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Why Jazz Happened. Last week, the Ella Fitzgerald Facebook Page posted on my new book. Thanks one and all for your lovely comments and lots of "likes."
Milton DeLugg. In my post on Ernie Felice and the jazz accordion last week, several readers noted that I neglected to mention Milton DeLugg, who also recorded on the instrument in the late '40s. DeLugg, of course, wrote Orange Colored Sky and many other songs and was a prominent arranger and orchestra leader. He's still on the scene today. For an interview with DeLugg, go here.
Louis Jordan. Peter Campbell in Cairo, Egypt, sent along a link to a color clip from 1966 featuring Louis Jordan. The alto saxophonist was appearing on The !!! Beat, a syndicated TV show hosted by Nashville disc jockey Bill "Hoss" Allen. Here's G.I.Jive...
CD discoveries of the week.
Trumpeter and composer Danny Jonokuchi is new to me, but I love his new album, Reboot. Not long ago, Jonokuchi was punched in the face for no apparent reason in Philadelphia. It took four months for his lip to heal. Hence the title of his new CD. There are '70s jazz flavors throughout, and fascinating vocals by Alexa Barchini. The band is equally cutting-edge, with touches of Roy Ayers, Robert Glasper and Doug Carn. The band features Tim Brey (keyboard), Dave Sanders (guitar), Alex Frank (bass) and Jamie Eblen (drums). Sample the entire album—and dig how they updated Night and Day by integrating touches of Ayers's Everybody Loves the Sunshine. Go here.
Another album with future-forward ambition and a musical '70s feel is Bennett Paster's Relentless Pursuit of the Beautiful. All of the CD's compositions are originals by pianist Paster, who is joined by two horns (on most tracks) along with the balance of a rhythm section. I can't define this album's style of jazz but I can tell you that the tracks were both reflective and projective, and they made me think. See if you feel the same. Sample A Penny for Kenny and Bash Into Spring. Go here.
Speaking of the '70s, remember Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (1973)? Oldfield has just released Tubular Beats—a remix of the original tracks in collaboration with German producer Torsten York Stenzel. The result is a techno-chill re-envisioning of the classic, complete with big beats and tasteful electronica. As new wave dance albums go, this one has context and purpose. Go here.
Otis Redding's greatest quality as a singer was his pleading voice. Lonely & Blue (Stax) captures this side of him perfectly in a collection of 12 tracks. A couple of notes about the packaging of this CD: first, Lonely & Blue isn't an existing Redding album reissued—despite the image above. It's a new compilation. Second, Stax packaged this as though it were a lost LP wedged into a milk crate. The wear and tear elements (nice touch!) were added to enhance the album's worn-soul feel. As CD compiler David Gorman said about the songs here, they are "the saddest, most potently heartbreaking songs [Otis] ever sang, with no regard for chart position or notoriety." A job well done—from remastering and compiling to the cover design inspired by the 1967 Stax era. Go here.
In 1967, during the Summer of Love, The Hello People recorded Fusion for Philips. On this post-Sgt. Pepper's release, the New York City band brought together psychedelic, folk-rock and classical influences—resulting in a gentle album that captures the innocence of Central Park rather than the hard experimentation of San Francisco. All these many years later, the results play like the soundtrack to a move about a young hippie couple in love in New York. This one will grow on you. Or it did me. Sample Jelly Jam and if I Should Sing Too Softly. If you were aware in '67, the band's sound will take you back. Go here (or here)
I totally get that in the early days of the LP, mood albums were pretty popular. Recordings were marketed for making-out, staying in, relaxing, excitement, cocktails—you name it. But picnics? I don't think this is Arthur Fiedler's take on the Broadway play or movie—though I could be wrong. Either way, could it be that knee-high black socks and a half-eaten slice of white bread was once catnip for the opposite sex?