Archive for jazz

Marl Young: discography and solography by Mario Schneeberger

Posted in 78 rpm, Discography, jazz, Marl Young with tags , , , , on January 17, 2015 by crownpropeller


jockey

Sunbeam 103 from the Crown Propeller collection.
Check Gene Ammon’s solo!

Marl Young (1917–2009), “the only man who fired Charlie Parker” (Young), was a very interesting figure. He was a pianist, arranger, composer and for some time in the 1940s owned a small record company in Chicago. If you heard his name before that might be because Young was also pianist and arranger on three sessions by T-Bone Walker.

Swiss alto saxophonist and jazz researcher Mario Schneeberger, has been working on a biography / discography / solography  of Young, which is now published on the jazzdocumentation website. Click here to go directly to Mario’s pages on Marl Young or click here to see all of Mario’s research pages.

There are a few things that Mario could not obtain (marked thusly in the discography), if you have any of those, please contact Mario (his adress can be found on top of the Marl Young pages) or contact me via a comment and I will pass your information on to Mario.

If you would like to hear a bit of what this is about, above and below you find two very rare recordings Young did for his own record company Sunbeam. One featuring Little Miss Cornshucks, the other featuring tenor sax legend Gene Ammons and female impersonator Petite Swanson alias Alphonso Horsley.

foroldtimessake

Sunbeam 105 from the
Crown Propeller collection.

Enjoy!

Percy France Sextet at the West End, 1980

Posted in Bo Diddley, documents, Ed "Tiger" Lewis, Percy France, West End with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2014 by crownpropeller

UPDATE: The trumpeter on the photographs is not Ed “Tiger” Lewis, but probably Francis Williams (thanks, Peter Vacher)! So photos and music are not from the same session. This blog post has been entirely rewritten.

percy_france1

Percy France at the West End, N.Y.C., Spring 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

As you may remember, in this post I suspected that Doc Cheatham might have been the trumpeter with the Percy France Sextet at the West End in NYC on May 23 and 24 1980 (France played in Cheatham’s group on May 21 and 22). I thought so because it looks like Phil Schaap who was doing the programmation at the West End employed a rather small circle of veterans.

But I found some  audio from either May 23 or 24. My friend the late Otto Flückiger taped enough music to fill two CDs of which I just found one. So on these two dates the Percy France Sextet consisted of France (ts), Ed “Tiger” Lewis (tp), Chris Flory (eg), John Ore (b), Samie “Sticks” Evans (dr). On some tracks they were joined by pianist Sonny Donaldson.

The CD I found carries the subtitle “Vol. 2″ I am sure to find volume 1 one day. The band’s repertoire unfortunately is a little restricted, parts of the set list read like a tourist’s requests dream list.

– I’ll Remember April

– St. Thomas

– Tenderly

– Night Train

– Red Top

– C Jam Blues

– Honky Tonk

So they must have played “Satin Doll” in the first set right?

In fact there is no reason to be cynical. It’s not easy at all to get something fresh sounding out of those old horses after playing them each night for years. And these men succeed as recorded evidence shows.

So for your pleasure (sorry, sound quality is not really that good), here is the Percy France Sextet playing “Tenderly” at the West End, May 23 or 24, 1980.

 

 

I also found photos of another gig by a Percy France group at the West End, which also must be from spring 1980. Peter Vacher thinks the trumpeter is Francis Williams:

tiger_lewisProbably Francis Williams at the West End,
N.Y.C., spring 1980. Who is the drummer
visible on the right? Photo by Otto Flückiger

percy_france2Percy France at the West End, N.Y.C., Spring 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

Then there is a nice a shot of the bassist. Is this John Ore?possibly_john_oreUnidentified bassist at the West End, N.Y.C., Spring 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

… as well as a nice one of  prob. Francis Williams  and Percy France.

tiger_percyFrancis Williams (?) and Percy France
at the West End, N.Y.C.,
Spring 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

 

Enjoy!

