Della Reese – Della (1960)

FrontCover1Renowned as both a television star and a top-flight interpreter of jazz, blues, R&B, gospel, and straight-ahead pop music, Della Reese’s many talents ensured a long, varied, and legendary show biz career. In addition to being nominated for both an Emmy and a Grammy, and receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Reese was also an ordained minister in the Universal Foundation for Better Living, an association of churches she helped found in the early ’80s.

Born Deloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931, she began singing in the Baptist church choir in her hometown of Detroit at age six. In 1945, having developed quite rapidly, she caught the ear of legendary gospel queen Mahalia Jackson, who invited her to join her touring choir; Reese did so for the next five summers. Upon entering Wayne State University to study psychology, Reese formed a women’s gospel group, the Meditation Singers, but her college career was cut short by the death of her mother and her father’s serious illness.

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Reese worked odd jobs to help support the rest of her family; she also continued to perform with the Meditation Singers and various other gospel groups. Encouraged by her pastor, Reese began singing in nightclubs in the hopes of getting a singing career off the ground; recently married to a factory worker named Vermont Adolphus Bon Taliaferro, her name was too long to fit on marquees, and she eventually arrived at her performing alias by splitting up her first name. After impressing a New York agent who promptly signed her, Reese moved to New York and joined the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra in 1953. A year later, she had a recording contract with Jubilee, for which she scored hits like “And That Reminds Me,” a 1957 million-seller.

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Switching to RCA Victor, Reese landed her biggest hit in 1959 with “Don’t You Know?,” a song adapted from Puccini’s La Bohème, which cemented her career, leading not only to plentiful appearances on variety shows, but successful nightclub tours of the country and eventually nine years of performances in Las Vegas, as well as recording contracts with a variety of labels over the next few decades.

Building on her previous variety show experience, Reese made a small bit of television history in 1969 when she became the first woman to guest-host The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Later that year, she became the first Black woman to host her own variety show, the syndicated Della, which ran until 1970. Following its cancellation, Reese returned to her nightclub tours, often putting in guest appearances on television shows like The Mod Squad, Sanford and Son, and Chico and the Man; after three prior failed marriages, Reese also found a lasting relationship with producer Franklin Lett, whom she married in 1978.

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On October 3, 1980, while taping a song for The Tonight Show, Reese suffered a brain aneurysm that nearly proved fatal; however, thanks to a successful operation, she was able to make a full recovery. She kept up her singing career and appeared on television shows like Designing Women, L.A. Law, and Picket Fences, as well as the Eddie Murphy films Harlem Nights and The Distinguished Gentleman. Reese also starred in the Redd Foxx sitcom The Royal Family from 1991 to 1992, and garnered what was undoubtedly her highest level of recognition in the inspirational drama series Touched by an Angel, a popular program that ran for nine years, between 1994 and 2003, on the CBS network. After Touched by an Angel finished its run, Reese continued to act intermittently on television until 2014. She died at her home in Encino, California in November 2017 at the age of 86. (by Steve Huey)

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And here´s her 9th album:

Della Reese was never a hardcore jazz singer. Her specialty was traditional pre-rock pop, and unlike jazz-oriented singers — Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae, among many others — she was not improvisation-minded. Therefore, her work must be judged by pop standards instead of jazz standards. Anyone who isn’t a myopic jazz snob realizes that pop standards aren’t necessarily low standards; in fact, traditional pop singers like Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Tony Bennett, and the seminal Bing Crosby have had very high standards. And similarly, Reese brings high pop standards to Della. Recorded in 1959, this excellent album finds Reese backed by an orchestra that Neal Hefti arranged and conducted. Hefti’s presence doesn’t automatically make Della a jazz session, but he provides tasteful arrangements for a pop singer who has jazz, blues, and gospel influences. In 1959, Reese was very much in her prime, and she is quite soulful on performances of “Blue Skies,” “Thou Swell,” and other standards. The singer also tackles “The Lady Is a Tramp,” one of the many gems that Sinatra defined. Reese, to her credit, doesn’t even try to emulate Sinatra’s version; instead, she provides a playful interpretation that is rewarding in its own right. (by Alex Henderson)

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Personnel:
Della Reese (vocals)
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Unknown orchestra conducted by Neil Hefti

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Tracklist:
01. The Lady Is A Tramp (Rodger/Hart) 2.38
02. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight (Creamer/Johnson) 2.51
03. Let’s Get Away From It All (Dennis/Adair) 2.29
04. Thou Swell (Rodger/Hart) 2.28
05. You’re Driving Me Crazy (Donaldson) 2.31
06. Goody Goody (Mercer/Malneck) 3.36
07. And The Angels Sing (Mercer/Elman) 2.42
08. Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home (Warfield/Williams) 3.11
09. I’m Beginning To See The Light (George/Ellington/James/Hodges) 2.27
10. I’ll Get By (Ahlert/Turk) 2.28
11. Blue Skies (Berlin) 1.49
12. Someday (You’ll Want Me To Want You) (Hodges) 5.16

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The official website:
Website

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Julie London – The Best Of Julie London (1992)

FrontCover1Julie London (née Peck; September 26, 1926 – October 18, 2000) was an American singer and actress whose career spanned more than 40 years. A torch singer noted for her sultry, languid contralto vocals, London recorded over thirty albums of pop and jazz standards between 1955 and 1969. Her recording of “Cry Me a River”, a track she introduced on her debut album, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001. In addition to her musical notice, London was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 1974 for her portrayal of nurse Dixie McCall in the television series Emergency!.

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Born in Santa Rosa, California, to vaudevillian parents, London was discovered while working as an elevator operator in downtown Los Angeles, and she began her career as an actress. London’s 35-year acting career began in film in 1944, and included roles as the female lead in numerous westerns, co-starring with Rock Hudson in The Fat Man (1951), with Robert Taylor and John Cassavetes in Saddle the Wind (1958), with Gary Cooper in Man of the West (1958) and with Robert Mitchum in The Wonderful Country (1959).

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In the mid-1950s, she signed a recording contract with Liberty Records, marking the beginning of her professional musical career. She released her final studio album in 1969, but achieved continuing success playing the female starring role of nurse Dixie McCall in the television series Emergency! (1972–1979), in which she acted with her husband Bobby Troup. The show was produced by her ex-husband Jack Webb.

London was a chain smoker from the age of 16 and at times smoked in excess of three packs of cigarettes per day. She suffered a stroke in 1995 and remained in poor health for the following five years. In late 1999, she was diagnosed with lung cancer but forwent treatment due to her weakened physical state. On October 17, 2000, London was rushed from her home to the Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center after choking and struggling to breathe. She died in the hospital in the early morning hours of October 18 of what was later determined to be cardiac arrest; she was 74.

