Friday, November 21, 2014

Cutting Contest

With a street date of 9 December, 2014, a new  
200 gram vinyl pressing and an SACD of the album Masterpieces by Ellington are being released, mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound. Here is a little film about the audio engineer:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

San Remo, 1964

Concert, Teatro Ariston 
San Remo Jazz Festival, Italy - March 22 1964
Rolf Ericson(t); Lawrence Brown(tb);  Johnny Hodges(as); 
Paul Gonsalves(ts); Harry Carney(cl,bcl,as,bar); 
Duke Ellington(p);Gilbert Rovere(sb); Sam Woodyard(d)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Concerted Cootie

About this time of the rolling year - as the anniversary of the famous dance at the Crystal Ballroom, Fargo, North Dakota falls, thoughts turn to the fact that days before this occasion, Cootie Williams left the Duke Ellington orchestra for Benny Goodman's.During this time, Cootie also played as part of the Benny Goodman Sextet and, briefly in this setting with Charlie Christian. Here, by way of reminiscence of that period when 'Cootie left the Duke' is an air shot of the Goodman sextet and, for the record, a list of the sides Cootie made with the full Goodman band.

The Benny Goodman Sextet Fields Requests on 'America in Swingtime'

This WNYC American Music Festival program from February 19, 1941 captures the Benny Goodman Sextet in a rare and wonderful moment. 
This sextet represents Goodman pretty close to his prime, featuring the brief, golden collaboration with Charlie Christian. What's even more valuable is that it documents Cootie Williams's time with the band. Williams had just left Duke Ellington and within the year would start his own group. The rest of the band consists of George Auld (saxophone), Artie Bernstein (bass), Johnny Guarnieri (piano), and Dave Tough (drums). 
We come upon the band just as they're finishing a rendition of "Rose Room." The host, Ralph Burton, prompts Benny to play something "from the old days." He obliges with "Flying Home," featuring Charlie Christian's innovative electric guitar. There's a little awkward interplay as Burton requests "a blues," but is tongue-tied when Goodman wants to know in what key.  Williams then launches into one of his great growling solos. Next, Burton requests "a pop tune" and the band plays "The Sheik of Araby." Then Goodman  announces, "Georgy Auld wants to play a little bit of 'Body and Soul' all by himself." Burton praises Swing as "the folk music of America's cities." Finally, the sextet takes us home with a rousing version of "Gone With What Wind?" As the outro music swells, Burton thanks the King of Swing for dropping by and pronounces his group "the real McCoy."

The above quotations and the image of the audio player are taken from the WNYC website. It isn't possible to embed the performance of Cootie Williams with the benny Goodman sextet but click on the link below to be taken to the original site.
America in Swingtime: Benny Goodman Sextet with Cootie Williams

And here is a discography complete with all the sides Cootie recorded with the full Goodman band 1940-41, the seventy-fourth anniversary of their first session falling a week Thursday.

All these sides are available in Mosaic Records' The Columbia and Okeh Benny Goodman Orchestra Sessions.

Benny Goodman and his Orchestra with Cootie Williams
Jimmy Maxwell, Irving Goodman, Alec Fila, Cootie Williams (tp), Lou McGarity, Red Gingler (tb), 
Benny Goodman (cl), Gus Bivona, Skip Martin, (as), Bob Snyder (as, bari), Georgie Auld, Jack Henderson 
(ts), Fletcher Henderson –1, Bernie Leighton –2 (p), Mike Bryan (g), Artie Bernstein (b), Harry Jaeger (d).
        NYC, November 13, 1940
CO 29064-5  Henderson Stomp (FH-arr) –1   previously unissued
XCO 29065-3  Benny Rides Again (ES-arr) –2   BD T-1009 (LP)
XCO 29065-1  Benny Rides Again (ES-arr) –2   Col 55001 (12” 78)
Henderson Stomp 2:23
 (Fletcher Henderson) 

Benny Rides Again 4:40
 (Eddie Sauter) 

Benny Rides Again (alt tk.-3) (N) 4:58
 (Eddie Sauter) 

Cutty Cutshall (tb) replaces Gingler. 
      NYC, November 29, 1940
CO 29179-2  Frenesi (FH-arr)  Col 35863
Note: According to the AFM logs and Columbia ledgers, there are 3 trumpets at this session
with Cootie Williams replacing Irving Goodman on Frenesi only. 
Frenesi (2:51
 (A. Dominguez-L. Whitcup)

NYC, December 18, 1940
XCO 29256-2  Superman (ES-arr)    Col PG 33405 (LP)
XCO 29256-3  Superman (ES-arr)    Col GL 523 (LP) / previously unissued
XCO 29256-1  Superman (ES-arr)    Col 55002 (12” 78)
CO 29258-3  Moonlight On The Ganges (ES-arr)   BD T-1004 (LP)
CO 29258-2  Moonlight On The Ganges (ES-arr)   previously unissued
CO 29258-1  Moonlight On The Ganges (ES-arr)   Phon (Sd) 7612 (LP)
Note: Composites of matrices CO 29256-3 (from the start of the record toward the end of Cootie 
Williams’ solo) and -1 (from Georgie Auld’s solo to the end of the record) were spliced together to 
form the release on the Columbia LP Benny Goodman Presents Arrangements By Eddie 
Sauter (GL 523). The previously unissued material from -3 starts at Georgie Auld’s solo.
Composites of matrices CO 29258-3 (from the start of the record through the first half of Benny’s solo) 
and -1 (from the second half of Benny’s solo to the end of the record) were spliced together for a 
“new” take on that same Columbia LP.
Blu-Disc T-1004 incorrectly states -4 as the take that was used for Moonlight On The Ganges.
Superman 4:31
 (Eddie Sauter) 

Superman (alt tk.-2) 4:33    
 (Eddie Sauter) 

Superman (alt tk.-3) 4:34    
 (Eddie Sauter) 

Moonlight On The Ganges (-1) 3:10 

Moonlight On The Ganges (-3) 3:10

Moonlight On The Ganges (-2) 3:13

Fletcher Henderson (p) replaces Leighton for this title only from this session.
NYC, December 20, 1940
CO 29275-3  Somebody Stole My Gal (FH-arr)  BD T-1009 (LP)
CO 29275-1  
Somebody Stole My Gal (FH-arr)  Col 35916
Somebody Stole My Gal 2:46
 (Leo Wood)
Somebody Stole My Gal (alt tk.-3) 2:53
 (Leo Wood)  
 Jimmy Maxwell, Irving Goodman, Alec Fila (tp), Cootie Williams (tp, vcl), Lou McGarity, 
Cutty Cutshall (tb), Benny Goodman (cl), Gus Bivona, Skip Martin, Bob Snyder (as), Georgie Auld, 
Jack Henderson (ts), Teddy Wilson (p), Mike Bryan (g), Artie Bernstein (b), Dave Tough (d).
          NYC, January 14, 1941
CO 29502-2  Let The Door Knob Hitcha (CW-vcl) (MG-arr)   Phon (Sd) 7612 (LP)
CO 29502-3  Let The Door Knob Hitcha (CW-vcl) (MG-arr)   BD T-1009 (LP)
CO 29502-1  Let The Door Knob Hitcha (CW-vcl) (MG-arr)  Col 35962
Let The Door Knob Hitcha 3:05
 (M. Gibson-B. Goodman) 

Let The Door Knob Hitcha (alt tk.-2) 3:05   
 (M. Gibson-B. Goodman) 

Let The Door Knob Hitcha (alt tk.-3) 3:04
 (M. Gibson-B. Goodman)
Hymie Schertzer (as) replaces Martin and Count Basie (p) replaces Wilson. 
        NYC, January 21, 1941
CO 29529-4  I’m Not Complainin’ (ESa-arr)   previously unissued
CO 29529-2  I’m Not Complainin’ (ESa-arr)   Phon (Sd) 7612 (LP)
CO 29529-1  I’m Not Complainin’ (ESa-arr)   Col 36022
Skip Martin (as) and Teddy Wilson (p) replace Schertzer and Basie.
        same session
CO 29530-1  Time On My Hands (ES-arr)   Col 36180
 I’m Not Complainin’ 2:30
 (E. Sampson-A. Stillman)
I’m Not Complainin’ (alt tk.-4) 2:30
 (E. Sampson-A. Stillman)  

