"I enjoyed seeing your blog post on Catherine Howe with Bobby Scott. It brought back memories of Bobby. He and I were close, especially in the early 1950s. He was 16 years old and writing and playing piano for a quintet in New York's Catskill Mountains. Jack Eagle was on trumpet, I was on alto sax, John Drew was on bass, I've forgotten the drummer's name, and Bobby was on piano.
"Bobby wrote all the charts in unusual keys (lots of sharps). It was a bebop band at a Jewish mountain resort, and the people there loved it! A few years later we worked on several projects together. These included his session The Compositions Of Bobby Scott for Bethlehem in 1954. There also was Immortal, a piece he scored in tribute of Charlie Parker, who had just died, that I recorded on In A Twentieth-Century Drawing Room for RCA in late 1955; several tracks on my album Triple Exposure for Prestige in 1957, and Bobby Scott Plays the Music of Leonard Bernstein in 1959.
"At the end, I talked him into playing a concert in Southampton, N.Y. It would be his last. Bobby on that date was terrific. He played and sang, even though he was seriously ill and gone shortly thereafter. Bobby was gifted, for sure!"
Photo of Hal McKusick at top by Mark Weber.
Joe Alterman. Pianist Joe Alterman, who just graduated from New York University, recently gave a recital and was joined by tenor saxophonist Houston Person, bassist James Cammack (who plays with Ahmad Jamal) and drummer Alex Raderman. They played several songs, among them Memories of You. Here's the video clip. (Joe's most recent album is Piano Tracks, Vol. 1 here.)
Chinatown soundtrack now available. One of my favorite films of all time is Roman Polanski's Chinatown. Same goes for the film's soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith. For years, the CD has been out of print, with sellers offering it for $70 and up. As Terry Teachout informs me, it's now available as an mp3 download here.
Travel + Leisure. I was pleased to be interviewed by Darren Tobia of Travel + Leisure for a roundup of favorite summer jazz clubs. Also featured were friends and colleagues Ricky Riccardi, author of What a Wonderful Life: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years, and Patrick Jarenwattananon, host of NPR Music’s A Blog Supreme. To read the roundup, go here.
The Jazz Discography. If you're unfamiliar with Tom Lord's Jazz Discography, you need to have a look. It's fee-based online database of every recorded jazz session, including the date, personnel, label, matrix number and take numbers. You also can search for information a variety of different ways. A subscription now includes online access to a complete Cadence magazine index. Issues would then have to be ordered at Cadence. Go here.
Bob Porter radio. Recognize the name? Historian Bob Porter has produced more than 170 jazz and blues sessions for Prestige and other labels from the 1970s onward and is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame. Since 1981, Bob has hosted several superb blues and R&B shows on the radio. The ones on New York's WBGO now are Portraits in Blue (Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 7 a.m.) and Saturday Morning Function (Saturdays at 8 a.m.) All shows can be accessed from your computer EDT from anywhere in the world here.
Bob Mintzer. As Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California, tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer leads the Thornton Big Band—college students who can really swing. Filmmaker Bret Primack was in the studio recently to capture a recording session here...
More jazz radio. The esteemed John Greenspan hosts Good Morning Jazz on Sante Fe's KSFR on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, from 9 a.m. to noon (MDT). It's a show featuring straight-ahead, bebop and classic jazz, and he often features new local talent as well as interviews. You can access John's show on your computer from anywhere in the world by going here.
Joel Miller. Videomaker Randy Cole recently completed a tender and up-close short on Montreal saxophonist Joel Miller here...
CD discoveries of the week. The "H2" in the H2 Big Band stands for the last names of co-leaders Al Hood and Dave Hanson (pictured left and right, respectively on the cover). Trumpeter Al and pianist Dave are music professors at the University of Denver, where they are involved with the Lamont Big Band. The band they have assembled for The H2 Big Band: You're It (Jazzed Media) is exceptional. All of the swinging arrangements are by Dave, and guesting on three of the tracks is power trumpeter Bobby Shew. Dig You're It! or how they hit Singin' in the Rain. This is Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland meets Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, and the musicianship on every level is aimed right at your heart and feet. And it just won't quit, particularly Al's trumpet and Dave's piano. You'll find this one at iTunes or here.
Paul Musso plays one gentle guitar—and this is high praise. At a time when everyone seems bent on swinging strings off the instrument, Musso dotes on each and every note, listening to them swing and ring. His album Tonescapes features terrific jazz that also lets your soul ease.This is pure jazz but in a zone that's without the usual self-inflicted stress. Dig Green Eyed Blue Cake, L'Ete or Waltz for Karen. You'll find this one at iTunes or here. To listen to the full album, go here.
Oddball album cover of the week. Sultry singer Anne Phillips recorded this one for Roulette in 1959 with superb string arrangements by Kermit Levinsky and jazz players Milt Hinton, Mundell Lowe, Barry Galbraith, Doc Severinsen and others. It's actually a terrific album that's downloadable at iTunes or here. As for the cover, it's no wonder Anne is blue. She's sitting in damp, cold weather on a dilapidated pier on the Brooklyn waterfront across from Manhattan.