FIVE ALMOST FORGOTTEN MEN WITH A BIG (HEART) BEAT — There weren’t only Jones, Krupa & Webb!

LionelStandTommingYes, Gene Krupa may have been the very first who played a drum solo on a recording, and he made – in his own words – “(…) the drummer a high-priced guy. (…)”; but he wasn’t the only drummer who’d gained wide recognition, and respect among his fellow musicians, the critics, and the fans.

Among the legion of great young drummers who started their careers during the swing era (1930’s) I picked five really outstanding cats of whom two are nearly forgotten today (listed in order of appearance):

Maurice “Moe” Purtill
Cozy Cole
Johnny Morris
Big Sid Catlett
… and … Lionel Hampton

(Blog owner’s side note: All their names are linked with their biographies on, and other sites; I strongly recommend every young drummer to browse this very site, especially to Marc & Ben from both my students combos!)


The first one, Moe Purtill, had burnt down Carnegie Hall on the very same night when Lionel Hampton was singin’ Benny Goodman’s greatest hit, but on the skins, not the vibes. Yes, Hamp was a fantastic drummer too, besides his circus two-finger piano style.

Cowbell, funny Wilhelm-Tell-quotes, and Hamp’s typical “yeah-yeah-yeah’s” included of course. This is quite an advanced version of “Sing Sing Sing” (Toots Mondello on alto!).

“Moonlight Serenade” follows “Bugle Call Rag”, which was Glenn’s last piece of his first and only set at Carnegie Hall on October 16, 1939, an anniversary concert for ASCAP. This concert featured four big bands: Fred Waring, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller.

The only sounds which (justifiably!) have survived were Benny’s and Glenn’s sets from that concert. — They are available on CD HERE & HERE, and of course on vinyl too.

CozyColeMore big, respectively tender (in this case) beats with William Randolph “Cozy” Cole, and the Cab Calloway Orchestra in a typical drummer showcase of the day, composed & arranged by Dizzy Gillespie, and entitled “Paradiddle” (ca. 1941?).

Cozy was the first drummer who got the chance to earwitness the bebop revolution practically (as a player) when he was asked to accompany Bird & Diz on their very first commercial studio date in 1945.

Johnny Morris will be next. — Who was Johnny Morris? He was the man behind the snare in Tony Pastor’s fun His big moment came always when Tony told him to “paradiddle-doodle all the day”. The title? “Paradiddle Joe”. I didn’t even know there was something like a double-, and a triple-paradiddle.

I started the playlist with a track from the 1939-concert at Carnegie Hall, and it will be closed with a number from the same evening. But the definitive highlight on this playlist are Sidney “Big Sid” Catlett’s solo, and accompaniment on “Sing Sing Sing”, and how he was making great musical history in 1941.

BennyGoodman_BigSidCatlett_LiveHere we have really interacting sax, clarinet & drums duets. This is a long track, taken from this fantastic LP-twofer (HERE), and I hope you’ll enjoy it despite the minor sound-distortions.


Cozy Cole (and Gene Krupa) can be heard and watched at this blog right HERE, and on many videos at YouTube too *).


*) … not this here:

COZY COLE with Coleman Hawkins (ts), “Little Jazz” Roy Eldridge (tp), Barry Galbraith (g; hey guitarists! Click on his name, and check him out!), Johnny Guarnieri (p), Milt Hinton (b) — Better don’t listen to the crappy announcer who thinks he has to ‘comment’ everything instead of just introducing the musicians, and then shut the … f@&X up!

P.S. — Maybe I will come back with some drumming swing ladies like Sheelagh Pearson later on …


Posted in Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings | 1 Comment


DizzyGillespie_Washington_1955Beside the lengthy “Afro Suite” on side 1, there is this wonderful version of “TIN TIN DEO” on the pictured LP.

If Dizzy, or anyone else had known what had happened the night before, in Pannonica de Koenigswarter’s apartment, on March 12, 1955, that Charlie Parker had left this planet for good, their program would have looked differently.CharlieParker_Obituary_MelodyMaker_March-19-1955

On the other hand, we had not the pleasure to listen to this wonderful music:

As a little addition to Doug Ramsey’s blog entry, re: Bird’s death, I’m posting the master take of “EMBRACEABLE YOU”, as played by the Charlie Parker Quintet on October 28, 1947 … which I can’t post at the moment because … ah, forget it!


