JazzWax grapevine. I hear that Johnny Mandel is currently in the studio arranging and conducting Diana Krall's new album. The release date for the upcoming CD from Verve Records is yet unknown... I hear that Mosaic Records is planning a Louis Armstrong box next year covering Pops' 1930s-1940s period for the Decca label... Legendary vibraphonist Teddy Charles just got back from two weeks in the Netherlands, a trip that included the recording of a live album for OAP Records, a Dutch label. The performance with the Walter Wolff Trio was held at The Bimhuis theater-club in Amsterdam. Not clear yet when the CD will be out. To hear three great tracks off Teddy's sensational New Directions CD recorded in 1952, go here.
Jimmy Giuffre v. Pepper Adams. In my post on the 1957 Looney Toons' short, Three Little Bops, I said the baritone saxophonist playing on the soundtrack likely was Pepper Adams, not Art Pepper, who has been credited for years.
In response, I heard from the eminent jazz writer and critic Larry Kart:
"Admittedly, the baritone saxophonist here is trying to play in a neo-R&B manner, not like himself. But in no way does this sound to me like any imaginable incarnation of Pepper Adams. It does, however, sound like Jimmy Giuffre playing in a neo-R&B manner, of which there are examples on record (on tenor, though). Also, Giuffre was a member of Shorty Rogers' Giants at about this time, recording Wherever The Five Winds Blow (RCA), recorded in July 1956."
Jazz critic and author Doug Ramsey at Rifftides also weighed in:
"I agree with critic Larry Kart's conclusion that the baritone saxophonist is Jimmy Giuffre. Giuffre worked often with Rogers in the 1950s, and the baritone in Three Little Bops has the sound of Giuffre's celebrated spoof R&B hit Big Girl with the Lighthouse All-Stars."
Editor's note: The baritone sax player may well have been Jimmy Giuffre—or Pepper Adams, since both played with Shorty Rogers on the West Coast during this period. We won't know for sure until someone digs deeper and finds documentation verifying the players Shorty Rogers hired for the date. Stan Freberg remains the only surviving member of the team. What is puzzling is why Art Pepper has been credited for years, especially since he had not recorded on baritone sax. My guess remains that someone wrote "Pepper" on the tape or box, and those who came across it assumed it was Art Pepper when in fact it was Pepper Adams. But all of this, of course, is speculation and circumstantial until we know for sure. To be continued.
Stan Freberg. After my posts last week on Three Little Bops and C'est Si Bon here,
"I've always been a fan of Stan Freberg's. His rendition of Yellow Rose of Texas was among my favorites. Banana Boat Song, too. Better still was his album, Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America (1961). I believe there were two LP's, though I was never able to find the second. The album is part of the family. My daughter turned 43 years old last week and was here for the annual birthday lunch. She insisted on my getting out the tape and playing it. Her elder brother thought we were a bit sad, but we found him singing along in no time.
"Would that I knew how many times I've put that on tape for them and friends. I still get requests to replay them. Soon we're quoting from the album's lines on George Washington, such as, 'Talks up a storm with them wooden teeth' and 'I know who y'are, I seen your picture on the money.' And the weary boat hirer for the famous crossing of the Delaware: 'What're you trying to do, gouge the small businessman?' I'd better stop.
"It is truly satirical, and that's a misused word today. If you ever speak to Stan Freberg again, please let him know that he has a big fan base over here.
"See what's happening? Your historian activities are opening doors to places you can't imagine. What an achievement. Thanks again."
Sammy Davis, Jr. After my post on Hidden Jazz Downloads (Vol. 6), Kurt Kolstad of Minnesota sent along the following recollections:
"It was back in the early 1980s, and Sammy had been booked to do a show at the Minnesota State Fair (of all places!). My wife and I hadn't been to a fair in years, but we decided that with Sammy appearing we would make an exception. It was a perfect summer night, and we expected the grandstand to be sold-out. Much to our surprise, only about half the 5,000 seats were occupied. The opening act was Peaches & Herb, and they provided a surprisingly good intro to Sammy.
"After the break, a large orchestra took the stage and played a medley of songs associated with Sammy. Then the man himself was introduced. He came out, let the applause die down completely and said something like, 'Well, it looks as if most of the people were more interested in merry-go-rounds and cotton candy than in coming to hear the real Candy Man. But, it doesn't matter 'cause we're going to give you the best show that we can.'
'Sammy proceeded to knock our socks off! Every performer has his 'on' nights and 'off' nights but I can assure you that this was the former. He sang as if it was the last concert he was ever going to sing. We were absolutely mesmerized by his performance and, as the years have slipped by, I've thought about it many, many times. Only two other vocalists—Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan—have given me the same sort of goose bumps that I had that night."
Coleman Hawkins. Radio station WKCR-NY will feature a Coleman Hawkins birthday broadcast on Friday, November 21. The station will play the tenor saxophonist's recordings around the clock for 24 hours here.
Peter J. Levinson (1934-2008). Author and publicist Peter Levinson died last week after injuries suffered in a fall. He was 74. Peter represented Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz and many other jazz artists. He also was author of Trumpet Blues: The Life of Harry James, September in the Rain: The Life of Nelson Riddle and Tommy Dorsey: Livin' in a Great Big Way. Peter was a frequent reader of JazzWax, and I enjoyed hearing from him. He will be missed.
Frank Wess. Following my post on the John Bunch Trio Featuring Frank Wess here, Michael Palmer from Australia sent along the following recommendation:
"I really enjoyed your post on Frank Wess. I have always liked Frank since seeing him with Basie playing Midgets with Joe Newman many years ago. Regarding his recordings, may I recommend a fine, newish CD? It's called Flutology: First Date, on the Capri label. Frank is joined by flutists Holly Hofmann and Ali Ryerson. Listen to them rip into BeBop."
Films worth seeing. I caught a fascinating and little-known film last night directed by Robert Rossen called Lilith (1964), an early Warren Beatty movie with Jean Seberg and a jazz score by Kenyon Hopkins. I also saw two fine George Segal films in the past week that are worth pulling in from Netflix: Loving and A Touch of Class. You won't be disappointed.