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
There are now two music streams. Click the appropriate player to the right.
1. Guitars & All That Jazz: Five hours of the best in jazz, guitars and other instrumental gems. New songs are added weekly.
2. Tiki Shores: Music to sweep you away to a tropical isle, a South American dance floor or a bossa nova on the beach at Rio. About 4.5 hours of classic exotica music, Latin rhythms and bossa nova.
Saturday, December 06, 2014
Like many of pop organist Lenny Dee's early LPs, Dee-lirious! (Decca, 1956), his second release, is laced with vintage boogie-woogie, swing and jazz tunes. (For more on Dee's 1950s albums, read this earlier post.)
Among the standards on Dee-lirious! are Chinatown, My Chinatown, Caravan, Twelfth Street Rag and Coquette, a 1928 classic with music by Johnny Green and Carmen Lombardo and lyrics by Gus Kahn. Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, with Carmen on vocals, recorded it that year for Columbia. RCA Victor had a competing version by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra.
Coquette has found its way onto scores of records since, including versions by Django Reinhardt, Louis Armstrong and Billy Eckstine. Here's Lenny Dee's take.
Information on the availability of digital versions of Dee's early LPs that was included in the earlier post is still valid. And don't forget that his LPs make frequent stopovers in thrift store bins. Look for the ones released from 1954 (DEE-Lightful! Hi-Fi Organ Solos With A Beat) to about 1965 (Sweethearts on Parade). Most of his recordings after that are mainly easy listening mush.
Here's another selection from Dee-lirious!, That's My Weakness Now. Composed in 1928 there were contemporary popular recordings by Helen Kane and Cliff Edwards, who often recorded under the name Ukulele Ike.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Macy's, a rockin' sax-organ combo piece by the Jack Cole Quintet, sounds very much like Plas Johnson's singles for Capitol in the 1950s. You can also hear the influence of Earl Bostic's fine sides for King.
It's not surprising that Cole (I'm assuming he's the sax player) sounds very much like Johnson. On the "A" side of this single is a cover of Sax Fifth Avenue, which Johnson took into the charts, using the pseudonym Johnny Beecher, in the spring of 1963. Both versions were released around the same time.
Sax Fifth Avenue and Macy's appear to have been the only two sides recorded by the Jack Cole Quintet.
Neither side of this single has appeared in a digital format.
Monday, November 24, 2014
The Carnaby Street Set might have had the original version of I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman (CBS [U.K.], 1967), as claimed on the picture sleeve of this 45, but the hit recording, on the Deram label, was credited to the fictitious Whistling Jack Smith.
The claim that the Carnaby Street Set were first out of the gate with this novelty tune seems somewhat dubious since the Whistling Jack Smith version was the product of the song's composers, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. It's not likely that the songwriters would have let someone else have the initial crack at the song if they were planning their own version.
What is certain is that both records were issued around the same time in 1967 and both were recorded by mostly anonymous groups of British studio musicians. Here's the recording credited to the Carnaby Street Set.
I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman
I prefer the oompah-marching brass sound of the Carnaby Street Set to the whistling-dominated hit recording. I believe whistling novelty tunes should be taken in small doses or perhaps ignored entirely. Some sources suggest Mike Sammes, leader of the Mike Sammes Singers, well known to British fans of easy listening, was the whistler on the Whistling Jack Smith recording. Another musician posed as Smith for public appearances.
If you look hard (and really, really must have it) I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman by Whistling Jack Smith is available on the major download sites, but the Carnaby Street Set version seems to be confined to vinyl singles and, of course, YouTube.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Great Themes from TV and Motion Pictures appeared on Columbia's Harmony budget label in 1969 as the tenure of Jerry Murad's Harmonicats with the company ended. The 10 tracks were assembled from LPs released on the main Columbia label over the previous few years.
Several came from The Love Song of Tom Jones and Other Great Movie Hits (1964), which you can read about and listen to a sample in this previous post. The earlier blog entry also has a bit of background on the group.
The Pink Panther Theme, of course, is very familiar thanks to Henry Mancini's hit version from the original soundtrack that featured the sax of Plas Johnson. Surprisingly the substitution of harmonica for sax works quite well in the Harmonicats' version, which was on both Great Themes and Love Song of Tom Jones.
The Pink Panther Theme
The content of Great Themes does not appear to have been released digitally.
Note in the video below that the cover for the British release of the LP (on Hallmark) was changed to highlight Theme from "The Avengers," the highly popular U.K. TV series that ended its run of eight-plus years in May of '69.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Chicago-based pianist and organist Floyd Morris, who released just this one LP and a handful of singles between 1965 and 1972, spent most of his time backing other artists (Gene Chandler, The Impressions, Etta James) in recording sessions. For more details on Morris and the album The ConSoul of Floyd Morris, read this earlier post.
Saxophonist Buddy Lucas shares the spotlight on the stomping title tune.
The ConSoul of Floyd Morris remains unavailable in a digital format, so here's Big News, another sample from this fine LP.