Welcome to Guitars & All That Jazz
Welcome to Guitars & All That Jazz
Guitars & All That Jazz was a radio station that webcast via Live365 for 11 years, ending in June 2011. The playlist consisted of guitar instrumentals, jazz, big band, early rock 'n' roll, lounge music and classic easy listening.
I hope to share some of this music with you via this blog. Most of it will be taken from the original vinyl (LPs and 45s) , cassettes and the occasional commercially unavailable CD.
Here's hoping you'll find something to enjoy. Please note files are available only for a limited time.
I urge you to purchase the digital version of the albums featured, either on CD or via download, wherever possible.
Listen to the Music
Click on the player to the right to listen to the Guitars & All That Jazz music stream. Five hours of the best in jazz, guitars and other instrumental gems. New songs are added weekly.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Although Jack Sterling played drums on this 1959 release on Columbia's Harmony budget label he was better known as the early morning disc jockey from 1948 to 1966 on New York's WCBS, known today as Newsradio 88. Sterling replaced Arthur Godfrey as the morning DJ on the CBS flagship station when Godfrey took to network radio and TV gigs full-time.
When Cocktail Swing came out Sterling was still featuring live music on his radio show, a rarity for the late 1950s. Although his skills on the drum kit were rudimentary Sterling surrounded himself with top New York studio musicians for the date: bass – Buddy Jones, clarinet – Andy Fitz, guitar – Mary Osborne, piano – Tony Aless, vibraphone – Tyree Glenn.
The sample track is Goody, Goody, composed in 1936 by Marty Malneck with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Benny Goodman and Bob Crosby both recorded it that year and Frankie Lymon had a hit with it again in 1957.
Cocktail Swing and another Columbia/Harmony LP, Music from Gypsy (Broadway show), appear to be the entire recorded output of Jack Sterling. Neither album has appeared in a digital format.
Sterling died of lung cancer in Stuart, Fla., on Oct. 31, 1990. He was 75.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Two volumes of Percussion Espanol by guitarist Al Caiola were issued in 1960 by Time Records, whose early releases were designed to showcase the emerging medium of stereo. This was most often accomplished by the generous (and sometimes excessive) use of percussion that often "ping-ponged" between the left and right channels.
As one of the early issuers of genuine stereophonic LPs, Time competed with labels like Audio Fidelity and producer Enoch Light's Command Records.
The two Percussion Espanol albums (Vol. 1 is shown above) came out around the time that Caiola was enjoying chart success with the western themes Bonanza and The Magnificent Seven, both of which were recorded for United Artists. The guitarist stayed with that label until the end of the 1960s.
Percussion Espanol contains some pretty decent Latin big band arrangements by Caiola, who orchestrated the tunes recorded at sessions in New York on May 16 and 17, 1960. Most of the tunes are extremely short, however, no doubt in an effort to encourage airplay. Tico, Tico, for instance, runs just 1:50.
The MP3 is from the vinyl LP.
Neither of the Percussion Espanol albums has been issued on CD, but both volumes are available as downloads from most of the major sources. These are being marketed by a rejuvenated Time Records label and are very good quality for a compressed file.
Another sample from the first volume is below.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Native Son was a Japanese fusion group formed in 1978 by keyboardist Takehiro Honda (1945-2006). The band lasted through half a dozen albums until 1985.
The other members of the group were guitarist Motonobu Ohde, saxophonist Kohsuke Mine, Tamio Kawabata on bass and Hiroshi Murakama on drums.
Native Son's self-titled debut came out in 1979 on JVC in Japan and Infinity in North America. The cover pictured above is from the U.S. and Canada release. The album was quite popular in their home country but didn't have much impact elsewhere.
Native Son's music seems to me to have worn well in comparison with much of the fusion genre, possibly because of the group's strong melodies. Here's a sample track from that first album.
Breezin' & Dreamin'
Native Son's debut is available on a Japanese CD (JVC) from the reliable CD Japan. I've seen no indication that any of the band's music is available as legal downloads.
Here' another track from that first Native Son album.
Monday, April 14, 2014
This 1984 album on Mercury was the first new material from the Everly Brothers in 11 years and followed a televised reunion concert. Producer Dave Edmunds managed to preserve the Everlys' traditional harmonies while at the same time updating their sound.
EB 84 has tunes by Paul McCartney, Jeff Lynne and Bob Dylan, several originals by Don Everly and The First in Line, a wonderful ballad by Paul Kennerley, an English singer-songwriter working in Nashville. He has written songs for the Judds, Marty Stuart and Sweethearts of the Rodeo, among others. Kennerley also was responsible for the concept albums White Mansions and The Legend of Jesse James, both of which featured an all-star lineup of country and rock artists.
The MP3 is from a cassette copy of EB 84.
The First in Line
EB 84 was released on CD by Razor & Tie in 1994, but a copy of that out-of-print disc will set you back $60 or more. However, used vinyl or cassette copies of the album are plentiful and cheap online, starting at around $4. There is no legal download to be had.
This song was written for EB 84 by Jeff Lynne.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
With the exception of a few of Jimmy McGriff's early singles for Sue Records his 45s were almost exclusively designed to promote his LPs. McGriff singles like I Got a Woman, All About My Girl and Kiko were chart hits in the early to mid-'60s and the albums containing those tracks were issued later.
A notable exception was the 1967 single of I Can't Get No Satisfaction/I Can't Give You Anything But Love Baby. Neither of these tracks ever appeared on a McGriff LP.
There is no indication of the personnel involved in the recording session, other than producer Sonny Lester.
I Can't Get No Satisfaction
McGriff's cover version of the Rolling Stones' hit was listed on Billboard's Bubbling Under chart at No. 130 in May 1967 but never climbed into the Hot 100. Neither this track nor the flip side is available in a digital format. However, copies of the vinyl single seem to turn up fairly often on eBay and other online sites.
The selection below, The Worm, is from a 1968 session for Solid State that featured saxophonist Fats Theus and trumpeter Blue Mitchell.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Musically Mad (RCA Victor, 1959) by Bernie Green and the Mad-Men is an extension of the brand of musical satire popularized by Spike Jones and His City Slickers in the 1940s and '50s. But make no mistake: Despite the Mad magazine-inspired cover (the mag apparently commissioned this LP), this is an album of first-rate big band jazz, albeit one with a sense of humor.
A few jazz fans take their music far too seriously, which probably accounts for the negative online reviews that Musically Mad sometimes receives.
Bernie Green's background was mainly in television (he was musical director for The Garry Moore Show) and he conducted the orchestras for the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Perhaps that accounts for the cinematic nature of his arrangements on Musically Mad.
Listen to Give Me That Good Old Progressive Jazz. As the album notes put it: "If you have stereo you'll hear the drummer actually move across the bandstand [to kill the chimes player.]" That's Phil Kraus banging the kit on this one.
Give Me That Good Old Progressive Jazz
Musically Mad made a brief appearance on a European CD in 2004 but copies of that are now selling for $50 and up. A much better buy is the download ($9.99) on iTunes and elsewhere. Online reviews indicate it's very good quality, but make sure you get the version from Sony Music. Other companies are also marketing this album and the quality may vary.
Here's another bit of musical madness from Bernie Green.