Blog owner’s update: Mr. Ramsey has posted the 1st take of Bird’s “EMBRACEABLE YOU”, alas, the uploader of that “video” was obviously unable to find a non-reverbed version of this lovely track.

That’s why I looked a bit harder, and found the above; although my LP-transfer sounds much better (and not so loud), you will have to listen to the above.

Personnel, location & date: Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Duke Jordan (p) Tommy Potter (b) Max Roach (d) – WOR Studios, NYC, October 28, 1947.

Here’s “BIRD OF PARADISE” from the very same session; it’s a masterful variation of Jerome Kern’s “ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE”.


Posted in Anniversary, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

R.I.P. Master Trumpeter, Jazz Improvisor, Ellingtonian & Inspiring Educator CLARK TERRY (1920-2015)

Clark Terry & Thelonious Monk: "IN ORBIT" (1958)

Clark Terry & Thelonious Monk: “IN ORBIT” (1958)

This is a sad day for mankind because one of our greatest musical artists, and at the same time one of the kindest men on earth left the planet:

Mr. Clark Terry, * December 14, 1920, ✝ February 21, 2015.

He had the perfect trumpet approach, probably the best embouchure of all brass men.

He could play the fastest lines without showing any signs of effort, or that it was hard work what he did with the trumpet. And believe me: It was!

When I met him in Bonn, Germany, ’round 13 years ago, I brought along the pictured album, and he exclaimed: “Oh, they reissued it as a Monk record!” — It’s been actually a Terry record, Monk was only sideman, and therefore all originals but one are by Clark Terry (feel free to click on the pictured album): “Let’s Cool One”.

Clark Terry was cool, he was hip, and he was funny, all assets one would need to survive in this crazy world. — There are numerous videos at JazzTube, substantiating this claim:

Clark Terry Video Search (if anyone has problems with this link, please do it yourself ;)).

I don’t want to talk too much, because you will find everything else about Clark Terry on the mad, wild internet; there will be loads of obituaries at many jazz blogs, but none of them will post this playlist, featuring an accidental compilation with some of the greatest jazz trumpet sounds ever.

— As for Clark Terry’s position in the jazz league:

The man participated in more than 900 albums. ‘Nuff said, let’s play some music :)








– Please allow me an own quote: 

Dear Clark Terry — You gave us so much joy, and (not only trumpet) goals to go for. Without you, the world would be a very sad place.

You said something in one of Bret Primack’s documentaries which I will never forget. It has nothing to do with music. It’s a wise advice to all of us; and we would be inhuman fools, not to follow it:

“Be good to yourself, and try to be good to others. Particularly kids.”

Clark Terry - autograph



Posted in Clark Terry, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Jive, Kurt Weill, Obituary, Thelonious Monk, Tongue In Cheek, Trumpet | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Since (almost!) absolutely nothing will change, a re-re-re-repost: FOR SOME REASON MOSTLY ALL BUT *NOT* IN THE KEY OF ‘C’ a.k.a. COLOGNE CARNIVAL 2015

Oh yeah! — That’s all (as last year!) still very, very, I mean: Absolutely kinda like super-duuper-funny.

It’s actually just laughably-ridiculously deeelightful. …LOLL.

And so: Enjoy once again!

Carnivalesque Blues & Jazz Men

1. While We Danced At The Mardi GrasDick Robertson & His Orchestra (1937)
2. Carnival In CarolineJerry Kruger with Cootie Williams & His Rug Cutters (1938)
3. At The Clambake CarnivalCab Calloway & His Orchestra (1938)
4. Carnival Of VeniceHorace Heidt’s Musical Knights (1939)
5. Mardi Gras MadnessBarney Bigard, Rex Stewart, Jimmy Blanton & The Duke Of Ellington (1940)
6. Mardi Gras BoogieJoe Turner (?)
7. CarnivalArtie Shaw & His Orchestra (1942)
8. The Carnival Of VeniceHarry James & His Orchestra (1941)

I have substituted the crappy commercial mp3 of Mardi Gras Madness withHarryJames_Circle_LP_1941_a the much better sounding digitalized LP-track from my collection; and there is now a #8 on that playlist, namely Harry James’s The Carnival Of Venice from 1941, which is in my humble opinion definitely the best of all Venetian Carnivals he ever recorded, be it ‘live’ or in the studio.

I once had it on an old LP with a lot of reverb added. — Now, you have the chance to listen once again to this ultra-rare rendition, freshly transferred last night for your listening pleasure,

By yours truly,
Brewnival Lightissimus


Jerry Kruger, 1938

Folks, that’s Cootie with the Duke (*not* on that picture! – That’s Rex Stewart), and the wonderful Jerry Kruger who are celebrating their happy Carnival In C. Harry Carney blows it deeply too ;)

Okay, there are also some MG’s, namely the various Mardi Gras happenings, dancing, boogieing, and clambakeing for all our listening pleasure.

Barney Bigard, Rex Stewart, Jimmy Blanton & The Duke of Ellington (who are all jumpin’ in Mardi Gras Madness) have been extra purchased again by yours truly for this glorious occasion (it’s in the key of D-flat by the Dukish way!).

‘Hot Lips’ Page is plunging Artie’s carnival party in a kind that the syrupy strings are quickly forgotten, aren’t they?

Cheers, will say: Kölle (still in 2015) am Arsch!

The below is the Bruno-Leicht-quadruple-feature, meaning:

I’m (forever!) all 4 U, 4 da bloose, 4 da blue, 4 da bloozy-boozy-brewzy blues ;)

Posted in Big Band Vocalist, Blogging is swell!, Carnival, Delikatessen...LOLL., Etymology, Exoticism, It's been a ball!, It's gonna be a ball, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Madness, Mardi Gras, Swing Era | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

ROY ELDRIDGE & GENE KRUPA – “SAINT LOUIS BLUES” – Two exciting takes from December 1942


GeneKrupa_1942-1943_Fanfare_aYou don’t wanna know how those two tracks sounded before I laid my hands on them and erased the umpteen clicks, pops, blops, and last but not least before I corrected their pitches.

As far as I know – and believe me, I do! – the “SAINT LOUIS BLUES” is in G. In its initial form, as composer William Christopher Handy intended it to begin, this blues got a prefix in g-minor: A tango rhythm sets the mood.

Hear the original “SAINT LOUIS BLUES”, as recorded by its composer W. C. Handy & His Orchestra in 1923.

No tango *here*. Just two neckbreaking, super-speedy swing rides by the most exuberant, the most expressive, the most passionate trumpeter & vocalist of the swing era, by Mr. “Little Jazz” Roy Eldridge.

He invented this only-trumpet-bass ‘n’ drums thing, and named it “strolling”. Aha! I wonder how it was going for a car ride with Roy ;)

Once again: I wished I was there. You will too.

Enjoy it!

— Personnel, locations & dates:

Roy Eldridge (tp, vcl) Mickey Mangano, Norman Murphy, Al Beck (tp) Greg Phillips (tb) Tommy Pederson (tb, arr) Babe Wagner (tb) Wilbur Schwartz (cl, as) Ben Feman (as) Jimmy Migliori, Don Brassfield (ts) Rex Kittig (bar) Joe Springer (p) Teddy Walters (g) Ed Mihelich (b) Gene Krupa (d) Leroy Elton Hill (arr).

#1: Radio broadcast, “Hollywood Palladium”, Los Angeles, December 20, 1942 (on Fanfare LP44-144).

#2, filed under “I’D RATHER SLEEP IN A HOLLOW LOG”: Broadcast, “Spotlight Bands”, March Field, CA, December 25, 1942 (on Fanfare LP 10-110).

P.S. — I’m not sure who was on tenor. It could as well have been Charlie Ventura (introduced by one announcer on several broadcasts as “Venturo”), but he officially joined the Gene Krupa Orchestra a few weeks later, ’round January 9, 1943.

