Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Hyena Stomp

Hyena Stomp_Victor 20772-A
On June 4th 1927, Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers recorded the 6th session for Victor in Chicago. Hyena Stomp, Billy Goat Stomp, Wild Man Blues and Jungle Blues were recorded in this memorable session featuring the extraordinary vocal cotributions by Lew La Mar imitating a laughing hyena or a stubborn goat! According to available info (here), Louis August La Mar (Lew La Mar) was a French Canadian, born in Quebec on 11th December 1873. He migrated to the U.S. with his parents prior to 1894. He was white — not African-American. He registered for the WWI draft on 12th September 1918. The draft card records his occupation as a Theatrical Actor for the Western Vaudeville Association, Majestic Theatre Building, Chicago, the same vaudeville group that employed Bill Johnson. On 4th June 1927 Lew La Mar joined Jelly-Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers in Chicago to participate in the mentioned Victor recording session.  He is featured on Hyena Stomp and Billy Goat Stomp. Other members of the band include George Mitchell (c); Gerald Reeves (tb); Johnny Dodds (cl); Paul “Stump” Evans (as); Jelly Roll Morton (p-dialogue); Bud Scott (g); Quinn Wilson (bb); Warren “Baby” Dodds (d)

The reason for setting focus on Hyena Stomp here is to point you to another great performance of the tune just released today on You Tube as part of The Complete Morton Project  initiated by pianist Andrew Oliver and reed player David Horniblow (- learn more at Andrew Oliver's website, here). The project has now reached halfway through the 104 compositions by Morton, thus Hyena Stomp and the other tune released today, Dixie Knows, are milestones of this terrific and very uplifting project. The jubilee is further marked by the fact that the duo of Oliver and Horniblow is extended to a quartet with two guest performers in the performance of Hyena StompMichael McQuaid (clarinet/alto) and Nick Ball (laughing & drums), both members of Oliver's Vitality Five ensemble (- more info here )

The second tune of the Complete Morton Project released today is as mentioned above Dixie Knows, a tune Morton published and co-wrote with Mel Stitzel in 1930 but never recorded according to Oliver's notes (here). I remember a version of this tune for finger style guitar played by Swedish guitarist Lasse Johansson (- you can listen to it at Spotify, here ), however, the version by Oliver and Horniblow is different and performed as a stomp in the usual duo setting of piano and clarinet. Enjoy it below and be sure to follow the Complete Morton Project on You Tube every Tuesday through the remain of 2018!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

June Night

Original sheet music (1924)
June Night (Just Give Me a June Night) is a popular song written by Abel Baer (music) and Cliff Friend (lyrics) and published in 1924. The song was a successful hit for Ted Lewis (Columbia 157-D); and Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians (Victor 19380) came with their version of the song at # 7 on the US charts.
Original sheet music with photo of Ted Lewis

Waring's Pennsylvanians_June Night_ Victor 19380-A

Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike)
Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike) also had a hit with June Night in 1924

Svend Asmussen
Jazz fiddler supreme, Svend Asmussen made June Night his signature tune, the initial version of the song was recorded in 1940 by Svend Asmussen's Skandia Trio for Odeon
Odeon D-396

June Night is a great vehicle for jazz improvisation, here's a live recorded example from Swedish television 1995 featuring Svend Asmussen's Quartet

Another live jazz interpretation of June Night was performed by Ralf Norton & His Varsity Ramblers in March 2017, inserted below to end this small presentation of a great tune


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Sunday, May 13, 2018

One Morning in May

Victor 24505-A (1933)
Hoagy Carmichael composed One Morning in May and Mitchell Parish wrote the lyrics. However, Carmichael's initial version of the song had its debut at the shown Victor disc recorded October 10, 1933 as an instrumental performed by the composer at the piano featuring a swinging combo

Vocalist Marion Harris
Other artists and orchestras of the time seem to have favoured the song performed with the lyrics by Mitchell Parish changing the music into a ballad, an example is the version recorded by Marion Harris in April 1934

One Morning in May was adopted by jazz musicians and later versions comprise both vocal and instrumenal versions of the song. Here I'll concentrate on some instrumental examples uploaded at You Tube. Firstly, Benny Carter and his orchestra recorded a swinging version in 1958, inserted below

Dusko Goykovich (photo by OhWeh, 2010 - Wikimedia)
Jazz trumpeter Dusko Goykovich recorded a great instrumental version of One Morning in May at his 2001 CD entitled In My Dreams

Another contemporary instrumental issue of One Morning in May was recorded by pianist Bill Charlap in a trio setting at his 2001 album entitled Stardust

Vibraphonist Lars Erstrand (You Tube)
The last example here of a contemporary instrumental version of One Morning in May was recorded by Swedish vibraphonist Lars Erstrand with Finish clarinetist Antti Sarpila in 2004 at the album entitled We've Got a Heartful of Music


