A Great Night in Harlem. If you're in New York on May 29th, mark your calendar. The concert of the season will surely be The Jazz Foundation of America's A Great Night in Harlem at the Apollo Theater. Hosted by Bill Cosby and Danny Glover, the concert's lineup of jazz stars is staggering: Randy Weston, Frank Foster, Jimmy Health, Phil Woods, Frank Wess, Hank Jones, Dave Brubeck and many, many others.
Best of all, proceeds from ticket sales will enable the Jazz Foundation to continue to do its noble work—helping aging and ailing jazz musicians in need and without means. This is a loving organization, and I know firsthand how hard executive director Wendy Oxenhorn [pictured] and her team toils on behalf of hard-pressed artists. Serving as a safety net for jazz musicians, the Jazz Foundation steps up and helps artists get housing, jobs, health care and even instruments while preserving their dignity.
Do your heart and ears a favor by coming up to the Apollo on the 29th. To learn more about the Jazz Foundation of America and make a donation, go here. To order tickets, call (212) 245-3999, ext. 28. Seats cost from $50 to $1,500. The concert starts at 8 pm.
Benny Goodman on Mosaic. Last week, I checked in with Mosaic Records' set producer Scott Wenzel about the much anticipated Classic Columbia and Okeh Benny Goodman Orchestra Sessions (1939-1958). Scott told me the box will consist of seven discs, cost $119 and likely will be released in September. The amazing Loren Schoenberg is writing the liner notes. Wenzel says the box will include more than 25 previously unissued recordings and one new song, Swanee River (1958), that had been previously undocumented in discographies. This is shaping up to be the box of the year.
Jan Stevens on Bill Evans. Starting in June Jan Stevens, pianist and host of the Bill Evans Web Pages, will begin looking back at the jazz pianist's classic albums in a series of essays. The first in Jan's series of retrospective evaluations will be At the Montreux Jazz Festival, which was recorded 40 years ago next month. In addition, Jan's tribute site now features a fabulous clip of Bill in 1972. At his site, Jan provides a bit of background:
"The Bill Evans Trio (with Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell) toured Europe in the early months of 1972. On February 12, German broadcasters filmed their rehearsal with reedman Herb Geller (here on alto flute), who appeared with them the following night in their concert in Hamburg...This clip is also of great interest since we also get a rare glimpse of Ellaine (in the white turtleneck sweater), Bill's lady during those years, in the background."
Ira Gitler on Jimmy Giuffre. Jazz author, critic and legendary liner-notes writer Ira Gitler [pictured] emailed me last week with insights into Woody Herman’s recording of Four Others. If you recall, in Part 2 of my Jimmy Giuffre tribute post last week, I had wondered why the 1954 track was never commercially released and mentioned it appeared on Mosaic’s Complete Capitol Recordings of Woody Herman and on the CD Woody Herman’s Finest Hour.
Here's Ira's email:
“I own a version of Four Others on a Columbia LP called The Three Herds (CL 592). Woody states in the notes that the track was ‘cut for our own label, Mars.’ Woody also says that the song was originally titled A Quart of 'Bones. The 'bones in order of their solos were Kai Winding [pictured], Frank Rehak, Vern Friley and Urbie Green.
"I checked the Mars recordings, which were done at Columbia's 30th St. studio. According to the notes, the Mars recordings were offered to Columbia but were rejected—all except Four Others, which made it to the Three Herds anthology LP. Four Others and the rejects also made it to two Discovery LPs—The Third Herd, Vols. 1 and 2 in 1982.”
Puzzled by the version Ira cited, I did a little research. It
turns out there were two versions of the song, one for trombones and the other for trumpets. The one Ira mentions for Mars was recorded on September 11, 1953. The one to which I referred was recorded for Capitol on September 25, 1954 but was never commercially released until its appearance on the Mosaic box [pictured].
So the download I talked about in my post actually is the Mars trombone version, not the trumpet showcase on Mosaic. The 1953 download is great, too, and both versions were arranged by Jimmy Giuffre. I have adjusted my earlier post.
Ira Gitler on Harvey Lavine. In the same email, Ira pointed out that Harvey Lavine, Buddy’s Rich’s baritone saxophonist in the Four Rich Brothers band of 1948, spelled his last name with an “a” rather than an “e.” I had misspelled it in my post. Says Ira:
“Harvey’s last name was usually pronounced La-veen despite the spelling, but others referred him as La-vine. He was the first musician I saw (at a drugstore counter, probably Walgreen's in Times Square) doing what the cats used to explain with 'I'm on a health kick'—drinking a raw egg whipped in orange juice made in the malted milk machine. Faster than a McDonald's breakfast.”