Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

August 9, 2020

Duke Ellington: four live performances, 1958-1969

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duke

Duke Ellington’s body of recorded work runs from 1924-1974. Ellington music, of all eras, has always been a part of my life, as long as I have been able to choose my listening environment. As I’ve been sharing links to music and film during this Covid lockdown, it seems inevitable that I should offer some Duke Ellington live performances, since so many were recorded and previously uncirculated recordings continue to appear.

Below are four live recordings, dating from 1958 through 1969, to give you hours of Ellington, and there is no better musical friend to have alongside you. I’ve also included likely personnel for each performance.

You can access a very thorough Ellington discography (including known-to-be-recorded but unreleased live recordings) at    http://www.ellingtonia.com/

Enjoy!

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APRIL 29, 1969, THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON, D.C.

from You Tube: “April 29, 1969:: President Richard Nixon threw a 70th birthday party for Duke Ellington at the White House, where he awarded the maestro the Medal of Freedom. The Voice of America’s Willis Conover organized the band and performers for the occasion, which included Bill Berry, Clark Terry, J.J. Johnson, Urbie Green, Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan, Jim Hall, Billy Taylor, Hank Jones, Dave Brubeck, Earl Hines, Milt Hinton, Louie Bellson, Joe Williams and Mary Mayo. Ellington himself performed an original called “Pat,” in honor of the President’s wife. Narrated by Willis Conover.”

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20 APRIL 1964, MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA

Cat Anderson, Cootie Williams, Rolf Ericson, Herbie Jones (tp) Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors (tb) Jimmy Hamilton (cl,ts) Russell Procope (as,cl) Johnny Hodges (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Harry Carney (bar,cl,b-cl) Duke Ellington (p,talking) Major Holley (b) Sam Woodyard (d)

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November 3, 1969. Bergen, Norway

Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Mercer Ellington, Harold “Money” Johnson (t); Lawrence Brown (tb); Chuck Connors (btb); Russell Procope (cl,as); Norris Turney (fl,cl,as,ts); Johnny Hodges (as); Harold Ashby (ts,cl); Paul Gonsalves (ts); Harry Carney (cl,bcl,as,bar); Duke Ellington (p); Wild Bill Davis (o); Victor Gaskin (sb); Rufus Jones (d); Tony Watkins (v)

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February 4, 1958 Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Johnny Hodges – Alto Sax…. Russell Procope – Alto Sax, Clarinet…. Paul Gonsalves – Tenor Sax…. Jimmy Hamilton – Tenor Sax, Clarinet…. Harry Carney – Baritone Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet…. Cat Anderson – Trumpet…. Harold “Shorty” Baker – Trumpet…. Ray Nance – Trumpet, Violin, Vocal…. Clark Terry – Trumpet…. Quentin Jackson – Trombone…. John Sanders – Valve Trombone…. Britt Woodman – Trombone…. Duke Ellington – Piano…. Jimmy Woode – Bass…. Sam Woodyard – Drums…. Ozzie Bailey – Vocal….

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July 18, 2020

Ray Draper-A TUBA JAZZ (Jubilee Records LP, 1958)

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ray draper pic

Ray Draper-A TUBA JAZZ (Jubilee Records LP, 1958)

The tuba has a long history in jazz, though it was missing in action for a few decades in the 1930’s and 1940’s and early 1950’s. In the 1920’s, many jazz bands and “hot dance” bands with a jazz element had a “brass bass,” not a stand up acoustic bass, and that role was played by a tuba. Even a sophisticate like Duke Ellington had a tuba in his 20’s bands. By 1927-28, the tuba was on its way out, and by 1929 bands with a tuba sounded a bit antiquated (it’s the same with banjos, which were widely used in 20’s jazz, they were out by the late 20’s and replaced by guitars).

