After Midnight New Years Day Once Again

This is an outtake from the movie Annie Hall, with Diane Keaton singing the Carmen Lombardo song which we heard before  with the Lombardo band.  Taking a page from Louis Armstrong’s book, I played this for several of my friends and asked  them to guess who originally wrote and recorded that song.  I got the same reaction as Louis Armstrong did.  Guy Lombardo! You’ve got to be kidding!  Keaton was accompanied by the great Dick Hyman on piano. Thanks to wingnanarainy.

Dancing in the Dark…The way a night out on New Years Eve used to be.  We’ve played this Art Tatum solo one before. Thanks again to bluesinorbit.

Here’s another  Art Tatum Solo we’ve played before:  I Didn’t Know What Time It Was. This and Dancing In The Dark are  my all time Tatum favorites.  Thanks again to bluesinorbit.

I’m ending with Bria Skonberg and Jeff Barnhart Je suis seul ce soir at the Jeff and Joel Jazz House Party in 2012.  This is a reprise of last New Year’s Eve Music.  I feel great thinking about all the wonderful old music sometimes made new and available out there.  I wish you a Happy New Year.  Thanks again to CineDevine.

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Early New Years Eve — Once Again

New Year’s Eve wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without Guy Lombardo, but we’ll skip Auld Lang Syne kick it off with  one of his lesser known songs.  Seems Like Old Times was written by Carmen Lombardo and John Jacob Loeb. Lombardo’s band had a reputation for playing “corny” music for the “blue haired ladies.”  So, when Louis Armstrong was asked by jazz critics which was his favorite band, he said Guy Lombardo was his favorite.  They all laughed and thought: was he “putting us on?”  Only partly.  Louis enjoyed the idea of making them crazy, but he also said that he wished he knew how to make his woodwinds sound like Lombardo.  It was Lombardo’s secret.  One thing I noticed from pictures of his reed men on the stand is that they all could play all the woodwinds.  Hat tip: Chuck Cecil.   Thanks to MusicProf78.

This is Minnie the Mermaid by Bernie Cummins & his Hotel New Yorker Orchestra.  It’s not strictly a New Years Eve record, but It’s a society band with the type of song you would hear at fancy hotels in New York . I really like it.  Thanks again to Atticus Jazz for the You Tube, with the often astonishing period pictures from his collection

I’ve played this video of Maceo Pinkard’s song I’ll be a Friend With Pleasure from Jeff and Joel’s October 2013 party  before this past year.  It’s claim to fame is it was the last song recorded by Bix Beiderbecke.  Unfortunately, there was no room to dance at Joel’s farmhouse but a nice setting to hear this great song.  Thanks again to CineDevine.

I don’t know if Jelly Roll Morton had a  gig on New Years Eve, but he was in Harlem in the late 1920’s. He was under contract to Victor Records at the time. Little Lawrence was one of the earliest  “old Jazz” records I heard and, man, I was all over this music.  You hear on Little Lawrence another brilliant but tragic figure of this era, Bubber Miley, and his growling trumpet solo.  Thanks to sergiofu42.

And here at the turning point, is Fats Waller to take us out with The Joint is Jumpin’

My, My, My as Fats would say, this is Fats Waller’s tribute to the Harlem rent party scene, titled The Joint is Jumpin,  where he learned his trade.  And usually, when the neighbors call the police, the party is over.  It is a  Soundie from 1941.  Thanks to Ezequiel Giunta.

Since this is New Years Eve and Day, I thought I move both Fats Waller and Art Tatum back a day this weekend only. Tatum is coming up.

Update:  a few typos and omissions corrected.

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Fats Waller and Art Tatum again — Honeysuckle Rose

Thanks again to gullivior for the You Tube

Since New Years Eve falls on Sunday evening, I’ll have  Fats Waller and Art Tatum playing the same song, this time Fats’ own composition Honeysuckle Rose.  Fats plays his version in 1941 and Art’s version was recorded in 1951 after Fats died. Once again it’s Fats from the top and Art starting at 3:24. Fats’s recording is from a Victor record, Art’s was live probably in a cocktail lounge with a tinny piano. Honeysuckle Rose was composed by Fats in 1929, with a lyric by Andy Razaf. Art’s performance  is marred by the  tinny piano. But, bad pianos were a way of life on the cocktail circuit in those days.

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Happy Birthday Chuck Cecil

Today, December 26th, is Chuck Cecil’s birthday. He will be 95 years old. His Swingin’  Years program was on the air from 1956 until July of last year, a phenomenal 60 years. He was on commercial radio, Armed Forces Radio, and finally public radio. His personal collection of records, his collection of radio broadcasts, his interviews of all the important figures of music 1936-1956 and before and after, are staggering. He kept my parents alive many years after they had gone. I miss him very much. I hope all is well and all the best Birthday wishes, Chuck. Let’s give the old Chuck Cecil Theme Music, The Mole, by Harry James, another spin.

Thanks to Overjazz Records for the You Tube

With Fond Memories


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Mid Twentieth Century Romantic Christmas Songs

For the Swing Era Generation, the main theme of the adult Christmas songs of that era was wistful nostalgia.

