Over the weekend I had a chance to roam around YouTube
looking for terrific jazz video clips that escaped me in the past. Here are 10 (with one novelty clip tossed in for good measure) that should lift your Monday spirits:
Elliot Lawrence. Fans of the Lawrence's 1949 and 1950 band will surely find this series of eight home movies a huge treat. The movies were filmed by different bandmembers and capture a 25-year-old Elliot Lawrence, trumpeter Joe Techner, saxophonist Phil Urso and others mugging and horsing around for the camera. At one point Lawrence is asked by a radio announcer for the age range of the band. Lawrence answers "between 21 and 26." Amazing. Go here to watch Part 7 (I like it best for its opening) and then go here to work your way around the eight different segments. One even includes Frankie Laine. Rare radio transcriptions and recordings of the band accompany each clip. For details about who's in the clips, click on the "more info" link in the upper right-hand corner. All of the home-movie clips were posted by Drew Techner, Joe's son. The accompanying rare recordings are from Drew's collection.
Mat Mathews, the Dutch accordionist, swings But Not For Me here from a 1997 Holland jazz-club gig.
Barbara Dennerlein and Rhoda Scott are two of the most powerful organists around. For too long, the Hammond B3 has been an instrument solely identified with groovy, soulful guys with beards. But as Dennerlein and Scott demonstrate here, women can get just as funky, if not more so. Dig this cutting session featuring Dennerlein, a spectacular German-born organist, and Scott, a New Jersey keyboardist who came up through the church, received her masters from the Manhattan School of Music and moved to France in 1967. The song they're playing is Scott's Nova, and the clip is from a 2002 performance. It's a treat to be able to see how these two create their keyboard textures. And dig how Barbara's cool heat and Rhoda's tough funk play off each other! I can't get enough of this clip.
Carol Stevens in 1961 sang Taking a Chance on Love backed by Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Cozy Cole, Johnny Guarnieri, Milt Hinton, Barry Galbraith and Meredith Gaynes. Go here, and pay particular attention to Galbraith's chord changes and attack.
Pinky Winters recorded two albums in the 1950s. Then she married and retired and didn't resurface in the music business until 1979. (Her website is here.) One of her earliest and rarest 10-inch albums is Pinky, recorded for Vantage in 1954. The album typically sells for hundreds of dollars at eBay while an auction of the Japanese CD recently closed at over $100. But you can hear two tracks for free. I found Darn That Dream here and Little Girl Blue here. Dig what Winters does with those notes! Joining her were Bud Lavin (piano), Jim Wolf (bass) and Stan Levey (drums).
Emily Remler, who died at age 32 in 1990, recorded one of the prettiest versions of The Red Blouse here as part of a video series for aspiring jazz guitarists demonstrating her technique. Her version is a something of a tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim's recording of his own song on the 1967 album Wave (A&M). Personally, I find Remler's version superior to Jobim's, if only because she took the song at a slower, richer pace.
Barney Kessel moved seamlessly between jazz, rock and pop in the 1950s and 1960s. Here, Kessel plays the pop hit Our Day Will Come, with Don Thompson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums. The clip was filmed in Canada in the early 1960s.
Ray Charles. The Genius' Georgia is definitive, but so is his version of Cry, the Johnnie Ray pop hit. Listen here as Ray layers on the soul without making it too sugary. And dig the Raelettes' choir treatment and that Sid Feller arrangement! No song was safe in the hands of another singer when Ray decided to take it on.
Worst rendition of a jazz standard. Finally, a little levity. Go here to see Liberace's version of Erroll Garner's Misty. How about those fake gulls! The pianist looks like one of the Munsters playing in the goth lobby of a Transylvanian harbor-side bank.