Tuba virtuoso Ray Draper recorded three albums as a leader in the 1957-1958 period, and two of them featured John Coltrane, which is why they’ve stayed in print (although usually under Coltrane’s name, not Draper’s) ever since. One was for Prestige’s “New Jazz” subsidiary, called THE RAY DRAPER QUINTET FEATURING JOHN COLTRANE. Coltrane played on five of the six tracks on that album, and of course, those tracks later appeared on Prestige albums under Coltrane’s name, such as THE BELIEVER. Draper and Coltrane also recorded an album for Jubilee in 1958, with very much the same line-up (different pianist) as the New Jazz album, which was called A TUBA JAZZ, and that too has been in print in one form or another ever since its issue, due to Coltrane’s presence.

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In the 70’s, when I was a broke teenager, the material from the Jubilee album became part of a two-LP set TRANE TRACKS on the infamous TRIP label (“a division of Springboard International,” the back cover proudly stated). We’ve provided a pic of that album AND the rare 8-track variant of it—if you’ve got that 8-track, congratulations! As I remember that Trip album, which had the two LP’s stuffed into one sleeve, the personnel listing was dodgy. I had no way of knowing back then that some of the material on the album was actually from a group led by Lee Morgan (and supposedly one side of the two-LP set did not even contain Coltrane—typical for Trip Records). I just knew that the tracks with no tuba were not from the Draper sessions. Good old Trip/Springboard Records—who can forget their Hendrix albums of pre-fame R&B jams never intended for release, pre-fame Allman Brothers material from the “Allman Joys” days, the Sonny Boy Williamson with the Yardbirds album, etc.

Many years later, I discovered that the actual original album from which the TRANE TRACKS material came from was a 1958 LP on Jubilee called A TUBA JAZZ, credited to bandleader Ray Draper. It’s very interesting and satisfying as an album, and when placed alongside Coltrane’s Prestige material of the day, it offers quite a contrast. First of all, there are not a lot of jazz tuba players out there. Howard Johnson comes to mind, but few others. And Draper himself did not have a long and prolific career. He made three albums as a leader in the late 1950’s, while still in his late teens, and then made a jazz-rock album for Epic in the late 60’s credited to Red Beans and Rice. He appeared as a sideman on albums by Archie Shepp and Brother Jack McDuff and Sonny Criss and Dr. John, but health and lifestyle issues plagued him, and sadly he was murdered while being robbed in 1982 at the age of 42. Who knows what unique roads he could have explored could he have recorded more and had more opportunities…

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As for this album (and the other one with Coltrane), Draper was only 17 or 18 at the time he recorded it and was viewed as something of a young prodigy. The tuba is not a particularly agile instrument, so when the material is the kind of post-bop or hard-bop (or whatever it’s called) that was the jazz mainstream in 1958, during the statement of the song’s theme at the beginning and end of each piece, Coltrane (on tenor sax throughout) is the one who pretty much handles the melody, while Draper’s tuba offers the kind of blurred smears of sound I associate with New Orleans tailgate trombone players such as Kid Ory at their most primitive and non-mainstream. It’s kind of percussive in its effect and provides counterpoint to the lead instrument. The two Sonny Rollins pieces here, particularly “Oleo,” are very much bebop in their construction, and to hear Draper maneuver his way through the statement of theme on those rapid-fire pieces is like seeing The Incredible Hulk, blindfolded, working his way across a minefield….and succeeding. Coltrane always appreciated a challenge, and during his Prestige period (and while this was not recorded for Prestige, it IS during his Prestige period), he no doubt especially appreciated when he was given a unique situation to work in…..like that odd session recorded for a 16 rpm release (called BARITONES AND FRENCH HORNS) where he was teamed with two baritone saxophonists, or the sessions with Mal Waldron, with MW’s quirky and unique compositional style (it makes sense that he and Steve Lacy were perfect duet partners) and non-traditional sense of rhythm. So Trane’s playing here is always fascinating in that he’s teamed with a non-traditional player and has to compensate for what his partner can and can’t do. I probably listened to these tracks hundreds of times back then on my cheap Trip-label LP, and I always found new and interesting elements in them. I still do today.

