Woody Herman & His Orchestra – At The Woodchoppers Ball (1965)

FrontCover1.JPGWoody Herman, byname of Woodrow Charles Herman, (born May 16, 1913, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. – died October 29, 1987, Los Angeles, California), American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, bandleader, and singer who was best known as the front man for a succession of bands he dubbed “herds.”

Herman was a child prodigy who sang and danced in vaudeville at age six. Soon after, he began playing the saxophone and later the clarinet. Billed as the “Boy Wonder of the Clarinet,” he cut his first record, “The Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia,” at age 16. After studying music at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for a term, Herman became a touring musician, joining the Tom Gerun band in 1929. In 1934 he became part of the Isham Jones Juniors; when it disbanded in 1936, Herman used its most talented sidemen to form his own ensemble, which he publicized as the “Band That Plays the Blues.” The group was propelled to stardom in 1939 with the success of “Woodchopper’s Ball.” More than a million copies of the song were sold, and it became Herman’s theme.

During the 1940s Herman’s band, then known as Herman’s Herd, was noted for its exuberance and technical brilliance. It had its own radio show, appeared in motion pictures (such as New Orleans, 1947), and in 1946 performed Igor Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto at Carnegie Hall.

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As did many other bandleaders after World War II, Herman dissolved his band in 1946, but within months he formed his Second Herd, featuring tenor saxophonists Zoot Sims and Stan Getz. (Getz attained stardom with his solo on Herman’s “Early Autumn.”) The band pioneered the combination of three tenor saxophones and one baritone saxophone and became identified with the song “Four Brothers,” which used that grouping. Herman at this time was also one of the few big band leaders to incorporate bebop-tinged material into his repertoire, as on the hit “Caldonia,” which featured Herman’s eccentric vocals. After the Second Herd disbanded in 1949, Herman continued to form and lead his “Thundering Herds.”

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During the 1960s and ’70s, Herman became stylistically more eclectic, using material by artists as diverse as Charles Mingus and the Beatles. He performed live concerts continuously throughout the 1970s and ’80s and in 1986 released Woody Herman and His Big Band 50th Anniversary Tour. Although his struggles with tax authorities drastically affected his later activities, he retained his reputation as a superb leader and organizer until the end. An autobiography, The Woodchopper’s Ball (cowritten with Stuart Troup), was published posthumously in 1990. (by britannica.com)

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Original front + back cover from 1962

And here´s a low-budget album by Woody Herman, first released in 1963. But … this is rare live recording (date and location unknown, maybe from 1962 but … who knows ?) …

Enjoy this exciting and thrilling sound of one of the greatest in the Big Band Jazz scene …

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Alternate front + back cover

Personnel:
Bob Clark (trumpet)
John Coppola (trumpet)
Jim Gannon (bass)
Jake Hanna (drums)
Bill Harris (trombone)
Woody Herman (clarinet, saxophone)
Pete Jolly (piano)
Arno Marsh (saxophone)
Archie Martin (trombone)
Jay Migliori (saxophone)
Andy Peele (trumpet)
Roger Pemberton (saxophone)
Hal Posey (trumpet)
Joe Romano (saxophone)
Danny Stiles (trumpet)
Roy Wiggins (trombone)

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Tracklist:
01. Natchel Blues (Roland) 4.41
02. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Russell/Ellington) 4.19
03. Body And Soul (Heyman/Eyton/Green/Sour) 5.05
04. Ready, Get Set, Jump (Roland) 4.57
05. At The Woodchoppers Ball (Bishop/Herman) 4.36
06. Opus De Funk (Silver) 5.23
07. Park East (Roland) 4.25
08. Saxy (Roland) 3.13

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More from Woody Herman:

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Duke Ellington – Jumpin´ Punkins (1965)

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Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.

Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward and gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Although widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase “beyond category” as a liberating principle and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music rather than to a musical genre such as jazz.

Some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington’s orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered to be among the best players in the idiom. Ellington melded them into the best-known orchestral unit in the history of jazz. Some members stayed with the orchestra for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm recording format, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his pieces having become standards. Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol’s “Caravan”, and “Perdido”, which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. In the early 1940s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or suites, as well as additional short pieces. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major revival and embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in several films, scored several, and composed a handful of stage musicals.

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Ellington was noted for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and for his eloquence and charisma. His reputation continued to rise after he died, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in 1999. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a fine sampler from his early to mid-1940s period. We hear “16 rare sides from his 1940/1941 band” …

And it´s another chance to hear all these charming Big Band tunes from one of the geatest Jazz musicians of the last century.

My copy is from Italy … so all the liner notes are in Italian.

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Original US front + back cover

Personnel:
Ivie Anderson (vocals)
Barney Bigard (saxophone, clarinet)
Jimmy Blanton (bass)
Lawrence Brown (trombone)
Harry Carney (saxophone, clarinet)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Sonny Greer (drums)
Fred Guy (guitar)
Otto Hardwick (saxophone, clarinet)
Johnny Hodges (saxophone)
Wallace Jones (trumpet)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin, vocals)
Joe Nanton (trombone)
Rex Stewart (cornet)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Juan Tizol (trombone)
Ben Webster (saxophone)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)

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Tracklist:
01. Conga Brava (Ellington/Tizol) 2.55
02. Me And You (Ellington) 2.52
03. Dusk (Ellington) 3.13
04. Blue Goose (Ellington) 3.18
05. Five O’ Clock Whistle (Gannon/Myrow/Irwin) 3.15
06. The Sidewalks Of New York (Lawlor/Blake) 3.10
07. After All (Strayhorn) 3.16
08. John Hardy’s Wife (Ellington) 3.23
09. Jumpin’ Punkins (Mercer/Ellington) 3.41
10. Are You Sticking ? (Ellington) 3.04
11. The Giddy Bug Gallop (Ellington) 3.29
12. Chocolate Shake (Webster/Ellington) 2.53
13. Clementine (Strayhorn) 2.58
14. Jump For Joy (Webster/Ellington/Kuller) 2.53
15. Bli-Blip (Kuller/Ellington) 3.03
16. Five O’ Clock Drag (Ellington) 3.09

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“Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974)

Various Artists – London Jazz Scene – The 30´s (1969)

FrontCover1.JPGThis is a very intersting sampler … that take us back to the London Jazz scene in the 30´s of the last century:

Lew Stone (28 May 1898 – 12 January 1969) was a bandleader and arranger of the British dance band era, and was well known in Britain during the 1930s.

Stone learned music at an early age and became an accomplished pianist. In the 1920s, he worked with many important dance bands. Some arrangements attributed to Stone can be heard on particular records by the Savoy Orpheans (1927) and Ray Starita and his Ambassador’s Band (1928).

During 1927–1931, Stone’s arrangements for the Bert Ambrose Orchestra made it virtually the best in Europe. The HMV discs are today sought after as much for those arrangements as for the superb instrumentalists or vocals.

Stone continued to work with other bands like Jack Hylton’s and Jack Payne’s BBC Dance Orchestra, and he also took several top musicians into the studio to make a few recordings that were issued on the Duophone label as ‘Lewis Stone and his Orchestra’.

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Roy Fox’s Band opened at the Monseigneur Restaurant in 1931 and Stone took up the position of pianist and arranger. When Fox became ill in October he was sent to Switzerland to rest and Stone assumed leadership of the band. The main vocalist at the Monseigneur was the very popular Al Bowlly who had already sung on over 30 recordings.

When Fox returned to London in April 1932, he found that his band was the most popular in the city. A contemporary article in The Gramophone magazine described events.

In 1932, Stone also worked with a studio band and several recordings were issued on the flexible Durium Records featuring vocals by Al Bowlly, Sam Browne and Les Allen. Some of the arrangements on Durium were by Stan Bowsher.

LewStone02In October 1932, when Roy Fox’s contract at the Monseigneur ended, Stone was offered the post of bandleader and this story filled the pages of the music press. An article from Rhythm magazine describes how this happened.

The Tuesday night broadcasts from the Monseigneur established Stone’s band as a great favourite with the listening public, who recognised the sheer quality of the music, and the royal clientele attracted an unsurpassed reputation. Rave reviews were common in the music press, for example Melody Maker.

The popularity of vocalist Al Bowlly increased; he was a regular on broadcasts, his name was credited on many of the Decca records and he toured with the band including an appearance before of royalty at the London Palladium.

In 1933, Stone’s Monseigneur Band was involved in a competition designed to test the popularity in Britain of British vs US dance bands. It was run by the ‘News Chronicle’ newspaper and was based on the sales of specially recorded dance tunes by Stone’s band, Jack Hylton’s, Guy Lombardo’s and Wayne King’s. The songs were “What More can I Ask?” and “Can’t We Meet Again?”.

From late 1931 until 1934, Stone was also musical director for British & Dominions Film Corporation, working mostly from Elstree Studios, and later worked with other film companies. About 40 pre-1947 films which involved Stone with his band or as Musical Director are included in the listings of British musical films on the British Dance Bands on Film, British Entertainers on Film, British Musical Directors website.

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In November 1933, Stone transferred his band to the Cafe Anglais and in February 1934 started a very successful tour for the Mecca Agency. The band returned to the Monseigneur in March 1934 until the summer when the Monseigneur was sold to become a cinema. In September 1934, Al Bowlly and Bill Harty left to join Ray Noble in USA.

For about a year from November 1934, Stone moved to the Regal Zonophone record label, continued with theatre tours, and the band was resident for a time at the Hollywood Restaurant. Alan Kane became the main vocalist while there were also vocal contributions from Nat Gonella, Joe Ferrie, Tiny Winters and Joe Crossman. When Gonella left to concentrate on his own Georgians band in March 1935, trumpeter Tommy McQuater joined Stone’s band. On 12 October, Stone featured Sam Browne as vocalist for the first time with “Cheek To Cheek” and Isn’t This A Lovely Day?. In November, Stone and his band returned to the Decca record label.

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In 1936, Stone stopped touring and formed a smaller band which opened on 30 March at the Cafe de Paris. The band also began to broadcast regularly for commercial radio stations Radio Normandy and Radio Luxembourg. In October, Stone became musical director for the show On Your Toes (opened February 1937). The band continued at the Cafe de Paris until 31 July 1937. In September, Stone became musical director of the show Hide and Seek at the London Hippodrome starring Cicely Courtneidge and Bobby Howes.

