JazzWax with Marc Myers. Tonight, at 10 pm (EDT), join me on your computer for the second of three radio shows. I will be playing two hours of rare jazz recordings from my personal collection and sharing stories on Jazz.FM91, Canada's leading jazz station. What to do: Return here at 10 p.m. tonight and click the square "Listen Live" button in the right-hand margin. Or if that doesn't work, go to www.Jazz.fm and click on "listen live" at the top of station's home page. Either way, dig you then!
Eddie Bert. On Friday, I posted about The Trombones Inc., a recording from 1958 that featured 27 top trombonists on the East and West coasts. In my post, I featured comments by Eddie Bert, who played on the record and recalled being less than happy with the session. Yesterday, as promised, he gave it a spin. Here's what he said:
"I'm still not crazy about it. It sounds too thick. Who needed that many trombones? I’d rather hear a small group. J.J.'s writing was great and was a good as it could have been, all things considered. All I can remember is I wanted to get out of there. Listening to it, though, I did like Mel [Lewis, the drummer on the West Coast session]. I also think the East Coast guys had a better sound. The West Coast players played movie music. [Frank] Rosolino sounded good, though. Other than that, forget about it. Too many trombones. But sure, I can see how the listener would have a good time listening to it."
Marcy Lutes. Following my post on Marcy Lutes, legendary bassist Bill Crow sent along the following:
"I knew Marcy. I met her around 1954 at the Hickory House in New York. She used to come in quite often. She seemed to have some problems. She would tell me something in great detail, and then her eyes would swing off to the side, she would go out of focus for a minute, and then she would begin to tell me the same thing all over again, as if it were new material. The last time I saw her was at the Half Note, around the late 1950s. I don't know what became of her."
Junior Cook. Today, from 2-7 pm (EDT), WKCR-FM's master disc jockey Sid Gribetz will present a five-hour retrospective broadcast on the career of hard bop tenor saxophonist Junior Cook. Go here today to listen live.
From Hank O'Neal (photographer, producer and co-founder of Chiaroscuro Records):
"One of my all-time spring favorites (and little known today) is Willie "the Lion" Smith's composition Echoes Of Spring. He recorded it for Commodore a zillion years ago and then for me at Chiaroscuro in 1969-70. It was one of his favorites. A pretty little melody that swings lightly."
From Kurt Kolstad:
"The Four Freshmen recorded Spring Isn't Spring Without You, a rather obscure piece, on an album called The Swingers. The band charts were by Bill Holman. I've loved these guys since Stan Kenton put them on the map."
From Michael Steinman of JazzLives:
"Your list is both whimsical and musical! I would add the mournful Spring Is Here performed by Tony Bennett with the Ruby Braff-George Barnes Quartet, most recently issued on a Bennett CD on Concord. Hardly elated but greatly moving. Keep springing, Marc!"
From John Cooper:
"Benny Goodman recorded Swing Into Spring in the late 1950s. Good chart, well played, swings, but not especially 'up'. It has a bit of a melancholy sound to it, almost like the springtime of Swing is long past and ain't coming around again."
From WFIU's David Brent Johnson:
"Great list, Marc! Every year I put together a "spring songs" show for Afterglow, and there are several versions on your list I've never encountered before. A couple I really dig are Dick and Kiz Harp's take on Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most (from Again! Dick and Kiz Harp at the 90th Floor), and Nina Simone's version of Spring Is Here (from The Colpix Years).
From Paul Donolo:
"Once again, an outstanding job in your 'spring' series. I would add a second Blossom Dearie spring song—C'est le Printemps—which is It Might As Well be Spring with all French lyrics."
Teddy Charles, the legendary vibraphonist, will be appearing at Iridium in New York next week (March 19-22) with a tentet. The group will be recreating Teddy's landmark 1956 recording Word From Bird and songs made famous by Charlie Parker. Teddy's new tentet will include piano great Hank Jones and trombonist Eddie Bert, both of whom were members of Teddy's cutting-edge groups between 1956 and 1963.
Daniel Smith, the jazz bassoonist [pictured], will be playing at New York's The Kitano next Wednesday, March 18. Sets are at 8 and 10 pm. There's no cover charge. I wrote about Daniel's upcoming album here.
