Georges Brassens – No. 1 (1re série) (1954)

FrontCover1Georges Brassens (22 October 1921 – 29 October 1981) was a French singer-songwriter and poet.

He wrote and sang, with his guitar, more than a hundred of his poems, as well as texts from many others such as Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, or Louis Aragon. In 1967, he received the Grand Prix de Poésie of the Académie française.

Between 1952 and 1976, he recorded fourteen albums that include several popular French songs such as Les copains d’abord, Chanson pour l’Auvergnat, La mauvaise réputation, and Mourir pour des idées. Most of his texts are black humour-tinged and often anarchist-minded.

Brassens rarely performed abroad. His lyrics are difficult to translate, though attempts have been made.[3] He accompanied himself on acoustic guitar. Most of the time the only other accompaniment came from his friend Pierre Nicolas with a double bass, and sometimes a second guitar (Barthélémy Rosso, Joël Favreau).

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His songs often decry hypocrisy and self-righteousness in the conservative French society of the time, especially among the religious, the well-to-do, and those in law enforcement. The criticism is often indirect, focusing on the good deeds or innocence of others in contrast. His elegant use of florid language and dark humor, along with bouncy rhythms, often give a rather jocular feel to even the grimmest lyrics. (by wikipedia)

And here´s his first EP from 1954 … what a great piece of music … George Brassens was a very unique musician !

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Personnel:
George Brassens (vocals, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Leparapluie (Brassens) 2.30
02. Il ny a pas damour heureux (Brassens/Aragon) 2.31
03.  Jai rendez – vous avec vous (Brassens) 2.08
04. La chasse aux papillons (Brassens) 2.06

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Various Artists – An Easy Christmas (2001)

frontcover1This is just a sampler, full with 20 old and classic christmas songs, performed by many stars in the easy listening style.
You can hear singers like Don McLean, David Bowie, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Perry Como and Al Green.

“This is my most favourite christmas album ever-I had to order a second copy as the first had a scratch on. I listen to it all the time. Not your average Christmas album!”(by miss r aughton)

“Great to listen to while wrapping presents” (by Zoe Bell)

And I guess, I will play this album (amongst others) on December 24, 2016 … Enjoy this romantic and sentimental sampler.

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Tracklist:
01. Andy Williams: Most Wonderful Time Of Year (2001) (Pola/Wyle) 2.34
02. Nat King Cole: Christmas Song (1963) (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) (Tormé/Wells) 3.14
03. Eartha Kitt: Santa Baby (1953) (Javits/Springer) 3.26
04. Dean Martin: Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow (1965) (Cahn/Styne) 1.58
05. Judy Garland: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1944) (Martin/Blane) 2.45
06. Harry Belafonte: Mary’s Boy Child (1957) (Hairston) 2.59
07. Bing Crosby: White Christmas (1954) (Berlin) 3.04
08. Al Green: Silent Night (1963) (Gruber/Mohr) 3.19
09. Crystal Gayle: Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer (1996) (Marks) 2.57
10. Anne Murray: Snowbird (1978) (MacLellan) 2.11
11. Don McLean: Winter Wonderland (1991) (Bernard/Smith) 2.54
12. Charles Brown: Please Come Home For Christmas (Christmas Finds Me Oh So Sad) (1961) (Brown/Redd) 3.18
13. Doris Day: I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1964) (Gannon/Kent/Ram) 2.27
14. Andy Williams: Sleigh Ride (live) (2001) (Anderson) 2.22
15. Crystal Gayle: Silver Bells (1996) (Livingston/Evans) 4.09
16. Don McLean: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (1991) (Coots/Gillespie) 3.06
17. Perry Como: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (1959)(Traditional) 2.56
18. Al Green: What Christmas Means To Me (1963) (Story/Gaye/ Gordy) 3.44
19. Bing Crosby + David Bowie: Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (1977) (Fraser/Grossman/Alan Kohan/Simeone/Davis/Onorati) 2.38
20. Michael Ball: Happy New Year (1999) (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 4.18

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Harry Belafonte – Mark Twain And Other Folk Favorites (1954)

FrontCover1Harold George “Harry” Bellanfanti, Jr. (born March 1, 1927), better known as Harry Belafonte, is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist. One of the most successful Caribbean American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) is the first million selling album by a single artist. Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing “The Banana Boat Song”, with its signature lyric “Day-O”. He has recorded in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He has also starred in several films, most notably in Otto Preminger’s hit musical Carmen Jones (1954), Island in the Sun (1957) and Robert Wise’s Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).

