Repost In The Light Of A Quite Enjoyable Time Travel ;) — RE: old cassette tapes ∼ BRUNO LEICHT’s BEGINNINGS … as a JAZZ COLLECTOR

Preface #1, which can be found in full length at Rifftides:

“Radio was the tiny stream it all began with. Then came other technical means for reproducing, proliferating, amplifying sound, and the stream became an enormous river.

If in the past people would listen to music out of love for music, nowadays it roars everywhere and all the time, “regardless whether we want to hear it,” it roars from loudspeakers, in cars, in restaurants, in elevators, in the streets, in waiting rooms, in gyms, in the earpieces of Walkmans, music rewritten, reorchestrated, abridged, and stretched out, fragments of rock, of jazz, of opera, a flood of everything jumbled together so that we don’t know who composed it (music become noise is anonymous), so that we can’t tell beginning from end (music become noise has no form): sewage-water music in which music is dying.”

By Milan Kundera, Ignorance

Preface #2:

Today’s “radio” has almost nothing to do with the great experience of real “listening” to music, to a political reportage, or to a sports event in the early days of the medium.

I was lucky, because for me, radio was still a horn of plenty, then, in the mid to late 1970’s when I started diggin’ jazz.

This changed very soon, let’s say, it started to change radically in the mid-1980’s, when the first commercial TV stations went on the air.

This post is about my very first experiences I had with radio, with jazz on the radio in particular.

Blog owner’s note: I’m definitely *not* talking about internet radio, which is not *the* radio as others and I understand it: Streaming sounds in bits & bytes can’t substitute a full-frequency stereo signal; never ever!

Here’s my comment to the subject, I’ve posted at Rifftides as I “composed” this article (it’s for the readers who would like to stay here for a little while):

When I turned on the radio between 1978 to 1985, it was inspiring & informative, which was all I needed for my musical learning progress. I recorded loads of 1-hour jazz musicians’ profiles on tapes, on cassettes, to be precise.

On the 10th anniversary of Duke Ellington’s death, young folks like me had the chance to find at least a dozen broadcasts covering not only his whole recording career from 1924 to 1974, but they were also focussing on specific aspects of his work:

“The Duke Ellington Suites”, “The DE Small Bands”, “The DE Carnegie Hall Concerts”, “DE As A Pianist”, etc. — In Germany’s radio culture of the 21st Century, this would hardly be possible.

Particularly jazz radio is mostly about the newest release by X, Y, or Z, but it doesn’t care for “education” anymore; to find something of jazz historical content is almost impossible, and if there are such kind of “old fashioned” jazz broadcasts, they would be aired long after midnight; just as if they would like to hide those precious sounds (the great big bands are filed under “easy listening”, to name just one of hundreds of misinterpretations).

The very same goes for New Music, or anything which would be off the mainstream, or subculture, or only “too inconvenient for the average listener”.

And the worst is: They don’t give a damn. It’s almost impossible to find a common theme: Everything is cut down to digestible nibbles à la “No! Don’t let us overtax the listener.”

Maybe I’m sounding too pessimistic, too emotional perhaps? Well, music is about emotion, it should not degenerate to “Muzak”.

Every time I’m visiting the dentist of my trust, he is turning off the radio. Why? Because I told him he would lose a patient if he wouldn’t turn off that crappy “Radio Köln” station.

Especially as a trumpeter you need an able, a focused dentist, who is not distracted by annoying commercials which are always louder than the actual “music”.

Here now, the unaltered original thread from April 4, 2011:

Dear swingin’ folks –

This post could be all about Margie, alas it won’t. — My first experience with Margie occurred when I was in the tender age of 15. I got a cassette recorder for Christmas, or was it my birthday? I don’t remember.

It might have been the year 1978, the 40th anniversary of the famous Carnegie Hall Concert, January 16, 1938.

What I remember, is, that I had a portable radio too. I’d put the tape recorder with the inbuilt microphone close to the radio speaker and pushed the ‘record’ button as soon as I heard big band swing in the Süddeutscher Rundfunk.

Among them very first jazz sounds I had recorded this way, was a broadcast, a quite short radio portrait on Benny Goodman. One of the featured tunes was … yeah, you got it! It was my beloved Margie, played in a great big swinging way by Benny Goodman & His Orchestra! — Harry James – whom I didn’t know then – soloed on trumpet.

The sound of the cassette was below Lo-Fi. To be honest: it was a torture to listen to it. But it was all I had. And I listened to it over and over, again and again. Blog owner’s note: a sample of the original tape can be heard on the below playlist.

That’s how those cassettes looked like in the late 1970’s:

After some bad experiences with the FerroSuper formate, I changed to Chromdioxid cassettes like this:

The tunes were: Riffin’ At The Ritz (Benny plays lead alto sax), Margie, Russian Lullaby and a version of King Porter Stomp I got crazy over since I couldn’t find it anywhere until a friend of mine, one of the moderators of BBT, gave me the clue: it was recorded for the soundtrack to The Benny Goodman Story. But my search for the original sounds of that broadcast is another story and will be told later.

I still have that very tape. And I still love that tune, I still love Margie. Maybe, one day I’ll play the definitive version ;) Maybe!

I’ll let you know, and so: stay tuned!

BREW’s FIRST BEE GEE, or: A reconstructed radio portrait of Benny Goodman

Posted in Benny Goodman, Blogging is swell!, Dedication, Delikatessen...LOLL., Duke Ellington, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, It's been a ball!, It's gonna be a ball, Jazz History Lecture, Jazz Stories & Tales, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Madness, Sabina, Summer 1983 | Tagged , , ,




Posted in Anniversary, Barney Bigard, Birthday Party, Blogging is swell!, Blues, Clarinet, Dedication, Delikatessen...LOLL., Duke Ellington, Exoticism, It's been a ball!, It's gonna be a ball, Jazz Rhumba, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Jimmy Blanton, Johnny Hodges, June, Obituary, Portrait, Rex Stewart, Saxophone, Swing Era, Tongue In Cheek, Trumpet | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,


…one of the most outstanding charts he & his orchestra ever performed._61905628_sudan_meroe_pyramids_g

Certain places in the Far & Middle East were always inspiring jazz musicians, swingin’ on the not so romantic urban Western Frontier:

R-4334590-1362063124-4829“Twilight In Turkey”, “A Night In Tunisia”, “Twilight In Teheran” (Buck Ram’s All Stars, 1944*)“Turkey Special” (Horace Henderson & His Orchestra, 1940), or “Bagdad” (Ray Miller & His Orchestra, 1924).

Here’s Tommy’s, respectively arranger Paul Weston’s contribution to all those exotic efforts, as recorded by Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra on June 15, 1939:

“Night In Sudan”


R-3354171-1327148690*) Buck Ram’s All Stars: Shad Collins (tp) Frank Newton (tp) Tyree Glenn (tb) Earl Bostic (as) Don Byas (ts) Ernie Caceres (bars) Red Norvo (vib) Teddy Wilson (p) Remo Palmieri (g) Slam Stewart (b) Cozy Cole (d) Buck Ram (ldr) – Savoy Studios, NYC, September 18, 1944Blog owner’s recommendation: Go for this splendid LP-twofer (see link) ;)

Posted in Anniversary, Blogging is swell!, Dedication, Delikatessen...LOLL., Exoticism, Jazz History Lecture, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, June, Pentecost, Tommy Dorsey | Tagged , ,


The President of the United States of America, Mr. Barack Obama, who has visited Germany five years ago, was in Normandy the next morning, for celebrating the day which helped to end World War II in Europe, then 65 years ago:

The day of the invasion, June 6, 1944, a.k.a. D-Day.churchillvsign

With this swingin’ little playlist, organized as kinda broadcast, I want to honor all soldiers of the Allied Forces who participated in this bloody but victorious battle for freedom and democracy.

All tracks are more or less loosely connected to this very day. I recommend that you’d listen closely to track #2 because it had been interrupted for a surprising announcement.

Harry James’ theme Ciribiribin is working as a bracket. It is taken from the famous D-Day-Broadcast with Harry James & His Orchestra; just like the beautiful arrangement of It Could Happen To You, sung by Kitty Kallen.

Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s Brotherly Jump is dedicated to the combined troops of Americans, Australians, British, Canadians, Free French, Norwegians and Polish under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower which landed at “Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword”, the five sections which divided the beaches of Normandy.

They were all soul brothers who fought for the same war aim: Getting rid of the nazi tyranny once and for all.

Count Basie’s On The Upbeat was one of the theme songs of AFN, the American Forces Network right after the war in Germany. The P.S. is played by Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band, a beautiful rendition of David Rose’s Holiday For Strings, which was broadcasted by the British Forces Network (BFN in Hamburg) in the weeks after the war.

It has a special, a very moving memory attached: This very theme became the liberation song of a very good friend and neighbor of mine, Mr. Ralph Giordano, a German best selling author & documentary filmmaker, former “Swing Kid” from Hamburg, and Holocaust survivor who is living right around the corner, here in the beautiful Bay-In-Valley, the South-End of Cologne.

All other tracks are self-explanatory and stem mostly from V-Discs.

