Command All Stars- Persuasive Percussion Vol 3

Here’s another week with this record, which is a bit too expensive for my blood at $6.  Records everywhere are getting too expensive.  I would say in the last year, used record prices have jumped up between $1 and $2.  Which I guess in the short term is a good thing as it keeps me from coming back from the store with 30 records for $30.  Also, the Half Price Books in Sugar Land slashed their international section dramatically.  Boo.  Anyway, I got this album for the song I am going to post as well as the fact that I have posted Vol 2 prior and the overall high quality of Command recordings.

This record, originally released in 1960 and re-released by Pickwick in 1978, culminates prior Command recordings with an emphasis on percussion.  I am not sure which musicians contributed to this, but the result is pretty much on par with other Command efforts (Discogs list credits here).  As always, credit must also be given to Command’s man in command, Enoch Light.

I got this specifically for the version of “Hawaiian War Chant” which is among one of my favorites.  I also decided to post another fave, “Perdido”.

Good album.  Satisfactory.

Ted Sommer and Bill Lavorgna – Cole Porter in Pleasing Percussion

Today’s record which was $6 brings together to favorites of this blog, Cole Porter and percussion.  An added bonus is the promise of organ on the cover.  A bit on the pricey end, but this is the way things are post-2017.  If you have not heard, I moved by upper spending bound from $5 to $8.

I am continually amazed from doing this blog of the span and reach of Cole Porter’s music.  He was truly one of America’s greatest song writers and perhaps one of the greatest of all time.  It is hard to accurately place one on an infinite line of tine and space.

Ted Sommer, born in New York City in 1924, is a jazz drummer who worked with such greats and blog guests as Dick Hyman and Terry Synder as well as Zoot Sims, the inspiration for the Muppet’s Zoot.

Bill Lavorgna, born in Patterson, NJ in 1933, was best known for his work as a musical director on Broadway.  A Korean war vet, upon return he worked with such greats as Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Dizzy Gillespe, and Frank SInatra.  Lavorgna past on in 2007 at the age of 74.

The Lowrey Organ, made by Fred Lowrey in Chicago, was the most popular brand of organ in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Lowrey made it’s one millionth organ in 1989.  Also apparently, Chicago is the hotbed for organs as the Hammond was invented there as well.

Well, here they are on this album which features the skills of both men pitted against the illustrious work on Porter. I am not sure what year this came out.  I am guessing late 60’s.  It was released on budget label Pickwick under the Grand Prix Series.  Decent enough album.  Pretty good light jazz interpretations of popular Porter songs.  Nice little organ parts as well as good percussion breaks.  Songs include favorites such as “I Love Paris”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, and “It’s D’Lovely”.  However, for a sample, I went with “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” as I feel it capitulates everything this record was trying to do, which it largely accomplishes for the most part.


Los Admiradores- Bongos

Here we are with another week where I still just don’t feel like writing all that much.  Vacation has officially started this week by the time you read this and I should be in Amsterdam.  More on this trip in January.  I hope to get a bit more current with posts in 2018 as opposed to doing them many months in advance which I have been doing for the later half of this year.  This album was one dolla.  Had a decent playlist plus it is Command Records.

Willie Rodriguez

Anyway, here is this effort, as always produced by Enoch Light, for Command Records.  Released in 1959 (and re-released in 1960 as Bongos, Bongos, Bongos), this record is from a group of Command studio musicans led by Willie Rodriguez ( Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman) and Don Lamond (Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman) on bongos.  Three albums were recorded under this moniker with this being the first, although I am unsure the lineups on the others.

Anyway, this is a pretty good collection of songs, put together in an interesting fashion, and as always with Command, well executed and produced.  Highlights include “Tenderly”, “All of Me”, “Greensleeves”, “Blue Moon”, and “Unchained Melody”.

For a sample, I went with “You and the Night and the Music”.

Don Lamond

Satisfactory record.

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

The Stradivari Strings- Ping Pong Percussion of Rodgers & Hammerstein

There are two things I frequently post on this page: percussion and Rodgers and Hammerstein.  Maybe three things if you separate the duo. And perhaps a more accurate thing to say is among the things I frequently post as I have many recurring theme on this blog.  Anyway, this was a dollar.  I bought it because it combines two of the said recurring themes.

It is not that Rodgers and Hart did not write successful songs a lot of their works have become standards.  It is just with Hammerstein, the everything about productions seemed to be on a grander scale.  Other than Pal Joey, I can no think of another Rodgers/Hart musical.  I can name five Rodgers/Hammerstein musicals off the top of my head.

