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Bulletin - Decemberr 2008
Jazz, Dance Bands & Vocalists
Oscar Aleman ->
Fats Waller

 

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
OSCAR ALEMAN Saga Jazz 531 098-7 Ritmo Loco - El Rey de la Guitarra Swing ● CD $13.98
24 tracks, highly recommended
Oscar Aleman was one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century. Born in Argentina he started playing in the early 20s and performed and recorded from the mid 20s through the early 70s. He was a truly amazing musician being equally comfortable on a range of stringed instruments including guitar, Brazillian four stringed cavaquinho, Hawaiian guitar, etc and his repertoire included jazz, bolero, fox-trots, tango and more! He settled in Paris in the 30s where he was considered the only rival to the great Django Reinhardt who was Aleman's good friend. Following the outbreak of World War 2 he returned to Argentina and the 24 delicious tracks here were recorded in Buenos Aires between 1941 and 1957 featuring a variety of material including American jazz standards, Latin tunes and original compositions. The earlier sides feature him accompanied by a quartet (usually guitar, violin, bass and drums) while the later recordings feature somewhat larger groups. On several songs Oscar sings and is a most appealing vocalist and does some fine scatting on Improvisaciones Sobre Boogie Woogie. Around 10 of these tunes were featured on the two CD set issued on Acoustic Disc some years ago (Acoustic Disc 29 - "Swing Guitar Masterpieces" - $19.98) but even if you have that one you'll want this for the other sides. Excellent sound, informative notes in French and English and full discographical information. (FS)

 
SIDNEY BECHET Documents 232543 Petite Fleur ● CD $19.98
Another one of those amazingly priced box sets from Documents. This time featuring recordings of the great clarinestist and alto and soprano sax player Sidney Bechet. There are no notes or discographical information but it looks like the recordings cover the period from 1931 to the early 50s. 198 tracks in all with excellent sound.

 
JOHN DAVIS Newport Classic 85678 Marshfield Tornado - Plays Blind Boone ● CD $15.98
A follow up to "John Davis Plays Blind Tom" (Newport Classic 85660 - $15.98) where Davis performed the compositions of slavery born prodigy Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins. This time his focus shifts to John William "Blind" Boone, a sightless black pianist from Missouri who modelled his career on that of Blind Tom and provides a link between rural African-American folk culture and the music of the 20th century. This is an enhanced CD featuring a video of Davis' ongoing project to unearth America's buried musical past.

 
SLIM GAILLARD Acrobat 151 Vout For Voutereenees ● CD $10.98
18 tracks, 66 mins, highly recommended
If you don't have much or any Slim Gaillard, this is the perfect collection to pick up. Slim was a very hip artist that I think most music fans will appreciate and this is a nice sampling of his work. If you're not familiar, I would say that he was a hep cat in the Cab Calloway meets Babs Gonzales fashion, but way more out there, with a language almost all his own. Slim was a multi-instrumentalist that layed down some fantastic guitar and piano work throughout this CD, though he is most famous and rightly so for his cool singing and acrobatic lyrical style. This CD features Slim with many different aggregations of great Jazz musicians under the monikers of Slim Gaillard Trio, Quartet, Orchestra, The Boogiereeners, and with Tiny "Bam" Brown. All tracks were recorded during a high point in his career between 1945-46 and it really gives you a feel for how creative and prolific the man was. Features such tracks as Laguna/ Harlem Hunch/ Jumpin at the Record Shop/ Scotchin' With Soda/ Flat Foot Floogie/ Voot Oreenee, etc. Plus special mention for a certain track Tutti Frutti which Slim originally did with his partner Slam in '38--appearing here from '45--which can certainly be sited for influence for the later Little Richard hit. On top of all that goodness you also get the very special Chicken Rhythm, that is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Sound is fantastic throughout; CD also includes some basic, but interesting, notes on the man and his career. (JM)