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London was cremated and buried next to Troup in the Courts of Remembrance Columbarium of Providence at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.[62] Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (for recording) is at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a nice compilation:

Julie London´s ravishing beauty and warm, sultry voice made her a singing and acting sensation during the 1950´and 1960´s. Her 1955 recording of Cry Me A River, with its simple, intimate accompaniment of guitar and bass is widely regarded as the definitive interpretation. This album presents this all time classic, along with nineteen more of her most popular recorings (takefrom the linernotes)

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Personnel:
Julie London (vocals)
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many, many studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Come On-A My House (Bagdasarian/Saroyan) 2.39
02. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning (Mann/Hilliard) 2.51
03. Slightly Out Of Tune (Desafinado) (Jobim/Mendonca/Hendricks/Cavanaugh) 2.08
04. I Loves You Porgy (G.Gershwin/Heyward/I,Gershwin) 2.43
05. Hot Toddy (Flanagan/Hendler) 1.52
06. Cry Me River (Hamilton) 3.01
07. More (Theme From “Mondo Cane”) (Newell/Ortolani/Olivero) 2.48
08. Our Day Will Come (Hilliard/Garson) 2.25
09. A Taste Of Honey (Marlow/Scott) 3.23
10. My Heart Belongs To Daddy (Porter) 2.49
11. Love Letters (Young/Heyman) 2.54
12. Midnight Sun (Hampton/Burke/Mercer) 2.31
13. Must Be Catchin’ (Stanley) 2.10
14. Black Coffee (Webster/Burke) 3.00
15. Daddy (Troup) 2.16
16. Blue Moon (Roders/Hart) 2.35
17. Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home (Warfields/Williams) 2.16
18. Sway (Gimbel/Ruiz) 2.38
19. Never On Sunday (Towne/Hadjidakis) 2.25
20. Fascination (Manning/Marchetti) 1.57

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More from Julie London:
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A fan website (now deleted):
Website

Markus Stockhausen & Jasper Van’t Hof Aqua Sansa (1980)

FrontCover1An expressive trumpeter and composer whose broad artistry touches upon jazz, classical, and modern creative music, Markus Stockhausen has earned worldwide recognition for his forward-thinking and varied productions. The son of noted contemporary classical composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and a fixture on the international music scene since the 1970s, Stockhausen gained early exposure working with his father on such pieces as “Hymnen,” “Sirius,” and “Michael’s Reise.” Along with their 25-year partnership, he has collaborated with such luminaries as Arild Andersen, Ferenc Snétberger, and Florian Weber, and has been featured with such esteemed institutions as the London Sinfonietta, the Metropole Orkest, the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Swiss Jazz Orchestra, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, and others. As a composer, he has received commissions from the RIAS Chamber Choir, the London Sinfonietta, the Orchestra d’Archi Italiana, and the Winterthur Chamber Orchestra. Over the years, he has picked up accolades including winning the 1981 Deutscher Musikwettbewerb Prize and taking home the 2005 WDR Jazz Prize as Best Improviser. Highly prolific, he co-leads several groups with his wife, cellist Tara Bouman, and has recorded regularly, issuing albums like 1989’s Aparis on ECM, 1995’s Possible Worlds on CMP, and 2013’s Spaces & Spheres: Intuitive Music on Wergo.

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Born in Cologne, Germany in 1957, Stockhausen actually made his recording debut at age four. He appeared on his father’s recording of Originale as “child at play” along with his sister Christine. He began piano lessons at six, and in 1969 began studying jazz with Manfred Schoof and playing trumpet. In 1975 he added the instrument and flügelhorn to his formal studies in a secondary music school in Cologne. He also played and recorded with the fusion quintet Key. A year later, he played on his father’s masterworks Sternklang and Ceylon/Bird of Passage. Stockhausen collaborated often with his father over the next 25 years (the elder composed several works specifically for him, including Michaels Riese). In 1980, the year before his final examinations, he was as a co-leader with Jasper Van’t Hof on the recording Aqua Sansa; he also won the 1981 Deutscher Musikwettbewerb prize. Still largely unknown, he performed on the Eurythmics’ In the Garden album that year as well (as did members of Can), and studied at the Berlin Philharmonic in 1983.

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Stockhausen recorded for a number of labels during the late ’70s and early ’80s. In 1983, he was featured on his father’s work Donnerstag Aus Licht, and a year later, as a featured collaborator on Rainer Bruninghaus’ Continuum, his first session for ECM. The trumpeter and his brother Simon (saxophonist, synthesist, and composer) co-founded the avant-garde band Kairos in 1985 (it lasted until 1990 and they never recorded). In 1989, Stockhausen appeared on Ralph Towner’s celebrated City of Eyes and made his own ECM debut as a leader with Cosi Lontano…Quasi Dentro. (Gary Peacock and Kairos’ drummer Zoro Babel and pianist Fabrizio Ottaviucci were his sidemen). In 1990, he followed this set with Aparis in collaboration with Simon and Jo Thönes. Two years later, the same band issued Despite the Firefighters’ Efforts. In 1992, ECM released an album of his father’s trumpet concerto Michaels Reise. The ensemble included Markus, Simon, and clarinetist Suzanne Stephens. The composer also provided sound design.

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Between 1993 and 1999, Stockhausen recorded in both classical and jazz settings for several labels. Among the highlights from the period are New Colors of Piccolo Trumpet (EMI Classics, 1993); Possible Worlds (CMP, 1994); Sol Mestizo (ACT, 1996), and Still Light for Paracelsus (MA Recordings, 1996).The trumpeter played in an improvisational jazz trio with bassist Arild Andersen and drummer Patrice Heral, and in 1999, they were joined in the studio by guitarist Terje Rypdal. Their album Karta was issued by ECM in 2000. The same year, Stockhausen also issued Solo I for Aktivraum, followed in 2001 by In Deiner Nähe.

For the first ten years of the new century, Stockhausen directed a concert series called Klangvisionen, with intuitive music in the church of St. Maternus in Cologne. He also remained active recording as a sideman, collaborator, and his own leader dates in a diverse range of projects. He was a featured soloist on the Tiger Dixie Band’s 2003 set Bix; he reunited with the Andersen and Heral trio on Joya for Enja — this time with guitarist Ferenc Snétberger (he also cut a duet album with the axeman for the label in 2007, entitled Streams). For Aktivraum, he recorded nonDUALITY with Simon, a trumpet and string orchestra offering Symbiosis and Symphonic Colours, the latter comprising two dates combined of vanguard jazz and contemporary classical music.

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In 2008, Aktivraum released another reunion of the Stockhausen/Andersen/Heral improv trio, this time with Polish pianist Władysław Sendecki. In 2010, the trumpeter recorded Eternal Voyage with an international sextet that delved into Eastern traditional, Mediterranean folk musics, and bold free improvisation. Universally acclaimed as a bold and bracing new direction, it is also notable because it signaled the beginning of Stockhausen’s working relationship with jazz pianist Florian Weber. Duo concerts followed in their hometown of Cologne, and touring in and around Munich. At first, Stockhausen was the sole composer, but as the relationship grew, Weber brought in tunes and began writing expressly for the duo. Though they originally worked with electronics in addition to their standard instrumentation, they eventually evolved into a strictly acoustic unit.

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Stockhausen continued recording as a featured soloist when not playing with Weber. Over the next couple of years he appeared on recordings by Irmin Schmidt, Stevko Busch, and Angelo Comiso. In 2013, Markus Stockhausen & the Metropole Orkest was released by Intuition. His Wergo album Spaces & Spheres, with Mark Nauseef, Tara Bouman, Stefano Scodanibbio, and Ottaviucci, appeared later that year. Subsequently, the Stockhausen/Weber duo became a more active concern, and while the trumpeter/composer still worked with others, the duo became his primary project. Alba, their debut studio offering, was released by ECM in 2016. The following year, he paired with cellist Jörg Brinkmann and drummer Christian Thomé for the electronics-accented production Far into the Stars. (by Thom Jurek)

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Jasper van ‘t Hof (born 30 June 1947) is a Dutch jazz pianist and keyboard player.

Van ‘t Hof was born in Enschede, Overijssel, Netherlands, and began studying piano at the age of five. He played in jazz bands at school, and by the age of 19 was playing at jazz festivals with drummer Pierre Courbois. In 1969, he became a member of Courbois’ early European jazz rock band Association P.C., with German guitarist Toto Blanke. As part of Piano Conclave he played with pianists George Gruntz, Joachim Kühn, Wolfgang Dauner, and Keith Jarrett.

In 1974, he founded Pork Pie and teamed up with Philip Catherine (guitar), Charlie Mariano (saxophone), Aldo Romano (drums), and Jean-François Jenny Clark (bass guitar). He joined the band Eyeball with saxophonist Bob Malach and violinist Zbigniew Seifert. He had two bands:

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Face to Face with Danish bassist Bo Stief and saxophonist Ernie Watts and Pili Pili featuring African singer Angelique Kidjo. He played keyboards with Archie Shepp, although he is best known for his solo piano playing.

