddy Christian (bj) Eva Taylor (vcl)
New York, December 15, 1925
73837-B Shake that thing (et vcl)
73838-B Get it fixed (et vcl)

Clarence Williams' Stompers:
poss. Bubber Miley (cnt) Charlie Irvis (tb) Don Redman (sop,as) Coleman Hawkins (ts,cl,bar) Clarence Williams (p) Leroy Harris (bj) or poss. Buddy Christian (bj) Henry "Bass" Edwards (tu)
New York, January 4, 1926
73893-B Spanish shawl
73894-B Dinah

Clarence Williams' Blue Five:
Bubber Miley (cnt) prob. Charlie Irvis (tb) Otto Hardwick (as) or Don Redman (as) Clarence Williams (p) poss. Leroy Harris (bj) poss. Henry "Bass" Edwards (tu) Eva Taylor (vcl)
New York, c. January 22, 1926
73957-A I've found a new baby (et vcl)
73958-B I've found a new baby (et vcl)
73959-B Pile of logs and stones [called home] (et vcl)

Dixie Washboard Band
Ed Allen (cnt) Bennie Moten (cl,as-1) Clarence Williams (p) Jasper Taylor (wbd)
New York, January 25, 1926
141553-1 Wait till you see my baby do the Charleston
141554-1 Livin' high

Dixie Washboard Band (same pers.)
New York, February, 1926
6431-3 Wait till you see my baby do the Charleston
Note: Domino issued as "Louisiana Washboard Band", Oriole as "Dixie Jazz Band" and BRS as "Clarence Williams' Washboard Beaters".



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

James P. Johnson: Father of the Stride Piano 1923-1939

One of the great jazz pianists of all time, James P. Johnson was the king of stride pianists in the 1920s. He began working in New York clubs as early as 1913 and was quickly recognized as the pacesetter. In 1917, Johnson began making piano rolls. Duke Ellington learned from these (by slowing them down to half-speed), and a few years later, Johnson became Fats Waller's teacher and inspiration. During the '20s (starting in 1921), Johnson began to record, he was the nightly star at Harlem rent parties (accompanied by Waller and Willie "The Lion" Smith) and he wrote some of his most famous compositions during this period. For the 1923 Broadway show Running Wild (one of his dozen scores), Johnson composed "The Charleston" and "Old Fashioned Love," his earlier piano feature "Carolina Shout" became the test piece for other pianists, and some of his other songs included "If I Could Be with You One Hour Tonight" and "A Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid."

Ironically, Johnson, the most sophisticated pianist of the 1920s, was also an expert accompanist for blues singers and he starred on several memorable Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters recordings. In addition to his solo recordings, Johnson led some hot combos on records and guested with Perry Bradford and Clarence Williams; he also shared the spotlight with Fats Waller on a few occasions. Because he was very interested in writing longer works, Johnson (who had composed "Yamekraw" in 1927) spent much of the '30s working on such pieces as "Harlem Symphony," "Symphony in Brown," and a blues opera. Unfortunately much of this music has been lost through the years. Johnson, who was only semi-active as a pianist throughout much of the '30s, started recording again in 1939, often sat in with Eddie Condon, and was active in the '40s despite some minor strokes. A major stroke in 1955 finished off his career.

This LP gives one a good all-round introduction into pianist James P. Johnson's music although it does not list the recording dates. There are piano solos from 1921, 1923, 1927 and 1939, a humorous vocal/piano duet with Clarence Williams ("How Could I Be Blue") and four selections from a 1939 septet session with trumpeter Red Allen and trombonist J.C. Higginbottham. Most of this music has since been reissued in more complete fashion on CD. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

Original Columbia and OKeh recordings. Japanese Exclusive Release. 20 Bit Dsd Remastered

01.If Dreams Come True

03.Ronsume Revoly

04.Mule Walk

05.Blue Blueberry Ryhme

06.Snowy Morning Blues

07.All That I Had Is Gone

08.How Good I Be Blues

09.Swinging at the Rodeo

10.Having a Ball

11.Hungry Blues

12.Old Fashioned Love
13.Memories For You
14.Worry & Ransom Blues

15.Weaping Blues

16.Carolina Shout



Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jim Cullum Jazz Band: Super Satch

