Georgie Auld in the late '40s - JazzWax

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July 26, 2011


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Mike Harris

Say it ain't so Marc;"New York, New York" was one of DeNiro's most unforgettable performances! He had that jazzman schtick down to a "T"

Larry Kart

I have no personal or even second-hand knowledge of the kind of guy Georgie Auld was, but like so many of Artie Shaw's remarks about other people, his comments on Auld seem to me to be all about Shaw: "I dunno, [Auld] identified himself with me, and he never could quite make it, as a star, you know, whatever it was."

As for Shaw giving Auld his 1939 band, and Auld not being able to "make it work. He didn't have the quality that it took. Certain people don't" -- can you imagine anyone in the business at that time being able to make that situation work, let alone Auld, who was then age 20?

John P. Cooper

Larry Kart makes a good point about Auld's age working against his being a successful bandleader at age 20. By age 25 he had it going, so props to the Canadian kid. His work with Shaw's band is terrific.

Somewhere I read a quote from Auld about working with Robert DeNiro on "NY,NY". It was pretty much 'Working with Robert DeNiro was about as much fun as a case of the clap.'



Fresh Sound has released an anthology of four small group sessions that Auld made from 1951-1963 with bop and west coast oriented musicians. On the '51 session his wide vibrato on ballads and honking on barn burners sound a bit anachronistic. On the later sessions he de-emphasizes those elements and achieves a nice synergy with the younger musicians. The combination of Auld's tenor with Bunker's vibes and Johnny Gray's guitar, along with Levy, Vinnegar, and Lewis, on the July '63 session is especially lovely.


Yeah, Marc, Shaw was a genius, but an appalling egomaniac. I never met Georgie Auld, but I'm glad I never met Shaw. And I love his playing.

Larry Kart

On "Mo-Mo," beginning at the 1:30 mark, dig the trumpet figures that Hefti copped from "Petrouchka."

Jery Rowan

Marc - New York, New York a “marginal film”?!

Among working musicians -- as in, those who would actually have informed opinions on the subject -- NY, NY is constantly held up as one of the finest films depicting realism in music performance, thanks to the great coaching of Georgie Auld and brilliant performance of Robert De Niro. And, while not a box office bonanza, it more than made its money back for Chartoff-Winkler Productions.

And Auld’s playing on the sound track was superb. Come to think of it, when has his playing not been considered A-list? All you have to do is look at the musical company he’s kept in those dozens and dozens of albums he was hired to work on over the years.

Marc, the dude’s already an icon. What makes you think he “should be better known”?

Frankly, the only bad things I’ve ever heard about Georgie have come from the mouths of envious, lesser players who couldn’t handle his popularity.

Jeff Sultanof

Neal told me that he didn't like the recording of "Mo-Mo" because in trying to fit the piece onto a 78 side, the first strain of the melody was not repeated, which was the way Neal wrote it. It's too bad that the Auld book seems to be missing, as I'd love to see all of this great music published.


Still trying to figure why Georgie Auld would be asked to speak at Buddy Rich's funeral...?

Bruno Leicht

Georgie Auld's "Homage" album where he paid tribute to his former leader Benny Goodman will stand the test of time, though it is widely unknown.

It has been recorded on September 5, 1959 and features the legendary Don Fagerquist on trumpet, Howard Roberts on guitar, Lou Levy on piano, Larry Bunker on vibes, Leroy Vinnegar & Mel Lewis on bass 'n' drums. All in all a very swingin' affair with tinges of cool bop.

Georgie plays a very strong, a very modern sounding tenorsax on the twelve tracks, among them A Smooth One, Wholly Cats, or Soft Winds in freshly swinging new versions.

Alas, it came simply too late for receiving recognition: 1959 -- the year of "Kind Of Blue", of "Giant Steps" & "Time Out" ... this says it all, I guess.

Anyway, I love it. "Homage" appeared on the XANADU label (#190), and it can be found on the Fresh Sound CD twofer, recommended above by fellow commenter David:

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