For All About Jazz, John Kelman wrote: “Transitory ‘s high point is the two-part title track. Orchestral in scope despite limited instrumentation, Van’t Hof’s strength as a textural player, comfortably blending impressionistic writing with freer concerns, is in full force. (wikipedia)

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This rare German Avant-Garde Electronic Cosmic Dreamy Jazz LP was composed in 1980 by Markus Stockhausen & Jasper Van’t Hof.

The rare German Avant-Garde Electronic Cosmic Dreamy Jazz LP composed in 1980 by Markus Stockhausen & Jasper Van’t Hof.

Following in the pioneering steps of his father, the legendary Karlheinz Stockhausen, Markus Stockhausen made quite a splash with his first LP Aqua Sansa, recorded with Jasper Van’t Hof. While jazz can be used as a reference point on this highly sought after album from 1980, it’s more appropriate to think of the record in terms of freeform timbral expression. There’s a fourth world, Jon Hassell-esque charm to pieces such as Daybreak while the likes of Takone sport a more eerie, minimalist charm. Either way, it’s a highly worthy reissue for a much vaunted gem of leftfield music. (archeorecordings.bandcamp.com)

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Personnel:
Jasper van’t Hof (keyboards, synthsizer, kalimba)
Markus Stockhausen (trumpet, fluegelhorn)

LPBookletTracklist:
01. Aqua Sansa 9:55
02. Silent Bell 11:47
03. Daybreak 3:20
04. Takone 15:33
05. Conspiration 5:03

Music: Jasper van’t Hof & Markus Stockhausen

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More from Jasper van’t Hof:
More

And here´s another rare album from Markus Stockhausen (click on the cover):
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Brussels Jazz Orchestra & Metropole Orkest – Hommage to Toots Thielemans (2022)

FrontCover1Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans (29 April 1922 – 22 August 2016), known professionally as Toots Thielemans, was a Belgian jazz musician. He was mostly known for his chromatic harmonica playing, as well as his guitar and whistling skills, and composing. According to jazz historian Ted Gioia, his most important contribution was in “championing the humble harmonica”, which Thielemans made into a “legitimate voice in jazz”. He eventually became the “preeminent” jazz harmonica player.

His first professional performances were with Benny Goodman’s band when they toured Europe in 1949 and 1950. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1951, becoming a citizen in 1957. From 1953 to 1959 he played with George Shearing, and then led his own groups on tours in the U.S. and Europe. In 1961 he recorded and performed live one of his own compositions, “Bluesette”, which featured him playing guitar and whistling. In the 1970s and 1980s, he continued touring and recording, appearing with musicians such as Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Werner, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, Mina Mazzini, Elis Regina, Quincy Jones, George Shearing, Natalie Cole, Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Paquito D’Rivera.

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Thielemans recorded the soundtracks for The Pawnbroker (1964), Midnight Cowboy (1969), The Getaway (1972), Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Sugarland Express (1974) and Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977). His harmonica theme song for the popular Sesame Street TV show was heard for 40 years. He often performed and recorded with Quincy Jones, who once called him “one of the greatest musicians of our time.” In 2009 he was designated a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor for a jazz musician in the United States.

Thielemans died in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium, at the age of 94.

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After the announcement, the Netherlands-based jazz and pop orchestra Metropole Orkest, along with American musician Quincy Jones, performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall in Thielemans’ honor. Another concert was performed at the Grand Place, Brussels.

Thielemans was buried on 27 August 2016 in La Hulpe, just outside Brussels. Pianist Kenny Werner read a personal message from U.S. President Barack Obama for his widow, Huguette. It read: “Dear Huguette. I was deeply saddened when I heard about your husband’s passing. I hope that shared memories will soften your suffering. Lift faith from the support of friends and family. Know that you will be in my thoughts for the next days. May Toots’ music lead you and offer you consolation. I’m sure it will do this for all of us.”(wikipedia)

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29 April marked the 100th birthday of Toots Thielemans. To mark the occasion, a major concert was given in memory of this eminent Brussels jazzman, who died in 2016. Kenny Werner, Vince Mendoza, Philip Catherine, the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, the Metropole Orkest and other distinguished guests paid tribute to him. Relive this moment ‘between a smile and a tear’ and discover the interview with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Tutu Puoane and Frank Vaganée.

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The life of Toots Thielemans, from his debut in the cafés of Marolles to the jazz clubs of New York, is the tale of a dizzying rise to stardom. Renowned for his unparalleled whistling, his talent on the guitar and the harmonica, the Brussels-born artist has rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s greats, including Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Sidney Bechet and Elis Regina.

Kenny Werner

To celebrate his 100th birthday, and to honour his memory and legacy, a stage performance by a select few outstanding musicians who knew him well, will focus on the milestones of Toots’ career, from his debuts to his famous American performances, via his Brazilian period. The unique voices of Tutu Puoane, and Brazilian artists Claudio and Ivan Lins, the American duo of Grégoire Maret (harmonica) and Kenny Werner (pianist and composer who will dedicate a new suite to Toots), and our very own Belgian star Philip Catherine, will join Frank Vaganée and Vince Mendoza, directors of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra and the Metropole Orkest respectively, to pay tribute to this legendary ket (street slang for “kid”). (bozar.be)

What a wonderul night, what a wonderull idea to celebrate the one and only Toots Thielemans !

Live at the Bozar, Brussels, Belgium; April 29, 2022. Very good radio broadcast

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Personnel:
Brussels Jazz Orchestra (on 04. – 10.)
Metropole Orkest condiced by Vince Mendoza (on 11. –
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Philip Catherine (guitar on 06. – 08.)
Ivan Lins (vocals on 18. + 19.)
Jos Machtel (bass on 06.)
Grégoire Maret (harmonica)
Tutu Puoane (vocals on 05., 15., 19 + 20.)
Toni Vitacolonna (drums on 06.)
Kenny Werner (piano on 06., 12. – 20.)OrchestraTracklist:
01. Interview with Tutu Puoane 3.10
02. Interviews with Kenny Werner and Philip Catherine 12.40
03. Introduction 0.24
04. Stardust (Carmichael/Parish) 5.56
05. The Man I Love (Gershwin) 7.39
06.Autumn Leaves (Prévert/Kosma) 9.05
07. Dance For Victor (Catherine, arr. Bert Joris) 10.21
08. Three Views Of A Secret (Pastorius) 11.04
09. One Note Samba (de Mendonca/Jobim) 13:12
10. Song For My Lady (Thielemans) 5.10
11. St Louis Blues (WC Handy) 6.35
12. Days Of Wine And Roses (Mancini/Mercer) 6.55
13. The Dolphin (Eça) 13.20
14. Rosa Turbinata (van Otterloo) 4.14
15. Smile (Chaplin) 6.12
16. Old Friend (Thielemans) / Ne Me Quitte Pas (Brell) 7.55
17. Choro Bandido (Lobo/Buarque) 7.19
18. Começar de Novo (Ivan Lins) 7:56
19. Bluesette (Thielemans) 7.01
20. What A Wonderful World (Thiele/Weiss) 5.37

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Brussels Jazz Orchestra

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Gil Evans Orchestra – Great Jazz Standards (1959)

LPFrontCover1Ian Ernest Gilmore Evans (né Green; May 13, 1912 – March 20, 1988) was a Canadian–American jazz pianist, arranger, composer and bandleader. He is widely recognized as one of the greatest orchestrators in jazz, playing an important role in the development of cool jazz, modal jazz, free jazz, and jazz fusion. He is best known for his acclaimed collaborations with Miles Davis. (wikipedia)

A superb jazz arranger and bandleader, Gil Evans rivaled Ellington and Mingus in his ability to provide imaginative frameworks for individual voices within a large orchestra. He wrote elaborate, intricate arrangements that didn’t weaken or threaten his band’s spontaneity. His most renowned work came in the late ’50s, when Miles Davis signed with Columbia and brought Evans into the studio with a large ensemble. The resultant albums — Miles Ahead (1957), Porgy and Bess (1958), Sketches of Spain (1959) — became milestones in the careers of both men. Evans was hardly a purist; he began using electronics in his bands in the ’70s and scandalized some by recording Jimi Hendrix material. His style got looser in later years, with more space and less precision, but certainly his music remained compelling. Evans’ harmonic language, compositional and arranging skill were immense, and he was responsible for many masterpieces through either his arrangements, compositions, or conducting.