A powerful cornetist inspired by Louis Armstrong, Jim Cullum has led an exciting jazz band in San Antonio since his father's death in the 1970s. A clarinetist, Jim Sr. led the Happy Jazz Band with Jim Jr. on cornet, recording for their own Audiophile and Happy Jazz labels. The younger Cullum, who has recorded a Porgy & Bess jazz set for Sony and tributes to Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael, has made quite a few rewarding albums for Stomp Off and Audiophile, plus a Christmas record for World Jazz. Since the late '80s, Cullum's band has been featured on a highly enjoyable radio series, Riverwalk, Live From the Landing, whose special shows have given the group the opportunity to show its versatility. Among Cullum's most notable sidemen of the 1980s and '90s have been clarenetists Allan Vaché (brother of cornetist Warren) and Brian Ogilvie, trombonist Mike Pittsley, and pianist John Sheridan.

Super Satch! Yes indeed .. this is an ingeniously scored and superbly executed tribute to Louis Armstrong. The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, a premier band held in great esteem by other traditional jazz musicians, here goes to the essence of Satchmo's jazz, concentrating on Hot Five and Hot Seven repertoire with some attention to Armstrong's later periods. British co-author of the book Louis, John Chilton writes in the liner notes, "I feel sure that a look of true pleasure would are so apparent on this album. It will delight lovers of Louis's music by reminding them of his monumental achievements, and it will also win The Jim Cullum Jazz Band many new fans who will be enthralled by the musicianship and feeling that makes this one of the finest tribute recordings in years.
~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

On this tribute to Louis Armstrong, Jim Cullum's Jazz Band at times expands from being a septet to an octet with the addition of trombonist Ed Hubble and (on some selections) the switching of Randy Reinhart from trombone to second cornet behind the leader. Cullum is a spectacular player who was influenced by (but does not copy) Armstrong. The band performs a dozen selections from the 1920s and '30s that were associated with Satch. Cullum showed a lot of courage in remaking such classics as "Potato Head Blues," "West End Blues" and "Weather Bird" but his versions are different enough from the originals so as to avoid close comparison. Other highlights include "Fireworks," the underrated "Hustlin' and Bustlin' for Baby," "Beau Koo Jack" and "Chicago Breakdown." Highly recommended to prebop jazz collectors. ~ Scott Yanow

01. Potato Head Blues [5:15]
02. Yes! I'm In The Barrell [4:00]
03. Fireworks [5:45]
04. Hustlin' & Bustlin' For My Baby [3:50]
05. S.O.L. Blues [7:26]
06. Beau Koo Jack [4:07]
07. He's A Son Of The South [4:30]
08. West End Blues [5:33]
09. Chicago Breakdown [4:45]
10. Weather Bird Rag [5:29]
11. Tight Like This [5:22]
12. Put 'Em Down Blues [5:42]


Jim Cullum Jr (cnt)
Allan Vache (cl)
Ed Hubble (tm)
Randy Reinhart (tm)
John Sheridan (pn)
Howard Elkins (bj,gt,voc)
Jack Wyatt (st bs)
Ed Torres (dm.)
Recorded October 21-22, 1986.

Listen to the Jim Cullum's Jazz Band live weekly at Riverwalk Jazz Radio:


Jelly Roll Morton's piano solos, 1923-24

Part of Classics' excellent chronological series, this examines Jelly Roll's recordings from 1923 to 1924, beginning with a Paramount single with his orchestra, "Big Fat Ham," followed by "Muddy Water Blues." Next up are the first six issued Gennett piano solos, then stray singles by Morton's Jazz Band, Steamboat Four, and Stomp Kings. These are proceeded by four more piano solo sides, which were cut for Paramount, before finishing out with a marathon piano solo session for Gennett in 1924. ~ Cub Koda, AMG.