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As Jubilee and Roulette later found themselves both owned by the EMI group of labels (nowadays under the Universal Music banner, I think), these tracks—along with Coltrane tracks from material recorded for Roulette—found themselves on an album called LIKE SONNY, under EMI’s Roulette Jazz subsidiary. Also, an exact reissue of the original Jubilee A TUBA JAZZ album can be found on the Spanish FRESH SOUND label, on both LP and CD. You can score a like-new CD of the LIKE SONNY album for four or five dollars used. You may even find a copy of the old TRANE TRACKS album out there in the wild at some junk store or flea market—it’s not particularly a desirable collectible, but with it you can recreate the joy I had, listening to it late at night as a teenager in the family basement, where the stereo was.

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July 1, 2020

The Herdsmen & The Kentonians: Paris Sessions, 1954-56

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The Herdsmen & The Kentonians: Paris Sessions, 1954-56

(Fresh Sound Records, Spain, 2-cd set, released 2017)

paris-sessions-1954-1956-2-cd

Total time: 131:06 min.

CD 1
01. Pot Luck (Johnny Mandel) 7:26
02. So What Could Be New? (Tiny Kahn) 6:44
03. Palm Café (Henri Renaud) 5:45
04. Just 40 bars (Henri Renaud) 4:16
05. The Gypsy (Billy Reid) 3:55
06. Thanks for You (Tim Whitton) 3:44
07. Embarkation (Jerry Coker) 4:56
08. Wet Back on the Left Bank (Ralph Burns) 7:14
09. Ballad Medley: 9:22
-These Foolish Things (Strachey-Maschwitz)
-You Go to My Head (Coots-Gillespie)
-Darn That Dream (Van Heusen-DeLange)
-I Cover the Waterfront (Green-Heyman)

CD 2
01. Why Not? (Neal Hefti) 7:07
02. Steeplechase (Charlie Parker) 6:42
03. I Remember You (Schertzinger-Mercer) 5:09
04. Blues Martial (Martial Solal) 7:42
05. The Way You Look Tonight (Kern-Fields) 11:11
06. They Say that Falling in Love Is Wonderful (Irving Berlin) 5:50
07. Jive at Five (Basie-Edison) 7:10
08. Daniel’s Blues (Henri Renaud) 11:42
09. Scrapple from the Apple (Charlie Parker) 6:52
10. Buhaina (Horace Silver) 7:55

Sources CD 1:
Tracks #1,2,5 & 6, from the 10-inch album
“The Third Herdmen Blow in Paris, Vol. 1” (Vogue LD.204)
Tracks #3,4,7 & 8, from the 10-inch album
“The Third Herdmen Blow in Paris, Vol. 2” (Vogue LD.205)
Track #9, from the album “A Unit from Stan Kenton’s band, directed by Carl Fontana”
(Club des Amateurs de Disque CAD3003)

Sources CD 2:
Tracks #1-7, from the 12-inch album
“Martial Solal et les Kentonians – Escale à Paris” (Swing LDM 30.044)
Tracks #8-10, from the album
“A Unit from Stan Kenton’s band, directed by Carl Fontana”
(Club des Amateurs de Disque CAD3003)

Personnel on THE THIRD HERDMEN BLOW IN PARIS (1954)

Tracks #1-4: Dick Collins, trumpet; Cy Touff, bass trumpet; Bill Perkins, Dick Hafer, tenor saxes; Henri Renaud, piano; Red Kelly, bass; Jean-Louis Viale, drums.
Recorded in Paris, April, 23, 1954

Tracks #5-8: Cy Touff, bass trumpet; Jerry Coker, tenor sax; Ralph Burns, piano; Jimmy Gourley, guitar; Jean-Marie Ingrand, bass; Chuck Flores, drums.
Recorded in Paris, May 5, 1954

Same personnel, location and date as #8-10 on CD-2

Personnel on MARTIAL SOLAL ET LES KENTONIANS “ESCALE À PARIS” (1956)

Tracks #1-7: Vinnie Tano, trumpet; Carl Fontana, trombone; Don Rendell, tenor sax; Martial Solal, piano; Curtis Counce, bass; Mel Lewis, drums.
Recorded in Paris, May 3 & 4, 1956

