Kendra Steiner Editions

August 7, 2019

CLASSICS COMPLEMENTARY TRACKS (France, 3-CD set, Classics #24)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 2:29 pm

complementary

CLASSICS COMPLEMENTARY TRACKS

3-cd set, released 1999, Classics #24 (France)

contains 1924-1949 recordings

Between 1990 and 2004, the French “Classics Records” label issued over 1000 CD’s, chronological multi-volume sets of the 78 rpm recordings of great jazz and swing artists…and later R&B through their Classics R&B subsidiary (think of it as a jazz version of Document Records, but without the alternate takes). Multiple releases were out each month, and early on, I knew that it would be silly (and financially impossible) to attempt try to get them all or even many of them. Instead, I tried to focus on bodies of work that had not really been reissued adequately (SEVEN volumes of Erskine Hawkins, for instance, or four volumes of Bennie Moten, or as many of the Fletcher Hendersons as I could afford, etc.) or periods in an artist’s career that had evaded reissue at that time (Ellington’s post WWII but pre-LP-era Columbia recordings). Also, I sought out lesser-known artists whose bodies of work I’d always wanted to hear….TWO cd’s of the complete Boots and His Buddies, for instance. To say that these albums were a revelation is an understatement.

As with the many Document CD’s I own, the Classics discs are pretty much always in regular rotation here. It’s hard to imagine now, but because of the distribution clout of Allegro Music (which later burned so many indie labels badly and was largely responsible for Document Records de-emphasizing physical media), these discs—-at least some of them—-would appear in American music stores such as Tower, Best Buy, and Circuit City. They’d usually have one copy of each, and if you wanted it, you had to pick it up quick. I would usually scout the local stores each month at payday. (Another amazing phenomenon during this period was that American labels would sometimes distribute the jazz releases of their Japanese subsidiaries! I wonder sometimes if that era was just a dream. The Circuit City in my neighborhood had the 10-CD Japanese Phonogram box of the complete Clifford Brown, which was listed for about $90. I could not afford that, but I looked at it every time I visited. After about four months of it not selling, it was lowered to $29.99….I took the plunge….it still has a prominent place in my collection, and it’s never far from my main CD player) And in the early to mid 1990’s, retailers prided themselves on having as many different releases as possible….as the years went by, the emphasis became many copies of a handful of new releases. Things became less interesting at the point, and listeners with specialized tastes had no choice but to buy online. We all know what eventually happened with that!

One day in 1999, at my local retailer (sorry, I don’t remember which), I saw a Classics label 3-cd set called COMPLEMENTARY TRACKS (technically, it was a 2 cd set with a free bonus cd), and it had a sticker on the front (which I’ve saved) saying “This Set is NOT a Sampler!” It looked like an interesting combination of lesser-known, un-reissued artists (Garnet Clark, Midge Williams, Alphonso Trent, Ella Logan, Jerry Kruger) and obscure, often late-period recordings by well-known artists for obscure labels (1943 and 1946 sessions by Don Redman, 1945 and 1949 sessions from Fletcher Henderson, a 1945 session from Luis Russell, an obscure Slim Gaillard one-off for a tiny L.A. label). The track listing for the third “bonus” CD was not listed on the back cover, but hey, there were enough gems already on the first two CD’s to warrant this purchase.

I never saw another physical copy of this set in my travels to jazz-focused record stores in various cities, and I see that it is now selling (only one copy available) for $107 on Discogs. I assume those of you who know how to download music from various foreign hosting sites can find this album somewhere out there. The rest of you, keep your eyes out and maybe some record store will sell a copy for maybe $25 or whatever, ignoring the price on Discogs, and you can have your own copy of this amazing set, something which only could have been released during the golden age of archival CD reissues of vintage music. It belongs on the same shelf as the Savoy Completer Disc and the Verve Elite Edition compilation I’ve reviewed elsewhere here at the KSE blog.

Here’s what the Classics label itself said about this curious release: This two CD set (plus a bonus CD) includes tracks not available in the Classics series. The bonus CD corrects errors featured in different Classics releases

Since it’s unlikely you’ll be finding a copy of this soon, let me provide my own guide/commentary to what’s on the 3 CD’s.

Compact Disc 1
1-1 –Chick Webb And His Orchestra
Who Ya Hunchin’
2:54
1-2 –Chick Webb And His Orchestra
In The Groove At The Grove
2:41

The final two instrumentals from the Webb band, which did not fit on their non-Ella Fitzgerald collections of Webb’s records
1-3 –Taft Jordan And The Mob
Night Wind
2:39
1-4 –Taft Jordan And The Mob
If The Moon Turns Green
2:44
1-5 –Taft Jordan And The Mob
Devil In The Moon
2:54
1-6 –Taft Jordan And The Mob
Louisiana Fairy Tale
2:55

These 1935 tracks for “Banner” are the only pre-1950 recordings under his own name by the great Armstrong-inspired trumpeter, a man often mentioned in jazz lore and interviews with musicians from the period….also featuring pianist Teddy Wilson
1-7 –Al Cooper And His Savoy Sultans
Boats
2:51
1-8 –Al Cooper And His Savoy Sultans
Fish For Supper
2:38
1-9 –Al Cooper And His Savoy Sultans
‘Ats In There
2:42
1-10 –Al Cooper And His Savoy Sultans
Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide
2:46

