Ronnie Hawkins – Same (1959)

FrontCover1Ronald Hawkins, OC, (born January 10, 1935) is an American/Canadian rockabilly musician whose career has spanned more than half a century. His career began in Arkansas, where he was born and raised. He found success in Ontario, Canada, and has lived there for most of his life. He is considered highly influential in the establishment and evolution of rock music in Canada.

Also known as “Rompin’ Ronnie”, “Mr. Dynamo”, or simply “The Hawk”, he was one of the key players in the 1960s rock scene in Toronto. Throughout his career, Hawkins has performed all across North America and recorded more than twenty-five albums. His hit songs included covers of Chuck Berry’s “Thirty Days” (entitled “Forty Days” by Hawkins) and Young Jessie’s “Mary Lou”, a song about a “gold-digging woman”. Other well-known recordings are “Who Do You Love?”, “Hey Bo Diddley”, and “Susie Q”, which was written by his cousin, rockabilly artist Dale Hawkins.

Hawkins is also notable for his role as something of a talent scout and mentor. He played a pivotal role in the establishment of premiere backing musicians via his band, the Hawks. The most successful of those eventually formed The Band, while other musicians Hawkins had recruited went on to form Robbie Lane and the Disciples, Janis Joplin’s Full AdTilt Boogie Band, Crowbar, Bearfoot, and Skylark.

Hawkins was born in 1935 in Huntsville, Arkansas, two days after the birth of Elvis Presley. When he was nine years old, his family moved to nearby Fayetteville, Arkansas. After graduating from high school, he studied physical education at the University of Arkansas, where he formed his first band, the Hawks. He toured with them throughout Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. Hawkins also owned and operated the Rockwood Club in Fayetteville, where some of rock and roll’s earliest pioneers came to play including Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty. (by wikipedia)

And here´s the start of a real legend of Rock N Roll, featuring Levon Helm (pre The Band !)

Listen … this is Rock N Roll and Rock N Roll only … performed by the great Ronnie Hawkins …

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Personnel:
Jimmy “Lefty” Evans (bass)
Ronnie Hawkins (vocals)
Levon Helm (drums)
Jimmy Ray “Luke” Paulman (guitar)
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Jeanie Greene (background vocals)
Willard “Pop” Jones (piano)
Jerry “Ish” Penfound (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Forty Days Forty Days (Berry) 2.16
02. Odessa (Hawkins/Magill) 2.15
03. Wild Little Willy (Hawkins/Magill) 2.16
04. Ruby Baby (Hawkins/Magill) 2.13
05. Horace (Hawkins/Magill) 2.33
06. Mary Lou (Hawkins/Magill) 2.08
07. Need Your Lovin’ (Oh So Bad) (Hawkins/Magill) 2.22
08. Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Hawkins/Magill) 1.55
09. One Of These Days (Hawkins/Magill) 2.35
10. Oh Sugar (Hawkins/Magill) 2.15
11. What’ Cha Gonna Do (When The Creek Runs Dry) (Hawkins/Magill) 1.48
12. My Gal Is Red-Hot (Hawkins/Magill) 1.51

Please note: Many songs, like “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” are not written by “Hawkins/Magill” … “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” was written by Larry Williams in 1958 … but those were the days in the Fifties … Money, that´s what I want …

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Ronnie Hawkins in 2014

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The Fleetwoods – Mr. Blue (1959)

FrontCover1Although the Fleetwoods’ sound was smooth, without many of the rougher edges of doo wop groups, they were one of the few white vocal groups of the late ’50s and early ’60s to enjoy success not only on the pop charts, but also the R&B charts. Their forte was ballads — beginning with the 1959 debut single “Come Softly to Me,” they racked up a number of hits over the next three years, and nearly all of them were ballads. The Fleetwoods broke up in 1963, but their songs — particularly “Come Softly to Me” — became pop/rock classics of the pre-British Invasion era.

