King’s Jazz Legacy: Maxi-Tweets

I am liberating a special series of “maxi-tweets” tied to King Records‘ lesser known jazz legacy – part of 2018’s King 75th Birthday Celebration – that were otherwise buried in a PDF file attachment.  The following research was conducted primarily by scanning the index of Ruppli‘s 2-volume King recording session discography for the names of jazz musicians and noting which recording sessions featured their work.  For this updated piece, I have probed more deeply in order to add a few new items into the mix.

In the course of compiling this information, it dawned on me that the use of jazz musicians on popular (or “dance”) recordings by King Records was also famously done at Motown, not to mention standard operating procedure (i.e., ‘Wrecking Crew’) at the West Coast studios in and around Los Angeles.  Jazz musicians bring, as has been demonstrated, a deep musicality as well as versatility to recording sessions aimed at the popular market.

[Notestreaming audio links indicated in bold blue ink]

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #1

Bassist Keter Betts – who spurred Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd to record the breakthrough 1962 ‘Jazz Samba‘ album that introduced bossa nova to America and the world – played on a handful of Earl Bostic sessions, including his big hit “Flamingo,” as well as flip side “Sleep” (all sessions in NYC except one Cincinnati session on August 2, 1949).  NY Times Aug. 22, 2005 obituary for Betts acknowledges that “his first job of note was with the popular rhythm and-blues saxophonist Earl Bostic in 1949.”

French 78 – 1954

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #2

25-year-old John Coltrane played tenor sax – on what must be among his earliest recordings – for Earl Bostic on two 1952 recording sessions in New York and Los Angeles that included such songs as “Moonglow” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (with William Keter Betts), as indicated on the UK 78 release below.

“John Coltaine” = musical misspelling

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #3

Cat Anderson, long-time trumpeter for Duke Ellington, and Connie Kay, drummer for Modern Jazz Quartet (et al.), backed Wynonie Harris on “I Feel That Old Age Coming On” paired with “Grandma Plays the Numbers” – recorded in Linden, New Jersey on Dec. 9, 1948 for King Records.

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #4

Long-time Duke Ellington bandmates, Johnny Hodges (alto sax) and Russell Procope (tenor sax) played a recording session at Cincinnati’s King Studios for Ivory Joe Hunter on July 15, 1949 – 5 songs in all, including “Please Don’t Cry Anymore” and “I Got Your Water On.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #5

Composer/arranger Neal (‘Batman’) Hefti played trumpet for the Chubby Jackson Sextet on an early King session recorded in Chicago on July 1, 1944 that yielded four songs (including “Bass Face”) released as a pair of 78s on King subsidiary label Queen and later sold as a King EP.  Hefti would later arrange Elliot Lawrence and His Orchestra’s version of “Sixty Minute Man” on which Zoot Sims played tenor sax (and Cowboy Copas served as one of the backing vocalists).

King EP – 1954

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #6

Jabberwockian jazzmeister and hipster supreme Slim Gaillard (& His Boogiereeners) recorded a dozen sides for King/Queen in September, 1945 in Los Angeles, including Slim’s theme song “Vout Orenee” plus “Nightmare Boogie”; “Harlem Hunch”; and “Voot Boogie.”

Rare King EP

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #7

Dexter Gordon laid down some tenor sax for Wynonie Harris at a NYC recording session for King Records on December 16, 1947 that yielded “Your Money Don’t Mean a Thing” plus three unreleased tracks.

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #8

Pianist Wynton Kelly played on a pair of Cincinnati King recording sessions in 1949 for EddieCleanheadVinson, with EddieLockjawDavis, among others = eight songs in all including “Ashes On My Pillow” and “I’m Weak But Willing.”

1959 LP – expect to pay 3 figures at auction

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #9a

Jazz drumming legend Jo Jones recorded a couple sessions for King Records, including a Cincinnati session on August 16, 1949 for EddieLockjawDavis, as part of (pre-organ) Bill Doggett Trio =  two songs, “Mountain Oysters” (written by Henry Glover) and “Huckle Boogie” (ditto).

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #9b

Count Basie drummer Jo Jones would also back Mabel Scott on “Baseball Boogie,” a sly sports metaphor recorded for King in New York City on March 25, 1950.

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #10

Jazz pianist, arranger, and composer Mary Lou Williams recorded a pair of sessions for King, both in New York City, and both with drummer Denzil Best, guitarist Mundell Lowe, and bassist George Duvivier.  Trumpeter Idrees Sulieman accompanied Williams at her first session on March 18, 1949 which produced four songs:  “Tisherome“; “Knowledge“; “Oo-Bla-Dee” & “Shorty Boo.”  Williams’ second session on January 3, 1950 yielded four more tracks:  “Bye Bye Blues” and “Moonglow” (with Williams on organ); ‘Willow Weep for Me” & “I’m in the Mood for Love.”

“autographed” King EP – 1954

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #11

1951 King Jazz History Four-Way

  • Jazz pioneer and long-time NPR (“Piano Jazz“) host, Marian McPartland, would have exactly one encounter with King Records:  NYC session March 15, 1951,  resulting in 4 songs [“Flamingo“; “It’s Delovely“; “Liebestraum No. 3“; “Four Brothers“] that enjoyed release in the US, UK, and France.  In additional to two 78 releases, Federal issued the playfully-titled EP, Progressive Piano with Cello, Harp, Bass and Drums in 1954, while these same songs would be issued in the UK four years later under the title of the Cole Porter track, It’s Delovely.

                           1954 FEDERAL EP                            1951 FRENCH 78 – ART DECO LETTERING

marian-mcpartland-federal-king-ep-aamarian-mcpartland-swing-king-78-aa

  • Vocalist Lee Richardson recorded a session in Linden, New Jersey for DeLuxe on February 26, 1951 that featured drummer (and future bandleader) Art Blakey on four songs, including “Just Call My Name” & “As Time Goes By.”

  • Charles Mingus (bass) and Billy Taylor (piano) backed Melvin Moore (the “blues shouter“) on a NYC session for King recorded December 18, 1951 – four songs recorded, including rare 45 “Possessed” b/w “Hold Me Kiss Me Squeeze Me.”  Mingus would also record under his own name for Bethlehem prior to Syd Nathan’s purchase of the label in 1960.

Trivia = Someone paid $96 in 2017 for this King 45.

Someone paid $435 in 2013 for this 45

Review – March 8, 1952 edition of Cashbox

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #12

Al Sears – saxophonist, bandleader, and Duke Ellington alumnus – recorded a single NYC session for King with his orchestra on September 21, 1951 that netted eight songs packaged into two EPs and four 78s – including “Baltimore Bounce” and “Now Ride the D Train” (not to mention the curiously-titled “Marshall Plan“).

Caution:  Back cover of Sears’ second UK EP from 1958 indicates “controversy” over whether Johnny Hodges played alto sax (as Ruppli says) on these sessions. UK liner notes:

When these titles were originally released some years ago controversy existed over the identity of the alto soloist on ‘Steady Eddie’; some critics maintained that it was Hodges himself. In fact it is the similarly-styled Charlie Holmes, a boyhood friend of Hodges and an important mainstay of the Chick Webb, Luis Russell, and Louis Armstrong bands during the nineteen-thirties.”

This other UK EP, also from 1958, alternately characterizes the situation thusly —

It is this band, with alto saxist Charlie Holmes substituting for the contractually debarred Hodges, which may be heard on the enclosed record.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #13

Drummer Philly Joe Jones – three years before joining Miles Davis for a series of albums – would back (Bull) Moose Jackson on a NYC session for King on Feb. 6, 1952 = four songs including “Nosey Joe”; “Bearcat Blues” & “Sad.”

Imagine that = Leiber & Stoller wrote “Nosey Joe”!

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #14

Drummer (and future bandleader) Chico Hamilton played on a total of four recording sessions in Los Angeles for King/Federal: (1) Russell Jacquet & His Bopper Band [“Bongo Blues”] on Mar. 18, 1949; Marion Abernathy [Ee-Tid-Ee-Dee”] on Mar. 26, 1949; Red Callender Sextet [“Poinciana”] c. 1950; and The Platters on Sept. 28, 1954
[“Voo-Vee-Ah-Bee”].

UK EP – 1955

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #15

Count Basie vocalist JimmyMr. Five by FiveRushing recorded two sessions in NYC for King:  Oct. 5, 1951 (four songs, including “Hi-O-Sylvester”) and Sept. 25, 1952 (four songs, including “Where Were You”).  These recordings would be released in the UK on Ember & Parlophone, and in France on Vogue.

UK EP – 1958

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #16

Trumpeter and orchestra leader Erskine Hawkins recorded three sessions for King = (a) four songs in NYC on December 6, 1951, including  “Down Home Jump” plus Henry Glover’s “Lost Time,” as well as steel guitar classic “Steel Guitar Rag“; (b) four more in NYC on September 25, 1952, including “Fair Weather Friend” and “New Gin Mill Special“; and (c) one final Cincinnati session on September 17, 1953 that yielded four tracks, including “Function at the Junction” and “My Baby Please.”

French 78

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #17

EarlFathaHines (piano) and His Orchestra (with Bennie Green, trombone) recorded a 1953 King session in New York City for Sugar Ray Robinson = three songs including “Knock Him Down Whiskey.”  Two of these songs, by the way, would be included on a French EP that also featured a pair of tracks from none other than Mickey Rooney (“Alimony Blues“)!

Without any further adieu, 1958 French EP

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #18

Cecil Young and His Progressive Quartet (previously celebrated here) recorded two separate sessions plus three live performances for King between 1951-1953 (including one King Studios visit on December 7, 1953) — audio links to “Who Parked the Car“; “That Old Black Magic” & “Yes Sir! That’s My Baby.”

