The Frankie Capp Percussion Group- Percussion in a Tribute to Henry Mancini

This was $2.  I like Mancini and percussion albums so this seemed like a perfect marriage of the two. Plus the Stereo in Motion Graphics are pretty cool.

Frankie Capp, born in Worcester, Mass in 1931, is a jazz drummer who played in big bands before switching to session work, playing on many rock and roll recordings.  Although not the main drummer of the group, he is associated with the group of session artists referred to as”The Wrecking Crew”.  Capp, played with such diverse folks as Chet Baker, Stan Kenton, Mike Nesmith, Sonny and Cher, and Andre Previn. He would also later form his own big band with Nat Pierce.

Capp’s Space Age Pop Page

On this record, released by Kimberly Records in 1961, features Capp and his crew, (featuring fellow Wrecking Crew member Tom Tedesco on guitar), tackling the work of Henry Mancini.  Apparently, Kimberly and Capp made a dozen or so of these records, translating hits from other band leaders into modern percussion driven interpretations . Pretty good little album.  The arrangements are interesting enough.  Good percussion on this as the title would suggest. It is driven not only by Capp’s wonderful drums but also augmented by the vibraphone of Emil Richards.

For a sample, I went with “Peter Gunn” which I felt that although the original and subsequent covers are quite played out and over rated, this arrangement brought new life to the piece.  I also went with “Session At Pete’s Pad” which by some accident of me not paying attention, features an “Inna-gadda-da-vida”-esque extended bongo solo, mainly because there was a skip and I was not paying attention while recording.

Good little record all the way around.  Satisfactory.

Julie London- Julie Is Her Name

This was $1.00 Probably the red hair against the green back drop drew me towards this purchase which was more than likely made at Sig’s Lagoon.  Ah, poor Sig’s.  I used to go there once a month but since I have to many records as it is and I usually walked away from Sig’s with 30 or so per trip, I have stopped going.  Some of the best cheap records were procured there (* they also have a great selection of regular priced records as well).  Someday I will return Sig’s, some day.

Anyway, here is this from Julie London.  London, born in Santa Rosa, CA in 1926, was a singer, turned film actress, turned tv star.  She is best known for the 32 pop/jazz records she put out mostly during the 50’s and 60’s but she did some film work of note as well as time on the small screen with a 6 year run as nurse Dixie McCall on the show Emergency!.

It should be noted that she started with her husband at the time, Bobby Troup while the show was produced by her ex-husband, Dragnet’s Jack Webb.  So much for keeping your family life away from your work life.  Anyway, London, who was a chain smoker since age 16, suffered a stroke in 1995 and passed on in 2000, at age 74.

This was London’s first record, released by Liberty records in 1955.  It went to #2 on the US charts, driven by the strength of what would become her signature song, “Cry Me A River”.  Pretty decent album of 50’s jazz type numbers.  

Barney Kessel lends his guitar to the album along with bass from Ray Leatherwood. The sparce instrumentation   makes for a good effect.  Most of the songs if not all are love ballads and are pretty slow.

For a sample, I went with the one up tempo song on the album, the b-side to “Cry”, “S’Wonderful”.

Not exactly my cup of tea, but not a bad record either.  Satisfactory.

Stan Kenton- In Hi Fi

Welcome to another month of Donkey Show, which already has surpassed 2016 in terms of viewership.  When I was picking out records, I put an emphasis on ones that I have previously listened to, thus lessening my listening burden for the month.  At first I was really jazzed about this month.  After choosing the songs, I am slightly less so.  I could have diversified it a bit more.  Two brass band albums in one month is crazy.  Anyway, here is an interesting month of albums starting with this one I got for $3 which I bought for no better reason that the two tone cover.

Stan Kenton, born in Wichita, Kansas in 1911, was a pianist and band leader of in the same class as Herman, Basie and Ellington. He had several big band hits in the 1940’s.  However, to keep with trends of the time as well as to stay economically viable, Kenton paired down his band to an ensemble of 19.  This band’s swinging sound was cemented with the addition of drummer Mel Lewis in 1954.  This new incarnation had success up until the 60’s where Rock and Roll all but decimated this style of music.  Kenton, did remain active and still had a good deal of success in this period although he was somewhat curtailed by two accidental falls towards the end of his life.  Kenton died from complications from a stroke in 1979 at age 67.’

