…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

My Antique Easter Gift, Also In 2014: THEY ALL WANTED MOTEN SWING …..and they surely still do in 2014 ;)

Doug’s seasonal post at Rifftides (Jimmy Lunceford in 1939 with Irving Berlin’s “Easter Parade”) inspired me to insert three other “Easter Parade’s” right here, as kinda musical preface, before we eventually will be happily parading along with swingin’ Benny Moten.

A very obscure version from 1935 starts the proceedings:

It’s the barely audible Django Reinhardt, as guest soloist with Patrick Et Son Orchestre de Danse. — A classic version comes next: From the soundtrack LP of Easter Parade (1948) with Judy Garland & Fred Astaire. I hope you don’t mind, being not able to watch them parading.

Back to dreamy, but already summerly Paris with trumpeter “Little Jazz” Roy Eldridge and his quartet, featuring Gerald Wiggins (p) Pierre Michelot (b) Kenny Clarke (d) – June 14, 1950. Roy plays it very reflective here, almost sentimental; but notice some of his long, vibrato-less tones — quite a relief after you’ve heard Judy, doing exactly the opposite!

A Pluckin’ Gypsy, a Vibrant Songstress, a Croonin’ Dancer & a Little Jazz do the Easter Parade

New York, Easter Parade in 1900

And now, have fun with Bennie Moten’s Swing:

Happy Easter! — The Playlist

01 You’re Driving Me Crazy – Louis Armstrong And His New Sebastian Cotton Club Orchestra, Los Angeles, CA – December 23, 1930

Armstrong, Louis (Trumpet, Vocal) 
Hite, Les (Conductor, Alto Saxophone, Bass Saxophone) 
Orendorff, George (Trumpet) 
Scott, Harold (Trumpet) 
Graven, Luther (Trombone) 
Johnson, Marvin (Alto Saxophone) 
Jones, Charlie (Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet) 
Prince, Henry (Piano) 
Perkins, Bill (Banjo, Steel Guitar) 
Bailey, Joe (Tuba, Bass) 
Hampton, Lionel (Drums, Vibraphone)

It’s Moten Swing from here now:

02 Bennie Moten & His Kansas City Orchestra – 1932

03 Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds Of Joy with Mary Lou Williams – 1936

04 Fletcher Henderson – 1938

05 Benny Goodman – 1938

06 Count Basie with Harry Edison & Lester Young – 1940

07 Charlie Parker mit Jay McShann – Buddy Anderson, Orville Minor (tp), Bob Gould (tb, vln), Charlie Parker (as), Bob Mabane (ts), Jay McShann (p), Gene Ramey (b), Gus Johnson (d) – Trocadero Ballroom, Wichita, KS, December 2, 1940

08 Django Reinhardt (g/ld), Herb Bass, Robin Gould, Jerry Stephan & Lonnie Wilfong (tpts), Bill Decker, Don Gardner, Shelton Heath & John Kirpatrick (tbns), Les Lieber & Joe Moser (as), Jim Hayes (cl/as), Bernie Cavaliere (ts), Bill Zickefoose (ts), Ken Lowther (bars), Larry Mann (p), Bob Decker (b), Bill Bethel & Red Lacky (d) – Paris, either 10-26-1945 or 12-8-1945

09 Bernie Leighton (p), Hy White (g), Trigger Alpert (b), Dave Tough (d) – NYC, August 9, 1946

10 Harry James & His Orchestra – 1947

11 Charlie Shavers (tp), Bennie Moten (tb), Hank D’Amico (cl), Kenny Kersey (p), Aaron Bell (b), Panama Francis (d), Al Collins (nar) – NYC, October 25 & 27, 1954

12 Tommy Flanagan (p), Kenny Burrell (g), Oscar Pettiford (b), Shadow Wilson (d) – NYC, March 12, 1956

13 Manny Albam & His Orchestra plays the combined themes of “Moten Swing” & “You’re Driving Me Crazy” – 01/01/1960

14 Oscar Peterson (p), Ray Brown (b), Ed Thigpen (d) – Los Angeles, CA, December 15 & 16, 1962

Bennie Moten Biography (German) & of course also in English

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Posted in Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings

DIMINUENDO & CRESCENDO IN BLUE 1937, 1946, 1953, 1956 & 1958 — The Genesis of a Dukish Masterpiece

– Yesterday’s post has inspired me to do what I have planned a long time ago:Gotting-TheCompleteDE-Vol09CBS88210

All significant versions of “Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue” compiled in one post, and in chronological order (for the rest, see yesterday’s updated post).

