Sunday, January 27, 2013


On January 23 I marked Django's birthday with an impromptu, off-the-cuff selection of his recordings, and I posted it on Twitter. His guitar was one my early hooks in jazz, and his recordings remain special.

So, without further ado, I give you my Django!. Recordings date from the mid-30s to 1953; if you hear a violin, it's Stéphane Grappelli. If there's a clarinet that'll probably be Hubert Rostaing, same goes for Alix Combelle and his tenor sax (on "Finesse" Rex Stewart is on cornet and Barney Bigard on clarinet). Depending on the date, Django's instrument maybe an acoustic guitar, an electrified acoustic, or a electric guitar proper.

Enjoy the music on YouTube or Qobuz!


Friday, January 11, 2013

BG at CH: 75 years and a complete recording still to come... soon

(L to R: Gene Krupa, Babe Russin, Allan Reuss, George Koenig, 
Red Ballard, BG, Vernon Bown, and Art Rollini
Carnegie Hall, January 16, 1938)

Next Wednesday, January 16th, will mark the 75th anniversary of Benny Goodman's famous concert at Carnegie Hall. It was a very cold Sunday evening in New York, Carnegie Hall sold out (they even had part of the audience on stage), the Hall's surroundings were crowded, supporters of Franco (this was during the Spanish Civil War) were protesting against Goodman, who had played a benefit for Spanish loyalists in December... It was a momentous occasion for many reasons and the actual music lived up to it.

CBS 450983
I've been a fan of this concert for over twenty years, since I bought the first CD reissue done by Columbia in my first visit to London. In those days I didn't own so many records, so this is one of those I spinned endless times. I didn't mind the not-so-good sound quality: this was history in the making (a "swing" band at Carnegie Hall!), and some of the music is excellent, like the surprisingly reflective piano solo by Jess Stacy on "Sing, Sing, Sing", Krupa's galvanizing break on "Don't Be That Way", Lester Young's tenor on "Honeysuckle Rose", Lionel Hampton's wild arpeggios at the end of "I Got Rhythm", or Ziggy Elman blasting trumpet at the end of "Swingtime in the Rockies".

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Best wishes for 2013

Not very good video, not very good audio, and the same old jokes. Still, it's Dean, Sammy, Frank, at the Copa Room of the Sands Hotel, 50 years ago. Over an hour of it.

May you, MAY you!, have a good year.