Archive for the 45 rpm Category
Organist Sam Lazar from St. Louis is a mysterious figure about whom not very much is known. His (very small) fame among jazz fans is based on the fact that guitarist Grant Green’s first recordings were done in groups led by Lazar.
Lazar, who was born around 1933, vanished from the scene at sometime in the early sixties and nobody seems to really know what became of him (and I am 99 percent sure that the – unsourced – stories about his later life in Lazar’s Wikipedia entry are bogus (so I do not link to that entry) – or are they?
Anyway, since I think it’s worth to listen to Lazar also if Green is not part of the proceedings, I decided to make an illustrated discography of Sam Lazar’s recorded works. Some of the entrys are linked to audio files or youtube videos – just in case you want to listen to Lazar while reading about his works.
Again Uptown Records have done the world a great favor by releasing rare jazz recordings of great historical importance with this CD:
“Grant Green / The Holy Barbarian, St. Louis, 1959″, features a concert by the Sam Lazar Quartet with Grant Green, Sam Lazar, tenor saxophonist Bob Graf and Chauncey Williams on drums at the Holy Barbarian Coffee House on December 25th 1959 and February 20 1960.
This is one of the first recordings with Grant Green – playing with Sam Lazar’s integrated group with saxophonist Bob Graf and drummer Chauncey Williams. It was recorded at an interesting club with a mixed clientele the short history of which is recounted (in detail as always with Uptown) in the accompanying booklet.
Do not get me wrong, this is a great recording of a classical organ-tenor-guitar-band. Green is playing fine here and the overall sound of the source material is marvellous. But in a way the repertoire they play and the way it is played is not as special as the music Lazar made on his first LP for Argo, “Space Flight”, also with Grant Green.
On the “Space Flight” – a must for organ freaks – Lazar in my ears plays different compared to the Uptown CD and also compared to his later two LPs for Argo after which he disappeared (one still does not know, what became of him). On the Space Flight LP (there are excerpts on youtube) the whole band plays rhythmically much more aggressive and the rhythms seem to me more staccato-like (I guess that might the wrong term, I am no musician). The pieces are much shorter here than on the live session from Uptown records and than on Lazar ‘s later LPs. But although that may sound like the “Space Flight” LP is more commercially oriented than Lazar’s other two this is not true. It’s the Lazar LP I am leaving at home when I am DJing, because the rhythm of the tracks, that sound like they could be dance floor killers at first listening, turn out too be just a bit to complicated when it’s time to move your legs!
Already before Lazar’s first LP was recorded in spring 1960 he had recorded a 45 rpm in late 1959 for small St. Louis label Cawthron. I had already presented this beauty in another posting, but here it is again:
The liner notes to the Grant Green CD on Uptown mention Lazar’s Cawthron 45 rpm, but by reading them you do not get the impression, that Grant Green was a part of this recordings. But he was – as can clearly be heard. It would have been nice if Uptown could have added Lazars “Space Flight Parts I and II” from the Cawthron 45rpm to their “Holy Barbarian” CD – but I guess the master tape would be very hard to find, or not even exist anymore.
After I had put up above video on youtube some folks asked me to also make available Part II of the “Space Flight” 45rpm. So here is “Space Flight Part II”. This tune was rerecorded for the Argo LP , receiving a new title, “Big Willie”.
I was not really in the mood to fumble around with the video camera so you just get this fabulous blasting sound (all known copies have this totally overdriven sound)
As some of the visitors to this blog already know I am always doing a little research on Cawthron, C&C and Allegro, all very small labels owned by a traveling meat inspector named Dunlap J. Cawthron. I have made a discography of the Cawthron catalogue and to gain your interest (if you like most obscure labels) I am finishing this blog with some pics of recently acquired records that are connected with Dunlap J. Cawthron. More info about them in the Cawthron, C&C and Allegro discography.
Twelve years ago I went to Paris for a week. One reason for my trip was to meet with Gil Petard of reissue label Chronogical Classics and the well known jazz, r’n’b and soul researcher Kurt Mohr. I had a CD with me that held a lot of tracks by Chicago tenor saxophonist. Tom Archia (the resulting CD, “Tom Archia 1957–1948″ was released in 2011). I was also hoping to get a glimpse of Kurt Mohr’s files on several artists from Chicago and have Robert Campbell add them to the pages of the Red Saunders Research Foundation. At that time Mohr had basically given up research and two months before had given his archives to Soul Bag Magazine. I called up the magazine and was allowed to look through Mohr’s files for an hour on the next day.
Indeed I could gather some details we had not known before about different recording sessions. I also found an intriguing entry noting a record that the band of trumpeter King Kolax – on whom there is an entry at the Red Saunders Research Foundation – accompanied Chicago vocal group The Chaunteurs for drummer and producer Armand “Jump” Jackson’s own tiny label La Salle around 1961.
This was intriguing: How was I ever to hear that record? Now a while ago someone put one side of that record, the euphoria inducing “Wishin’ Well”, on youtube – but only for a hot moment, then it was gone again. A few weeks later a copy of this very rare 45rpm finally appeared on ebay. So I tried my luck – and won!
So here are the Chaunteurs accompanied by King Kolax and his Band doing “Wishin Well”. According to Robert Ferlingere’s Discography of Rhythm and Blues and Rock ‘n Roll Vocal Groups, (2nd ed., Vol. 1, 1992) and Bob Pruter’s Doowop: The Chicago Scene, the Chaunteurs consisted of Sollie McElroy (lead tenor, formerly of The Flamingos); Eugene Record (1st tenor); Robert Laster (2nd tenor); Clarence Johnson (baritone); Eddie Reed (bass). Besides King Kolax (heard only faintly here) and Jump Jackson the personnel is completely unidentified. I really wonder who the tenor saxophonist is and who is playing the organ.
In the ususal discographical sources there are only very few entries for Canadian pianist and vibist Elmer Gill who used to play with Lionel Hampton for a while in the early fifties, in the period after Milt Buckner had left Hampton’s band. The listings of records under Gill’s name usually start with The Three Sides Of Elmer Gill, the rare LP Gill recorded with bassist David Friesen and drummer Al Johnson around 1968 in Vancouver for Canadian label Aragon (the third side of Elmer Gill is his singing).
In this entry that I posted about a year ago from I offered you the Andrew Hill Combo with Von Freeman and Pat Patrick playing “Down Pat”. Since it turned out that a lot of people seem to be interested in Andrew Hill’s early work, I decided to put up a clip of the flipside as well.
Here you get the Andrew Hill Combo playing “After Dark” for Ping Records in October 1956. The musicians are: Von Freeman: ts, Pat Patrick: bars, Andrew Hill: org, Malachi Favors: b, Wilbur Campbell: dr.
Unfortunately not much can be heard of Hill’s organ work here as he is way behind in the mix. But do not be too much disappointed, a great early Von Freeman solo will make up for this. Enjoy!
For more Information about Ping (and this record) go to: http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~campber/ping.html