By the way, in case you didn’t know, you don’t need an actual Kindle device to read my books. Amazon offers free reading apps for other platforms and devices. And, I want to thank all of those who have bought my books. For more information, please check it out here.
7-11-16: Most of The Big Shut Up came to me in various dreams. Dreams come from that part of the symphony of the mind that lies beyond our conscious control. As such, I claim no special powers, but the theme of the breakdown of law and values that came from the depths of my consciousness is now coming to a head almost one year later.
Update 8-23-17 I’m still experiencing some technical problems. The WordPress update will not install for some reason. Whether it’s at my end, You Tube, or WordPress, I don’t know yet. Thank you for your patience.
Update 10-2-17: I installed new equipment and changed my network. I installed the latest version of Ubuntu, but as usual in this business, they changed what was working fine and didn’t change what wasn’t working. The older version was better. I also got a nasty surprise in that Ad-Blocker was hacked. It doesn’t work anymore, but it shows its status as still fully installed. The only “ads” I have on this site were for my books, since those ads didn’t dance around or pop up, Ad Blocker wasn’t an issue. Where you might encounter ad blocker is at the beginning of the You Tube. I get no money from that and I have no control over it. You should be able to press a skip the ad button in the right lower corner. That’s the best I can do for now.
Update 11-12-17: As of today, we now have over 6500 subscribers. Thank you all very much! In case you missed the announcement I moved the Art Tatum posts to Sunday, Fats remains on Friday, and I’ll mix it up on Saturdays. Thank you.
Can’t We Be Friendswas written by Kay Swift and Paul James in 1929. It was introduced on Broadway in The Little Show by Libby Holman. The first record was made that same year by Red Nichols and his Five Pennies. It was later recorded by Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Linda Ronstadt among others.
This version was recorded by Art Tatum December 28, 1953, in Hollywood. California. My copy is from Art Tatum The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces Compact Disc Edition. Disc One Cut 1.
Tatum’s mastery of the piano fools the listener into thinking this is all easy peasy. Art Tatum never ceases to amaze me.
That was the California Ramblers with Crazy Words Crazy Tune recorded March 10, 1927. Adrian Rollini played a bass saxophone with the California Ramblers and other groups during the 1920’s. Much of jazz music in that period was what the musicians called “two beat” or written in 2/4 th’s time. That was because New Orleans based Jazz had its origins in marching band music. Tubas or Sousaphones which were brass bass instruments were commonly used for rhythm and bass tones. The bass saxophone was of course a woodwind instrument. It was not used in marching bands —well—because it was a huge monstrosity as you can see in the pictures. As Jazz moved toward 4/4 time, the string bass replaced both horn bass instruments in the 1930’s.
Adrian Rollini was one of only two musicians who can still be heard prominently playing the bass sax on 1920’s era records such as the above. Rollini was a child prodigy on piano and master of numerous other instruments. Partially because the bass sax was losing favor, also because it was a monster to handle, and because Rollini developed asthma which limited his wind, Rollini abandoned the Bass Sax in the mid 1930’s. He tried playing a Goofus, more properly known as a Cousenophone. While the instrument had novelty, it sounded as the Wikipedia page says, like a cross between an accordion and a harmonica. In other words, the Goofus was aptly nicknamed and really did not fit in well with the sounds of Jazz as it was evolving. Rollini switched to vibraphone and had more success with that instrument after the mid 1930’s Below is a film short from the 1940’s playing with his trio. Adrian Rollini had a long career in music but at 52 a comparitively short life and tragic end. Here he is with his trio on Girl with the Light Blue Hair, written by Raymond Scott. The Trio consisted of Adrian Rollini, vibes and bells; Allen Hanlon Guitar, George Hnida, string bass. This was a film short from Tom Faber’s collection. The film was made in 1948.
California Here I Come was written by Al Jolson, Buddy DeSylva,, and Joseph Meyer in 1921 and recorded by Jolson in 1924. This performance by Fats Waller is presumably from a radio broadcast, I can’t find a listing for it as a 78 RPM record. No sourcing from the poster, so let me guess: Either a Yacht Club radio broadcast or a V-Disc for Armed Forces Radio. I’ll update this post if I find further details.
