NEWSLETTER #132
Jazz, Dance Bands, Vocalists
The Andrews Sisters -> Leo Watson

THE BENSON ORCHESTRA OF CHICAGO
LENNY BREAU
THE CASA LOMA ORCHESTRA
THE CHARLESTON CHASERS & OTHERS
BING CROSBY
STAN KENTON
BARNEY KESSEL
ANDY KIRK & HIS TWELVE CLOUDS OF JOY
 
GENE KRUPA
FRANKIE LAINE
EDDIE LANG & JOE VENUTI
EDDIE MORTON
FATS NAVARRO
ANITA O'DAY
VARIOUS ARTISTS
CHARLIE VENTURA
 
 

THE BENSON ORCHESTRA OF CHICAGO Archeophone 6001 Volume 1, 1920-1921 ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, 79 min, recommended 26 Victor sides recorded 9/20-9/21 by this Chicago hotel orchestra, led by the pianist/arranger Roy Bargy, best known for his long tenure with both Paul Whiteman &, much later, Jimmy Durante. These are some of his earliest recordings (he'd previously done piano rolls), & finds this orchestra trying to cross the line from Sousa-like Band music to early jazz. Tracks include Railroad Blues/ Oh Gee! Oh Gosh! (My Feet Won't Behave)/ Ma!/ San, & some wonderfully named medleys especially I'd Love To Fall Asleep & Wake Up In My Mammy's Arms -Introducing Jinga-Bula-Bing-Jing-Jing (yes, that's 1 title!) 28 page booklet with exhaustive research on the band, including brief bios of all the musicians & even a list of rejected masters! (GM)

 
LENNY BREAU Art Of Life 1007 The Hallmark Sessions ● CD $15.98
19 tracks, recommended Now that Lenny is starting to become "legendary", some previously unissued material is starting to sneak its way out. These are his first demo recordings, done at the Hallmark Studios in Toronto 11/28/61 with Lenny taking the "stage name" of Lenny Martin. These tapes, just rediscovered 6/03, has Lenny just off the cuff doing 7 jazz tunes in both mono & stereo as well as 4 flamenco tunes & a couple C&W, all in his wondrous style. Even more amazing is the rhythm section, which more than keeps up - Rick Danko on bass & Levon Helm on drums, long before being in The Band! The music is wonderful & extremely important - Lenny's 1st recordings wouldn't come out until '69! Liner notes by Lenny's original manager George B Sukornyk, who also produced the original session. (GM)

 
THE CASA LOMA ORCHESTRA Old Bean 5 White Jazz ● CD $15.98
18 tracks recorded 1931/32 by one of the most popular white jazz bands of the time.

 
THE CHARLESTON CHASERS & OTHERS Timeless 1-081 Charleston Chasers, Vol. 2 & New York Studio Groups ● CD $15.98
25 tracks featuring five by the Charleston Chasers plus tracks from The Mississippi Mailers, Midnight Airedales, The Hot Air Men and others

 
BING CROSBY Proper BOX 34 It's Easy To Remember ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 99 tracks, essential. Where most Proper Boxes have the majority of a given artist's recordings, this set of 99 is only a fraction of Bing's output, going up to 9/7/50. However, this is as good as it gets for a Bing collection, as this is the 1st to combine a substantial portion of his pre-Decca jazzier sides along with his prodigious solo hits. The 1st disc has the best of his days with Paul Whiteman as part of The Rhythm Boys on both Victor & Columbia (From Monday On/ Happy Feet) as well as a taste of Bing with such jazzers as Frankie "Tram" Trumbauer (Mississippi Mud) & Duke Elington (Three Little Words). From there is his meteoric rise as a solo star, initially for Brunswick, starting with Out Of Nowhere in '31 & such classics as Brother Can You Spare A Dime & Please before his eternal tenure with Decca starting in '34. With a slew of collaborators, including The Andrews Sisters, Lee Wiley, Al Jolson, Fred Astaire, even his son Gary, & where the band was usually John Scott Trotter there was also a few with jazzers including tunes backed by Woody Herman's Herd, Eddie Condon's Mob & Bob Crosby's Bobcats. And you know most of the tunes - Pennies From Heaven/ Along The Navajo Trail/ Don't Fence Me In/ San Fernando Valley & of course White Christmas. With 36 page booklet. (GM)