1956 King LP – reissued in 1959 on Audio Lab

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #19

Gerald Wilson Orchestra’s early 1954 Los Angeles sessions for Federal and King – including “Mambo Mexicana” – would be reissued five years later on an Audio Lab LP entitled Big Band Modern, a reminder of the mambo mania that had gripped the nation at the time this song was released.  Based on available discographical information, these 1954 recordings appear to be among the earliest in a career that would span well into the new century, as NPR’s 2011 piece “The Gerald Wilson Orchestra:  A Living Legacy” affirms.  Wilson, as it turns out, is one of many famous jazz musicians who “did time” in Earl Bostic’s band — in this case, one of four trumpeters who played on a December 4, 1958 Los Angeles recording session (six tracks, including “My Reverie” and “All the Things You Are“).

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #20

NobleThin ManWatts – hailed by Alligator Records as “one of the early rock superstars” and one of the “greatest exponents of that honking tenor style” – recorded a session at Cincinnati’s King Studios with Tiny Bradshaw’s Orchestra on Sept. 1, 1954, joined by Rufus Gore, also on tenor sax, and “Fas’ FootPhilip Paul on drums (profiled here in 2018), among others.  Four instrumentals recorded at this session, including “Stack of Dollars” & “Cat Fruit” (co-written by Watts).  The following month Noble Watts recorded two songs with his quintet (including organist Wild Bill Davis and guitarist Floyd Smith) in New York City for DeLuxe – “Pig Ears & Rice” b/w “Mashing Potatoes.”

Noble Watts & Philip Paul played on all 4 tracks = 1955 EP

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #21

Saxophonist Plas (‘Pink Panther Theme‘) Johnson played tenor sax on a session for Sugar Pie & Hank backed by the Preston Love Orchestra, with Ernie Freeman (piano) and Red Callender (bass) in Los Angeles on March 17, 1955 — four songs recorded, including “Please Be True“; “Boom Diddy Wawa Baby” & “A Man Going Crazy.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #22

Jazz pianist and composer Dick Hyman (who accompanied Charlie Parker on his only television appearance in 1952) played a single recording session for Bubber Johnson in New York City on December 22, 1955, along with Al Caiola on guitar and Ruth Berman on harp, among others — four songs recorded (none of them available yet on YouTube):  “Keep a Light in the Window for Me“; “I Lost Track of Everything“; “My One Desire” & “A Wonderful Thing Happens.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #23

Roland Kirk’s debut album Triple Threat — recorded November 9, 1956 in NYC — was released on King.  Discogs has this mini history:

“The debut album by jazz multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk, originally released on King, re-released in US in 1976 on Bethlehem Records as Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Early Roots and in UK on Affinity.  The original album received limited distribution and only became widely known after the Bethlehem Records re-issue, a few years prior to Kirk’s death”

Check out opening track “Roland’s Theme

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #24

A number of notable jazz musicians did King recording sessions for Earl Bostic, including drummer Earl Palmer [“Anvil Chorus” & “Southern Fried”]; drummer Jimmy Cobb [“Flamingo” & “Sleep”]; pianists Luis Rivera [“Memories”], Jaki Byard [“Blip Boogie”] & Sir Charles Thompson [“Dark Eyes”]; organist RichardGrooveHolmes [“Telestar Drive”]; tenor saxophonists Stanley Turrentine [“What, No Pearls”] & Benny Golson [“Cherry Bean”]; alto saxophonist Benny Carter [“Dream”]; trumpeter RichardBlueMitchell [“Jungle Drums”]; guitarists Rene Hall [“La Cucaracha”], George Barnes [“Bugle Call Rag”] & Al Casey [“Serenade”]; bassist Johnny Pate [“Feeling Cool”], and, of course, the aforementioned Keter Betts [“Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams”] and John Coltrane [“Moonglow”] – subject of King jazz tweets #1 & 2, respectively.

King EP – 1956

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #25

Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson played on four recording sessions for bandleader and alto saxophonist Earl Bostic:

Benny Golson was also one of two tenor saxophonists on a Oct. 17, 1951 session at Cincinnati’s King Studios for Moose Jackson that netted “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “I Never Loved Anyone But You,” plus one unissued track, “”I’ve Had a Hard Way to Go.”

UK EP – 1957

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #26

Bassist Milt Hinton (“dean of jazz bassists”) played a handful of sessions for King on behalf of Little Willie John [“Home at Last” – 1955], Big John Greer [“Record Hop”- 1956], and Teddy Humphries [“What Makes You So Tough” – 1959].  Milt Hinton would also release one album for Bethlehem as a recording artist – 1955’s East Coast Jazz/5 – three years before Syd Nathan became co-owner of the label.

Penned by Henry Glover & Peaked at #16 in the R&B charts – March, 1959

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #27

I have a soft spot for EddieLockjawDavis‘s arrangement of Gershwin’s “Foggy Day” (recorded in Cincinnati on August 16, 1955) which also happens to be the lead-off track of a 4-song EP released in the UK in 1956.  Here in the US, however, “Foggy Day” appears to have been a B-side – and part of a 12-track album entitled Modern Jazz Expressions that also enjoyed release in France and Denmark.

UK EP – 1956

The Eddie Davis Trio and Doc Bagby’s 1955 recordings for King were done in Cincinnati, while 1956-1958 releases for King and Bethlehem were recorded in NYC.

classic 1950s modernist covers = 1957 LP + its 1959 reissue

King would also release Davis’s …Uptown LP in 1958 [with half these tracks providing an album side for 1959’s A Battle of Saxes LP with Charlie Ventura] — audio link to “The Happy Whistler.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #28

Organist Doc Bagby — who has recorded for Okeh and Epic, in addition to playing on Eddie Davis’s Modern Jazz Expressions album (et al.) — was also a King recording artist in his own right.  Two 1955 Cincinnati sessions with EddieLockjawDavis (tenor sax), Clifford Bush (guitar), and Charlie Rice (drums) would yield six songs (plus one unissued track, “Call Me Darling, Call Me Sweetheart, Call Me Dear”) that would comprise side one of King LP Battle of the Organs — Luis Rivera and Doc Bagby.  King would also issue two singles from these sessions, including “Grinding” b/w “Hayride” (co-written by Henry Glover), while Odeon France would issue an EP (below).

French EP

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #29

Fania All-Star percussionist Ray Barretto played on a King recording session for Bill Doggett in NYC on February 12, 1957 – three songs including “Chloe.”  Barretto would also play conga on two NYC King recording dates for EddieLockjawDavis (Jan./Feb. 1957) that yielded eight songs. including the King 45 “Sheila” b/w “Say What,” as well as the LP Jazz With a Beat.

I never tire of looking at this album cover

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #30

Guitarist Kenny Burrell – whose Blue Note debut LP would be released 1956 – did session work in 1957 for King and DeLuxe on behalf of Wynonie Harris [“Big Old Country Fool”], Little Willie John [“Dinner Date”] & Annie Laurie [“Hold On To What You Got”].  Burrell would also do King sessions in 1958 for Bubber Johnson [“Finger Tips”], Little Willie John [“Let’s Rock While the Rockin’s Good” – George Barnes also on guitar], Jimmy Scott [“Somehow”], HaroldShortyBaker [“’S Wonderful” – check out the intro], and James Brown and the Famous Flames [“Try Me”].

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #31

Drummer/singer/bandleader Roy Milton (and His Orchestra) recorded four tracks on October 17, 1956 at Cincinnati’s King Studios (one of them “Bam-a-Lam” unissued) = “You’re Gonna Suffer“; “Succotash“; and “One Zippy Zam.”  Milton’s next session for King would take place in Los Angeles February 27, 1957, with two songs recorded — “I’m Grateful” and “Skid Row” — while his final session would be captured at King Studios on July 2, 1957 = “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu“; “Brand New Thrill“; “R.M. Blues“; and “Jeep’s Blues.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #32

Jerome Richardson – who began his professional career in Lionel Hampton’s band at age 14 – played flute and tenor sax on a King recording session for vocalist Etta Jones on April 18, 1957 in New York City (with Bill Jennings on guitar) = four songs recorded: “When I Fall in Love“; “S’posin’”; “Mountain Greenery” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.”

Richardson’s flute work is featured on this track

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #33

Jazz/gospel singer Lorez Alexandria recorded an album-length tribute to Lester Young at an ‘intimate’ Chicago club on November 6 & 13, 1957 that was issued by both King and Federal in 1958 as Lorez Sings Pres = link to the opening song, “Fine and Dandy.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #34

The Johnny Pate Quintet (featuring Bennie Druss on flute) would infuse the blues with a jazz sound and sensibility on “Swinging Shepherd Blues” — recorded in Chicago on Nov. 29, 1957 for Federal — along with three other tracks [“The Elder“; “Easy Does It” & “Five O’Clock Whistle“] that enjoyed overseas distribution.

Released on Parlophone in Australia & New Zealand (plus UK)

Bill Doggett would also make great use of the flute in a jazz setting, with his arrangement of Tiny Bradshaw’s “Soft” (previously celebrated here).

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #35

Vocalist Jimmy Scott recorded four sessions for King, all in New York City = (a) two songs recorded on July 26, 1957 (Kenny Burrell, guitar) — “When Day Is Done” & “Home“; (b) two songs recorded on October 2, 1957 — “What Sin” & “Somewhere Down the Line“; (c) four songs recorded on April 3, 1958, including “Don’t Be Misled“; (d) four songs recorded on September 6, 1958 (Kenny Burrell, guitar), including “Somehow” and “Please.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #36

Jazz drummer and bandleader Cozy Cole [with his Septet – George Kelly (tenor sax), Gene Redd (vibes), John Thomas (piano), John Faire & Fred Jordan (guitar) and Edwyn Conley (bass)] would record for King thrice — (a) in Cincinnati on June 18 & 19, 1959 (12 songs, including “Cozy’s Mambo” and “Ha-Ha Cha Cha“); (b) in New York City on May 17, 1960 — “Red Ball” and “Cozy’s Corner” plus 2 unissued; (c) and a final Cincinnati session May 26, 1959 (7 songs, including “Blop Up”; “Blop Down”; “Pogo Hop” & “D’Mitri“).  In the wake of 1962’s Jazz Samba smash hit album, King would update “Cozy’s Mambo” by slapping on a new title – “Cozy and Bossa” – and issuing as a Bethlehem 45 in 1963.