This record came out on Pirouette Records, a subsidiary of the Synthetic Plastics Company.  I did a post on them sometime back but can not remember which album.  Anyway, apparently there is a whole series of Ping-Pong Percussion records with such stars as Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Leroy Anderson.  Okay, perhaps, three does not a series make, but you get the point. I am sure the Stradivari Strings was a house band.  Not sure why you would connotate a percussion album with a string band, but this is what Pirouette chose to do.  From what I can tell, this came out sometime in the early ’60’s

Overall, I felt the album was a pretty good interpretation of the duo’s work.  On a personal level, I could have used more songs that I like, but to counterpoint, it probably made for a better album by highlighting lesser known songs.  As far as the percussion goes, the album does ok at the beginning of the songs but does tend to go more into the strings about mid-way each tune. I have heard worse percussion albums but I wonder the reasoning behind naming this Ping Pong Percussion.

For a sample, I was torn between Carousel‘s “June is Busting Out All Over” and South Pacific’s “Some Enchanted Evening”.  Carousel, in particular, has been steadily rising for me, while Oklahoma keeps slightly falling.  I feel that the whole resentment of Judd is kind of messed up. Well back to this, I could not choose between the two so here is both.



Felix Slatkin- Fantastic Percussion!

This was $3.  It had a lot of good songs on it, most notably “Caravan” which has been on my mind after seeing the movie, Whiplash. Percussion albums can be hit or miss, but I decided to roll the dice with this one.

I went to a new bar this trip around in Amsterdam.  I believe it is pretty new.  It was the Drink and Sink over on the edge of the Red Light District on Warmoesstraat.  I went there on the last night of my vacation.  What I really liked was it was the only place that was not playing Euro-Pop over the speakers.  Kind of got sick of hearing that after 8 days.  Anyway, I really liked the place at first.  I left for about 15 mins but when I came back, they had this weird karaoke thing going on.  At first it was cool but it got old very quickly.  They started with House of Pain’s “Jump Around”.  They also kept it very white boy hip hop with “Ice Ice Baby”.  After that, it just got old. So overall, I am mixed on the place. Other than the karaoke going on too long, it was a nice establishment.


I knew nothing of Felix Slatkin when I bought this album.  Like I said, the song list was impressive, ” I Love Paris”, “Blues in the Night”. “April in Paris”, “On A Slow Boat To China”, “Night Train’, etc. etc..  All pretty much standards.  Slatkin, born in St Louis in 1909, was a violinist and conductor who worked in Hollywood.

He did some work with Frank Sinatra in the 50’s as well as work with Twentieth Century Fox and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  He died on a heart attack in 1963.  He was 47.

I have been burned by percussion albums before, but this one is quite good.  Released in 1960, it features eleven percussionists and a wide range of instrumentation.  Lot of cymbals, conga’s, toms, xylophones and exotic instruments.  The arrangements are pretty interesting.  Really good album all together.

Again, narrowing this down to a sample or two is hard but I will give it a shot.  Here is “I Love Paris”, “Night Train” and the reason I bought the album, “Caravan”.

Excellent Record.  Top Rated for sure.

Dick Schory’s Percussion Pops Orchestra- Supercussion

DSCN4815 (800x786)This was $1.00.  I did a post earlier on Dick Schory so I knew who he was.  I liked the previous album I bought so why not this?


Earlier post on Mr Schory

One of the sad effects of doing this music blogs is I do not read other music blogs at all.  I used to read them all the time.  I really did not read them in all honesty.  I I merely would download the music.  If you are reading this now, I must ask why?   The posts I write are merely table dressing for the MP3.  Anyway, back to the point, while I was researching this album, released in 1963, I came across a review on another music blog,  It is quite lengthy but is pretty in-depth .  The blog is very well done as well.

Link to Ambientexotica post on album

The album is a very good collection of space-age pop / lounge.  However, I agree with the assessment of Ambientexotica, that the main criticism of the album is the misnomer of a title.  Sure, Dick Schory is a percussion master and mallet instruments do feature prominently of the album.  Other than that, I was really expecting the songs to be more percussion based.  I guess more drums and such. I mean, it is after all international hand drum month this month.  Could of used more of it on this.3 Dick Schory - Ringo Starr - Bill Ludwig 1964

Other than that, this album is quite good.  It is a good collection of exotica songs such as “Nomad” and “Hindustan” along with space age interpretations of big band standards such as “Take the A Train” , “Autumn Leaves” , and “Stompin’ at the Savoy”.  I should also mention “Shimboo” which Schory co-wrote as it is a good track.DSCN4817 (800x779)

Anything more than two samples per post is sloth on my part so I tried very hard to keep it at two today.  There were more than a few tracks I wanted to showcase but I was able to keep it within reason. I went with “Nomad”and “Krazy Kwilt”.  Both are very good indeed.  It would seem good is the only adjective I know today. Schory

This album is just too good to give it a low rating for not meeting my percussion expectations.  Satisfactory.