Released and recorded in 1956, this album takes some of Stan Kenton’s more popular big band songs from the 1940’s and translates with this smaller jazz ensemble.  Along with the help, from arranger Peter Rugolo, Kenton’s band tears thru these 13 tracks with a swinging horn section.  There are no strings on this record listed, nor can I remember them.  Overall, it is a pretty good little record. I think I picked about six songs of it as candidates for samples. According to some reviews, this was one of Kenton’s more popular albums as well as a good seller. 

For a sample, I was really drawn “The Concerto To End All Concertos”, being a fan of hyperbole and all .  However, upon listening, I did not feel that all concertos were on the verge of ending, as the title would suggest.  But for sake of this article here it is, along with a favorite of mine, “The Peanut Vendor”.

 

Good little album.  Satisfactory.

Peter Nero- Plays Tribute to Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

So very close to finishing out this month.  So close.  This was $1.00.  I liked the song list.

Peter Nero born in Brooklyn in 1934, is a Grammy winning pianist who has worked with orchestras, pop stars, television shows, and other forms of entertainment.  I am not even sure this is a proper sentence.  Anyway, he has also worked with the Philly Pops Orchestra, the largest stand alone pops orchestra in the US..  According to Wikipedia, he is transitioning to moving in to an old folks home in Florida.  Probably deserves a bit more exposition on this subject but not going to happen at this time.  Perhaps I will post another one of his records earlier in a month.

Well, this record,  released by Dynagroove in 1967, is Nero’s tribute to the A in A&R Records, Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass.  All the big hits are here:  “Spanish Flea”, ” The Lonely Bull”, “Tijuana Taxi”, and “Flamingo.  Pretty good interpretations and Nero’s skill on the ivory is impressive. Very versatile style. It is saying something that in the liner notes, Alpert commends Nero for his (with his being italicized) interpretations of Alpert’s work.

For a sample, I went with an amazing version of what I normally feel is an overrated song, the “Theme from Zorba the Greek”.  Nero’s version really takes off into a free jazz thing which weaves in and out from the traditional Greek soundtrack song.  Really good stuff.  Also, I wanted to throw in ” What Noe My Love”.

Good record.  Satisfactory. Maybe next Nero post, I will go into more depth.

Michel Legrand and his Orchestra- Strings On Fire

This gem was only $1.00.  Michel Legrand is the genius behind the music of Demy’s musical films as well as The Thomas Crown Affairs‘ theme “The Windmill’s of You Mind” which just happened to be on TV 5 mins ago while writing this.

Legrand has been on this blog before so less burden of writing on this on.  He is still alive as of the time of this writing.  Not much to say over things I have posted in the post from Legrand. Weekend is coming, so keeping this brief.

This was released by Columbia Records in 1962.  It is a good collection of standards with an emphasis on the strings.  Highlights include “Perfida”, “El Choclo”, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, and “All or Nothing At All”.  The arrangements are pretty swanky.  Good album.

For samples, I went with two songs that I normally post, “Jezebel”, and “Temptation”. But truth be told, I could have put any song on this post.  The album is just that good.

Great little album.  Top Rated.

Enoch Light and his Orchestra- At Carnegie Hall Play Irving Berlin

This was a dollar.  I jump on Command Records whenever I can find them.  This is the album this month arranged by Lew Davies. Should have done a better job vetting these I guess but at this point, it is too late.  

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was perhaps America’s greatest song writers, having penned over 1,500 numbers as well as scoring 19 Broadway productions and 18 films. His first hit was “Alexander’s Rag Time Band”.  He also penned “God Bless America”, “White Christmas”, and The Gong Show’s Chuck Barris’ Christmas favorite, “Easter Parade”.

This album is a collection of Berlin tunes recorded in Carnegie Hall on 35/mm film (which according to a previous post, produced a high quality output).  I believe their is no audience as this sounds like s studio recording.  Anyway, this is the typical wonderfully arranged, orchestrated and recorded record one would expect from Command.  It was also released in 1962.  Not really feeling writing this week so I will keep this one brief.

For a sample, I went with “How Deep Is The Ocean”, written by Berlin during what Wikipedia says was the low point of his career in 1932.  It is one of the few of his songs to be introduced on radio rather than stage/screen.

Anyway, as always a good little record from a good label.  Satisfactory.

The Stereo Brass Choir- Stereo Dialogue for Brass

This gem was only 50 cents.  A lot of songs I like on this.  When I wrote yesterday’s post, I was somewhat unsure how this month would play out.  However, between now and then, I took a trip down memory lane and looked at some for the older posts.  Some of it was pretty painful, going back to when I could not get the pictures straight, did not know how to display links, or properly record songs.  But overall, I felt that the output nowadays is more diverse than in the past and as I have always tried to make diversity a point of this blog, this is saying something. Anyway, Happy Fourth of July.  Nothing more patriotic than a bit of brass.

Well, there is this, which bills itself as “the most enjoyable musical event in stereo history”.  It is a collection of show tunes and standards in stereo with trombones on one side and trumpets on the other. It was the brainchild of Lew Davies (1911-1968) who besides arranging for Perry Como, Lena Horne, and Lawrence Welk, also worked closely with fellow audiophile Enoch Light and Command Records.

Davies’ Space Age Pop Page

The songs, by such luminaries as Rodgers, Porter, Loesser and Lowe, and Berlin, contain back and forth sections between the competing brass sections. As the title would suggest, this showcases the “dialogue” between groups.  Good arrangements.  Nice song selection.  As this was on Columbia records and released in 1960, you know this is a serious effort.  Besides the brass, the vibes/xylophone and other percussion make for a good effect.

For a sample, I decided to go with Irving Berlin’s staple “Anything You Can Do”.  

Good album.  Satisfactory.

 

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks- Where’s The Money?

This was all of $1.00.  I thought this was the second Dan Hicks record I owned. I was wrong. I have three.  I also thought this was the second one I posted.  Wrong again.  This is the first.

Dan Hicks passed on in February of last year.  His music is both easy and complex to describe.  On some levels, it is an exact extension of the hot jazz/ gypsy music of Django Reinhardt and the country swing of Bob Wills, plus many other genres of music, all while looking like hippies. His band the Hotlicks was formed in 1967, split in 1972, reformed sometime before 1973 and split sometime thereafter with an occasional reunion, most notably in 1991. The band was sprung from the San Francisco area where Hicks moved as a youth.  He was born in Little Rock Ark, in 1941.  See what I did there?  I did it backwards.

Dan’s Webpage

Anyway, this was his second record and it was done live. Recorded at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, the album features what his webpage calls the best known lineup of the band featuring Maryann Price and Naomi Ruth Eisenberg on vocals and percussion, Sid Page on first violin and mandolin, and Jamie Leopold on Double Bass.

I was really blown away how good this album was and how eclectic it sounded on one hand while making perfect sense on the other.  The songs are all really good.  Great musicianship and great vocals.  Also , featured on the album is some of the best stage banter I have heard in a long time.

For a sample, I went with what I felt was the Best song on the record, “Caught in the Rain”.  I also went with the first track, “I Feel Like Singing” because when I first listened to it, I thought the record was skipping.  And if you really think about it, to accomplish that feat on a live record is really saying something.

Anyway, great album. Top Rated.

The Cliff Holland Trio- Bourbon Street

This gem was only a dollar.  Not only do I like small regional records.  I also like autographed ones despite this record’s autograph being on the plastic cover.  It is made out to a “Mr & Mrs Cruz” to which Cliff Holland wished them good luck.  Since this record is from Calgary, I can’t help but wonder if these are Ted’s parents and if perhaps, I am holding the missing link of the JFK assassination in my hands.  Trump conspiracies aside, I always did have an overactive imagination.

Other than what I read on the back cover, I do not know much about Cliff Holland, other than the fact that he was a member of two successful southern vocal groups:The Delta Rhythm Boys and the Four Knights. His stint in both these groups led to worldwide travel and 12 Gold Records.  What brought him to Western Canada, I do not know.  Based on the lack of any drummer credits on the record, I assumed Holland handled skin duties but this is a mere assumption and I am starting to thing this is not the case. Anyway, the Trio is rounded out by English born Larry Yarwood on piano who was also a member of the Calgary City Stompers and Lye Kosh, a Regina native who was also an employee of Gulf Oil of Canada.  Further credits go to back-up bassist Glenn Dickson as well as Larry Bechthold for rhythmic patterns on the record.  Perhaps this is where the records drums come from although it is a strange way of saying it. Please note that I am pretty sure this is not Holland in the video below but I really liked this song.