French EP – 1959

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #37

Howard Roberts (guitar), Ernie Freeman (piano), and EdSharkeyHall (drums) played on a Los Angeles King recording session for JohnnyGuitarWatson on July 21, 1961, with four songs recorded = one original, “Cuttin’ In” + three standards (“Nearness of You“; “Posin’“; and George & Ira Gershwin’s “Embraceble You”).  Check out the modernist sleeve design below of the 1962 French EP that includes “Cuttin’ In.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #38

King session drummer emeritus Philip Paul threatens to steal the show in Milt Buckner’s blistering jazz organ instrumental version of “Fever” – recorded with Gene Redd on vibraphone and Bill Willis on bass at Cincinnati’s King Studios on March 5, 1963.  The New World of Milt Buckner (reissued in Japan in 2013) would also include five more tracks recorded at King Studios on November 26, 1962 [see related Zero to 180 piece]. Audio link to “Why Don’t You Do Right.”

Bethlehem LP – 1963

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #39

Hank Marr’s classic jazz organ instrumental “Greasy Spoon” – recorded at King’s Cincinnati studios on June 26, 1963 – was later used as the title track for a 1969 compilation LP issued on the King label with the groovy cover below.

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #40

Bill Doggett’s “mod jazz” take on “Twenty Five Miles” — Edwin Starr’s rewrite, essentially, of Wilson Pickett’s “Mojo Mamma” (penned by Bert Berns and Jerry Wexler) — was, according to Ruppli, recorded at a special 1969 session in Detroit (Motown, one can only presume) with the organist backed by a “studio band” and the producer role served by none other than Berry Gordy!

“25 Miles” = 2nd track on this 1969 King LP co-produced by James Brown

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #41

James Brown organized a special Los Angeles recording session on November 10, 1969 in which Oliver Nelson did the arrangements, while Brown enjoyed backing from the Louis Bellson Orchestra, featuring legendary bassist Ray Brown, as well as Ernie Watts, Buddy Collette, Chuck Finley, Jimmy Cleveland, Maceo Parker, and Cincinnati’s own, Frank Vincent, among others — 12 songs recorded, but only 11 included on 1970s Soul on Top LP (“There Was a Time” from this session unissued) — check out kick-off track “That’s My Desire.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #42:
Cincinnati Jazz

Cincinnati‘s own local jazz talent has appeared on King and its subsidiary labels:

  • Frank Vincent: played piano as part of The Dee Felice Trio on several sessions at Cincinnati’s King Studio in late 1968 and early 1969 for James Brown‘s Gettin’ Down To It album — audio links to “Willow Weep for Me“; “Time After Time“; “It Had to Be You” & “Cold Sweat.”  A few other tracks recorded for this album remain in the vaults:  “The Shadow of Your Smile”; “Unwind” & “The Weight” [!]

Vincent also played piano on “I’m Not Demanding (Pt. 1 & 2)” & “The Man in the Glass (Pt. 1)” for Brown’s 1970 LP It’s a New Day – Let a Man Come In, as well as the aforementioned Soul on Top sessions with the Louis Bellson Orchestra.

  • The Dee Felice Trio [Frank Vincent (piano), Lee Tucker (bass) & Dee Felice (drums)] were King recording artists whose work would be issued on Bethlehem — if you have never before seen the cover of their 1969 debut album, In Heat, prepare to be dazzled:

Audio links to “Uncle“; “There Was a Time“; & “Wichita Lineman.”  Worth noting the number of songs the trio has recorded in Cincinnati that remain unissued in the vaults: 10 songs recorded ca. September, 1968 (including “Light My Fire”; “Crickets Sing for Anna Maria” and “Summer in the City”), plus 5 songs recorded on December 21, 1968 (including “Day In, Day Out”; “Gone with the Wind” & “You Came a Long Way from St. Louis”).  Dee Felice, as a solo artist (with unknown musicians, though likely affiliated with James Brown) recorded a total of 9 songs on three successive days (December 10-12, 1969) that all remain unissued, including “Double Funky”; “Cold Sweat”; “Get Ready”; “Ode to Billie Joe” & “A Different Shade of Colors.”

“Oh Happy Day” on the flip side

  • James Brown arranged a recording session at King’s Cincinnati studios on February 17, 1969 that featured a number of notable Cincinnati musicians, including Kenny Poole (guitar), Jimmy McGary (tenor sax), Carmen DeLeone, Jr. (vibes), David Matthews (trombone), WilliamBeau DollarBowman (drums), Frank Vincent (piano), Lee Tucker (bass) & Dee Felice (percussion) – five songs recorded but only two released, including Brown’s arrangement of Burt Bacharach & Bob Hilliard’s“Any Day Now” (included on 1969’s It’s a Mother LP).

Belgium 45 – 1973

Jimmy McGary plays flute on 1971 German A-side arranged by David Matthews

Kenny Poole & Bootsy on a JB B-side written by David Matthews

Asch & Setser on a 1968 South African B-side

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #43:
Tribute to Bethlehem Records

In 1958, Syd Nathan became part owner of jazz label, Bethlehem Records, as has been noted.  When one examines Ruppli’s 2-volume recording sessionography, it becomes clear that by 1958, Bethlehem’s most vital days had already passed, as by the early 1960s, Nathan would significantly pull back on recording new jazz material in favor of issuing the label’s back catalog.  Nevertheless, this 1958-1961 period would see some notable recording sessions for Bethlehem take place primarily in New York City —

Bethlehem would also release On Campus — Ivy League Jazz Concert, recorded live at Yale University in 1960, with Zoot Sims (tenor sax), Sam Most (flute), Dave McKenna (piano), Jimmy Raney (guitar), Bill Crow (double bass) & Ed Shaughnessy (drums).  Audio links to “Whippenpoof Song“; “Yale Bird“; “Riffitude” & “Nigerian Walk.”

  • Tony Ortega‘s album (with the unforgettable cover), Jazz for Young Moderns, featuring Art Farmer (trumpet, 6-10); Ray Starling (trumpet & mellophone 1-5); Jimmy Cleveland (trombone); Jim Buffington (French horn); Ray Tricarico (bassoon); Ortega (alto & tenor sax, clarinet & flute); John Hafer (tenor sax & bass clarinet); Jay Cameron (baritone sax); Dick Wetmore (violin); Bobby Timmons (piano); Ahmed Abdul-Malik, bass) & Ed Thigpen (drums) — recorded in late 1958/early 1959.  Audio links to “Bat Man Blues“; “Cinderella’s Curfew“; “Four to Four” & “No Fi.”

  • Frank Minion‘s (Teddy Charles-produced) LP, The Soft Land of Make Believe, recorded in 1959, with backing from Bill EvansJimmy JonesTommy Flanagan (piano). Roland Alexander (tenor sax), Kenny Burrell (guitar), George TuckerJoe BenjaminPaul Chambers (bass) & Dannie RichmondEd ThigpenJimmy Cobb (drums).  Audio links to “Introduction to Black Opium Street” & (vocal version of) “So What.”

The year before, Bethlehem had released Minion’s debut album, futuristically titled The Forward Sound of Frank Minion – Sound Stylings of 1970 [!] — audio link to “Watermelon.”

  • Mal Waldron Trio‘s 1960 Left Alone album dedicated to Billie Holiday, with Julian Euell (bass), and Al Dreares (drums), features Jackie McLean (alto sax)  — produced by Teddy Charles.  Audio links to “Left Alone“; “Catwalk” & “Minor Pulsation.”

  • Vocalist Betty Blake recorded 1961’s Sings in a Tender Mood with instrumental backing from Mal Waldron (piano), Teddy Charles (vibraphone), Zoot SimsRoland Alexander (tenor sax), Marcus Belgrave (trumpet), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Addision FarmerEustis Guilemet (bass) & Ed ShaughnessyCharles Persip (drums).  Audio links to “Moon and Sand“; “Blue Fool“; “Trouble Is a Man” & “Let There Be Love.”

Ruppli also notes a September 20, 1961 recording session in Los Angeles for Brown, whose backing band included Johnny ‘GuitarWatson.

  • Charles Persip & the Jazz Statesmen‘s self-titled (Teddy Charles-produced) LP recorded on April 2, 1960, with Freddie HubbardMarcus Belgrave (trumpet), Roland Alexander (tenor sax), Ronald Matthews (piano), Ron Carter (bass) & Persip (drums).  Audio links to “Sevens“; “Soul March“; “The Song Is You” & “Right Down Front.”

  • Howard McGhee‘s LP, Dusty Blue (released 1960 in the UK, 1961 in the US), featuring Bennie Green (trombone), Roland Alexander (tenor sax & flute), Pepper Adams (baritone sax), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Ron Carter (bass) & Walter Bolden (drums).  Audio links to “Dusty Blue“; “Sleep Talk“; “Cottage for Sale” & “I Concentrate on You.”

  • Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams‘ 1961 LP, Motor City Scene, featuring Tommy Flanagan (piano), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Paul Chambers (bass), and “Hey” Lewis (drums).  Audio links to “Stardust“; “Philson” & “Trio.”

  • Bennie Green‘s 1961 LP, Hornful of Sound, with Jimmy Forrest (tenor sax), Lem Davis (alto sax), Mal Waldron (piano), Skip Hall (organ), Tommy Lopez (congas), Wyatt Ruther (bass), and Art Taylor (drums).  Audio links to “Summertime“; “Groove One” & “Dee Dee.”

  • Booker Ervin‘s (Teddy Charles-produced) The Book Cooks LP, featuring Ervin and Zoot Sims (tenor saxes), Tommy Turrentine (trumpet), Tommy Flanagan (piano), George Tucker (bass) & Dannie Richmond (drums).  Audio links to “The Book Cooks“; “The Blue Book“; “Git It” & “Largo” — released 1961.

  • Azie Mortimer would record a string of singles for various labels, including Epic and RCA, in the run up to her debut album, Feeling of Jazz, on Bethlehem – recorded in 1969 but not released until 1971 (though reissued in 2014 in Japan).  Mortimer would enjoy a backing band that included Jimmy Cleveland & Quentin Jackson (trombones), Jerome Richardson (tenor sax), Phil Woods (alto sax & clarinet), Les Spann (guitar), Milt Hinton (bass), Willie Rodriguez (percussion) & Charlie Persip (drums) among others, with Mercer Ellington as arranger and conductor.