 
STAN KENTON Proper BOX 13 The Stan Kenton Story ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 93 tracks, highly recommended. The majority of recordings from Stan's early Capitol period, with his earliest Artistry In Rhythm band (originally 3 each trumpet & trombone, (soon to be 4 & 4), 5 sax & rhythm section, which in '47 went to 5 of each & called his Progressive Jazz Orch. This has fabulous Kenton, with most of the arrangements by Pete Rugolo, Gene Roland & Stan himself, with trumpeters including Buddy Childers & Al Porcino, trombonist Kai Winding, saxists including Bob Cooper, Boots Musulli, Vido Muso & such greats in the rhythm as Shelly Manne, Eddie Safranski, Laurindo Almeida, & on a transcription date a rhythm section of Nat Cole, Billy Bauer & Buddy Rich! Most vocals by June Christy. And yes, besides the original Capitol sides there's numerous transcriptions done for radio. Includes Artistry In Rhythm/ Intermission Riff/ Opus In Pastels/ Artistry In Harlem Swing & I Told Ya I Love Ya Now Get Out! With 48 page booklet. (GM)

 
BARNEY KESSEL Vestapol DVD 13013 Rare Performances, 1962-1991 ● CD $23.98
DVD 60 min., recommended. Now on DVD. 12 tunes and a 1967 interview from the United Kingdom by this jazz guitar giant. Kessel has long been known as a fleet-fingered swinger with a relentless melodic sense which gives rise to long, clean solos. His attack ranges from "jazzy" to bluesy. Highlights here are the two excellent trio performances from 1962, Gypsie In My Soul/ One Mint Julep and two other trio performances from a 1973 Swedish show. Also, a beautiful version of Here's That Rainy Day, a boppish I Can't Get Started and the stunning "three guitars" segment (with Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd) from a 1979 Iowa concert from the Maintenance Shop jazz series (check out Seven Come Eleven!) An absolute must for jazz guitar fans. (PL)

 
ANDY KIRK & HIS TWELVE CLOUDS OF JOY Frog DGF 54 Lotta Sax Appeal ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, 72 mins, highly recommended Brass bass and bass saxist Andy Kirk, after taking over Terrence T. Hall's Dark Clouds Of Joy, took the work "Dark" out of the band name, added baritone saxist John Williams for recording and then for touring, and landed a recording contact with Brunswick that lasted for a year - Nov. 1929 to Dec. 1930, then toured for 5 years before starting his recording career up again in 1936, producing his classic Decca sides. This CD reissues the group's entire Brunswick output plus two tracks recorded for Vocalion as John Williams and His Memphis Stompers and the rare "B" take of Blue Clarinet Stomp. It also features two solo sides from the band's pianist Mary Lou Williams. Remastering is by John R.T. Davies and the booklet has detailed notes by Eddie Ripley. (GM/ FS)

 
GENE KRUPA Proper BOX 01 The Gene Krupa Story ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 99 tracks, highly recommended. Not a new release but not reviewed before. Fine overview of Gene's career, starting with a couple sides done for Victor while still a member of the Benny Goodman Orch. done as Gene Krupa's Swing Band with boss BG & his rhythm section joined by Roy Eldridge & Chu Berry. From there are the Brunswick sides from '38 - a solid though not outstanding orchestra with Vido Musso & Sam Donahue among others & some fine Leo Watson vocals. From there to his long-term association with OKeh/Columbia that would last until 1949, 2 years after this survey ends. It's not til mid '41 when things really happened, with Eldridge becoming a full-time feature & vocals turned to Anita O'Day, with such hits as Let Me Off Uptown & Thanks For The Boogie Ride. The band shut down after Gene's drug arrest in '43 & reformed in '45 with Anita back on board. This set stops at '47, but disc 4 is all very rare transcription discs & airshots, the 1st done for Armed Forces Radio Service by his mostly-forgotten experiment "The Band That Swings With Strings", & the rest for Capitol. With 32 page packed booklet. (GM)

 
FRANKIE LAINE Bear Family BCD 16522 Rawhide ● CD $199.98
Nine CD box set with 104 page hardcover book. This is the third of Bear Family's box sets devoted to Laine and features all his studio recordings for Columbia between 1956 and 1964. Includes his rare folk oriented album "Balladeer" plus many rare singles presented in stereo for the first time. Book includes lots of rare photos plus fully annotated discography.

