More from the Brubecks. After my post last week on Beverley D. Thorne, the architect who designed the Brubecks' Oakland, CA, home in the early 1950s, I received the following from Iola and Dave Brubeck:
"It was wonderful reading Thorne's reflections on designing our home. His remembrances triggered many fond memories, including one we hadn't thought of in years:
"After Dave bought the lots adjacent to our property, we were able to have a road built to our home from another street. This allowed us to drive directly up to the back and enter the house without climbing the steep stairs up from Heartwood Drive below.
"With the new road in place, we were able to bring Darius Milhaud over to see the house. He was intrigued. I remember he asked how much it cost to build. Dave gave him the figure per square foot. I've forgotten what it was exactly. Ridiculously low from today's perspective. Anyway, Milhaud said to us, 'Save me one square foot so that I will have one place in the world I can stand on and call my own.'
"Before he left, Milhaud asked for a piece of paper. I gave him a sheet of typing paper from my desk. The next day in the mail we received a self-portrait of Milhaud, the lines of the drawing were themes from his ballet, The Creation of the World, the first European classical composer's use of jazz. [Photo of Darius Milhaud in 1957 by Gjon Mili for Life]
"We had a plaque made from that drawing with the idea of placing it in our fireplace hearth. We had left a square foot hole there to receive it. But we never went through with it. However, we still have the plaque. It is hanging in Dave's studio in our East Coast home."
David Amram. In addition to adding a lengthy comment to my Oscar Peterson post, David sent along a lovely email. I'm always gratified to hear from David. For those who have not had the pleasure of meeting and knowing David, he is a tornado of grace, positive thinking and creativity who energizes everyone he meets:
"Like you and your JazzWax readers, I am in love with the excellence of the 1940s and 1950s and how important it is for readers and listeners worldwide to know about that period and understand what made it special.
"You are laying so much great info out there. Many of the people you write about, who influenced and were influenced by one another, are no longer here to thank you for telling part of their stories. [Pictured, from left: David Amram, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in the late 1950s]"So you are just as crazy as all the rest of us who devote endless hours to documenting the human experience through music and performance. Please continue what you are doing so we all can know more and have an accurate database for the future."
Shorty Rogers Re-Entry—found! After my post last week on Shorty Rogers' Re-Entry, I heard from Hiroshi Tanno, owner of Early Records and my main man in Japan. He has Japanese copies of the CD for sale—around $30. Hiroshi says the album comes in a cardboard sleeve designed to look like the LP cover. You can reach Hiroshi directly by email here: email@example.comThad Jones. After my post on Thad Jones' arrangements for Count Basie's Chairman of the Board, jazz musician and writer Bill Kirchner sent along the following:
"Thanks for your post on one of my biggest heroes. The track Speaking of Sounds has Freddie Green playing a shaker, which he did on occasion. When the early Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band included rhythm guitarist Sam Herman, who also was the band's music copyist, he played shaker as well. You can hear him on Little Pixie.
"Interestingly, Speaking of Sounds was the prototype for one of Thad's best-loved pieces, Tiptoe, recorded on the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis album Consummation (Blue Note, 1970). The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra still plays Tiptoe regularly.
"It's ironic that in 1965 Thad wrote eight charts on commission for a Basie recording. The eight were Little Pixie, A—That's Freedom, The Second Race, Low Down, Backbone, Big Dipper, All My Yesterdays and Mornin' Reverend. Basie rejected all of them as too difficult or stylistically incompatible. Those charts became the genesis of the TJ/ML Orchestra."
Maria Toledo (1937-2010), a pensive, popular Brazilian singer who was married to guitarist and composer Luiz Bonfa and was the first to record bossa nova with Stan Getz in February 1963 (Jazz Samba Encore!), died in Rio de Janeiro on February 3d. She was 73. For a fabulous obit of Toledo by Arnaldo DeSouteiro in Rio, go here.
Bud Shank. In researching Shorty Rogers and His Giants last week, I came across this clip of Bud Shank playing what may be one of his greatest alto saxophone solos on For the Love of Art. You be the judge...
Mulgrew Miller. Videographer Bret Primack taped this terrific clip of pianist Mulgrew Miller in 2007 performing solo for students at the University of Arizona Jazz Program at Tucson...
Singer Carol Sloane sent along this doozy for Snickers...
Wardell Gray. Today (Sunday), jazz disc jockey "Symphony" Sid Gribetz will present a five-hour retrospective on saxophonist Wardell Gray from 2 to 7 pm (EST). Go here from anywhere in the world.New York jazz orchestras. Today (Sunday), Bill Kirchner will host a one-hour radio show focusing on three of New York City's most unusual large jazz ensembles—Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Gary Morgan and PanAmericana, and Joseph C. Phillips Jr. and Numinous. The show will air from 11 p.m. to midnight (EST). Go here from anywhere in the world.
CD discovery of the week. Frank Vignola is one tasty guitarist. The last time I wrote about Vignola, he appeared on pianist John Bunch's fine album, Plays the Music of Irving Berlin (Arbors). He also recorded a superb duet album, Moonglow (Hyena) with Bucky Pizzarelli in 2005. Now, Vignola is out with 100 Years of Django (Azica), with Vinny Raniolo (guitar), Gary Mazzaroppi (bass) and Julien Labro (accordion). if you dig Reinhardt, this is the place. Sample Truoeland Bolero for starters. You'll find the album at iTunes or here.
Oddball album cover of the week. Doesn't get any cheesier than this. A mid-50s sampler from Biograph, this LP included tracks by four different artists recorded separately. At least our model is on her toes.