Al Bowlly returned to England at the end of 1937 and in February 1938 he began recording with Stone again. Recordings with Bowlly in 1938 are as good as those made during the earlier years. Stone’s band played music of all kinds, for all tastes, and for all the dance tempos, but today it is particularly their playing of the sentimental ballads that is recognised and in demand for re-issue on CD, especially the titles featuring Bowlly. In his own arrangements, Stone was particularly careful to match Bowlly’s voice with appropriate ensemble phrasing and short instrumental solos resulting in very pleasant recordings which make much more satisfying listening than many other bands’ recordings of the standard tunes.

LewStone05Stone was not afraid to work with modern music and was also an innovator. His recordings of the Gene Gifford/Casa Loma Orchestra titles are not mere copies but careful interpretations which make full use of the superb musicians in his band. The skills of Lew Davis, Joe Crossman and Nat Gonella are particularly evident on several of Stone’s earlier jazz titles, some of which were issued in USA.

In June 1938, the band was the first name band to play at Butlins Holiday Camps and in September they were back at The Cafe de Paris and broadcasting regularly from there.

In October, Stone became musical director for the Jack Hulbert show Under Your Hat which continued into 1939 and featured the Rhythm Brothers (Clive Erard, Jack Trafford, Frank Trafford). His band played at the El Morocco Club, London.

In June 1940, Stone opened at the Dorchester Hotel with a seven piece band which he led on the novachord. This band was much praised for its original style. Later Stone also made several records with his jazz group the Stonecrackers which featured Britain’s finest soloists. Broadcasting and recording with his large band continued and he toured the country during the rest of the war years.

After the war, his band resided at various places including The Embassy Club, The Pigalle Restaurant and Oddenino’s Restaurant up to 1955. In this period he made several recordings with the King of Jiddish Music Leo Fuld. Stone continued to work round the ballrooms and broadcast with his fourteen piece band until 1959 when the BBC told him that he could not expect to broadcast as frequently as he would wish unless he reduced the size of his band. So, Lew Stone and his sextet was born.

For the next eight years they played frequently for ‘Music While You Work’ also appearing weekly, for nearly two years in ‘The Bands Played On’- a breakfast-time programme. Lew was also concentrating on his entertainments agency in the 1960s.

At the time of his death in 1969 Stone’s music from the 1930s was just beginning to gather a whole new following.

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Benjamin Baruch Ambrose (11 September 1896 – 11 June 1971), known professionally as Ambrose or Bert Ambrose, was an English bandleader and violinist. Ambrose became the leader of a highly acclaimed British dance band, Bert Ambrose & His Orchestra, in the 1930s.

Ambrose was born in Warsaw in 1896, when it was part of the Russian Empire. After a time the family moved to London. They were Jewish, his father being registered as a “Dealer in rags” in the 1911 UK census, where Ambrose was named as “Barnett’ (a “Violin musician student”). He began playing the violin while young, and travelled to New York with his aunt. He began playing professionally, first for Emil Coleman at New York’s Reisenweber’s restaurant, then in the Palais Royal’s big band. After making a success of a stint as bandleader, at the age of 20 he was asked to put together and lead his own fifteen-piece band. After a dispute with his employer, he moved his band to another venue, where they enjoyed considerable popularity.

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While at the Palais Royal, on 5 June 1918, he registered for the draft (Local Board Division 169, City of NY NY, 144 St Nicholas Ave; Registration 232). He gave as his date of birth 11 September 1896; place of birth Warsaw, Russia; nationality Russian; father’s birthplace Grietza, Russia; place of employment Palais Royal, 48th Street & Broadway; nearest relative Mrs Becky Ambrose, mother, 56 “Blaksley” Street, London, England. He signed as “Bert Ambrose”. The registrar recorded medium height, medium build, brown hair, brown eyes and no physical disability that would render him exempt from the draft.

In 1922, Ambrose returned to London, where he was engaged by the Embassy Club to form a seven-piece band. He stayed at the Embassy for two years, before walking out on his employer to take up a much more lucrative job in New York. After a year there, besieged by continual pleas to return from his ex-employer in London, in 1925 he was finally persuaded to go back by a cable from the Prince of Wales: “The Embassy needs you. Come back—Edward”.

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This time Ambrose stayed at the Embassy Club until 1927. The club had a policy of not allowing radio broadcasts from its premises, however, and this was a major drawback for an ambitious bandleader, largely because the fame gained by radio work helped a band to gain recording contracts (Ambrose’s band had been recorded by Columbia Records in 1923, but nothing had come of this). He therefore accepted an offer by the May Fair Hotel, with a contract that included broadcasting.

During his time at the Embassy, he married “Kathryn Lucille otherwise Kitty Brady”, a 24-year-old Irish-American from New Jersey, on 20 January 1924. Oddly, he is named and signed as “Bernard Ambrose”, a 27-year-old “Musical Director”, on the marriage certificate. They had two daughters, Patricia S (b. 1931) and Monica J (b. 1933).