We start the bluesy proceedings with parts #1 & #2, the initial studio recording for ARC-Brunswick, from September 20, 1937 with Arthur Whetsol, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart, Freddie Jenkins (tp) Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol (tb) Barney Bigard (cl, ts) Johnny Hodges (ss, as) Otto Hardwicke (cl, as) Harry Carney (cl, as, bar) Duke Ellington (p) Fred Guy (g) Billy Taylor (b) Sonny Greer (d, ch):

“Diminuendo In Blue”.

The soloists are Cootie Williams, Harry Carney & Barney Bigard. — Duke’s piano and Billy Taylor’s bass play an interlude before you had to turn the disc around for the 2nd part of the piece:

“Crescendo In Blue”.

DE4645a-DiminuendoInBlue-Musicraft511(5765)The next version is incomplete, ’cause there was only time for the “Diminuendo” part at the Musicraft recording session on October 23, 1946, featuring the following line-up:

Shelton Hemphill, Taft Jordan, Francis Williams, Harold Baker (tp) Ray Nance (tp, vl, voc) Lawrence Brown, Wilbur De Paris, Claude Jones (tb) Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts) Russell Procope (cl, as) Johnny Hodges (as) Al Sears (ts) Harry Carney (cl, as, bar) Duke Ellington (p) Fred Guy (g) Oscar Pettiford (b) Sonny Greer (d, ch).

The two parts of the blues have found their ways in Ellington concerts and dance dates on numerous occasions; and from 1945 on, eitherKayDavis_DukeEllington_1948 “Rocks In My Bed”, “Carnegie Blues”, “I Got It Bad”, or, before Paul Gonsalves took charge, Duke’s impressionistic “Transblucency” with Kay Davis’ siren soprano served as interludes between the two parts.

Duke+Ellington+-+The+1953+Pasadena+Concert+-+LP+RECORD-590387The very first version with Paul’s “wailing interval” can be heard in yesterday’s post where he played already 23 chorusses (Birdland, NYC, June 30, 1951).

At this next complete rendition of “Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue” he certainly wasn’t in the mood for more than the seven, though quite hot-blooded chorusses he delivered here:

Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, CA, March 30, 1953, featuring Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry (tp) Ray Nance (tp, vl,voc) Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson,Juan Tizol (tb) Jimmy Hamilton (cl,ts) Russell Procope (cl, ss, as) Rick Henderson (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Harry Carney (cl, as, bar) Duke Ellington (p) Wendell Marshall (b) Butch Ballard (d) Jimmy Grissom (voc).

The above rhythm section obviously wasn’t tight enough for Señor Gonsalves’ most famous, though not longest ride of 27 chorusses at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 7, 1956:

“Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue”.

With the incomparable, indestructible, relentless beat of the mighty Sam Woodyard behind him, Paul could fly as far, and as long as he wanted.


The very last ‘live’ version of “Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue”, presented here, stems from the concert at the Théâtre de l’Alhambra, Paris, on October 28,

Clark Terry, Harold “Shorty” Baker, Cat Anderson (tp) Ray Nance (tp, vn) Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman, John Sanders (tb) Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts) Russell Procope (cl, as) Johnny Hodges (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Harry Carney (cl, bar, b-cl) Duke Ellington (p) Jimmy Woode (b) Sam Woodyard (d).

I think, those 20 chorusses provide a worthy last chord to this never ending theme of jazz:

The eternal blues à la Duke :)

Posted in All American Rhythm Section, Blues, Duke Ellington, It's been a ball!, Jazz History Lecture, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Madness, Paul Gonsalves, Saxophone | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments