Monday, January 28, 2008

Tony Almerico's Dixieland All-Stars - Dixieland Festival, Volume I: A Live Concert From The Rue Royale In New Orleans -VIK Records

Tony Almerico's Dixieland All-Stars
Dixieland Festival, Volume I
A Live Concert From The Rue Royale In New Orleans



1956 VIK Records LX-1057

Side One:
1. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
2. Someday You'll Be Sorry
3. I Found A New Baby
4. Bugle Call Rag
5. Muskrat Ramble

Side Two:
1. Honeysuckle Rose Dinah
2. Milenberg Joys
3. When You're Smiling
4. Memphis Blues
5. Sweet Georgia Brown

Liner Notes:

Conducted by Tony Almerico
Recorded at the Parisian Room, New Orleans, June 10, 1956.
Recording Engineer: Jepson Miller
Produced and directed by Herman Diaz, Jr.
Cover photo by Lucky Kaderian
© by Radio Corporation of America, 1956

Tony Almerico's Dixeland All-Stars
Dixieland Festival, Volume I: A Live Concert From The Rue Royale In New Orleans

Personnel:
Tony Almerico trumpet
Pete Fountain clarinet
Warren Luening, Jr trumpet
"Bugling" Sam Dekemel trumpet
Pee Wee" Spitelera clarinet
Jack Delaney trombone, vocals
Nino Picone tenor saxophone
Frank Federico guitar
Joe Loyacano bass
Johnny Castaing drums
Pinky Vidacovich announcer

New Orleans, of course, was where it all started - where the polkas, the quadrilles, the tangos, the rags and the arias that soared out of the French Opera House were mixed with marches, work songs and hymns and given exotic African rhythms by musicians whose technique was based on nothing but instinct. The resultant fusion, developed by the expressive genius of an amazing succession of natural, unschooled performers, eventually became known as jazz.

It started in New Orleans but long before most people realized that jazz existed, its center had moved up the Mississippi to St. Louis, Kansas City and, principally, to Chicago. That was in the early 1920s and since then it has stretched out horizontally across the country from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco. It has girdled the globe, reaching into every corner where phonograph records are played. Today, when anyone mentions New Orleans in connection with jazz, it is usually as "the place jazz came from" as though, after it headed up the Mississippi thirty-five years ago, no one had been left at home to carry on the tradition.

But jazz is still played in New Orleans with as much vigor as ever. In reality, jazz never left New Orleans. Instead, New Orleans has spread itself around the world, leaving a small part of itself wherever jazz musicians rally around a downbeat.

This album, featuring Tony Almerico's Dixieland All-Stars, is the first in a series of four Dixieland Festival recordings which will make up a report on the present lively state of jazz in New Orleans.

Tony Almerico's All-Stars, a mixture of seasoned New Orleans men and the town's vigorous younger generation, has been a fixture at the Parisian Room on Royal Street for years. What you hear on this album is exactly what you might hear if you were to walk into the Parisian Room. It is an on-the-spot recording of an actual performance, spontaneous, unrehearsed, taken down exactly as it reached the microphones, complete with the appreciative whistles and clapping of the audience.

Almerico is one of the veterans of the New Orleans musical scene who follows in that tradition started by another old New Orleans man, Louis Armstrong - the trumpet player who also sings. His authoritative lead trumpet is in constant evidence and he turns up vocally on the familiar When You're Smiling.

Joining Almerico in the front line are three of the young stars who are carrying on the vital traditions of New Orleans jazz. Pete Fountain is anexceptional clarinetist with the rich, mellow tone that is the hallmark of the great New Orleans clarinet men. Fountain got his start with The Junior Dixieland Band and the continuing line of New Orleans jazz is emphasized in these performances by the presence of two current members of the Junior Dixielanders - trumpeter Warren Luening, Jr., and clarinetist "Pee Wee" Spitelera. The other horns in Almerico's band are Jack Delaney, a trombonist and singer who is the closest thing to Jack Tea-garden since Teagarden himself, and tenor saxophonist Nino Picone, who plays in the definitive New Orleans tenor style of Eddie Miller.