Jelly Roll Morton (1923-1924)
[The Chronological Classics No 584]

01. Big Fat Ham
02. Muddy Water Blues
03. King Porter Stomp
04. New Orleans Joys
05. Grandpa's Spells
06. Kansas City Stomp
07. Wolverine Blues
08. Pearls
09. Someday, Sweetheart
10. London Blues
11. Mr. Jelly Lord
12. Steady Roll
13. Thirty-Fifth Street Blues
14. Mamantia
15. Frog-I-More Rag
16. London Blues
17. Tia Juana
18. Shreveport Stomp
19. Mamanita
20. Jelly Roll Blues
21. Big Fat Ham
22. Bucktown Blues
23. Tom Cat Blues
24. Statford Hunch
25. Perfect Rag



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stephane Grappelli, Barney Kessel: Limehouse Blues

One of the all-time great jazz violinists (ranking with Joe Venuti and Stuff Smith as one of the big three of pre-bop), Stéphane Grappelli's longevity and consistently enthusiastic playing did a great deal to establish the violin as a jazz instrument. He was originally self-taught as both a violinist and a pianist, although during 1924-28 he studied at the Paris Conservatoire. Grappelli played in movie theaters and dance bands before meeting guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1933. They hit it off musically from the start even though their lifestyles (Grappelli was sophisticated while Django was a gypsy) were very different. Together as Quintet of the Hot Club of France (comprised of violin, three acoustic guitars and bass) during 1933-39 they produced a sensational series of recordings and performances. During a London engagement in 1939, World War II broke out. Reinhardt rashly decided to return to France but Grappelli stayed in England, effectively ending the group. The violinist soon teamed up with the young pianist George Shearing in a new band that worked steadily through the war.
In 1946, Grappelli and Reinhardt had the first of several reunions although they never worked together again on a regular basis (despite many new recordings). Grappelli performed throughout the 1950s and '60s in clubs throughout Europe and, other than recordings with Duke Ellington (Violin Summit) and Joe Venuti, he remained somewhat obscure in the U.S. until he began regularly touring the world in the early '70s. Since then Grappelli has been a constant traveler and a consistent poll-winner, remaining very open-minded without altering his swing style; he has recorded with David Grisman, Earl Hines, Bill Coleman, Larry Coryell, Oscar Peterson, Jean Luc Ponty and McCoy Tyner among many others.
Active up until near the end, the increasingly frail Grappelli remained at the top of his field even when he was 89. His early recordings are all available on Classics CDs and he recorded quite extensively during his final three decades. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

1. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
2. Out of Nowhere
3. Tea for Two
4. Limehouse Blues
5. How High The Moon
6. Willow Weep For Me
7. Little Star
8. Undecided

Updated link (LP-ripped)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Teddy Buckner: A Salute To Louis (1955-59)

Teddy Buckner, a fine technical player who spent his life emulating Louis Armstrong in Dixieland settings, logically pays tribute to Satch on this enjoyable set. Mainly using a sextet that also features trombonist John "Streamling" Ewing and clarinetist Joe Darensbourg, Buckner jams through 18 songs that Armstrong recorded in the 1920s and '30s and generally avoids Armstrong's later hits. Buckner does a fine job of interpreting such tunes as "My Monday Date," "Potato Head Blues," "High Society," and "Big Butter and Egg Man." This album will particularly satisfy Dixieland fans.
~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

