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22 February 2007

Minding the store, on Radio Mecha [More:] Welcome to another 2 hours of jazz on Radio Mecha. As I have before, I'll be posting some links, comments and credits as the set plays, which I hope are of interest to those listening, as well as to those who come to this thread later.

In this program, you'll get a dancer singing, a very famous jazz fan's multi-million dollar effort to memorialize the late, great Charlie "Bird" Parker from 1988, a 1997 recording of a petulant little number by songwriter Dave Frishberg, from a woman who has just become a new Mom, and probably doesn't have time to be petulant any more, a couple examples of musicians "callin' in" other musicians, and a couple of cuts that bookend the career of the very influential jazz record producer Orrin Keepnews.

The tune that I open these sets with, "The Greeting" is from a later McCoy Tyner album, called Things Ain't What They Used To Be.
#2 Poor Butterfly

Art Tatum plays a sweet piano solo of a tune published in 1916, with lyrics by John L. Golden and music by Raymond Hubbell, from a musical review written for the old Hippodrome Theatre in NYC, entitled The Big Show.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:02
#3 Crazy Rhythm

Django Reinhardt plays with Coleman Hawkins and His All-Star Jam Band (Benny Carter on alto sax & trumpet, Andre Ekyan on alto sax, Alix Combelle on tenor sax & clarinet, Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax, Stephane Grappelli on piano, Django Reinhardt on guitar, Eugene d'Hellemmes on bass, and Tommy Benford on drums) on an April 28, 1937 recording in Paris of an arrangement by Benny Carter of a well known 1928 tune by Joseph Meyer, Roger Wolfe Kahn, and Irving Caesar from the Broadway Musical Here's How. From the Capitol Jazz Records compilation "django: all star sessions".

This is one of the most influential and celebrated jazz recordings from the 1930's, featuring the saxophone quartet formed by Carter, Ekyan, Combelle, and Hawkins, against one of the most dynamic and fluid rythym sections of the day. Ekyan and Combelle solo first, with Carter and Hawkins then taking over about a minute into the tune. Hawkins and Carter trade a couple of choruses, and it has been suggested that Hawkins might have originally just been scheduled to take one and hand it over to Django, but Hawkins is cutting it loose, so about 30 seconds from the end, you hear Django yell "Come On!" to Hawkins, to indicate he should keep the lead and finish up the 3 minute 78 RPM record.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:06
#4 Laura

Yes, that is Charlie "Bird" Parker you hear, in a stereo recording, although he never, himself, recorded on stereo equipment. This is all thanks to Clint Eastwood [scroll down for a summary of Eastwood's links to jazz in his work], who took on the 1988 project movie "Bird" as a labor of love, because of his own interest in Parker. It's a good movie, starring Forrest Whittaker, a gifted musician in his own right, as Parker. And thanks to extensive work by a talented team of sound engineers (Les Fresholtz, Rick Alexander, Vern Poore, Willie D. Burton ) it won the 1989 Oscar for Best Sound. What Eastwood and the sound team did was to take some advanced analog filters, some early digital filtration, many hours of careful dubbing, and some talented arrangement and modern studio musicians, to original Charlie Parker tapes. Essentially, they isolated Bird's original tracks, note for note, and under them, grafted in a modern rythym section, and in some cases, new arrangements, to fit the storyline and timings of the movie. And yet, every note of alto sax you hear on the soundtrack album is pure Charlie Parker, himself. It's quite amazing, and a great re-imagining of Parker's legacy.

The tune, composed by David Rankin with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, was covered at one point by Carly Simon, who had the temerity to "add" some lyrics of her own. Consequently, searching for it on the Web brings up a ton of Carly Simon links, but you also can get a pointer to the Johnny Mercer exhibit at Georgia State University library in Atlanta, which is worth an hour of your time, if you're ever in downtown Atlanta. Originally, the song was written as the theme for the 1944 Oscar winning Otto Preminger film of the same title, but the music is only used instrumentally in the film soundtrack.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:09
Dammit, paulsc, why do you always start a radio set just as I am about to go to bed?

posted by essexjan 22 February | 19:12
#5 Isn't This A Lovely Day?

"Can't act. Slightly bald. Also dances." That was the written report that supposedly accompanied an early RKO Studios screen test of Fred Astaire. Most people remember Fred Astaire as a dancer, and possibly the lead of a movie dance team with Ginger Rogers, but he also had a good career as a singer, albeit one who depended more on style than vocal gifts. Here, he sings an Irving Berlin tune with a lot of relaxed, warm style, from his album, "The Irving Berlin Songbook." That's Ben Webster taking the saxophone solo about 1/2 way through.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:13
Sorry, essexjan! I have thought about some "re-broadcasts" on Sunday mornings EST, which would be Sunday afternoons in GMT. How would that work for you?
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:14
#6 Five'll Getcha

Here's a catchy little tune in 5/4 time by New England jazz pianist Deborah Franciose, with Ron Murray on bass, Marty Richards on drums, and Ricardo Monzon on percussion. From her 1995 Cosmo Records CD "Can't Stop It Now."
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:17
Er, likely to clash with live football. Jeebus, I lead such a pathetic life, lol.
posted by essexjan 22 February | 19:19
OK, when am I supposed to rebroadcast for the European audience, your ladyship? :-)
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:21
#7 All The Things You Are

From their 1989 CD "Question and Answer", Pat Metheny with Dave Holland and Roy Haynes do a nice version of this standard by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, written for Kern's last Broadway musical, the 1939 Very Warm for May. I'm not always a fan of Metheny's production decisions, and on this cut, his choices for mikes and reverb have him sounding like he and Dave Holland are down at one end of the cave playing together, while Roy Haynes is drumming down here in front with the rest of us. But it's a good appreciation of Roy Haynes.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:22
About 8am tomorrow would suit me. Coffee, The Times Online, and some nice music. Lovely.

only kidding - Sunday afternoon would be great
posted by essexjan 22 February | 19:24
Alrighty, then, 9:00 a.m. Sunday EST, should be 3:00 p.m GMT? I'll put up this program again, then.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:27
#8 Straight, No Chaser

From the 1958 album, "Jazz at The Plaza", here's The Miles Davis Sextet doing the Thelonious Monk standard, in a small concert setting at The Plaza hotel in NYC. This recording, like many "live" recordings of the era, suffers from some mix problems at the beginning, where Davis over blows his mike, and then goes completely off mike, but overall, the energy of the solos by Davis, and duel saxophonists Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane make this a memorable musical snapshot of these legendary musicians [link to PopMatters album review] in late summer of 1958, a few months before they would start work on the iconic album, Kind of Blue.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:31
That'll be 2pm in England. That should be fine. Anyway, this Sunday's game is Chelsea v Arsenal in the Carling Cup Final. As far as I'm concerned, the best result would be for a gaping hole to open up in the middle of the pitch and both teams falling into the fiery abyss. I doubt that'll happen, so I won't be watching.
posted by essexjan 22 February | 19:35
I'm not much of a soccer fan, I'm afraid. If I were to follow any team, it'd probably be Arsenal, only because of that silly movie of a few years back. Because of that, I feel it's not entirely daft to be daft about Arsenal. I am a big Patroits NFL fan, though. And I gave my baseball heart to the Red Sox, years ago.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:39
essexjan, I'll have a word with my people. Not promising anything, though.
posted by chrismear 22 February | 19:40
#9 Uwis

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra from the 1976 CD on which The Ellington Suites were first released. This is the centerpeice of The Uwis Suite. The critics have not been kind to Ellington's efforts at extended form music, but I take a more relaxed view, along the lines of Stanley Crouch in this January 2005 piece for Slate, the online magazine.

Listen, I say, and form your own opinion.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:42
#10 Salvadore de Samba

In his 1976 album "Fly With the Wind," McCoy Tyner got the chance to write for strings. Joined by bassist Ron Carter, drummer Billy Cobham, flutist Hubert Laws, piccolo, oboe, harp, six violins, two violas and two cellos, Tyner performed four of his originals (including the title cut and this long "samba") plus the standard "You Stepped Out Of A Dream." Moreover he fronts the orchestra with powerful piano performances himself, remaining very much the audible leader, even with all the orchestral complexity and sound layering laid on by producer Orrin Keepnews.

I've always thought this was music waiting for a movie to happen around it, maybe some tricked out, iconic chase scene, but it remains an album I listen to with some regularity, because of its energy and drive.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:49
Good evening, paulsc :)
posted by phoenixc 22 February | 19:52
Hey, phoenixc! Didn't expect you to drop by, tonight, as I thought you were headed to the gym, or something. But, glad to see you made it!
posted by paulsc 22 February | 19:55
#11 Freight Trane

From the 1958 album, "Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane", here's a Tommy Flanagan tune, featuring Kenny Burrell on guitar, John Coltrane on tenor sax, and a rythym section consisting of Flanagan on piano, Paul Chambers on bass (who throws in one of his "trademark" bowed solos, playing with the orchestral bow, instead of plucking the bass, as most jazz players do), and Jimmy Cobb on drums.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:02
Ya...I still may after your set...but the will is weak. ;)
posted by phoenixc 22 February | 20:02
wendell get jazz. jazz good for wendell. paulsc good.
posted by wendell 22 February | 20:04
Wendell! Good to see you, too! The more, the merrier, I say.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:06
#12 Well, You Needn't

From the 1957 Riverside album, Monk's Music (the cover illustration of Monk being one of those pictures that still has me wondering how the hell the photographer Paul Weller, and designer Paul Bacon [ still active in AIGA at age 80!] talked him into it. Although Weller had a pretty good reputation for other jazz album cover pictures, too.) The July 26, 1957 session produced a classic album, that carried the careers of many who helped with it, including producer Orrin Keepnews (who was really just starting as a producer), to new heights.