Belafonte was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and ’60s, and one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s confidants. Throughout his career he has been an advocate for political and humanitarian causes, such as the anti-apartheid movement and USA for Africa. Since 1987 he has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In recent years he has been a vocal critic of the policies of both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidential administrations. Harry Belafonte now acts as the American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador for juvenile justice issues.

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Harry Belafonte, 1954

Belafonte has won three Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an Emmy Award,[3] and a Tony Award. In 1989 he received the Kennedy Center Honors. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. In 2014, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards. In March 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Belafonte was born Harold George Bellanfanti, Jr. at Lying-in Hospital on March 1, 1927, in Harlem, New York, the son of Melvine (née Love), a housekeeper of Jamaican descent, and Harold George Bellanfanti, Sr., a Martiniquan who worked as a chef. His mother was born in Jamaica, the child of a Scottish white mother and a black father. His father also was born in Jamaica, the child of a black mother and Dutch Jewish father of Sephardi origins. This is all Harry says about his Jewish grandfather, whom he never met: “a white Dutch Jew who drifted over to the islands after chasing gold and diamonds, with no luck at all”. From 1932 to 1940, he lived with his grandmother in her native country of Jamaica. When he returned to New York City, he attended George Washington High School[ after which he joined the Navy and served during World War II. In the 1940s, he was working as a janitor’s assistant in NYC when a tenant gave him, as a gratuity, two tickets to see the American Negro Theater. He fell in love with the art form and also met Sidney Poitier. The financially struggling pair regularly purchased a single seat to local plays, trading places in between acts, after informing the other about the progression of the play. At the end of the 1940s, he took classes in acting at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York with the influential German director Erwin Piscator alongside Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Walter Matthau, Bea Arthur and Sidney Poitier, while performing with the American Negro Theatre. He subsequently received a Tony Award for his participation in the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac.

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Harry Belafonte, 1960

Belafonte started his career in music as a club singer in New York to pay for his acting classes. The first time he appeared in front of an audience, he was backed by the Charlie Parker band, which included Charlie Parker himself, Max Roach and Miles Davis, among others. At first he was a pop singer, launching his recording career on the Roost label in 1949, but later he developed a keen interest in folk music, learning material through the Library of Congress’ American folk songs archives. With guitarist and friend Millard Thomas, Belafonte soon made his debut at the legendary jazz club The Village Vanguard. In 1952 he received a contract with RCA Victor.  (by wikipedia)

Harry Belafonte’s first album features a solid variety of songs from American folk tradition, learned during his studies of folk music at the Library of Congress in the early 1950s. He had signed with RCA Victor in 1952, recording a series of well-received singles. Belafonte’s new-found love for music of the West Indies can be found in songs such as “Man Piaba” (which he wrote) along with songs from English and Scottish tradition such as “Lord Randall” and “The Drummer & the Cook.” Songs from African-American tradition include the chain gang song “Tol’ My Captain” and the ubiquitous “John Henry.” Mark Twain was a good initial effort, but Belafonte’s repertoire and delivery would get stronger with the next album. (by Cary Ginell)

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Dorothy Dandridge & Harry Belafonte in Carmen Jones (1954).

Personnel:
Harry Belafonte (vocals)
Millard Thomas (guitar)

Orchestra and chorus supervised by Hugo Winterhalter

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Tracklist:
01. Mark Twain (Traditional/Belafonte) 3.42
02. Man Piaba (Belafonte/Rollins) 3.30
03. John Henry (Traditional) 3.27
04. Tol’ My Captain (Campbell) 2.45
06. Kalenda Rock (Mourning Song) (Traditional) 3.22
08. The Drummer And The Cook (Traditional/Campbell) 2.04
09. The Fox (Traditional/Campbell) 2.43
10. Soldier, Soldier (Traditional/Campbell) 1.37
11, The Next Big River (Traditional/Campbell) 0.20
12. Delia (Brooks/Judson) 2.58
“Mo Mary” (Richard Dyer-Bennett) – 2:15
“Lord Randall” (Traditional, Campbell) – 4:07

Paul Campbell was a fictitious entity used to copyright material in the public domain.

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Agustin Barboza e seu Trio Paraguaio – Ecos De La Selva (1954)

FrontCover1Another rarity from my record collection:

Agustín Pío Barboza (5 May 1913 – 18 December 1998) was a Paraguayan singer and composer.

Barboza was born in Asunción, Paraguay. While still an adolescent in 1929, he went to Buenos Aires to work as a seaman aboard the Mixu, a ship flying the Argentine flag. Alternating his work of seaman with musical activities, he met Basilio Melgarejo Molinas (“Melga”). They formed a duo and later formed the trio of Melgarejo-Barboza-Feliu.

In Buenos Aires, he worked with other singers such as Samuel Aguayo, Emilio Bobadilla Cáceres and Diosnel Chase. He served as a soloist in the orchestras of Francisco Alvarenga, Juan Escobar and Julián Alarcón, the last two served as his mentors. In 1933, he sang with José Asunción Flores; a year later he recorded “Ñasaindype” with Flores based on a poem by Felix Fernandez. It was the first “guarania” ever recorded. He was also a soloist with “Orchestra Ortiz Guerrero”, a noted orchestra consisting of José Bragato, Aniceto Vera Ibarrola, Emilio Bobadilla Cáceres, Gumersindo Ayala Aquino, and others, directed by Flores. In 1943, he returned to Paraguay, with Jose Asuncion Flores, Francisco Alvarenga, and Emilio Vaesken. They were invited to participate in Asuncion’s Foundation Day parade on August 15.

He also formed a trio with Felix Perez Cardozo and Eulogio Cardozo. In 1944, he continued his studies in the Music School of Rio de Janeiro University, thanks to a scholarship granted by the government. He also gave concerts and auditions in theaters and on radio. During this time, he studied with Carlos Lara Bareiro, who encouraged him to travel and help to popularize Paraguayan music.

StampIn 1947, he traveled from Brazil to Mexico, where he was invited by Gumersindo Ayala Aquino to join the group “Los Guaireños”, with Luis Alberto del Paraná, Digno Garcia and Humberto Barua. They played in Mexico, Cuba and throughout Central America. In the early 1950s, he went on tour through the northern countries of South America and Central America, Mexico, the United States and Europe, as a soloist or with various groups.

In 1954, Luis Alberto del Paraná asked him to join the “Trio Los Paraguayos”, with the harpist Digno Garcia. In Europe, they signed a contract with Philips, a Dutch record company. This relationship lasted for many years. They were dubbed the “ambassadors of Paraguayan music”.

In 1957 he organized his own group “Barboza y sus compañeros”, with Ramón Mendoza, Leonardo Figueroa and Carlos Centurion, continuing to spread his work through Europe and the Middle East.

In 1962, after settling in Paraguay, he got married la singer, Yvera (Francisca Zayas), forming an artistic couple. In 1968, while in Europe, they formed the group “Los Barboza”. They recorded three long plays and did presentations on radio, television, in theaters, schools, universities and public entertainment houses. Their daughter, Diana Barboza, also loved popular singing and joined the family group in 1988.

In 1994, the government conferred on Barboza the National Order of Merit award, for his work dedicated to the composition and the spreading of Paraguayan music.

In 1996 he wrote an anthological autobiographical book named Ruego y Camino.

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In 1997 the national congress granted him the National Award of Music in the popular music category, for his work “Mi patria soñada”, that has verses by Carlos Miguel Gimenez.

In 1998, on turning 85 years old and celebrating 70 years of his musical career, he released a discography with the orchestration of his work. The Master, Oscar Cardozo Ocampo, (distinguished musical arranger living in Argentina, son of the great Paraguayan composer and creator Mauricio Cardozo Ocampo) provided the instrumental accompaniment. He received unanimous accolades from his fellow countrymen.

Barboza wrote approximately 80 compositions, among the following are noteworthy: “Alma vibrante”, “Flor de Pilar”, “Mi patria soñada”, “Sobre el Corazón de mi guitarra”, “Muchachita campesina” and “Mis joyas de Buenos Aires” (with verses from the poet Carlos Miguel Gimenez), “Dulce tierra mía”, “Serenata”, “Viva la vida, viva el amor” and “Muchacha dorada” (over words by Augusto Roa Bastos), “Oimeva che roga”, “Oñomdiovemi” and “Reservista purahei” (with Félix Fernández), from his own production, lyrics and music, “Emociones de mi tierra” and “Ruego y camino”, “Sombras de ausencia” (with Enrique Ganoso), “Voz del viejo río” (with Aníbal Romero). (by wikipedia)

I guess this is the first album (10 inch) from Agustín Pío Barboza with the “Trio Los Paraguayos”.