  • … and the aforementioned Australian Jazz Quintet in a piece from last year’s King Records Month celebration, “Jazz Misrepresented As Surf?

Huge debt of gratitude to Jazz Discography Project for Bethlehem Records info!

King Records Jazz TriviaFor Your Eyes Only

Stan GetzZoot Sims, Al Cohn, and Gerry Mulligan were among the musicians in Gene Roland’s Boppers (accompanied by the Chubby Jackson rhythm section) who recorded a “rehearsal” in New York City on May 17, 1949 — “Sid’s Swing Symphony”; “Oh Them Saxophones”; “Blues” & “Sid’s Swing Symphony” — 67 minutes of music recorded for DeLuxe by the bandleader, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and long-time Stan Kenton collaborator that remain unissued in King’s vault.

King Records Jazz Legacy = Rare Vinyl Alert

One of the earliest recordings by trombonist Al Grey (previously celebrated in a musical tribute to grits) took place at the Cincinnati studios on October 1, 1954 — “Speak To Me (In My Dreams Tonight)” b/w “Goofa Nut” (B-side instrumental) — these two songs comprising a 78 that is VERY hard to find.  Writing credits reveal Henry Glover to have had a hand in both compositions.

King Records Jazz Legacy = Genius Sighting

THIS JUST IN!  Ray Charles, incredibly, has a bona fide King connection, thanks to a single 78 release at a very early point in his recording career on Rockin’, a King subsidiary — “Walkin’ and Talkin’ to Myself” b/w “I’m Wonderin’ and Wonderin’.”  Note that at least one of the sides was published by Lois, Syd Nathan’s publishing firm.  The fact that this 78 is not listed in either Discogs or 45Cat tells you how rare it is — and yet, someone acquired a copy in 2009 for just $31 (while someone else picked up an acetate 45 for, ironically, $78).  Both tracks were recorded in Miami in 1952, as well as two unissued tracks “Jumpin’ the Blues” and “Blue Rhumba.”  Ruppli adds that both 78 recordings were “also issued on Crown LP5303, Strand LP1086, Crown LP5418, Musicdisc CV964 [France], Visadisc VI245 [France & Israel] & Guest Star LP1901.”

King Records Jazz Legacy = King Kontroversy

Ruppli’s King recording notes says that the Paris backing band used by Babs Gonzales on 1953 King single “Still Wailin’” b/w “Shuckin’ and Jivin’” included Dizzy Gillespie  “possibly.”  Judge for yourself:  Is that Dizzy on trumpet?  Wynton Marsalis might settle this question.

*Tip of the hat to Brian Powers, who organized a jazz-related lecture at Cincinnati Public Library’s Main Branch on Sept. 24, 2016 in support of King Records Month:

Formula X-9:  King Records and Jazz

Although more known for R&B and Country music, King Records did make a mark in the field of Jazz. The label recorded many jazz artists, while King’s production staff preferred to use jazz musicians to play on King’s R&B releases. In the 1950s, Syd Nathan purchased Gus Wildi’s jazz label, Bethlehem. Jazz had a great influence on James Brown’s music recorded at King. Music historian Uncle Dave Lewis will give a talk that will cover the salient points of this melting pot of influences and how King managed to have an impact in the history of jazz without producing any top 100 jazz albums.

Jamil Nasser: Jazz in Russia

Penny Von Eschen’s Satchmo Blows Up the World — notes Muneer Nasser in 2017’s Upright Bass:  The Musical Life and Legacy of Jamil Nasser (in the chapter entitled ‘Getting the Soviets to Swing’) — “reinforces the myth that [Benny Goodman] introduced jazz to the Soviet Union”:

Benny Goodman became the first jazz musician to tour the Soviet Union for the State Department, making thirty appearances in six Soviet cities for May 28 through July 8, 1962.

Factually true but misleading, since The New York Jazz Quartet — pianist Oscar Dennard, trumpeter Idrees Sulieman, drummer EarlBusterSmith, and bassist Jamil Nasser (née George Joyner) — had performed in Moscow two years previously in July, 1960 “at clubs, private parties, and official functions.”  In fact, the year prior – in June, 1959 – The Mitchell-Ruff Duo, had “played and taught at conservatories in Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, Yalta, Sochi, and Riga,” notes Nasser.

However, would you be stunned to learn that the first African American jazz band, according to Nasser, was Benny Payton’s Jazz Kings featuring Sidney Bechet three decades prior in 1926?  Sam Wooding, adds Nasser, toured Russia that same year, “with a mixed band, which included African-American musicians” (i.e., a European musical revue known as The Chocolate Kiddies).

The Washington Post‘s Richard Harrington — in his June 14, 1987 piece, “Into the Swing of Soviet Jazz” — would likewise attempt to clarify the historical record with regard to the under-recognized role of American jazz musicians in Russia as cultural ambassadors outside the purview of the US government:

Lest it be thought that American jazz tours were a product of the cultural exchanges of the ’60s, [Steve] Boulay [label owner, East Wind Trade Associates] points out that clarinetist Sidney Bechet and singer Ma Rainey, among others, toured Russia back in the ’20s.  ‘A lot of American jazz bands went over there.  They weren’t getting recognition in the United States so they went to Paris, and it was a natural jumping off point to exploring the continent.’

Jamil Nasser recalls the intense media interest following the New York Jazz Quartet’s 1960 Russian visit:

Seymour Krawitz, a young press agent Bill Doll had trained, called Dave Garroway and got us on The Today Show, The Tonight Show, an appearance on What’s My Line.  We were Hot.

But that wasn’t why we had gone to the Soviet Union.  We had gone, I suppose, mostly because it was there.  We wanted the experience of visiting a foreign country that had been sealed tight to American modernism.  And it all worked out beyond our wildest dreams.  We had given some Russians an ‘Opening’ to a part of our culture they had known nothing about — to the music that had been invented in America and had evolved in amazing ways over the years.  That we were the first jazz ambassadors to the Soviet Union since the 1920’s — well, that was our gift to them.

Five years prior, the United States government had seen the wisdom of deploying some of its top jazz musicians (Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington) as cultural ambassadors worldwide — thanks to the lobbying efforts of Adam Clayton Powell, who had just returned from the world’s first Afro-Asian Conference and had come to view “black culture, in particular jazz, as the best way to intervene in the Cold War cultural conflict, to win over the kind of hearts and minds of the countries in Africa and Asia,” as noted in the 2018 PBS documentary film, The Jazz Ambassadors.

Time Magazine‘s Billy Perrigo, in his December 22, 2017 piece “How the U.S. Used Jazz as a Cold War Secret Weapon,” provides some historical context —

The State Department had first realized jazz’s potential as a cold war weapon just three years before the Brubeck family found themselves in Poland [in 1958].  ‘In that moment, the US and the USSR both saw themselves as models for developing nations,’ says Penny Von Eschen, a professor at Cornell and an expert on the jazz ambassador program.  ‘They were in fierce competition to win the hearts and minds of the world.’  Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a congressman with close ties to the jazz community, first suggested sending jazz musicians around the world on state-sponsored tours in 1955.  No time was wasted, and by 1956 the first jazz ambassador, Dizzy Gillespie, was blowing America’s horn in the Balkans and the Middle East.  ‘America’s secret weapon is a blue note in a minor key,’ proclaimed the New York Times.

Jamil Nasser:
A Chronological Discography
Based on Muneer Nasser’s research from Upright Bass

[Note:  streaming audio links indicated in bold blue ink]

  • Phineas Newborn Jr.Phineas’ Rainbow [RCA LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – “Philly” Joe Jones
Piano – Phineas Newborn Jr.
Guitar – Calvin Newborn

Note:  Recorded and released in 1956

Linkstreaming audio of entire album.

  • Phineas Newborn Jr.While My Lady Sleeps [RCA LP]

Note:  Recorded and released in 1957.

Linkstreaming audio of the title track.

  • Hank Mobley — Curtain Call [Blue Note LP]

https://www.zeroto180.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Hank-Mobley-LP-Japan-1984-aa.jpg

Note:  Album recorded on August 18, 1957 with Sonny Clark, Kenny Dorham, Jimmy Rowser, George Joyner & Art Taylor, though not released until 1984.

Linkstreaming audio of the title track

  • Red Garland — Soul Junction -and- All Mornin’ Long [LPs on Prestige]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Arthur Taylor
Piano – Red Garland
Tenor Saxophone – John Coltrane
Trumpet – Donald Byrd
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

NoteSoul Junction recorded the same day as All Mornin’ Long – Nov. 15, 1957 – yet the latter album released 1958, while the former album in 1960.

Link:  streaming audio of Soul Junction [entire LP].+ All Mornin’ Long [entire LP]

  • Red Garland — High Pressure [Prestige LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Arthur Taylor
Piano – Red Garland
Tenor Saxophone – John Coltrane
Trumpet – Donald Byrd
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

NoteHigh Pressure recorded Dec. 13, 1957 but not released until 1961.

Linkstreaming audio of entire album.

  • Red Garland — Dig It [Prestige LP]

Bass – George Joyner & Paul Chambers
Drums – Arthur Taylor
Piano – Red Garland
Tenor Saxophone – John Coltrane
Trumpet – Donald Byrd
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

NoteDig It recorded Mar. 22, 1957; Dec. 13, 1957 & Feb. 2, 1958 but not released until 1962.

Linkstreaming audio of “Billie’s Bounce

  • Lou DonaldsonLou Takes Off [Blue Note LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Art Taylor
Alto Saxophone – Lou Donaldson
Piano – Sonny Clark
Trombone – Curtis Fuller
Trumpet – Donald Byrd

Note:  Album recorded December 15, 1957 — released 1958.

Linkstreaming audio of “Sputnik

  • Gene Ammons All Stars — The Big SoundGroove Blues [LPs on Prestige]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Art Taylor
Alto Sax – John Coltrane
Baritone Sax – Pepper Adams
Flute – Jerome Richardson
Piano – Mal Waldron
Tenor Sax – Gene Ammons & Paul Quinichette

Note:  The Big Sound and Groove Blues were both recorded on Jan. 3, 1958; former album released 1958, while the latter not released until 1961.