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A self-taught musician, Evans led his own group in California during the mid and late ’30s. He remained its arrranger after Skinnay Ennis became bandleader, until he joined Claude Thornhill’s orchestra in 1941 as an arranger. His arrangements of classical bebop compositions helped shape and make Thornhill’s orchestra a topflight band. He stayed until 1948, except for a stretch in the service during the mid-’40s. Evans first worked with Miles Davis in the late ’40s and early ’50s, creating the same magic, but with a smaller combo. He also wrote songs for Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, and Benny Goodman, while conducting albums for Astrud Gilberto and Kenny Burrell.

Evans generated more fireworks later in the ’50s and ’60s with Davis, writing spectacular Gil Evans03arrangements for the albums Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain (later came Quiet Nights). Evans also played piano on some sessions. These, and his 1958 album New Bottle Old Wine remain landmark works. His own intriguing releases in the ’60s included Out of the Cool, Into the Hot, and The Individualism of Gil Evans.

Evans did more writing in the ’70s, penning such works as “Las Vegas Tango,” “Proclamation” and “Anita’s Dance.” He issued more fine albums, such as 1974’s The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix and 1983’s Priestess.

He continued writing, arranging and recording in the ’80s, and for a lengthy period his band was the featured attraction at Sweet Basil’s in New York on Monday nights. Evans recorded for Enja, Mole, and other labels in the ’80s. His 75th birthday concert was held in London in 1987; he died the next year. (by Ron Wynn)

Great Jazz Standards is a jazz album by Gil Evans. It was recorded in New York City at the beginning of 1959 and on 5 February 1959 and released by Pacific Jazz.

After New Bottle, Old Wine – The Great Jazz Composers, Great Jazz Standards was another album by bandleader, arranger, composer and pianist Gil Evans, featuring his arrangements of well-known jazz standards. The sessions took place after a two-week engagement of the Evans Orchestra at the Birdland jazz club in New York. Evans had written arrangements of well-known compositions by Bix Beiderbecke, Thelonious Monk, Don Redman, John Lewis and Clifford Brown. For the production, Evans enlisted some new musicians, such as Elvin Jones and Budd Johnson; other musicians such as Steve Lacy, Johnny Coles, Bill Barber, Jimmy Cleveland, Louis Mucci, and Al Block had worked on previous Evans productions.

Stephanie Stein Crease points out that “this album, like New Bottle, Old Wine, is characterised by a strong rhythmic drive not often associated with Evans’ work, contributed here on most tracks by Elvin Jones.” The album’s first track is Davenport Blues.

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The opening track Davenport Blues highlights trumpeter Johnny Coles; the deep voicings of the brass recall Evans’ collaboration with Miles Davis on Porgy and Bess. Evans opens Straight No Chaser with an introduction whose syncopations and repetitions recall the piece’s composer, Thelonious Monk. Soloists are Coles, Lacy and Curtis Fuller. The pianist begins the ballad Ballad of the Sad Young Men with a blues motif; the soloist in the spiritual-influenced track is trombonist Jimmy Cleveland. The short bop-oriented Joy Spring is followed by the John Lewis classic Django; Gil Evans plays it on piano as a reminiscence of the playing of Lewis and Milt Jackson in the Modern Jazz Quartet in dialogue with Steve Lacy. Another duet by Johnny Coles and Lacy leads into the chorale-like repetition of the opening. Chant of the Weed opens with Budd Johnson’s clarinet; the rest of the track alternates between the characteristics of the Don Redman original and Budd Johnson’s clarinet playing. The final track Theme – the original version of La Nevada, which Evans re-recorded on Out of the Cool in 1960 – begins with a riff figure played by Evans and accompanied by Elvin Jones. Budd Johnson’s solo on tenor saxophone is based on the theme. Another blues-influenced solo is by guitarist Ray Crawford; this is followed by Elvin Jones’ drumming with polyrhythmic figures. The theme returns with the final ensemble playing.

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Evans had worked out the heavily improvisational La Nevada with his band live at Birdland. This was one of the tracks that would remain in the band repertoire for a long time, serving as a vehicle for the soloists’ improvisations and ensemble playing. The arrangement of this modal theme included some orchestral passages and riffs that Gil Evans introduced with his piano playing “to lead the soloist to forge the musical drama. This kind of arrangement – involving sensitised participation by all the musicians, not just the momentary soloist – became increasingly common in Gil [Evans’] work.” The piece later became the signature theme of his big band; it was recorded far more extensively on the follow-up album Out of the Cool. (wikipedia)

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A follow-up to New Bottle, Old Wine, this Gil Evans set has colorful arrangements of five jazz standards plus “Ballad of the Sad Young Men” and Evans’ “Theme.” Using a band consisting of three trumpets, three trombones, a French horn, Bill Barber’s tuba, soprano-saxophonist Steve Lacy (the first important post-swing player on his instrument), tenor saxophonist Budd Johnson (on half of the program), and a four-piece rhythm section (including the leader’s piano), Evans contributes some very memorable written ensemble passages, most notably on “Straight No Chaser.” In addition to Lacy and Johnson, the main soloists are trumpeter Johnny Coles, trombonists Curtis Fuller and Jimmy Cleveland, and guitarist Ray Crawford. Highly recommended. by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Bill Barber (tuba)
Al Block (woodwinds on 01., 02. + 05.)
Eddie Caine (woodwinds on 03. + 04. 06. + 07.)
Dick Carter (bass on  01. – 04.)
Earl Chapin (horn)
Dennis Charles (drums on 01., 02. + 05.)
Jimmy Cleveland (trombone on 03., 04., 06. + 07.)
Johnny Coles (trumpet)
Ray Crawford (guitar on 04., 04., 06. + 07.)
Bill Elton (trombone on 01., 02. + 05.)
Gil Evans (piano)
Curtis Fuller (trombone on 01., 02. + 05.)
Budd Johnson (saxophone, clarinet on 03., + 04.,06. + 07.)
Elvin Jones (drums 03., 04., 06. + 07.)
Steve Lacy (saxophone)
Rod Levitt (trombone on 03., 04., 06. + 07.)
Dick Lieb (trombone on 01., 02. + 05.)
Louis Mucci (trumpet)
Tommy Potter (bass on 03., 04., 06. + 07.)
Allen Smith (trumpet on 01., 02. + 05.)
Danny Stiles (trumpet on 03., 04., 06. + 07.)
Chuck Wayne (guitar on 01., 02. + 05.)

Booklet02ATracklist:
01. Davenport Blues (Beiderbecke) 4.28
02. Straight No Chaser (Monk) 6.22
03. Ballad Of The Sad Young Men (Landesman/Wolf) 4.02
04. Joy Spring (Brown) 2.51
05. Django (Lewis) 8.08
06. Chant Of The Weed (Redman) 4.27
07. La Nevada [a.k.a Theme] (Evans) 6.18

LabelA1

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Inlets

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Willie “The Lion” Smith – Music On My Mind (1966)

FrontCover1William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholf Smith (November 23, 1893 – April 18, 1973), nicknamed “The Lion”, was an American jazz and stride pianist.

William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholf, known as Willie, was born in 1893 in Goshen, New York. His mother and grandmother chose his names to reflect different parts of his heritage: Joseph after Saint Joseph (Bible), Bonaparte (French), and Bertholf (biological father’s last name). William and Henry which were added for “spiritual balance”. When he was three, his mother married John Smith, and Smith was added as the boy’s surname, after his stepfather.