I’m Not Complainin’ (alt tk.-2) 2:30
 (E. Sampson-A. Stillman) 
 Time On My Hands 3:02 
Jimmy Maxwell, Irving Goodman, Alec Fila, Cootie Williams (tp), Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall 
(tb), Benny Goodman (cl), Gus Bivona, Les Robinson (as), Georgie Auld, Pete Mondello (ts), 
Bob Snyder (bari), Johnny Guarnieri (p), Mike Bryan (g), Artie Bernstein (b), Dave Tough (d).
       NYC, February 19, 1941
CO 29775-4  Scarecrow (BH-arr)   Phon (Sd) 7615 (LP)
CO 29775-3  Scarecrow (BH-arr)   Time Life STLJ05 (LP)
CO 29775-2  Scarecrow (BH-arr)   BD T-1009 (LP)
CO 29775-1  Scarecrow (BH-arr)   Col 36180
Scarecrow 3:01
 (Benny Goodman) 

Scarecrow (alt tk.-4) 2:59 
 (Benny Goodman) 

Scarecrow (alt tk.-3) 2:59
 (Benny Goodman) 

Scarecrow (alt tk.-2) (3:02
 (Benny Goodman) 

Skip Martin (as) replaces Robinson.     
  NYC, March 4, 1941
CO 29863-3  Take It (voc ens.) (MG-arr)  BD T-1009 (LP) 
CO 29863-2  Take It (voc ens.) (MG-arr)  Phon (Sd) 7615 (LP)
CO 29863-1  Take It (voc ens.) (MG-arr)  Col 36067 
CO 29865-1  Solo Flight (JM-arr) –1   Col 36684
CO 29865-2  Solo Flight (JM-arr) –1   Col CL 652 (LP) –1 Charlie Christian (el-g) replaces Bryan
Take It 3:10
 (Margie Gibson) 

Take It (alt tk.-3) 3:10  
 (Margie Gibson) 

Take It (alt tk.-2) 3:13 
 (Margie Gibson) 

Solo Flight 2:46

Solo Flight (alt tk.-2) 2:46

Jimmy Maxwell, Billy Butterfield, Irving Goodman, Cootie Williams (tp), Lou McGarity, 
Cutty Cutshall (tb), Benny Goodman (cl), Gus Bivona, Les Robinson (as), Georgie Auld, 
Pete Mondello (ts), Skip Martin (bari), Johnny Guarnieri (p), Mike Bryan (g), Artie Bernstein (b), 
Dave Tough (d).
       NYC, March 27, 1941
CO 30070-1  Intermezzo (ES-arr) –1   Col 36050
CO 30071-2  Fiesta In Blue (JM-arr)   Phon (Sd) 7615 (LP)
CO 30071-1  Fiesta In Blue (JM-arr)    Col 36755
CO 30072-3  Cherry (JM-arr)     Phon (Sd) 7616 (LP)
CO 30072-2  Cherry (JM-arr)     BD T-1009 (LP)
CO 30072-1  Cherry (JM-arr)     Har 1061
–1 omit Cootie Williams (tp) and one of the reeds doubles on bass clarinet.
Note: Goodman initially blocked the release of Cherry because he felt Harry James’ hit version
for Columbia was a better arrangement. The master take on Harmony was released in 1946.
Intermezzo 3:05 
 (H. Provost-R. Hemming) 

Fiesta In Blue (alt tk.-2) 3:09
 (B. Goodman-J. Mundy) 

Fiesta In Blue 3:11
 (B. Goodman-J. Mundy) 

Cherry 2:57
 (Don Redman) 

Cherry (alt tk.-3) 2:56
 (Don Redman)   

Cherry (alt tk.-2) 2:57
 (Don Redman) 

Jimmy Maxwell, Billy Butterfield, Irving Goodman, Cootie Williams (tp), Lou McGarity, 
Cutty Cutshall (tb), Benny Goodman (cl), Les Robinson, Jimmy Horvath (as), Georgie Auld, 
Pete Mondello (ts), Skip Martin (bari), Teddy Wilson (p), Mike Bryan (g), Artie Bernstein (b), 
Jo Jones (d).
         NYC, May 6, 1941
CO 30420-2  Something New (Negra Soy) (ES-arr)  Phon (Sd) 7616 (LP) 
CO 30420-1  Something New (Negra Soy) (ES-arr)  Col 36209
CO 30421-1  Air Mail Special (JM-arr)   Col 36254
CT 104  Don’t Be That Way (ESa-arr)   Phon (Sd) 7616 (LP)
Note: Don’t Be That Way is noted in the Columbia logs as “For Mr. Wallerstein – test 104” 
and was a gift to then Columbia president Ted Wallerstein. The “CT” prefix stands for “Columbia Test”
Something New (Negra Soy) 3:28 
 (A. Gamse-N. Manendez) 

