Here’s the REAL PRESident, playing his tune “Detention Barracks Blues” a.k.a. “D. B. Blues”. — Lester Young (ts) Oscar Peterson (p) Herb Ellis (g) Ray Brown (b) J. C. Heard (d) – Bushnell Memorial Auditorium, Hartford, Connecticut, May 1953:
In many ways better than the mad man’s twittering:
Since we are living in grim times where some parody of a president is twittering confused messages nearly every hour, I’m daring to post this parody of one of the most famous war memorials of all times:
Please remember: This is all in fun, OuKay?! — The photo on the bottom was shot by yours truly during the Summer trip of the Cologne Music College Big Band to the USA in 1986.
The Duke Ellington Orchestra performs The Star Spangled Banner with verve and drive, and Sonny Greer’s snare work is witty and groovy. The last chord is pure jazz: it’s Db-major with an added sixth. Just grandiose, Dukish grandezza so to speak.
I always wanted to post this rare gem, an original autograph of the wonderful, of the inimitable, the one and only Oran ‘Hot Lips’ Page!
‘Hot Lips’ was an eager, and very busy after-hours jam session-ite. He played in various settings, with today mostly unknown cats (except the ones on the golden cover, of course!) at Minton’s Playhouse, at Monroe’s Uptown Hall, or at Jerry Newman’s apartment, and other joints, just for his and everybody’s fun.
‘Hot Lips’ was a joyful trumpeter with a big tone, directly influenced by Louis Armstrong. Most commercial studio dates don’t reflect his daring trumpet excursions; they rarely let you hear adequately how he really sounded. — He sometimes went to the extreme, as the following great interpretation of I Got Rhythm from 1940 shows.
This music can be already labeled “free jazz”, but on chord changes. Very interesting is ‘Hot Lips’ Page’s unexpected use of a well known bebop phrase of which I always thought it had been invented by Dizzy Gillespie, or Fats Navarro.
Be warned in advance, ’cause this is a very mad chase on Gershwin’s old warhorse! — Herbie Fields plays the crazy tenorsax, and Donald Lambert can be heard with a rather wild stride piano. — As it is stated in Dan Morgenstern’s very informative LP liners, ‘Hot Lips’ plays with the soft trumpet leather case pulled over the bell of the trumpet throughout the session; he did that for avoiding complaints of the neighbors.
The track was recorded during a party in Jerry Newman’s apartment. He had a portable disc recorder, a rare thing in the early 1940’s. Have a closer listening to Oran’s very last sound of the 1st solo: He blew it only on the mouthpiece!
Some chicks in the audience are responding with orgiastic cheers:
It features Artie Shaw’s super smooth, but nevertheless very bluesy clarinet, and ‘Hot Lips’ is not only playing a splendid trumpet solo during the last third of the piece, he also sings the requiem in his own, grief-stricken rough way, backed by trumpeter Max Kaminsky. Listen to the orchestra too, how groovy they’re responding to the powerful bugle calls.
Georgie Auld, Johnny Guarnieri, and Ray Conniff can be heard with brief solos on tenorsax, piano, and trombone. — The very famous, two-part chart, penned by an unknown arranger in two different tempos, was recorded for Victor Bluebird in New York, on November 12, 1941.
Blog owner’s note:
This post was a work in progress, and so, you may have found the promised links, and other alterations.
For framing also the bottom of the picture with yet more music (it has been sent to me as a gift by a very good Canadian friend from a still very swinging big band forum), here’s one of meanwhile numerous YouTube videos, which are playing original shellacks of justifiably very proud owners. — Well, this can be quite a painful experience sometimes, but not in this case.
Go, get some gin, and enjoy!
Blog owner’s 2nd note: As I said above, this article was a – now completed – work in progress 🙂
“As for the photo: I really believe it is a portion of a larger photograph of a jam session at Jimmy Ryan’s (circa 1942 or so) and I would bet money that the complete photograph is by Charles Peterson and is in either SWING ERA NEW YORK or EDDIE CONDON’S SCRAPBOOK OF JAZZ.
I believe the guitarist is Jack Bland. The tenorist is probably Kenneth Hollon. The altoist is definitely Pete Brown, and I am fairly sure it is Kaminsky.
In Düsseldorf’s commons (Uni Mensa in German), in 1986, Chet arrived one hour delayed. He was announced there with his fine trio, featuring guitarist Philip Catherine and bassist Jean Louis Rassinfosse who played a half-acoustic bass.
The George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet – which was supposed to do its set after Chet – did the first half of the concert. This was power jazz with the wonderful Danny Richmond on drums and Cameron Brown on bass. I only remember their energy.
Then came Chet … in sandals, looking like a monk, to put it nicely. He blew a few notes into the mike, stopped abruptly, put the mike to his mouth and then he yelled, in a sudden outburst: “It’s too loud!” — I don’t know what the engineer behind the desk did, but it was obviously okay then and the concert began.
It was great! What a sound, what an inspiring evening. The forceful, almost violent jazz of George Adams was soon forgotten, it just had squibbed into the air. Do I remember particular tunes? Yes, only one: Chet’s interesting, kinda funky version of Cole Porter’s Love For Sale. But what I clearly remember was an all in all good mood when I left the place of the event.
One year later, in Cologne’s now demolished jazz club Subway: Chet was supposed to do two evenings there. This time with a quartet, he only performed on the second, the Saturday night gig.
I don’t know exactly who was in there but I guess it were those guys: Harold Danko on piano, Rocky Knauer on bass, and John Engels was behind the drums.