Fats at the piano as usual makes it sound so easy. Another tiny 2 and a half minute gem from the portly one.
This is Deep Night from Art Tatum Group Masterpieces on CD vol 5 cut 8 in my collection. Personnel for the date included Buddy DeFranco, clarinet; Red Callender, bass; Bill Douglass, drums; and Art Tatum, piano. Deep Night was composed by Charles Henderson first recorded by Rudy Vallee. Rudy Vallee’s version rose to #2 in record sales in 1929. This version by Tatum was recorded in 1956 at the end of Tatum’s life. It reflected a 1950’s post Swing Era direction in Jazz.
Thanks to Anthony Merrick for the excellent You Tube
I played the Art Tatum version of Happy Feet earlier. This version is the original 78 RPM release by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra with the Rhythm Boys including Bing Crosby. Happy Feet helped launch Bing Crosby’s career. The song was written by Jack Yellen and Milton Ager. It was also one of the main production numbers in the 1930 movie musical The King Of Jazz. The King of Jazz was not only an early sound movie but it was an early Technicolor movie using an early primitive process. I understand that Universal Studios has been working on a restoration project on this famous and historic motion picture. That version is available on You Tube, but it’s the whole 90 minute movie…too long for my purposes here. Here is the best sequence from the movie:
Thanks to lehjani for the You Tube of this historic movie.
A famously dour Jazz critic who is now long since deceased, and therefore will not be named, took umbrage in his newspaper column at the idea that Paul Whiteman was the “King of Jazz” and listed his reasons for it. It was a silly article because Whiteman was then long since dead and mostly forgotten at the time of the article. Whiteman in the 1920’s had a highly successful orchestra. He had incredibly talented jazz musicians in his orchestra: Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Bix Beiderbecke, and Frank “Tram” Trumbauer , among others. He launched the career of Bing Crosby. His African American rival orchestra leaders such as Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson had nothing but good things to say about him. Whiteman began to falter in late 1930’s as the Swing Era brought forth a new generation of musicians and audiences. Until then, the “King of Jazz” had successful record sales, a pioneering movie, and sell out concert tours.
As for the “King of Jazz,” I think that was a bit of humor from Whiteman. How can anybody take Paul Whiteman too seriously after seeing the above clip of him or his double dancing? The King of Jazz was itself a meaningless slogan— like claiming to be the Prince of Pluto. But, Whiteman might also have been laying a humorous trap for his detractors. The psychology of audiences is an art and not a science:
There was a professional wrestler named Gorgeous George who was active in the 1940’s and 50’s. His act changed professional wrestling. In a less tolerant age, Gorgeous George wore his hair long and curly and done up by a woman’s hairdresser. He wore women’s robes in women’s colors (pink, fushia, lavender) as he entered the ring. His trainers sprayed bottles of Chanel No.5 perfume on George, the referees, and his opponents as they entered the ring. He drew packed houses of fans to the wrestling match venues. These were paying customers who came and paid for tickets to boo Gorgeous George. That’s right…paying to boo him! And those boos were music to the ears of Gorgeous George. Ha. Ha.
The boxer Cassius Clay, before he changed his name to Muhammad Ali, when asked who his inspiration was, said it was Gorgeous George. He said that he looked around at a wrestling match one night and saw a full house of people who paid money to boo Gorgeous George. Afterwards Ali said he learned an important lesson from Gorgeous George’s act: “Look at me, I’m so beautiful. I’m the Greatest.” People hate egotism. So, people paid to go and boo Ali too, which is exactly what he wanted. Others who learned from Gorgeous George were the R & B singer James Brown and Bob Dylan.
While the movie The King of Jazzis of great historical interest, it was a box office flop partially because it was too long and there had been too many musicals produced in 1929-1930. When sound came to the movies, all the studios produced musicals because they could. The King of Jazz was a great, innovative, and historic movie nonetheless.
