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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Leon Sash - Leon the Lion (single)


Some consider Leon Sash (1922-1979) the greatest jazz accordionist ever, and certainly the equal of the far better known Art Van Damme. Whatever the case may be, it's certain that Sash was vastly under-recorded.

Some early recordings for Mercury's EmArcy imprint, a live recording at Newport in 1957 and a couple of later LPs comprise his slim discography.

Sash gained national and international recognition in the 1950s and '60s, especially after his Newport appearance. But unfortunately fame did not bring him more recording opportunities. In fact he had to wait a decade after Newport to enter a recording studio again.

Sash recorded 11 titles for EmArcy in 1954, but only four of them were released on two singles (78 and 45). All of the EmArcy tracks turned up in 1983 on a limited edition LP, Leon Sash - The Master.

One of the four tracks to see the light of day in 1954 was Leon the Lion (b/w Package for Peggy). The other members of Sash's quartet were Rudy Kerpays, piano, Sully Picerno, bass and Max Marish, drums. Marish also played with Van Damme.

There's also a vocal chorus on the EmArcy recordings, consisting of the four members of the Meadowlarks -- Bob Bleznick, Maury Jackson, Marie Renaldo and Elaine Rodgers -- plus Lee Morgan (Sash's wife) and Ed Vana.

Please note that the audio quality of Leo the Lion isn't up to the usual standard. It's dubbed from one of the original 45s that wasn't in the best shape and has been cleaned up as much as possible.

Leon the Lion



None of the EmArcy recordings are available in a digital format. Leon Sash's recording of Blue Lou from Newport '57 is included on several download compilations. On CD there's only I Remember Newport, a 1967 album done for the Chicago-based Delmark and reissued 30 years later. It's for sale on Amazon for a reasonable price.

Polka Dots and Moonbeams is taken from that album.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Aki Aleong & the Nobles - Come Surf with Me


Aki Aleong is an American actor and musician who was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1934. He has a lengthy list of credits on TV and in the movies. His best known TV appearances include roles on Babylon 5 and V: The Series.

On the big screen Aleong appeared with Nick Nolte in Farewell to the King and with Chuck Norris in the final film of the Missing in Action trilogy.

He has also advocated for a greater presence for Asian Americans in the TV, film and music industries.

Aleong's music career was largely confined to the 1960s and his first records were pop vocals. Trade Winds, Trade Winds (Reprise, 1961) was a hit in Los Angeles but failed to have much of an impact nationally.

When surf music came along, Aleong put together a group called the Nobles and produced an album called Come Surf with Me (Vee-Jay, 1963). Since the LP is mainly instrumental Aleong largely stuck to overseeing the project, although he may have played some percussion instruments.

The members of the Nobles were Ralph Geddes (lead guitar), Paul Geddes (bass), Marty Smith (rhythm guitar), Rick Gardner (drums) and Ron Smith (piano).

Come Surf with Me is a mixture of surf standards (Miserlou, Pipeline, Apache) and originals by Aleong, including the dynamic Hiawatha.

Hiawatha



Come Surf with Me largely passed unnoticed on its release. It hasn't appeared on CD or as a legal download. But two tracks from the LP, Body Surf and Earthquake, have appeared on CD compilations.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Jerry Murad's Harmonicats - Theme from "The Prize" (album track)


The Harmonicats, led by Jerry Murad, began playing in clubs in Chicago in the mid 1940s. They had their biggest hit in 1947 when Peg O' My Heart went to the top of the chart. Their other successes included the LP Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White, which reached the Top 20 in 1961. The Harmonicats continued recording for Columbia (they also made a number of records for Mercury) until the late '60s.

The Love Song of Tom Jones and Other Great Movie Hits (Columbia) was released in 1964 and included a version of the Theme from "The Prize," which reached theatres in December of the previous year. This drama of romance and intrigue involving several Nobel laureates starred Paul Newman, Edward G. Robinson and Elke Sommer.


The Prize featured an early score by prolific composer Jerry Goldsmith. The Harmonicats' version of the film's theme is considerably more uptempo and has a completely different character than the theme on the soundtrack

Theme from The Prize



Here's Goldsmith's soundtrack version.


Jerry Goldsmith's soundtrack for The Prize is available on limited edition CD from Film Score Monthly. The 36 tracks include plenty of bonus material. There is also a download version of the soundtrack available from iTunes and other sellers, but this does not come from Film Score Monthly, so it's probably "buyer beware" time.

The album containing the Harmonicats' version of the Theme from The Prize does not appear to have had a digital release, so here's another track from it, The Love Song of Tom Jones.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pepe Jaramillo - Mexican Mirage

                                          (Photo from Audio Design Studio blog)

What little information there is on Mexican-born pianist Pepe Jaramillo has to be gleaned form the less than reliable information contained in LP liner notes. There are almost no biographical details available online.

According to the album information Jaramillo was born in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Sometime in the 1940s he began playing at the Ritz Bar in Mexico City, later moving to the newly-opened The Quid. His fame grew and he began appearing on radio and TV.

A visit to France in 1957 led Jaramillo to move to Europe. After some TV work for the BBC he went to live in London.

Jaramillo had a long career in Britain, recording prolifically for various EMI labels from 1959 through the 1970s. Many of his easy listening Latin-flavoured albums were recorded for the company's high end Studio 2 Stereo imprint, including Mexican Mirage (1973). A sample track is below.

Can't Take My Eyes Off You



Very few of Jaramillo's albums have been released on CD and the only one currently in print is a compilation from the Jasmine label, Salud Pepe. You'll have no trouble picking up a copy at a reasonable price.