 
EDDIE LANG & JOE VENUTI JSP JSPCD 916 The New York Sessions, 1926-1935 - Remastered ● CD $28.98
Four CD set with 99 classic recordings of string jazz cut between 1926 and 1935 featuring violin virtuoso Joe Venuti and guitar wizard Eddie Lang. Most of the recordings are from the period 1926 to 1933 - Lang died in March 1933 at the tragically early age of 30. In addition to duet performances there are tracks with small groups including sidemen like Adrian Rollini, Frank Signorelli, Bix Beiderbecke, Don Murray, Rube Bloom, Jimmy Dorsey and others plus solo sides by Lang, blues accompaniments by Lang, Lang dueting with blues giant Lonnie Johnson and more.

 
EDDIE MORTON Archeophone 5006 The Sound Of Vaudeville, Vol. 1 ● CD $14.98
28 tracks,78 min, excellent. The Master vaudevillian in the 1st of 2 volumes to capture at least one version of all 52 titles he recorded. This set, taken from acoustical 78s done for Victor 1907-10 as well as a few for Columbia '09-10 (including a couple re-recordings), including the wonderful The Party That Wrote "Home Sweet Home" Never Was A Married Man, as well as The Right Church But The Wrong Pew/ I'd Rather Be A Minstrel Man Than A Multi-Millionaire/ Don't Take Me Home/ I'm A Member Of The Midnight Crew. 28 page booklet with exhaustive bio, rare photos, etc. (GM)

 
FATS NAVARRO Proper BOX 11 The Fats Navarro Story ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 87 tracks, essential. It wasn't till the advent of compilations like this that made it FINALLY easy to get material by musicians like Fats, who were incredible but mostly worked as sidemen, with little under their own name - in fact, most of the material released under his own name was as a sideman for Tadd Dameron. This picks up all the pieces. Starting out in Billy Eckstine's Orch in '45, besides the Regent/National sides there's a Club Plantation broadcast. After that is his many bop all-star sessions mostly done for Savoy with Kenny Clarke & Kenny Dorham as well as sideman for Coleman Hawkins & for Illinois Jacquet (as "Slim Romero!) plus his sides with Dameron for Blue Note as well as Royal Roost broadcasts. Then it's sideman with Benny Goodman, Howard McGhee, even Bud Powell & a couple of fantastic broadcasts, with the Metronome All-Stars (INCREDIBLE line-up - Fats, Diz & Miles on trumpet, Bird & Charlie Ventura on ts, Kai & JJ on trombones& a rhythm section including Lennie Tristano, Billy Bauer & Shelly Manne!), ending with a 1950 aircheck at Birdland as part of Charlie Parker's quintet. With 40 page fact & pic-filled booklet. (GM)