01. That's My Home (Leo Robin) - 2:28
02. Oh! Didn't He Ramble (W.C. Handy) - 3:17

03. Struttin' with Some Barbecue (L. Hardin, Don Raye) - 3:28

04. Potato Head Blues (Louis Armstrong) - 3:58

05. My Bucket's Got a Hole in It (Clarence Williams) - 3:27

06. My Monday Date (Earl Hines, Leo Robin) - 2:44

07. Big Butter and Egg Man (L. Armstrong, P. Venable) - 3:28

08. Savoy Blues (Teddy Buckner) - 3:32

09. Someday (Louis Armstrong) - 4:31

10. Squeeze Me (Fats Waller, Clarence Williams) - 4:15

11. High Society (Clarence Williams) - 4:50

12. Black and Blue (Fats Waller, A.Razaf, H.Brooks) - 3:42

13. Save It, Pretty Mama (Fats Waller, Andy Razaf) - 4:57

14. Mahogany Hall Stomp (Spencer Williams) - 2:54

15. St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy) - 6:12

16. Tiger Rag (E.Edwards, H.Ragas, T.Sbarbaro, a.o.) - 3:32

17. Mack the Knife (M.Blitzstein, K.Weill, B.Brecht) - 3:49

18. When the Saints Go Marching In (Trad.) - 2:42

Rec. Feb 6, 1955-Sep 21, 1959


Joe Darensbourg (Clarinet), Joe Darensbourg (Sax (Soprano)), Edmond Hall (Clarinet), Mort Herbert (Bass), Trummy Young (Trombone), Danny Barcelona (Drums), Pud Brown (Clarinet), Teddy Buckner (Trumpet), Teddy Buckner (Vocals), Arthur Edwards (Bass), Billy Kyle (Piano), Chester Lane (Piano), Caughey Roberts (Clarinet), Caughey Roberts (Sax (Soprano)), Jesse Sailes (Drums), William B. Woodman, Jr. (Trombone), Jordana VonSpiro (?), Jordana VonSpiro (Creative Director), J.P. Szlachetka (Artwork), William Woodman Jr. (Trombone), Andre Vidal (Concept), Harvey Brooks (Piano), John Ewing (Trombone), Teddy Buckner & His All Stars (Performer), Teddy Buckner & His Dixieland Five (Performer)



Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces: 1928-29

Updated post and link / post y enlace actualizados (2016):

Although only 20 years old, trumpeter Jabbo Smith cut virtually all of his finest recordings in 1929, when he was touted as a competitor to Louis Armstrong. Smith's 19 sides with his Rhythm Aces (all of which are on this essential CD) are some of the most exciting recordings of the era. Often teamed in a quintet with Omer Simeon (on clarinet and alto), pianist Cassino Simpson, banjoist Ikey Robinson, and the tuba of Hayes Alvis (subs appear on a few numbers), Jabbo's reckless and explorative trumpet flights are often thrilling. Highlights include "Jazz Battle," "Till Times Get Better," "Ace of Rhythm," and "Band Box Stomp," but all of the performances (including Smith's trombone solo on "Lina Blues" and his occasional and effective vocals) are well worth hearing. The CD concludes with Jabbo Smith's four-song 1938 session, which is disappointingly tame. Strange as it seems, Smith was past his prime by 1930 when he was only 21. Except for some early sideman appearances and forgettable efforts in later years (plus one previously unissued Rhythm Ace side from 1929 that was unearthed in the mid-'90s by the Retrieval label), this CD essentially contains Jabbo Smith's entire legacy, although he would live until 1991. -Scott Yanow

During the 1920s, Jabbo Smith was a promising young cornetist whose versatility and chutzpah invited comparison with Duke Ellington's first-chair soloist Bubber Miley. Both men suffered from the disease of alcoholism, and Bubber, who also contracted tuberculosis, perished when he was only 29 years old. Although Jabbo survived and would live past the age of 80, he was inactive for most of his life and never came anywhere near matching the triumphs of his youth, many of which are documented on Pearl's Ace of Rhythm, a 25-track sampler of recordings made between November 1927 and February 1938. Unlike Smith's entry in the Classics Chronological Series, Ace of Rhythm contains numerous examples that were not issued under his name. This allows for a pleasantly varied overview as Jabbo is heard filling in for Bubber with Duke Ellington's Orchestra and participating in an unusual chamber jazz session with the Louisiana Sugar Babes (a quartet that included pianist James P. Johnson, pipe organist Fats Waller, and multi-reedman Garvin Bushell) and with a scruffy little outfit operating under the nominal leadership of Banjo Ikey Robinson; during the lusty opus bearing the title "Got Butter on It," Smith delivers a handsome scat vocal in the manner of Louis Armstrong. All of this serves as a prelude to 16 marvelous performances by Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces (also known as Four Aces and the Jokers), a sturdy little group whose variable personnel included Robinson, clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Omer Simeon, tubists Hayes Alvis and Lawson Buford, and pianists Cassino Simpson and Earl Frazier.

The interplay between Smith and Simeon is particularly exciting, and "Jazz Battle" is probably the best record that this group or its leader ever made. "Rub Me Some More" was recorded in 1930 by Lloyd Smith & His Gut-Bucketeers. (Discographical evidence indicates that the cornetist on this tune is not Smith at all but Clarence "Count" Rich.) Finally, the producers of this collection were wise enough to include only the instrumental number from Jabbo's Decca session of February 1, 1938, by which time he had switched to using the trumpet. There are numerous options available to those who are curious about Jabbo Smith's early recorded works. EPM Jazz Archives beat them all with a double-disc set packed with 48 tracks representing pretty much every recording made between 1928 and 1938 involving Jabbo Smith. Dipping back to 1927 to include the Ellington sides and carefully choosing some real gems from the cornetist's heyday, Pearl's Ace of Rhythm is an excellent compromise between the exactitude of the Classics compilation and the thoroughness of EPM's ultra-complete edition. ~ arwulf

01.Jazz Battle
02.Little Willie Blues

03.Sleepy Time Blues

04.Take Your Time

05.Sweet And Low Blues

06.Take Me To The River
07.Ace Of Rhythm
08.Let's Get Together

09.Sau-sha Stomp
10.Michigander Blues
11.Decatur Street Tutti 12.Til Times Get Better
13.Lina Blues

14.Weird And Blue
15.Croonin' The Blues
16.I Got The Stinger
17.Boston Skiffle
18.Tanguay Blues

19.Band Box Stomp

20.Moanful Blues
21.Rhythm In Spain

23.More Rain, More Rest

24.How Can Cupid Be So Stupid?
Recorded between 1928 and 1929.

Personnel: Jabbo Smith (trumpet); Banjo Ikey Robinson (guitar, banjo); Connie Wainwright (guitar); Fred Guy (banjo); Garvin Bushell (clarinet, bassoon, alto saxophone); Harry Carney (clarinet, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); Omer Simeon (clarinet, alto saxophone); Rudy Jackson (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Otto Hardwick (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); Willard Brown (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); Ben Smith , Leslie Johnakins (alto saxophone); Sam Simmons (tenor saxophone); Louis Metcalf (trumpet); Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton (trombone); Duke Ellington, James Reynolds , William Barbee, Cass Simpson, James P. Johnson (piano); Fats Waller (organ); Alfred Taylor, Walter Bishop, Sr., Sonny Greer (drums).



Sunday, March 6, 2011

We Love You, Louis!: The New York All Stars Plays the Music of Louis Armstrong

This excellent tribute to the music of Louis Armstrong has arrangements for an octet by Randy Sandke and consistently strong trumpet solos from Sandke and Byron Stripling. With strong assistance from clarinetist Kenny Davern, trombonist Joel Helleny and a four-piece rhythm section headed by pianist Mark Shane, Sandke and Stripling mostly (but not exclusively) explore Satch's music of the 1920s. A special highlight is "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" which not only reproduces the great trumpeter's famous 1927 solo, but also finds Stripling playing Satch's usual solo from the 1950s. Other highlights include "Sugar Foot Stomp," "Cornet Chop Suey," "Potato Head Blues," "Weatherbird" and "Swing That Music." Easily recommended to Louis Armstrong fans.
-Scott Yanow

The New York Allstars: Byron Stripling (vocals, trumpet); Randy Sandke (trumpet); Joel Helleny (trombone); David Ostwald (tuba); Kenny Davern (clarinet); Mark Shane (piano); Greg Cohen (bass); Joe Ascione (drums). Recorded live at The Congress Centre, Hamburg, Germany on November 18, 1995.