There's a variety of Pepe Jaramillo downloads to peruse. Quality is likely to vary widely, so choose carefully.

Here's another track from Mexican Mirage.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Psychos - Mack the Knife (single)


Close your eyes while listening to this 1960 single by the Psychos and you'd likely think you were hearing the more famous Bill Black's Combo. Both were from Memphis, with Black's combo recording prolifically for the Hi label while the Psychos' recorded output seems to consist of this one single for the rival Fernwood label.

Future Country Hall of Famer Jack Clement started Fernwood, his first label, with friend Slim Wallace in 1956. Clement didn't stick around for long. He quickly departed for Sun Records where he worked with Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and other artists at the groundbreaking label before being fired by Sun head Sam Phillips in 1959.

Fernwood, meanwhile, continued on under the leadership of Scotty Moore, famous as Elvis Presley's guitarist. Moore was made vice-president of the company and produced most of the sessions. The company's one significant hit was Thomas Wayne's Tragedy in 1959. In fact the "A" side of the Psychos' single is an instrumental version of Wayne's chart success.

Moore sold his interest in Fernwood in 1960 and he, too, went over to Sun. It's unclear whether he was still at Fernwood when the Psychos recorded Tragedy/Mack the Knife.

Mack the Knife



Mack the Knife by the Psychos has appeared on at least two CD anthologies -- Fernwood Rock 'n' Roll (Stompertime, 1999) and the recently-released Big Shot: The Fernwood Records Story 1957-1962 (One Day Music).

Fernwood Rock 'n' Roll is long out of print on CD but is available via download. New CD copies of Big Shot can be had very cheaply via Amazon. It's not available for download.

You'll probably only want one of these compilations as there is considerable duplication of tracks.

Strangely the "A" side of the Psychos' 45, the instrumental of Tragedy, doesn't appear on either CD. So here it is from YouTube courtesy of VinylNostalgia.


Friday, August 08, 2014

Al Caiola - La Donna nel Mondo (Women of the World) (single)


La Donna nel Mondo (1963) was one of two sequels produced by Italian filmmaker Gualtiero Jacopetti (1919-2011) in the wake of the worldwide success of his "shockumentary" Mondo Cane (A Dog's World) in 1962.

It would be hard to call Mondo Cane a documentary as it's merely a compilation of unrelated film clips showing bizarre and brutal rituals and practices around the world. Most of the footage is genuine but a few sequences apparently were staged or, as one source puts it, "creatively manipulated." Still, the film was enormously popular, largely because worldwide travel was a novel concept to most people, particularly North Americans, in the early '60s.

Jacopetti put together two quick sequels -- Mondo Pazzo (Mad World, also known as Mondo Cane No. 2) and La Donna nel Mondo (Women of the World).

Whatever one might think of these films there's no denying the excellence of their soundtracks. The Mondo Cane score was the work of Riz Ortolani and Nino Oliviero and the film's theme, More, was nominated for an Oscar and has been recorded hundreds of times since 1962. Jazz trombonist Kai Winding had a hit with it in the months following the film's release.

Oliviero provided the score for Mondo Cane No. 2 and again collaborated with Ortolani on La Donna nel Mondo.

Guitarist Al Caiola recorded his version of the theme from La Donna nel Mondo in 1963, shortly after the film hit theatres. This tune didn't appear on any of Caiola's LPs for United Artists and has not appeared as a legal digital release.

La Donna nel Mondo



The flip side of the Caiola single is interesting as well. Redigo is the theme from a now forgotten half-hour modern western TV series that starred Richard Egan and ran for a mere 15 weeks in 1963. I must admit I'd never heard of the program, which apparently was a shortened version of a one-hour show called Empire that aired the previous season. In any case here's the original opening credits for Redigo followed by Caiola's recording.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Sil Austin - Hey Eula (single)


Although the background of saxophonist Sil Austin (1929-2001) was in jazz he enjoyed most of his success in the R&B and pop fields. His big breaks came in the jazz bands of Roy Eldridge and Cootie Williams. In 1953 Austin moved into R&B when he joined Tiny Bradshaw's band.

The saxophonist signed with Mercury Records in 1956 just as rock 'n' roll was hitting its stride and enjoyed a Top 20 record with Slow Walk. It was to be his only significant pop hit, although he continued to record for Mercury for the next 12 years. Some of Austin's LPs sold well, with the most popular proving to be Sil Austin Plays Pretty for the People (1959), where he was backed by a string orchestra.

He made some easy listening albums for SSS International in Nashville in the late 1960s and early '70s, but there was only the odd recording session after that.

(For a first-rate personal reminiscence about Sil Austin go to The Funk Show website.)

Among the many Mercury singles that followed the success of Slow Walk was Hey! Eula (flip side: Rainstorm), which came out in 1958. This stompin' piece of R&B sax and guitar has a rather odd source. The tune was written by Alex North for the soundtrack of The Long Hot Summer, the 1958 Martin Ritt film that starred Paul Newman, Orson Welles and Joanne Woodward. The version on the soundtrack, played by the 20th Century Fox Orchestra, is much more jazzy. Below are both recordings.

Hey! Eula (Sil Austin)



Hey! Eula (soundtrack)



None of Sil Austin's fine recordings for Mercury seem to be available on CD at a reasonable price. All that's on offer are several expensive imports. Best bet to sample some of his Mercury tracks is the download version of the compilation Swingsation, available from Amazon and elsewhere.

The CD compilations Great Sax and Sentimental Sax provide a sampling of his later recordings for SSS, but there is some duplication of tracks. Used copies are reasonably priced.

Birthday Party, which made the R&B chart in 1957, was the followup to Austin's hit Slow Walk.