Bill Holman, addendum. This past week, during my interview series with legendary West Coast composer, arranger and tenor saxophonist Bill Holman, we touched on his Invention for Guitar and Trumpet, which appears on Stan Kenton's New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm album from September 1952. Invention was Bill's first major chart for the Kenton band. It was penned, Bill said, while still trying to find his sound. It also was one of Bill's most popular works for Kenton, and it had a famous cameo in the 1955 film, The Blackboard Jungle. [Pictured: A still from the movie showing Glenn Ford and Richard Kiley in a bar listening to Invention and talking about how great music was before the onset of rock 'n' roll.]
The more I listened to Invention last week (not in a bar but in front of my computer), the more I wondered about its origin and influences. Bill had said he wrote it in response to a Kenton request and that he completed it before he had fully formed his now-famous linear arranging style in 1953.
To my ear, Invention has the most in common with Tiny
Kahn's Flying the Coop, recorded by Chubby Jackson And His Orchestra in March 1950. Flying the Coop was recorded for the A-side of a New Jazz single, with Gerry Mulligan's arrangement of I May Be Wrong on the flip side.
Both Flying the Coop and Invention open similarly, with a huge fanfare and build up to their main themes. Flying the Coop then proceeds to become a bebop arrangement typical of the period while Invention becomes a counterpoint battle royal between Maynard Ferguson's trumpet and Sal Salvador's guitar, with the band egging them on. Invention is far fresher and more forward-thinking than Flying the Coop, a fairly standard bop platform for a series of instrumental solos. [Pictured: Chubby Jackson]
Yet the interplay between trombonists J.J. Johnson [pictured] and Kai Winding on Flying the Coop reminded me of Bill's Ferguson-Salvador exchange. Flying the Coop and Invention even finish similarly, with a sudden flourish and run-up by the band to a note held for a full bar. Was Flying the Coop an inspiration for Invention for Guitar and Trumpet? I'll ask Bill and get back to you.
For now, give both tracks a listen. They are available as downloads at iTunes. Invention is on Kenton's New Concepts CD. Flying the Coop is on the Gerry Mulligan Quartet/Chubby Jackson Big Band CD (type "Chubby Jackson" into the search engine). You be the judge.
Coleman Hawkins. Video documentarian Bret Primack has done it again. His newly posted YouTube clip with an on-camera interview with Orrin Keepnews focuses on the making of Coleman Hawkins' The Hawk Flies High. Like all of Bret's videos, this one is candid, revealing and rich with insights. The clip supports Concord Records' release of a new remastering of the album. Go here to view Bret's clip.
Louis Armstrong. Back in December, when I interviewed Dan Morgenstern, director of Rutgers University's Institute of Jazz Studies, the legendary writer and critic mentioned an upcoming CD set of Louis Armstrong's rare musical performances while hosting the Fleischmann's Yeast Show in the summer of 1937. At the time of our chat, Dan had just finished writing the liner notes. Well the CD set has been released and is available here. Ricky Riccardi blogs about it at The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong here.
Joe Techner. Drew Techner e-mailed me last night to let me know that he just finished writing and posting a bio of his dad, trumpeter Joe Techner, who played in Elliot Lawrence's band from 1948 to 1951. Drew, as you may recall, recently posted fabulous home movies at YouTube from a 1950 Elliot Lawrence band tour here and conducted on-camera interviews with Lawrence and band drummer Howie Mann. Go here to read the Joe Techner bio.