Archive for the jazz Category

R.I.P. Mose Allison

Posted in jazz, Mose Allison with tags , , , , on November 20, 2016 by crownpropeller

moseMose Allison (1927–2016)

The news of singer/pianist Mose Allison’s passing on November 15 made me quite sad as I had the feeling to have lost a friend I never knew.

From 18 to 26 I was one of those truly dislikeable Frank Zappa fans who run around all day pestering people who he thinks are just too ignorant and dumb to understand what a genius Zappa is.

Nowadays Zappa leaves me cold (except his first couple of LPs with the Mothers Of Invention and his orchestral music).

But I have to thank Zappa for several things:

a) teaching me there is more to music than 4/4.

b) making me love Doo Wop

c) making me love Edgar Varèse

d) making me listen to Mose Allison.

At some time in the late 1980s there was an article in the german magazine “Tempo” (which was published from 1986 to 1996) titled “50 rock stars talk about their favourite artists” or something to that effect. Frank Zappa was quoted with “I always listen to Mose Allison on my Walkman.” So the next day, I went to town and bought this record:

moselp

And I absolutely fell in love with the man, his music and his lyrics right away. Mose was witty, wise and cool and straightfaced sarcastic and laconic and sometimes very funny and on top of that a very fine pianist.

On a Prestige 2LP compilation of Mose Allison’s early works, Pete Townsend of The Who is quoted:

“When I heard that [Allison’s LP “Back Country Suite”] I swore he was as black as Cow Cow Davenport (Was Cow Cow Davenport black?)”

Two things about that statement. First: Cow Cow Davenport was black. Second: I think Mose Allison’s secret was that he sounded very white if one can say so, but he sounded cool and hip nonetheless. His way of playing and singing the blues is sophisticated and down home at the same time – a hard task.

Strangely enough all of my jazz friends never shared my enthusiasm for Mose Allison, “Yeah, nice, but not my style”, was all I could ever get out of them. So after a while I stopped with my new hobby: running around all day pestering people who I think are just too ignorant and dumb to understand what a genius Mose Allison is!

So after that it was just a thing between me and Mose, the cool poet. And Mose the prophet: Here is what he had to say – in 1968 – about the state of things in 2016: “Jus Like Livin'” – the first piece of Mose’s that I’ve ever heard – was recorded in Los Angeles on July 9, 1968 with Red Mitchell on bass and Bill Goodwin on drums.

Enjoy!

Two Nights at The Crown Propeller Lounge

Posted in 78 rpm, Chicago Tenor Sax, documents, jazz, King Kolax, Photographs, R'n'B, Sax Mallard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by crownpropeller

cp 4Mildred “Mitzi” Schlossberg and Oett “Sax” Mallard
at the Crown Propeller Lounge in Chicago, exact date unknown.
Courtesy of the Schlossberg family

Already more than a half a year ago I was informed that Mildred “Mitzi” Schlossberg, co-owner of Chicago’s Crown Propeller Lounge (after which this blog here is named) passed at the proud age of 100. What an interesting life she must have had! I wanted to put up something here at that time, but I have been extremely busy otherwise during the last months.

But all the while I have been on the lookout for souvenirs from the Crown Propeller Lounge and I managed to acquire two very nice items.

The first is a photograph showing Mitzi Schlossberg’s husband Norman Schlossberg with a woman and three men. It comes from Mitzi Schlossberg’s estate, and I found it on ebay. The three men are holding trophies in their hand, but unfortunately the writing on the cups is out of focus.

schlossbergtrophyCrown Propeller owner Norman Schlossberg (2nd from
left) with unidentified others on October 15, 1953.
From the Crown Propeller Collection

The backside of the photograph is stamped Oct. 15, 1953. (Photographer was H.S. Rhoden, 7037 Indiana Ave – if you care). October 15, 1953 was a thursday and I found an ad in the “Chicago Defender” for that day.

UntitledFrom Chicago Defender, Defender, Oct. 10  1953.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

But unfortunately the ad does not give out a hint what the trophies were for. There is a small possibility that the photo was taken during the night between the 14th and the 15th and come from Wednesday night’s regular talent contest at the Lounge – but the prices for winning the “Talent Nite” are given as $25 (1st) and $10 (2nd). Would they be handing out trophies as well?

Anyway here’s some music you might have heard played at the Crown Propeller Lounge on the night the photo above was taken:

In a recording from October 14, 1949 (for Decca), it is trumpeter Tiny Davis’ All Girl Band with Tiny herself (tp,vcl), Birdie Davis (as), Helen Cole (p) and unknown ts, p and b playing “Race Horse”, a nice Boogie Shuffle.

And here is guitarist Rudy Greene playing “Meet Me Baby”, recorded with King Kolax’ band for Chance Records in 1953.

The other nice item I could lay my hands on is one of the typical souvenir pictures made by house photographers in different clubs in Chicago. I imagine they were quickly developed in some small dark room in the club and then sold to the photographed customers. Here we have a couple of people at a table – apparently not all of them enjoying the proceedings.

scan-cp-picA Night At The Crown Propeller Lounge, probably
September 1951. from the Crown Propeller Collection

scan-sleeveFrom the Crown Propeller Collection

A pointer to the date this photo was taken is the Crown Propeller sleeve in which it came (above). Sax Mallard as well as violinist Leon Abbey were part of the Crown Propeller’s program together only in September 1951.

cd_51_09_01

From Chicago Defender, September 1, 1951.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

cd_51_09_29

From Chicago Defender, September 29, 1951.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

It is strange though, that they printed an extra sleeve just for these few weeks.

How about some music to this photograph? I can not offer you anything by Leon Abbey or by the Ding Bell Trio, but here is a video that lets you listen to Sax Mallard’s “Teen Town Strut!”, recorded for Checker on May 12, 1952. With Sax Mallard (ts); unidentified (tp); unidentified (ts, bars); William “Lefty” Bates (eg); probably Jimmy Bowman (p); probably LeRoy Jackson (b); probably Sleepy Nelson (d).

Enjoy!

R.I.P., Bobby Hutcherson

Posted in Bobby Hutcherson, clips, Dizzy Gillespie, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2016 by crownpropeller

This morning I received the sad news of vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson’s passing on monday at the age of 75. Here is an obituary from the New York Times.

I never had the chance to see any of the great vibraphone players of the 20th century (Hampton, Jackson, Hutcherson, Dickerson) play live. But for youtube’s sake, we have the chance to see them all in action (not that it’s a comparable experience).

In 1989 Bobby Hutcherson was runnnig the european festival circuit with the band that was either announced as “The Phil Woods / Dizzy Gillespie All Stars” or as “The Dizzy Gillespie / Phil Woods  All Stars”, depending on whatever. It seems this band played every major and minor european festival that year, and fortunately most of the times some TV station was broadcasting at least parts of the proceedings.

In the VHS collection of my friend, the late swiss jazz researcher Otto Flückiger, I found a nearly 13 minute clip of the All Stars playing Gillespie’s composition “Tour De Force” at the Jazz Festival in Wiesen, Austria on Saturday, July 8, 1989 – which has never been on youtube before.

So here’s my tribute to the late great Bobby Hutcherson. The band consists of Dizzy Gillespie (tp), Phil Woods (as), Bobby Hutcherson (vib), Steve Turre (tb), Cedar Walton (p), Rufus Reid (b) and Mickey Roker (dr). And Hutcherson has a nice solo in there.

 

Enjoy!

… and please excuse the TV noise in the background, I could not do anything against this.

R.I.P. Sir Charles Thompson

Posted in Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, jazz, Leo Parker, Sir Charles Thompson with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by crownpropeller

Yesterday I received the sad news that pianist Sir Charles Thompson – a very important figure during the transition from Swing to Bop – passsed in Japan on June 16 at the proud age of 98.

 

As a tribute here are two pieces that Thompson recorded with different all star groups for Apollo records ion the mid-fourties. I took them from – warts and clicks included – this nice Vogue 10 inch LP, released in France in the mid-fifties:

sct-vogueFrom the Crown Propeller collection

 

First up is Thompson’s “The Street Beat”, originally released on Apollo 759. It was recorded on September 4, 1945, and the band consists of Buck Clayton (tp), Charlie Parker (as), Dexter Gordon (ts), Sir Charles Thompson (p), Danny Barker (g), Jimmy Butts (b) and J.C. Heard (dr).

And here is Thompson’s  “Mad Lad” titled thusly for featured baritone saxophonist Leo Parker. This was originally issued on Apollo 773. It was recorded in late summer 1947 and this the band consists of Joe Newman (tp), Bob Dorsey (ts), Leo Parker (bar), Sir Charles Thompson (p), Freddie Green (g), John Simmons (b) and  Shadow Wilson (dr.)

Enjoy!

Anthony Braxton Quartet in Montreux 1975

Posted in Anthony Braxton, clips, jazz with tags , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by crownpropeller

hollandbraxDave Holland and Anthony Braxton in Montreux,
on July 20, 1975

Never before and never again did composer and multiinstrumentalist Anthony Braxton have such a high profile as in the mid-1970s when he was under contract with Arista. One could say that Braxton’s music was much more accessible than it is now, but of course this is only partly true. As you might know his time with Arista came to an end after the release of Braxton’s “For Four Orchestras” in a 4LP Box (Allmusic website gives it 1 1/2 stars today).

What people went for at the time were Braxton’s quartets with which he toured also through Europe at the time. This 2LP (and CD):

220px-The_Montreux_Berlin_Concertsdocuments two concerts. The first is from July 20, 1975 when the Braxton Quartet with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul played at the Jazz Festival Montreux. The other one is from November 4, 1976, when trombonist George Lewis had replaced Kenny Wheeler.

wheelerKenny Wheeler in Montreux, on July 20, 1975

Michael Cuscuna in his original liner notes writes about the two concerts:

 

Ironically, the fourth tune of each performance was eliminated from possible release by technical difficulties, and that  missing piece in both concerts was the stop time composition that first appeared on “Five Compositions, 1975.”

The stop time composition Cuscuna is talking about is 23G, which is inded on this album:

220px-Five_Pieces_1975

But at least in Montreux the quartet played yet another piece that did not find it’s way onto the “Montreux/Berlin” album (also from the “Five Pieces, 1975” album): the fast Bebop abstraction Composition 40M.

And that is where an old VHS cassette from the collection of my friend, the late Otto Flückiger comes up and contains just that performance:

As you can see from the band preparing to leave the stage at the end that this must have been the last track (or the encore – if there was one). Personally I enjoy watching drummer Barry Altschul here: he looks like playing this music is a lot of fun.

altschulBarry Altschul in Montreux, on July 20, 1975

Enjoy!

Dexter Gordon: As Time Goes By

Posted in clips, Dexter Gordon, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2016 by crownpropeller

dex1Dexter Gordon at Jazzwoche Burghausen 1980.

At the end of one of the VHS cassettes from Otto Flückiger’s vast collection, I found something very nice: About ten minutes of the Dexter Gordon Quartet at the Jazzwoche Burghausen 1980 in Burghausen, Bavaria/Germany. Since I have nothing to say about Dexter Gordon that you would not know, here is “As Time Goes By”:

 

The personnel is: Dexter Gordon (ts), Kirk Lightsey (p), John Heard (b), Eddie Gladders (dr).

Enjoy!

A jam session with Clarence “C” Sharpe

Posted in Clarence C Sharpe, jazz with tags , on April 17, 2016 by crownpropeller

clarence_c_sharpe_blueClarence “C” Sharpe. Photo by Otto Flückiger

 

Ever since I uploaded this concert featuring legendary alto saxophonist Clarence C. Sharpe, people have been sending me more tapes featuring Sharpe that were recorded at different jam sessions in N.Y.C. at various dates in the 1980s. One of these can be found here.

Now already some time ago, Kim Mizuno from New York was so nice as to send me quite a lot of stuff featuring C Sharpe. Thank you very much, Kim!

But only recently I found the time to check out what really is there. I still have quite a lot of editing to do before it all can appear here. But for starters here, from Kim’s tapes, is C Sharpe at a jam session organized by percussionist Clifford Barbaro at the Jazz Cultural Theater on September 12, 1985. You’ll hear a 23 minute version of “What Is This Thing Called Love”. After that the musicians are identified: Craig Haynes (dr) and Mike Tillmon (sp?). I am not sure who the (unmentioned) pianist is, maybe Barry Harris?.

After that you get announcements for next week’s program, some hassle between the announcer and an audience member, some musician’s noise and finally a little bit of “Night and Day” before it’s cut off.

Here is what Kim Mizuno, who himself plays alto sax and bass clarinet, wrote when he send me this:

“As I recall that time period at Jazz Cultural Theater, there were many wonderful musicians hanging around. I can remember the faces of Bill
Hardman, Tommy Turrentine, Clifford Jordan, Tommy Flanagan, Walter Bishop Jr, Junior Cook, Art Blakey, etc. beside C. Sharpe. I remember C. Sharpe as very quiet and rather humble person. He showed up at many jam sessions and always learning from other musicians. The last time I saw him was, I believe, at a jam session at La Famile in Harlem. He was with Tommy Turrentine.  I recognize him as one of the most significant alto players with unique voice after Charlie Parker among Jackie McLean, Ernie Henry and other great ones. ”

Thanks again, Kim!

Enjoy!