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NEWSLETTER #141
Jazz, Dance Bands & Vocalists
Charlie Barnet -> Various Artists

 

 

 

NEW DVDS

 
NOTE: Unless otherwise noted all DVDs offered are in NTSC format which means that they will not play on a European DVD players unless you have a multiple format player.
   
VARIOUS Efor 2869026 The Complete Jazz Casual Series ● DVD $139.98
"Jazz Casual" was the first television program devoted entirely to jazz. Hosted by San Francisco music critic Ralph J. Gleason the program ran from 1959 to 1968 and featured some of the greatest jazz artists of the day as well as the occasional blues performer. Rhino has released a handful of the shows in the USA but this Spanish label has released the entire 28 episode series on 8 DVDS in a box set with over 14 hours of music and brief interviews. Among the artists featured are Mel Torme Quartet, carmen McRae Quartet, Count Basie Quartet, Jimmy Rushing, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, Muggsy Spanier Sextet, Charles Lloyd Quartet featuring keith Jarrett, Bola Sete & the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Woody Herman & His Swingin' herd, John Coltrane Quartet, B.B. King Blues Band, gerry Mulligan Quartet and many more. Includes a 32 page booklet.

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
CHARLIE BARNET & HIS ORCHESTRA Membran 222406 Swing Street Strut ● CD $11.98
Four CD set at an incredibly low price featuring 80 tracks by this fine integrated big band led by tenor and alto saxist Barnet recorded between 1933 and 1954 and featuring a wide array of musicians and vocalists including Toots Camarata, Helen Heath, Eddie Sauter, Red Norvo, Benny Carter, Laura Deane, Don McCook, Charlie Shavers, Billy May, Mary Ann McCall, Johnny Owens, Herbert "Peanuts" Holland, Buddy DeFranco, Dodo Marmarosa, Kay Starr, Porky Cohen, Barney Kessel, Si Zentner, Georgie Auld and many others. Decent sound and booklet has discographical details.

 
THE INTERNATIONAL SWEETHEARTS OF RHYTHM Sounds Of Yesterday 692  Hot Licks ● CD $13.98
This 16 piece multi-racial orchestra was the hottest all-female band ever. Unfortuneately, they never recorded commercially - the 16 tune set here is taken from 1944-46 radio transcriptions. The band was led by Anna Mae Winburn, and featured Tiny Davis, "the hottest female trumpeter in the universe." Includes Galvanizing/ She's Crazy With The Heat/ Don't Get It Twisted/ Diggin Dykes/ Slightly Frantic/ Homneysuckle Rose, etc.

 
THELONIOUS MONK Proper Box 101 Monk's Moods ● CD $24.98
4 CDs, 69 tracks, essential
Beautiful set - the complete Monk (as a leader) master takes in chronological order, starting with his complete Blue Note masters, then on to Prestige (but doesn't include the sides co-led with Sonny Rollins & released under Sonny's name), & the beginning of the Riverside recordings with a detour to Paris & a one-off solo session for Vogue. Covering '47-54, with sidemen including Art Blakey, Milt Jackson, Oscar Pettiford and Rollins the material is of course, the best. Monk would re-record most of his pieces throughout his career, but many like the originals best, & they're all here - Ruby My Dear/ In Walked Bud/ Epistrophy/I Mean You/ Criss Cross/Trinkle Tinkle/ Bemsha Swing/ Blue Monk/Nutty/ Wee See, etc. When he signed with Riverside, they were scared of his material & wanted to prove to the public that even if he was an eccentric composer he was still a great pianist, so for his first session with them, which ends this box, they have him doing nothing but Ellington covers in a trio setting! With 48 pg booklet. (GM)

 
MOONDOG Astralwerks 30653 Viking Of Sixth Avenue ● CD $17.98
36 tracks, 73 min., highly recommended
Moondog, born Louis Thomas Hardin, wondered blindly (literally) the streets of New York and elsewhere from 1949 on. He wore a viking helmet, carried a big staff, played strange-looking drums he'd made himself. His music recalls elements of swing, improvisational jazz, folk, and classical, as well as anticipating elements of minimalism and electronic music. Charlie Parker admired him. So did Ivor Stravinsky. So did Janis Joplin--that's why she recorded his All Is Loneliness madrigal. This collection offers sides from his 1953 EP On The Streets Of New York, 78s on his own SMC Pro-Arte label, and labels such as Brunswick, Epic, Columbia, Prestige, and Angel. It's not "difficult music" in the common sense of "hard to listen to"; in fact, the three dozen pieces here tend to be beautiful adventures across a bold musical landscape that only Moondog could see, where what may at first sound improvised reveals itself as painstakingly constructed with a musical wisdom so far ahead of its time that alien visitation becomes a plausible explanation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Moondog had a great deal of formal musical training, but don't hold that against him. Like nothing else. (JC)