And, it´s a real nice one … recorded 61 years ago … !

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Personnel:
Agustín Barboza (guitar, vocals)
Digno Garcia (harp, guitar, vocals)
Luis Alberto Del Parana (guitar vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Acosta Nu (Bigi/Riera) 2.19
02. Meu Barquinho (Valentin) 3.06
03. Mi Viejo Amor (Oteo) 3.35
04. Mia, Guarania (Barboza/Papotin/Recalde) 2.44
05. Agáchate El Sombrerito (Aryes) 2.35
06. Sambando Na Lua (Barboza/Villar) 2.31
07. Muchachita Campesina (Barboza/Jeménez) 2.55
08. Cerro Korá (Geménez/Fernández) 3.34

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Louis Bellson – Concerto For Drums (1954)

FrontCover1Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni (July 6, 1924 – February 14, 2009), known by the stage name Louie Bellson (his own preferred spelling, although he is often seen in sources as Louis Bellson), was an American jazz drummer. He was a composer, arranger, bandleader, and jazz educator, and is credited with pioneering the use of two bass drums.

Bellson was an internationally acclaimed artist who performed in most of the major capitals around the world. Bellson and his first wife, the actress and singer Pearl Bailey[3] (married 1952–1990), had the second highest number of appearances at the White House (only Bob Hope had more). He was a vice president at Remo, a drum company.

LouieBellson01Louie Bellson was born in Rock Falls, Illinois, in 1924, and started playing drums at three years of age. At age 15, he pioneered the double-bass drum set-up. At age 17, he triumphed over 40,000 drummers to win the Slingerland National Gene Krupa contest. Louie graduated from Moline High School, Moline, IL, in 1942. His detailed sketch earned him an ‘A’ in his high school art class.

In an interview in 2005 with Jazz Connection Magazine he credited Papa Jo Jones and Big Sid Catlett as influences as well as Chick Webb. “I have to give just dues to two guys who really got me off on the drums – Big Sid Catlett and Jo Jones. They were my influences. All three of us realized what Jo Jones did and it influenced a lot of us. We all three looked to Jo as the ‘Papa’ who really did it. Gene helped bring the drums to the foreground as a solo instrument. Buddy was a great natural player. But we also have to look back at Chick Webb’s contributions, too.”

LouieBellson02In 1943, he performed with the Benny Goodman band and Peggy Lee in The Powers Girl, the first of his many film appearances. He also appeared in 20th Century Fox’s classic The Gang’s All Here (1943) in the orchestra while Carmen Miranda sang “Paducah”. Bellson was 24 and a veteran of a U.S. Army band when he joined Danny Kaye, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Barnet, Benny Carter, Mel Powell, Kenny Dorharn, Harry Babasin, Al Hendrickson, Buck Washington, and Goodman for the Howard Hawks film A Song Is Born (1948).
Personal Life

Between 1943 and 1952, Bellson performed with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and Duke Ellington (for whom he wrote “Skin Deep” and “The Hawk Talks”). In 1952 he married Pearl Bailey, and he left Ellington to be her musical director. They adopted a little boy, Tony, in the mid-1950s, and a little girl, Dee Dee J. Bellson, who was born on April 20, 1960. Son Tony Bellson died in 2004, and DeeDee Bellson died on July 4, 2009 at age 49, just 5 months after her father, who died on Valentine’s Day 2009.

After Pearl Bailey’s death in 1990, he married his second wife, Francine, in September 1992. Trained as a physicist and engineer at MIT, Francine Bellson (née Wright) became his manager. The union lasted until his death in 2009.

LouieBellson05Later in the 1950s and 1960s, he performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic or J.A.T.P., Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, Duke Ellington again, and Harry James again, as well as appearing on several Ella Fitzgerald studio albums.