01. When It's Sleepy Time Down South 0:36
02. Mabel's Dream 2:24
03. Sugar Foot Stomp 3:04
04. Big Butter And Egg Man 4:45
05. Cornet Chop Suey 3:13
06. Wild Man Blues 4:49
07. Potato Head Blues 3:21
08. Muskrat Ramble 3:31
09. Savoy Blues 4:55
10. Struttin' With Some Barbecue 8:10
11. Basin Street Blues 4:33
12. Weatherbird 2:54
13. Medley: Thanks A Million-Rockin' Chair-
Do You Know What It Means
to Miss New Orleans 7:35
14. Swing That Music 3:51
15. If I Could Be With You 6:04
16. Mack The Knife / The Faithful Hussar 6:10
17. Ole Miss / Mabel's Dream 4:24
18. When It's Sleepy Time Down South 2:48



Randy Sandke Meets Bix Beiderbecke

Aunque no hemos terminado, ni muchísimo menos, con las grabaciones clásicas, comenzamos aquí una "serie" dedicada a las mejores versiones y adaptaciones contemporáneas de los maestros de los años 20 (Louis, Bix, Oliver, Jelly Roll y compañía). Lo de contemporáneas es un decir, porque vamos a traer registros de los años 70 hasta la actualidad, pero en fin, ya nos entendemos. Para no hacer la puñeta a quienes buenamente intentan ganarse la vida tocando estas extrañas músicas, intentaremos que en su mayor parte se trate de grabaciones descatalogadas o de muy difícil acceso. Lo cierto es que no abunda el buen material de jazz tradicional accesible en el mundo de los blogs y demás, pero, ya saben, ¡hay que comprar algún que otro disco, de vez en cuando! Comenzamos con un gran trompetista (y guitarrista, por cierto), nacido en Chicago en 1949, Randy Sandke, que amén de un buen puñado de álbumes más que recomendables en su haber, participó en las bandas sonoras de grandes películas, como "The Cotton Club" de Coppola o "Balas Sobre Broadway" de Woody Allen, entre otras. Una maravilla, lo que el señor Sandke, y sus cómplices los "New York All Stars" hacen con el cancionero de Bix Beiderbecke en directo. Si les gusta este disco, les sugiero escuchen otro muy similar y quizás incluso mejor, llamado "Celebrating Bix!: The Bix Beiderbecke Centennial All Stars Celebrate His 100th Birthday" (Arbors Records, 2003), junto al cornetista Jon-Erik Kellso, al pianista Dick Hyman y al ocupadísimo multi-instrumentista Vince Giordano: mano de santo (pero éste van a tener que localizarlo en tiendas, y serán unos eurillos muy, pero que muy bien invertidos, créanme).
-Jay Bee Rodríguez

Randy Sandke and his band give new life to these Bix classics, faithfully recreating the spirit (and occasionally the solos) of the original recordings in crisp, modern sound. This CD is essentially a recorded live concert, given in Hamburg, Germany on May 1, 1993. Sandke provides short spoken intros to each piece, and audience applause is audible at the ends of tracks, but don't let that deter you from buying this CD. The music is top-notch! Sandke brilliantly recreates many of Bix's famous solos, adding his own little twists along the way. Other instrumentalists seem to be given more room to improvise freely on solos. Marty Grosz contributes contributes some fine guitar playing and a particularly interesting solo version of "Changes," but his terrible vocal on "I'll Be A Friend With Pleasure" (complete with hokey "daddy-daddy-daaa" ending) nearly ruins the piece. Fortunately, Sandke's stirring original cornet solo saves it. The musicians here work together very well. The elecrified bass gives some of the pieces a slightly more contemporary feel, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. As a big-time "Bix fan," I enjoyed this CD tremendously. Since I bought it a couple months ago, I've played it dozens of times. It makes for particularly stimulating drive-time music in my car! Sandke strikes a nice balance of old and new, remaining respectful of the original Bix records, while allowing his musicians room for somewhat more personal expression that keep the performances from being stale straight-ahead recreations of records already made. The rousing take on Goldkette's famous "My Pretty Girl" alone is worth the price of the disc. Highly recommended!
-Scott Yanow

For this live concert, trumpeter Randy Sandke directed the New York All-Stars (which also include Dan Barrett on trombone and trumpet, clarinetist Ken Peplowski, Scott Robinson on bass sax, C-melody sax and cornet, pianist Mark Shane, guitaristvocalist Marty Grosz, bassist Linc Milliman and drummer Dave Ratajczak) through 18 songs associated with Bix Beiderbecke. The music is sometimes arranged and programmed loosely in chronological order but essentially this concert gives the talented players an opportunity to jam on such tunes as "Fidgety Fett," "My Pretty Girl," "Riverboat Shuffle," "China Boy" and "At the Jazzband Ball." Everyone is in fine form and on two songs there are actually three trumpets (with Barrett and Robinson joining Sandke). This is fun music that is played with spirit and made available by the German Nagel-Heyer label.