 Something New (Negra Soy) (alt tk.-2) (3:26  
 (A. Gamse-N. Manendez) 

Air Mail Special 2:54

Don’t Be That Way 2:58

Jimmy Maxwell, Billy Butterfield, Cootie Williams (tp), Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall (tb), 
Benny Goodman (cl), Les Robinson, Gene Kinsey (as), Georgie Auld, Pete Mondello (ts), 
Skip Martin (bari), Mel Powell (p), Charlie Christian (g), Walter Yost (b), Sid Catlett (d). 
       NYC, June 11, 1941
CO 30648-1  Tuesday At Ten (SM-arr)  Phon (Sd) 7616 (LP)
CO 30648-2  Tuesday At Ten (SM-arr)  Col 36254
CO 30651-1  La Rosita (ES-arr)   Col 36284
Note: Discographies list the bassist as Walter Iooss.
Tuesday At Ten 3:25
 (Skip Martin) 

Tuesday At Ten (alt tk.-1) 3:23
 (Skip Martin)
 La Rosita 2:55  
 (G. Haenschen-L. O’Keefe)

Jimmy Maxwell, Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, Cootie Williams (tp), Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall 
(tb), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Skip Martin (as), Vido Musso, George Berg (ts), 
Chuck Gentry (bari), Mel Powell (p), Tom Morgan (g), John Simmons (b), Sid Catlett (d).
    Chicago, August 1, 1941
CCO 3927-3  The Count (MLW-arr)  previously unissued
CCO 3927-2  The Count (MLW-arr)      -
CCO 3927-1  The Count (MLW-arr)  Col 36379
CCO 3928-4  Pound Ridge (?SM-arr)  previously unissued
CCO 3928-2  Pound Ridge (?SM-arr)  Col 36421
CCO 3928-3  Pound Ridge (?SM-arr) previously unissued
CCO 3928-1  Pound Ridge (?SM-arr) Phon (Sd) 7616 (LP)

The Count 3:12
 (T. Gordon-B. Moten)

Pound Ridge 2:56  
 (Benny Goodman) 

Chicago, August 20, 1941
CCO 3951-2  The Birth Of The Blues (ES-arr) Col 36359
CCO 3980-4  Clarinet A La King (ES-arr)   previously unissued
CCO 3980-3  Clarinet A La King (ES-arr)       -
CCO 3980-2  Clarinet A La King (ES-arr)  Phon (Sd) 7616 (LP)
CCO 3980-1  Clarinet A La King (ES-arr)  Col PG 33405 (LP)
The Birth Of The Blues 3:11
Jimmy Maxwell, Billy Butterfield, Al Davis, Cootie Williams (tp), Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall 
(tb), Benny Goodman (cl), Clint Neagley, Skip Martin (as), Vido Musso, George Berg (ts), 
Chuck Gentry (bari), Mel Powell (p), Tom Morgan (g), Marty Blitz (b), Jo Jones (d).
      NYC, September 25, 1941
CO 31364-?  The Earl (MP-arr)  BD T-1014 (LP)
CO 31364-1  The Earl (MP-arr) -1  V-Disc 425 A, Navy V 205 A
CO 31364-2  The Earl (MP-arr) -1  OK 6474
-1 omit Jo Jones
The Earl 2:32
 (Mel Powell) 

The Earl (alt tk.-?) 2:18
 (Mel Powell)  

The Earl (alt tk.-1) 2:32
 (Mel Powell) 

Sid Catlett (d) replaces Jo Jones.
       NYC, October 2, 1941
CO 31390-1  Caprice XXIV Paganini (SM-arr) Col 36411
CO 31393-2  Clarinet A La King (ES-arr)  OK 6544
CO 31402-2  I’m Here (MP-arr)   Phon (Sd) 7617 (LP)
CO 31402-1  I’m Here (MP-arr)   Col 36411

