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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Hollywood Soundmakers - Great Music from A Fistful of Dollars, etc.


Although RCA Victor issued the soundtracks for the first two films in the "Dollars" trilogy the score for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly came out on a United Artists LP in 1967.

For those who didn't want to shell out real money United Artists used their Unart budget label to issue Great Music from A Fistful of Dollars, etc. This collection of tracks from all three films was released in 1968. It was billed as by the Hollywood Soundmakers, but was recorded at a studio in Miami, Fla. There are no meaningful credits on the LP cover or label -- just the name of the recording engineer.

Still, this is a very listenable interpretation of Ennio Morricone's music, despite the rather odd instrumentation on some tracks. Take for instance the organ on The Story of a Soldier from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Granted this is a dirge like melody, but the tone of the keyboard reminds me of something you might have heard in your neighborhood church or roller rink in the 1950s. The guitar's pretty good, though.

The Story of a Soldier



Strangely this collection from the Hollywood Soundmakers has turned up on CD and as a download. However, the cover art looks suspiciously like a cheap bootleg and the release certainly didn't come from whoever controls the United Artists catalog these days. You can check out this release on just about any of the major sites.

My advice would be to look for a cheap copy of the LP. They seem to turn up quite frequently.

Here's how The Story of a Soldier sounded on the original soundtrack album.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jerry MacNeish Plays The Fireballs


Jerry MacNeish, who played bass in a later edition of The Fireballs and became the group's historian, recorded this tribute to the group in Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, N.M., where The Fireballs recorded their hits like Torquay, Bulldog and Vaquero in the early 1960s. The group's sound helped lay the foundation for surf music.

On the LP Jerry MacNeish Plays the Fireballs (Nor Va Jak, 1986) he plays all the instruments, with the exception of piano, some of which was provided by Vi Petty, Norman Petty's widow. Here's MacNeish's take on Chief Whoopin-Koff. It's very close to The Fireballs' original, which was on the flip side of Vaquero, released in July 1960.

Chief Whoopin-Koff



Jerry MacNeish Plays the Fireballs was reissued on CD, on a very limited basis, in 1996 by NPR Records in Germany.


The title was altered slightly and there were five bonus tracks. Both the CD and LP are long out of print, but copies turn up now and then online at widely varying prices. No download version is available.

The original Fireballs seem to be fairly well represented in digital formats with several download and CD collections.

And yes most people remember The Fireballs as the band backing vocalist Jimmy Gilmer on the No. 1 hit Sugar Shack in 1963. But here they are in instrumental mode with the "A" side of the Chief Whoopin-Koff single.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Floyd Cramer - Long Walk Home (single)


Billboard reported on April 3, 1965, that both pianist Floyd Cramer (on RCA Victor) and orchestra leader Hugo Winterhalter (on Kapp) had released singles of Long Walk Home, "an intriguing piece of material with a New Orleans flavor" by Nashville songwriter and session player Chip Taylor. "Either or both should be winners," opined the music industry journal. Neither made the charts, unfortunately.

There was an equally interesting tune on the flip side of the Cramer 45, something called Town Square by fellow Nashville keyboardist Jerry Smith. Neither side of the single was on a current LP, but both did turn up two years later on Night Train, a budget release on RCA Camden.


Here's Long Walk Home taken from a Canadian pressing of the original single.

Long Walk Home



Long Walk Home and Town Square don't seem to have made it onto any of the multitude of Floyd Cramer CD and download releases, but it's possible I've missed one or two. However, cheap copies of the Night Train LP appear to be plentiful. To read more about Night Train and to listen to Town Square, read this earlier post.

From YouTube: This version of the Bob Wills standard was a hit for Cramer in 1961 and was included on his album On the Rebound.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gene Krupa - Gene Krupa and His Sidekicks


This collection of Gene Krupa tracks, featuring some of the famous sidemen who appeared with the drummer-bandleader's orchestra, was first issued by Columbia in 1955. The LP cover looked like this:


The cover pictured at the beginning of this post is from a 1974 reissue. Among those featured on the album are Benny Carter, Anita O'Day, Helen Ward and Gerry Mulligan. Mulligan is spotlighted on How High the Moon, but as an arranger not a soloist. This arrangement, Mulligan's first for Krupa's band, was recorded in 1946. Featured soloists are Charley Kennedy on alto sax and Red Rodney on trumpet.