More about D-Day here: Normandy, June 6, 1944 a.k.a. “Operation Overlord”

Here it is:


>>>——> Bruno Leicht’s ultimate D-Day Playlist <——<<<

Posted in All American Rhythm Section, Anniversary, Berlin, Big Band Vocalist, D-Day, Dedication, Germans, Harry James, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, June, Madness, V-Discs, Victory, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bruno Leicht & “LITTLE WILLI LEAPS AGAIN” – Piano Solo & “Um die Ecke” – May 21, 2014

This is an extended blues à la rhumba (similar to Tommy Dorsey’s “Perfidia”, which is *NOT* played as a rhumba anyway), dedicated to Little Willi, a new Californian citizen, who arrived yesterday in the wee small hours of the morning.

Cheers to you, Jessy & Herb!

Enjoy :) :) :)

Posted in Blogging is swell!, Blues, Dedication, Delikatessen...LOLL., It's been a ball!, It's gonna be a ball, Jazz Rhumba, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, May, Portrait, Spring, Tongue In Cheek | Tagged , , , , ,


sonny-greer1 Folks who are digging swingin’ drummers, too often forget to mention the under-appreciated Sonny Greer who spend half of his career in Duke Ellington’s various aggregations, starting with a quintet in 1919, continuing with Duke’s Washingtonians in 1924, who eventually became Duke Ellington & His (Famous) Orchestra.

Sonny Greer was *the* driving force behind romping pieces like “Ko-Ko”, “Harlem Airshaft”, or “Cotton Tail”. His dry, forward-going beat propelled the orchestra, and made it fly to triumphant heights.

His gig at Duke’s court ended quite abruptly in 1950, when Duke had hired Butch Ballard as the 2nd drummer for a Scandinavian tour because of Sonny’s excessive drinking habits.

Here he can be heard in a forgotten feature piece, extra tailored by Barney Bigard & the Duke, for Sonny’s abilities as the slap-happy skin man who pulled several of his many tricks during “Drummer’s Delight”, like groovy snare marching routines, crackling rim-shots, and some of the crispiest hi-hat sounds ever.

Personnel & date to Barney Bigard & His Orchestra: Barney Bigard (cl) Rex Stewart (ct) Juan Tizol (v-tb) Harry Carney (bs) Duke Ellington (p) Fred Guy (g) Billy Taylor (b) Sonny Greer (d) – New York, January 19, 1938.

Blog owner’s note for the jazz history experts: “Drummer’s Delight” was recorded three days after Benny Goodman’s famous concert at Carnegie Hall on January 16, where some of the Duke’s men above were participating.

Addendum: Here’s the cover of the LP-twofer where the only take of “Drummer’s Delight” can be found (carefully restored by yours truly; you will never hear it so “clean” on vinyl):


Posted in All American Rhythm Section, Dedication, Duke Ellington, It's been a ball!, Jazz History Lecture, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Jive, Portrait, Sonny Greer, Swing Era | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments


DukeEllington_seriousThis is the definitive beginning of my non-political anniversary year. For me, there won’t be 1914, 1939, 1944, or 1989 in the center of interest.

– No, on the contrary: This blog will feature a load of short articles ’round America’s greatest, most creative composer besides Ives, Gershwin, Copland, Monk & Cage:

About Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington.

Sir Duke, the last of the “Eight Veils” has been removed by Billy Strayhorn & Cat Anderson:

It’s all about “Women, Women, Women”, as Ray Nance crooned & blew it in this bitty-ditty, this (almost!) forgotten blues, right?

Most of your excellent works is about the mystery of love, about “Clothed Women”, or about “Tattooed Brides” (Jimmy Hamilton, clarinet)…JimmyHamilton

… It’s all so clear what you wanted us to see:

That sweet, that tempting “Golden Cress” (Lawrence Brown, trombone), shimmering through “A Turquoise Cloud” (Kay Davis, soprano)

Duke, you’re my man!


As a fellow composer, I wanna thank you, Duke, for all the inspiration, for all those (musical) mysteries you’ve left us to solve.

DukeEllington_LadyOfTheLavenderMist_LabelCheers, ever young man Ellington, cheers to all the Ladies, above all, heartfelt thanks to “The Lady Of The Lavender Mist”, whoever she was.col6024

Let’s all invite her to dance your “Progressive Gavotte” with us.

May they keep on keeping on inspiring us, women & men of (jazz) music!


Posted in Anniversary, Big Band Vocalist, Birthday Party, Blogging is swell!, Dedication, Duke Ellington, Etymology, It's gonna be a ball, Jazz History Lecture, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Poetry, Portrait | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment