Fats Waller — Truckin’

Thanks to MusicProf78 for the great sounding Youtube.

 

Fats Waller Truckin’ was recorded August 2, 1935. The recording session included Herman Autrey, trumpet; Rudy Powell, reeds, James smith, guitar; Charles Turner, bass; Harry Dial, drums; and Fats on piano and vocal.

Truckin’ was written by Ted Koehler and Rube Bloom. It was introduced in the 26th Edition of the Cotton Club Parade and commemorates a dance craze of the 1930’s. Robert Crumb in the 1970’s also paid tribute to the song in his popular poster “Keep On Truckin'”….a poster Crumb says he wishes he never made. Although Crumb did the posters for the “Acid Rock” concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium, he was more of an old Jazz and Blues fan.

Once again, a 3:16 minute masterpiece with a piano solo and ensemble, some comic ad-libs. It should be noted that these musicians, although they had charts, were also able to roll with the music. There were no second takes with Fats Waller either. Wonderfully talented musicians.

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All Saint’s Day

Thanks to Bill Ferencz for the You Tube

That was Louis Armstrong with When The Saints Go Marching In. Who else on All Saints Day should play When the Saints Go Marching In?

Halloween has become a very big deal in recent decades, much to my surprise. When I was a child, it was a children’s night where people put on their porch lights and passed out candy and bubble gum. Even then, I don’t remember getting all jazzed up about it. What I remember most, being a baby boomer in the U.S., were  the hordes of kids out on the streets (baby boomers were born in the years between 1946 and 1960.) There must have been over 1,000 kids on my street on the night I remember. They wore their costumes—boys as pirates or cowboys, girls as Tinker Bell—and all had bags for their candy. In the late 70’s, working in an office at the time, adults began coming to work on Halloween in costumes—as vampires, dominatrixes, Frankensteins, and other monsters. I thought that was very odd.

Halloween was originally All Hallows Eve because it was the night before All Hallows Day. All Hallows Eve undoubtedly became Halloween because some child who meant to say it correctly blurted out “Halloween” and the women thought it was cute and repeated it.  Halloween may or may not have originated in pagan beliefs. I’m inclined to believe it did and it was incorporated into Christianity by the early Western Church fathers.

When All Hallows Day became All Saints Day,   Halloween  as the night before All Saint’s Day became a separate thing.  All Saint’s Day became a holy day of obligation in Roman Catholicism, a day to celebrate all saints known and unknown. Martin Luther expanded  the celebration in his vision of the Christian church.  He wrote that all dead believers were saints in his reading of the Bible, and most Protestants follow that belief.

So in keeping with this being All Saints Day and using the inclusive definition of saints, we want to remember the musicians, the singers, those who attended the dances, those who listened to the broadcasts on the radio, and those who bought the records during this era of the music. I feel thankful that so much of this music is still available; still alive.

Posted in About this blog, Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Ed, Chuck Cecil, Don Brown Jazz Man Record Shop and Cobweb Corner, Old Music Made New, Old Time Radio, The Catrobat, Walter Gabrielson, World War II | Comments Off on All Saint’s Day

Spike Jones on Halloween — My Old Flame

Thanks to MusicProf78 for the You Tube

In keeping with this special night, I thought I’d pass this song along for Halloween, October 31. It’s our old friend Spike Jones again, our musical mad man,  from 1947 with Paul Frees as the voice of Peter Lorre.  The problem Spike Jones faced late in his career is that his music sounded less and less outlandish.  Along those lines, with all the crazy stuff on the news these days, I worry that people might take this record seriously.  Don’t, it’s Halloween.

Paul Frees first gained fame in the age of Radio.  He became the man of a thousand voices, he could imitate anyone. When the radio work dried up, much of his work came from cartoon voice overs and narration. He was an incredible talent.

Peter Lorre was a ghoulish character actor who, as television personality Arlene Francis put it, “had a menacing face  with sad eyes.”  He also had a strange soft and yet menacing quality in his voice which Frees captures perfectly.  One of my favorite movies was The Maltese Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart.  It had a great cast with Peter Lorre playing a big part in the success of that movie.  It was also a career saver for Peter Lorre.

Spike Jones was a one of a kind, perhaps overgrown juvenile delinquent.  He was a great favorite of my cousin Walter Gabrielson.  It looks like the CD is out of print, but you might be able to find a copy of his Hi Fi album Dinner Music For People Who Aren’t Very  Hungry. 

On that album, my favorite is Spike Jones’ version of Dean Martin’s Memories are Made of This.    But, there are no You Tubes available in that version.