There has been no CD release for Gene Krupa's Sidekicks and the couple of download versions that are available are of the dubious European out-of-copyright variety, taken from less than pristine vinyl, no doubt. Far better to look for a good copy of the 1974 re-release LP, which seems generally to sell for a reasonable price.

In 1941 Krupa and his band appeared in Ball of Fire, a musical comedy starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper in which the orchestra played Drum Boogie. I'm not sure whether the Krupa track called Ball of Fire was also used in the movie, but it was released a single on Columbia's Okeh label around the same time. Roy Eldridge is the trumpet soloist.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Stanley Turrentine - The Sugar Man


The Sugar Man was the last of five albums that tenor sax great Stanley Turrentine (1934-2000) released on Creed Taylor's fusion-oriented CTI label after his long tenure with Blue Note. Although the LP came out in 1975 all of the tracks had been recorded four years earlier.

Three of the five selections feature Turrentine in front of a big band arranged by either Deodato or Chico O'Farrill. The other two are with a sextet in which guitarist Kenny Burrell plays a prominent role. The Stretch is one of the small group tracks.

The Stretch



Although the bulk of Turrentine's CTI output has been released on CD and is available via download, The Sugar Man has not appeared in either form, perhaps because of its somewhat grab-bag nature.

Gibraltar comes from Sugar (1970) the sax man's first CTI album and has George Benson on guitar.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Roger Neumann - Introducing Roger Neumann's Rather Large Band


Roger Neumann's full-time job as a jazz educator in Los Angeles allowed him to record only infrequently. As well he's an in-demand arranger for artists as diverse as Count Basie, Ray Brown and the Beach Boys.

Neumann's Rather Large Band has made only two albums, with the debut, Introducing Roger Neumann's Rather Large Band, coming in 1983 on the Sea Breeze label. First released as an audiophile LP, it was re-released very briefly on CD a decade later and now commands collector prices ($20-80) for a copy. It's not available as a download.

Among the three standards on this outstanding date by the 19-piece big band is Ray Noble's Cherokee, a tune most associated with Charlie Barnet during the swing era. Featured on this track are pianist Tom Ranier, Bob Enevoldsen on valve trombone, Dave Edwards on soprano sax, Jack Coan on flugelhorn and Bob Hardaway on tenor sax. The MP3 is taken from the vinyl LP.

Cherokee



Best bet for obtaining (legally) this album at a reasonable price is probably checking around for a vinyl LP. I've seen copies online in the $10-15 range. There are also copies selling for twice that.

In the meantime here's the lead-off track from Introducing Roger Neumann's Rather Large Band, a driving version of a well-known TV theme, (Meet) The Flintstones. The then-unknown Eric Marienthal has an alto sax solo on this.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chris Barber's Jazz Band - Lonesome (single)


British trombonist Chris Barber is into his 65th year as a bandleader (in 2014), fronting the Big Chris Barber Band on a U.K. and European tour.

In 1953, along with clarinetist Monty Sunshine and vocalist and guitarist Lonnie Donegan, Barber joined forces with trumpeter Ken Colyer in Ken Colyer's Jazzmen. This group, minus Colyer, morphed a year later into Chris Barber's Jazz Band, one of the driving forces behind the "trad jazz" movement in the U.K.

Over the years blues became an important part of Barber's repertoire and the group evolved into the eight-member Chris Barber Blues and Jazz Band. In 2001 three more musicians were added to form the Big Chris Barber Band.

The one Barber record everyone remembers is Petite Fleur, featuring Sunshine's clarinet. This version of a Sidney Bechet composition was a worldwide hit in 1959. The followup single also dipped into the Bechet catalogue for Lonesome (Si Tu Vois Ma Mère [If You See My Mother]), again with Sunshine in the solo spotlight. The MP3 is taken from the original single.

Lonesome



There is a bewildering array of digital releases from Barber's catalogue, with almost all his recordings for Pye and Columbia in the U.K. being available in some form. If you can, sample any downloads before purchasing.

Here's a recording made shortly after the Chris Barber Jazz Band formed in 1953. The personnel is Barber, Sunshine, Donegan, Pat Halcox on trumpet, Jim Bray on bass and Ron Bowden, drums.