 
THE GOLDEN GATE ORCHESTRA Document DOCD 1104 Crazy Words, Crazy Tune ● CD $15.98
18 tracks, 67 mins, recommended
18 tracks recorded for the Edison label between 1925 and 1929 by a group that were essentially The California Ramblers (who were actually from Ohio) - a group whose personnell changed considerably over the years so it is not possible to determine who is playing on these sessions though members of the band in this period included Adrian Rollini, Red Nichols, The Dorsey Brothers and others. their repertoire is essentially sweet dance band renditions of popular tunes of the day with the occsional hot solo included for good measure. Tunes include Oh! Mabel/ Manhattan/ Ain't She Sweet/ Dawning/ Black & Blue Rhapsody/ Along Came Sweetness, etc. Good sound and interesting notes by Gillian george. (FS)
THE GOLDEN GATE ORCHESTRA: Ain't She Sweet?/ Along Came Sweetness/ Black and Blue Rhapsody/ Chinese Jumble/ Crazy Words, Crazy Tunes/ Dawning/ Everything Is Hotsy Totsy Now/ Hallelujah!/ Manhattan/ Oh! Mabel/ Pretty Little You/ Stockholm Stomp/ The Charleston/ The Pay Off/ There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder/ Vaniteaser/ When the Red Red Robin/ Wishing and Waiting for Love

 
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)

 
FATS WALLER JSP JSPCD 948 Volume 4 Of The Complete Recorded Works, 1936-1938 ● CD $28.98
4 CDs, 104 Tracks 180+ mins, highly recommended
Listed before not not reviewed. In continuing to offer the complete recorded works of Fats Waller, JSP offers a cultural treasure chest nearly unequalled in the history of recorded music. These 4 discs encompass recordings done in Fats' native New York, Chicago, and Hollywood, Ca between a busy touring schedule. While most of the songs are standard "pop" fair, Waller and his steady band of ace musicians (Herman Autrey-Trumpet, Gene Sedric-Clarinet & Tenor sax, Albert Casey-guitar, Cedric Wallace-bass, and Wilmore "Slick" Jones -drums) elevate the pieces to an art form, providing swinging, inventive rhythms, deft solos, and top drawer interplay. Waller's infectious, humorous vocals are present in most of the tunes (there are quite a few instrumentals...), offering a casual listening access to most folk, while his virtuoso piano playing will keep the jazz buff's attention and then some. Wallers prodigious talents flow into The Sheik of Araby and Why do Hawaiians Sing Aloha? and raise such fluff to a gold standard. This set also offers such gems as Honeysuckle Rose/ Tea For Two/ The Joint is Jumpin', and On the Sunny Side of the Street. This is volume 4 (16 discs so far) and STILL not too much Fats Waller. Excellent transfers and sound, and the notes are wonderful! (RB)

 
FATS WALLER JSP JSPCD 949 Volume 5 Of The Complete Recorded Works, 1938-1940 ● CD $28.98
4 CDs, 101 Sides 180+ mins, highly recommended
Listed before but not reviewed. With Vol. 5 we get Fats with his ace "Rhythm" (Herman Autrey-Trumpet,Gene Sedric-Clarinet & Tenor sax, Albert Casey-guitar, Cedric Wallace-bass, and Wilmore "Slick" Jones -drums) on about half the sides, with the other tracks made up of American "names" (Max Kaminsky, Lee Wiley, Eddie Condon, Gene Austin) and some "Continentals" from a couple trips to London. The London sides provide some interesting and unique forays into one of Waller's loves - the pipe organ. The organ tracks feature spirituals and two tracks with Adelaide Hall on vocals and an insight into a deep spiritual side of Waller's personality usually well concealed behind his playful, swinging jazz side. The London dates also offer The London Suite (8 sides - June 13, 1939), Waller's "serious" piece composed for pipe organ. Interesting, but really not as much a satisfying masterpiece as so many of the three-minute tunes he created with his Rhythm. The last 12 tracks on disc 4 are alternative cuts. The Rhythm tracks are the usual gold standard Fats Waller, with the rest a window into other aspects of this musical master that satisfy, but don't quite delight. Vol. 5 has typical great sound and notes from JSP and offers further proof of the phenomenal talent of one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. (RB)

 

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