"Here are rare video clips of Tito Puente, Willie Colon and others on a TV show called Soul! which aired on PBS in New York from 1968 to 1973. I used to watch it religiously. It completely influenced my ethos. As far as I'm concerned, this show captured the last days of hipness. Soul! usually featured two or three groups and was geared to showcasing and celebrating the African-American/urban experience. It was produced by the late great Ellis Haslip. Poet and activist Felipe Luciano produced two of the shows to reflect the New York Latino experience. Here are four episodes of Sout!:
- Tito Puente and Willie Colon here.
- Earth, Wind & Fire here. (Notice the complete jazz influence in their early work as well as Santana's influence on the group.)
- Rahsaan Roland Kirk and the Vibration Society here.
- Max Roach and M'Boom, featuring Bobby Hebb and Ron Carter and the Persuasions here.
Bret Primack. This week, the Jazz Video Guy Bret Primack
[pictured] shares a 1999 interview with the late tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker
as well as a Brecker performance at Birdland. You can watch it all here.
Art Pepper. Laurie Pepper, Art's widow, sent along a link to a fascinating video she created featuring clips from the in-production film Straight Life: The Stories of Art Pepper, which is based on Straight Life, the autobiography she wrote with Art. Most of the photography and video effects in the clip are by Laurie. The tune is Mr. Dom, and you can hear it along with other tracks at ArtPepper.net.
Bill Evans. Last week Jan Stevens of the Bill Evans Web Pages posted a 1971 ad from Rolling Stone promoting Columbia's release that year of The Bill Evans Album. Jan rightly notes that the ad was a pretty feeble attempt to promote an album that would go on to win a Grammy. You also have to love the off-key ad copy: "The new Bill Evans album: It's like a whole bunch of new albums in one album."
Django Reinhardt. Two Sundays ago, in my post on The Hot Club of San Francisco's new CD, I let slip that Django Reinhardt wasn't entirely my bag. While the guitarist swings, the nostalgic feel to much of his work, for me, is too thick and oppressive. Last week, jazz critic Larry Kart attempted to sway me with a fabulous YouTube link here.
David Finck. In my post last week on Michel Legrand's performance at Birdland, I mentioned bassist David Finck. Reader Don Voltmer sent along the following e-mail:
"I noticed you mentioned 'powerful' bass player David Finck. One of my favorite recordings is by Andre Previn and David Finck, We Got Rhythm: A Gershwin Songbook." My three favorite tracks on the album are They All Laughed, I Got Rhythm and Fascinating Rhythm."
Johnny Smith. Chip Stern, host of a Johnny Smith tribute site, sent along two YouTube clips featuring the great guitarist. The clips are here and here. Says Chip: : "Johnny had an amazing touch and tone, unparalleled and harmonic conception and chordal execution, and sweetly articulated and flowing melodic ideas. These are the only clips extant of Johnny, a figure largely forgotten and unknown to the younger generation, but a towering figure to older players such as Pat Martino, Jack Wilkins and Bill Frisell (who studied with him in California)."
CD discovery of the week. Sidney Bechet did it. So did Zoot Sims. Back in 2006, Jeff Darrohn also gave it a shot on T-Bird '60. What did Darrohn do? He overdubbed himself playing soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. The result is quite remarkable as Darrohn performs as a one-man reed section. Backed by Dave Postmontier on piano, Craig Thomas on bass and Tony Vigilante on drums, Darrohn even composed and arranged all of the tunes of the album.
The liner notes are by Doug Ramsey, who quoted Bob Florence, Darrohn's idol: "It's great to know that someone else loves six saxophones. There is so much color to be had, and Jeff manages to get every ounce from his section." Big time. Sample the title track, T-Bird '60, at iTunes or here to see exactly what Florence meant.
Bozo's arranger. Last week I featured in jest a Capitol album cover from the late 1940s called Bozo Sings. Reader John Pickworth noted that Billy May arranged the music for many of Bozo's sessions. "In fact," says John, "he did most of the Capitol children's records of the period."
Oddball album cover of the week. Paul Weston's The Sweet and the Swingin' was produced by John Palladino and recorded in 1960. Here, the angelic Sweet innocently uses a conniving Lucifer (the Swingin'?) as a love seat. The only thing more diabolical than the cover is how hellish the LP sounds. To hear the album, featuring a jaunty men's choir backed by soapy strings, go here and sample tracks 13-24. Brace yourself.