 
GERRY MULLIGAN Proper Box 96 Jeru ● CD $24.98
4 CDs, 82 tracks, highly recommended
As music forms from Eminem back to Elvis & further back to the Original Dixieland Jass Band has shown, it takes a pretty white face to break open a radical black music. - but the artist needs to be talented. Jerry & his cohort Chet Baker fit the mode for modern jazz, the strange west coast variety that expanded on what Miles Davis' experimental Nonette AKA Birth Of The Cool did (Gerry of course was the baritone saxist in that aggregation). The set starts with Mulligan's leader sessions, the 9-piece New Stars for Prestige 9/51 that incl Allen Eager & George Wallington. Next up is his landmark "pianoless quartet" with Baker, done for Pacific Jazz in '52-53, which takes up most of the rest of the set, & includes live & studio sessions with the basic quartet, with fifth member Lee Konitz, , & a rare Tennette session with Baker. The final CD + ends with a new version of the quartet with valve-trombonist Bob Brookmeyer replacing Baker - this group is heard in a series of concerts from 6/54 recorded at the Salle Pleyel, Paris & released as The Paris Concerts. With 48 pg fact & pic-filled booklet. (GM)

 
CHARLIE PARKER Proper Box 99 Chasin' The Bird ● CD $24.98
4 CDs, 63 tracks, essential
Wonderful overview of Parker's live career. Probably every note that Bird played has been chronicled & released, no matter how poor the quality or short the performance. This box collects four discs of highly listenable live performance from all areas of Bird's career. Starting off with a jam session at Monroe's in '42, the first disc covers live tracks done with Jay McShann's Orch. & with Dizzy Gillespie in '43 while a member of Billy Eckstine's Orch, then a few more sets with Diz & a Carnegie Hall appearance with Miles Davis. The second disc covers live airshots from The Royal Roost in NY - a brief 9/48 appearance with the rest from Dec. '48-Jan '49 including the famed Christmas show where he does White Christmas. The third disc is an entire all-star show from Birdland 5/50 with a group including Fats Navarro, Bud Powell & Art Blakey. The final disc starts off with a Carnegie hall appearance fomr12/49, then a '51 reunion with Diz & a few shorter shows including a couple appearances "with Strings" & a '52 show backed by the Gillespie Big Band's rhythm section of Milt Jackson (vibes), John Lewis (piano), Percy Heath (bass) 7 Kenny Clarke (drums) who would soon be known as the Modern Jazz Quartet. 48 pg booklet gives all the info. (GM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Jasmine 16-4 Swinging On A V Disc ● CD $31.98
As part of the war effort during World War II the government sponsored a whole series of recordings between 1941 and 1947 that were issued on 78 rpm under the V-disc imprint for distribution to members of the armed forces overseas to help raise morale. Many jazz sessions were conducted often featuring unique combinations of musicians and vocalist. This four CD set features 72 recordings that were issued on V discs or were part of government sponsored broadcasts. Among the many artists featured are The New York Stars (Count Basie with Roy Eldridge, Illinois Jacquet and Buddy Rich), Bob Eberly, Randy Brooks, Buddy Rich, Les Paul Trio, Duke Ellington, Benny carter, Johnny Mercer, Stan kenton, Fats Waller, Hot Lips Page, Perry Como, Lt. Bob Crosby, Woody herman, Cpl. Buddy Clark, Hoagy Carmichael, Mildred Bailey with Red Norvo, Harry james, Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman, Sam Donahue, Roy Eldridge, Jimmy Rushing with Count Basie, Jimmy Dorsey and many more.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 925 All Star Jazz Quartets ● CD $28.98
Four CD set with 97 tracks covering the period 1927 to 1941 including sides by Louis Armstrong & His Orch., Hot Lips Page Trio, Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces, Dicky Wells & His Orch., Bechet-Spanier Big Four, The Delta Four, Noble Sissle's Swingsters, Coleman hawkins & His Rhythm, Four Of The Bob Cats, Jelly Roll Morton Quartet, Eddie South & His Alabamians, Stephane Grappely, Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet, Jimmy Bertrand's Washboard Wizards, The Dixieland Thumpers, The Dixie Four, Clarence Williams' Washboard band, Willie "The Lion" Smith & His Cubs and more.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Mardi Gras 1094 Ultimate Street Parade - New Orleans Brass Bands ● CD $15.98
14 royal tracks parading in at 1 hour and 11 minutes, very good This is a quality release in the grand tradition of the New Orleans brass bands, providing a solid roster of some of the best brass bands still going: Rebirth Brass Band, Soul Rebels, New Birth Brass Bandyoung Olympians And Olympia Brass Band. Real no-frills job on this, just a digipack, some artwork and a track listing, but the music speaks for itself. (JM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Membran 222617 Funeral Songs - Dead Man Blues ● CD $19.98
2 CD set, 44 tracks, 149 mins., recommended
You'd expect from the package that these would all be New Orleans funeral numbers, either the slow dirges of the march to the cemetery or the jubilant romps of the return journey. And there's plenty of that in this collection, but there's lots more, encompassing pretty much any New Orleans recordings from the early 1920s to the early 1950s with the slightest connection to religion. Nearly half the tracks feature Louis Armstrong with one band or another and we get his full range of talent, from a solid St. James Infirmary from 1928 to his almost Spike Jones riff on a revival meeting in The Lonesome Road. A good balance is struck between the slow and mournful and the outright peppy. There's also a nice balance between the honestly soulful and the openly irreverent, including a couple of tracks by Clarence Williams. One heads-up: the opening tracks is supposed to be Armstrong's Saints but is really Armstrong and the Mills Brothers singing In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree. Other than that all is as it should be, and the liner notes are copious and well-written. (DC)

 

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