Nancy Wilson — R.I.P

You Tube Thanks to Jurgen Wladi Grunewald

February 20th is Nancy Wilson’s birthday.  She passed away in December but asked that she be remembered on her birthday.  So here it is.  Here is the late Nancy Wilson singing the great old Ray Noble song, The Very Thought Of You.  This is a clip from an  ABC Television broadcast of the Hollywood Palace in 1964.  Nancy Wilson had a wonderfully powerful voice and her phrasing was superb.  This was broadcast on television about the time I was buying  her records.

I had lost touch with her career in later in years.   So, I was  saddened to hear of her passing this past December.  I was surprised to learn that she was living in the California high desert town of Pioneertown.  My family once  owned property about 10 miles from there from 1956-1994.  Her Wikipedia page listed lung problems a decade ago.  Pioneertown would be an excellent place to live with lung problems. The air in the California high desert is clean, clear and dry.

This old Ray Noble song sung by Nancy Wilson back in the 1960‘s is a treasured memory.  This was how she preferred to record her music…in live performances.  Today, February 20, she would have been 81 and I understand that today there is to be a Celebration of her Life.  R.I.P. Sweet Lady.


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Valentines Day — I’m in Love Again — Red Nichols

Thanks to Atticus Jazz for the You Tube

Well, it’s Valentines Day so why not play the song I’m in Love Again, an early one written by Cole Porter?  This was a Red Nichols band  called the Six Hottentots.  Red Nichols seemed to have a new name for his group on every record session, but he made a lot of great records in his era. The session was from 1927, and consisted of  Red Nichols, cornet;  Miff Mole trombone; Jimmy Dorsey clarinet and alto sax;  Arthur Schutt, piano; Joe Tarto on tuba; Vic Berton, drums; and Irving Kaufman sang the vocal.  Recording Date March 23, 1927.  Atticus Jazz has a tremendous photo collection from the era.  These photos are of Carole Lombard (1908-1942.)  She was primarily an actress in “screwball” comedies.  Tragically, she died in a plane crash while promoting World War II war bonds.  For more on Carole Lombard, see here.


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Relaunching The University of Calidus Aura

I have decided to relaunch the University of Calidus Aura website for the time being.  I will start posting sometime later in February.  I don’t see any evidence of vandalism and quite a few people have subscribed since I quit posting so I’ll take another shot at it.  I’m giving Fats and Art a rest; I’ve posted plenty of their records.  I will be posting once a week and see how it goes.  Most of the posts will be on a special theme which I will write about when I post about it.

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The End

With regret, especially for the recent subscribers, I am now announcing the closing of the University of Calidus Aura website.  Hackers have succeeded in disabling the security software I recently installed.  I wrote when I stopped posting that if the hacking didn’t stop, I would shut it down.  I didn’t start this website as an amusement park for thieves.   I meant what I wrote.

It was all right when all I had to do was think up music for three posts and write what I knew about it and why I was posting it.  This website was a hobby for me.  I didn’t expect to make any money off it.  I posted links to Amazon for my books, although that didn’t work very well.  But, I enjoyed posting the music so it didn’t matter so much.

There won’t be any more posts after this one.  I will take it down no later than the end of the month.  So don’t subscribe, it will soon be gone.

Thanks to all my subscribers.  With the deepest regret, goodbye and good luck.

Richard Rollo

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Another Hiatus

With regret, I am announcing another hiatus from posting on this blog.  Since I installed new security software, my email box has been overwhelmed with notices of failed hacking attempts.  I do have the IP address and in some cases the names of the persons involved.

This is very stupid.  There is nothing here of value to steal.  Any attempt to alter the contents  would be immediately reversed.  I suppose the challenge of trying  to break the code is just too attractive for some, but to me, it’s just a pain in the ass.  I feel it’s like people trying to steal my house keys.

I am not naive about human nature, having once been involved in politics and having studied Thomas Hobbes and Baltasar Gracian.  I was never one of those who believed that the internet would change human nature, as did some of my friends.  Along with the good it would do, I knew that it would multiply exponentially the opportunities for crime and evil.  And it has.

I love playing this old music but I don’t need to do this.   To  borrow a quote from B.B. King, “The Thrill Is Gone.”  In other ways, I have taken and  I am taking steps to reduce my presence online.

But, I want to thank all those who have subscribed to this site.  I am glad to have found a worldwide audience with almost 8,000 subscribers.  I hope I have shown that there is a musical gold mine hidden in dark closets, or out in the garage.  To my subscribers, good luck and probably Goodbye:

Thanks to Cenotosa

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Art Tatum — How High The Moon

Originally written: music, Morgan Lewis; lyrics, Nancy Hamilton; for the Broadway Show  Two For The Show.