Julia Lee on rare Foremost 105

Posted in 45 rpm, Big Bob Dougherty with tags , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2014 by crownpropeller

As long time readers of this blog know, I am interested in Leavenworth KS saxophonist Big Bob Dougherty. So about two years ago I acquired Bear Family’s Julia Lee 5cd box “Kansas City Star”, because I knew that Dougherty played on Lee’s last session for Capitol Records and on her later recordings done for small Kansas City labels Damon and Foremost.

Bear Family’s 5-CD box was supposed to contain all of Lee’s recordings, but unfortunately, as the liner notes say “despite a 2-year search we have not been able to find a copy of Foremost 105″.

Foremost 105 saturday

And  – I can happily add – it took me another two years to finally get a copy (see above) – though it is rather rotten, as you can hear:

 

Note that this is a promotion copy, but there are regular copies as well. I noticed one on ebay two weeks before I spotted my DJ copy.

Both “Blues Discography” as well as the discography to the booklet of the Bear Family Julia Lee box set have “probably same” personnel for the four tracks recorded for Foremost as for Julia Lee’s 1954/1955 Damon session. This would be Big Bob Dougherty, ts; possibly a second unidentified ts; Ted Williams; g; Howard “Jack” Lewis (b); Richard “Corky” Jackson; dms. Bear Family also notes Gene Carter on alto saxophone for the Damon session, but there is no alto to be heard. Instead there may be a second ts.
Now on the Foremost session (or sessions, there may have been two) there are definitely two tenor saxes to be heard on all  tracks. If Dougherty was one of the saxes he probably brought his band along. But I find it hard to say whether Dougherty is there or not and the coarseness of the scratched record does not make it much easier.

Foremost 104 was announced in the Billboard of march 3, 1957.  The standard discographies give the date as 1957. Note though that the foundation of Foremost records was announced in Billboard of August, 18 1956. There Julia Lee is mentioned in the “talent line-up”.  On September 22, 1956, two fifths of a Billboard page  are covered by a Foremost ad announcing among others a new release by Julia Lee: “’She’s  Shoutin’ Those Blues Again” – Her Newest Comin’ Soon”. From then it took half a year until Billboard announced the release of Foremost 104 in the march 23 issue of 1957. Foremost 105 was not mentioned in the trade press, nor was there an ad for it.

The composer of “Saturday Night” (matrix no. FB-3123) is given as one “Rita Swift”. This may not be so, since Swift is also given as the composer for Richard M. Jones’ famous “Trouble In Mind” (matrix no. FB-3122) on the other side of Foremost 105.

Foremost 105 TRouble

Of course you are probaby not here for all that discographical mumbo jumbo but for some music. So here – exclusively for readers of my blog – is my not-on-youtube christmas special:

Julia Lee doing “Trouble In Mind”

Enjoy!

Eddie Cleanhead Vinson and Friends (1974 and 1978)

Posted in clips, Cootie Williams, Duke Ellington, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2014 by crownpropeller

Vocalist and alto saxophonist Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson (1917–1988) had his breakthrough in 1941 when he joined Cootie William’s band as vocalist. In 1945 he split from Williams and formed his own band. Vinson had hits on Mercury as well as on King records in the late 1940s and the early 1950s. Then Vinson somewhat left the spotlight  for a while before becoming a welcome attraction on the european jazz festival circuit from the early seventies on.

I found some footage from this later period of Vinson’s career on old VHS cassettes from the Otto Flückiger collection and thought you might enjoy them.

So here from the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival come slightly more than 25 minutes of Cleanhead with  Hal Singer (ts), Jay McShann (p), Jo Wright (g), Jerome Rimson (b), Peter Van Hooke (dr). They are playing:

“Just A Dream”, “Home Boy”, “Laura”, “Hold It Right There” and “Person To Person”.

The second clip I found has 32 minutes from an all star gathering at Grand Parade Du Jazz in Nice from July 8 and July 16, 1978. On stage are Eddie Cleanhead Vinson (as, voc); Hank Crawford (as); David Newman (ts, fl); Jimmy Rowles (p), George Wein (p); Milt Hinton (b); Alan Dawson (dr).

