Saturday, November 26, 2016

Solid Gassuh! New CD By The Fat Babies Revitalizes Jazz of The 1920s Era

The day after
After a hectic Black Friday you may need more than a lot of coffee to get things back to normal, because you are in an acute confusional state known as suffering from delirium

A monster syringe of good medicine
If you spent your last five pennies yesterday and this extravagance did not help consolidate your normally good taste, you have better see a doctor

Well, I assume Doctor Russell's medicine may have boosted your sanity, now you need just a small infusion of Henderson's exquisite vintage before you're a feeling good

CD front: The Fat Babies - Solid Gassuh (Delmark, cd 257)
Instead of going to the shopping mall last night, I spent a pleasant time in the good company of The Fat Babies listening to the latest CD by this great band which has specialized in revitalizing vintage jazz of the 1920s era. The Fat Babies is a Chicago based jazz ensemble founded in 2010 by string bass player Beau Sample. Remaining members of the septet performing at the shown CD are Andy Schumm (co,as), John Otto (reeds), Dave Bock (tb), Paul Asaro (p, voc), Jake Sanders (bj,g) and Alex Hall (dm). The title of the CD quotes a late 19th century slang term describing something especially pleasing or successful. It's not just  a case of fraudulent advertising being put at the front cover of the CD, the music and the performance in the fifteen tracks contained at the disc definitely support my impression of a very pleasing  and successful album. - The repertoire of the album comprises music originally recorded by a.o. Luis Russell and his orchestra (Doctor Blues), Fletcher Henderson (Feelin' Good, Alabamy Bound), McKinney's Cotton Pickers (I Miss A Little Miss), Johnny Dodds (Pencil Papa), Benny Goodman (After Awhile), Red Nichols (Delirium), Jean Goldkette's Orchestra featuing Bix Beiderbecke (Slow River). There are also seldom performed tunes like Original Charleston Strut (originally recorded by Thomas Morris' Past Jazz Masters), Parkway Stomp ( originally by Albert Wynn a.h. Gut Bucket Five feat. Alex Hill), Alex Hill and King Oliver's You Were Only Passing Time With Me, the Bing Crosby hit Did You Ever See a Dream Walking? (- also by Gene Kardos a.o.), Egyptian Ella (Ted Lewis a.h. Orchestra feat. Fats Waller a.o.) and Sing Song Girl (by Ben Pollack a.h. Orchestra feat. Benny Goodman and Jack Teagarden, a.o.). Finally, the disc ends with a hot orchesta version of Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag. - The arrangements and performance by The Fat Babies are great, it's a sheer pleasure to listen to updated versions of vintage jazz when performed by musicians who know their roots and contribute their skills with due respect to both the past masters and a contemporary audience. I highly recommend the CD as an example of vintage jazz in exquisite performance by the fabulous Fat Babies, available for purchase here
The Fat Babies in performance
To end this small review of Solid Gassuh, I'll insert a couple of uploaded videos featuring The Fat Babies in live performance recorded last year of some of the tunes contained at the CD - Here's first the band's version of Delirium

From the same performance, here's The Fat Babies performing Feelin' Good

Finally, to end this, here is the band's version of Maple Leaf Rag from another live performance in November last year


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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Hot Time In The Class Room of Fingerstyle Guitar - New DVD Lessons by Ton Van Bergeijk

Ton Van Bergeijk (You Tube still photo)
Some months ago I wrote a small review of the new great solo CD by the amazing Dutch guitarist Ton Van Bergeijk devoted to fourteen pieces of blues influenced music composed and/or arranged for solo fingerstyle guitar by the guitarist. You still have the opportunity to read this review with additional info in inserted links how to obtain a copy of the CD entitled Pickin Again! Just Blues (and a wee bit o'Jazz), here

Pickin' Again CD (Ice 'n Slice Records 89065-2)
In the liner notes with the Pickin' Again CD, Ton Van Bergeijk pointed to a planned release of some video lessons as a follow-up to the CD to give other guitarists an opportunity to study the music further. Now these video lessons are scheduled to be released as a DVD coming week offering 90 minutes in depth covering of patterns, licks and variations of eight tunes from the Pickin' Again CD. A promotional video of the forthcoming DVD course has been made and uploaded at YouTube, inserted here

In the video, Ton explains the goal of these DVD lessons further, quote:
”It has always been my belief that the gems from musical history can be used in many different ways. I've gathered licks, patterns, New Orleans piano based grooves, and other influences from country blues, swing, rhythm & blues, and even the funky 70's. I've adapted them for fingerstyle guitar and projected them on a blues and boogie environment. Fiddling and juggling all of these elements is what this course is all about. The old supporting the new, and the new enriching the old.”
Ton Van Bergeijk in the inserted video (You Tube still)
More info about the contents of the DVD course and how to buy a copy of it is accessible here 
- Newcomers wanting to learn more about Ton Van Bergeijk can visit his official vewsite, here and may also find further info here
DVD, Truefire 2016

