Sunday, May 28, 2017

Just A Little While To Stay Here

Billy Novick (clarinet), Guy Van Duser (guitar)
Enjoy some great music as played by one of my all time favorite jazz duos - clarinetist Billy Novick and guitarist Guy Van Duser. Here is first the duo's interpretation of an old New Orleans spiritual recorded earlier this year

Billy Novick and Guy Van Duser have played and performed together for more than 40 years, the mutual understanding of what swing is all about always shines through in the duo's performances 

To end this, here is the duo's excellent version of Stardust 


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Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Chocolate Dandies - 1928 - 1940 Studio Ensembles

Don Redman
Taking their name from a show written by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, a small group led by Don Redman recorded in the late '20s as the Chocolate Dandies. Redman also used the name for some McKinney's Cotton Pickers record dates. During the early '30s the name was picked up by other musicians, notably Benny Carter, who used it for a string of recordings he made with Coleman Hawkins, among others. Carter revived the name in 1940, again with Hawkins recording some small group jazz sides. - Below I'll insert some examples of recordings made by the various Chocolate Dandies studio ensembles.

Star Dust_Okeh 8668
Don Redman directed McKinney's Cotton Pickers in four titles recorded October 13, 1928 in New York for Okeh as Chocolate Dandies. Personnel included Don Redman (as,dir), Langston Curl, John Nesbitt (tp), Claude Jones (tb), Milton Senior (as,cl), George Thomas, Prince Robinson(ts,cl), Todd Rhodes (p), Lonnie Johnson (g), Dave Wilborn (bj), Ralph Escudero (bb), Cuba Austin (dm). Besides the shown Star Dust the titles included Paducah, Birmingham Breakdown and Four Or Five Times

Benny Carter
On September 9, 1929 another combination of Chocolate Dandies recorded two titles for Okeh in New York. Personnel this time included Benny Carter (as,voc), Don Redman (as,cl,voc), Leonard Davis (tp),  Rex Stewart (co), Coleman Hawkins (ts), J.C. Higginbotham (tb), Cyrus St. Clair (tuba), Fats Waller (p), Unknown (bj), George Stafford (dm). The recorded titles were That's How I Feel Today and Six Or Seven Times 

Dee Blues_Columbia 2543-D
December 1930, Benny Carter recorded two dates with a sextet of musicians drawn from Fletcher Henderson's orchestra as Chocolate Dandies for Columbia in New York. Personnel included Benny Carter (as,cl,voc,arr), Horace Henderson (p), Bobby Stark (tp), Coleman Hawkins (ts), Jimmy Harrison (tb,voc), Benny Jackson (g) and John Kirby (sb). On December 3 was recorded only one title, Goodbye Blues, but on December 31 were recorded Cloudy Skies, Got Another Sweetie Now, Bugle Call Rag  and the shown Dee Blues 

Blue Interlude_Decca 18255 A
Benny Carter recorded another session October 10, 1933 under the name of Chocolate Dandies, this time for Okeh/Decca. Personnel included Benny Carter (as,tp,arr), Max Kaminsky (tp), Floyd O'Brien (tb), Chu Berry (ts), Teddy Wilson (p), Lawrence Lucie (g), Ernest "Bass" Hill (sb) and Sidney Catlett (dm). Recorded titles besides the shown Blue Interlude were I Never Knew, Once Upon A Time and Krazy Kapers 

Krazy Kapers_Okeh 41568

Coleman Hawkins
Benny Carter was featured with Coleman Hawkins in a session for Commodore May 25, 1940 and recorded three titles under the name of Coleman Hawkins and The Chocolate Dandies. Recorded titles included Smack!, I Surrender Dear and I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me. Participating musicians were Benny Carter (as,p), Roy Eldridge (tp), Coleman Hawkins (ts), Bernard Addison (g), John Kirby (sb), Sidney Catlett (dm)
Smack!_Commodore 533 A


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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Joe Pass - Solo, Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975

Joe Pass 1975 (photo courtesy Tom Marcello Webster, Wikipedia)
Joe Pass (1929 - 1994) is generally considered to be one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century. His sophisticated style of chord-melody, with an outstanding knowledge of chord inversions and progressions, extensive use of walking basslines, and melodic counterpoint during improvisation, opened up new possibilities for the jazz guitar and had a profound influence on later guitarists.
In addition to his ensemble performances, Joe Pass is regarded as an influential solo guitarist. His solo style was marked by an advanced linear technique, sophisticated harmonic sense, counterpoint between improvised lead lines, bass figures and chords, spontaneous modulations, and transitions from fast tempos to rubato passages. He would regularly add what he called "color tones" to his compositions, to give what he believed was a more sophisticated and "funkier" sound. He would often use melodic counterpoint during improvisation, move lines and chords chromatically or play melodies by solely shifting chords, and descending augmented arpeggios at the end of phrases. - As Pass made the transition from ensemble to solo guitar performance, he preferred to abandon the pick altogether, and play fingerstyle. He found this enabled him to execute his harmonic concepts more effectively. (info excerpted from Wikipedia, here
Joe Pass at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975 (OJC CD, 1997)
Joe Pass recorded four studio albums of solo jazz guitar with the title Virtuoso for Norman Granz's Pablo label during the 1970s, these recordings are considered essential in demonstration of Pass' solo style. However, aside from studio recordings there were also released some live recordings of Pass' solo performances by the Pablo label, among them were the shown Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975 recorded during two concerts on July 17 and 18. The LP issue was reissued on CD 1997 by OJC and is still available for purchase, here
There are eleven tracks from the solo live performance of Joe Pass at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975 on the CD, mostly standards but also three Pass compositions (info, here). The performance at the two concerts July 17 and 18 was also recorded on video, below I'll insert a couple of examples uploaded at You Tube. Here is first Joe Pass performing Stevie Wonder's popular tune You Are the Sunshine of My Life 

