From legendary vocalist Carol Sloane:
"Wonderful that you have published such a lengthy post about dear Joe Mooney. I knew and worked with him in the early 1960's at a club on Manhattan's East Side called The Most. Carmen McRae, Tony Bennett and Miles Davis often dropped by to hear him, and since I sat beside Joe for a portion of his set, they heard me too. I have all of Joe's recordings, and when during the years I hosted a jazz radio program, Joe received more than his share of airplay. Listeners always asked for more." [Photo of Carol Sloane by Eric Stephen Jacobs]
From legendary guitarist Mundell Lowe:
"A very good piece on Joe. He would have liked it. Keep on keeping on."
From John Pickworth in Australia:
"The blind pianist from Australia who Mundell Lowe referred to probably would be Julian Lee, who is a good friend of mine. Originally from New Zealand, he moved to Australia and then to the U.S. He is also a friend of George Shearing, and he worked and recorded for Capitol Records. Julian is a brilliant arranger and now lives in Australia."
From Bruce Armstrong:
From James Wardrop:
From Michael Steinman of Jazz Lives:
"Joe Mooney and his brother Dan recorded as the Sunshine Boys, and all of their recordings from 1929-31 are expertly collected on The Sunshine Boys (Retrieval RTR 79039), with characteristically exquisite transfers from the original 78s by the late John R.T. Davies. The duo of Joe and Dan is wonderfully swinging and also weirdly cheerful and androgynous in that high-tenor way so common in the period. Even better, the records have hot solos by the Dorsey Brothers, Dick McDonough, Joe Venuti, Benny Goodman and others. The records aren't well-known but they are irresistible."
Jazz at Massey Hall. I received many terrific emails in response to my post last week featuring Don Brown's eyewitness account of the famed 1953 concert starring Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Bud Powell and Max Roach at Toronto's Massey Hall.
From Sue Mingus, writer, producer and wife of the great bass player:
"Funny, I knew photographer Eliot Elisofon years ago, long before I knew anything about jazz. He was a friend of my sister-in-law who worked at Life magazine. I notice he took the picture of Bird that you used.
"I'm surprised you said the concert didn't live up to its billing. From this far-away perspective, it's hard to imagine a concert with all those luminaries failing to live up to anything. I don't remember Charles talking about fighting backstage. He did mention Dizzy disappearing across the street to find out about the boxing match though! Those were the days..." [Photo: Sue and Charles Mingus]
Also, my post was picked up with permission in London by Llew Walker, host of the U.K.'s Bird Lives tribute site here. The site is one of the most exciting blogs on Charlie Parker I've seen, making tremendous use of rare photos and clippings.
Roland Hanna. Emails are still coming in following my post on the album Helen Merrill Presents: Sir Roland Hanna Plays the Music of Alec Wilder.
From Jeffrey Austin:
"With regard to your post on the Roland Hanna recording, there's an ironic back-story that I thought might interest you. I was fortunate in my late teens to have befriended Alec Wilder. I was able to spend time with him either for breakfast or coffee, or late morning martinis. One never could predict what was coming down the tracks with him at any given moment, but most of the time he was great fun and he never showed anything but exceptional kindness to me.
"The Roland Hanna record you wrote about sent Alec [pictured] into a fit. He was certainly pleased and flattered that Hanna had recorded it. I didn't have the sense that he knew Hanna's playing all that well, but Alec certainly admired his work. The problem was that Hanna had played a wrong note.
"For someone more reasonable than Alec on a tear, a wrong note could be taken as an unfortunate error and would not signify the end of the world. But Alec was in high dudgeon, and was making blustery noises about the recording being withdrawn, and so forth.
"Here's the irony: The wrong note in question was an eighth note in the melody of the last four bars of Remember My Child, an accidental that was inadvertently marked as a flat rather than a natural when the song was typeset. (The error was later corrected by Alec's publisher, TRO.)
"A totally innocent mistake on the part of poor Roland Hanna, but one that was, to my ears, kind of interesting.
"This was the kind of thing that would lead Alec's legion of friends and admirers to do a little eye-rolling, and move right along, but would befuddle and infuriate those who didn't know him or had no time for the infinite paradoxes of his personality.
"In any event, I'm certainly enjoying your blog. Nice work on Joe Mooney. Alec always maintained that Mooney's Decca recordings never quite 'got' the magic of Mooney's small group from the 1940s. It was heartening to see you credit Terry Teachout's role in the latter-day Mooney Revival.
"Further, prior to the Hanna recording, it had only been performed by Jackie and Roy, in honor of their daughter, Nikki, whom they had lost in an automobile accident."
John Bunch and Bucky Pizzarelli. If you're in New York tomorrow (February 2), come out and hear legendary pianist John Bunch [pictured] with guitar giant Bucky Pizzarelli and bassist extraordinaire Jay Leonhart. They're at Small's for just one night. Cover is just $20 and includes a drink. Shows are at 7:30 and 9 pm.
I saw John (86) and Bucky (83) together in January and still can't shake how beautifully they played together. The smoothness and swing were something to behold. If you're always complaining to friends that taste has all but disappeared in jazz today and you find yourself saying stuff like, "Wouldn't it be swell to go back to the 1950s for just one night," here's your chance. They'll be talking about this gig for years to come.
John's latest CD is Plays the Music of Irving Berlin with Frank Wess on flute. Further proof that no one plays piano today as seductively as John does.
Jack Teagarden. Fan of the great trombonist? Dig Michael Palmer's tribute site here.
Conte Candoli. Following my post last week on Conte Candoli's Best from the West (now on CD as Modern Sounds from the West), I received the following email from jazz critic Larry Kart, who disagreed with my view:
"A good comparison might be Shorty Rogers' half of the album East Coast-West Coast Scene (RCA) from 1954, where the performances are basically strings of solos on charming-clever Rogers' themes. There still is a good deal of overall coherence—probably because Shorty picked the players he wanted and was unquestionably the leader.
About the quality of soloing on Modern Sounds, I would exclude from my previous remarks Conte's fine quartet date (though that's not part of the original albums), Buddy Collette's flute, and Lorraine Geller's blistering solo on Hooray For Hollywood. However, her comping elsewhere strikes me as kind of rhythmically nervous at times.
"As for those fine Shelly Manne video clips you featured (what a together band!), the 'J. Williams' who wrote The Isolate Pawn, that first pensive piece that pianist Russ Freeman plays so beautifully, is none other than John Williams, future film composer of large reputation and income. The Isolate Pawn is from Williams' score for the TV show Checkmate, starring Sebastian Cabot. The Manne group did a fine album of Checkmate material (it's available here). BTW, Richie Kamuca is in great form on these clips.
Benny Golson. David Brent Johnson, host of WFIU's Night Lights, one of my favorite subject-centric jazz radio shows, recently aired a special on Benny Golson. Go here and click on the big amber button.
And for more Benny, JazzWax reader Greg Lee informed me last week that NPR recently aired a radio interview with the legendary composer, arranger and tenor saxophonist. You can hear it here.