Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66- Herb Alpert Presents…….

This was only a dollar.  Probably got a discount on it, bringing it down to 80 cents.  For shame.  Such a great little album.  You may have noticed that I have been starting the month with artists who have frequently graced this blog.  This is not by accident.

This was the first album from keyboardist Sergio Mendes and his ensemble, Brazil ’66.  Released in 1966, it featured smash hit “Mas Que Nada” which in all probability was the first Portuguese song to hit it big in America.  Good little album with a bunch of real good tunes including “Going Out Of My Head” and the Beatles “Day Tripper” which I believe I posted on an earlier blog entry.

I was really surprised how big a sound Mendes got from such a small ensemble which also featured Lani Hall on vocals, Bibi Vogel on backup vocals, Bob Mathews on bass, Jose Soares on percussion, and Joao Palma on drums.

I could have gone many directions with this but decided to go with “O Pato”.

Great little album.  Satisfactory.

Pete Fountain- I Love Paris

Here is a record for $1.00 that had a bunch of songs that I regularly post on this page.

From Pete Fountain, that purveyor of Dixie Land Jazz, a record of French songs, proper.  Recorded for Coral Records and released in 1962, this one contains all the big French standards, ” Autumn Leaves”, “La Vie En Rose”, “April In Paris”, “C’est So Bon” , and the title track.  Pretty good stuff.

Fountain is backed up by Jack Sperling on drums, Stanley Wrightman on piano, Morty Cobb on bass, and Godfrey Hirsch on the occasional vibe.  Fountain is also backed by horns and strings conducted and arranged by Charles Bud Dant.

For a sample, I was really hard not to post any of the songs above as they seem to make their way on this blog more times than not.  Well, I was really drawn towards “Frere Jazz”, a Dixie Land interpretation of the kids song, “Frere Jacques”.

Anyway, in spite of keeping this post short today, this is a great little album. 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.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

Bonnie Pruden/Otto Cesana- Keep Fit/ Be Happy Vol 2

This was one dollar.  Worth the price to check out.

Bonnie Pruden, born in New York City on 1914, was a pioneer in the field of physical fitness.  She developed programs, ran fitness centers, wrote books, recorded albums, marketed fitness equipment, and even designed clothing for fitness. She was also an expert climber. In 1976, she developed a system to use pressure points to allieve pain called myotherapy, which she devoted her later years to.  She moved out to Tuscon in 1992 to open  a physical fitness /myotherapy institute and despite suffering a broken pelvis, multiple heart attacks, cancer, replacement hip surgery,stents,d by-pass surgery, Pruden kept on chugging until her death in 2011.  She was six weeks away from her 98th birthday and apparently  she was still exercising at her hospice bed just days before her passing.

Of Prudden’s accomplishments, one such feather in her cap was her creation of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.  In what was known as The Report that Shocked the President, Prudden submitted to President Eisenhower data that showed the comparative fitness levels of US children to their European counterpart.   This was  pretty big deal when I was going to school.  As a pupil, I was really good at 2/3’s of the systems requirements I could run in the top 10%.  I could also reach the top 10% pull ups.  However, push-ups and sit-ups were always my downfall.  Could never complete the required amount in time and thus could never win a Council medal.

This album, released in 1960, consists of 14 exercise routines along with a photo step guide, set to music.  The music is all original, written, arranged and conducted by Otto Cesana.  From what i could find on Cesana, he was perhaps an Italian-American conductor from the San Francisco area who despite being classically trained, showed a pension for jazz and produced work more suited for easy listening/ lounge/ hifi audiences.  I am assuming he is dead now.

That being said, the music is quote good on this album.  Real good.  If you can tune out the exercise steps, it makes for a good listen. It probably makes for a decent work out as well.  The back cover notes in all caps, “YOU WILL BE STILL THE NEXT DAY” so be fore-warned.

For samples, I went with the Pelvic Tilt exercise “Black Out”.  I also decided to go with Walk #1 and Walk #2, “Ridin’ Wild” and “Rush Hour”.  I felt “Rush Hour”, in particular was quite similar in the middle to”Twisted Nerve”  which came out 8 years later on a Bernard Herrmann soundtrack of the film of the same name. It was also used quite famously in Kill Bill Vol 1.

Anyway,  good little album for the price.  Satisfactory.

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.

Django Reinhart- Vol IV

For a dollar, this is a major find.  There is no greater guitarist who has influenced generations of players than the Gypsy King, Belgian-born, French-bred Django Reinhardt (1910-1953).  He wrote the book on hot jazz guitar.  He was also the first significant jazz musician to come out of Europe.  Probably still the most significant, for that matter.

And the most amazing part is that he did it with two fingers.  Due to injury from a fire in his late teens I believe, Reinhardt lost the use of his fourth and fifth finger. As a result, he re-taught himself how to play guitar with his thumb and two good digits.

Influenced by the emerging jazz sound from America, Reinhardt met violinist Stephane Grapelli who shared similar musical interests.  The two formed a quintet that played at Paris’ Hot Club from 1934 until the outbreak of WWII in 1939.  Reinhardt’s brother Joseph was also a member of this group.

Towards the end of his life, Reinhardt experimented with electric guitar and bebop.  A brain hemorrhage claimed his life in 1953.  Maybe not so young for jazz musicians of the last century, but none the less, he was 43. If not for the hemorrhage, he probably would have died of lung cancer, given all the pictures I have seen of him smoking.

The tributes to Reinhardt have been many. Although initially, jazz aficionados in the US were slow to accept the guitar as a jazz instrument, he is widely regarded as influential to the genre as Duke Ellington or Louie Armstrong. Many guitarists, too numerous to name here, have counted him as an influence.  Furthermore, guitarists such as Jerry Garcia and Tommi Iommi, both of who lost digits on their fretting hand, were influenced by Reinhardt’s handicap.  Perhaps the most amusing tribute came from Woody Allen in his movie Sweet and Lowdown. In the film, Sean Penn plays a jazz guitarist who is idolizes Reinhardt.

This is a collection of songs recorded in Paris between 1934 and 1935 with Grapelli and the quintet.  Reinhardt recorded over 900 songs during his short career.  As the title would suggest, this is the forth volume of a posthumous series.  Pretty decent collection.  As with most of the recordings, Grapelli’s virtuoso violin playing is overshadowed by the guitar. But a good collection, none the less, and it served its purpose quite well, getting an opportunity to post Reinhardt to this blog.

DJango’s discography

For a sample, I went with “Tiger Rag” as I have posted it already on this site by different artists.

Great record.  Satisfactory.  Again, I wanted to do more with this post but was sadly limited by time.