The Dave Brubeck Quartet- Time Further Out

Here is some jazz from one of the American masters, Dave Brubeck and his Quartet.  This was $1.  I have gotten quite ahead of myself writing posts and all.  You may have noticed this last month when I was writing about Hurricane Harvey in Mid- October.

Well, as of the time you read this, it is Halloween, despite it not being during the time of writing.  If I can remember to get back here to update, here was my costume over the weekend. If you are unsure who it is, the answer is at the end of the post.

This record, released in 1961, is a follow up to his earlier Time Out,  from 1959 which explored the use of odd time signatures.  This earlier efforts produced what I have noted on this blog as one of the cornerstones of not only West Coast Jazz but American song writing in general, “Take Five” . I could say that this piece is our equivalent of Bach or Mozart but I digress.  His is this record by his Quartet which featured Paul Desmond on sax, Eugene Wright on bass, Joe Morello on drums, and Brubeck on piano, the same lineup as the earlier record.

Brubeck arranged the songs on the record in order of beats, starting with 3/4 time and ending with 9/8.  9 songs.  All pretty good.  Granted none as great as “Take Five” but why should this diminish from this effort?  The album still was successful, peaking at #8 on the Billboard chart.

For a sample, I was torn between “Blue Shaddow In the Night” in 9/8 time and “Far More Drums” in 5/4.  I decided to go with the latter, mainly because I like drum solos.

Satisfactory record.  For the record, I went as Jared Kushner, the President’s son in law for Halloween on Saturday.

Dick Hyman- Provocative Piano

Welcome to another month of the good ol’ Donkey Show.  After half a month of Ocktoberfest music and a full month of showtunes, I decided to go back to posting good (or at least interesting) records.  So what a better way to start than with a selection from Command Records and their Provocative series.  This was $4.00. I buy pretty much any Command record I come across at a decent price. I realize this is on the high end.  Also, although I wanted to cut down on the number of gatefold albums this month, I still choose this one to start the month rolling.  Command Records being known for their love of gatefold, perhaps I should have reconsidered.

On that note, I guess this is a good time as any to announce the administrative change to this blog. Starting this month, I am setting my upper spent limit to $8.00.  This is quite a jump from the previous $5 but I am finding that record prices have increased slightly over the last year and in order to get in decent stuff, the increase had to be made.  I have mixed feelings about it but the decision has been made and I am prepared to move on from it.  Please note though that the preference will still be on the $1 albums.

Dick Hyman, jazz pianist of renown, has been on this site before.  I would think his association with Enoch Light’s Command Records would speak for itself and put him in an upper echelon of musicians of the period.  Besides his work in jazz, Hyman did some very important work in electronic music as well as soundtrack work for movies and TV.

This year, Hyman will be named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master.  That is if it has not happened already or if the program’s budget has not been slashed yet.

Dick’s Space Age Pop Page

Anyway, this record, produced by Light, came out in 1960 and features Hyman’s piano pretty prominently.  A good mix of songs from “Canadian Sunset”, Autumn Leaves”, and “Miserlou” as well as works from Chopin and Tchaikovsky. As with most Command Records, I enjoyed it.

For a sample, I decided to play favorites and go with both “Polonaise” and Miserlou”.

 

Satisfactory.

Original Cast Recording- Annie Get Your Gun

And with this, we are done with our month long salute to Broadway. Overall, it went OK although I must say, I was unable to post what is my favorite musical Guys and Dolls.  Also painfully omitted is The Music Man which I already posted some time back  Other than that, here is this which has been all over this blog this month.  Well, saving the best for last with this original cast recording.

This has been the end of my month long salute to that old Broad, Broadway.  Despite really being sick of musical records this month, I learned something interesting about the evolution of musicals while doing this post.  You had the early 20th century musical theater in which you had either follies or songs that are separate and really highlight the performer rather than the story.  That is why I can name about a dozen Rodgers and Hart songs but none of their musicals (with the exception of Pal Joey but that is more because of the movie with Frank Sinatra).  Then you have the Golden Age of 1940-1964 with the book musical I have been mostly highlighting.  During this time as well as the last era, the songs were American popular music.  But the story’s and the musicals themselves were just as important.  Then finally in 1964, we saw yet another shift.  Rock and roll and other forms had pushed Broadway music out of the pop charts.  However, the works themselves had become bigger than ever.  This is still evident today as you can look at Les Miserables, Phantom of The Opera, Chicago, and so on, but would be pressed to name a song from any, despite the music is just as good as it ever was.  In short, it would seem the music and the overall work over the last century were on two different trajectories which existed together during that middle golden age. At least that is how I see it.

The original production which opened in 1946, ran 1,147 performances.  For more information, check out the video below as I am exhausted on the subject of Annie and musicals in general. I must again say, I got a lot of mileage out of these videos and found them quite enjoyable.

For a sample, I went with what is perhaps one of the greatest duets ever to grace the stage, not to mention one that I threw up several times this month, “Anything You Can Do”.

Satisfactory.  Another month done. No more Broadway for awhile.

