Sandy Nelson- Manhattan Spiritual

This record was all of $1.  It had a bunch of songs I liked on it.  The cover says late 60’s but sound was a bit more 70’s (in actuality, this record came out in 1969).

Sandy Nelson is a drummer from Santa Monica, CA.  Born in 1938, Nelson’s fame grew due to his impressive record of session work in the early days of rock and roll. Nelson cut his teeth recording on such early classics as “To Know Him Is To Love Him” and “Alley Oop”.  In the late 50’s/early 60’s, he would have hits of his own including “Teen Beat” and “Let There Be Drums”.  A motorcycle accident in 1963 cost Nelson his right foot and part of his leg.  However, Nelson continued to release records regularly up into the mid 70’s (including this one).  Today he is sporadically still involved in music I believe.

This record, again released in 1969, is a collection of instrumental standards accented by Nelson’s drum work.  It is ok.  Nelson is a more than competent drummer and his drums do not overpower the songs on the record. Some of the arrangements are not as I would do them, but what can you do?  A lot of songs that I like were on this including one I post all the time, “Caravan”.  On one hand , I did not like this arrangement at all.  On the other hand, though, I respect that Nelson was trying to do something different with this.

For a sample, I went with the song that led me to buy this album, “Big Nose From Winnetka”.  Also, here is the version of “Caravan” which I still have mixed feelings about.

Eh.  I could go either way with this album, but since I paid a dollar for it and I am in a relatively good mood, I will say satisfactory.

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.

Terry Snyder and The All Stars- Persuasive Percussion Vol 2

This was $2.40.  Since it is a Command record, plus it has a version of my favorite song, “Brazil”, buying it was a no-brainer.  In fact, as with other Command records, I bought this twice.  I am unsure how much I paid for the second copy.

About a couple weeks ago, I saw Pink Martini play at Jones Hall.  In all honesty, when I bought the ticket, I thought I was going to see the French Pink Turtle, who play pop tunes in a hot/swing jazz style.  After discovering my mistake, I read enough good things to go ahead and see Pink Martini.  And they were pretty good.  If I had to describe them, I would say they were a lot like seeing this blog  live.  Interestingly arranged tunes from a diverse source, with styles and languages from around the world.  They were backed by the Houston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Steven Reineke.  They had a great version of Dvorak’s Moon aria, from Rusalka. It was a really great show.  Anyway, they also closed the set with a great version of “Brazil” which brings us here.

Of all the songs I frequently post on this blog, “Brazil” written by Ary Barroso in 1939, takes the title as the most posted. I am not 100% sure why this watercolor ode to the country where I should disclose I was born and spent the first year of my life hits home to me.  Perhaps it is the beat and the rhythm, or the wonderful melody lines.  I am not going to go much deeper in the subject other than my favorite version is that done by Esquivel.

This is the second series of Persuasive Percussion.  The first volume sold well and proved to be popular for the label.  Drummer Terry Snyder served as the band leader on this effort and for his part assembled three groups of Command musicians for this record.  The first group featured a large orchestra along with additional drummers Wille Rodriguez and Artie Marotti.  The second group keeps the three drummers with a simple saxophone, trumpet, and trombone, plus a rhythm section.  The third group adds Doug Allen to the drum circle along with an expanded rhythm section.  Standard Command performers include Doc Severinsen, Tommy Matola, Urbie Green, and Dick Hyman.  The effort was produced by none other than Enoch Light.

Link to Terry Synder’s Spaceagepop page

This album is a pretty good collection of tunes and does put a highlight on the percussion end which some percussion albums oddly fail to do. A lot of good moments here.  For a sample, I decided to go with ” In A Persian Market” which features Severinsen’s trumpet. I also went with the centerpiece of today’s blog, “Brazil”.  Pretty decent version.  I have yet to hear a real awful version of this song but as soon as I can post one, I will.

Good record, Satisfactory

Manny Albam & Ernie Wilkins- The Drum Suite

dscn5276-800x790This was a pricey one at $4.00.  It looked interesting enough.  Somehow, I can not get away from those jazz drum albums. I also think that I had just seen Whiplash around the time of this purchase.

Manny Albam
Manny Albam
Ernie Wilkins




I realize that jazz drum albums are not everybody’s cup of tea.  This album, released in 1956, features six movements written expressly for drummers.  However, this is far from an album of just drum solos.  The songs are led by the orhestra with extended drum breaks.  The band leaders on this, Manny Albam and Ernie Wilkins were both sax men who took up arranging and composing.  The drummers on this record are Osie Johnson, Gus Johnson, Teddy Sommer, and Don Lamond, all accomplished in the world of jazz.  These men are also all dead today.

O Johnson
O Johnson
G Johnson
G Johnson

The Allmusic review states that this album is free of gimmicks and I can agree with this. Although it is a drum-centric album, in my mind, the drums do not steal the show. It is pretty much a straight jazz album. Albam and Wilkins’ arrangements are the star here.  dscn5277-800x796

Link to Allmusic Review.

Anyway, for a sample, I went with the last movement “The Octopus” which features all the drummers together at the beginning and the end of the movement.donlamond_leetanner

This is a decent record but I was really hoping for a more gimmicky, solo driven record with less horns and more drums.  And although they succeeded in producing a good album that was not drum overkill, well perhaps I am that minority that was looking for overkill. Meh for me.


VA-The Soul of Jazz Percussion

DSCN4336This was on the high end at $5.00.  I got it at a record convention.  It looked really good.Shelly_Manne

In fact, it is real good.  This album is a compilation of jazz drummers from the 1950’s.  It was released in 1962 on Riverside Records.  It features such luminaries as Max Roach, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Cobb, Albert Heath, and Philly Joe Jones.DSCN4338

I known what you are thinking. This is an album of just drum solos.  Not quite.  Only Roach and Philly Joe are allowed unaccompanied solos.  The rest of the songs have drum solos but are accompanied by a band.  Copies of this are on sale on Ebay in the $20 range so it looks like I may have arbitraged this album.  That is if I wanted to sell it because I think it is a pretty good album.philly-joe-by-dennis-stock

For a sample, I wanted to spotlight Philly Joe Jones.  Philly Joe born and died in Philadelphia.  He played in what can be called arguably, Miles Davis’ “first great” quartet.  Davis would state several times during his career that Jones was his favorite drummer.  He also played with Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Bud Powell, Sonny Rollins, and Chet Baker among others.  He also led his own band from time to time.  Philly Joe died in 1985 at 62 from a heart attack.

Bio from

So here from Philly Joe Jones is an accompanied and unaccompanied drum solo.philly-joe-jones

Top Rated Album.