Another video fragment from the same live performance has Joe Pass playing Ray Noble's The Very Thought Of You 

To end this small presentation of a magnificent jazz guitar solo live album, I'll insert the uploaded audio video from You Tube of Joe Pass' solo performance of Django Reinhardt's Nuages - enjoy!


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Friday, May 5, 2017

Bud Freeman - Some Recorded Highlights

Bud Freeman
Lawrence "Bud" Freeman (1906 - 1991)  was one of the most influential and important jazz tenor saxophonists of the Swing era. His smooth and full tenor sax style with a heavy robust swing was the only strong alternative to Coleman Hawkins' harder toned approach, until the arrival of Lester Young whom Freeman had allegedly influenced.
One of the original members of the Austin High School Gang which began in 1922, Freeman played the C-melody saxophone alongside his other band members such as Jimmy McPartland and Frank Teschemacher before switching to tenor saxophone two years later. Influenced by artists like the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and Louis Armstrong, they would begin to formulate their own style, becoming part of the emerging Chicago Style of jazz. 
In 1927, he moved to New York, where he worked as a session musician and band member with Red Nichols, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Ben Pollack, Joe Venuti, among others. He then played with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra (1936-1938) as well as for a short time Benny Goodman's band in 1938 before forming his own band, the Summa Cum Laude Orchestra (1939-1940). Freeman joined the US Army during World War II and headed a US Army band. After the war, he returned to New York and led his own groups and kept a close tie to Eddie Condon as well as working with the likes of Buck Clayton, Ruby Braff, Vic Dickenson and Jo Jones. He was a member of the World's Greatest Jazz Band between 1969 and 1970 and on occasionally there after. In 1974, he would move to England where he made numerous recordings and performances there and in Europe. Returning to Chicago in 1980, he continued to work into his eighties. - (info excerpted from this source, here)
Below I'll focus on some recorded highlights from Bud Freeman's career as a bandleader with examples uploaded at YouTube. - In December 1928, Bud Freeman recorded his own Crazeology for OKeh in Chicago. Musicians are: Johnny Mendell (tp) Floyd O'Brien (tb) Bud Jacobson (cl,as) Bud Freeman (ts) Dave North (p) Herman Foster (bj) Johnny Mueller (b) Gene Krupa (d) Red McKenzie (vcl)

Decca 18112B_ The Buzzard
Bud Freeman And His Windy City Five recorded some titles for Decca in New York, December 1935, among them were The Buzzard. Musicians are: Bunny Berigan (tp) Bud Freeman (cl,ts) Claude Thornhill (p) Eddie Condon (g) Grachan Moncur (b) Cozy Cole (d)

The same group also recorded Tillie's Downtown Now - another example of Bud Freeman playing the clarinet

In 1938, Bud Freeman formed a trio with Jess Stacy (p) and George Wettling (d), which recorded some hot swinging sides for Commodore in New York - among the recorded titles were I Got Rhythm

Bud Freeman trio also recorded a swinging version of Exactly Like You for Commodore

The Eel_Bluebird B-10386-B
In 1939, Bud Freeman formed his Summa Cum Laude Orchestra, an octet, which recorded some titles for Bluebird, among them Freeman's signature tune The Eel. Musicians are: Max Kaminsky (tp) Brad Gowans (v-tb,arr) Pee Wee Russell (cl) Bud Freeman (ts) Dave Bowman (p) Eddie Condon (g) Clyde Newcombe (b) Danny Alvin (d)

Bud Freeman and his Famous Chicagoans 1940
In 1940, Bud Freeman led another octet, which recorded some titles for Columbia. The ensemble consisted of: Max Kaminsky (tp) Jack Teagarden (tb,vcl) Pee Wee Russell (cl) Bud Freeman (ts) Dave Bowman (p) Eddie Condon (g) Mort Stuhlmaker (b) Dave Tough (d). Among the recorded titles were At The Jazz Band Ball

After the war, Bud Freeman recorded some titles for Keynote November-December 1945 featuring various band members. December 5 was recorded Honeysuckle Rose featuring Bud Freeman (ts) Joe Sullivan (p) Peanuts Hucko (cl) Carmen Mastren (g) Sid Weiss (b) George Wettling (d)

To end this small presentation of some recorded highlights by Bud Freeman as a bandleader, I like to point you to a live recording featuring Art Hodes (p) and rhythm with Bud Freeman from the TV program Jazz Alley - the program is in two parts

And here is part two of the Jazz Alley performance


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