Friday, April 28, 2017

The Bechet-Spanier Big Four - H.R.S. Sessions 1940

The H.R.S. Records label
The H.R.S. Records was an independent jazz label founded in 1938 as a devision of Steve Smith's Hot Record Society. Like Milt Gabler's Commodore Records, the H.R.S. Records produced new recordings with contemporary artists and reissued earlier recorded jazz from other labels, the 78 rpm discs were distributed from Smith's record shop in Midtown Manhattan, N.Y. and by mail order. The H.R.S. recorded 124 performances in 25 sessions between August 1938 and September 1947 before the company closed, some years ago Mosaic Records reissued all 25 sessions in a box-set (- unfortunately out of print)
Mosaic Box MD6-187

Sidney Bechet
At two sessions March-April 1940 clarinetist/soprano sax player Sidney Bechet  and cornetist Muggsy Spanier joined forces in some remarkable and memorable recordings for the H.R.S. Records in a quartet setting labeled Bechet-Spanier Big Four.
Muggsy Spanier
The two remaining members of the quartet were guitarist Carmen Mastren 
Carmen Mastren
and double bass player Wellman Braud 
Wellman Braud (courtesy Mosaic Images)
The first session by the Bechet-Spanier quartet was scheduled at March 28, 1940 and produced four recorded titles (see disc info below)
Excerpt of Tom Lord's Jazz Discography, vers. 9.0 (click to enlarge)
China Boy was recorded in two takes, but only mx 2776-1 was issued. Below I'll insert uploaded examples from YouTube of the recordings from the March 28 session, here is first Four Or Five Times

Next was recorded Sweet Lorraine 

Up the Lazy River by Carmichael was next

Finally, China Boy finished the March 28 session

The second session by the Bechet-Spanier Big Four was scheduled April 6, 1940 and again produced four recorded titles (see disc info below)
Excerpt of Tom Lord's Jazz Discography, vers. 9.0 (click to enlarge)
Three takes of That's A Plenty were recorded, only mx 2802-3 was originally issued. Below is inserted the music from uploaded YouTube videos of the four titles from the April 6 session, here is first If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight 

Next was recorded That's A Plenty, here's the originally issued version

H.R.S. 2003_ Squeeze Me
Squeeze Me was recorded next inclusive a tasty full chorus guitar break by Carmen Mastren

Finally, the last title recorded at the April 6 session was Sweet Sue, Just You 

The music recorded at the two sessions for H.R.S. Records by the Bechet-Spanier Big Four quartet has for a long time belonged to my favorite recordings of small band jazz. The chamberish atmosphere of the sessions does definitely not exclude hot playing by both reed and horn which mix perfectly supported by a solid rhythm provided by guitar and double bass. Classic jazz!

Retrospect Keep Swinging (old) Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions

No comments:

Post a Comment