Belated Happy 100th Birthday, Harry James!

You’re a great inspiration, nevertheless, you made many of us trumpeters sound like amateurs. There was never, and there will never be another you.

Although your label Columbia treated your enormous and hit-loaded recorded output between 1938 & 1954 like shit when they subsequently reissued only a handful of your works (electronic echo included!), you just went straight to Capitol, did a whole lot of fantastic albums and made them CBS-folks cry.

They didn’t deserve anything else, the poor sods.

Harry James: You were unique, one of a kind, a hell of a trumpeter.

Long live your great sounds!

Thanks for your wonderful jazz, and your lovely schmaltz too.

LIFE GOES TO A PARTY – Harry James, Buck Clayton (tp) Eddie Durham (tb) Earl Warren (as) Jack Washington (as, bar) Herschel Evans (ts) Jess Stacy (p) Walter Page (b) Jo Jones (d) – 1937

SING, SING, SING – Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin (tp) Red Ballard, Vernon Brown (tb) Benny Goodman (cl) Hymie Schertzer, George Koenig (as) Arthur Rollini, Babe Russin (ts) Jess Stacy (p) Allen Reuss (g) Harry Goodman (b) Gene Krupa (d) – Carnegie Hall, NYC, January 16, 1938

ROLL ‘EM PETE – Harry James And The Boogie Woogie Trio: Harry James (tp) Pete Johnson (p) Johnny Williams (b) Eddie Dougherty (d) – December 30, 1938

To be continued … got some teaching to do in a minute😉

Posted in Anniversary, Birthday Party, Carnegie Hall, Harry James, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Swing Era, Trumpet

HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS with Judy, Whitney & Ol’ Blue Eyes, with Nat, Bird & Bill & with Long Tall Dexter

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

BREW LITE’s 4 BLUE YULE-ITES — A SWINGIN’ CHRISTMAS @THE RECORD STORE

Kommet zuhauf!

Brews_Nunk_Gig

— Before that, get inspired by the Gene Ammons/ Tom Archia Quintet and their ultimate Christmas tenorsax battle on “SWINGIN’ FOR XMAS” a.k.a. “JAMMIN’ FOR SANTA”.

Gene Ammons, Tom Archia (ts) Christine Chatman (p) Leroy Jackson (b) Wesley Landers (d) – October 12, 1948

[youtube https://youtu.be/5NrIZTM8JFI&w=370&h=265]
Posted in 1948, Christmas Jazz 2015 | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Bebop trumpeter HOWARD McGHEE: “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out”

Trumpeter Howard McGhee, among young jazz adepts unjustly almost forgotten today, was a reliable man if you’re following his steadily flowing recorded output between 1942 & 1948, which were the heydays of the bebop era.

And ‘Maggie’, so his nickname in musicians’ circles, was in the middle of it all.

He was not phrasing as “mathematically” like his great successor and friend Theodore ‘Fats’ Navarro, or the next in the line, Clifford Brown, affectionately called ‘Brownie’ by his friends and fans, but he could express his ideas as fast, and as eloquently as the two other trumpet geniuses. For me, he is the stylistic link between Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, rooting deeper in the swing tradition than Fats & Brownie who were straight ahead boppers quasi from the start.

Here is one of his earliest solo features, and since he was also a distinguished composer, he is performing his own tune “McGhee Special” with Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds Of Joy, recorded in NYC on July 14, 1942. — This is a brilliant ride, starting in F, then modulating to D-flat for even more furiously swingin’ trumpet fireworks:

This very modulation is the same like at Count Basie’s “One O’Clock Jump” and its rip-off “Two O’Clock Jump” by Harry James, and it may be that the latter’s artistic trumpet acrobatics made a big impact on young Howard McGhee who has the same vibrato like Harry when he finishes his phrases.

As for the title of this short entry (you will find quite a lot of information about ‘Maggie’ on the internet), it’s important to know that the trumpeter was one of the first who had a regular gig in a white big band, namely that of Charlie Barnet.

As far as I know are there no recordings, featuring the boppin’ bugler with Barnet, but this story I’ve found by chance, should tell you enough about the problems, that brave black American brass men like ‘Little Jazz’ Roy Eldridge (Gene Krupa & Artie Shaw), Oran ‘Hot Lips’ Page (Artie Shaw), Charlie Shavers (Tommy Dorsey) & Herbert Lee “Peanuts” Holland (‘Maggie’s’ predecessor in Charlie Barnet’s orchestra) had to face when it came to hotel reservations, entering ballrooms via the main entrance, or being served in restaurants:

Trumpeter Howard McGhee’s Endless Journey into the Worcester Night by Chet Williamson.

‘Maggie’ participated in two legendary recording sessions with Charlie Parker, one with a disastrous interlude (and a triumphant finish for McGhee), and the other, featuring some of the most concentrated and creative works I’ve ever heard by any jazz group.

Most of you may know the tragic version of “Lover Man”, performed by Charlie Parker when he was in very bad shape, but not many are aware of the two outstanding numbers, recorded by Howard McGhee on the same date with the same band, after Bird was gone: “Trumpet At Tempo” (“Indiana”) & “Thermodynamics” (a.k.a. “Trumpet In Spades” by Duke Ellington). This happened in Hollywood, on July 29, 1946.

