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Bulletin - October 2008
Jazz, Dance Bands & Vocalists
Chris Barber ->
Mary Lou Williams

 

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 

CHRIS BARBER Smith & Co. 1140 Just About As Good As It Gets - Original Jazz Recording ● CD $15.98
Two CD set featuring 50 tracks recorded between 1951 and 1957 by one of the most important figures on the British jazz scene. Trombonist Barber formed his first band in 1948, recording early in 1951 as Chris Barber's Washboard Wonders. During 1953 trumpeter Ken Colyer led the band for a few months before forming his own outfit. He was replaced by Pat Halcox. With Monty Sunshine (clarinet), Lonnie Donegan (banjo, guitar, vocals), Jim Bray (bass) and Ron Bowden (drums), this line-up came to be regarded as the classic Barber Band who are featured on many of the tracks here. Several tracks feature the bluesy vocals of Ottilie Patterson and Donegan sings Take My Hand Precious Lord. Includes Magnolia's Wedding Day/ Petite Fleur/ Bugle Call Rag/ B r ownskin Mama/ Tishomingo Blues/ Hushabye/ Sweet Savannah Sue/ Bo bby Shaftoe/ High Society/ New Orleans Blues/ When You And I Were Young Maggie/ Original Tuxedo Rag/ White Christmas, etc.

 
CAB CALLOWAY Wounded Bird 2593 Hi De Ho Man ● CD $15.98
20 tracks, highly recommended
CD issue of two LP set issued on Columbia in the 70s. This is the Cab album to get with 20 classic OKeh sides. This early 40s band was perhaps Cab's strongest & it's his favorite - with Dizzy Gillespie, Lammar Wright, Tyree Glenn, Quentin Jackson, Hilton Jefferson, Foots Thomas, Chu Berry, etc. Cab was at his peak as the King Of Hi-De-Ho & the CD is full of great jive - Minnie The Moocher/ Nagasaki/ Hoy Hoy/ Jumpin Jive/ A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird/ Everybody Eats When They Come To My House, etc. Great cover shot of the then 67 year old Cab dancing in the yellow Zoot Suit he wore in "Stormy Weather". (GM)

 
DIZZY GILLESPIE BIG BAND Uptown Jazz 2753 Showtime At The Spotlite ● CD $22.98
2 CDs, 26 tracks, 101 mins, recommended
At the vanguard of what became known as Be-Bop, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie lead this early version of his big band into The Spotlight Club, 52nd Street, New York City in late June of 1946 - an area that WAS the heart of modern jazz at the time. Featuring fellow bop pioneers Thelonious Monk, Milt Jackson, Kenny Clarke and Ray Brown, this band puts forth swinging, tight arrangements of many tunes that became associated with Gillespie throughout his long career (Our Delight/ Woody 'n You/ One Bass Hit). The band shows the influence of the new sound with blistering solos, razor tight interplay, harmonically interesting arrangements, Clarke's wonderful, bombastic bass drum bombs, and a more constrained swing than the swing bands offered. Gillespie is up front both personality-wise and horn-wise. These two discs offer (mostly) the same set from two separate nights and both nights are worthy, with different takes from the soloists. I prefer disc One and hadn't heard any of these marvelous recordings in years - they had me smiling and my legs bouncing! Sound quality here is just fine, the notes by Ira Gitler superb and the photo packed packaging terrific. This is great and enjoyable window into early Be-Bop and a very nice companion piece to the must have Uptown Jazz 2751 - Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker Town Hall Concert June 22, 1945 ($16.98). (RB)

 
BILLIE HOLIDAY Documents 222914 Billie Holiday ● CD $19.98
Available again after being out of print for a while. Another of those amazingly priced 10 CD box sets from Germany this one devoted to one of the all time great vocalists featuring most of Lady Day's recordings (except for alternate takes) recorded between 1933 and 1948. As is usual for this series there are no notes or recording information but sound quality is excellent and the tracks seem to be ordered chronologically so if you don't have many of Billie's recordings in your collection here's a good chance to hear what you've been missing.

 
ARTHUR LYMAN Acrobat 5003 The Singles Collection ● CD $21.98
2 CDs, 40 tracks, 104 mins, highly recommended
Here's an extensive collection of one of the kings of Exotica, Arthur Lyman. Lyman was a veteran of the Martin Denny band, who went on to a long and prolific career leading his own outfit. Martin Denny discovered Lyman and would always say he was "the best in the islands, possibly the best in the world," the islands being-of course-the Hawaii islands, where Lyman was born and whose influence seemed to be deep within his soul. Although never quite as successful as his mentor, Lyman would get a good amount of attention on the charts and was always a highly sought after act. All of the band's recordings were done live, no small feat considering the densely layered exotic instrumentation that would often see many of the players switching off between up to six instruments throughout any given song. Truly these guys were masters of the form. The Hi-Fi label where Lyman and band spent most of their career, was crazy about putting out singles and would issue at least one every eight to ten weeks! Thus what we have here is the complete Hi-Fi singles collection, recorded from 1958 - 1968. The recorded output would range from his own compositions to those of Denny and Les Baxter, plus show tunes and standards with such stand out gems like Miserlou/ Hawaiian War Chant/ Taboo/ Bahai/ Yellow Bird/ America/ Sentimental Journey, etc. Oh, to set the way-back machine to 1960 and relax in my hammock, drinking a Mai Tai and listening to the latest Easy Listening hits on my state of the art stereo. (JM)
ARTHUR LYMAN: Afro Blues/ Aloha No Honolulu/ America/ Anna/ Arthur's Line/ Bahai/ Black Orchid/ Blowin' In The Wind/ Caravan/ Cottonfields/ Dahil Sayo/ Ebb Tide/ Get Me To The Church On Time/ Hava Nagila/ Hawaiian War Chant/ He's Gone Away/ Hello Dolly/ I Talk To The Trees/ I've Been Working On The Railroad/ Jungle Drums/ Jungle Fantasy/ Jungle Jalopy/ Koni Au I Ka Wai/ Lemon Tree/ Limbo Rock(bossa Nova)/ Love/ Love For Sale/ Miserlou/ Moanin'/ Never On Sunday/ Planting Rice/ Sentimental Journey/ Suzy's Waltz/ Taboo/ Taboo Tu/ The Lonely Wind/ The(jungle)cat/ Waltzing Mahtilda/ Windmills Of Your Mind/ Yellow Bird