They are playing:

“Tenor Madness” (thanks, Trane!), “Autumn Leaves”, “Cleanhead Blues”,  and a further unidentified tune (maybe someone knows it’s title?).

Enjoy!

Doc Cheatham and Percy France at the West End (1980)

Posted in Doc Cheatham, documents, jazz, Percy France, West End with tags , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2014 by crownpropeller

cheatham_blow

(Click to enlarge): Doc Cheatham at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

In the early 1980s in New York the place to be when you were in the mood to listen to some legendary swing and bop veterans was the West End on Broadway near Columbia, where Phil Schaap was curating the program.

During his 1980 trip to the USA my friend the late jazz researcher Otto Flückiger went to the West End to see the band led by Doc Cheatham (1905–1997), who had been Cab Calloway’s lead trumpeter from 1932 to 1939. In the early 1980s Cheatham was said to play better then ever before, because he had started practicing again, in the process ridding his playing of any cliches that had crept into his work through the years.

As always Otto made some photos and recorded a little music at the West End.

cd_inlet

Inlet for the CD onto which Otto copied his original tape. Unfortunately the original photograph does not seem to exist anymore.

I have not yet found Otto’s original tapes, but I found a CD onto which Otto had edited the concert down. Since all the announcements have been edited out, I can not tell which of the tracks was recorded on May 21 and which on May 22.

The tenor player with Doc Cheatham was the totally underrated Percy France. Interestingly, France is announced with his own group at the West End for May 23 and 24! Was Cheatham France’s trumpeter then?

percy_france

(Click to enlarge): Percy France at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

Otto got to know Percy France a little (I do not know if they first met at this concert). France had been playing with Bill Doggett in the early 1950s. He told  Otto that the band had already played Doggett’s “Honky Tonk” while he was there. But since it looked like this band will never have the success it deserved, France left. Half a year later “Honky Tonk” became one of the biggest R’n’B instrumentals ever!

Back to the West End in 1980, here is Doc Cheatham’s band playing “Indiana”:

Unfortunately audio quality is not that good, especially the pianist is hardly to be heard. Maybe he was not to be seen either? At least Otto has no photograph of him and added a “probably” to Sonny Donaldson’s name. Maybe the pianist’s name was announced and Otto was not sure if he heard it right?

If we take the “probably” on the cover as pertaining to the pianist only, then this must be a photo of drummer Ronnie Cole at the West End:

cheathams_drummer

 (Click to enlarge): Ronnie Cole (or is he?) at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980. Photo by Otto Flückiger

The bassist can be seen in the back of a photo that prominently shows Cheatham:

cheatham_to_the_sky

 (Click to enlarge): Peck Morrison (???) and Doc Cheatham at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980. Photo by Otto Flückiger

 

Finally there are two photos showing a second trumpeter besides Doc Cheatham. There also glimpses of the drummer again.cheatham_and_2ndtp_wide

(Click to enlarge): Doc Cheatham and unidentified trumpeter at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980. Photo by Otto Flückiger

Unfortunately I have no idea about the second trumpet man’s identity – and he can not be heard on the eight tracks saved by Otto. If you do have any suggestions, please let me know. 

cheatham_and_2ndtp

(Click to enlarge): Doc Cheatham and unidentified trumpeter at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980. Photo by Otto Flückiger

Finally here are Doc Cheatham and Band playing “Rosetta”:

Enjoy!

Cedric Im Brooks on Studio One

Posted in Reggae with tags , , , , , on November 8, 2014 by crownpropeller

Besides jazz, jump, jive, vintage r’n’b, gospel, Vinateg R’n’B and a little soul I also love rocksteady and reggae. And usually I refrain from coming up with some reggae on this here blog. But hey, it’s a very jazzy reggae coming up here!