Orignal Soundtrack Recording- Cabaret

I can almost taste freedom from what has been Donkey Show’s month long tribute to Broadway.  This record , the film adaptation of the Broadway musical, was in the collection of records I got from the estate of Big Al Pallister.

Cabaret was a revolutionary production when it hit Broadway in 1966.  With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, the production, based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel, Goodbye to Berlin, chronicled the rise of Nazi Germany against the backdrop of the Kit Kat Klub as well as two romantic story lines.  The story combined the club’s revue along with its society in a interweaving narrative, lead by the Master of Ceremonies, originated on Broadway by one Joel Grey.

Based on its success, the musical was adapted into a movie in 1972.  Grey remained in his role, but the parts of Sally Bowles and Brian Roberts were played by Liza Minnelli and Michael York (switching the nationalities of the actors from the musical).  A good chunk of songs from the stage were discarded and new songs, again written by Kander and Ebb were provided.

The movie made a superstar out of Minnelli for sure.  It also won 8 Oscars.  Director Bob Fosse pulled off the rare feat that year of winning the Triple Corwn of directing (an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony in that category). The following video has a lot of good information regarding the career of Fosse.

For a sample, I went with one of the new songs composed for the film, “Mein Herr”.

Nice little album.  Satisfactory. I realize I should probably state more about both the musical and the movie but I am really burned out at this point.

 

Bravo Pops Symphony Orchestra- Gigi/ My Fair Lady

Only three more posts for this Broadway salute.  This record was only a dollar.  It contains two works of the Broadway team of Lerner and Lowe, the film the dup composed Gigi, and perhaps their most famous work, My Fair Lady.  For the purposes of this post, we are going to pretend the Gigi side does not exist, despite the fact that the duo would covert the movie into a Broadway musical in 1973.

I posted the Original Cast Recording for My Fair Lady a couple months back and had a pretty lengthy write up so I am not going to rehash many of the specifics here other than the fact that it ran for 2,717 shows, which at the time (1956-1962) was the longest Broadway production.

On the last post,  I noted that I am not a huge fan of this piece.  That has not changed.  Still do not find it believable.  I mean Professor Henry Higgins clearly prefers the company of men.  

This album is credited to the Bravo Pops Symphony Orchestra under the direction of John Senati.  Senati, the orchestra and Bravo records did a series of musical albums in the late 50’s/ early 60’s.  Broadway musical albums that is.  I get that all music is musical.

But despite my feelings about this work, “The Street Where You Live” is still one of my favorite songs.  Here it is as a sample. 

Meh.  Could have used some vocals. Also, maybe at this point, I am just sick of listening to musicals.

Original Cast Recording- Beyond The Fringe

Ooooh.  Look at you big spender.  $5 for this.  Looked like a decent purchase at the time.  I knew two of the names on the cover.  Maybe, subconsciously in my mind, I was mapping out this month long salute to Broadway.

Beyond The Fringe, was a British Comedy revue which started in London’s West End and moved to Broadway as well as a US tour.  The revue was written and performed by Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett, and Johnathan Miller.  I believe this is where Moore and Cook met.  Bennett and Miller were pursuing academic interests at time (which they both gave up upon the success of BTF).  Cook, on the other hand, had an agent and negotiated a larger fee for himself.  However, after his agent’s take, he ended up earning less than the other other three.

After a successful run in England, the show opened on Broadway in October of 1962 and ran for 667 shows.  President John Kennedy attended a performance the following year .  Overall, it was a successful production and is generally credited as among the influential pieces in the rise of 60’s British satirical comedy.

For a sample, I went with a two pieces combined.  First is Peter Cook with a monologue about coal mining titled “Sitting On  A Bench.  Next is a piano piece fro Dudley Moore called “The Same To You’ which is a excellent variation on “Colonel Bogey”.  

Good album. Satisfactory.

Original Cast Recording- Little Mary Sunshine

All most done this month.  So close.  Keep focused.  Let’s get this done.  This record was $3.20.  Not sure why I bought it other than I wanted to check out a musical I was not familiar with.  Maybe the Mounties in the gatefold influenced me as well.

Little Mary Sunshine, with book, music, and lyrics by Rick Besoyan (1924-1970), was a throw back to the old timey operettas of earlier times.  Besoyan, himself, cut his teeth in performances of Gilbert and Sullivan.  The production itself, which opened in 1959, was an off-Broadway affair and is perhaps among one of the most successful, running for 1,143 shows. A West End production followed in 1962.  Today, this piece remains popular by small time/ amatuer groups.

The original production was directed and choreographed by Ray Harrison.  Eileen Brennan stared in the title role with William Graham as Captain Warington and John McMartin as Corporal Jester.  The stage production consisted of two pianos but an orchestra was added to this cast recording.

Set in the Colorado Rockies, the play involves Native Americans and Little Mary Sunshine in a land dispute with the Gubermint led by the Mounties (the play calls them Forrest Rangers which is more American but come on man, look at them.  they are clearly  Mounties). Trouble, conflict, hilarity, and love then ensue. 

The musical numbers hark back to those earlier romantic operettas and are very tongue in cheek as I am told.  Besoyan was highly influenced by the duets of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald as well as lyrical waltzes, and counterpoint medleys. All of which are here on this album, recorded and released in 1960.