Link:  streaming audio of The Big Sound [entire LP].+ Groove Blues [entire LP]

  • Herbie Mann — Just Wailin’ [Prestige LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Arthur Taylor
Flute – Herbie Mann
Tenor Saxophone – Charlie Rouse
Guitar – Kenny Burrell
Piano – Mal Waldron
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

Note:  Album recorded February 14, 1958 — released 1958.

Linkstreaming audio of entire album.

  • Phineas Newborn Jr.Fabulous Phineas [RCA LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Denzil Best
Piano – Phineas Newborn Jr.
Guitar – Calvin Newborn

Note:  Album recorded Mar. 28 & Apr. 3, 1958 — released 1958.

Linkstreaming audio of “No Moon at All

  • Evans Bradshaw — Look Out [Riverside LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – “Philly” Joe Jones
Piano – Evans Bradshaw

Note:  Album recorded June 9, 1958 — released 1958.

Linkstreaming audio of “The Prophet

  • Randy Weston — New Faces at Newport [Metrojazz/MGM LP]

Bass – George Joyner & John Neves
Drums – G.T.Hogan & Jimmy Zitano
Piano – Randy Weston & Ray Santisi
Vibraphone – Lem Winchester

Note:  Recorded live at Newport Jazz Festival July 5, 1958 — released 1958.

  • Red Garland Trio + Ray Barretto — Rojo [Prestige LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Congas – Ray Barretto
Drums – Charlie Persip
Piano – Red Garland
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

Note:  Recorded August 22, 1958 — released 1961.

Linkstreaming audio of “Ralph J Gleason Blues

  • Randy Weston — Little Niles [United Artists LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Charlie Persip
Piano, Written-By – Randy Weston
Trombone & Arranger – Melba Liston
Tenor Saxophone – Johnny Griffin
Trumpet – Idrees Sulieman & Ray Copeland
Liner Notes – Langston Hughes

Note:  Recorded October, 1958 — released 1959.

Linkstreaming audio of the title track

  • Melba ListonMelba and Her Bones [Metrojazz/MGM LP]

Bass – George Joyner & George Tucker
Drums – Charlie Persip & Frank Dunlop
Guitar – Kenny Burrell
Piano – Ray Bryant
Trombone – Al Grey, Bennie Green, Benny Powell, Frank Rehak, Jimmy Cleveland & Melba Liston
Trombone & Tuba – Slide Hampton

Note:  Recorded December, 1958 — released 1959.

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Lionel Hampton — Golden Vibes — [Columbia LP]

Bass – George Joyner & John Mixon
Drums – Bill Hogan
Guitar – Bill Mackel
Piano – Oscar Dennard
Reeds – Andrew McGhee, Robert Plater, Edward Pazant, Lonnie Shaw & Leon Zachery
Vibraphone – Lionel Hampton

Note:  Released 1959.

Linkstreaming audio of “Round Midnight

  • Lester Young — Lester Young in Paris [Verve LP]

Double Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Kenny Clarke
Guitar – Jimmy Gourley
Piano – René Urtreger
Tenor Saxophone – Lester Young

Note:  Recorded March 4, 1959 at the Hoche Studio, Paris — released 1960.

  • Oscar Dennard — Legendary Oscar Dennard [Somethin’ Else Classics CD]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Buster Smith
Piano – Oscar Dennard
Trumpet – Idrees Sulieman

Note:  All selections recorded July 1958 in Tangier — recorded at Radio Tangier International Studio with Ampex Tape Recorder, one Altec condenser microphone.  Eventually released 1989. on compact disc by Japanese label, Somethin’ Else.

  • Idrees Sulieman Quartet Featuring Oscar Dennard — The 4 American Jazz Men in Tangier [Sunnyside 2-CD set]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Buster Smith
Piano – Oscar Dennard
Trumpet – Idrees Sulieman

Note:  Tracks 1 to 7 recorded July 1958 in Tangier at Radio Tangier International Studio with Ampex Tape Recorder and 1 Altec condensor microphone.
Tracks 8 to 13 recorded in March or April, 1959 in New York (allegedly at Quincy Jones’s apartment).

Note:  Tracks 1 to 7 previously released as The Legendary Oscar Dennard — double disc set released 2017.

  • Flavio Ambrosetti — “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” [Enja CD]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Buster Smith
Alto Saxophone – Flavio Ambrosetti
Trumpet – Raymond Court
Piano – George Gruntz

Note:  Track recorded at Switzerland’s RSI Lugano, Studio 2, January 19, 1962 — released in 1996 on German 2-CD Flavio Amborsetti anthology, Anniversary.

Linkstreaming audio of “It Don’t Mean a Thing

  • Buddy Collette — The Polyhedric Buddy Collette [Music Records LP]

Note:  Tracks recorded March, 1961 — released in 1961 (only in Italy) and reissued several times since, most recently 2015.

Note:  “Published in 1961 by Music of Walter and Ernest Guertler, this LP is a
must-witness the meeting of one of the most prestigious soloists Americans
visiting Italy, with jazz musicians of our house, supported by a flawless
Dusko Gojkoviv, of Slavic origin” [musician credits, click here].

Linkstreaming audio of “Blues for Nicola

  • Eric DolphyThe Berlin Concerts [Inner City LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Buster Smith
Piano – Pepsi Auer
Trumpet – Benny Bailey
Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet & Flute – Eric Dolphy

Note:  Recorded August 30th 1961 at Funkturm Exhibition Hall, Berlin — all other titles recorded at Club ‘Jazz-Saloon’, Berlin; first released 1978, with numerous other releases worldwide.

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Franco Cerri — International Jazz Meeting [Columbia Italy LP]

Bass – George Joyner & K.T. Geier
Drums – Buster Smith & Eberard Stengel
Guitar & Bass – Franco Cerri
Piano – George Gruntz
Alto Saxophone – Flavio Ambrosetti
Tenor & Soprano Saxophone – Barney Wilen

Note:  Italian release only — first issued 1961, reissued 2009 [“A vinyl reissue of a VERY RARE European jazz album! Only 1,000 copies pressed!”].

  • George Joyner Quartet — George Joyner Quartet [Cetra EP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Mondini
Alto Sax & Flute – Pelzer
Piano – Lama

Note:  Italian EP release only — issued 1961.

  • Lilian TerryFour of Us 45 [Italian 45]

Note:  “Recorded in Milan, on December, 1961 together with the first volume.  The singer [Lilian Terry] on two exciting jazz tunes in English, still accompanied by the Swiss George Gruntz on piano and by the two Americans, George Joyner on double bass and Buster Smith on drums” — released 1962 in Italy on CGD.

  • Ahmad Jamal — Naked City Theme [Argo/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Chuck Lampkin
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded at San Francisco’s Jazz Workshop on June 26-28 1964 — released 1964,

Linkstreaming audio of “One for Miles

  • Ahmad JamalRoar of the Greasepaint Smell of the Crowd [Argo/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil S. Nasser
Drums – Chuck Lampkin
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Engineer – Tommy Nola

Note:  Recorded at Nola Penthouse Studio, New York City, on Feb. 24 & 25, 1965 -released 1965.

Link:  streaming audio of “It Isn’t Enough

  • Ahmad JamalExtensions [Argo/Chess]

Bass – Jamil S. Nasser
Drums – Vernel Fournier
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Engineer – Tommy Nola

Note:  Recorded at Nola Penthouse Studio, New York City, on May 18-20, 1965 -released 1965.

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Ahmad JamalRhapsody [Cadet/Chess]

Bass – Jamil S. Nasser
Drums – Vernel Fournier
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Engineer – Tommy Nola

Note:  On four tracks, the trio is accompanied by a fifteen-piece orchestra of violins, violas and cellos — title reads Ahmad Jamal With Strings – Rhapsody.

Note:  Recorded Dec. 15-17, 1965 at Nola Studios, NYC — released 1966.

Link:  streaming audio of “This Could Be the Start of Something

  • Ahmad JamalHeatwave [Cadet/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded August 1966 at Edgewood Recording Studio, Washington DC — released 1966.

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Ahmad Jamal — Cry Young [Cadet/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil S. Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano, Arranged By [Trio, Vocals] – Ahmad Jamal
Score [Vocal Scoring] – Hale Smith
Vocals [Ensemble] – The Howard Roberts Chorale

Note:  Recorded at Fine Recording Studios, New York City, June 12 & 13, 1967 — released 1967.

Note:  Album reached #19 on Billboard’s Best-Selling Jazz Albums chart in 1967 — includes Jamil Nasser composition, “Tropical Breeze.”

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Ahmad JamalThe Bright, The Blue, and the Beautiful [Cadet/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Grant
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Choir – The Howard A. Roberts Chorale*
Conductor – Hale Smith

Note:  Recorded February 12 & 13, 1968 at Fine Recording Studios, New York — Released 1968.

Link:  streaming audio of “By Myself

  • Ahmad Jamal — Tranquility [ABC Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Producer – Bob Thiele

Note:  Released in 1968 — remixed for quadrophonic sound in 1973.

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Ahmad JamalAt the Top:  Poinciana Revisited [Impulse!/ABC LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano & Producer – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Johnny Pate, associate producer — liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason; released 1968.

Link:  streaming audio of “Have You Met Miss Jones

  • The Ahmad Jamal Trio — The Awakening [Impulse!/ABC LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City on Feb. 2-3, 1970 — released 1970.

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Ahmad JamalFreeflight [Impulse!/ABC LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano & Fender Rhodes – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded in performance July 17, 1971 at the Montreux Jazz Festival – released 1971.

NoteBillboard review from Mar. 4, 1972 edition:  “‘Poinciana’ impresses you from the first with its dramatic, pop-appeal power, but Jamal scores on all cuts.  A very excellent album.”

Link:  streaming audio of “Manhattan Reflections

  • Ahmad JamalOutertimeinnerspace [Impulse!/ABC LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano & Fender Rhodes – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded in performance July 17, 1971 at the Montreux Jazz Festival – released 1972.

