Listen To:

Selected MP3s of guitar instrumentals, jazz, big band, and classic easy listening from the original vinyl.

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, May 24, 2014

Eddie Maynard & His Orchestra - Broadway in Ping Pong Percussion

Stereophiles wanting to give their new sound systems a workout in the late 1950s and early '60s had a wide range of companies waiting to sell them records that would do just that.

Top-line labels like Command, Mercury Living Presence and Time Records offered mainly easy listening, big band and exotica LPs that featured ping-ponging percussion and sound effects that traveled from left to right and back again. Then there was a host of budget labels that also offered the same type of thing, but often with inferior recording quality and pressed on substandard vinyl. These cheap albums often sold for a third of what the top-line products were going for.

Labels like Diplomat, Spin-O-Rama, Pirouette, Promenade, Premier and a host of others, many of them based in New Jersey, sold most of their products from racks in drug stores, supermarkets and other businesses, rather than in record stores.

A name that often popped up on these labels was Eddie Maynard and His Orchestra. I suspect that this was a name that was just slapped on any collection of tracks that the companies happened to have sitting around awaiting release to ride the coattails of whatever fad was current.

The quality and style of recordings bearing the Maynard name varied widely -- anything from marching bands and easy listening to exotica and big bands. Happily Broadway in Ping Pong Percussion is one of the better releases and is obviously aimed at the customer who was buying those early Command label releases by Enoch Light and his cohorts.

Notice the ultra-cheap album cover on which someone (not me) has thoughtfully scrawled the name of the artist in grease pencil. Maynard's name appears only on the record label. Note that although the cover identifies the releasing label as Diplomat the label says Pirouette. Not only that but the title on the label is Broadway Percussion Sampler, which gives you some idea of the level of quality control. At least the catalog number is consistent.

Still, this is a great sounding recording, especially for a cheap label, in the easy listening-exotica genre. The minute's worth of train sound effects, created by percussion, moving back and forth between channels at the beginning of the sample track is stunning, bearing in mind that the recording was made more than 50 years ago.

They Call the Wind Maria

Broadway in Ping Pong Percussion has not been released in a digital format, at least legally. However, Eddie Maynard LPs populate thrift store bins just about everywhere.

Another LP recorded under the Maynard name was a version of the Pal Joey score. It came out on Promenade in the U.S. and on the Gala label in the U.K. some time around 1957. Here's the Main Theme (on some pressings it's called The Overture, which is probably more correct).

Be aware that if you spot this LP anywhere it's mainly vocals, with only the opening and closing themes being instrumental. Several tracks, dubbed from a vinyl EP issued in the U.K., are available for download on most major sites.

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