Tenor saxophonist Cedric “Im” Brooks (1940–2013) was a member of Clement “Coxsone Downbeat” Dodd’s Studio One house band The Sound Dimension which played on many a jamaican hit record in the early 1970s.  Later Brooks together with legendary rastafari-drummer Count Ossie founded the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, a group that mixed Rastafarian chants, Nyabinghi drumming and jazzy licks.  In the mid seventies Brooks founded The Mystic Light Of Saba, a group that added  more jazz and funk to the reggae based melange. Many soul/funk DJs carry a MROR record in their bag.

I got to know Brook’s music after my friend Hubi lend me his copy of Brook’s only Studio One LP about five or six years ago.

ff

Well the first track was very nice. But when the second track started, I knew I had to get this LP for myself. Listen to “Give Rasta Glory”:

The third track was a beautiful rendition of the Abyssinians classic “Declaration Of Rights” called “Father Forgive”. B E A U T I F U L! I had heard enough and gave Hubi the LP back – and started to be on the look out for it.

And some two or three years later I could buy a copy at some record fair. Bad surprise when I came home: No “Father Forgive” here! In it’s place another track is repeated. Still a nice LP though.

Then i found the wonderful Downbeat Special pages, where I learned that my copy is a later press, missing “Father Forgive”, doubling the track “Free Man” and adding two tracks (“Right Down Rasta” and “Sister Enid”).

Now last week I saw another copy of “Fast Forward” at a local record store. So i dropped the needle and the third track was indeed “Father Forgive”, Yippieh!

This, the original jamaican pressing, was released in 1977 in an extreme split stereo – but it could have been recorded at anytime between 1977 and 1970, Brooks is improvising over classic Studio One Riddims. The rerelease with the two additional tracks is from 1989. And the added tracks sound slightly newer,  though “Sister Enid” was already mentioned on the sleeve of the first pressing (Neither sleeves nor labels of both pressings are right about what’s really to be heard, funnily they are wrong in different ways. If you ever handled more than half a dozen jamaican LPs you stop carrying for titles and just enjoy the music. “Right Down Rasta” btw is a version of Junior Byles’/Lee Perry’s “Beat Down Babylon”Y.

You can distinguish the different pressings of the LP by the colors of the title on the front cover. The one pictured above is the 1989 pressing, on the earlier pressings the letters are not orange but have the same red that appears on the rest of the cover.

Anyway, if you have this LP you probably do not have both pressings, so you are either missing “Father Forgive” or – if you have the first press – “Right On Rasta” and “Sister Enid”.

Crown Propeller to the rescue!

Father Forgive:

Right On Rasta:

Sister Enid:

Enjoy!

Randy Weston / Tommy Flanagan in Bern 1991

Posted in clips, jazz, Randy Weston, Tommy Flanagan with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by crownpropeller

Bildschirmfoto 2014-11-02 um 14.19.45Randy Weston in Bern, 1991

Of course the jazz world always knew what it had and has in composer and pianist Randy Weston. Many of his compositions have become standards. Weston’s deep undesrstanding of african music led him to an unique way of connecting african rhythms to modern US hard bop that has proved very influential.

In 1989 Weston became quite popular also amongst the non-afficianodos, when Verve took him under contract and released a series of CDs that were welcomed by the non-specialist press. As if Weston hadn’t been making fine music all the time.

Anyway his relative popularity at the beginning of the nineties led to Weston being invited onto the european festival circus. In the vast archives of Otto Flückiger I found some 18.30 minutes of Randy Weston’s African Spirits with Weston (p), Alex Blake (b), Idris Muhammad (dr) and Eric Asante (perc) filmed at the Jazzfestival Bern in 1991.

There is a second clip from that day featuring a duet of Weston and piano master Tommy Flanagan who apparently was also appearing at the festival in another cotext. Beware though that the first two minutes of this video are quite embarassing. Why would they do this to artists? Neither Flangan nor Weston seems to be very happy about what seems to have been the festival’s organiser’s idea. They both make the impression of having been pushed into this. But then there is the beauty of the musing emerging from the hands of these two greats:

Enjoy!

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