Link:  streaming audio of “Extensions

  • Ahmad JamalJamalca [20th Century Fox LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser & Richard Evans
Drums – Brian Grice & Frank Gant
Vocals – Charles Colbert, Jimmy Spink, Marilyn Haywood, Morra Stewart & Vivian Haywood (Harreel)
Piano & Fender Rhodes – Ahmad Jamal
Arranger & Conductor – Richard Evans

Note:  Recorded at Chicago’s P.S. Recording Studios — released in 1974  [Inaugural album for 20th Century Fox by Ahmad Jamal, the label’s only jazz artist].

Link:  streaming audio of “Theme from M*A*S*H

  • Ahmad Jamal — Jamal Plays Jamal [20th Century Fox LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Congas – Azzedin Weston
Piano & Fender Rhodes – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded at Generation Sound Studios, New York City — released 1974.

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Ahmad Jamal — Genetic Walk [20th Century Fox LP]

Note:  Jamil Nasser plays bass on “Chaser” — album released 1980.

Link:  streaming audio of “Chaser

  • Al Haig & Jimmy Raney — Strings Attached [Choice LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Guitar – Jimmy Raney
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded at Macdonald Studio in Sea Cliff, NY — released 1975.

Link:  streaming audio of “Enigma

  • Al Haig — Interplay [Seabreeze Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded on Nov. 16, 1976 at United/Western Studio in Hollywood, California — released 1976.

  • Al HaigSerendipity [Interplay Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Jimmy Wormworth
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded Feb. 18, 1977 at RCA Recording Studio in New York City — released 1977.

Link:  streaming audio of “All Blues

  • Al Haig — Portrait of Bud Powell [Interplay LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded July 11, 1977 at RCA Recording Studios, NYC — released 1978 in US and Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “Celia

  • Al Haig — Reminiscence [Progressive Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded July 22, 1977 at Downtown Sound Studio in New York City — released 1977 in Japan; 1990 in US and Canada as Ornithology, with a couple song substitutions.

Link:  streaming audio of “Bluebird

  • Al Haig Trio — Enigma [Jazz Ball Records LP]

Note:  Recorded November 2, 1977 — released 2009 in Europe.

Link:  streaming audio of “Woody ‘n You

  • Louis Smith Quintet — Just Friends [Steeple Chase LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Ray Mosca
Piano – Harold Mabern
Tenor Saxophone – George Coleman
Trumpet & Flugelhorn – Louis Smith

Note:  Recorded March 19, 1978 — released 1978 in Denmark and Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “I Remember Clifford

  • Cybill Shepherd — Vanilla [Peabody LP]

Note:  Recorded at Phillips Recording in Memphis, Tennessee — released 1979.

  • Al Haig — Expressly Ellington [Spotlite LP]\

Note:  Recorded Saturday, October 14th, 1978 — released 1979 in the UK.

Link:  streaming audio of “Just Squeeze Me

  • Al Haig Trio — Un Poco Loco [Spotlite LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Tony Mann
Piano – Al Haig
Liner Notes – Hiroki Sugita

Note:  “Unreleased recordings done in 1978 in London. This is the first release in the world” — released 1999 by Spotlite, Japanese label.

Link:  streaming audio of “Confirmation

  • Mari NakamotoSomething Blue [Zen Label LP]

Acoustic Bass – Jamil Nasser
Alto Saxophone – Frank Strozier
Drums – Louis Haynes
Electric Guitar – Joe Beck
Electric Piano – Barry Miles
Flute – Frank Strozier
Piano – Harold Mabern
Vocals – Mari Nakamoto

Note:  Recorded, editede & mixed at London’s Olympic Sound Studios on 14 May 1979 — released 1980 in Japan.

  • Harold MabernPisces Calling [Trident LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Walter Bolden
Piano – Harold Mabern

Note:  Released 1980.

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Al HaigPlays the Music of Jerome Kern [Inner City Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded at Downtown Sound, NYC — liner Notes by Leonard Feather; released 1980.

Link:  streaming audio of “The Way You Look Tonight

  • Red Garland — Wee Small Hours [FullHouse Records]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Jimmy Cobb
Piano – Red Garland
Alto Saxophone – Lou Donaldson

Note:  Recorded and/or released February 5, 1980 in Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “My Romance

  • Lou Donaldson w/ Red Garland Trio — Fine and Dandy [LDR Digital LP]

Acoustic Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Jimmy Cobb
Alto Saxophone – Lou Donaldson
Piano – Red Garland

Note:  “Recording at The Koseinenkin Hall on 6th Feb. 1980” — released 1980 in Japan.

  • Lee Willhite — First Venture [Tampa Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Harold Mabern
Alto Saxophone – George Coleman
Vocals – Lee Willhite

Note:  Recorded October 22, 1981 — released 1982.

Link:  streaming audio of “The World Is a Ghetto

  • The Red Garland Trio — Misty Red [Baystate LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Red Garland

Note:  Recorded April 12-13, 1982 — first released 1983 in Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “If I Were a Bell

  • Eddie HeywoodNow [Lyn LP]

NoteReleased [1982].

  • Kay Boyd — First Slice [Spotlight LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Harold Mabern
Alto Sax – George Coleman
Vocals – Kay Boyd

Note:   Recorded At Quadrasonic Sound Systems, New York City.

Note:  Album issued in the UK only — released 1983.

  • George Coleman — Manhattan Panorama [Theresa Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Piano – Harold Mabern
Alto & Tenor Saxophones – George Coleman

Note:  Released 1985 in the US and Germany.

Link:  streaming audio of “New York Suite

  • Randy Weston — Portraits of Thelonious Monk:  Well You Needn’t [Verve LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Eric Asante
Piano – Randy Weston

Note:  “Digitally recorded June 3 1989 at Studio Ferber, Paris France” — released 1989. (Netherlands) and 1990 (US and France).

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Randy Weston — Portraits of Duke Ellington:  Caravan [Verve LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Percussion – Eric Asante & Idris Muhammad
Piano – Randy Weston

Note:  “Digitally recorded on June 4, 1989 at Studios Ferber, Paris, France” — released 1990 in the US and Netherlands.

Link:  streaming audio of “Caravan

  • Randy Weston — Self Portraits:  The Last Day [Verve LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Eric Asante
Piano – Randy Weston

Note:  Recorded June 5, 1989 at Studios Ferber, Paris — released 1990 in France, US, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Link:  streaming audio of “The Last Day

  • Lewis Keel — Coming Out Swinging [Muse LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Leroy Williams
Guitar – Jimmy Ponder
Piano – Harold Mabern
Alto Saxophone – Lewis Keel

Note:  Recorded August 9, 1990 — released 1992.

  • Randy WestonThe Spirits of Our Ancestors [Verve 2-CD set]

Musicians on “African Sunrise”:

Bass – Jamil Nasser & Alex Blake
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Azzedin Weston & Big Black
Alto Saxophone – Talib Kibwe
Tenor Saxophone – Billy Harper & Dewey Redman
Trombone – Benny Powell
Trumpet – Dizzy Gillespie & Idrees Sulieman
Arranger – Melba Liston
Piano & Composer – Randy Weston

Note:  Jamil Nasser is on the left channel, Alex Blake is on the right channel.

Note:  Recorded on May 20, 21 & 22, 1991 at BMG Studios in New York City — released 1992 in the US and France.

Link:  streaming audio of “African Sunrise

  • James Williams (et al.) — Memphis Convention [DWI CD]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Tony Reedus
Guitar – Calvin Newborn
Piano – Charles Thomas, Donald Brown, Harold Mabern & Mulgrew Miller
Piano, Organ & Production – James Williams
Alto Saxophone – Lewis Keel
Alto and Tenor Saxophones, Clarinet & Flute – Bill Easley
Tenor Saxophone – George Coleman & Herman Green
Trumpet & Flugelhorn – Bill Mobley

Note:  “1992 session of five Memphis piano greats organized by James Williams” – released 1993 in Japan.

  • Randy Weston & Melba Liston — Volcano Blues [Antilles/Verve CD]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Charlie Persip
Percussion – Neil Clarke & Obo Addy
Guitar – Ted Dunbar
Guest Guitar – Johnny Copeland
Tenor Saxophone – Teddy Edwards
Trombone – Benny Powell
Trumpet – Wallace Roney
Alto Saxophone – Talib Kibwe
Baritone Saxophone – Hamiet Bluiett
Arranger & Director – Melba Liston
Piano – Randy Weston

Note:  Recorded at BMG Studios, NYC — released 1993.

Link:  streaming audio of the entire album

  • Ahmad Jamal — The Essence Part 1 [Verve CD]

Bass – James Cammack & Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Manolo Badrena
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  “Recorded on October 30-31, 1994 at Studio Marcadet, Paris, La Plaine St Denis, France and on February 6-7, 1995 at Clinton Studio, New-York City” — released 1995.

Link:  streaming audio of “The Essence

  • Ahmad JamalBig Byrd (The Essence Part 2) [Verve CD]

Bass – James Cammack & Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Manolo Badrena
Trumpet – Donald Byrd
Violin – Joe Kennedy, Jr.
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  “Recorded on October 30-31, 1994 at Studio Marcadet, Paris, La Plaine St Denis, France and on February 6-7, 1995 at Clinton Studio, New-York City” — released 1996 in the UK and Europe.

Link:  streaming audio of “Lament

  • George Coleman QuartetI Could Write a Book [Telarc CD]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Billy Higgins
Piano – Harold Mabern
Saxophone – George Coleman

Note:  Recorded in Clinton Recording Studio A, New York City, January 8-9, 1998 — released 1998.

  • Calvin NewbornUp City!  [Yellow Dog CD]

Contrabass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Tom Lonardo & Tony Reedus
Organ – Tony Thomas
Piano – Charles Thomas
Tenor Saxophone & Flute – Bill Easley
Trumpet, Flugelhorn & Arranging – Bill Mobley
Guitar & Production – Calvin Newborn

Note:  Recorded at Ardent and Avatar Studios — “originally issued as Omnivarious Music OMCD 001, 1998” [reissued in 2005].