In his memoir Smith reports that his father, Frank Bertholf (incorrectly spelled Bertholoff in many sources), was Jewish. Smith’s New York birth record shows him as William H. Bertholf, with father, Frank Bertholf, a white electrician from nearby Monroe, New York. Smith became at least somewhat conversant in Yiddish and studied Hebrew with children of a Jewish family who were clients of his mother’s. He made his bar mitzvah at age thirteen in Newark.

Jazz and Blues singer Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds (including Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith on piano) pose for a portrait circa 1920 in New York City, New York:
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His mother, Ida Oliver, had “Spanish, Negro, and Mohawk Indian blood”.[1] Her mother, Ann Oliver, was a banjo player and had been in Primrose and West minstrel shows (Smith also had two cousins who were dancers in the shows, Etta and John Bloom).[4] According to Ida, “Frank Bertholoff [sic] was a light-skinned playboy who loved his liquor, girls, and gambling.” She threw Frank out of the house when their son Willie was two years old. After Frank Bertholf died in 1901, his mother married John Smith, a master mechanic from Paterson, New Jersey. When Willie was three, his mother and stepfather added the surname Smith to his legal name. He grew up in a large family with his mother and stepfather in Newark, New Jersey at 76 Academy Street.

John Smith worked for C.M. Bailey, Pork Packers, and he would leave the house around midnight to pick up freshly killed pigs and take them to the packing house. He was supposed to be home by 4 am, but would usually go to bars after work. Eventually, Ida tasked the boy Willie with accompanying his stepfather to work in order to encourage him to come straight home and not go drinking. Willie said he enjoyed this task, but most of the time he had to drive the horses home. He only worked on Fridays and Saturdays, as his mother did not want him to miss school.

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He later wrote in his memoir about being at the slaughterhouse with his stepfather:

I couldn’t stand to see what I saw at the slaughterhouse. I would watch wide-eyed as the squealing pigs slid down the iron rails to the cutter where they were slashed through the middle, with the two halves falling into a tank of hot water. The kill sometimes went to as many as four hundred pigs a night. It was a sickening sight to watch. But the cries from the pigs brought forth an emotional excitement. It was another weird but musical sound that I can still hear in my head. The squeaks, the squeals, the dipping them in hot water, they put them on a hook, take off the head, the legs, going down an aisle—I hear it on an oboe. That’s what you hear in a symphony: destruction, war, peace, beauty, all mixed.

In 1907, the family moved to 90 Bloome Street in Newark. They moved again around 1912, when his stepfather got a new job at Crucible Steel Company, across the Passaic River in Harrison, New Jersey. The job paid more, and Willie was assigned to get him away from work before his bosses got him drunk on his own money.

He attended the Baxter School, rumored to be a school for bad children. The school was notorious for brawls among the ethnic Irish, Italian, and African-American children. One day Willie was in Mrs. Black’s fruit store and was caught with his hand in her register. According to his memoir, Smith had wanted to borrow a dime to see S.H. Dudley’s traveling road show at Blaney’s Theater. The owner shocked Willie by turning him over to the police. Mrs. Black’s son-in-law was the number three tough guy in Newark; reportedly the family hated policemen and generally wouldn’t allow them into their store. Willie was charged in children’s court and sentenced to a ten dollar fine and probation.

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After that incident, he was transferred to Morton School (which had a lot less brawling), and began sixth grade. He attended Barringer High School (then known as Newark High School). In an effort to get the attention of girls, he attempted a variety of sports, including swimming, skating, track, basketball, sledding, cycling, and boxing. He learned to swim in the Morris Canal.

Prizefighting was the sport he was most interested in. Smith has said that “maybe that because I’ve known most of the great fighters from way back. They liked to visit the night clubs … “. He got to kid around with Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Battling Siki, Kid Chocolate, Sam Langford, Joe Gans, Bob Fitzsimmons, Harry Greb, Joe Louis, and Gene Tunney. Fitzsimmons owned a saloon on Market Street in Newark. It was where Smith learned about Stanley Ketchel, Kid McCoy, Benny Leonard, Jimmy Britt, and Charlie Warner.

Smith also joined a gang; their club was called The Ramblers (two members were Abner Zwillman and Niggy Rutman). He was one of two African Americans in the gang; the other was Louis Moss, who Smith called a “sweet talker, who could take his foes apart”. Moss later became known as “Big Sue” and owned a saloon in the Tenderloin, Manhattan. Moss acted as his own bouncer at his club (according to Smith, Moss was 6’4″ and about 240 pounds). Smith used to play piano in his back room to help him out.

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When Willie was about six, he discovered an organ in the basement, which his mother used to play. It had deteriorated and nearly half the keys were missing. After his mother saw he was interested in it, she taught him the melodies she knew. One of the first songs he learned was Home! Sweet Home!. His uncle Rob, a bass singer who ran his own quartet, taught Willie how to dance. The boy entered an amateur dance contest at the Arcadia Theater and won first place, including a prize of ten dollars. After that, he focused more on playing music at the clubs.

Willie Smith07Willie had wanted a new piano very badly, but every time he thought his mother was able to afford it, there was a new mouth to feed. Willie got a job at Hauseman’s Footwear store shining shoes and running errands, where he was paid five dollars a week. “Old Man” Hauseman paid that much because he was pleased that Willie could speak Yiddish and also because Willie wanted to buy a piano with the money. As it turned out, piano sellers Marshall & Wendell’s was holding a contest: the object was to guess how many dots there were in a printed circle in their newspaper advertisement. Willie used arithmetic to help guess the number, won, and was delivered an upright piano the next day. He played the piano from then on. He would play songs he heard in the clubs, including Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin, Cannonball Rag by Joe Northrup, Black and White Rag by George Botsford, and Don’t Hit that Lady Dressed in Green, about which he said “the lyrics to this song were a sex education, especially for a twelve year old boy.”. His other favorites picked up from the saloons were She’s Got Good Booty and Baby, Let Your Drawers Hang Low.

By the early 1910s, he was playing at clubs in New York City and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Smith served in World War I, where he saw action in France. He also played drum with the African-American regimental band led by Tim Brymn, and basketball with the regimental team. Legend has it that his nickname “The Lion” came from his reported bravery while serving as a heavy artillery gunner. He was a decorated veteran of the 350th Field Artillery, a regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers.

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Around 1915, he married Blanche Merrill (née Howard). Smith and Merrill are thought to have separated before Smith joined the army in 1917, where he served as a corporal. But they were listed in the 1920 census as living together in Newark, New Jersey. Merrill was white, and Smith was the only man in their apartment building who was classified as black on this census.

He returned to working in Harlem clubs and at “rent parties”. Smith and his contemporaries James P. Johnson and Fats Waller developed a new, more sophisticated piano style later called “stride”.

In the 1940s, his music found appreciation with a wider audience. Smith toured North America and Europe up to 1971. To leave the US, he needed a birth certificate. He went to the Orange County Courthouse and found it, but discovered that the birth certificate said he was born on November 25, in contradiction to his mother telling him he was born on November 23.

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Smith had 10 brothers and a sister (including half-siblings). His older brother Jerome died at the age of 15. His other older brother, George, became an officer in Atlantic City, and died in 1946. Willie said of George: “Our paths didn’t cross very often in later life. His friends and connections were always on the other side of the fence from mine.” His half-brother Robert owned a bar on West Street in Newark. His half-brother Melvin lived on Mulberry Street in Manhattan. Smith had no idea what became of his other two half-brothers, Norman and Ralph. His other siblings died as children, ranging from ages of three to seven.[1]

As a boy, Smith delivered clean clothes to his mother’s clients, who included a prosperous Jewish family who invited him to sit in on Hebrew lessons on Saturday mornings. Willie made his bar mitzvah in Newark at age thirteen. Later in life he worked as a Hebrew cantor for a Black Jewish congregation in Harlem.