Anyway, this is a real good album.  Between Holland’s baritone voice and the jazzy/lounge instrumentation, the listener is magically transported into a smokey dark room (although due to smoking laws, that aspect is lost to future generations).  Really good performances and really good songs including such standards as “Chicago”, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, ” They Call the Wind Maria”, and “Summertime”.  

This record did skip pretty badly.  I went to my upstairs neighbor to clean it but that did not do the trick.  I had to use his turntable as well as his fancy recording device to get a good recording.  I succeeded on this front but was to lazy to splice the songs apart so here are three samples all put together.  First is the second Paint Your Wagon song on this record, the immortal “Wandrin Star”. Second is the Bob Crewe-Bob Gaudio penned “Can;t Take My Eyes Off of You” which is a great version but probably included only because I saw Jersey Boys last month.  Finally, I leave you with a Holland co-penned tune “Our Town” which is more of  a shout out to the people who worked on this record, which is dedicated to Calgary.

Really good little record despite the fact that I can not play it on my record player.  It really hit on a lot of angles for me.  Top Rated.

 

VA-Odessa Sound of Jazz

This was one dollar.  I got it for the Texas tie in.  Being in the  oilfield for some time, I have made quite a few trips to that lovely land we know as the Permian Basin. I have flown into Midland International with the birds flying inside the airport, stayed in some of the crappiest hotels in town (not exactly true- most hotels were more mid range crappy), seen Permian High and the football stadium, driven by the 7-11 in Friday Night Lights, and struggled to find a decent place to get a beer as most places seem hidden to foreigners.  Strange town to an outsider, none the less the traveling salesman.  If it can’t be done in the Basin, then it really ain’t worth doing to most locals.

Which strikes me as odd, then that I found this jazz album as I would not see the Basin as having a thriving jazz scene.  Most Google searches pull up the jazz events in Odessa, in Russia.  A search for Jazz musicians pulls up people from El Paso and Dallas.  A listing of jazz clubs also shot blanks. So I am not sure that these is much in the way of jazz these days in the Basin.,

But back in 1977, it was a different story.  With the help of local surgeon Dr O.A. Fulcher, jazz parties were staged (11 according to the back cover) thru private subscription.  This is the first volume of jazz from one such party, thrown at the Ballroom Inn of the Golden West.  According to the back cover, 400 people were in attendance. The liner notes suggest that this is the first in what they hoped would be a series but I am guessing it never made it that far. According to his wife’s obituary, Fulcher died in 1977 probably some time after this record.  My guess is that West Texas Jazz died with him. Incidentally, O.A. was Mary Fulcher’s third husband, and after the untimely passing of all three, remained single until her death in 2013.  I am not sure what this adds to the narrative of this post. I just found it an odd fact and a testament to people’s perseverance over personal tragedy.

Well, hold the phone with that.  It seems as of late with this blog, I have taken to writing things, then researching them , and thus having to come back and change my proclamations.  Kind of seems par for course with journalism these day.  Anyway, according to sources, the West Texas Jazz parties still happen.  The celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2013.  Sorry to poke fun, but Jazz parties just sound too much like something out of Reefer Madness especially as described in the video link.

Link to webpage about documentary of Jazz in West Texas

Decent album, as far as jazz goes.  I was a little surprised as I set my expectations low. I am assuming the musicians were not from the Odessa area.  Over all good album.  I liked a couple of tracks on here.  I felt all of side one was real good, but ultimately as I do not like posting tracks over 10 minutes if I don’t have to, had to pass it by for something shorter.

Which I found on side 2. At first I was going to go with the shortest song on the album.  But after I heard “Oh Lady Be Good”, I knew this was the song for this post despite coming in over 8 minutes.  It was probably the inclusion of vocals that hooked me to this track, Featuring Clark Terry on trumpets and vocals, Carl Fontana on trombone, Flip Philips on Tenor Sax, Peanuts Hucko on clarinet, Dave McKenna on piano, Jack Lesberg on bass, Mousey Alexander on drums, and Herb Ellis on guitar , here is that track.

Pretty decent album.  And despite being all over the place with this post, I learned something that I would have probably taken for granted.  Satisfactory.