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Hideaki Yoshioka — Moment to Moment [Venus Records CD]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Jimmy Cobb
Piano – Hideaki Yoshioka
Engineered, mixed & mastered by – Rudy Van Gelder

Note:  Issued 2001 in Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “Don’t Take Your Love From Me

  • Ahmad Jamal — Picture Perfect [Birdology/Warner Music CD]

Bass – James Cammack & Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Violin – Mark Cargill
Special Guest Vocals – Dr. O.C. Smith
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded at Millbrook Sound Sounds, Millbrook, NY — released 2000 in Europe.

  • Ned Otter — The Secrets Inside [Two and Four Recording Company CD]

Note:  Released 2002.

Milton Ostrow: Cincinnati Sax

I was delighted to learn that the father of a childhood friend from Cincinnati was once a professional musician, whose chosen instrument was the saxophone.  Milton Ostrow, in fact, was captured in a live performance with Tony Pastor and His Orchestra, accompanied by Dolores Martel, in a “Snader Telescription” short film from 1951 entitled, “Your Red Wagon” — Ostrow is standing behind Pastor (far right), the lone member of the horn section playing baritone sax:

“Your Red Wagon”   Tony Pastor & His Orchestra (feat. Milton Ostrow)   1951

WeirdWildRealm serves up a little history about Snader films, in general, and this one, in particular:

The Snader Telescriptions were filmed in black & white, but someone, Turner Broadcasting probably, colorized a [boat]load of them, including Your Red Wagon (1950) with Tony Pastore & His Orchestra.

Tony was a top sax man shown wearing black in the opening scene, sharing a sax duet with a bandmember.  It’s his sideman playing the lead though, so that Tony can sing to the jazzy beat:

“If you wanna go crazy & act the clown/ Be the laughingstock all over town/ That’s your red wagon / That’s your red wagon / That’s your red wagon so just keep draggin’ your red red wagon around…”

Lyrics are by Don Raye, music by Gene de Paul & Richard M. Jones.  Raye wrote lyrically hip tones like “Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat” & “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar.”

With Gene de Paul he also wrote hipster lyrics for “Cow Cow Boogie” & “Solid Potato Salad,” among much else that captures the era so perfectly; & de Paul worked also with Sammy Cahn & Johnny Mercer.

Your Red Wagon quite a delightful & amusing number, with some call & response from the band.  After Tony sings the second verse, Dolores Martel squeezes up close to the microphone & takes over the vocal for a few lines, then it’s back to Tony.  Very nice. 

Milton Ostrow with Tony Pastor (Behind, Right) & Dolores Martel (Ditto)

Several years earlier, Pastor had recorded this same song on top label, Columbia, in 1947 as the B-side of “Gonna Get a Girl” (a song that featured The Clooney Sisters – Rosemary & Betty – from the Greater Cincinnati area by way of Maysville, Kentucky). Zero to 180’s big question:  Did Milton Ostrow play on this recording (which has not yet been uploaded on YouTube) or any other?

In the days of 78s, pretty much every song was a “fox trot” – right?

The 1940 Census (thanks to Ancestory.com) notes the following facts about the Ostrow family, who lived on Prospect Place in Cincinnati:

                    Head   Isaac Ostrow    40

                    Wife   Sophie Ostrow   40

                    Son    Alfred          17

                    Son    Milton          12

Milton served a stint in the Army (and The U.S. Army Band, it is believed), prior to his work with the Tony Pastor Orchestra.

Milton & Sandra Ostrow

Music would eventually give way to more traditional methods of generating an income, when marriage and family entered the picture.  Covington, Kentucky served as the base of operations for A & M Furniture, a store jointly owned by brothers, Alfred and Milton, during the years 1961-1979, possibly 1980.

Milt B’s “Mod Popcorn R&B”

Philip Paul‘s stellar stick work really drives this “killer” instrumental version of “Fever” that features organ (Milt Buckner) and vibes (Gene Redd) — recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on March 5, 1963:

“Fever”     Milt Buckner     1963

Organ:  Milt Buckner
Drums:  Philip Paul
Bass:    Bill Willis
Vibes:   Gene Redd

“Fever” — rightly selected as the A-side of a 1963 single release on King subsidiary, Bethlehem (paired with “Why Don’t You Do Right“) — would be characterized 54 years later as “Mod Popcorn R&B” when sold at auction.

“Fever” would also be one of the highlights of 1963 long-playing release The New World of Milt Buckner, an album produced by Hal Neely, arranged by Gene Redd and Milt Buckner, and engineered by Chuck Seitz. (with cover design by Joseph F. Wood).  2013 would see the album reissued on compact disc in Japan.

Milt Buckner’s Organ:  Too Hot?

Milt Buckner’s “hot” organ – as CrownPropeller’s Blog humorously relates – would reach “fever pitch” at a Chicago night club, The Eden Roc, in 1962 the year prior.

Jet  – July 19, 1962 issue – courtesy of CrownPropeller Blog

Jazz Misrepresented As Surf?

The Australian All-Stars‘s 1959 album – Jazz for Beach-Niks – was originally released on Columbia Australia and picked up for US release four years later by King subsidiary label, Bethlehem (and reissued 2013 in Japan), subject of the previous history piece.  One can only presume Syd Nathan was trying to capitalize on the burgeoning surf sound via the misleading cover photo (strictly jazz – not a trace of surf).

Volume 1 = US release on Bethlehem in 1963

Billboard would deem Jazz for Beach-Niks “three stars” (indicating moderate sales potential) in the jazz section of the album reviews for its May 11, 1963 edition.

volume 2 = US release on Bethlehem in 1960

+Australian All-Stars = Beach-Nik Jazz LP

Vexingly, Bethlehem had already issued the Australian All-Stars sophomore album in 1960, three years prior to the US release of their first album.  Are you confused?

“Decidedly”     The Australian All-Stars     1960

Ruppli’s 2-volume King Labels recording sessions discography, sadly, is bereft of any information (“details not known”) about this release by The Australian All-Stars.  Fortunately, Discogs has the musician credits, with the following players listed on both albums:

Freddy Logan:   Bass
Ron Webber:      Drums
Terry Wilkinson: Piano
Don Burrows:     Saxes, Flutes & Clarinet
Dave Rutledge:   Tenor Sax & Flute

Duke Ellington Meets Apollo 11

Eternal debt of gratitude to Larry Appelbaum of WPFW’s Sounds of Surprise program for pointing listeners (including myself) to a fascinating moment in our nation’s history about which not enough seems to have been written.

“Moon Maiden”     Duke Ellington Quartet @ ABC in NYC     July 21, 1969

A rather surreal television moment, as the Apollo 11 rocket lifts off in a video montage behind Duke Ellington that then dissolves into a shot of the moon.  “Moon Maiden” would be the regal bandleader’s debut vocal performance, amazingly enough, thus exquisitely underscoring the theme of Appelbaum’s program:  vocal performances from otherwise staunch instrumentalists.

Jazz Lives reports (via his “expert friends“) that Duke Ellington’s televised performance – with Al Chernet on guitar, Paul Kondziela on bass, and Rufus Jones on drums – had been “pre-recorded for the telecast.”

“Moon Maiden” had also been recorded just days earlier, July 14th, specifically, at NYC’s National Studio with only Duke Ellington on vocals and celeste (and finger snaps) — the version you will find as the kick-off track on 1977’s The Intimate Ellington.

Duke Ellington LP - Italy

Jet would include this report (“Ellington Pens Tune For Man’s First Moon Steps“) in their July 31, 1969 edition:

Duke Ellington,  composer-bandleader-pianist par excellence who has taken The A Train through the Air Conditioned Jungle to his Satin Doll, climbed musically aboard Apollo 11 with his specially composed song, Moon Maiden, for the Moon-bound astronauts.  The veteran musician, 70, whose musical composition is an accompaniment to man’s first steps on the moon, permitted himself a public first:  he sang as well as played the Moon Maiden tune.  The 10-minute composition for piano, bass, and drums, commissioned by ABC-TV for the network’s day-long broadcast of man’s first walk on the moon, says:

Moon Maiden.  Way out there in the blue … /
Moon Maiden.  Got to be with you /
I made my approach and then revolved /
But my big problem is still not solved /
Coming in loud and clear /
I’m just a fly-by-night guy, but for you … /
I might be quite the right–so right guy /
Moon Maiden.  Moon Maiden.  Maiden, you’re for me.

Asked why he composed a song about a “maiden” when the astronauts going to the moon are men, the veteran jazzman, surrounded by a set the simulated the lunar landing site, replied:  “For those cats to want to be there, there must be a chick around someplace.”  Onlookers and studio buffs who witnessed the musical taping said Duke didn’t “sound bad” as a singer.  Duke said this first vocal effort is his last.  A studio spokesman declared:  “It seemed appropriate–as man first sets foot upon the moon–that we should celebrate with music.”

Ken Vail’s invaluable reference, Duke’s Diary, points to September 4, 1969 as the day that “Duke Ellington and his Orchestra again record for Reader’s Digest in New York City” with the following musical personnel to record “Moon Maiden” — twice, including a version that features vocals from Duke himself — along with four other songs:

  • Duke Ellington:  Piano
  • Cat Anderson, Cootie Williams, Willie Cook & Lloyd Michaels:  Trumpets
  • Lawrence Brown, Benny Green & Chuck Connors:  Trombones
  • Russell Procope:  Alto Sax & Clarinet
  • Johnny Hodges & Norris Turney:  Alto Sax
  • Harold Ashby & Paul Gonsalves:  Tenor Saxes
  • Harry Carney:  Baritone Sax
  • Luther Henderson:  Piano
  • Wild Bill Davis:  Organ
  • Paul Kondziela:  Bass
  • Victor Gaskin:  Electric Bass
  • Rufus Jones:  Drums
  • Robert Collier:  Conga

Nine years after the moon landing, Luv You Madly Orchestra (on NYC’s Salsoul label) would bring out the untapped disco potential of Ellington’s original piece.