Thanks to Walter Tan for the You Tube

The story goes that The Christmas Song was written on a hot July day in Beverly Hills, California, by Bob Wells and Mel Torme. Mel Torme was a popular vocalist himself—he was known as the “velvet fog.” But, Nat King Cole “owned” this song in the sense that his version was perfect. This version was my mother’s favorite song for Christmas, Nat King Cole’s version of The Christmas Song.

Thanks to coffied26 for the You Tube

This is White Christmas by Bing Crosby as an outtake of from the 1940’s Movie Holiday Inn. This song was the pioneer of the romantic Christmas music. I believe Bing Crosby’s record of White Christmas  is still the best selling record of all time.

[Opps:  I had two identical versions of this Bing Crosby post.  Lots of confusion on this page, where You Tubes had been deleated and then maybe not. ????? Thank you for your patience. ]

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Christmas is for small children

Christmas as a special time for small children.  Many small children need Christmas, especially those who suffer in an often unkind world. It also comes at a dark and cold time of the year. Children who need Christmas the most aren’t hard to please. My mother told me of a Christmas where she got a stocking which included a few fresh oranges. It was her happiest Christmas present ever.

In her biography of Gene Autry, Holly George-Warren wrote that Autry heard the screams of small children, “Here Comes Santa Claus,” when he was riding in the Hollywood Santa Claus Parade and it inspired him to write and sing Christmas songs and to take a more active interest in small children afterwards. These were among his best selling records.

Here Comes Santa Claus(1946), was number 5 on the Country Charts and number 9 on the Popular Music Charts.  Lyric written by Gene Autry and music by Oakley Haldeman

You Tube Thanks to HolidayFavorites

His biggest hit was Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer(1949), which was number 1 on both charts. The children loved it. This song was written by Johnny Marks.

You Tube Thanks to Melissa Fellows

Merry Christmas.

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Going Nuts At Christmas

Sometimes, Christmas music gets on people’s nerves. I remember going shopping many years ago at a department store with my father at Christmastime. We were riding down the escalator. He turned to me and said, “If I hear that damned Jingle Bells one more time, I’m gonna go nuts!”

Well here’s the story of a man who just goes nuts at Christmas:

Thanks to althazarr for the You Tube

That was Yogi Yorgesson with I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas. By the way, I’m half of Swedish descent and that accent which lives on somewhat in the Minnesota and Wisconsin accents was very much how my Grandparents generation actually spoke English. Yogi Yorgesson was a mid 20th Century comedian whose real name was Harry Stewart. He was of Scandinavian descent but was orphaned as a child and raised by Anglo foster parents. He worked different jobs in entertainment, but it was his Swedish accent records that launched his career. His social commentary on Family and Christmas were also funny. Unfortunately, Stewart died in a car crash just as his career was taking off.  Fats and Art will get the weekend off for Christmas.  They’ll be next weekend at different times and the following weekend in their usual spots.

I am dedicating this record to the memory of my Uncle, Edward Knut Gabrielson on his birthday. This record was one of his favorites.

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Fats Waller and Art Tatum play versions of Georgia On My Mind (1941)

Thanks to gullivior for the You Tube

Because Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, I needed to free up Sunday for other things. I decided to play this comparison of Fats Waller and Art Tatum on Friday. I’ve played this one before, some time ago. Critics both amateur and professional have made plenty of comparisons between the two, some of them invidious. I’ll say it this way: Art Tatum could do things on the piano that nobody else could do, perhaps even in their dreams. Fats comes closer to Tatum on the piano than almost anyone else and he could also sing, crack jokes, lead the band, and write the songs. So, I’ll call it a draw and I think they’re both the greatest. The Tatum recording is noisier than the Waller because it was a home acetate recording.

Here they both play their versions of Georgia on My Mind, both versions recorded in 1941. Fats starts from the top and Art starts at 3:02 minutes.  Georgia on My Mind was written by Hoagy Carmichael in 1930.  Enjoy.

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Art Tatum — Gone With The Wind (Two Versions 1937 and 1955)

Thanks to gullivior for the You Tube

This song, Gone With The Wind, was composed by Allie Wrubel and lyrics by Herb Magidson, published in 1937. Horace Heidt’s Orchestra had the first recording and had a number one hit. This song has no commercial connection to the Margaret Mitchell novel and the movie based on her novel.

I just can’t get enough of Art Tatum.  What we have here are two solo performances. The first was from 1937 and the second was from 1955 near the end of Tatum’s life. Both are extraordinary. There are hints in the 1955 version of the harmonic evolution of jazz since the 1930’s. Hints only.

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Max Keenlyside — Harlem Stride Bass Piano Medley

Thanks to Max Keenlyside for the You Tube

Like Columbus, I always seem to find something great when I was looking for something else. For me, so it has been with young players of vintage music such as Bria Skonberg, Stephanie Trick, and now Max Keenlyside. It’s always a thrill to find a young person who loves this old music and masters it. He makes it look easier than it is to play.

Here we hear compositions by James P. Johnson (Snowy Morning Blues, Carolina Shout), by Willie the Lion Smith and Donald Lambert (Keep Your Temper), and the Lion as sole composer (Echos of Spring.) Now, the ever dapper (always with a derby hat) Willie the Lion Smith probably wouldn’t approve of the T shirt, but I am sure he would love the piano playing.  It’s great!

He lives in Prince Edward Island, Canada and for more on him, check this address (I can’t get it to make a link.)

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