Over the years, Bellson took several bandleader’s holidays to play under the direction of other leaders or to lead someone else’s band. During the 1960s, he rejoined Ellington for his Emancipation Proclamation Centennial stage production, My People in 1963, the motion picture soundtrack of Assault on a Queen in 1966, and A Concert of Sacred Music which is sometimes called The First Sacred Concert in 1965. Ellington called these concerts “the most important thing I have ever done.” In 1966, Bellson toured briefly with both Basie and ex-boss Harry James. In 1967 Bellson recorded an album entitled ‘Repercussion’ in which he played alongside his great friend, the British drummer and percussionist, Eric Delaney. On December 5, 1971 he took part in a memorial concert at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall for the late (drummer) Frank King. This special tribute show also featured legendary British session and big band drummer, Kenny Clare, as well as Buddy Rich. The orchestra for the occasion was made up of top musicians and led by Bobby Lamb and Ray Premru. The concert was released on vinyl LP in 1972.(Re-released in 2011 on the Vocalion label.) Throughout the 1980s and 1990s he worked with territory bands like the Unifour Jazz Ensemble. A few years later, renowned drummer Buddy Rich (referred to by many as “the world’s greatest drummer” over the years) paid Bellson a supreme drummer-to-drummer/bandleader compliment by asking him to lead his band on tour while he (Rich) was temporarily disabled by a back injury. Bellson proudly accepted.

LouieBellson06He also recorded extensively and led his own bands (occasionally maintaining separate bands on each coast). His sidemen have included Kenny Hitchcock(Tenor Sax), Ray Brown, Pete and Conte Candoli, Chuck Findley, John Heard, Roger Ingram, Blue Mitchell, Don Menza, Larry Novak, Nat Pierce, Bobby Shew, Frank Rosolino, Clark Terry,and Snooky Young. He was equally effective as a big band drummer and as a small group drummer. In 2006 a new album appeared, The Sacred Music of Louie Bellson and the Jazz Ballet. In May 2009, Francine Bellson fascinated jazz fans when she told The Jazz Joy and Roy syndicated radio show, “I like to call (Sacred) ‘how The Master used two maestros,'” adding, “When (Ellington) did his sacred concert back in 1965 with Louie on drums, he told Louie that the sacred concerts were based on ‘in-the-beginning,’ the first three words of the bible.”

LouieBellson03Francine Bellson recalled how Ellington explained to Louie that “in the beginning there was lightning and thunder and that’s you!” Ellington exclaimed, pointing out that Louie’s drums were the thunder. Both Ellington and Louie, says Mrs. Bellson, were deeply religious.

“Ellington told Louie, ‘You ought to do a sacred concert of your own’ and so it was,” Mrs. B. said, adding, “‘The Sacred Music of Louie Bellson’ combines symphony, big band and choir, while ‘The Jazz Ballet’ is based on the vows of Holy Matrimony….”

In May 2007, Bellson recorded a number of his compositions and arrangements for big band, featuring Clark Terry on Flugelhorn, with Kenny Washington and Sylvia Cuenca on drums. The big band was manned by the members of Clark Terry’s Big Band. The music was recorded in Studio A at Clinton Recording Studios in New York City. The resultant album, Louie and Clark Expedition 2 was released in January 2008.

Bellson led his own orchestra almost steadily for more than forty years. His last band was called the Big Band Explosion.

On February 14, 2009, Bellson died at age 84 from complications of a broken hip in December 2008 and Parkinson’s disease. He is buried next to his father in Riverside Cemetery in Moline, Illinois.

As a prolific creator of music, both written and improvised, his compositions and arrangements (in the hundreds) embrace jazz, jazz/rock/fusion, romantic orchestral suites, symphonic works and a ballet. Bellson was also a poet and a lyricist. His only Broadway venture, Portofino (1958), was a resounding flop that closed after three performances.

As an author, he published more than a dozen books on drums and percussion. He was at work with his biographer on a book chronicling his career and bearing the same name as one of his compositions – “Skin Deep”.

LouieBellson09In addition, “The London Suite” (recorded on his album Louie in London) was performed at the Hollywood Pilgrimage Bowl before a record-breaking audience. The three-part work includes a choral section in which a 12-voice choir sings lyrics penned by Bellson. Part One is the band’s rousing “Carnaby Street”, a collaboration with Jack Hayes.

In 1987, at the Percussive Arts Society convention in Washington, D.C., Bellson and Harold Farberman performed a major orchestral work titled “Concerto for Jazz Drummer and Full Orchestra”, the first piece ever written specifically for jazz drummer and full symphony orchestra. This work was recorded by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in England, and was released by the Swedish label BIS.

Bellson was known throughout his career to conduct drum and band clinics at high schools, colleges and music stores.

Bellson maintained a tight schedule of clinics and performances of both big bands and small bands in colleges, clubs and concert halls. In between, he continued to record and compose, resulting in more than 100 albums and more than 300 compositions. Bellson’s Telarc debut recording, Louie Bellson And His Big Band: Live From New York, was released in June 1994. He also created new drum technology for Remo, Inc., of which he was vice-president.

Bellson received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 1985 at Northern Illinois University. As of 2005, among other performing activities, Bellson had visited his home town of Rock Falls, Illinois every July for Louie Bellson Heritage Days, a weekend in his honor close to his July 6 birthday, with receptions, music clinics and other performances by Bellson. At the 2004 event celebrating his 80th birthday, Bellson said, “I’m not that old; I’m 40 in this leg, and 40 in the other leg.” He also celebrated his birthday every year at the River Music Experience in Davenport, Iowa.

LouieBellson04Among Bellson’s numerous accolades, he had been voted into the Halls of Fame for both Modern Drummer magazine, in 1985, and the Percussive Arts Society, in 1978.Yale University named him a Duke Ellington Fellow in 1977. He received an honorary Doctorate from Northern Illinois University in 1985. He performed his original concert – Tomus I, II, III – with the Washington Civic Symphony in historic Constitution Hall in 1993. A combination of full symphony orchestra, big-band ensemble and 80-voice choir, “Tomus” had been a collaboration of music by Bellson and lyrics by his late wife, Pearl Bailey. Bellson was a six-time Grammy Award nominee.

In January 1994, Bellson received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, a U.S. federal agency. As one of three recipients, Bellson was lauded by NEA chair Jane Alexander who said, “These colossal talents have helped write the history of jazz in America.” (by wikipedia)

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And this is his second LP from the Fifties:

Charlie Shavers and Zoot Sims formed the front line for the June 1954 quintet recording of “Concerto for Drums”. The title number is a six minute solo, in which Louis proves his ability to sustain both the tension and the listener’s interest. By way of contrast, the set includes three ballads from the Great American Songbook, and concludes with a number first introduced by another drummer, namely Chick Webb. (by timekeeper)

Listen and you´ll know why I love Jazz from this period !

LouieBellson10Personnel:
Don Abney (piano)
Louis Bellson (drums)
George Duvivier (bass)
Zoot Sims (saxophone)
Charlie Shavers (trimpet)

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01. Concerto For Drums (Bellson) 6.04
02. Basically Speaking, Duvivier, That Is (Duvivier) 4.08
03. Love For Sale (Porter) 4.24
04. The Man I Love (Gershwin) 5.39
05. Charlie’s Blues (Shavers) 5.15
06. I’ll Remember April (Raye/DePaul/Johnston) 3.38
07. Buffalo Joe (Shavers) 5.34
08. Stompin’ At The Savoy (Razaf/Goodman/Webb/Sampson) 8.35

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Sunnyland Slim – Be Careful How You Vote (1983)

FrontCover1Exhibiting truly amazing longevity that was commensurate with his powerful, imposing physical build, Sunnyland Slim’s status as a beloved Chicago piano patriarch endured long after most of his peers had perished. For more than 50 years, the towering Sunnyland had rumbled the ivories around the Windy City, playing with virtually every local luminary imaginable and backing the great majority in the studio at one time or another.

He was born Albert Luandrew in Mississippi and received his early training on a pump organ. After entertaining at juke joints and movie houses in the Delta, Luandrew made Memphis his homebase during the late ’20s, playing along Beale Street and hanging out with the likes of Little Brother Montgomery and Ma Rainey.

He adopted his colorful stage name from the title of one of his best-known songs, the mournful “Sunnyland Train.” (The downbeat piece immortalized the speed and deadly power of a St. Louis-to-Memphis locomotive that mowed down numerous people unfortunate enough to cross its tracks at the wrong instant.)

SunnylandSlimSlim moved to Chicago in 1939 and set up shop as an in-demand piano man, playing for a spell with John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson before waxing eight sides for RCA Victor in 1947 under the somewhat misleading handle of “Doctor Clayton’s Buddy.” If it hadn’t been for the helpful Sunnyland, Muddy Waters may not have found his way onto Chess; it was at the pianist’s 1947 session for Aristocrat that the Chess brothers made Waters’s acquaintance.

Aristocrat (which issued his harrowing “Johnson Machine Gun”) was but one of a myriad of labels that Sunnyland recorded for between 1948 and 1956: Hytone, Opera, Chance, Tempo-Tone, Mercury, Apollo, JOB, Regal, Vee-Jay (unissued), Blue Lake, Club 51, and Cobra all cut dates on Slim, whose vocals thundered with the same resonant authority as his 88s. In addition, his distinctive playing enlivened hundreds of sessions by other artists during the same timeframe.

In 1960, Sunnyland Slim traveled to Englewood Cliffs, NJ, to cut his debut LP for Prestige’s Bluesville subsidiary with King Curtis supplying diamond-hard tenor sax breaks on many cuts. The album, Slim’s Shout, ranks as one of his finest, with definitive renditions of the pianist’s “The Devil Is a Busy Man,” “Shake It,” “Brownskin Woman,” and “It’s You Baby.”

Like a deep-rooted tree, Sunnyland Slim persevered despite the passing decades. For a time, he helmed his own label, Airway Records. As late as 1985, he made a fine set for the Red Beans logo, Chicago Jump, backed by the same crack combo that shared the stage with him every Sunday evening at a popular North side club called B.L.U.E.S. for some 12 years.

There were times when the pianist fell seriously ill, but he always defied the odds and returned to action, warbling his trademark Woody Woodpecker chortle and kicking off one more exultant slow blues as he had done for the previous half century. Finally, after a calamitous fall on the ice coming home from a gig led to numerous complications, Sunnyland Slim finally died of kidney failure in 1995. He’s sorely missed.(by Bill Dahl)

SunnylandSlim2Personnel:
Lurrie Bell (guitar)
Beau Biley (trombone)
Sam Burckhardt (saxophone)
Chico Chism (drums)
Fred Grady (drums)
Eddie Lusk (organ)
Mickey Martin (drums)
Hasson Miah (drums)
Magic Slim (guitar)
Sunnyland Slim (vocals, piano)
Hubert Sumlin (guitar)
Eddie Taylor (guitar)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Be Careful How You Vote (1983) 3.39
02. I Done You Wrong (1949) 2.43
03. Sunnyland Train (1949) 2.42
04. You Have Heard Of A Woman (1949) 2.50
05. Past Life (1983) 4.46
06. She Got A Thing Going On  2.33
07. Going Back To Memphis (1954) 2.55
08. The Devil Is A Busy Man (1954) 2.46
09. Woman Trouble Overnite (1949) 2.56
10. We Gonna Jump (1964) 3.46
11. Orphan Boy Blues (1949) 2.51

AlternateFrontCoverAlternate frontcover

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Maynard Ferguson His Orchestra and Octet – Band Ain’t Draggin’ (2005)

FrontCover1When he debuted with Stan Kenton’s Orchestra in 1950, Maynard Ferguson could play higher than any other trumpeter up to that point in jazz history, and he was accurate. Somehow he kept most of that range through his career and since the 1970s has been one of the most famous musicians in jazz. Never known for his exquisite taste (some of his more commercial efforts are unlistenable), Ferguson nevertheless led some important bands and definitely made an impact with his trumpet playing.

After heading his own big band in Montreal, Ferguson came to the United States in 1949 with hopes of joining Kenton’s orchestra, but that ensemble had just recently broke up. So instead, Ferguson gained experience playing with the big bands of Boyd Raeburn, Jimmy Dorsey, and Charlie Barnet. In 1950, with the formation of Kenton’s Innovations Orchestra, Ferguson became a star, playing ridiculous high notes with ease. In 1953, he left Kenton to MaynardFergusonwork in the studios of Los Angeles and three years later led the all-star “Birdland Dreamband.” In 1957, he put together a regular big band that lasted until 1965, recorded regularly for Roulette (all of the band’s recordings with that label are on a massive Mosaic box set) and performed some of the finest music of Ferguson’s career. Such players as Slide Hampton, Don Ellis, Don Sebesky, Willie Maiden, John Bunch, Joe Zawinul, Joe Farrell, Jaki Byard, Lanny Morgan, Rufus Jones, Bill Berry, and Don Menza were among the more notable sidemen.

After economics forced him to give up the impressive band, Ferguson had a few years in which he was only semi-active in music, spending time in India and eventually forming a new band in England. After moving back to the U.S., Ferguson in 1974 drifted quickly into commercialism. Young trumpeters in high school and colleges were amazed by his high notes, but jazz fans were dismayed by the tasteless recordings that resulted in hit versions of such songs as the themes from Star Wars and Rocky and much worse. After cutting back on his huge orchestra in the early ’80s, Ferguson recorded some bop in a 1983 session, led a funk band called High Voltage during 1987-1988, and then returned to jazz with his “Big Bop Nouveau Band,” a medium-sized outfit with which he toured the world up until his death from kidney and liver failure on August 23, 2006. (by Scott Yanow)

MaynardFergusonStanKentonMaynard Ferguson + Stan Kenton

This great CD was released in 2005 and it includes many of Maynard’s tracks from the early 1950s. It starts off with MF fronting what was essentially the Kenton Orchestra on the tracks Band Ain’t Draggin’, Short Wave, Love Locked Out, and Take the “A” Train (9/13/50). Next are What’s New? and The Hot Canary (5/31/51), Roses all the Way, And So I Waited Around, Homing Pidgeon, and Wow! (2/25/52), then finishes off with Thou Swell, The Way You Look Tonight, All God’s Chillun Got Rhythym, Willie Nillie, Hymn to Her, Lonely Town, and Over the Rainbow (2/19/54). Great, GREAT stuff!!!

The music on these sides is the product of different sessions that represent, between them, a veritable Blue Book of West Coast jazz. At the head of each ensemble, enjoying himself to the full, is trumpeter extraordinary Maynard Ferguson. Most of the men heard in this CD were old friends, either colleagues from the Stan Kenton band or Californians with whom he had worked on and off for several years. 18 total tracks originally recorded in 1950-54. (by amazon)

MaynardFerguson2Maynard Ferguson in 1962

Personnel:
Alfred ‘Chico’ Alvarez (trumpet)
Don Bagley (bass)
Milt Bernhart (trombone)
Harry Betts (trombone)
Ralph Blaze (guitar)
Kay Brown (vocals)
Bart Caldarell (saxophone)
Bob Cooper (saxophone)
Curtis Counce (bass)
Gene Englund (tuba)
Maynard Ferguson (trumpet, valve trombone, vocals)
Bob Fitzpatrick (trombone)
Russ Freeman (piano)
Bob Gioga (saxophone)
Jimmy Giuffre (saxophone)
Bob Gordon (saxophone)
John Graas (french horn)
Herbie Harper (trombone)
John Howell (trumpet)
Dick Kenney (trombone)
Stan Kenton (piano)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Shelly Manne (drums)
Joe Mondragon (bass)
Abe Most (saxophone)
Frank Patchen (piano)
Art Pepper (saxophone)
Al Porcino (trumpet)
Shorty Rogers (trumpet)
Joe Rotundi (piano)
Jimmy Salko (trumpet)
Bud Shank (saxophone, flute)
Paul Weigand (bass trombone)

InletATracklist:
01. Band Ain’t Draggin’ (Greene) 2.10
02. Short Wave (Rogers) 2.35
03. Love Locked Out (Noble/Kester) 2.57
04. Take the “A” Train (Strayhorn) 2.53
05. What’s New (Haggart/Burke) 3.11
06. The Hot Canary (Nero/Gilbert) 2.21
07. Roses All The Way (Carpenter/Weber) 2.38
08. And So I Waited Around (Altman(Kaye) 2.52
09. Homing Pidgeon (Drake/Shirl/Jerome) 2.36
10. Wow! (Roders) 2.06
11. Maiden Voyage (Maiden) 3.00
12. Thou Swell (Rodgers/Hart) 2.44
13. The Way You Look Tonight (Kern/Fields) 2.54
14. All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm (Kaper/Jurman) 2.55
15. Willie Nillie (Maiden) 3.04
16. Hymn To Her (Maiden) 2.34
17. Lonely Town (Comden/Green/Bernstein) 3.08
18. Over The Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg) 3.03

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