“Moon Maiden” was a B-SIDE, you know

Moon Maiden - Salsoul

Richard Jurek, in the February 15, 2017 edition of Smithsonian’s Air & Space, writes about this fascinating musical footnote in American aeronautical history, when an emerging TV network – with a reputation for “counterprogramming” against its competitors – commissioned a 10-minute vocal paean to our planet’s lone satellite to be broadcast to the entire nation.  Jurek also notes with amusement that our good friends at Pickwick did their level best to capitalize on the national sentiment in 1969 by churning out a covers album of ten popular “moon” songs.

Billy Vaughn LP on Pickwick

Seasons in Your Mind would go one step further and compile an annotated listing of other “moon-sploitation” albums from the year 1969 (although shamefully neglect to include the Journey to the Moon album released that same year by Cincinnati’s King Records).

Journey to the Moon - King LP

NASA, not to be outdone, has organized its own Lunar List of moon songs alphabetically, with Jimi Hendrix’s “And the Moon Pulls the Tides Gently, Gently Away” positioned first!

Zero to 180 is reminded of a time when television news had a modicum of dignity — although hard to say with a straight face as one spies the prominent product placement for Tang on the newscasters’ rostrum.

Tang:  Proud NASA Sponsor

Tang - Proud NASA SponsorBig tip of the hat to Aeolus 13 Umbra, who posted the above television clip from his own video archives and noted the striking juxtaposition of Duke Ellington with full-sized replicas of the Apollo 11 Command Module and Eagle Lunar Lander in ABC’s television studios.  Thank you also to Brent Hayes Edwards, who gets very specific about Ellington’s “Moon Maiden” (as well as “Spaceman“) in Epistrophies:  Jazz and the Literary Imagination:

“Ellington’s manuscript for ‘Moon Maiden’ is located in the Duke Ellington Collection, Subseries 1A:  Manuscripts, Box 229, Folder 8, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Duke Ellington, ‘Spaceman,’ Duke Ellington Collection, Series 5:  Correspondence, Box 6, notes, undated, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.”

TV Guide invites you to review the programming plans for each of the three major television networks during the week of July 19-25, 1969.

TV Guide - July 19, 1969Did you know? “Moon Maiden” is not Duke Ellington’s first musical brush with space travel — 1957’s double-LP Columbia release, A Drum Is a Woman, would include “Ballet of the Flying Saucers.”

Duke Ellington - flying saucersLink to Zero to 180’s previous piece that features Duke Ellington

“Oooh-Diga-Gow”: King-a-binghi

One can be forgiven for mistaking the heartbeat bass line and the off-kilter, syncopated hand drumming in this 2-minute heavy chant as being part of the Jamaican Nyabinghi tradition.  Note the special effect at song’s end — somewhat “high tech” for King in 1954:

“Oooh-Diga-Gow”     Cecil Young Quartet     1954

And yet, this King track by the Cecil Young Quartet, according to Michel Ruppli King Labels discography, was recorded December 7, 1953 in Cincinnati.  But where – given the live audience sounds – exactly?  We the listeners can only presume that stage movements and vocal inflections, designed to accentuate the “meaning” of the lyrics, are what’s eliciting periodic bursts of laughter.  To make sense of the laughs, it is imperative, given the lack of accompanying video, that the listener consult his or her inner oracle.

“Oooh-Diga-Gow” was originally a B-side that enjoyed release on 78 as well as 45.  Five years later, King would reissue the song on Audio Lab LP, Jazz on the Rocks.  One Ebay ad for this song (with no reference to the A-side) describes the music as “rare jazz exotica Yma Sumac,” while another seller would go even further.

Cecil Young - Jazz on the Rocks LP

King’s art department would turn out some delightful ‘cool jazz’ covers for Cecil Young and his crew during their short run with the label 1953-54:

Cecil Young - Cool Jazz Concert ICecil Young - Cool Jazz Concert II-cCecil Young Progressive Quartet EPCecil Young Quartet EPThese back cover notes serve as band biography:

Cecil Young Quarter - back cover story

 Photo courtesy Univ of Wash Libraries – from a 1951 concert available online

Cecil Young Quarter photograph

Auction prices for the Cecil Young Quartet on vinyl are not too shabby.

King’s “Tequila” Knock-Off

King Records would try to cash-in on the success of “Tequila” by The Champs, as Johnnie Pate‘s 1958 Federal 45 “Muskeeta” would demonstrate:

Johnnie Pate’s     “Muskeeta”     1958

Johnnie Pate (b, ldr); Ronald Wilson (fl); Williams Wallace (p); Wilbur Wynne (g); Donald Clark (d).

Chicago, March 20, 1958

According to Armin Büttner‘s Johnnie Pate history website, the version of “Muskeeta” on the French EP (below) is exactly the same as the version on King LP 584, but for a tenor sax probably overdubbed by Ronald Wilson himself.  It is not yet known, which version of “Muskeeta” is on Federal 45-12325.

Johnnie Pate - Muskeeta - French EPThis would not be the first time King Records would attempt to mine this particular vein, as Zero to 180’s lengthy examination of “Rare & Unissued King Tracks” revealed another 45 released that same year, “Snake Charmer” by The Puddle Jumpers that attempted to ride the coattails of “Tequila” and its unexpected meteoric ride.

Billboard‘s April 21, 1958 edition would report that “Muskeeta” made the #5 spot of “R&B Best Sellers” that week in the Cincinnati area.  Song would be included on 1958 full-length release Swingin’ Flute Dance Beat for the Ivy League.

Johnnie Pate King LP

“Snowfall”: Soulful + Strings

The Soulful Strings evoke the magic of falling snow — thanks to Dorothy Ashby‘s harp — on their classic instrumental track, “Snowfall“:

“Snowfall”     Soulful Strings     1968

Discogs helps us appreciate how The Soulful Strings were able to create an identifiable sound despite only playing other people’s material:

“The Soulful Strings was a project of the Chicago soul arranger Richard Evans, working with several musicians from the Cadet Records house band between 1966 and 1971 including Charles Stepney, Bobby Christian, Billy Wooten, Phil Upchurch, Lennie Druss, and Cleveland Eaton.

Employing a repertoire composed almost entirely of covers, Evans and company created a unique sound, combining a sharp, soulful rhythm section with a lush string backing.  Evans pushed the strings to the front, assuming an attitude previously reserved only for the hulking funk of bass and rhythm guitar.  It was this crucial element that made The Soulful Strings sound, so successful.”

soulful-strings-magic-of-christmas-lp“Snowfall” can be found on The Magic of Christmas, released in 1968 on Chess jazz subsidiary label, Cadet.

soulful-strings-magic-of-christmas-xCadet would issue 7 albums by The Soulful Strings between the years 1966-1970.

Hank Garland: Lost Album of ’60

Fascinating that a musician of the caliber of Hank Garland (who was signed to Columbia, for cryin’ out loud) would release a companion album of sorts – Subtle Swing – to the groundbreaking (and previously discussed) Jazz Winds from a New Direction, and yet so little information to confirm its existence, aside from Sundazed’s 2004 vinyl reissue.

Poke around online and you will discover that Subtle Swing was tacked onto 2013’s CD reissue of Who Is Gary Burton? as an inducement for fans of the noted jazz vibraphonist — but at the expense of Hank Garland!

Gary Burton LPDig deeper still, and you will correctly deduce that Sony, in partnership with Sundazed, incorporated Hank’s entire Columbia output [1959’s Velvet Guitar + 1960’s Subtle Swing + 1961’s Jazz Winds + 1962’s Unforgettable Guitar] into a double compact disc, albeit in jumbled order, when issued in 2001.

Jazz Wax notes that the recording session for Subtle Swing took place six days after the Jazz Winds in a New Direction album had wrapped on August 24, 1960 (here we go again, an entire album recorded in a single day) although, it’s not quite true that the “same group” of musicians played on this follow-up album — only Garland and Burton remained from Jazz Winds.

Check out the stereo drums that kick off album closer, “Call D. Law” – a clever bit of wordplay that also pays tribute to Columbia boss and benefactor, Don Law :

“Call D. Law”     Hank Garland     1960

Hank Garland:  Guitar
Gary Burton:  Vibraphone
Bob Moore:  Bass
Doug Kirkham & MurreyBuddyHarman:  Drums
Bill Pursell:  Piano
Don Law:  Producer

The CD liner notes by the indispensible Rich Kienzle sheds light on the special reasons underlying Subtle Swing‘s obscurity.

“Six days later, Hank returned to the studio for two days to produce a jazzy album for the song licensing firm SESAC, who produced country and gospel recordings for the radio stations that took licenses with the company.  This session was geared as much to the radio market as it was to the jazz audience.  The band, however, was strictly Nashville, including Burton, Bob Moore, pianist Bill Pursell, and drummer Doug Kirkham, who’d worked with Hank in Billy Burke’s combo.

If Jazz Winds emphasized Hank in a [Tal] Farlowesque context, the ten-song SESAC effort, released to clients under the title Subtle Swing, reflected the influence of pianist George Shearing’s Quintet.  Programming requirements seemingly mandated no songs longer than four minutes.  It’s a Garland-Burton effort all the way.”

Rare original copy of 1960 SESAC album — sold for $47 in 2004

Hank Garland - original 1960 cover“Now that the Hank Garland Quintet is a ‘fait accompli’ on SESAC Recordings, the young guitarist stands in the unique position of moulding a new career on the firm foundation of his C&W successes.  With a patient hand and perceptive musicianship, he has unified the instrumental skills of five performers to produce these refreshing sounds.  The “subtle swing” which has always been a vital part of Garland’s playing transcends his newest contribution to musical entertainment.”  [liner notes from the back cover]

But tragedy would intervene in Garland’s life when a blown rear tire resulted in a serious accident that would leave him permanently impaired.  1962’s Unforgettable Guitar of Hank Garland would essentially be a repackaging of the SESAC recordings — his musical career forever halted.  In 1992, Bear Family would gather Garland’s 1940s & 50s Decca recordings, including a pair of excellent unissued tracks from 1957, “Baby Guitar” and “Hank’s Dream.”

2004 reissue — “designed for repeated listening” as the original LP promised

Hank Garland LP-a