The final session, from 1941, from this great NYC combo, which did not fit on their Classics CD….and that CD was one I definitely bought since the band was a legend for their exciting performances at the Savoy Ballroom, but their recordings seemed to evade reissue
1-11 –Jerry Kruger And Her Orchestra*
Rain, Rain, Go Away
2:26
1-12 –Jerry Kruger And Her Orchestra*
Summertime
3:01

Female vocalist, tracks from 1939, with Buck Clayton and Lester Young
1-13 –Don Redman And His Orchestra
Pistol Packin’ Mama
3:50
1-14 –Don Redman And His Orchestra
Redman Blues
4:53
1-15 –Don Redman And His Orchestra
Great Day In The Morning
3:14

Don Redman was, along with Fletcher Henderson–in whose band he was arranger circa 1923-24–the key architect of the jazz orchestra of the 1920’s, and by extension the fore-runner of the swing orchestras of the 1930’s and beyond. First we have three wonderful V-Discs from 1943, with Redman himself providing witty spoken introductions. Redman sings on one track, and anyone who’s ever heard his classic version of  “Cherry” with McKinney’s Cotton Pickers knows the unique “personality” vocals of Redman in his signature lazy style–fans of Johnny Mercer’s singing would enjoy Redman’s.
1-16 –Don Redman’s Orchestra*
Midnite Mood
3:02
1-17 –Don Redman’s Orchestra*
Dark Glasses
2:29
1-18 –Don Redman’s Orchestra*
Mickey Finn
2:40
1-19 –Don Redman’s Orchestra*
Carrie Mae Blues
3:08

An obscure 1946 session for a label called “Swan,” which was NOT the later Philadelphia label of Freddy Cannon, Link Wray, and Beatles fame
1-20 –Alphonso Trent And His Orchestra
Clementine
3:11
1-21 –Alphonso Trent And His Orchestra
I Found A New Baby
3:12

Interesting territory band, also featured on a Jazz Oracle CD, with very-late Gennett sessions released on the Champion subsidiary
1-22 –Luis Russell And His Orchestra
After Hour Creep
2:49
1-23 –Luis Russell And His Orchestra
Garbage Man Blues
2:53

Tracks not included on the Russell CD #1066….the latter track is the classic “stick out your can, here comes the garbage man” which became a standard in the blues/R&B world
1-24 –Chickasaw Syncopators
Chickasaw Stomp
3:17
1-25 –Chickasaw Syncopators
Memphis Rag
3:22

The sizzling hot 1927 Memphis session by the young musicians who later became the Jimmie Lunceford band
Compact Disc 2
2-1 –Garnet Clark
I Got Rhythm

American pianist who came to Europe with Benny Carter in 1935 and stayed there….he died young, and made only two sessions, this track recorded in Paris and issued only on a French 78
2:58
2-2 –Midge Williams, Columbia Jazz Band
St. Louis Blues
3:27
2-3 –Midge Williams, Columbia Jazz Band
Lazy Bones
3:28
2-4 –Midge Williams, Columbia Jazz Band
Dinah
3:23

Talk about obscure….this African-American pianist made these recordings in Japan with Japanese musicians for a Japanese label in 1934! Hearing a Japanese ensemble tackle these well-known songs, with a fine American pianist at the helm, is an experience!
2-5 –Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra
King Porter Stomp
3:00
2-6 –Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra
Moten Swing
2:53
2-7 –Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra
Minor Riff
2:46
2-8 –Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra
Satchel Mouth Baby
3:03

1945 L.A. sessions for Musicraft, which went unissued at the time and came out only during the LP era
2-9 –Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra
Close Your Eyes
2:52
2-10 –Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra
This Is Everything I Prayed For
2:43
2-11 –Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra
Again
2:52
2-12 –Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra
Ain’t Losing You
3:01

An obscure 1949 session–very late for FH–from L.A. for the local Supreme label, featuring the vocals of Troy Floyd
2-13 –The Red Onion Jazz Babies
Of All The Wrongs You Done To Me
2:43
2-14 –The Red Onion Jazz Babies
Terrible Blues
2:48
2-15 –The Red Onion Jazz Babies
Santa Claus Blues
2:40
2-16 –The Red Onion Jazz Babies
Cake Walking Babies From Home
3:08

Seminal 1924 recordings for Gennett, featuring the young Louis Armstrong
2-17 –Perry Bradford Jazz Phools
Lucy Long
2:49
2-18 –Perry Bradford Jazz Phools
I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle
2:35

A 1925 record from a band fronted by Bradford (there’s a piece about him elsewhere on this blog–just search for PERRY BRADFORD AND THE BLUES SINGERS in the search box), featuring Armstrong, Don Redman, and James P. Johnson
2-19 –Evelyn Preer
If You Can’t Hold The Man You Love
2:47