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In his later years, he received frequent honors for his life’s work including a Willie “The Lion” Smith Day in Newark, New Jersey. Smith died at the age of 79 on April 18, 1973, in New York.

The liner notes his 1958 LP The Legend of Willie “The Lion” Smith (Grand Awards Records GA 33-368) state: “Duke Ellington has never lost his awe of the Lion’s prowess.” It quotes Ellington as saying, “Willie The Lion was the greatest influence of all the great jazz piano players who have come along. He has a beat that stays in the mind.” This LP’s cover, features a painting of the Lion by Tracy Sugarman. Ellington attested to his admiration when he composed and recorded “Portrait of the Lion” in 1939.

Orange County (NY) Executive Edward Diana issued a proclamation declaring September 18 Willie “The Lion” Smith Day in Orange County, the date of the first Goshen Jazz Festival. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a great solo performance, recorded at a party for the Saba/MPS Label in Villingen (Black Forrest/Germany)

Known as “the Lion” of the Harlem piano style, Willi Smith was one of the fathers of stride, and a member in good standing of a coterie of certified jazz legends. Throughout the album Smith reminisces about the pianists who congregated in New York and proceeded to revolutionize jazz. His recollections about the music of “my good friends and my pals” as he plays their music are priceless glimpses into the Jazz Age of the ‘20s and ‘30s. The first three pieces are by another one of the founders of Harlem stride, Luckey Roberts; next, Ubie Blake’s beautiful ballad Memories of You, as Smith humming parts of the melody, then Shine with Willi’s off-the-cuff comments and full-tilt ‘rag’ chorus. Smith displays his amazing stride technique on Oh You Devil, and hits the perfect lilting swing to Fats Waller’s hit Keeping Out of Mischief. The Lion plays a medley of three Duke Ellington pieces one after another, as Solitude segues into Sophisticated Lady. Willi’s singing on Some of these Days hints at what it must have been like at one of those whiskey-laced late-night Harlem rent parties. Willi peppers the classic 12th Street Rag with some Harlem stride, and ends with his Theme Song. There’s a cornucopia of jazz evergreens, the nostalgia of peering into the past, and the surprise that there are still discoveries to be made, from what is, after all, great music. The pieces function as an interconnected musical storybook; it is worthwhile to download the complete set. (press release)

Indeed … enjoy this wondeful piano man from thepast !

Recorded at a party in Villingen/Germany November 8th, 1966

BackCover

Personnel.
Willie Smith (piano, vocals)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Moonlight Cocktail (Roberts) 3.03
02. Junk Man Rag (Roberts) 0.19
03. Pork And Beans (Roberts) 3.02
04. Memories Of You (Blake) 3.28
05. Shine (Dabney/Mack/Brown) 3.52
06. Oh You Devil (Smith) 2.55
07. Keeping Out Of Mischief Now (Waller) 1.16
08. Rockin’ In Rhythm (Ellington/Carney/Mills) 0.35
09. Solitude (Ellington/DeLange/Mills) 2.51
10. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington) 1.21
11. At Sundown (Donaldson) 1.57
12. Swingin’ Down The Lane (Jones/Kahn) 1.07
13. Lady Be Good (Gershwin) 1.06
14. Some Of These Days (Brooks) 4.18
15. 12th Street Rag (Bowman) 2.39
16. Theme Song (Smith) 1.00

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Louis Armstrong – The Best Of (1977)

FrontCover1Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed “Satchmo”, “Satch”, and “Pops”, was an American trumpeter and vocalist. He is among the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades and different eras in the history of jazz.

Armstrong was born and raised in New Orleans. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an inventive trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. Around 1922, he followed his mentor, Joe “King” Oliver, to Chicago to play in the Creole Jazz Band [fr]. In Chicago, he spent time with other popular jazz musicians, reconnecting with his friend Bix Beiderbecke and spending time with Hoagy Carmichael and Lil Hardin.

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He earned a reputation at “cutting contests” and his fame reached band leader Fletcher Henderson. Henderson persuaded Armstrong to come to New York City, where he became a featured and musically influential band soloist and recording artist. Hardin became Armstrong’s second wife and they returned to Chicago to play together and then he began to form his own “Hot” jazz bands. After years of touring, he settled in Queens, and by the 1950s, he was a national musical icon, assisted in part, by his appearances on radio and in film and television, in addition to his concerts.

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With his instantly recognizable rich, gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer and skillful improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song. He was also skilled at scat singing. Armstrong is renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice as well as his trumpet playing. By the end of Armstrong’s life, his influence had spread to popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first popular African-American entertainers to “cross over” to wide popularity with white (and international) audiences. He rarely publicly politicized his race, to the dismay of fellow African Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation in the Little Rock crisis. He was able to access the upper echelons of American society at a time when this was difficult for black men.

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Armstrong appeared in films such as High Society (1956) alongside Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra, and Hello, Dolly! (1969) starring Barbra Streisand. He received many accolades including three Grammy Award nominations and a win for his vocal performance of Hello, Dolly! in 1964. In 2017, he was posthumously inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a pretty good low budget compilation with a lot of his classic tunes  (many of them are live recordings !)

Enjoy the roots of Jazz !

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Personnel:
Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals)
+
many, many studio musicians

CD1

Tracklist:
01. Cabaret (Ebb/Kander) 3.11
02. Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Razaf/Waller/Brooks) 4.03
03. Twelfth Street Rag (Bowman) 5.01
04. A Theme From The Threepenny Opera (Mack The Knife) (Blitzstein/Brecht/Weill) 3.22
05. Body And Soul (Heyman7Sour/Green) 3.18
06. Indiana (MacDonald/Hanley) 3.52
07. St. Louis Blues (Handy) 3.04
08. Dardanella (Bernard/Black) 2.49
09. Undecided (Robin/Shavers) 3.34
10. Honeysuckle Rose (Razaf/Waller) 2.58
11. Basin Street Blues (Williams) 5.39
12. Tiger Rag (Original Dixie Jazz Band) 3.35
13. When It’s Sleepytime Down South (L.Rene/O.Rene) 3.25
14. All Of Me (Simons/Marks) 3.57
15. Muskrat Ramble (Ory) 5.47

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The backcover from a CD reissue (1988):
BackCover1More from Louis Armstronng:
More

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Peggy Lee – Gold – The Lady Is A Tramp (2006)

FrontCover1Norma Deloris Egstrom (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002), known professionally as Peggy Lee, was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, over a career spanning seven decades.

From her beginning as a vocalist on local radio to singing with Benny Goodman’s big band, Lee created a sophisticated persona, writing music for films, acting, and recording conceptual record albums combining poetry and music.

Lee recorded over 1,100 masters and composed over 270 songs. (wikipedia)

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Peggy Lee’s alluring tone, distinctive delivery, breadth of material, and ability to write many of her own songs made her one of the most captivating artists of the vocal era, from her breakthrough on the Benny Goodman hit “Why Don’t You Do Right” to her many solo successes that showed her bewitching vocal power, a balance between sultry swing and impeccable musicianship. Lee started out in the early ’40s as the vocalist for the Goodman band, and shortly thereafter became a star in her own right.

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Though she had numerous pop hits, she constantly crossed the line between pop and jazz, and was hailed by numerous critics as one of America’s finest singers in either genre. In addition, Lee was involved in the film world as both an actress and a composer, most actively in the ’50s (she received an Academy Award nomination for her role in Pete Kelly’s Blues). She was a pioneer of the cool vocal style, and best-known for her hit version of the Little Willie John tune “Fever,” off 1958’s Sea Shells. A tireless artist, she continued working until her health gave out in the ’90s. (by John Bush)

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And here´s a low budget album … with many of their songs and hits …

Peggy Lee really had a great smoky voice that never has been duplicated. So, enjoy this trip … another sentimental journey in this blog … with many rare live recordings !

BackCover1

Personnel:
Peggy Leee (vocals)
+
many, many studio musicians

Alternate edition:
Alternate Edition

Tracklist:
01. The Lady Is A Tramp (Rodgers/Hart) 2.15
02. Too Young (Dee/Lippman) 2.09
03. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight (Creamer/Johnson) 1.39
04. These Foolish Things (Link/Marvell/Strachey) 2.20
05. Just One More Chance (Coslow/Johnston) 2.26
06. A Guy Is A Guy (Brand) 1.26
07. Shangai (Hilliard/DeLugg) 2.05
08. If Never Happened To Me (Elly) 2.52
09. Make The Man Love Me (Kelly) 2.16
10. It’s All Over Now (Skylar/Marcotte) 2.41
11. It Takes A Long Long Train With A Red Caboose (Charles/Markes) 2.53
12. Golden Earrings (Young/Livingston/Evans) 2.51
13. Love, Your Magic Spell Is Everywhere (Goulding/Janis) 2.59
14. What Is This Thing Called Love (Porter) 1.46
15. I Got Lucky In The Rain (Adamson/McHugh) 2.18
16. He’s Just My Kind (Huddleston/McIntyre) 3.01
17. Linger In My Arms A Little Longer, Baby (Magidson) 2.46
18. For Sentimental Reasons (Watson/Best) 2.27
19. My Last Affair (Johnson) 2.54
20. I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You) (Dougherty/Reynolds/Neiburg) 2.39

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Liner Notes

Singles

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More from Peggy Lee:
More

The official website:
Website

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Rolf Kühn – And His Sound Of Jazz (1960)

FrontCover1For a German jazz musician to find international recognition as a major player has been and remains a rarity. Clarinetist Rolf Kühn belongs to this elite class. And there are ample grounds for this: he is an exceptional artist on his instrument. No one sounds like him on the clarinet; warm, round and masterful, his tone remains unmistakable no matter what style he may be playing at any given moment. His play resonates with a maturity and wisdom gathered from a long and rich life of musical experiences. Kühn continues to be driven by an unbridled curiosity that compels him to continually stray from familiar paths and tried and true formulas. Yet equanimity and a sense of completeness are as intrinsic to his work as the daring and the adventure of risk-taking.

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Rolf Kühn has absorbed the entire history of jazz. What began with a youthful fascination for swing eventually led him into the freest areas of improvisation, while maintaining an unerring sense of form and quality. Born in Cologne, Kühn grew up in communist-controlled East Germany in the city of Leipzig directly after the second world war. By his late teens, Kühn was already a sought-after soloist by the best German big bands. And he accomplished what no other German was able to do at that time: make the leap to the USA and gain recognition in the country where jazz was born. After being voted Best European Clarinetist, Down Beat magazine named him “New Star on Clarinet” in 1957. Kühn played in the orchestras of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey and even led Goodman’s band in the legendary leader’s absence. Inspired by clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, Kühn found his own, modern language on the instrument.

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Back in West Germany by the beginning of the sixties, Kühn first took over the direction of the NDR television orchestra, and later worked as musical director for such major venues as the Theater des Westens in Berlin. He played in a wide variety of prominent settings, from chamber music groups to the German All Stars on through to collaborations with big bands and symphonic orchestras. Kühn’s play ranges through the modern jazz tradition, fusion, and free jazz, yet he has always remained unmistakable musically, no matter what the style.

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Kühn continues to explore contemporary horizons and dares to venture into new musical territory. In this way, he is like his younger brother, pianist Joachim Kühn. The two had already begun to play together when the 15-year older Rolf would visit his brother behind the Iron Curtain at Joachim’s home in Leipzig. After Joachim made his escape to the West, the Kühn brothers gave a triumphant concert at the Berlin Jazz Days, followed by a performance at the Newport Jazz Festival. Two weeks later they were in New York City recording on the legendary Impulse! label with their festival quartet, which included Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Aldo Romano.In 2012 Rolf and Joachim reconnected with Impulse! with their album “Lifeline”, featuring bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade.

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The albums Rolf Kühn recorded for the MPS label in the 1970 sare now among the milestones of the music, and have become coveted collector’s items. The list of band members on these albums reads like a who’s who of the last half-century. The music spans jazz, fusion, and the avant-garde, as Kühn engages with the crème de la crème. Alphonse Mouzon, Philip Catherine and Wolfgang Dauner, Michael and Randy Brecker, Chick Corea, Charlie Mariano and Dave Liebman, as well as such musical freethinkers as Lee Konitz, Albert Mangelsdorff and Ornette Coleman are among the musicians that join Kühn on the MPS sides.

Kühn’s unending desire to deepen and expand his expressive horizons inspires him to constantly search for new musical adventures. Such recent collaborations as the “Rolf Kühn Unit” with guitarist Ronny Graupe, bassist Johannes Fink and drummer Christian Lillinger have developed into long-term projects. In the process of playing and improvising with musicians young enough to be Kühn’s children and grandchildren, the ‘old master’ passes on his treasure trove of experience to these younger players. In turn, Kühn is inspired by their fresh ideas. It’s truly a band of jazz generations. For his “Spotlights” album, Rolf Kühn decided to incorporate a concept that runs through the entire recording. Cellist Asja Valčić, vocalist Ed Motta, mandolin virtuoso Hamilton de Holanda, and Albrecht Mayer, oboist for the Berlin Philharmonic, were invited to participate in this studio collaboration. The album “Yellow + Blue” also gave the green light to start up a new group. The line-up may look like a “classic” jazz quartet, but with Frank Chastenier on piano, Lisa Wulff on double bass, and percussionist Tupac Mantilla, Rolf Kühn once again demonstrates his inclination towards unusual, exciting constellations that creates hifting sonic images ranging from the gentle to the jarring.

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Characterized by a deep affection and intuitive understanding for each other, Rolf Kühn’s collaboration with brother Joachim is a constant that runs through his work. So it is not surprising that the two were jointly awarded for their life’s work with the Jazz-Echo Prize in 2012 and the German Jazz Trophy in 2018. Rolf was also honored with the German Record Critics’ Award in 2009 and the B.Z. (Berlin Newspaper) Culture Prize in 2013. For his 85th birthday in 2014, an expanded new edition of author Maxi Sickert’s biography on Kühn, “Clarinet Bird: Rolf Kühn – Ein Leben mit Jazz ” was published. In connection with Kühn’s 90th birthday, the premiere of the film documentary “Brüder Kühn. Zwei Musiker spielen sich frei” by acclaimed German filmmaker Stephan Lamby has its premiere. It will be broadcast on Germany’s 3Sat TV station on Saturday evening, September 21, 2019.

Vitality and wisdom, maturity and brilliance – Rolf Kühn’s music is his gift to his continually expanding intergenerational crowd of fans and admirers in the jazz world and beyond. His decades-long presence as a powerful creative force continues with no end in sight.  (Bert Noglik)

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And here´shis second solo-album … recorded in New York, 1960:

I had never previously heard of Rolf Kuhn, but I was intrigued enough by the sidemen on this recording — Jim Hall, Jack Sheldon, Henry Grimes, George Duvivier and Ray Mosca among others — to purchase this album by the jazz clarinetist. The disc, “Rolf Kuhn and his Sound of Jazz,” features four different lineups (and presumably sessions), ranging from quartet up to sextet, all recorded in New York in 1960.

Alternate edition:
Alternate Edition

The material is mostly popular standards in both a bebop and swing style, as the clarinet sound just naturally lends itself to that old-timey jazz sound, though there is a more modern, eastern influence that takes over, especially on the heads of “Istambul” and “Caravan.” While this was my first experience with Kuhn, a little more searching on Amazon yields an impressive discography, including multiple recordings with his brother Joachim, one of which was made for Impulse. (Brad Richman)

Indeed …  a wonderful album by a real great musician !