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Ambrose stayed at the May Fair for six years, during which time the band made recordings for Brunswick Records, HMV and Decca. He teamed up with Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, along with an American harmony song trio, the Hamilton Sisters and Fordyce (aka Three X Sisters), to record songs including “My Heart Stood Still” among others. This period also saw the musical development of the band, partly as a result of Ambrose’s hiring of first-class musicians, including Sylvester Ahola, Ted Heath, Joe Crossman, Joe Jeannette, Bert Read, Joe Brannelly, Dick Escott and trumpeter Max Goldberg.

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In 1933, Ambrose was asked to accept a cut in pay at the May Fair; refusing, he went back to the Embassy Club, and after three years there (and a national tour), he rejected American offers and returned to the May Fair in 1936. He then went into partnership with Jack Harris, an American bandleader, and in 1937 they bought a club together, Ciro’s Club. For three months they even employed Art Tatum there, to some the greatest jazz pianist who ever lived. Ambrose and Harris alternated performances at Ciro’s until a disagreement led to the rupture of their partnership. Ambrose then worked at the Café de Paris until the outbreak of the Second World War, when he again went on tour.

His major discovery in the years leading up to the war was the singer Vera Lynn (b. 1917), who sang with his band from 1937 to 1940 and, during the war, became known as the “Forces’ Sweetheart”. Lynn married Harry Lewis, a clarinettist in the band, in 1939. Other singers with the Ambrose band included Sam Browne, Elsie Carlisle, Denny Dennis, who recorded a number of duets with Vera Lynn, Max Bacon (also the band’s drummer), Evelyn Dall and Anne Shelton, with whom “When That Man is Dead and Gone”, a jibe at Adolf Hitler, written by Irving Berlin, was recorded in 1941. Ambrose’s signature tune was “When Day is Done”.

BertAmbrose04After a short period back at the May Fair Hotel, Ambrose retired from performing in 1940, although he and his orchestra continued to make records for Decca until 1947. Several members of his band became part of the Royal Air Force band, the Squadronaires, during the war. Ambrose’s retirement was not permanent, however, and he formed and toured with the Ambrose Octet, and dabbled in management.

In the mid-1950s, despite appearances in London’s West End and a number of recordings for MGM, Ambrose, in common with other bandleaders, was struggling because rock and roll had arrived. He was forced to start performing in small clubs with casual musicians, and his financial position deteriorated catastrophically. His situation was saved, however, by his discovery of the singer Kathy Kirby (1938–2011), whom he heard singing at the age of 16 at the Ilford Palais. He started a long personal relationship with Kirby and promoted her career.

It was during the recording of one of Kirby’s television programmes (at the Yorkshire Television studios) that Ambrose collapsed, dying later the same night in Leeds General Infirmary. His music was kept alive after his death by, among others, Radio 2 broadcasters Alan Dell and Malcolm Laycock, the latter continuing to play his records into the 21st century. His records, especially from his many 78-rpm records and Radio Luxemburg recording , still regularly feature on Australian radio 8CCC-FM’s long-running nostalgia programme “Get Out Those Old Records”, hosted by Rufl.

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Specialist dance band radio stations, such as Radio Dismuke and Swing Street Radio, continue to play his records. Ambrose also features regularly on the Manx Radio programme Sweet & Swing, presented by Howard Caine.

Ambrose was commemorated in 2005 by a blue plaque unveiled on the May Fair Hotel. (by wikipedia)

What a wonderful trip in the history of the past, in the history of the golden days of Big Band Jazz !

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Alternate labels

Personnel:

Ambrose & His Orchestra:
Billy Amstell (saxophone)
Max Bacon (drums)
Dick Ball (bass)
Bert Barnes (piano)
Joe Brannelly (guitar)
Eric Breeze (trombone)
Les Carew (trombone)
Lew Davis (trombone)
Joe Ferrie (trombone)
Max Goldberg (trumpet)
Albert Harris (guitar)
Ted Heath (trombone)
Joe Jeanette (saxophone)
Tommy McQuater (trumpet)
Alfie Noakes (trumpet)
Sid Phillips (saxophone)
Danny Polo (saxophone, clarinet)
Dennis Radcliffe (trumpet)
Tony Thorpe (trombone)
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Eddie Carroll (piano on 04.)
Clinton French (trumpet on 05.)
Jack Simpson (timpani on 05., xylophone on 04. + 05.)

The Lew Stone Band:
Harry Berly (saxophone, viola)
Al Bowlly (guitar)
Joe Crossman (saxophone, clarinet)
Lew Davis (trombone)
Jim Easton (saxophone, clarinet)
Nat Gonella (trumpet)
Billy Harty (drums)
Monia Liter (piano)
Alfie Noakes (trumpet)
Ernest Ritte (saxophone)
Tiny Winters (bass)
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Don Barrigo (saxophone on 09.)
Harry Berly (saxophone on 09.)
Tommy McQuater (trumpet on 09.)
Bill Mulraney (trombone on 09.)
Barry Wicks (drums on 09.)