Without further comment  until tomorrow…

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Art Tatum — Somebody Loves Me

Thanks to gullivior for the great You Tube with art work

This is Art Tatum playing Somebody Loves Me. It is from the Art Tatum Pablo Solo Masterpieces Disc 6 Cut 1 in my edition. Somebody Loves Me was composed in 1924 by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ballard MacDonald and Buddy DeSylva. It was written for an episode of the musical show the George White Scandals. Early performances were made by Paul Whiteman and Ukelele Ike among others. It has a long listing of performances and recordings over the decades listed here.

I’ve nearly run out of superlatives to describe Art Tatum’s mastery of the piano. Even tunes, such as this one, that I’ve heard many times before never cease to amaze me. He was wonderful.

I’ll have postings for Halloween and All Saints Day.

 

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Miff Mole — Crazy Rhythm

Thanks to Atticus Jazz for this great sounding You Tube and the period pictures

Crazy Rhythm was originally written by Irving Seer, Joseph Mayer, and Roger Wolfe Kahn for the musical Here’s Howe, in 1928. Crazy Rhythm became a standard over the years with a large number of recordings.

Miff Mole and his Little Molers and Red Nichols and His Five Pennies used basically the same musicians for their dates and each leader played on the other’s record sessions. On this recording date, the group consisted of Red Nichols, cornet; Leo McConville, trumpet; Miff Mole, trombone; Dudley Fosdick, mellophone; Fud Livingston, reeds; Arthur Schutt, piano; Carl Kress, guitar; Joe Tarto, tuba; Stan King, drums; New York, July 27, 1928.

Here, Atticus Jazz features part of his collection of vintage “cheesecake” pictures from the 1920’s. He has a great collection of every type of vintage picture you can imagine which greatly enhance his You Tube postings. He also has a terrific 78 turntable setup, which gives him fantastic sound. Many thanks again.

I announced earlier this week that my Art Tatum posts will now be on Sunday.

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Fats Waller — Who’s Honey Are You?

Thanks to OnlyJazzHQ for the fine You Tube

Fats Waller’s Whose Honey Are You?, was recorded March 6, 1935 with most of his Rhythm regulars: Herman Autrey, trumpet; Rudy Powell, reeds; Al Casey, guitar; Charles Turner, bass; Harry Dial, drums; and Fats on piano and vocal. Whose Honey Are You? was composed by Haven Gillespie and J. Coots. Fats was really cranking them out in 1934-1935.

Don Brown at the Jazz Man Record Shop used to say that Fats Waller could take the silliest song and turn it into a 3 minute masterpiece; in this case, a 2:42 minute masterpiece.

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The two sides of Bix Beiderbecke

Thanks to Tim Gracyk for this great sounding YouTube with great period pictures

That was Bix Beiderbecke and his “Gang’s”  version of Sorry.  “Gang” in those days had a more benign meaning like a group of “pals.”  Bix was a tragic figure of the 1920’s, full of conflicts with family and authorities, towering talent, yet deeply flawed.  Bix only lived to be 28 largely due to his alcoholism.  His life has been subject of a number of books and movies including an Italian movie.  For more, here is Bix’s wikipedia page.

Sorry was written by his friends Howard “Howdy” Quicksell and Raymond Klages.  The record was made October 25, 1927.  The label you see above, Parlophone, was the British release, it was released on Okeh Records in the U.S.  The personnel included 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.  And now, for something completely different:

Thanks to Mook Ryan for the You Tube, the great pictures and sound.

No, that was not a composition by Maurice Ravel.  Bix Beiderbecke is the man in the video with the hair parted in the center and the small mustache.

The music was titled  In The Dark composed by Bix Beiderbecke and transcribed by his friend Bill Challis.   In The Dark was published in 1931, shortly before he died at the age of 28.  There is a question about Bix’s ability to read music.  He took piano lessons which would require the ability to read music, but there is also the issue that he flunked the Musician’s Union’s mandatory music reading test for union membership.  Perhaps it was a question of how well he could read and write music.  His ear for music was fantastic.  The performance here is by Dick Hyman from his 2008 album Thinking About Bix.

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Art Tatum — Jitterbug Waltz

Thanks to bluesinorbit

Yesterday, I posted Fats Waller’s recording of his early composition Handful of Keys. So I thought it would be a good idea to post Art Tatum’s version of Fat’s Waller’s late composition: the Jitterbug Waltz. Fats Waller composed Jitterbug Waltz in 1942 as his career blossomed into movie deals but also near the end of his tragically short life.

