In the wake of my post on Tony Bennett: The Complete Collection, JazzWax reader Ken Demme sent along the following email [photo by Chuck Stewart]:
"Man, you keep bringing up great memories from the past. In 1951, I was attending the School of Industrial Art in New York. I got on the Subway at Grand Ave. in Astoria, Queens, made one change at 59th St. and took the local to 51st St., where my school was located. It was a little red brick building that dated back to the Civil War. Ten years earlier, Anthony Dominick Benedetto studied commercial art there.
"In 1951, when his record of Because of You was released, we went bananas. Proud to know that one of our alumni had some success, everyone at the school who could carry a tune (and some who couldn't) immediately learned the lyrics. Many tried his version in the men's bathroom where there was a natural echo and reverberation that in our minds sounded professional. Each of us took turns trying to capture Tony's distinct New York-Astoria accent.
"Twenth-five years later, while attending a performance of Rosemary Clooney [pictured] at Basin Street East, I noticed Tony sitting by himself in a corner of the room. When the set was over, I introduced myself and retold the story I just related to you. He smiled and was quite gracious. Keep the memories coming."
Ray Charles. Bret Primack's latest video for the release of Ray Charles: The Complete ABC Singles rocks. Singer-writer Billy Vera provides on-camera historical insights...
"The letter was in response to my complaint about buying an Oscar Peterson album and discovering that some of the tracks were vocals. As I think about it now, 24 years later, it's quite amazing that he took the time to respond."
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Andy Gravish radio—tonight. Jazz musician Bill Kirchner tonight will present a one-hour Jazz From The Archives show devoted to jazz trumpeter Andy Gravish. Bill notes that Gravish over the past 10 years has divided his time between New York and Rome, and recordings will include Gravish's collaborator, the Italian pianist Luca Mannutza, as well as other Italian and American musicians. The show airs at 11 p.m. (EST). You can listen live on your computer from anywhere in the world by going to WBGO.org.
Hal Blaine. Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine sent along another YouTube doozie...
Battle of the Bulge. Back in 1964, Frank De Felitta, dad of director Raymond De Felitta, directed a one-hour documentary for NBC on the Battle of the Bulge (December 16 1944-January 25, 1945). To watch all four parts, go here.
Oddball album cover of the week. If you're going to push a product, push it hard. That's what Audio Fidelity did here for the high-proof Mexican liquor. Not content merely to hint about the appeal of a salt-rimmed drink, the label decided to hammer away for Arandas, the client. Let's count the ways: There's the album title, the bottle, the name of the group and, for all we know based on the painter's left hand, a tumbler in the trumpet.