A UNIT FROM STAN KENTON’S BAND, DIRECTED BY CARL FONTANA (1956)

Tracks #8-10: Dick Mills, trumpet; Carl Fontana, trombone; Don Rendell, tenor sax; Henri Renaud, piano; Curtis Counce, bass; Wes Ilcken, drums.
Recorded in Paris, May 4, 1956

Original recordings produced by Charles Delaunay and Daniel Filipacchi
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol


American jazz musicians have been making records for European labels since the 1920’s, both while on tour…and for those who choose to reside in Europe for a chunk of time or permanently, as part of their new European life. As I was growing up, some of my favorite musicians were recording regularly in Europe–Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Mal Waldron, Paul Bley, Chet Baker, etc. And often, I tend to prefer the European recordings of such artists to their American recordings. Commercial considerations are usually not as much of an issue in Europe; styles not presently in favor in the US are still respected and nurtured there; and as the sessions are usually done inexpensively for specialist labels, they often let the musicians stretch out and/or do things they were chomping at the bit to do because not much planning or organizing would be needed.

There are also the European sessions done by sidemen in famous big-bands or smaller jazz units, who now got a chance to be featured on their own sessions. Ellingtonians and Basie-ites were always welcome, of course. Then there was Lionel Hampton, who refused to allow his band members to make outside recordings while on European tour, so they had to do it on the sly, without Hamp’s (or Gladys’s) knowledge. You would also find combinations of musicians on European sessions you’d NEVER see on American sessions, as the various “schools” or camps meant little outside of the US, and also the influence of American producers and A&R men who would assemble sessions was not felt.

The big bands of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman were known for always being forward-thinking and for featuring great soloists. These men always wanted strong and individual players, feeling that it would elevate the music, and they both gave them a LOT of space and features within the nightly programs. Other than CITY OF GLASS, I don’t listen to many Kenton studio albums that much, but I do have a number of Kenton airchecks, featuring the likes of Art Pepper and Lee Konitz, and they are amazingly fresh and fit well among those artists’ most interesting performances. As for Herman, I’m not crying out to hear “Your Father’s Moustache” anytime soon (and I have a feeling that Herman’s heart was in the jazz side of things), but think of the various “brothers” in his units, and the amazing players he had out on the road at various times: Stan Getz, Flip Phillips, Sonny Berman, Pete Candoli, Billy Bauer, Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff, Al Cohn, Lou Levy, Shelley Manne, etc.

In the case of both Pepper and Konitz, the time with Kenton gave them an international audience, kept them playing challenging music nightly on the road, and helped them spin off to their own solo careers.

We should be thankful that European producers got a number of Herman and Kenton sidemen into the studio in France to record four albums–two 12″ and two 10″–worth of material, the Herman band members in 1954, the Kenton bandmembers in 1956.

paris-sessions-1954-1956-2-cd (1)

As might be expected, these are largely players who have one foot in the late-period progressive swing era and another foot in bop and a third foot in west coast jazz, and those are the elements mixed together here.

However, with the mixture of West Coast and East Coast and British and French musicians, the resulting recordings are both fresh and unpredictable. French pianists such as Henri Renaud (a deep Ellingtonian who later worked on some wonderful deep catalog reissues of lesser-known Ducal works) and Martial Solal provide ever-shifting, flexible foundations for the soloists….and what soloists.

paris-sessions-1954-1956-2-cd (2)

If you are looking for fresh and largely unheard 50’s small-group jazz from first-rate players with great imaginations, able to break free from their band leaders for once and lay down some of what they were longing to play while they were on the bandstand each night, this over-stuffed two-cd set from Fresh Sound will become a favorite. I’ve played my copy a dozen times or more in the six months or so I’ve owned it. It’s like being able to sit in on some dream version of a weekday jam session with members of the most progressive of 50’s big bands (Kenton and Herman) at a Left Bank basement jazz club, and who wouldn’t want that! Another home-run from Spain’s wonderful FRESH SOUND label.