 
ANITA O'DAY Proper BOX 21 Young Anita ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 89 tacks, recommended. Not a new release but not reviewed before. Though Anita is known as one of the best bop/jazz vocalists ever, she got her start as a big-band singer, which is what this box covers. Definitely not a demure thrush, Anita was one of the hardest swingin' singers, starting off with her stint in the great Gene Krupa Orch with Roy Eldridge. The 1st 1/12 discs cover the Krupa OKeh sides from '41 incl the classic Let Me Off Uptown. From there was a brief period with Stan Kenton, incl the huge hit And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine, done for Capitol in '45. These sessions are bookended by a couple rare transcription sessions, 1st with Kenton, then a gorgeous session backed by The Nat King Cole Trio! Then it's back for her 2nd stint with Krupa, this time for Columbia at te end of '45. However the best comes next - solo Anita in full flower for the final CD +, done for Signature & London. With 52 page booklet. (GM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Archeophone 1003 Stomp And Swerve - American Music gets Hot ● CD $14.98
27 tracks, 78 min, highly recommended. The soundtrack for David Wondrich's book of the same title (available from Roots & Rhythm for $17.95) , this shows the progression of early American recorded music from its beginnings with The Edison Concert Band doing The El Capitan March in 1897 to the wondrous Clarence Williams Hot 5's classic Cake Walking Babies From Home from '25, with the unbeatable combination of Louis Armstrong & Sidney Bechet in the front line. In between there's all manners of early acoustically recorded music from rag-time to the VERY politically incorrect "coon tunes" which some may find very offensive. From there it's on to the blues, with the very 1st blues recording Crazy Blues by Mamie Smith ('25), the earliest jazz - The Original Dixieland Jass Band- Livery Stable Blues ('17), old timey - Uncle Dave Macon - Old Dan Tucker ('25). With 28 page booklet. (GM)
HARRY C. BROWNE AND THE PEERLESS QUARTETTE: Carve Dat Possum/ ARTHUR COLLINS AND VESS L. OSSMAN: All Coons Look Alike To Me/ THE COLUMBIA ORCHESTRA: I Thought I Was A Winner, Or, I Don't Know, You Ain't So Warm/ JOSEPH P. CULLEN AND WILLIAM G. COLLINS: Twin Star March/ THE EDISON CONCERT BAND: El Capitan March/ EUROPE'S SOCIETY ORCHESTRA: Castle House Rag/ EARL FULLER'S FAMOUS JAZZ BAND: A Coon Band Contest/ W. G. HAENSCHEN AND T. T. SCHIFFER: Sunset Medley (a Bunch Of Blues/babes In The Woods)/ ART HICKMAN'S ORCHESTRA: Rose Room/ LANIN'S SOUTHERN SERENADERS: Shake It And Break It/ SILAS LEACHMAN: The Fortune Telling Man/ UNCLE DAVE MACON: Old Dan Tucker/ POLK MILLER AND THE OLD SOUTH QUARTETTE: Watermelon Party/ ORIGINAL DIXIELAND 'JASS' BAND: Livery Stable Blues/ VESS L. OSSMAN: Maple Leaf Rag/ OSSMAN-DUDLEY TRIO: St. Louis Tickle/ ARTHUR PRYOR'S BAND: A Coon Band Contest/ DAN W. QUINN: Ain't That A Shame/ MAMIE SMITH AND HER JAZZ HOUNDS: Crazy Blues/ SOUSA'S BAND: At A Georgia Camp Meeting/ LEN SPENCER: You've Been A Good Old Wagon But You Done Broke Down/ SOPHIE TUCKER: Some Of These Days/ VAN EPS BANJO ORCHESTRA: Sans Souci/ THE VERSATILE FOUR: Circus Day In Dixie/ BERT WILLIAMS: Nobody/ CLARENCE WILLIAMS' BLUE FIVE: Cake Walking Babies From Home/ THE ZON-O-PHONE CONCERT BAND: The Smiler (a Joplin Rag)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Proper BOX 10 Bebop Spoken Here ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 97 tracks, essential. This may be the only bebop compilation you'll ever need - just about anything & anyone you can think of is here, from Coleman Hawkins' groundbreaking recording of Woody'n You from 2/44, considered the 1st real bebop recording, through Serge Chaloff's 12/49 reading of Move. Yes, they are all here, the great leaders & sidemen alike - Bird & Diz, Miles, Bud Powell, Monk, Fats Navarro, Don Byas, Dexter Gordon, Claude Thornhill, Ella, JJ, Ella, James Moody, etc, with such tunes as Lover Man/ Dizzy Atmosphere/ A Night In Tunisia/ Al-Leu-Cha/ Blue Lou/ Yardbird Suite/ In Walked Bud/ Tin Tin Deo, heard in radio broadcasts & transcriptions as well as the original studio recordings. With 56 page booklet. (GM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Timeless 1-063 Those Fabulous Gennetts, 1923-25 ● CD $15.98
26 tracks featuring performances by Guy Lomabrdo's Royal Canadians, Marion McKay Orchestra, Chubb-Steinberg's Orchestra (with Wild Bill Davidson), Howard Lanin's Arcadia Orchestra and others.

 
CHARLIE VENTURA Proper BOX 41 Bop For The People ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 81 tracks, Highly recommended Not a new release not reviewed before. Tenor Saxist Ventura made his name with the Gene Krupa orch, then went on to form the experimental Bop For The People group to bring bop to the masses. More of a swing blower than bop, this box shows the transition from the post-Krupa small groups, on Savoy/National, Black & White, &  EmArCy with such stars as Buck Clayton, Willie Smith, Barney Nigard & Barney Kessel. The Bop band was for Victor & included Conte Condoli, Boot Muselli & the husband/wife (though not married then) vocalese duo of Jackie Kain & Roy Kral. The highlight of the set is disc 4 with, for the 1st time, the complete 5/9/49 Pasadena Civic concert, which has had portions released on both Decca & GNP. With packed 40-page booklet. (GM)

 

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