The Whiteman Stomp was recorded November 3, 1926, by Fletcher Henderson And His Orchestra. consisting of Joe & Russell Smith, Tommy Ladnier (tp) Benny Morton, Jimmy Harrison (tb) Don Redman, Buster Bailey (cl & as), Coleman Hawkins (cl & ts), Fats Waller (p), Charlie Dixon (bj), June Cole (tu), and Kaiser Marshall (dm).
Fats Waller wrote the The Whiteman Stomp composition in honor of Paul Whiteman, and Fletcher Henderson made the arrangement. According to Maurice Waller, Paul Whiteman had attended many after hours parties with and was a big fan of Waller and Waller returned the compliment with this composition. Knowing their sense of humor, it can be said that they had a lot in common.
Whiteman also had great respect for Fletcher Henderson. He bought arrangements from Henderson and at one point sponsored one of his bands.
Here is what I wrote when I originally posted this on April 23, 2017:
My favorite vocal version of Come Rain or Come Shine was by Sarah Vaughan. It was recorded with the George Treadwell Orchestra (then her husband) in 1950. It was first released on Columbia Records in an album titled Sarah Vaughan in Hi Fi. I first heard this recording sometime in the 1980’s while driving in my car north on Fairfax Avenue in West Los Angeles. It was played on the radio by Helen Borgers on her afternoon show on what was then KLON-FM radio. It so happened to be raining that day. Her voice went right up my spine.
I just discovered this past Friday that Helen Borgers is seriously ill in Long Beach Memorial Hospital and has had other misfortunes. I donated to her medical expenses fund and wish her a speedy recovery.
My original plan before I discovered the news on Helen Borgers was to play Sarah Vaughan’s version of Just Friends next weekend. So here is that post as originally written now:
Thanks to RoundMidnightTV for the You Tube
I recently played Barney Kessel’s live performance of Just Friends in Sweden back in the 1970’s. Here is the version Sarah Vaughan recorded on Columbia Records in 1949. Sarah Vaughan is one of the all time greatest singers.
Musicians on the date included: Sarah accompanied by Joe Lippman (conductor/arranger), Jimmy Jones (piano), Jack Lesberg (bass), Bunny Shawker (drums), and Al Caiola (guitar). Recorded July 7, 1949, New York.
Here’s hoping you get well soon, Helen! Thanks for all those afternoons when KLON was still KLON. All the best.
Thanks to gullivior for the Youtube and the painting
Art Tatum plays the old 1920’s tune, Happy Feet. I first heard Happy Feet in a short Paul Whiteman clip sung by Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys. I really liked it. The song was written by Jack Yellen and Milton Auger.
Then, I heard this version by Art Tatum and it knocked me out. I’ve posted it before but I can’t get enough of it. Tatum is magnificient. I previously played the Frank Trumbauer version featuring Smith Ballew on the vocal. Happy Feet is a comic song and Tatum plays it that way. The performance comes from Volume 6 Cut 13 of the Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces on Norman Granz’s Pablo Label.
Thanks to gullermoongay for the You Tube. Great sound and pictures.
That was Barney Kessel playing guitar in a live performance of the standard Just Friends in Stockholm, Sweden in 1973 along with Swedish musicians Pelle Huilten, drums; and Sture Nordin, bass. The style of jazz played here would be descirbed as “post Bop” or “straight ahead jazz.”
I previously played Django Reinhardt’s Minor Swing back in September because I was aware that he was “the greatest guitarist” according to Glen Campbell. I later read in interview with the Campbell family said that another of his guitar heroes was Barney Kessel. I guess it’s more likely Glen Campbell studied Barney Kessel’s guitar playing after he arrived in Los Angeles. I first heard Barney Kessel from long ago when I was listening to Charlie Parker records.
By the time Glen Campbell arrived in Los Angeles in the late 1950’s, Barney Kessel was an established jazz sideman and studio musician. My guess is that Barney Kessel saw Glen Campbell’s natural talents and being another Southern boy, became his mentor when they were both members of The Wrecking Crew.
Just Friends was written in 1931 by John Klenner with lyrics by Sam Lewis. It first became a hit record by Russ Columbo. I’ll play Sarah Vaughan’s vocal version at a later date.
Update: Opps, missed copying the credit from the editor to the post on the first go round. Apologies to gullermoongay.