Gretchen Christopher, Barbara Ellis, and Gary Troxell formed the Fleetwoods while attending high school in Olympia, WA. Originally, the group consisted only of Christopher and Ellis, but the duo soon asked Troxell to accompany them on trumpet. Shortly after his arrival in the group, Troxell abandoned the trumpet and concentrated on singing once the other two members heard a portion of a song he had written. With some notable contributions from Christopher and Ellis, the group wrote “Come Softly to Me” and began performing the song at various events around Olympia, eventually gaining the attention of Bob Reisdorff, who ran the Seattle-based label Dolphin Records.
Dolphin released “Come Softly to Me” early in 1959 and the song became an instant hit, climbing to number one on the pop charts and number five on the R&B charts; it also reached the Top Ten in U.K. The Fleetwoods weren’t able to immediately produce a follow-up single as successful as their debut, but their third single, “Mr. Blue,” was a number one pop and Top Five R&B hit in the U.S. in late 1959.

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By the time of its release, Dolphin had changed its name to Dolton. For the next three years, the Fleetwoods had a string of minor pop hits. The group wasn’t able to consistently place singles in the upper regions of the charts partially because Troxell was drafted into the Navy at the height of the group’s popularity at the end of 1959. Troxell was replaced by Vic Dana, who would later have a string of his own hit singles in the early ’60s.

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The Fleetwoods’ last Top Ten single arrived in the spring of 1961, when “Tragedy” climbed the U.S. charts. The group disbanded two years later, after releasing its final single, a cover of Jesse Belvin’s “Goodnight My Love.” Over the next three decades, the Fleetwoods reunited occasionally to perform concerts and appear in oldies revues. In 1973, the group recorded an album with producer Jerry Dennon, but the resulting recordings were unsuccessful. In 1990, the Fleetwoods — featuring Christopher, Troxell, and instead of Ellis a singer named Cheryl Huggins — played a tour on the American oldies circuit after Rhino released the compact disc Collection  The Best of the Fleetwoods. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Enjoy this sentimental journey … for romantic people only !

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Personnel:
Gretchen Christopher (vocals)
Barbara Ellis (vocals)
Gary Troxel (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Confidential (Morgan) 2.21
02. The Three Caballeros (Cortázar/Esperón/Gilbert) 2.24
03. Raindrops, Teardrops  (Troxel/Christopher/Ellis) 2.31
04. You Mean Everything to Me (Kaspar) 2.31
05. Oh Lord Let It Be  (Troxel/Christopher/Ellis) 2.08
06. Come Softly To Me (Troxel/Christopher/Ellis) 2.25
07. Serenade Of The Bells (Goodhart/Twomey) 2.29
08. Unchained Melody (North/Zaret) 2.46
09. We Belong Together (Carr/Mitchell/Weiss) 1.28
10. Come Go With Me (Quick) 2.16
11. I Care So Much (Troxel/Christopher/Ellis) 1.59
12. Mr. Blue (Blackwell) 2.26

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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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Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue (1959)

OriginalFrontCover1Kind of Blue is a studio album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released on August 17, 1959, by Columbia Records. It was recorded earlier that year on March 2 and April 22 at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City. The recording sessions featured Davis’s ensemble sextet, consisting of pianist Bill Evans, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, together with pianist Wynton Kelly on one track.

After the entry of Evans into his sextet, Davis followed up on the modal experimentations of Milestones (1958) by basing Kind of Blue entirely on modality, in contrast to his earlier work with the hard bop style of jazz.

