In The Light Of A Recent Article At ‘Rifftides’: 3 X’s “HONEYSUCKLE ROSE”

This is a little playlist, I have once dedicated to our majesty, jazz blogger and record producer Ubu Roi from Switzerland. He was celebrating a Harry Carney Centennial at his beautiful blog.

I promised to post the full length jam session at Carnegie Hall which took place on January 16, 1938.

Some call this very concert with Benny Goodman, his orchestra, and many illustrious guest stars the pinnacle, the absolute zenith of the swing era; in my opinion it wasn’t exactly that, although it propelled not only BG & his men up to eternal stardom.

One result of the concert was, that many of Benny’s sidemen left the aggregation in 1938: Gene Krupa, Harry James, or Teddy Wilson, for starting their own successful careers, for freeing themselves from the “King of Swing’s” moods and attitudes.

The following playlist shall demonstrate how Fats Waller’s composition became – besides Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” – one of the most used (sometimes unfortunately also abused) vehicle for numerous jam sessions up to this very day.

We start the proceedings with an European rendition of the tune, recorded by an all star group in Paris, on April 28, 1937: COLEMAN HAWKINS & HIS ALL-STAR JAM BAND with Benny Carter (as/arr), André Ekyan (as), Alix Combelle & The Hawk (ts), Stephane Grapelli (p), Django Reinhardt (g), Eugene D’Hellemmes (b), and Tommy Benford (d).

This is a masterpiece, a stellar session in jazz history at all, and undoubtedly a model version of “Honeysuckle Rose”. Read more about this session HERE.

Then we have the 16:42 minute ride from Carnegie Hall with the line-up of Count Basie, Lester Young, the Count again, Buck Clayton, Johnny Hodges, the Count, Walter Page, Freddie Green, Gene Krupa, Harry Carney, Benny Goodman, Freddie Green, Harry James, again the Pres, Buck, and a collective finale.

Buck Clayton’s 3rd chorus, Harry Carney’s and Freddie Green’s chorusses are not on the original LP issue from the 1950’s.

Quotes from the liners of the Sony/CBS release of the complete concert:

The startling move by Goodman to signal rhythm guitarist Freddie Green to solo, is an illustration of insensitivity. Goodman’s ignorance is probably the culprit in creating this awkward moment. (…) A (guitar) soloist uses low action, while rhythm guitarists need high action (…). Freddie Green used the highest action of any guitarist in jazz history. To ask him to solo with the set-up his guitar had was a complete blunder! However, Freddie went about his business by chording his way through two choruses of unamplified guitar.

Turk Van Lake

(By the way: When Mr. Van Lake, also a guitarist, had the pleasure of playing with the King in 1962, BG pointed to him too, for a solo on … “Honeysuckle Rose”.)

Undoubtedly, the rarest material, with the biggest surprise(s), comes with the full-length version of “Honeysuckle Rose” from the Jam Session. Harry Carney’s baritone sax (…) solo is probably the Ellington reedman’s longest recorded solo up to that time. And that it’s guitarist Freddie Green’s longest solo ever is no surprise; it’s that the Basie rhythm teammate soloed at all.

Phil Shaap

Yours truly wrote at King Ubu’s blog:

When you listen very closely to the new CD you can hear some surging, then suddenly silenced applause, because Johnny Hodges stood up, and wanted to start his solo; but Buck hadn’t finished his speech yet, and went for another spin until the Rabbit took over finally.

Trumpeter Oran ‘Hot Lips’ Page comes next, respectively the sextet of clarinetist Edmond Hall with Benny Morton on trombone, Teddy Wilson at the piano, bassist Al Hall and Big Sid Catlett on drums. This has been recorded somewhere in New York City, on May 2, 1944.

You will find this rare track among other live recordings on the compilation Hot Lips Page – “Play The Blues In ‘B’ “

Quote from the liners to the LP:

It is Lips and the incomparable Teddy Wilson who make all the music in the Edmond Hall performances, and it is not to put down Ed Hall or Benny Morton whose work is always fine and to the point, but it’s Lips and Teddy who make you sit up a little straighter.

Frank Driggs

There is nothing to add, but: Have fun, and … listen!


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