Hal McKusick on George Handy - JazzWax

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March 06, 2009


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Fernando Ortiz de Urbina

Thanks for doing this. I know Mr. McKusick was really willing to talk about Handy, and for good reason too!



Bill Forbes

Fascinating post, Marc, on a musician I knew very little about. The only Stravinsky-influenced arrangements I could recall were by Ralph Burns for the Herman band. Incidentally, your post also provided a good test for Spotify, a new, free music streaming site available to us here in Yurp(!) So now I'm listening to "Boyd Meets Stravinsky" and "Tonsillectomy" for the first time while typing this!

Fernando Ortiz de Urbina

Bill - Don't miss if you can the CD reissue put out by Scottish label Hep of AFRS transcriptions by the Raeburn band (http://www.hepjazz.com/bios/boydr.html). This band was something else, in my opinion, along with Claude Thornhill's, the best-kept secret of the 1940s (which I discovered thanks to Max Harrison). And do have a look at the different Raeburn personnels, it's just unbelievable. If I remember correctly, "Dalvatore Sally" on Jewell has quite a solo by Dodo Marmarosa.

Incidentally McKusick played with both Raeburn AND Thornhill.


Larry Kart

"Handyland USA," unlike "Pensive," is hardly a showcase for Handy's "great arranging" IMO. Rather, it is basically a blowing date with some attractive Handy lines and interludes, notable mostly because it features the marvelous altoist Dave Schildkraut, plus fine work from Ernie Royal and Kai Winding, and because it finds the great Allen Eager in a near somnolent mood.

Mark Weber

This is wonderful stuff, Hal is the
key to so much great music, and your
entire blogsite is amazing, such great work
you're doing.

NOTE: I'll be interviewing Hal McKusick
live on my radio show July 30th at 12:30pm
(Mountain Time) terrestrial radio as well
streaming on the web at KUNM.org.

Mark Weber

Larry L Smith

Do you know where I can find George Handy sheet music or songbook?

Richard Berger

There's also a tape floating around of George playing with the Viv Gary trio which is pretty brilliant...

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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