Well, I’m certain it ain’t Caruso ;)Little-Jazz_Roy-Eldridge_1940-s

“Thanks a swingin’ load, Little Jazz!”

Posted in 1942, Blues, Gene Krupa, It's been a ball!, Jazz History Lecture, Jive, Roy Eldridge, Swing Era, Trumpet, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More “Little Jazz” ROY ELDRIDGE with GENE KRUPA & HIS ORCHESTRA – “ROCKIN’ CHAIR” – Restored Air Check from October 1941

GeneKrupa_AirChecks_1938-1942_aNow, there are two complete ‘live’ renditions of Roy Eldridge’s famous trumpet flight on “ROCKIN’ CHAIR” on the, err, “market”.

The initial performance has been recorded off the air on June 7, 1941 and got subsequently released by the “Merritt Record Society”, then rereleased on the Swedish “PHONTASTIC” label.

This track however has been privately grabbed off the air by a jazz fan on October 3, 1941, a ‘live’ broadcast from the Hollywood Palladium, and there are two major skips and some other minor distortions on the original track, released on “Fanfare” (see pictured album).

— Blog owner’s sarcasm: Oh yeah, one of those “you’ll-never-know-how-it’s-gonna-sound” Fanfare LP’s, #10-110, entitled “Gene Krupa – Featuring Roy Eldridge & Anita O’Day – Air Checks 1938 through 1942″.

Since Roy played similar phrases at those particular spots, I simply had to insert the missing beats/ bars by copying & pasting them from the earlier performance.


P.S. — Roy’s breathtaking rendition of “SAINT LOUIS BLUES” from the very same album will follow soon. — And so: Stay tuned for more!RoyEldridge_Colorized

Posted in 1941, Blogging is swell!, Dedication, Delikatessen...LOLL., Gene Krupa, Hoagy Carmichael, It's been a ball!, It's gonna be a ball, October, Roy Eldridge, Swing Era, Trumpet, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“AN IDENTIFYING JOHNNY HODGES MEDLEY”, said the Duke of Ellington at Carnegie Hall, on December 27, 1947

DukeEllington_CarnegieHall_1947_aThe experts among you will immediately think: ‘Why, for heaven’s sake, did Brew take this medley as the first sound example from the very concert where the Duke and his men performed “LIBERIAN SUITE” for the very first time?’

Well, dear readers, I have three quite simple reasons, that’s why.

1st of all: Those seven minutes of beautiful altosaxophone “beyond categories” alone would justify the posting of this track.

2nd: The first title of this medley is “WANDERLUST” (initially recorded by a small group ’round Mr. Hodges in 1938, then performed on the soprano sax), which is originally German; it means something like “itchy feet”, “desire to wander”, or “the travel bug”.Johnny_Hodges_and_Al_Sears,_Aquarium,_New_York,,_ca._Nov._1946_(William_P._Gottlieb_04191)

And so, I’m quite proud that a black American jazz musician expressed his nostalgic emotions by borrowing a German word, and that only two years after the war.

The 3rd reason is, that this medley sounds still fresh today, and it must have inspired the Duke who shouted a 2nd of two clearly audible “Yeah’s!” after an especially tricky phrase by the master saxophonist Johnny “The Rabbit” Hodges.

As I said at JazzTube already: Go for the vinyl, and try to get as many of those wonderful mid-to-end-1940’s Carnegie Hall Concerts by Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra. They are loaded with outstanding Ellingtonian music, and the sound was – as you can hear – mostly pretty well recorded.

A Johnny Hodges Medley: “Wanderlust”/ “Junior Hop”/ “Jeep’s Blues”/ “Jeep’s Jumpin'”/ “Squatty Roo”/ “The Mood To Be Wooed” – Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, featuring Johnny Hodges on altosax, Carnegie Hall, NYC, December 27, 1947.

And now, sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Posted in Blues, Carnegie Hall, Christmas, December, Dedication, Duke Ellington, Etymology, Exoticism, Film Noir, Germans, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Jive, Johnny Hodges, Poetry, Portrait, Saxophone, Sonny Greer, Tongue In Cheek, Winter, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,