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
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, 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.
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
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
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
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.
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'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.
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
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.
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.
Monday, October 13, 2014
While Hawaiian Paradise (1959) is a classic slice of vintage tiki sounds its background is a bit of a mystery. The only documented release of this LP is on a British label, Fidelio, but it appears to be American in origin due to the presence of arranger and conductor Jim Timmens and vocalist Anita Darian.
Timmens made several jazzy LPs for Warner Brothers in the late 1950s, including the highly regarded Gilbert and Sullivan Revisited. He also worked on a bunch of children's recordings, some in the company of Darian, an operatic style soprano who graces a few of the tracks on Hawaiian Paradise. She first gained notice with the Sauter-Finigan Orchestra in the mid-'50s.
As for Bill Jaffee and His Islanders, this is likely a moniker made up for this studio recording, as there are no other releases under Jaffee's name. Here's one of the instrumental tacks from the LP.
House of Jade
Hawaiian Paradise is not available in digital form, but used copies of the LP have been known to turn up on eBay, Amazon and elsewhere at reasonable, and sometimes downright cheap, prices.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Trumpeter Billy Martin was from New York, but he and his fine funk band the Soul Jets did most of their recording in Montreal, Quebec.
Martin played in New York and Europe and studied at conservatories in Manhattan and Frankfurt, Germany. In the late 1960s he and his group toured Eastern Canada, staying in Montreal for a while. While there they recorded at least two albums -- Doin' Their Thing (London, 1969) and Strawberry Soul (Trans-World, 1970). Both were released only in Canada, are hard to find and have not been released digitally.
There was a third Billy Martin album of uncertain origin, I Turn You On, released on the Onion label in 1974. It possibly was made during the same period as the Canadian LPs. However, unlike those two releases it's a mainly vocal affair.
On the strictly instrumental Doin' Their Thing Billy Martin and the Soul Jets are in great form throughout, as evidenced by The Strut.
Billy Martin seemed to disappear from the music scene after making the records in Canada. It doesn't appear that there were any further recordings with the exception of I Turn You On, which may or may not have been done later. Here's a sample from that LP.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Most people know Michel Legrand for his popular movie scores (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Thomas Crown Affair, Summer of '42) and the hit songs from them (I Will Wait for You, The Windmills of Your Mind, Theme from Summer of '42). Yet his first love is jazz and he began his recording career with a series of best-selling instrumental albums for Columbia.
The success of I Love Paris in 1954 spawned a dozen or more LPs in a similar vein -- Holiday in Rome, Castles in Spain, Legrand in Rio, etc. Legrand apparently did not benefit financially from the popularity of the albums. He was paid a flat session fee for the recording sessions that took place in his native France.
I Love Movies came along in 1958. The movie themes therein were mostly well known, but there were several from French movies that may not have been familiar to North Americans.
The standard Cheek to Cheek was written by Irving Berlin for the 1935 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movie Top Hat. Astaire's recording of the song with Leo Reisman's orchestra was deemed to be the top hit of the year. Here's Legrand's version.
Cheek to Cheek
I can't begin to sort out the bewildering array of download versions of Legrand's Columbia recordings. Most, if not all, are the usual European out-of-copyright releases that should be approached with caution. As far as I can determine the tracks from I Love Movies are not available in a digital format.
On CD you should look for Legrand Piano: I Love Paris released by Sony in 1990 and available for under $5 on Amazon. There's also a release from Polygram in Europe of what is undoubtedly Legrand's finest Columbia recording, Legrand Jazz, with the participation of the likes of Miles Davis, Ben Webster and Hank Jones. There are plenty of cheap copies on Amazon and elsewhere. Make sure you get the Polygram release as there are also out-of-copyright versions floating around.
Here's something else from I Love Movies.
Saturday, October 04, 2014
Moods (1960) comes from the classic period of The 3 Sounds when the trio of pianist Gene Harris, bassist Andrew Simpkins and drummer Bill Dowdy were at the peak of their popularity. (For more on The 3 Sounds read this earlier post.)
Critics of the period generally weren't fond of the group's light touch, but record buyers made the trio one of the Blue Note label's top sellers.
For jazz DJs and juke boxes the record company issued Li'l Darlin'/Loose Walk as a promotional single. Both sides of the 45 were the full length album tracks, an unusual move for the time. The MP3 below is taken from the single, in mono of course.
Like other LPs by The Three Sounds Moods was released on a standalone Japanese CD that's now out of print. However, Moods is also included the four-CD out-of-copyright collection The Three Sounds: Eight Classic Albums from the European Real Gone Jazz label. Amazon has new copies starting at about $8, so you may want to take a chance even though these have likely been remastered from vinyl.
Out-of-copyright download versions of Moods also are widely available.
Here's Tammy's Breeze, another track from the album.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Not a surf record as you might expect from the group's name but a tasty slice of Detroit instrumental soul from 1966.
Very little is known about the group, which recorded a half dozen or so singles for at least four labels. Credits on the record labels indicate the involvement of Buffalo, N.Y., DJ and record man Tom Shannon and Carl Cisco, who had both relocated to Detroit and were associated with another Swan recording group, the Rockin' Rebels (Wild Weekend). For further information (and some well-informed speculation) on the Buena Vistas read this post on the excellent Funky 16 Corners blog.
Hot Shot came out in May 1966 and was a minor hit on both the Billboard (#87) and Cashbox (#82) charts.
The flip side of the single was T.N.T., an organ driven number that reminds me somewhat of Dave (Baby) Cortez (The Happy Organ, Rinky-Dink).
Both sides of this single are being peddled as downloads from all the major sources, but I'd be willing to bet they've been dubbed from vinyl.
Hot Shot is also included on the 1996 CD compilation Swan's Soul Sides: Dance the Philly from the highly-regarded Ace label in the U.K. It's available at a reasonable price from Amazon and other online sellers.