Art Tatum obviously recorded this version of Jitterbug Waltz live at a piano bar and it was issued on the second disc of the album Art Tatum 20th Century Piano Genius according to bluesinorbit. Fats Waller was Art Tatum’s idol and main influence on the piano. (Regardless of what other’s have said, that’s what Art Tatum said. ) Unfortunately, like Fats Waller, Art Tatum’s life was all too short.

When I hear this performance, I laugh, I cry, and I lose my breath.

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Fats on Friday — Handful of Keys

Thanks to Edmund StAustell

“Well Alllllllllll Right,” as Fats would say. This was his composition, Handful of Keys, a perfect example of Harlem Stride Piano. This version of Handful of Keys was recorded March 1, 1929, obviously a solo piano cut, at the end of a series of small group band recordings on that same date. Handful of Keys was published as part of Fats Waller’s musical Ain’t Misbehavin’

Harlem Stride Piano evolved out of Ragtime shortly after World War I. The previous generation of Ragtime pianists—Scott Joplin, Artie Mathews, James Scott, and others—sought to create a form of American piano music perhaps similar to Chopin’s Mazurkas but American. Much of Ragtime was printed by Stark music publishers and sold to piano students.

Harlem Stride Piano had its roots in Ragtime but was primarily the brainchild of James P. Johnson who, like most residents of Harlem, had migrated with their families up the East Coast from the Carolinas and other parts of the South. Harlem Stride broke out of the formal, sedate 19th Century Ragtime with plenty of razzle dazzle. Where Scott Joplin wrote “not too fast” at the top on some of his sheet music, James P. Johnson wrote the Steeplechase Rag, a celebration of that form of horse racing.  Harlem Stride began  shortly after World War I. It was one of many signs that the music was evolving.

When James P. Johnson began performing the Carolina Shout, it became not only Johnson’s signature piece but the de facto admission test for the inner circle of Harlem Stride piano players. Their venues for performing  were the Harlem rent parties-–people who were facing eviction from the apartments would throw a “rent party” to raise the money to avoid eviction. This was the music scene that Fats Waller began to compete in during his tender teens.

Fats Waller was a child prodigy on the organ and piano and became a protege James P. Johnson. Handful of Keys was his answer to Johnson’s Carolina Shout.

 

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Glen Campbell – Phoenix – Live Performance TNN

Thanks to Boars Nest for the You Tube

 

I previously played the recorded version of By The Time I get to Phoenix by Glen Campbell here. That was from a television show where they played the record and Glen Campbell “lip-synced” the vocal on the record. That was before I found these Ralph Emery TNN videos. In this video he plays and sings and plays the song live. He sings with much more feeling and shows us that he was a genuine guitar virtuoso. One of the best in the business.

Now, some of my friends are asking, “what’s with all this Glen Campbell talk these days?” They know my primary interest is in music from an earlier era. Fair enough. I liked his songs but never really gave much thought to Glen Campbell way back then in the 1960’s. He was part of the passing parade to me in the 1960’s, all over the place today, gone tomorrow. I don’t usually comment on rock music because I have family members who are much better qualified to write about that. than me.

What changed was when I heard more expanded guitar solos than he performed on his records. I was astounded by how good he was. That is what we hear in this version of “Phoenix” rather than the version he used for his record.

Glen Campbell’s career in some ways is an example of the “Roundabout” path to success, as explained in a book I’m reading titled “The Dao of Capital” When Glen Campbell recorded “Phoenix” he had, from the age of 14, worked his way up in the music business. Musicians call it “paying dues” but it was much more like “learning the business” for Campbell. He was learning everything he could about the music business.. By the time he left Albuquerque for Los Angeles, he had taught himself by ear much of the jazz guitar of Django Reinhardt and Barney Kessel. But, instead of doing that in L.A., he filled in as a substute at rock and roll dances and toured with The Champs (Tequila) and The Beach Boys (Surfin” USA). He also got jobs as a studio musician playing back up for a wide range of artists from Frank Sinatra (Strangers in the Night) to Tina Turner (Higher and Higher.) He was also in demand for movie sound tracks. Quincy Jones used him on the soundtrack for the movie In Cold Blood.

One of my previous postings, Crying, had the You Tube posting pulled. I regret that but there is nothing I can do, and it really is a matter between the You Tube poster and the copyright holder. I’m like a radio DJ here and nobody ever accused radio DJ’s of violating copyrights.

Update 10-17-17

As it turns out, I found another post of Crying, here. to replace the You Tube of it I posted on September 11, 2017.  You will find it on the Sept  11th post.   It has some added commentary so you might want to check it out.  Hopefully, everything is cool legally with this post.  As I said, I would be happy to purchase the DVD’s of these Ralph Emery programs that I’ve posted   Thanks.

 

 

 

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