June 25, 2020

more than six hours of interviews with pioneering jazz trumpeter ARTHUR BRIGGS

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arthur briggs 2

Trumpeter ARTHUR BRIGGS is a legendary name to lovers of pre-WWII jazz….although he is not as well-known as Louis Armstrong or King Oliver or Bix Beiderbecke because he did most of his recording in Europe, and I don’t believe there has ever been a North American compilation of his European recordings. He was a virtuoso player with a wide range (often praised in the European press for hitting those high C’s!), great technical facility, great harmonic invention (he was given an intense classical training), and a rawness and drive to his playing that justifies the Armstrong and Oliver references.

He was the toast of many European capitals in the 1920’s (for many Europeans, he was THE face of Jazz, the man they could see in person, regularly if they wished, a first-rate player and personality who chose to live and work in Europe!) and had a long career as a performer and later as a teacher, interrupted by a few years in a German concentration camp (I wonder if his experience had anything to do with John A. Williams’ novel CLIFFORD’S BLUES, which I have not re-read since it came out in 1997….although a number of the specifics in that book do not match Briggs, I am assuming the Clifford character is a composite with a large dose of fictional invention added).

The experience of jazz musicians (and especially African-American jazz musicians, such as Briggs) who worked primarily overseas as expatriates has always fascinated me, especially those pre-WWII figures like Briggs or Sam Wooding or Danny Polo who recorded extensively overseas. Even figures we don’t think of as expatriates (Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter, for instance) spent a good bit of time in Europe and recorded a good amount there. How exciting it must have been to see Arthur Briggs Savoy Syncops Band at some Paris dance-hall in 1925, or Lud Gluskin’s orchestra at some swanky Swiss resort in 1928 (and let’s not forget those farther afield, such as Buck Clayton’s years in Shanghai, China, in the mid-1930’s). What stories these Americans in Europe must have had to tell…. Well, imagine my surprise when I recently stumbled across more than SIX hours of tape-recorded interviews with Briggs posted online at the Rutgers University Institute for Jazz Studies website. This is a man who worked with such legendary Black pre-jazz figures as Will Marion Cook (whom he knew well), who was in the post-James Reese Europe version of the 369th Regiment Marching Band, who describes in detail the playing of Freddie Keppard in the 1919-1921 period not documented on record, who knew and remembered as if it was yesterday legendary-but-obscure African-American music figures such as Cricket Smith, who knew and worked with Sidney Bechet before Bechet ever recorded, and who has a life and work experience more interesting than any movie or book could contain. Fortunately, you can hear him tell his story, in interview with the very knowledgeable James Lincoln Collier (who did a fine book on Duke Ellington, among many other things). It had me on the edge of my chair! Put it on while you are homebound during the quarantine….you’ll have to re-start the player every 45 minutes as each side of the interview cassette-tapes are presented separately. You’ll be a richer human-being after listening to this!

1982 interview in Paris of ARTHUR BRIGGS by Jazz historian James Lincoln Collier, archived by Rutgers University, Institute of Jazz Studies:

https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/56679/

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Arthur Briggs And His Savoy Syncop’s Orchestra – I’m Coming Virginia (vocal by Al Bowlly), recorded in Berlin, Germany, 1927 (video incorporates footage from an Austrian 1925 silent film in which Briggs and band appeared, Das Spielzeug von Paris, directed by  Miháli Kertész, the man who later emigrated to the US, changed his name, and became the Michael Curtiz who directed CASABLANCA and JAILHOUSE ROCK):

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An amazingly thorough survey of Arthur Briggs career (“correcting” some of the statements he made in the audio interview above–I’ll let this research speak for itself–everyone to some extent fictionalizes their personal narrative to make it more interesting or to fit some personal agenda….he’s not the first or the last), from the Black Music Research Journal, University of Illinois Press:

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/397646

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If you want to see the entire 1925 Austrian silent film Das Spielzeug von Paris, with an English translation of the inter-titles, here it is (Briggs is only in a small section of it, in a club scene, but it’s quite interesting otherwise):

August 7, 2019

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

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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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