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".