The outcome of the 2nd date on February 26, 1947 was more than just satisfactory, it was an absolute highlight in the careers of all participants: Charlie Parker (who contributed two brand new compositions, the utterly complicated blues in C-major, “Relaxin’ At Camarillo”, and the lesser known, easier blues in E-flat, “Carvin’ The Bird”), Wardell Gray, alongside Dexter Gordon the first boppin’ tenor man, Howard McGhee, who penned “Cheers” and “Stupendous”, pianist Dodo Marmarosa, who comprovised the ultra-modern intro to “Relaxin’ At Camarillo” on the spot (it sounds actually 10 years ahead of its time), the imaginative Barney Kessel on guitar, bassist Red Callender & Don Lamond on drums.

Here come the master takes of “Relaxin’ At Camarillo”, “Cheers”, “Carvin’ The Bird” & “Stupendous”, and a couple of more tracks in a row:

Our today’s hero, Mr. Howard McGhee, may have the last word. The track stems from one of his later recordings, “Maggie’s Back In Town”, a through and through lovely LP, containing solid, slightly modalized bebop sounds by a wiser Howard McGhee in his best years.

Howard McGhee (tp) Phineas Newborn, Jr. (p) Leroy Vinnegar (b) Shelly Manne (d) – Contemporary Records, Los Angeles, CA June 26, 1961.

Posted in 1942, 1946, 1961, Avantgarde, Bebop, Dedication, Howard McGhee | Tagged , , , , , , ,

RE: TERROR ATTACKS IN PARIS — WE WILL DEFEND LIBERTY, EQUALITY & FRATERNITY

There is a war going on. We musicians can only blow louder, and harder. Music is our weapon. For us, there is no other way.

Paris is everywhere. We are all Parisians today. Let’s fight those terrorist lowlives!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6ppZxDkc5o&w=270&h=165] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zgAgxJ5nDA&w=270&h=165]
Posted in Jazz Stories & Tales | Tagged ,

Updated: THE GENIUS OF ART FARMER & “THE SAD EYES OF JOHANNA SÄLLSTRÖM”

ART FARMEROne of my favorite trumpet, respectively flugelhorn albums is To Sweden With Love (1964) by the Art Farmer Quartet, starring Jim Hall on guitar, Steve Swallow on acoustic bass, and the late Pete LaRoca on drums (Pete left us on November 19, 2012).

Now, what have the sad eyes of Johanna Sällström to do with this album? — I was kinda shocked when I learned during the 2nd week of our Easter Holidays (2013) that “Linda Wallander”, respectively Johanna Sällström had committed suicide as early as 2007. I’ve enjoyed watching her in some of Henning Mankell’s “Wallander’s” on German TV recently, and so I eventually looked her up, and learned the sad story.

JohannaSällström

She was such a talented actress, a real Swedish shooting star. But before I knew about her untimely passing, it didn’t escape my notice that there was a deep melancholy in her expression, in her way of acting as Wallander’s daughter (Johanna Sällström participated in 13 episodes of Wallander between 2005 and 2006).

Some days later I had an inspiration for a dedication piece for Johanna, a slow waltz which I entitled “The Sad Eyes Of Johanna Sällström” (pictured below). If Art Farmer were still alive, I would have gladly handed it over to him; because, when I wrote this little melody in F minor, the sound, the overall atmosphere of “To Sweden With Love” resonated in my inner ear. — My subconsciousness has also added bits, or rather remote remembrances of Solveig’s Song by Edvard Grieg (although he was Norwegian).

I will provide the sound to the notes as soon as I find the time to make a recording (OK, you see, although we played it quite often, it needed some time to load it up).

[youtube https://youtu.be/m3uApABF5rs&w=470&h=365]

Now, just enjoy what my dear fellow jazz blogger Doug Ramsey called “a masterpiece”: “De Salde Sina Hemman” (“They Sold Their Homestead”). — What I love at this particular track is the inner fire, the passion of Art Farmer’s sound, and the congenial accompaniment of the “rhythm section”. It’s all so beautifully balanced, and it sounds so seemingly simple and effortless.

I could tirelessly listen to it again, and again.

Hope you will sympathize with my enthusiasm.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP1dqSI7XIk&w=420&h=315]

TheSadEyesOfJohannaSaellstroem_LEAD

Posted in Dedication, Jazz Waltz, Loneliness, Love, Sadness, Tsunami | Tagged , , , ,

Lovely LENA HORNE, my starting page when I’m going online…

LovelyLenaHorneFor privacy reasons I have erased the logo of my computer, and some other details.

Anyway, that’s what I see when I’m opening my browser: A youthful, a sparkling-eyed Lena Horne whose “HONEYSUCKLE ROSE” (1943) got indexed because sexy Lena stressed the word “suckle” slightly too sultry😉

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4P-AjWWEm0&w=370&h=265]

Well, she may not have been the jazziest of the song birdies, but she had guts.

She spent her whole life in stormy weathers, politically spoken, and this was also her signature song, which she delivered here as no one else could❤

[youtube https://youtu.be/QCG3kJtQBKo&w=470&h=365]
Posted in Great American Songbook, Jazz Stories & Tales, World War II | Tagged , , ,