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Tracklist:

Ambrose & His Orchestra:
01. Embassy Stomp (Barnes) 2.41
02. Caravan (Ellington/Mills/Tizol) 2.36
03. Deep Henderson (Rose) 3.15
04. Hors D’Oeuvre (Comer) 3.12
05. The Night Ride (Phillips) 2.59
06. Cotton Pickers’ Congregation (Phillips) 3.07
07. Copenhagen (Davis/Melrose) 3..01

The Lew Stone Band:
08. White Jazz (Gifford) 3.08
09. St Louis Blues (Handy) 2.40
10. Nagasaki (Warren/Dixon) 2.50
11. Milenberg Joys (Rose/Morton/Roppolo/Mares) 3.03
12. Blue Jazz (Gifford) 2.59
13. Serenade For A Wealthy Widow (Foresythe) 3.08
14. Tiger Rag (Original DixieLand Jazz Band) 3.08

01 3rd January 1935
02, 03, 06 8th July 1937
04 4th January 1935
05 29th June 1936
07 30th July 1935
08, 12 3rd November 1933
09 9th November 1935
10 24th October 1933
11, 13 16th May 1934
14 9th January 1934

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Swingin´ London in the 30´s

Hubert Laws – Crying Song (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgCrying Song is an album by jazz flautist Hubert Laws released on the CTI label featuring performances of popular music (including songs by The Beatles and Pink Floyd) by Laws recorded in Memphis with Elvis Presley’s rhythm section and at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio.

Hubert Laws occupies rather an ambivalent position in critical estimation. He was very unusual in concentrating on the flute but signing for Creed Taylor and his band of Memphis Soul specialists should have orientated him squarely in the vanguard of late 1960s Jazz. If the precedent was another elite flautist, Herbie Mann – who’d already had a hit single for Atlantic – then the decision was sound. This album, made in 1969, didn’t seem somewhat incongruous stylistically at the time – and they did, to many people – they certainly do today.

That’s not to denigrate Laws, whose tone is utterly ravishing throughout, but the attempt in the first album, Crying Song, to construct a pop album with fringe Memphis and Country Soul stylings was never going to satisfy the purists. Others, such as Keith Jarrett and Gary Burton, were naturally situated along Country Roads and their albums of the late 60s showed strong affinities for the genre within a broader musical context. But Laws’ first album, despite the presence of stellar sidemen such as Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, and on several tracks George Benson – along with a raft of other superb players – fails to cohere. Country Soul, the Monkees, mild Psychedelia, the Bee Gees and Lennon/McCartney with sitar impersonations; well, it’s a big ask for much of this to stand the sterner tests of time. (Jonathan Woolf)

I guess, this album deserves a chance … it´s a pretty good gently Jazz album including a wonderful version of “Let It Be”.

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Personnel:
George Benson (guitar)
Garnett Brown (trombone)
Ron Carter (bass)
Gene Chrisman (drums)
Art Clarke (saxophone)
Billy Cobham (drums)
Bobby Emmons (organ)
Bob James (keyboards)
Hubert Laws (flute)
Mike Leech (bass)
Seldon Powell (saxophone)
Ernie Royal (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Ed Shaughnessy (tabla, sand blocks)
Marvin Stamm (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Tony Studd (trombone)
Grady Tate (drums)
Bobby Wood (piano)
Reggie Young (guitar)
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violin:
Lewis Eley – Paul Gershman – George Ockner – Gene Orloff – Raoul Pollikoff – Matthew Raimondi – Sylvan Shulman – Avram Weiss
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cello:
Charles McCracken – George Ricci

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Tracklist:
01. La Jean (Christopher) 2.30
02. Love Is Blue/Sing A Rainbow (Popp/Hamilton) 3.23
03. Crying Song (Waters) 4.53
04. Listen To The Band (Nesmith) 3.21
05. I’ve Gotta Get A Message to You (B.Gibb/R.Gibb/M.Gibb) 3.08
06. Feelin’ Alright (Mason) 2.32
07. Cymbaline (Waters) 3.52
08. How Long Will It Be? (Laws) 6.09
09. Let It Be (Lennon/McCartney) 3.32

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Alternate front + back cover

Dorothy Ashby – Concierto De Aranjuez (1983)

FrontCover1.jpgDorothy Jeanne Thompson (August 6, 1932 – April 13, 1986) better known as Dorothy Ashby, was an American jazz harpist and composer. Hailed as one of the most “unjustly under loved jazz greats of the 1950’s” and the “most accomplished modern jazz harpist,”[6] Ashby established the harp as an improvising jazz instrument, beyond earlier use as a novelty or background orchestral instrument, proving the harp could play bebop as adeptly as the instruments commonly associated with jazz, such as the saxophone or piano.

Ashby had to overcome many obstacles during the pursuit of her career. As a black woman musician in a male dominated industry, she was at a disadvantage. In a 1983 interview with W. Royal Stokes for his book Living the Jazz Life, she remarked of her career, “It’s been maybe a triple burden in that not a lot of women are becoming known as jazz players. There is also the connection with black women. The audiences I was trying to reach were not interested in the harp, period—classical or otherwise—and they were certainly not interested in seeing a black woman playing the harp.” Ashby successfully navigated these disadvantages, and subsequently aided in the expansion of who was listening to harp music and what the harp was deemed capable of producing as an instrument.