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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hamilton de Holanda Trio Celebrates The Music Of Jacob do Bandolim

Jacob do Bandolim (14.02.1918 - 13.08.1969)
This year Brazil celebrates the Centennial of Jacob do Bandolim, the great master of choro mandolin. Some official events have already been settled and more will follow during 2018 paying homage to the musical legacy of Jacob do Bandolim. Among other musicians, who lead the legacy of Jacob further, is Hamilton de Holanda Hamilton de Holanda has just released a set of 12 recordings celebrating the music of Jacob do Bandolim, issued by the Brazilian Deckdisc label as digital download and in the vinil LP format
Hamilton de Holanda Trio - Jacob 10ZZ (Deckdisc, 2018)
Hamilton is accompanied by Guto Wirtti (acoustic bass) and Thiago da Serrinha (percussion), and the title of the disc refers to the 10 string bandolim used by Hamilton as well as the word jazz. Hamilton explains further in the notes published at his blog, quote "I looked for a title with few letters and a direct sound that could give meaning to the conception of this work. It's Jacob's choro with a hint of jazz. Not necessarily all tracks are of this genre, but they have this way of playing, which uses a lot of improvisation and solos created at the time of recording. The name summed up the spirit of the album well" - The disc has 12 tracks, ten of them featuring compositions by Jacob do Bandolim and the remaining two are a composition by Jacob's son, Sérgio Bittencourt, who wrote the tune titled Naquela Mesa following Jacob's death in 1969, and Hamilton's own Serenata Jacarepaguá composed in studio during recording of the disc, a homage to the location in Rio da Janeiro where Jacob lived and opened his house for the famous choro meetings which helped this music to evolve and survive during a difficult time in Brazil. The twelve recordings have all been uploaded by Deckdisc at YouTube in the audiovideo format, below I'll insert some examples to give you an impression of this great project production, which will be followed by more later this year according the info at Hamilton's blog. Hamilton uses Jacob's unique 10 stringed bandolim in all tracks, it's the first time this instrument has been recorded.
Hamilton de Holanda with Jacob's 10 string bandolim (photo by revistadachoro.com)
The recorded repertoire of tunes by Jaob do Bandolim comprises both well known compositions like Remelexo, Alvorada, Assanhado and Mágoas, a.o. and lesser known tunes, even some of which Jacob did not record himself (Saracoteando). Here is first Hamilton de Holanda trio performing Alvorada

Next is a rendition of Jacob's Assanhado, a tune attributed the term choro-jazz by many critics, Hamilton convincingly demonstrates inspiration from modern jazz improvisation in this recording of the tune

Another up-tempo composition by Jacob do Bandolim is Bole-Bole, a samba-choro first recorded on a 78 rpm by Jacob in 1951. Here is the version recorded by Hamilton de Holanda trio

As mentioned above the twelve recordings by the Hamilton de Holanda trio are the first in a series of recordings featuring the music of Jacob do Bandolim in a contemporary interpretation by one of Brazil's greatest bandolim players. You have the opportunity to listen to all tracks at YouTube, here or at streaming audio services like Spotify a.o. - the vinil version has not yet been released outside Brazil, I think. - To end this small presentation of the project, here is Hamilton's Serenata Jacarepaguá 


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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Goodson Records - A Special Request

Goodson Records (collection: Gene)
Stephen Coates, who is researching flexible records, would like to contact Gene from Sevastopol (Ukraine) who contacted Hans Koert around March 2012 with images of some unusual Goodson type Russian records. Hans posted them on the Flexible Record blog on 17 March 2012. here is the link
If Gene reads this, Stephen would be very appreciative, if he could get in touch.

Stephen Coates can be contacted using the keepitswinging.domain@gmail.com, all notifications regarding the issue in focus here will be forwarded to Mr. Coates.


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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Picking The Guitar