This is from the 1949 Shrine Auditorium Concert re-engineered by Zenph Studios.    I think we hear some of Art Tatum’s sense of humor here.  Some people have objected to the re engineering of the original sound but it sounds good to me.  But, I’m not that fussy.

Thanks to Gullivior for the You Tube.

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Les Paul and Mary Ford How High The Moon

Thanks for the You Tube MusicProf78

This  45 RPM record holds a great memory for me, because I got a 45 RPM record player for my Third Birthday and this was among the first records I got.  I just loved this record,  and because it was Winter in Northern Minnesota with nights as cold as -20 degrees F, I would play this record over and over.  There wasn’t anything else to do, we lived in the Britt Depot on the Duluth, Winnipeg, and Pacific Railway way out in the woods.  The Depot was  across the tracks from  the  siding where they loaded pulpwood for shipment to the East Coast.   My father was the Depot Agent, my mother was a teacher at a rural school in Alango, Minnesota, and my Grandma had come to live with us and look after me.

Later, I learned that this record was historic.  Les Paul had designed his own electric guitar and was the early pioneer in sound-on-sound recording.  While the Germans had invented the magnetic tape recorder during World War II,  American soldiers had captured several machines and shipped them back to Los Angeles to a group of men (including as an investor Bing Crosby) who reverse engineered it and built copies of the tape recorders.  They formed a company named Ampex.

Les Paul, who had played backup guitar for Bing Crosby on his records, was able to get an early Ampex tape recorder and he began experimenting with Sound on Sound recording.  So, when you listen to this record, what sounds like a trio of women singing is just Mary Ford (Colleen Summers) singing each part separately in a different key and Les Paul recording each part on top of the previous parts.  Les Paul completely changed the way phonograph records were made.

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Fats on Friday — I’m Crazy ‘Bout My Baby

Thanks to mymusicdiscovery for the You Tube.

I’ve never heard of this version before, but it sounds like a transcription of a radio broadcast.   The poster didn’t name his source. Fats Waller was a master of the piano and a master of the ad lib of lyrics.

The Bluebird version I have in my collection was originally recorded August 1, 1936.

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Art Tatum – Stars Fell On Alabama

Thanks to OnlyJazzHQ for the You Tube

Stars Fell On Alabama is from the Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces recorded by Norman Granz in the early 1950’s rereleased on compact disc Vol. 5.  This was written music by Frank Perkins lyrics by Mitchell Parrish.  It was first recorded by Guy Lombardo with vocal by brother Carmen in 1934.  Afterwards it was recorded and performed by everyone from Jack Teagarden to John Coltrane.  What Tatum shows us in his version is that the stride bass piano can be  moving in a slow, soft  ballad style as well as dazzling in a speedy piece of music.

The title of the song comes from a book of the same name written by Carl Carmer.  Carmer wrote about life in Depression era Alabama through the eyes of a New Yorker using as a metaphor a meteor shower observed in Alabama in November, 1833.  For more, see this Wikipedia entry.

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Bix — Two musical sides

Thanks to Tim Gracyk

That was Bix’s version of Sorry, recorded in 1927.  The record features Bix on cornet, Bill Rank on trombone, Don Murray on clarinet, Adrian Rollini on bass sax, Frank Signorelli on piano, and Chauncey Morehouse on drums. This recording was a high point in his career.

Bix Beiderbecke (cornet) along with Louis Armstrong (trumpet) were the two major figures to come out of the brass section on the 1920‘s hot jazz bands.  Both made pioneering records for the Gennett Records Company.  Louis Armstrong had the happier of the two stories; he lived into the 1970‘s and had evolved into more of a popular music figure.  In later life, he even managed to knock the Beatles out of the number 1 spot on the record sales charts.

Bix had a much shorter and  sadder story.  He had become an alcoholic in the 1920‘s when alcohol was illegal and dangerous.  Bix died in 1931 at age 28 from the effects of prolonged alcoholism.  But, he developed a hard core of fans dedicated to preserving his memory, with annual revivals in his home town of Davenport, Iowa.    Bix also has a following in Europe thanks to the Italian director Pupi Avanti and his 1990 biopic, Bix.

Bix could not read music, but he learned to play the piano by ear and came up with several compositions, which his friend Bill Challis transcribed into sheet music.  Some of his compositions have been compared to Maurice Ravel.   The following Dick Hyman’s wonderful performance on his CD Thinking About Bix of  Bix’s In the Dark:

Thanks to MookRyan and Thinking About Bix


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