 
DJANGO REINHARDT JSP JSPCD 953 Django On The Radio ● CD $31.98
5 CDs, 104 tracks, 200+ mins, recommended
The 1930's recordings with the Hot Club of France had established throughout the world that Django was a brilliant, swinging, acoustic guitarist. His gypsy upbringing kept him moving throughout Europe during WWII and found him in New York in 1946 on an invite from and playing electric guitar with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. Late for a gig and canned, Django soon found himself back in Europe (mostly France) and utilizing that electric guitar - playing in a more "modern" swing manner and starting to incorporate many be-bop elements into his playing style AND developing and expanding his writing skills. These tracks cover much material broadcast over the American Forces Radio between 1945 and 1953, with Django playing in many different band configurations -the most satisfying with compatriot Stephane Grappelli. Often criticized for abandoning the acoustic guitar, there's no doubt that anyone NOT hearing his HCOF recordings would ever consider Django anything less than brilliant from hearing only these recordings. Swinging, fluent and bristling with life, this set presents a great portrait of a great artist pursuing what he did best. Seventy years later there's a reason Django is STILL considered one of the greatest jazz musicians to hail from Europe, and one of the finest guitarists ever. These recordings present another side of the picture of why that is. (RB)

 
SHORTY ROGERS JSP JSPCD 944 Volume 1: 1946-1954 ● CD $28.98
5 CDs, 93 tracks, 200+ mins, recommended
Trumpet Ace, Bandleader, Composer, Milton M. Rajonsky was born in Massachusetts in 1924 and by the early 1950's found himself on the opposite coast as Shorty Rogers, a major figurehead in the nascent West Coast Jazz movement. This 5 CD set adds one disc and an additional 17 tracks (mostly from the Stan Kenton era) to the Proper Box 92 set that (GM) has so ably reviewed in newsletter #140. This set lacks the Proper book and the notes are basic at best, but musically it's all the Shorty Rogers you need from this early portion of his long career. (RB)

 
GEORGE SHEARING JSP JSPCD 954 The Early Years ● CD $31.98
Five CD set with 125 tracks recorded between 1939 and 1947 by this great British born blind jazz pianist who took the U.S.A. by storm when he arrived in 1947. This collection features his recordings made in England, for much of the period in the midst of wartime LOndon. It features a few solo sides as well as recordings with Reginal Williams & His Futurists, various Stephane Grappelli groups, Harry Parry & His Radio Rhythm Quartet, Hatchett's Swingtette, Melody Maker's Competition Band, his own trio and sextet, Harry Hayes & His band and others. It includes many tracks on CD for the first time and five previously unissued sides.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Fabulous 132 A Very British Christmas ● CD $7.98
For Anglophiles or exiled Brits who grew up in England in the 40s and 50s here's a Christmas blast from the past. 20 tracks including I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by The Beverly Sisters, Mrs Santa Claus by Alma Cogan, Santo Natale by david Whitfield, Where Did My Snoman Go? by Petula Clark, The Very Best Christmas Of All by Rubby Murray, Star Of Bethlehem by Josef Locke, I'm Sending A Letter To Santa Claus by the one and only Arthur Askey ("Ay-Thang-Yew") and others including as coup de grace (or coup d'etat) the fabulous I'm Walking Backwards For Christmas by The Goons!

 
MARY LOU WILLIAMS Acrobat ACRCD 345 1930-1941 Featuring Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds Of Jo ● CD $10.98
20 tracks, 60 mins, highly recommended
Mary Lou Williams was an extremely talented and prolific pianist and composer. A great stride piano player who composed and arranged hundreds of songs, most notably for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Williams would also help mentor bop legends like Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie and is considered one of the most important women in Jazz history. This mostly instrumental collection covers her solo work as well as work with Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds of Joy, and one track credited to Six Men and A Girl. Example of here great compositions are here; Night Life/ Overhand (New Froggy Bottom,)/ The Rocks/ Bearcat Shuffle/ Steppin' Pretty/ Scratchin The Gravel, and more. As well as great renditions of Duke Ellington's Ring Dem Bells, Jelly Roll Morton's The Pearls, and Roosevelt Sykes' 47th Street Jive. (JM)

 

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