… ??? …Say what? …Oopz, he certainly meant 50.000+ … ;)
Anyway, a big thanks also from me, dear readers!
It’s always the right idea to drop by here; especially when you’ll get the chance to listen to the complete Charlie-Barnet-with-strings session from October 5, 1941 (sorry for the crappy cover, but’s that the LP from where I’ve taken the tracks).
But the atmospheric rumba “Macumba” is, with the wonderful tom-tomming by Cliff Leeman whom you could hear already to some extend in my recent Artie Shaw article.
Bobby Burnet blew the very Cootie-ish trumpet.
“I’ll Remember April” (performed here by Bird & Strings in 1953) became one of the most played jazz standards, despite Bob’s incredibly syrupy crooning. A good song will always show its hit qualities… sooner, or later.
Charlie Barnet, who rang the chimes at the Duke’s famous recording of “Ring Dem Bells” in 1930, who did the very first recordings with his orchestra in New Orleans in January 1935, who was the first white bandleader who played for the black community at Harlem’s Apollo Theater in 1952, Charlie was the exception among most jazz musicians of his generation (as was Miles Davis of his).
He always had enough money for realizing his dream of sporting the hippest white band in the land; and with all its references to the great black bands of Basie, Webb, Henderson, Ellington & Lunceford, with Charlie’s jumpin’ sax solos (on tenor, alto & soprano), and with Billy May’s groovy and at the same time humorous charts (The Wrong Idea), this orchestra was indeed tantamount to swing music at its best.
Barnet’s band had more finesse than Goodman’s, and his arrangements swung looser than Miller’s (which wasn’t too difficult), or Dorsey’s (Tommy I mean, who was a prick). — For me, Charlie Barnet was one of the greatest; and he seemed to be a nice, relaxed fellow as well; unlike Artie Shaw who has often been described as cold, and abusive.
Enough words now, just listen to the music by one of the finest orchestras of the swing era. These are Charlie Barnet’s only “with-strings” recordings; “Blues In The Night”, however, is done without fiddles.
1. Blues In The Night Bobbie Convin & Ford Leary, voc; Ford was originally sitting in the trombone section; his colleague Claude “Spud” Murphy boned the solos on the tube. “Ol’ Blue Eyes” Frank Sinatra’s Bill Miller is on piano. Charlie plays a very effective soprano sax in the low register.
2. I’ll Remember April Bob Carroll, voc.
3. Isle Of Pines Bob Carroll, voc; Jimmy Dorsey composed this forgettable torch song.
4. Macumba Cliff Leeman, d & Bobby Burnet, tp; Charlie solos again on soprano sax.
5. 50.000.000 Nickles Ford Leary & (probably) The Quintones, voc; listen to the quote of Stray’s “Take The ‘A’ Train” in the out-chorus!
P.S. — There’s tragedy attached too: Click to read…
I will do a piece on Charlie’s brilliant guitarist Bus Etri in a later post. Till then feel free to listen to his wonderful solo at Dale Bennett’s (a.k.a. Charlie Barnet) “Blue Juice” from January 7, 1941.
As a 2nd P.S. hear my all-time favorite Billy May chart with Charlie Barnet:
– The mighty 3rd P.S. –
As for the other “Ideas”, here are “The Duke’s” & “The Count’s” …which has been recorded on September 10, 1939, one day before Hamp hit 50.000 “Hot Mallets”, and a young fellow named John Birks Gillespie served a steamin’ cup with his “Little Jazz’s Idea” of… TEA ;)
More Charlie Barnet here; this time with the “original”, namely with ‘Little Jazz’ Roy Eldridge himself, and DROP ME OFF IN HARLEM.
You will also hear Dodo Marmarosa on piano, and Harold Hahn on drums. This madly jumpin’ chart was waxed in NYC, on February 24, 1944.