Friday, June 28, 2013

Dinnertime For Hungry Collectors: Big Bands

Dinnertime for Hungry Collectors
A Treasure-chest with mostly unissued performances of the Legends of Jazz
cd 1: Big Bands
Hans Koert

We all know how difficult it can be to find the ultimate birthday present for a person who has everything …  The only thing we remember him or her might be a bottle of wine gift-wrapped - a not very creative gift ..... in my opinion. 

Well! Suppose: You’re an active organization with a thousand inspired classic jazz collectors, which publishes a very popular magazine, Doctor Jazz Magazine, celebrating its 50th birthday ……. And you love to remember your readers with a jubilee present?

Dinnertime for Hungry Collectors ( DJ 010 I II)

Well …. The Doctor Jazz Magazine knows how to feed its friends ….. Recently the released a twofer with mostly unissued performance of the Legends of Jazz (1926-1952), entitled, with a reference to Raymond Scott’s 1937 hit Dinner Music For A Pack of Hungry Cannibals …. ….., Dinnertime for Hungry Collectors.
It was published recently, well designed with an informative booklet (in English) It's first half was dedicated to the Big Bands; the second part got the subtitle:  Small Groups and Oddities – A feast for (78-rpm) jazz record collectors.

Don Redman  with his orchestra in Betty Boop's Saloon (Still from the Betty Boop's cartoon classic: I Heard (1933)

A 25-course dinner? 25 recording sessions - almost 50 tracks ..... All collector’s items: rare takes,  radio transcriptions, test recordings and air cheks …… 
Today let's open the dinner with the Big Bands part! The album opened, to my surprise with five tracks all related to the classic “jazzy” Betty Boop cartoons featuring “live” performances by Don Redman : I Heard ( released  1st of September 1933) and  Cab Calloway ( The Old Man of the Mountain)( released 4th of August 1933).


I still remember how I found these early great "video-clips avant la letter" …  featuring Don Redman, in a white suit, facing the camera, seeming aimlessly conducting his band, performing in front of a drawn Betty Boop’s Saloon ….

The Old Man of the Mountain together with Betty Boop ( 1933)
.... and what about a young Cab Calloway, backed with the band singing his hit tune Old Man of the Mountain, all too dressed in whiteclothes for better contrast and as cartoon caracters in the cartoon itself ...., featuring cartoon star Betty Boop vocalized as a Helen Kane clone thanks to Mae Questel.  Whow! the album contains five tracks, excellent transferred by Dutch audio engineer Harry Coster from the original 12-inch metals. 
…………….   But the treasure-chest contains more jewels ....  A surpising ... a great test-only recording by Earl Hines ( My One Ambition is You ( 1932), an unknown 1939 Louis Armstrong broadcast, transfered from the Cotton Club in New York, never heard again since it was aired the 11th of December 1939, a week before a Louis Armstrong Decca recording session.  This orchestra was musically directed by Luis Russell up to 1940. His daughter, however, surprises nowadays in theatres all over the world as a jazz vocalist: Catherine Russell.
From 1945 an extensive radio program has been inserted as played by the extreme popular Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra due to the Christmas Seal Campaign, featuring one of its gest vocalists: Lena Horne.  This now almost forgotten big band was one of the best swing bands of the period. The Dutch Beau Hunks made a tribute to this band as the The Jimmy Lunceford Legacy Orchestra.  Thanks  Doctor Jazz for sharing this unknown radio program.
Count Basie
What other big bands are on the menu at the hungry (78rpm) collectors dinner? The bands of  Charlie Barnet (1937), Lionel Hampton ( 1952) and the Count Basie Orchestra -  the latter was selected because some considered lost recordings recently turned up again and sound engineer Harry Coster restored two tracks  .. the most he could make of it ……. But although the sound quality might be not the best hi-fi, Basie’s band played hot and cooking all the time …….

Doctor Jazz Magazine previous released some albums dedicated to Dutch jazz bands from the past, not only interesting for Dutch record collectors, but also sought after by foreign collectors. What to think about The MillersThe Ramblers and het orkest van Dick Willebrandts - all available at the Doctor Jazz website.

MY JAZZ LINKS: Dinnertime For Hungry Collectors

Hans Koert
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Fifty years Doctor Jazz  Magazine ....... A Jazz Magazine that won't see fifty again .... unique in the world. How should such a 50 year old magazine remember his readers? Doctor Jazz Magazine released a 2cd with mostly unissued performances of the Legends of Jazz (1926-1952) entitled Dinnertime for Hungry Collectors, refering to the 1937 Raymond Scott hit Dinner Music For A Pack of Hungry  Cannibals - it's a treasure-chest with unheard recordings from Louis Armstrong and Count Basie up to Don Redman, Adrian Rollini and Jimmie Lunceford ...... a feast for senior (78rpm) jazz record collectors 

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