The great actress and vocalist, whose work can be found on various Document CD’s, is backed by the core of Duke Ellington’s band here
2-20 –Walter Page’s Blue Devils
Blue Devil Blues
2:45
2-21 –Walter Page’s Blue Devils
Squabblin’
3:00

From the classic Kansas City band (remember the seminal film LAST OF THE BLUE DEVILS?) 1929 recordings, including the young Hot Lips Page and the young Jimmy Rushing
2-22 –Omer Simeon
Smoke-House Blues
2:31
2-23 –Omer Simeon
Beau-Koo Jack
2:41

The New Orleans clarinetist, also associated with Jelly Roll Morton, on this 1929 recording made in Chicago, one side of which features Earl Hines on piano
2-24 –Ella Logan And The Spirits Of Rhythm*
Exactly Like You
3:06

The famous Jive vocal trio, an unissued 1941 recording
2-25 –Slim Gaillard Quartet*
Froglegs And Bourbon
3:07

An obscure track by the master of Vout-O-Reenee, recorded for the L.A. “Bee Bee” label, though not originally released.


BONUS DISC (Disc 3)  this might be called the “corrections” disc

3-1 –Art Tatum
I Would Do Anything For You
2:38
3-2 –Benny Carter
Tiger Rag
2:40
3-3 –Jimmie Lunceford
Bugs Parade
2:28
3-4 –Duke Ellington
Wall Street Wail
2:57
3-5 –Luis Russell
Poor Lil’ Me
3:19
3-6 –Cab Calloway
Are You Hep To The Jive
2:47
3-7 –Lucky Millinder
All The Time
2:32
3-8 –Billie Holiday
On The Sentimental Side
3:03
Tracks 1 through 8 of Disc 3 are “corrected” versions of songs from earlier CD’s where the wrong version or the wrong take appeared….these tracks “correct” those errors.
3-9 –Pete Johnson
Pete’s Lonesome Blues
2:51
3-10 –Pete Johnson
Mr. Drums Meets Mr. Piano
2:56
3-11 –Pete Johnson
Mutiny In The Doghouse
2:46
3-12 –Pete Johnson
Mr. Clarinet Knocks Twice
2:56
3-13 –Pete Johnson
Ben Rides Out
3:00
3-14 –Pete Johnson
Page Mr. Trumpet
3:05
3-15 –Pete Johnson
J.C. From K.C.
3:02
3-16 –Pete Johnson
Pete’s Housewarming Blues
2:49

These tracks, which are also collected on a Savoy album called PETE’S BLUES, had spoken intros with boogie woogie piano master Johnson inviting different musicians to join him in a house party….those spoken intros were lopped off of the earlier Classics CD on which the tracks appeared….they are “corrected” by the complete versions here.
3-17 –Bunny Berigan
It’s Been So Long
3:03
3-18 –Bunny Berigan
I’d Rather Lead A Band
2:49
3-19 –Bunny Berigan
Let Yourself Go
2:48
3-20 –Bunny Berigan
A Melody From The Sky
2:47
3-21 –Bunny Berigan
Rhythm Saved The World
2:35
3-22 –Bunny Berigan
I Nearly Let Love Go Slippin’ Thru’ My Fingers
2:48
3-23 –Bunny Berigan
But Definitely
3:00
3-24 –Bunny Berigan
If I Had My Way
2:41

Any fan of trumpeter Bunny Berigan knows that he was a sideman on hundreds of records, many of which contain exciting solos from him….evidently, when Classics reissued sides on an earlier CD that Berigan recorded with vocalist Chick Bullock, they edited out the vocal choruses to feature Berigan’s soloing! I guess the folks at Classics did not like Bullock’s vocalizing–he’s in the same vein as session vocalists such as Dick Robertson, Smith Ballew, etc. Anyone who listens to a lot of 20s and 30s dance bands is used to those kind of vocals, and some are worse than others. Bullock would be considered “above average” among those session vocalists, and does not really have the stilted nasal sound one associates with 20s vocalists such as Irving Kaufman. Now Classics presents the full records as they were originally issued, with Bullock’s vocals, as they should have been issued originally. Hey, I wish I could cut out most of Mezz Mezzrow’s solos on various jazz recordings from the 20’s through the 40’s, but doing so is re-writing history.

…………………………….

While this 3-CD set was intended as a collection of rarities, allowing collectors to fill gaps in their exhaustive archives, it works incredibly well as a jazz sampler for the general audience too, and the material will certainly be fresh….even a Fletcher Henderson and Don Redman connoisseur such as yours truly had never heard, or heard of (I may have seen the Henderson ones listed in the Hendersonia Discography), the sessions here. If you can find this, grab it. Or if it’s online, go for it.

I won’t be parting with my copy anytime soon….

ADDENDUM….if you don’t have enough with the 1000+ albums on classics and this three-cd mopping-up set, there is an Austrian label called NEATWORK which collects, for a number of major jazz artists, the ALTERNATE TAKES, in chronological order, left off the Classics CD’s. Discogs lists between 40 and 50 CD’s on that label. The 10 cd’s of alternate Ellington are essential, as are the multiple volumes devoted to Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Teddy Wilson, and Eddie Condon. They’re probably ALL essential, but I had to focus on the ones most important to me, as these things cost money….

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