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Ashby’s albums were of the jazz genre, but often moved into R&B, world music, and other styles, especially her 1970 album The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby, where she demonstrates her talents on another instrument, the Japanese koto, successfully integrating it into jazz.

Dorothy Thompson grew up around music in Detroit, where her father, guitarist Wiley Thompson, often brought home fellow jazz musicians. Even as a young girl, she would provide support and background to their music by playing the piano. She attended Cass Technical High School, where fellow students included such future musical talents and jazz greats as Donald Byrd, Gerald Wilson, and Kenny Burrell. While in high school she played a number of instruments (including the saxophone and string bass) before coming upon the harp.

DorothyAshby4.jpgShe attended Wayne State University in Detroit, where she studied piano and music education. After she graduated, she began playing the piano in the jazz scene in Detroit, though by 1952 she had made the harp her main instrument.[15] At first her fellow jazz musicians were resistant to the idea of adding the harp, which they perceived as an instrument of classical music and somewhat ethereal in sound in jazz performances. So Ashby overcame their initial resistance and built support for the harp as a jazz instrument by organizing free shows and playing at dances and weddings with her trio.[15] She recorded with Jimmy Cobb, Ed Thigpen, Richard Davis, Frank Wess and others in the late 1950s and early 1960s. During the 1960s, she also had her own radio show in Detroit.

Ashby’s trio, including her husband, John Ashby, on drums, regularly toured the country, recording albums for several record labels. She played with Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman, among others. In 1962, Ashby won Down Beat magazine’s critics’ and readers’ awards for best jazz performers. Extending her range of interests and talents, she also worked with her husband in a theater company, the Ashby Players, which her husband founded in Detroit, and for which Dorothy often wrote the scores. In the 1960s Dorothy Ashby, together with her husband, formed a theatrical group to produce plays that would be relevant to the African-American community of Detroit. This production group went by several names depending on the theater production.

They created a series of theatrical musical plays that Dorothy and John Ashby produced together as this theatrical company, the Ashby Players of Detroit.[17] In the case of most of the plays, John Ashby wrote the scripts and Dorothy Ashby wrote the scores.[16] Dorothy Ashby also played harp and piano on the soundtracks to all of her plays. She DorothyAshby5starred in the production of the play “3–6–9” herself. Most of the music that she wrote for these plays is available only on a handful of the reel to reel tapes that Dorothy Ashby recorded herself. Only a couple of the many songs she created for her plays later appeared on LPs that she released. Later in her career, she would make recordings and perform at concerts primarily to raise money for the Ashby Players theatrical productions.

The theatrical production group “The Ashby Players” not only produced black theater in Detroit and Canada but provided early theatrical and acting opportunities for black actors. Ernie Hudson (of Ghostbusters 1 actor, credited as Earnest L. Hudson) was a featured actor in the Artists Productions version of the play 3–6–9. In the late 1960s, the Ashbys gave up touring and settled in California, where Dorothy broke into the studio recording system as a harpist through the help of the soul singer Bill Withers, who recommended her to Stevie Wonder. As a result, she was called upon for a number of studio sessions playing for more pop-oriented acts.

Ashby died from cancer on April 13, 1986, in Santa Monica, California. Her recordings have proven influential in various genres. The High Llamas recorded a song entitled “Dorothy Ashby” on their 2007 album Can Cladders. Hip-hop artists have sampled her work often, including Jurassic 5, on their album Feedback, as well as Andre Nickatina on his song “Jungle”. Bonobo included the track “Essence of Sapphire” on his mix album Late Night Tales.

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Concierto de Aranjuez is a studio album by jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby released via the Philips Records label in 1984. The record is her final album as a leader. (by wikipedia)

The harp is such a phenomenally beautiful instrument and I don’t understand why it isn’t much more prominent in jazz, or music in general. Dorothy Ashby plays with grace and feeling. Listening to this album feels like being swept away into some mystical fairy tale land. It’s soothing but also kind of melancholy in a way that I don’t think can really be described properly with words. (ClipsMcGrips)

And this is a very intimate, quit album and this fits to my sad mood today …

A great album … if you would like to relax …

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Personnel:
Dorothy Ashby (harp)

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Tracklist:
01. Concierto de Aranjuez (Rodrigo) 9.26
02. Gypsy Airs (de Sarasate) 3.50
03. Green Sleeves (Traditional) 4.31
04. Gershwin Melody (Gershwin) 7.45
04.1. Summer Time
04.2. Someone To Watch Over Me
04.3. Porgy
05. Autumn Leaves (Kosma) 5.15
06. Dear Old Stockholm (Traditional) 4.15
07. Yesterday (Lennon/McCartney) 2.54

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Dorothy Ashby (August 6, 1932 – April 13, 1986)

Charlie Parker – Complete Jazz At Massey Hall (2003)

FrontCover1.jpgJazz at Massey Hall is a live jazz album featuring a performance by “The Quintet” given on 15 May 1953 at Massey Hall in Toronto. The quintet was composed of several leading ‘modern’ players of the day: Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach. It was the only time that the five men recorded together as a unit, and it was the last recorded meeting of Parker and Gillespie.

The first pianist considered by the organizers was Lennie Tristano, but he suggested Powell as a more appropriate match for the other musicians. Oscar Pettiford was considered as an alternative to Mingus.

Parker played a Grafton saxophone on this date; he could not be listed on the original album cover for contractual reasons, so was billed as “Charlie Chan”, an allusion to the fictional detective and to Parker’s wife Chan.

The original plan was for the Toronto New Jazz Society and the musicians to share the profits from the recording. However, owing to a boxing prize fight between Rocky Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott taking place simultaneously, the audience was so small that the Society was unable to pay the musicians’ fees. The musicians were all given NSF checks, and only Parker was able to actually cash his; Gillespie noted that he did not receive his fee “for years and years”.

The record was originally issued on Mingus’s label Debut, from a recording made by the Toronto New Jazz Society (Dick Wattam, Alan Scharf, Roger Feather, Boyd Raeburn and Arthur Granatstein[6][7]). Mingus took the recording to New York where he and Max Roach dubbed in the bass lines, which were under-recorded on most of the tunes, and exchanged Mingus soloing on “All the Things You Are”.

A 2003 reissue, Complete Jazz at Massey Hall, contains the full concert, without the overdubbing. (by wikipedia)

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This concert was held at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada on May 15, 1953, and was recorded by bassist Charles Mingus, who overdubbed some additional bass parts and issued it on his own Debut label as the Quintet’s Jazz at Massey Hall. Charlie Parker (listed on the original album sleeve as “Charlie Chan”) performed on a plastic alto, pianist Bud Powell was stone drunk from the opening bell, and Dizzy Gillespie kept popping offstage to check on the status of the first Rocky Marciano-Jersey Joe Walcott heavyweight championship bout. Subsequent editions of this evening were released as a double-live album (featuring Bud Powell’s magnificent piano trio set with Mingus and Roach), dubbed The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever. The hyperbole is well-deserved, because at the time of this concert, each musician on Jazz at Massey Hall was considered to be the principle instrumental innovator within the bebop movement.

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All of these musicians were influenced by Charlie Parker, and their collective rapport is magical. As a result, their fervent solos on the uptempo tunes (“Salt Peanuts” and “Wee”) seem to flow like one uninterrupted idea. “All the Things You Are” redefines Jerome Kern’s classic ballad, with frequent echoes of “Grand Canyon Suite” from Bird and Diz, and a ruminative solo by Powell. And on Gillespie’s classic “Night in Tunisia,” the incomparable swagger of Bird’s opening break is matched by the keening emotional intensity of Gillespie’s daredevil flight. A legendary set, no matter how or when or where it’s issued.(by allmusic)

What a line-up !

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Personnel:
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Charlie Parker (saxophone)
Bud Powell (piano)
Max Roach (drums)

Tracks 5 through 11 are without Parker and Gillespie.

BackCover1.jpgTracklist:
01. Perdido (Tizol) 8.16
02. Salt Peanuts (Gillespie/Clarke) 7.38
03. All the Things You Are (Kern) 7.14
04. 52nd Street Theme (Monk) 0.43
05. Drum Conversation (Roach) 4.38
06. Cherokee (Noble) 4.56
07. Embraceable You (Gershwin) 4.25
08. Hallelujah (Jubilee) (Youmans) 4.01
09. Sure Thing (Powell) 2.13
10. Lullaby of Birdland (Shearing) 2.34
11. I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Porter) 3.02
12. Wee (Allen’s Alley) (Best) 6.47
13. Hot House (Dameron) 9.10
14. A Night in Tunisia (Gillespie/Paparelli) 7.34

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Massey Hall, Toronto

Joe Loss & His Orchestra – Joe Loss Plays The Big Band Greats (1970)

FrontCover1.jpgJoshua Alexander “Joe” Loss (22 June 1909 – 6 June 1990) was a British musician popular during the British dance band era, and was founder of the Joe Loss Orchestra.

Loss was born in Spitalfields, London, the youngest of four children. His parents, Israel and Ada Loss, were Russian Jews and first cousins. His father was a cabinet-maker who had an office furnishing business. Loss was educated at the Jews’ Free School, Trinity College of Music and the London College of Music (now part of the University of West London). He started violin lessons at the age of seven and later played violin at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool and also with Oscar Rabin. Loss started band leading in the early 1930s, working at the Astoria Ballroom and soon breaking into variety at the Kit-Cat Club. In 1934 he topped the bill at the Holborn Empire but in the same year moved back to the Astoria Ballroom where he led a twelve piece band. In 1935, Vera Lynn appeared with the Joe Loss Orchestra in her first radio broadcast. With broadcasting, recording and annual tours in addition to the resident work the band became highly popular over the JoeLoss1next few years. In the 1950s and early 60s, Loss was resident band leader at the Hammersmith Palais and was remembered by a trainee nurse at Hammersmith Hospital as being as kind and gentlemanly when she attended him in hospital as he was in his public persona. His band’s signature tune “In the Mood” would often be requested three or more times a night.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions: in May 1963 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews, and in October 1980, when Andrews surprised him again at London’s Portman Hotel during a star-studded party to celebrate Joe’s 50 years in show business.

Loss’s daughter Jennifer was the wife of British coach-builder Robert Jankel.

Loss died on 6 June 1990 and is buried at Bushey Jewish Cemetery in Hertfordshire.[4]
Joe Loss Orchestra

The Joe Loss Orchestra was one of the most successful acts of the big band era in the 1940s, with hits including “In the Mood”. In 1961 they had a hit with “Wheels—Cha Cha”, a version of the String-A-Longs’ hit “Wheels”. Other hits included David Rose’s “The Stripper” in 1958 and “March of the Mods (The Finnjenka Dance)” of 1964.

In April 1951 Elizabeth Batey, vocalist with Joe Loss, fell and broke her jaw. Joe was badly in need of a replacement and remembered hearing Rose Brennan on radio during a visit to Ireland. Within days he had located her and, before a week was out, she was in Manchester rehearsing with the band. She stayed with Loss for fifteen years, before giving up show-business in the mid 1960s. She wrote many of the songs she recorded with Joe Loss under the name Marella, and co-wrote songs with John Harris. Her co-vocalists with the orchestra from 1955 was Ross MacManus (father of Elvis Costello) and Larry Gretton.

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The Joe Loss Orchestra carries on under the musical direction of Todd Miller, who was a vocalist with the band for 19 years before Loss’s death. In 1989 Joe Loss became too ill to travel and in 1990 he entrusted the leadership to his longest serving band member, trombonist and player manager of many decades, Sam Watmough and to Todd. The orchestra has been in constant operation since 1930 and in 2015 it celebrated its 85th anniversary.

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Specialist dance band radio stations continue to play his records. Joe Loss also features regularly on the Manx Radio programme Sweet & Swing, presented by Howard Caine. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a real wonderful album … recorded in the great tradition od the legendary era of the Big Band Jazz.

You known my words: Enjoy his sentimental journey in the past !

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Personnel:
Bill Brown (saxophone)
Johnny Francis (saxophone)
Bob Gill (guitar)
Kenny Hollick (drums)
Dave Lowe (trumpet)
Syd Lucas (piano)
Vic Mustard (trumpet)
Stan Pickstock (trumpet)
Joe Quinlan (bass)
Sam Watmough (trombone)
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Ted Barker (trombone)
Keith Bird (clarinet)
Ivan Dawson (saxophone)
Johnny Edwards (trombone)
Albert Hall (trumpet)
Don Lusher (trombone)
Freddy Staff (trumpet)
Roy Willox (saxophone)
Manny Winters (saxophone)

Conducted by Joe Loss

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Tracklist:
01. At The Woodchopper’s Ball (Bishop/Herman) 3.17
02. I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (Bassman) 3.46
03. Stompin’ At The Savoy (Sampson/Goodman/Webb) 3.04
04. You Made Me Love You (McCarthy/Monaco) 3.21
05. One O’clock Jump (Basie) 3.54
06. Take The A Train (Strayhorn) 3.01
07. Skyliner (Barnet) 3.15
08. Solitude (Ellington/Mills) 4.01
09. Don’t Be That Way (Goodman/Sampson/Parish) 3.20
10. Song Of India (Rimsky-Korsakov) 3.05
11. Begin The Beguine (Porter) 2.56
12. Trumpet Blues And Cantabile (James/Mathias) 2.37

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And this is the Joe Loss Orchestra today:

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Britains’ most popular music orchestra of the past 50 years is The Joe Loss Orchestra.

The orchestra perform world-wide, and during their 1978 world tour were invited to be the first western dance orchestra to perform in the Republic of China, returning there on three further occasions. The orchestra have performed at two Royal Weddings and two Command Performances and perform frequently at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. The Joe Loss Orchestra have played for many round the world cruises aboard the Cunard liner QE2.

The Joe Loss Orchestra have performed live on BBC, ITV, Channel4, Sky, Hong Kong TV etc..and have broadcasted on radio stations throughout Europe.

In 1990 Joe entrusted the leadership to his lead singer Todd Miller, ensuring that the great tradition that has brought the best in musical entertainment would continue.

Todd, the orchestra and singing stars are best appreciated when in direct contact with the audience. Dancing or in concert, their music brings together people of all musical tastes and age groups for a fantastic night out! A combination that doesn’t just play great music – IT ENTERTAINS

2011 Saw the Joe Loss Orchestra celebrating it’s 80th anniversary. The orchestra is now Britains’ longest running live entertainment company of any kind. Since 1930 the orchestra has never been disbanded and reformed, it has been in constant operation throughout the world, with Britains’ best musicians and singers performing totally live. -NOW THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT.

The Joe Loss Orchestra appears in three different formats. As a big band (17 piece +3 vocalists), touring band (10-piece + 3 vocalists) and show band (6-piece + 3 vocalists).

“Please can you pass on a huge Thank-you to Todd Miller and The Joe Loss Orchestra. the band were very much the highlight of the night and what a night it was!” (Laura Armitage)

(fantasiamusic.co.uk)