Though precise figures have been disputed, Kind of Blue has been described by many music writers not only as Davis’s best-selling album, but as the best-selling jazz record of all time. On October 7, 2008, it was certified quadruple platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Kind of Blue has been regarded by many critics as jazz’s greatest record, Davis’s masterpiece, and one of the best albums of all time. Its influence on music, including jazz, rock, and classical genres, has led writers to also deem it one of the most influential albums ever recorded. Kind of Blue was one of fifty recordings chosen in 2002 by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry, and in 2003, it was ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

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By late 1958, Davis employed one of the best and most profitable working bands pursuing the hard bop style. His personnel had become stable: alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Bill Evans, long-serving bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. His band played a mixture of pop standards and bebop originals by Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Tadd Dameron. As with all bebop-based jazz, Davis’s groups improvised on the chord changes of a given song.[1] Davis was one of many jazz musicians growing dissatisfied with bebop, and saw its increasingly complex chord changes as hindering creativity.

MilesDavis02In 1953, the pianist George Russell published his Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, which offered an alternative to the practice of improvisation based on chords and chord changes. Abandoning the traditional major and minor key relationships, the Lydian Chromatic Concept introduced the idea of chord/scale unity and was the first theory to explore the vertical relationship between chords and scales, as well as the only original theory to come from jazz. This approach led the way to “modal” in jazz. Influenced by Russell’s ideas, Davis implemented his first modal composition with the title track of his studio album Milestones (1958). Satisfied with the results, Davis prepared an entire album based on modality. Pianist Bill Evans, who had studied with Russell but recently departed from Davis’s sextet to pursue his own career, was drafted back into the new recording project, the sessions that would become Kind of Blue.

Kind of Blue was recorded on three-track tape in two sessions at Columbia Records’ 30th Street Studio in New York City. On March 2, 1959, the tracks “So What”, “Freddie Freeloader”, and “Blue in Green” were recorded for side one of the original LP, and on April 22 the tracks “All Blues” and “Flamenco Sketches” were recorded, making up side two. Production was handled by Teo Macero, who had produced Davis’s previous two LPs, and Irving Townsend.

As was Davis’s penchant, he called for almost no rehearsal and the musicians had little idea what they were to record. As described in the original liner notes by pianist Bill Evans, Davis had only given the band sketches of scales and melody lines on which to improvise. Once the musicians were assembled, Davis gave brief instructions for each piece and then set to taping the sextet in studio. While the results were impressive with so little preparation, the persistent legend that the entire album was recorded in one pass is untrue. (by wikipedia)

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Kind of Blue isn’t merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it’s an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album. To be reductive, it’s the Citizen Kane of jazz — an accepted work of greatness that’s innovative and entertaining. That may not mean it’s the greatest jazz album ever made, but it certainly is a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps it’s that this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of “So What.” From that moment on, the record never really changes pace — each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from chords, not the overall key, giving the music a subtly shifting quality. All of this doesn’t quite explain why seasoned jazz fans return to this record even after they’ve memorized every nuance.

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They return because this is an exceptional band – Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, and Wynton Kelly — one of the greatest in history, playing at the peak of its power. As Evans said in the original liner notes for the record, the band did not play through any of these pieces prior to recording. Davis laid out the themes and chords before the tape rolled, and then the band improvised. The end results were wondrous, filled with performances that still crackle with vitality. Few albums of any genre manage to work on so many different levels, but Kind of Blue does. It can be played as background music, yet it amply rewards close listening. It is advanced music that is extraordinarily enjoyable. It may be a stretch to say that if you don’t like Kind of Blue, you don’t like jazz — but it’s hard to imagine it as anything other than a cornerstone of any jazz collection. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

In other words: A masterpiece of jazz, a masterpiece of music ! One of the most important albums from the last century !

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Personnel:
Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (saxophone)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Bill Evans (piano)
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Wynton Kelly — piano (on 02.)

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Tracklist:
01. So What (Davis) 9.04
02. Freddie Freeloader (Davis) 9.34
03. Blue In Green (Davis/Evans) 5.27
04. All Blues (Davis) 11.33
05. Flamenco Sketches (Davis/Evans) 9.26
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06. Flamenco Sketches (alternate take) (Davis/Evans) 9.34
07. Freddie Freeloader (studio sequence 1) (Davis) 0.53
08. Freddie Freeloader (false start) (Davis) 1.27
09. Freddie Freeloader (studio sequence 2) (Davis) 1.30
10. So What (studio sequence 1) (Davis) 1.55
11. So What (studio sequence 2) (Davis) 0.13
12. Blue In Green (studio sequence) (Davis/Evans) 1.58
13. Flamenco Sketches (studio sequence 1) (Davis/Evans) 0.45
14. Flamenco Sketches (studio sequence 2) (Davis/Evans) 1.12
15. All Blues (studio sequence) (Davis) 0.18
16. On Green Dolphin Street (Kaper/Washington) 9.50
17. Fran-Dance (Davis) 5.49
18. Stella By Starlight (Young/Washington) 4.46
19. Love For Sale (Porter)  11.49
20. Fran-Dance (alternate take) (Davis) 5.53
21. So What (recorded at Kurhaus, The Hague, April 9, 1960) (Davis) 17.29

 

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Johnny Cash – Hymns By Johnny Cash (1959)

FrontCover1Hymns by Johnny Cash was the fifth album and first gospel album of Johnny Cash. The album was produced in 1958 and was then officially released in 1959. An alternate version of the song “It was Jesus” was an added bonus track after the album was re-issued in 2002. Cash left Sun Records because Sam Phillips wouldn’t let him record the gospel songs he’d grown up with. Columbia promised him to release an occasional gospel album; this was a success for him to record. The album was Cash’s first and most popular gospel album, and is an example of traditional hymns set to country gospel music. The album was recorded simultaneously with The Fabulous Johnny Cash.

Although Sam Phillips steered Cash away from gospel and sacred music in the mid-’50s at Sun Records, in fact much of what Cash recorded in his early career still had a devout tone, often with piety and imagery that wouldn’t have sounded foreign in a gospel context. So although this 1959 album was entirely devoted to religious songs, it didn’t really sound that different from his prior work, and remains accessible to Cash fans whether or not they’re religious or have an interest in sacred song. The arrangements remain as sparse as most from his 1950s catalog, though stately backup vocals are often present. Too, these aren’t strictly traditional numbers, as Cash writes or co-writes about half the tunes. Sure, “Are All the Children In” skirts bathos with its spoken sections, yet songs like “The Old Account” and “It Was Jesus” have the country-rockabilly bounce characteristic of much of his secular material. In fact, despite its specialized focus, it’s somewhat generic 1950s Cash at a casual listen, though even generic 1950s Cash is good. The CD reissue adds just one bonus track, and a peripheral one at that: a “mono EP version” of “It Was Jesus,” which is lacking the backup vocals found on the LP one. (by Richie Unterberger)

JohnnyCash1959Personnel:
Johnny Cash (vocals, guitar)
Marshall Grant (bass)
Buddy Harman (drums)
Don Helms (steel-guitar)
Marvin Hughes (piano)
Morris Palmer (drums)
Luther Perkins (guitar)
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The Jordanaires (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. It Was Jesus (Cash) 2.08
02. I Saw a Man (Smith) 2.36
03. Are All The Children In (Starrett) 1.58
04. The Old Account (Traditional) 2.29
05. Lead Me Gently Home (Thompson) 2.04
06. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (Traditional) 1.56
07. Snow In His Hair (Pack) 2.24
08. Lead Me Father (Cash) 2.31
09. I Call Him (J.Cash/R.Cash) 1.50
10. These Things Shall Pass (Hamblen) 2.20
11. He’ll Be A Friend (Cash) 2.00
12. God Will /Loudermilk/Wilkin) 2.24
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13. It Was Jesus (mono version) (Cash) 2.04

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Edith Piaf – Mylord + Je sais comment (1959)

FrontCover1When one thinks of Edith Piaf, one thinks of love, sorrow and music. One did not breathe without the other two. Born in Paris practically on the streets on December 19, 1915, she struggled from day one, the daughter of street performers. The mother, a singer, eventually abandoned both Edith and her father for a solo career. Piaf spent her youth entertaining passers-by, receiving little formal education in the process. She often accompanied her father’s acrobat street act with her singing and at various times was forced to live with various relatives, in alleys or in cheap hotels. An aborted love affair left her with a baby girl at age 17, but little Marcelle died of meningitis at 2 years old. Devastated, Piaf returned to the streets she knew, now performing solo.

EdithPiaf01Her fortunes finally changed when an impresario, Louis Leplee, mesmerized by what he heard, offered the starving but talented urchin a contract. He alone was responsible for taking her off the streets at age 20 and changing her name from Edith Gassion to “La Mome Piaf” (or “Kid Sparrow”). Piaf grew in status entertaining in elegant cafés and cabarets and became a singing sensation amid the chic French society with her throbbing vocals and raw, emotional power. From 1936 Piaf recorded many albums and eventually became one of the highest paid stars in the world. She was first embroiled in scandal when her mentor, Leplee, was murdered and she was held for questioning. She managed to survive the messy affair and carry on while her ever-growing society circle now began to include such elite members as writer/director Jean Cocteau. Piaf also took to writing and composing around this time; one of the over 80 songs she wrote included her signature standard, “La vie en rose.” Although she appeared sporadically in films, it was live audiences that sustained her.

EdithPiaf02Piaf later toured the United States to branch out internationally. America was slow to accept the melodramatic Piaf but she persevered and eventually won legions of fans. She also continued a series of affairs with the likes of actor Paul Meurisse, composer Henry Contet and, most notably, boxing champion Marcel Cerdan. The latter’s death in a 1949 plane crash left Piaf devastated and many claim this was the beginning of her downfall. Piaf had a life-long habit of involving herself heart and soul in the launching of her lovers’ careers. Over the years this would include Yves Montand’ and ‘Eddie Constantine. Two serious car accidents suffered in 1951 led to a morphine and alcohol addiction that left Piaf’s life skidding out of control despite a potentially happy marriage in 1952 to actor Jacques Pills. Though slowly crippled by severe arthritis, a series of spectacular comebacks in concert and recordings would follow over the years but her health would slowly waste her away. Her last appearance was at the Paris Olympia, racked and hunched over with pain and barely able to stand. Her last recorded song was “L’homme de Berlin” in 1963, the year of her death. She died in poverty on the same day as her friend Cocteau and at the age of 47, the same age as her equally tortured American counterpart, Judy Garland. Piaf left many debts for her second husband (and protégé) Theo Sarapo, who was twenty years younger (he died in 1970, at age 34). Piaf’s funeral was massive yet, because of her lifestyle, was forbidden a Mass. It was the only time since WWII that Parisian traffic was completely stopped. A museum was dedicated in her honor. Piaf remains the epitome of the French singer in heart, soul, style and passion; for many Piaf IS France. (by  Gary Brumburgh)

And this is one of her greatest hits … taken from my single collection … it´s a viny rip from the original single from 1959!

EdithPiaf03Personnel:
Edith Piaf (vocals)
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Robert Chauvigny Orchestra

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Mylord (Moustaki/Monnot) 4.28
02. Je sais comment (Bouquet/Chauvigny) 3.22

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Jacques Loussier Trio – Play Bach 1 (1959)

FrontCover1Yes, 1959 and Jacques Loussier’s Opus One and the album that overnight turned what had been a conservatory joke (jazzyfying Bach and occasioning good laughs with the buddies) into a chart-hitting phenomenon. It also more or less confined Loussier into the cross-over genre. Did music gain or loose? Crossover certainly gained. Judging from Loussier’s remarkable pianistic abilities and sure and sound judgment on playing Bach (in times when it wasn’t so customary to publicly play Bach at the piano), “straight” Classical music did loose what Crossover gained. Oh well – many good classical pianists, but only one Loussier.