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Personnel:
John Bunch (keyboards)
Henry Grimes (bass)
Rolf Kühn (clarinet)
Ray Mosca (drums)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Chuck Wayne (guitar)
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George Duvivier (bass bei 02., 04., 08. + 10.)
Jim Hall (guitar bei 03, 07. + 10.)
Don Lamond (drums bei 02., 04., 08. + 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Istanbul (Kennedy/Simon) 4.15
02. Waltzing Matilda (Pateron/Cowan) 3.58
03. Lady Of Spain (Evans/Reaves) 3.44
04. Canadian Sunset (Heywood/Gimbel) 5.19
05. South Of The Border (Kennedy/Carr) 4.10
06. Atlanta, G.A. (Skylar/Shaftel) 5.02
07. A Touch Of Berlin (Leux/Hannes/Balz) 3.08
08. Manhattan (Rodgers/Hart) 4.39
09. Chicago (Fisher) 3.21
10. Caravan (Tizol/Ellington/Mills) 3.57

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The official website:
Website

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Torsten Goods – Irish Heart (2006)

FrontCover1Torsten Gutknecht was born in 1980 in Düsseldorf, the son of a German father and an Irish mother.
The family moved to Erlangen, Germany, where Torsten grew up. Thanks to his mother’s well-
stocked record collection, which included Irish folk songs alongside jazz greats ranging from Duke
Ellington to Oscar Peterson, Gutknecht found an early access into the world of jazz. His first steps as
a guitarist, however, were typically influenced by rock and pop. When he was 14 Gutknecht began to study in earnest. At the age of 17 he found a teacher who could instruct him in the intricacies of improvised music, the acclaimed guitarist Peter O’Mara. Torsten was 17 at the time, and his talent and enthusiasm were obvious. This quickly helped to get him into master classes with some of the greats of the guitar fraternity. While he was still in school he attended workshops given by Jim Hall and John Scofield in New York, and took lessons with the virtuoso gypsy guitarist Bireli Lagrene in
Strasbourg, France.

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This last experience was a major influence on his development.
In 2001 as a 20 year old Gutknecht travelled to New York with a stipend to study at the prestigious New York New School where he studied with Jack Wilkins and Vic Juris. But it was even more important for Torsten to plunge into the musical life of the “Big Apple”. He worked with Seleno Clarke, Barbara Tucker, Reverend Run (from Run DMC), and met George Benson, a major influence who inspired Gutknecht to sing along with his playing. He was also able to perform with guitar legend Les Paul, who also gave him his artist name “Torsten Goods”.

Before his stay in New York, Goods had been working with no less energy and determination in Germany. In 2000 he became a member of the German Youth Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Peter Herbolzheimer, and shortly thereafter – before his graduation – he recorded the first album under his own name, in 2001, “Manhattan Walls” (Jardis), with Tony Lakatos, Davide Petrocca, Dejan Terzic, Guido May, Jan Eschke, Andreas Kurz, and Rick Keller.
In 2004 there followed “Steppin” (Jazz4ever). His band at that time, which consisted of Jan Miserre, Marco Kühnl, and Christoph Huber, was augmented by crack German players Olaf Polziehn, Martin Gjakonovski, Dejan Terzic, Tony Lakotos, Johannes Enders, and Lutz Häfner. The album was nominated for the German Record Critics’ Award, and international critics acclaimed Goods as an “emerging new force in the jazz scene.

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Shortly after, in 2005 Goods was the only European to be chosen by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter for the final round of the “Thelonious Monk Jazz Guitar Competition” in Washington D.C. Since then Torsten Goods has been touring extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and the USA. During this period he has worked with the likes of Bob James, Chris Potter, James Genus, Terri Lyne Carrington, Barbara Tucker, Dawn Tallman, Marcus Fugate, Jimmy Bruno, John Ruocco, Johannes Faber, Leszek Zadlo and Patrick Scales.

In 2006 Goods began to work exclusively as an artist for ACT. His ACT debut, “Irish Heart” on which he delves into his Irish roots, marked a decisive breakthrough: not only did it
introduce him wider public, first and foremost he became recognized as a singer. Goods is not only equipped with a virtuoso guitar technique – he also has an exceptionally sensitive and expressive singing voice that is at home with the blues as well as swing and pop. The “Irish Heart” tour took him through not only Germany, it also brought him invitations to some of the major European festivals such as the Paris Jazz Festival, Jazz Baltica, the Leverkusen Jazz Days, Burghausen Jazz Weeks, JazzKaar Estonia, the Pure Jazz Festival in Den Haag, the Traumzeit-Festival and Competitions in Brussels as well as the London International Jazz Competition, the Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition, and the European Guitar Award in Dresden.

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With his second ACT album, “1980”, Goods once again substantially extends the range of his music. With adaptations of the works of outstanding artists from 1980 (the year Goods was born) along with his own compositions, Goods follows on the tracks of such great jazz guitarists and singers as Al Jarreau and Michael Bublé.
In June 2013 the long-awaited fifth album “Love Comes To Town” was released on
ACT. The new CD was produced by Nils Landgren. Besides him other well-known guests like Till Brönner, Wolfgang Haffner, Magnus Lindgren, Ida Sand and Viktoria Tolstoy appear on the album.
On “Love Comes To Town” Torsten Goods refers to his musical roots in blues, jazz and R&B while simultaneously focusing on the future as a matured artist. The album was well received in Germany for its groovy pop jazz-sound that was even compared to George Benson. (Press release)

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And here´s his second solo-alum:

After his album “Steppin'”, which was nominated for the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik”, the young Torsten Goods from Erlangen presents another musical masterpiece. Excellently recorded and rearranged classics meet Irish traditionals and original compositions by the artist. I find the latter particularly successful. With the traditionals, the half-breed Torsten Goods skilfully ties in with his Irish roots. The cover versions are also very successful, although there are too many of them (!!!) on the album, which should not please the jazz police at all, especially since the whole thing seems to be pressed into a stiff corset, which, on the other hand, should probably be the purpose of a concept album like “Irish Heart” (compare Viktoria Tolstoy’s “My Swedish Heart”). Vocally, Torsten Goods sings and skats his way skilfully through all the highs and lows with his pleasantly warm voice. Till Brönner will have to dress warmly. His playing is excellent, the harmony between the musicians can also be heard.

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Stylistically, however, Goods has distanced himself from his Afro-American idols such as George Benson with this album, but this is to be seen as positive, as he shows with this album how versatile he is. If you are inclined towards pop-jazz, you will like Torsten Goods. With Kristiina Tuomi, the new high-flyer in the German jazz Olympus. The only shortcomings: the aforementioned strict repertoire selection with a high proportion of covers, which is probably due to the new record company Goods is now signed to, and perhaps the less than successful cover photo, in which the otherwise cheerful and open Torsten Goods looks very gloomy. But that is a matter of taste. (Grimbold)

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Besetzung:
Torsten Goods (guitar, vocals)
Christoph Huber (drums)
Marco Kühnl (bass)
Jan Miserre (keyboards)
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Max Grosch (violin, viola bei 02.)
Henning Sieverts (cello bei 02.)
Julian Wasserfuhr (flugelhorn bei 03.)
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The Jürgen Neudert Big Band (bei 04., 06., + 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Sweet North (Goods) 4.43
02. No Religion (Morrison) 5.20
03. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? (Morrison) 5.29
04. Moondance (Morrison) 4.23
05. She Moved Through The Fair (Traditional) 4.23
06 The End Of The Line (Goods) 3.58
07. Carrickfergus (Traditional) 7.05
08. What Makes The Irish Heart Beat (Morrison) 4:16
09. Riverdance (Whelan) 6.42
10. I’m Gonna Go Out Fishing (Goods) 2.55
11. The Londonderry Air (Traditional) 4.28

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The official website:
Website