Caprice XXIV Paganini 2:46
 (Eddie Sauter) 

Clarinet A La King (mtx. 31393-2) 2:52
 (Benny Goodman)

Clarinet A La King (mtx. 3980-4) 3:02
 (Benny Goodman) 

Clarinet A La King (mtx. 3980-3) 3:01
 (Benny Goodman) 

Clarinet A La King (mtx. 3980-2) 2:58
 (Benny Goodman) 

Clarinet A La King (mtx. 3980-1) 2:57
 (Benny Goodman) 

I’m Here 2:51 
 (Mel Powell) 

I’m Here (alt tk.-2) 2:53   
 (Mel Powell)

( NYC, October 8, 1941
no matrix  Roll ‘Em (Pt.1) (MLW-arr)  BD T-1014 (LP)
no matrix  Roll ‘Em (Pt.2) (MLW-arr)

Roll ‘Em (Pt.1) 2:51  
 (Mary Lou Williams) 

Roll ‘Em (Pt.2) 3:33
 (Mary Lou Williams)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Downtown Uproar

Savannah Music Festival LIVE - 429 - 

Downtown Uproar

Original air date: week of October 31, 2011
Duke Ellington is widely regarded as one of the most important composers in the history of music and his orchestra in the mid-1930s was at the beginning of his creative peak, featuring some of the finest soloists in the history of jazz. During the years 1936-1940, a series of small group sessions led by Ellington and his sidemen - Rex Stewart, Barney Bigard, Cootie Williams and Johnny Hodges - were recorded for a variety of different labels, and they've all stood the test of time. Tune in for excerpts from a 2011 SMF original production entitled "Downtown Uproar", featuring a group of renowned musicians performing some of these classic works under the musical direction of Ted Nash. Performers include Marcus Roberts, Joe Temperley, Wycliffe Gordon, Jeff, John and Gerald Clayton, Terell Stafford, Rodney Whitaker, Ron Westray and many others.

A great programme of Ellington small group music recast by Ted Nash for the Savannah Music Festival, 2011 is available...
here ... (click on link to be taken to website)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Avid Collector

The double CD pictured above will be released on the Avid label on 17 November.

I hardly need to buy this release since I own several versions - on vinyl and CD - of the 'highly prized tracks' already but I'm standing in line on pre-order.

Why? Well, cleverly, the release makes use of the artwork for a famous HMV 10" record release of the 1950s - which, incidentally, is the best-sounding version of these classics you will ever hear.

Presumably those vinyl transfers form, in part, some of the selections here. Which brings me to the second reason for buying this release: the mastering is by Avid's Dave Bennett, whose reputation for getting the best sounds out of source material goes before him. Certainly the publicity department has gone into overdrive. Witness their advertising copy:

AVID presents classic Duke Ellington music featuring “Highlights Of The Great 1940-42 Band” including original liner notes on a finely re-mastered and low priced double CD.
49 highly prized tracks in remarkable sound quality. Some quotes from the original liner notes:- “No one has combined jazz composition, orchestra and performance with more telling effect than Duke Ellington”. “Ellington admirers will welcome this set, embracing under one cover ten of his most original and varied works from a period representing a peak in his highly productive career. Not only was his band crammed with the greatest galaxy of talent that it ever contained, it was also the point when his creative powers were stretched to the utmost logical limits of the “three minute” musical form.” “This is not only a set of Ellington masterpieces, it also goes a long way towards unfolding the unique process by which his orchestra has undoubtedly become the most creative unit jazz has ever known”. Phew! You gotta hear this stuff! And to conclude with a quote from Digby Fairweather’s liner notes; “One of the joys of this collection - a direct tribute to Dave Bennett’s supreme skills as engineer - is (for the first time) to pick up clearly on such small artistic brush-strokes which helped turn Ellington’s works into instant masterpieces and (significantly) into music which commands repeated listening and study today..every track in this collection is seminal music reminding us with brilliant new clarity that we shall not hear its like again.”
All tracks plus have been digitally re-mastered.

And, thirdly, the price - at £6.99 - is a steal.

If you have stumbled upon this blog post by accident, buy these discs: they will change your life. If you're a collector, this issue is another good excuse to give these timeless classics a spin.

It's possible to order direct from Avid's website here.