Sunday, December 23, 2012

Encore: BG and Sextette... unissued!

Auld, Goodman, Williams, Christian
(Photographer unknown)
Things that just happen: the previous blog was about Charlie Christian and his recordings with Benny Goodman, and this one too.

As everything else, social networking is as good as its end result. For me and whoever is reading this, it will allow us listening to 22 minutes from a radio programme recorded on February 19, 1941, at WNYC, where the announcer, Ralph Berton, requests tunes to Benny Goodman and his Sextet. Although there is a CD (Benny Goodman: A Tour de Force / The Small Groups, Live, Encore 7001) including two tracks from this broadcast ("Sheik of Araby", and "Gone with 'What' Wind"), the rest was unissued, so much so that some of it doesn't even appear on Leo Valdés's discography. The impromptu "Blues in Bb" may be the most interesting bit.

The programme can be listened to here, and the playlist is as follows:

     00:00  Rose Room (ending)
     00:52  Flying Home
     05:49  Blues in Bb
     10:42  The Sheik of Araby
     13:13  Body and Soul (George Auld + rhythm)
     17:38  Gone with "What" Wind
     20:40  Stompin' at the Savoy

Personnel is Goodman on clarinet, Christian on guitar, Cootie Williams on trumpet, George Auld on tenor sax, Johnny Guarnieri on piano, Artie Bernstein on bass, and Dave Tough on drums. Eternal thanks to Loren Schoenberg for the heads up.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Charlie Christian Genius boxed set

(This is a translation of my review for Cuadernos de Jazz)

Charlie Christian: The Genius of the Electric Guitar
(4-CD set, Sony/Legacy 88697930352; released in 2012)

Charlie Christian (el-g) with, among others, Benny Goodman (cl), Lionel Hampton (vib), Cootie Williams (tp), George Auld, Lester Young (ts); Johnny Guarnieri, Count Basie (p); Artie Bernstein (b), Nick Fatool, Dave Tough, Jo Jones (d).

Recorded in New York and Hollywood, between 1939 and 1941.

When it comes to jazz, the recording industry, whatever's left of it, lives on reissues. These are cheap to produce, whether for the legal owners of the masters, or whoever chooses to shield themselves behind EU law. Poor little us are left, in the meantime, with a mess of sets to be checked for price, sound quality and track titles to avoid duplication or just hoarding more stuff. A true nightmare.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

ND - Michel Legrand: Legrand in Rio

[UPDATES: Go to the bottom of the post to see an update on the subject]

Every once in a while I'll publish small pieces of discographical research, or notes on discography (hence, ND). This one is about an old LP by Michel Legrand, who came to prominence in jazz with his Legrand Jazz, recorded in the summer of '58. That was a true all-star affaire (Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Ben Webster...) commanded by a 26-year Frenchman just arrived in New York... Have times changed!

Legrand in Rio itself was recorded and published months before than Legrand Jazz, and musically it's closer to previous efforts such as I Love Paris than to the celebrated jazz album. In Rio is a well-crafted, well-executed collection of instrumentals, not bland and with a few competent jazz solos, but very much an easy-listening pop record. As in I Love Paris, there's some heavy tape-editing, with string sections fading in from (and fading out to) nowhere, as well as plenty of "Latin" percussion. The tunes are Brazilian, Spanish, Cuban, Mexican, and Argentinian classics, but even so the album came out as Legrand in Rio in the US and the UK.

Although by listening to the record it's clear that Legrand in Rio and Legrand Jazz are worlds apart, for some reason In Rio has been lumped together with Legrand Jazz (of which all dates and personnel are known) in discographies, probably as a wild guess. This is what both Lord and Bruyninckx gave the last time I looked:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sinatra's world tour, 1962

Today Frank Sinatra would have been 97. I've been checking out videos here and there, and have found the one below from his 1962 tour, which he did accompanied by a sextet, based on Red Norvo's, with whom he had toured previously (Norvo was unavailable for this one), which gives a lighter, jazzier feel to the music.

But first, a couple of excerpts from Will Friedwald's indispensable tome The Song is You (Da Capo, New York, 1997).