Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Countless Blues - Kansas City Five & Six 1938

Commodore, LP 6.24057 (1979)
Quiet days, showers of rain, grey sky and sunshine once in a while - this is the summer holiday season at my spot of the globe. No need  going to a jazz festival without jazz - the word 'jazz' has lost its meaning nowadays, I'm afraid. Well, I don't want to set the world on fire regarding this, I just like to point to a couple of famous sessions featuring notable musicians from days long ago when the word 'jazz' still meant something to somebody.
John Hammond, talent scout and record producer
John Hammond arranged a recording session with a selection of musicians from Count Basie's orchestra on March 18, 1938 in New York. The five musicians participating in the session were Buck Clayton (tp), Eddie Durham (el-g), Freddie Green (rh g), Walter Page (b) and Jo Jones (d). Four titles were recorded: Laughing At Life, Good Mornin' Blues, I Know That You Know and Love Me Or Leave Me. The session was labeled as Eddie Durham and His Base Four, but was later changed into Kansas City Five.
Discographical info by Tom Lord, click to enlarge
John Hammond had originally produced this session to be released by Brunswick Records. But when they declined, he sold the sides to Milt Gabler, who issued the music on his Commodore label as by Kansas City Five.
Eddie Durham (el-g)
The session is deservedly famous for introducing and exposing the electric guitar ( - as played by Eddie Durham) in a regular jazz setting. Here is the audio of Laughing At Life from the March 18, 1938 session


Lester Young (ts)
On March 27, 1938 Milt Gabler arranged a session with the same musicians for his Commodore label, but now the ensemble was extended with Lester Young (cl,ts) to a sextet. This ensemble, labeled as Kansas City Six With Lester Young, recorded five titles (- two takes each) which belong to some of the most relaxing and excellently played swing jazz of the time. The session took off with a version of 'Way Down Yonder In New Orleans


Next was recorded two takes of Countless Blues, a tune attributed to the producer Milt Gabler


Freddie Green (rh g, voc)
Freddie Green (rh g, voc) contributed the singing at Them There Eyes in the next recorded tune


Buck Clayton (tp)
Buck Clayton on muted trumpet and Lester Yong on clarinet shared the solo parts in the next title, I Want A Little Girl (- Clayton has the last chorus on open horn)


Walter Page (double bass)
The last recorded title of the March 27, 1938 session by the Kansas City Six With Lester Young was a blues named Pagin' The Devil attributed to double bass player Walter Page and the producer of the session, Milt Gabler. Walter Page opens and closes the music contributing great playing


The Kansas City Six featuring Lester Yong recorded again for the Commodore label in March 1944, but this session had different personnel (- and a different sound and atmosphere) compared to the March 1938 recordings. The two sessions recorded March 1938 definetly belong to classic jazz that should be in the collection of any jazz fan, I think.
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Jo
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