For a sample, I went with what Wikipedia seemed to highlight, “Playing Croquet” which unfortunately has become annoying stuck in my head. So listen at your own risk.  I also like “Mata Hari” as well.

Descent album.  Satisfactory.

Original Cast Recording- George M.

At last  My last week of riding this train wreck of a month I devoted to Broadway.  Not a bad idea to start but I am quite sick at this moment of listening to showtunes.  Also, not to bright of me to leave the works I am less familiar with to the end.  Oh well, lets burn thru these.  Here is this that I bought for $4, probably to dedicate some space to the subject matter.

 

And what better way to celebrate a month of Broadway than to pay tribute to its very own bard, George M. Cohan.  An Irish American born to vaudevillian parents in 1878, Cohan went on to write and perform in more than three dozen musicals, beginning with Little Johnny Jones in 1904.  An early pioneer in the book musical which most of these posts have been celebrating this month, Cohan wrote over 300 songs including “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, “You’re A Grand Old Flag”, “Over There”, “45 Minutes to Broadway’, and “Mary Is A Grand Old Name”.

Perhaps, Cohan is best known today (or last century) by his portrayal by James Cagney in the bio movie Yankee Doodle Dandy.  Cagney, who was a former vaudevillian and dancer, was a good fit for the role, although Cohan, an advisor to the film, preferred Fred Astaire.  Nevermind that the film was a good old dose of Hollywood bullshit of things that did not happen as true as they are presented.  It remains one of my favorites. Cohan himself, who was in ill health, would pass shortly after its release in 1942.  As tribute, he has a statue in Broadway.

This production, based on Cohan’s life, opened on Broadway in 1968 and ran for 433 performances.  Driven by actor Joel Grey, who was coming off the success of Cabaret, the music, of course was Cohan’s with the book by Michael Stewart, John Pascal, and his wife Francine. The cast also featured Bernadette Peters.

Reviews were mixed.  The book was called a mess but the directing work of Joe Layton as well as the performance of Joel Grey were generally praised.  Layton won a Tony for choregraphy for his efforts with this and a television adaptation was produced in 1970. Grey was nominated for a Tony but alas did not win.  Did you know Joel Grey is the father of Dirty Dancing‘s Jennifer Grey?  This is the fun fact I learned with this post.

Could have gone in many directions with this, but ultimatley decided to go with the Epilogue number, which is a medley of some of Cohan’s songs along with an audio of his famous signoff, “My Father Thanks You, My Mother Thanks You…..Etc”.

Not a bad little album.  Satisfactory.

Original Cast Recording- Gypsy

Yay.  It is Saturday and one more week of the Broadway theme I have driven into the ground.  This was $4.  It has been described by critics as the perfect mid 20th century American book musical.  Quite a bold statement.

This production, based on the memoirs of old timey stripper Gypsy Rose Lee was a project of producer David Merrick and actress Ethel Merman.  With direction and choreography from Jerome Robbins, a book by Arthur Larents, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show opened in May of 1959 and ran 702 performances.  It also starred Merman, Jack Klugman, and Sandra Church.

Known as musical theater’s King Lear, the production is as much a testament to the lead character, Rose, the demanding stage mother who is either a saint or a monster, depending on what critical analysis you buy into. Regardless, the songs have become popular standards.  Various revivals have gone on over time.  The film version which was posted earlier this month also was released in 1962.

This album itself, won a Grammy. Here from that effort is the catharsis moment for the ultimate stage mother in “Rose’s Turn”.

Satisfactory.

New World Orchestra-WRC Production- The Sound of Music

Broadway month is getting closer to the finish line with this, which I bought for a dollar.  I guess a bought it to write a post on the influential Rodgers and Hammerstein production.

The Sound of Music was the last piece of work for the duo as Hammerstein would die of cancer nine months after its premier on Broadway (which was 1959).  Featuring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel in the leading roles, the story of the Austrian Von Trapp Family, the original production ran 1,443 performances and won five Tony’s including Best Musical.  A film version with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer followed in 1965 which itself won five Oscars.  Numerous revivals and production followed and most every song on this has become a standard over time.

I am not sure where this came from other than a reference to the WRC (World Record Club, a UK mail subscription record club) and some information on London productions.  I believe this came out in 1961.  The credits include music by   The New World Orchestra led by Jan Cervenka, with arrangements Bobby Richards and production by Cyril Ornadel.  As far as the principal actress/actors go, that would be two London performers, Adele Leigh and Ian Wallace, both currently deceased.  I am sure I could find something more out on this if I were so inclined, which today I am not.

For some reason, Sound of Music never really took off with me. I know, even with Julie Andrews in the movie version.  I think something about seeing her as a nun probably does not do it for me.  Well, however, I feel, this was a hughly popular musical and score and as a sample I went with ” My Favorite Things”  which served as a basis for his oft-cited jazz cover which served as the basis for the Door’s Robbie Kreiger’s “Light My Fire”.

As far as this album goes though, meh.  Nothing really radical or new on this.  Have not meh’d an album all month.  Feels kind of good.