The band seemed to be stoned which didn’t seem to bother Chet. He was more worried about his horn which apparently didn’t work properly. There he sat, helplessly pushing the jammed valves, then he eventually grabbed the mike and asked something like:
“Some trumpet player around?” I was seated right in front of him and said: “Yes!” Since the great Chet Baker intended to play on my trumpet, I fetched it from the checkroom and handed it over to him.
He took it, looked at it, and counted: “One, two, three, four!” into a very fast and boppish Conception, George Shearing’s masterpiece, a tune as closely connected to Miles Davis as it was to Chet Baker.
He played it in the key of C, that’s what I remember. After the last note, Chet waved my trumpet over his head, smiled at me in a sardonic way while he was pretending to bung the horn in some corner. I was quite shocked, but of course got the joke in the same second. This was my first real instrument, a Getzen Capri but with a little hole in the middle tube.
What do I remember yet? He played the rest of the concert on his own horn and … kept my valve oil. When I arrived later at home I found it gone. Chet Baker, a thief!
During the break, I talked to him a little bit, a short chat with Chet so to speak, and asked him if he had time for giving me a mornings lesson. He only said: “That would be kinda lesson!” …I was satisfied.
Then I talked to pianist Harold Danko. I had brought sheet music to the concert, one of my own compositions in the style of Chet, unaware of the fact that he was a lousy sight reader. Mr. Danko understood my request for plugging an own tune; but then he told me that Chet hardly even played new tunes of his own band members because he was simply too lazy for doing rehearsals. And so I took my sheet and just enjoyed the second set.
Well, of course a very moving and tearfully sung My Funny Valentine, Chet’s silent announcement that this would be his last concert in Cologne, and again a very fast number in the key of C, Charlie Parker’s Cool Blues. This time with Chet’s complete solo and not the edited version from the concert with Bird’s quintet in the University of Oregon, on November 5, 1953, where a moron had just chopped off Chet’s solo; and so we can only hear brief glimpses with Chet during a couple of chase chorusses with Shelly Manne.
Now, the title of my tune which would have fit perfectly to Chet’s style: Out Of The Window …I called it that way because I was leaning out of the window when that very line came into my prophetic mind.
I’m a bit sad that Chet Baker never got to know any of my compositions. But you can believe me: I’m very relieved at the very same time that he never played that one!
P.S. #1 — Influences on Chet Baker – A superficial overview
I’m not completely sure about Chet’s musical roots, but I’m certain that he had listened a lot to the big bands, to the “Great American Songbook” as delivered by Tommy Dorsey, or Glenn Miller.
Harry James was one of his influences too. One can hear that on his early recordings with Gerry Mulligan’s quartet. He still had quite a vibrato there.
His main influence was of course Miles Davis, but technically and rhythmically he was definitely inspired by Charlie Parker whose harmonic and melodic language he had quasi eaten up.
Many folks claim that Chet lacked technique. The same fellows, mostly critics, also say that about Miles. But I, as an enthused trumpet colleague, can tell you: Both guys had chops and knew how to handle their horns! — Miles and Chet reflected the new style, a certain coolness which stemmed directly from Lester Young who was another big influence.
P.S. #2 — Chet has the last word with a complete concert video. That’s how I remember him: Strong, direct & humorous.
ⓒ Bruno Leicht
Cologne, May 13, 2008 (Edited & updated by the author on May 14, 2013; and on December 23, 2014)
Quote: “On 30 June 1932, Don Redman and His Orchestra made the first wholly instrumental recording of “I Got Rhythm” – an early example of many black musicians’ tendency to omit Ira Gershwin’s lyrics.”
… but not only was it the initial instrumental jazz version of George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm, it was the very first big band chart at all, sporting three trombones instead of the then common two.
The brilliant, super-modern trombone solo is blown by Benny Morton, it’s either Rupert Cole or Red Inge on clarinet (who said that only Artie Shaw was able to play glissandi?), Robert Carroll can be heard on tenorsax, and the forgotten Bob Ysaguirre does the slap-happy & utterly virtuoso bass pluckin’, in exchange with the three trombones of Benny Morton, Claude Jones and Fred Robinson who got prominently featured.
Although he does not solo, it should be mentioned that Fletcher’s brother Horace Henderson plays piano, alongside Manzie Johnson on drums.
By the way, Don Redman’s exquisite chart was played during the same broadcast as Ivie Anderson’s & Duke Ellington’s “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm” from my recent article.
Since I’ve lost the cassette tape with the broadcast from 1979, I can only wildly presume here, but I guess that Mr. Burkhardt filled the 30 minutes from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with various early renditions of “I Got Rhythm”.
Now, before I play the track for you, dear readers, it’s Mr. Gershwin himself who has the very first word: I GOT RHYTHM(with explanations by the composer).
And here comes Don Redman & His Orchestra with I GOT RHYTHM, as recorded in NYC, on June 30, 1932.
P.S. — More, but actual footage with George Gershwin, playing “I Got Rhythm” in August 1931:
"Aha! -- In the year fourteen-ninety-two Columbus sailed 'ver the ocean, blue. -- What'd I say?"
A JAZZ SUMMIT MEETING IN COLOGNE
On the way to the next gig...
A musician with knowledge, wit, chutzpah, humour. Bruno Leicht’s blog is an inspiration for every jazz fan. Great mixture of historical panorama, expertise, far-out finds, and above all, an always palpable love for jazz. Big cheers!
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