It’s interesting to take Bach’s scores and see how Loussier’s Jazz functions. In fact, it is very respectful of Bach. After short jazzy intros, Preludes 1 & 2 from the Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier are first played straight in their entirety, with only double bass and drum accompaniment providing the jazz coloring: I find that it sounds entirely natural, and not like an out-of-place sonic graft. Then Loussier segues with a an impro based more or less on the prelude. More in the case of prelude 2, using various processes of syncopation, changing melody into chords, or doubling the note values so to give the impression of acceleration while retaining the same tempo, regularly returning to the straight score as a manner of anchoring, and altogher omitting not one bar; less in Prelude 1 – here the coda, taken at double the speed, provides the Bach anchoring. The two corresponding fugues also start straight, with the double bass substituting for the piano’s left hand (and that alone is enough to provide a jazz coloring), but the impro starts earlier, inside the initial statement. Likewise with the mighty Toccata and Fugue BWV 565: for over two minutes, Loussier plays (extremely well) exactly what Bach wrote; the jazzification is provided only by double bass and drums. At 2:04, just before the start of the fugue, Loussier starts syncopating the left-hand, then improvises on and over Bach with the same processes as in Prelude 2, while closely following score (again not one bar is skiped) and regularly returning to straight Bach. Prelude 8 is directly varied (and if I am not mistaken Bach’s 3/2 time signature is changed into a typical jazz 4/2), with an interesting sonic effect by percussionist using, if ears serve, tambourine in an obsessive ostinato. Prelude 5 is played straight (always drum and double bass), then interrupted by Loussier’s impro, and then resumed where it had stopped, until the end. Fugue 5 is played in its entirety but brilliantly improvised.

JacquesLoussier1959In fact, “improvisations” may not be an entirely appropriate word. None of this sounds as it had been invented on the spur of the moment during the recording sessions. Obviously it was carefully planned, written and rehearsed. So one should talk about Loussier’s “jazz variations” on Bach. I’ve updated Amazon’s product info on another of these Loussier CDs I tried to get Loussier credited as composer alongside Bach; that part was refused by Amazon, referencing him only as performer. Shows they haven’t listened.

Loussier’s jazz isn’t very radical and demanding. It is agreeable, cool, easy listening, which may be good for some listeners and frustrating for some others; I am somewhere in between. It is interesting also to compare some of the pieces recorded here and their remakes on the occasion of the 1965 live concert at the Theâtre des Champs-Elysées (Play Bach: Aux Champs-Elysees). Things are not always comparable. In the Prelude No. 2 from WTC, in the live concert Loussier plays only the first part, Bach straight with accompanying drum and double-bass, but no ensuing variation. But where Loussier 1965 does follow the wake of Loussier 1959, one can hear that he and his partners had had six years to mature, not so much their Bach as their Jazz. In the 1959 WTC Prelude 1 the jazz is more joyous and carefree, more big-band inspired, but less subtle and more superficial also. As good as the 1959 Toccata & Fugue is, the jazz in the 1965 remake is even better, and there is an great, outlandish drum impro in the middle adding three and a half minutes to its total time. And there’s the added kick of the live circumstances.

So the 1965 live concert is, I think, the best intro to the early Loussier. But Play Bach 1, despite its short TT, remains a highly enjoyable disc, recorded in fine 1959 stereo.

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Personnel:
Christian Garros (drums)
Jacques Loussier (piano)
Pierre Michelot (bass)

BackCoverTracklist:
01. Prelude N 1 en ut majeur 5.26
02. Fugue N 1 en ut majeur 5.03
03. Prelude N 2 en ut mineur 4.21
04. Fugue N 2 en ut mineur 2.48
05. Toccata & Fugue en re mineur 8.57
06. Prelude N 8 en re diese Mineur 4.57
07. Prelude N 5 en re majeur 1.55
08. Fugue N 5 en re majeur 1.50

Music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

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