Nick Lucas (1897 - 1982) (source: Wikipedia)
Dominic Nicholas Anthony Lucanese (August 22, 1897 – July 28, 1982), known professionally as Nick Lucas, was the first jazz guitarist to record as a soloist. Lucas played banjo with various dance bands in the early 1920s, and in July of 1922, he made his debut recordings for Pathé with Picking the Guitar and Teasin’ the Frets, both guitar solos.  He re-recorded both sides for Brunswick the next year (and again in 1932, electrically).  Before long, he was making vocal records for Brunswick as the Crooning Troubadour accompanied by his own guitar, sometimes with a piano or orchestra. In 1929, Lucas appeared in the talking picture Gold Diggers of Broadway, introducing Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips with Me, which he also made a hit on record. In 1930 and ’31, he recorded with his own band, the Crooning Troubadours, and the following year he made some recordings for Hit of the Week.  Lucas’ fame faded in the 1930s, but he continued to perform. In the 1940s he made a few Soundies, followed by some Snader Telescriptions in 1951.  Lucas experienced a resurgence in popularity late 1960s after he had appeared on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1969, and in 1974 he performed several songs for the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby movie.  After enjoying a career that spanned more than half a century, Nick Lucas died of pneumonia in 1982. (excerpted info from this source)
Nick Lucas picking the guitar (YouTube still)
Here I'll set focus on Nick Lucas' guitar playing and leave the singing troubadour to others (- learn more about Lucas' career at the official website, here). As mentioned above, Lucas had his recording debut featuring two guitar solos in July, 1922. I'll insert both solos below, as they are considered the first ever recorded jazz guitar solos. Eddie Lang may be the Father of Jazz Guitar, but Nick Lucas then may be the Grandfather of Jazz Guitar, as he preceded Lang as a recording guitar player with at least three years (- if you count Lang's 1925 guitar work with McKenzie's Candy Kids  in  Best Black (Vocalion, A 14978) as his registered first jazz guitar solo). - Here is first Nick Lucas' Picking The Guitar as recorded for Pathé Actuelle in July 1922

The flip-side of the 1922 Pathe Actuelle Record 020794 had Lucas' recording of Teasing The Frets

Today it's hard to recognize Nick Lucas' two initial guitar solos as jazz guitar playing, nevertheless Lucas was an influental figure in the development of the plectrum guitar picking technique which helped early jazz guitar pioneers like Eddie Lang to switch from tenor banjo to the guitar. Besides recording as the singing troubadour Nick Lucas also wrote several guitar method folios that inspired other musicians to take up the plectrum guitar
Nick Lucas Guitar Method Vol. 1
A contemporary guitarist, Jake Sanders, has arranged some of Nick Lucas' guitar pieces which were not recorded by Lucas himself, but are included in one or more of his published guitar method folios. There are four Nick Lucas arrangements included in Jake Sanders' recently issued CD album, shown below
Jake Sanders, Estrellas de Radio (Jalopy Records, JRCD003, 2018)
Learn more about Jake Sanders and the shown CD here. - To end this small review of Nick Lucas the guitar player, here is Jake Sanders' version of Lucas' Picking The Guitar (- not included at the shown CD) from a live gig performance featuring Jake Sanders in a trio setting


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Friday, March 9, 2018

From Licks To Riffs At The Guitar

Notation of a simple guitar lick
In popular music genres such as blues, jazz or rock music, a lick is a stock pattern or phrase consisting of a short series of notes used in solos and melodic lines and accompaniment. In a jazz band, a lick may be performed during an improvised solo, either during an accompanied solo chorus or during an unaccompanied solo break. Jazz licks are usually original short phrases which can be altered so they can be used over a song's changing harmonic progressions. A lick is different from the related concept of a riff, as riffs can include repeated chord progressions. Licks are more often associated with single-note melodic lines than with chord progressions. Riffs can be as simple as a tenor saxophone honking a simple, catchy rhythmic figure, or as complex as the riff-based variations in the head arrangements played by the Count Basie Orchestra.  However, like riffs, licks can be the basis of an entire song. For musicians, learning a lick is usually a form of imitation. Imitating style is as important as learning the appropriate scale over a given chord. By imitating, musicians understand and analyze what others have done, allowing them to build a vocabulary of their own. (info excerpted from Wikipedia, here)

Ton Van Bergeijk
So many words to announce a new course by Dutch master guitarist, Ton Van Bergeijk, who has just released a DVD based guidebook entitled Licks to Riffs with focus on the blues style and how to adapt any lick to any chord changes at the guitar. Ton explains the project more precisely in the video below

In the video Ton stated, quote: ”I've always found that licks played on other instruments are a great source of inspiration for guitarists. Pianists like Jimmy Yancey or James Booker are at the top of my personal list. For stronger riffs, I look at the great riff orchestras: Count Basie, Al Cooper, and then there's T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan, Allen Toussaint…musical sources for “riff-spiration” is virtually endless. (-) Of course, we can translate the lick to guitar, and then play the lick exactly as it was played, over the same chord or chord changes. But if we change just one or more notes, we can create new licks that can be used over other chords and chord changes. I’ll show you how to do that in this Licks To Riffs Guidebook.”
DVD course (TrueFire, 2018)
According to the inserted video and further info at the website offering the course for purchase, Ton has organized the course into two sections. In the first section, you’ll learn how to make a lick fit over the three chords in a standard blues progression. Ton will show you how to "barbershop" a lick and turn it into a riff. Then, he'll demonstrate how easy it is to make changes to that lick for a jazzier blues. In the second section, Ton will teach a selection of his own favorite licks that he has transformed into versatile riffs.  Learning how to get the most of any lick is the key objective of this course to generate  “riff-spiration” for other guitarists. - More info about the DVD course and how to purchase a copy, here

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