At around 2:22 of the way through, you can hear Monk calling "Coltrane! Coltrane!" to call the tenor sax man in for a chorus. Nice touch, reminiscent of old New Orleans bands, that makes me smile every time I hear this cut. Later on, around the 7:30 mark, you can hear Monk playing some whole notes, in semi-tone root progression, as a suggestion to saxophonists Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins, and Gigi Gryce for ornaments, which they grab and do little semi-scales on, against the next semi-tone root that Monk is playing by then, to create some dissonant tension that leads your ear along. At least, that's what a music theoretician told me once :-)
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:09
#13 I Do It For Your Love

Toots Thielemans introduces this little Paul Simon tune himself. From the Compact Jazz: Toots Thielemans compilation. With Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass, Rob Franken on electric piano, and Bruno Castellucci on drums. Recorded April 10, 1975 in Borrenhofstede, Laren, Holland.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:20
#14 The Work Song

This tune by Nat Adderley and Oscar Brown, Jr. was Adderley's best known work, and became something of a standard in the mid-sixties after he recorded it with Wes Montgomery, following other recordings by a number of other artists. Here, Milt Jackson and The Oscar Peterson Trio (with Ray Brown on bass, and Ed Thigpen on drums) take it on, in its plain, bluesy glory, initially playing the well known call-and-response chorus in parallel, before Jackson lays out an opening solo, and trades the lead back and forth with Peterson. From the 1962 album "Very Tall".
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:24
#15 You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To

Nashville pianist Beegie Adair and her Trio, with a smooth but strong rendition of a Cole Porter tune from her 2000 "Dream Dancing" CD.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:31
#16 Elucidation

Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea and Roy Haynes from their 1998 "Like Minds" CD, with a Pat Metheny tune.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:36
#17 Groovin' High

Tommy Flanagan with an up tempo tune by "Dizzy" Gillispie from Flanagan's 1978 album "Something Borrowed, Something Blue."
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:41
#18 In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

The warm sound of Ben Webster's tenor saxophone playing with Oscar Peterson's gentle, careful piano, make this, to me, a lullaby for those still around at closing time in jazz joints, everywhere. From the 1959 album Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:48
#19 Peel Me a Grape

Diana Krall with Christian McBride on bass do a memorable job with this Dave Frishberg number, from her 1997 CD "Love Scenes." But with twin boys born to her and husband Elvis Costello on December 6th, 2006, I think her days of ordering peeled grapes on the spur of the moment are probably over. Still she recorded this tune nearly 10 years ago, as hard as that is to believe, and life happens to all of us, doesn't it?

For those coming to this thread after the set is finished, here's a Web page with the tune embedded if you want to hear it.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:51
I've always found this song really fun in a demanding why-don't-you-be-my-sex-slave kinda way.
posted by phoenixc 22 February | 20:53
#20 I Will Say Goodbye

As usual, The Bill Evans Trio, with Eddie Gomez on bass and Eliot Zigmund on drums, takes us out with the title track from the 1977 album of the same name. To recap, in this set, we heard:

1. McCoy Tyner - The Greeting (2:27)
2. Art Tatum - Poor Butterfly (3:33)
3. Django Reinhardt - Crazy Rhythm (3:03)
4. J. Mercer, D. Raskin - Laura (3:34)
5. Fred Astaire - Isn't This a Lovely Day? (4:30)
6. Deborah Franciose & Moonfire - Five'll Getcha (5:16)
7. Pat Metheny, Dave Holland, Roy Haynes - All the Things You Are (8:26)
8. Miles Davis - Straight, No Chaser (10:57)
9. Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - Uwis (7:49)
10. McCoy Tyner - Salvadore de Samba (12:13)
11. Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane - Freight Trane (7:21)
12. Thelonious Monk - Well, You Needn't (11:24)
13. Toots Thielemans - I Do it for Your Love (3:30)
14. Oscar Peterson - The Work Song (7:33)
15. Adair, Beegie - You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To (4:27)
16. Gary Burton - Elucidation (5:20)
17. Tommy Flanagan - Groovin' High (6:16)
18. Ben Webster - In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning (3:12)
19. Diana Krall - Peel Me a Grape (5:52)
20. Bill Evans Trio - I Will Say Goodbye (3:30)

Until next time, kids, be swell, do well, don't yell and do tell.
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:57
And yeah, phoenixc, that Diana Krall thing was all kinds o' fun, in a prior life ;-)
posted by paulsc 22 February | 20:58
On that note, paulsc, I'm going to get ready to head to the gym now. ;)

Thanks for the tunes!

posted by phoenixc 22 February | 21:04
Bunny! OMG! || Remember that OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED Van Halen tour?