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

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Irving Mills And His Hotsy Totsy Gang Featuring Hoagy Carmichael

Irving Mills (1894-1985)
Irving Mills was a music publisher and owner of Mills Music with his brother Jack. He also was a singer, songwriter, A&R man and manager of several bands that included Cab Calloway, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson, Mills Blue Rhythm Band and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, which he managed from 1926 to 1939. (-) The Hotsy-Totsy Gang records made under Irving Mills name between 1928 and 1930 assembled some of the greatest White Jazz musicians of the era and often produced spectacular results. Sometimes Mills sang on the records, other times he just arranged the record dates and selected the musicians. (info excerpted from the Red Hot Jazz website, here)

Here I like to focus on three sessions by the Hotsy Totsy Gang which featured Hoagy Carmichael and produced excellent recordings of some of his music.
A young Hoagy Carmichael posing at the piano
Hoagy Carmichael had arrived in New York during the summer of 1929 and was soon hired by Irving Mills to set up recording dates. Carmichael took the opportunity to pick some of the well known and respected white musicians in town and arranged three sessions for Brunswick September and November 1929 and January 1930 under the name of Irving Mills And His Hotsy Totsy Gang. The three sessions feature music composed and arranged by Carmichael and he also participates both as a piano player and vocalist. - The first session by the Hotsy Totsy Gang was scheduled on September 20 and produced four sides (see dicographical details below)

Excerpt of Tom Lord's Jazz Discography, vers. 9.0 (click to enlarge)
The first recorded tune was Harvey, a song about a young fellow with two faces. The tune was recorded both with and without vocal by Carmichael, only the vocal version was issued.
Brunswick, BR 4559 - Harvey
The arrangement of Harvey produced a hot tune in medium tempo with great contributions by the selected 10-piece ensemble

Brunswick, BR 4559 - March of The Hoodlums
The next tune recorded was Carmichael's March of The Hoodlums - one of his early hits also recorded by Ed(die) Lang and His Orchestra a.o.. Again, the arrangement for this Brunswick session by the Hotsy Totsy Gang produced a hot version

Star Dust, original sheet music by Mills Music
Carmichael had recorded the first version of Star Dust in October 1927 for Gennett with his own orchestra (- the audio of this is available here) and now he took the opportunity to record it again with the Hotsy Totsy Gang, which produced another great instrumental recording from the September 20 1929 Brunswick session (-lyrics by Mitchell Parish had not been added yet and the tempo is kept at medium-fast; it was Isham Jones and his version from May 16, 1930 which produced the first recorded issue of the tune as a sentimental ballad in medium-slow tempo)

Bunswick had a promotional feature of the label's artists and records (- known as Brunswick Brevities) produced by the National Radio Advertising Company Inc. from August 1929 to approximately March 1930 designated for broadcast only. One of these Breveties presented Irving Mills and his Hotsy Totsy Gang in two tunes, Nobody's Sweetheart and Harvey, besides the announcer Irving Mills is also heard presenting the recordings. The making of this radio promotion advert was recorded October 1929 according to Lord's discographical data (- see above), but another source mentions early 1930. More info including the audio of the mentioned Brunswick Breveties record here 

Brunswick, BR 4641 - Manhattan Rag
On November 7, 1929 the next session featuring the Hotsy Totsy Gang and Carmichael for Brunswick was recorded and produced three sides, one of them was the shown Manhattan Rag, another instumental tune by Carmichael which also was recorded by Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra

The two remaining sides had an instumental version of Carmichael's What Kind of Man Is You? (- the vocal version by Mildred Bailey with Eddie Lang's Orchestra probably is the best known version of the tune) and the less known My Little Honey And Me (- not a Carmichael composition)

Two months later, Carmichael and the Hotsy Totsy Gang recorded a third session for Brunswick on January 6, 1930. The session produced four sides and participating musicians have a couple of replacements compared to the November 6, 1929 session (see discographical info below)

Info from Tom Lord's Jazz Discography, vers. 9.0 (click to enlarge)
Both a vocal and instrumental version of Carmichael's High And Dry was recorded, here's the recording featuring Carmichael's vocal in another red hot tune

The two remaining sides recorded in the session featured another hot instrumental by Carmichael titled Barbaric and the unissued South Breeze; here is Barbaric by the Hotsy Totsy Gang inserted below

The music from the three sessions for Brunswick featuring Hoagy Carmichael with Irving Mills and His Hotsy Totsy Gang presented above has been reissued both on LP and CD, i.e. at volume two of the two CDs compilation of Irving Mills recordings 1928 - 1932 released by the Canadian Sensation label
CD front, Sensation, CD 769-748025-2

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