Randy Sandke's 1993 concert tribute to the legendary cornetist Bix Beiderbecke is classic jazz at its best, not just mere note for note re-creations, but capturing the spirit of the original recordings. Surrounding himself with some of the best players of the last decade of the 20th century, including clarinetist Ken Peplowski, trombonist Dan Barrett, multi-reed player Scott Robinson, and the dependable (and often zany) guitarist Marty Grosz, the trumpeter and his band have the Hamburg audience in their palms from the opening track, a spirited take of "Fidgety Feet." The solos are at a consistently high level, with no one player threatening to dominate the proceedings; even Grosz, who can be an overbearing showboat in a live setting, keeps his unaccompanied vocal rendition of "Changes" somewhat restrained, showcasing his skills as an acoustic guitarist as well. One of the small group highlights features Peplowski and pianist Mark Shane in a rousing rendition of "China Boy." Highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden

Personnel: Randy Sandke (leader, trumpet); Scott Robinson (saxophone); Dan Barrett (trombone); Ken Peplowski (clarinet); Mark Shane (piano); Marty Grosz (guitar, vocals); Linc Milliman (bass); Dave Ratajczak (drums). Recorded live in Hamburg, Germany, 1993. This is a digitally remastered version of The Bix Beiderbecke Era (Nagel Heyer), and contains bonus tracks.

01. Fidgety Feet 4:14
02. Tia Juana 3:49
03. Davenport Blues 3:19
04. My Pretty Girl 3:44
05. Singin' The Blues / I'm Comin' Virginia 5:59
06. Changes 2:40
07. When 3:05
08. Because My Baby Don't Mean Maybe Now 3:39
09. Sorry 5:53
10. Wait Till You See Ma Cherie 4:13
11. Riverboat Shuffle 4:50
12. China Boy 4:35
13. My Melancholy Baby 5:08
14. At The Jazz Band Ball 5:43
15. I'll Be A Friend With Pleasure 4:50
16. Clarinet Marmalade 5:08
17. Sweet Sue 7:13



Monday, February 28, 2011

Louis Armstrong: The Great Chicago Concert 1956

Originally out on a double LP, this is a definitive set of the Louis Armstrong All-Stars of 1956. The music and many of the solos will be familiar to longtime Armstrong fans, but whether it be "Struttin' with Some Barbecue," "Basin Street," or his then-new hit, "Mack the Knife," the spirit and enthusiasm of this music is irresistible. This is his best live set in the '50s. The CD reissue, a two-CD set, is slightly more complete than the two-fer LP in that it adds a version of Armstrong's theme song, "When It's Sleepy Time Down South," a closing "Saints" that allows Satch to introduce his band, and a straightforward rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."

Disc 1:

01. Medley: Flee As A Bird To The Mountain / Oh, Didn’t He Ramble
02. Medley: Memphis Blues / Frankie And Johnny / Tiger Rag

03. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans

04. Basin Street Blues
05. Black And Blue

06. West End Blues
07. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
08. Struttin’ With Some Barbecue

09. When It’s Sleepy Time Sown South

10. Medley: Manhattan / When It’s Sleepy Time Down South

11. Indiana

12. The Gypsy
13. The Faithful Hussar

Disc 2:

01. Rockin’ Chair
02. Bucket’s Got A Hole In It

03. Perdido

04. Clarinet Marmalade

05. Mack The Knife

06. Medley: Tenderly / You’ll Never Walk Alone

07. Stompin’ At The Savoy 08. Margie
09. Big Mama’s Back In Town

10. That’s My Desire

11. Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)

12. When The Saints Go Marching In

13. The Star Spangled Banner