Balancing this young blood on the horns is a rhythm section that is heavy with experience. Guitarist Frank Federico was in that Ben Pollack band of the mid-Thirties which also featured Harry James, Glenn Miller, Irving Fazola and Freddie Slack. Later he toured with Louis Prima when Prima was leading a small jazz group. Joe Loyacano, on bass, comes from an outstanding New Orleans musical family which contributed three notable jazz performers to the jazz scene in the Twenties - another bassist, Arnold; another Joe, a trombonist; and Steve, a banjo player. Drummer Johnny Castaing was on the road in the same Louis Prima band with Federico and later played with pianist Roy Zimmerman in George Hartman's New Orleans band.

A special added attraction, unique to present-day New Orleans, is "Bugling" Sam Dekemel, a onetime waffle vendor who can play anything in the Almerico band's repertory on his bugle as long as it is in the key of G.

The tunes that the Almerico band plays are familiar standards which have traveled north, east, south and west with New Orleans jazz. Theirs, however, is the native New Orleans interpretation (notice how a New Orleans band tends to end its numbers with a downward slur) and the final stamp of authenticity is put on this presentation by the presence of Pinky Vidacovich, regular announcer for the broadcasts from the Parisian Room, as master of the revels and informant extraordinary.

And now, if you'll follow me into the Parisian Room, we'll drift on down yonder . . . way down yonder.

JOHN S. WILSON

George Girard - Dixieland Festival, Volume II - Stomping At The Famous Door - VIK Records

George Girard
Dixieland Festival, Volume II
Stomping At The Famous Door


1956 VIK Records LX-1063
Side One:
1. Mahogany Hall Stomp
2. Chinatown My Chinatown
3. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans
4. Da-Da Strain
5. St. Louis Blues
6. Sweethearts On Parade

Side Two
1. Original Dixieland One-Step
2. Dark Eyes
3. Wang Wang Blues
4. Mama Don't Allow It
5. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
6. Beale Street Blues

Liner Notes:

Conducted by George Girard.
Recorded at the Parisian Room, New Orleans, June 12, 1956.
Recording Engineer: Jepson Miller.
Produced and directed by Herman Diaz, Jr.
Cover photo by Lucky Kaderian
© by Radio Corporation of America, 1956

George Girard And His New Orleans Five

Personnel:
George Girard trumpet
Harry Shields clarinet
Bob Discom piano
Bob Havens trombone
Emile Christian bass
Paul Edward drums

After Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, King Oliver and the other great jazz stars of that early generation left New Orleans more than thirty-five years ago for greener pastures, the Crescent City seemed to dwindle as a jazz center. Occasionally a musician from New Orleans made his way north to achieve some measure of fame but since New Orleans was no longer a great jazz seedbed he might have picked up almost as much jazz background if he had been born in Cheraw, South Carolina, as Dizzy Gillespie was, or Great Barrington, Massachusetts, as Shorty Rogers was.

But suddenly, after World War II, the town that gave birth to jazz rediscovered its native music and the young musicians of New Orleans came face to face with the startling fact that they had a heritage, the noblest heritage in all jazz. Instead of hustling off to Los Angeles or Chicago or New York to seek their musical fortunes, they stayed at home and began pumping strong new blood into the old New Orleans jazz tradition.

George Girard is one of the brightest stars of this new generation of New Orleans jazzmen. Born in 1930, he started playing his trumpet professionally when he was sixteen. As usual, he began by leaving town to work with traveling bands for a couple of years. But when he came back to rest up and settle his traveler's stomach with some home cooking, he found the town in the throes of a Dixieland revival. Irving Fazola, the great clarinet star of the Bob Crosby band who came home to play out his string before he died at thirty-six in 1949, was giving New Orleans a new reason to remember its great jazz days and the New Orleans Jazz Club was beating the drums and blowing the trumpets for a revival of the great jazz days of the past.

Girard, who had never bothered with Dixie before, was swept up in this local enthusiasm. He sat in with Tony Almerico's band (which can be heard in Vol. 1 of this Dixieland Festival series, VIK LX-1057) and picked up the knack and the repertoire of the Dixielanders. The next year, when he was nineteen, he became the trumpeter in the Basin Street Six, one of the two outstanding young bands formed in New Orleans since the war (the other is the Dukes of Dixieland, featured on VIK LXA-1025). The Basin Street Six had three years of high success but this success brought on more out of town bookings than some of the stay-at-home members wanted to take. So the band broke up. That was when Girard formed his own group. He took it into the Famous Door on Bourbon Street in 1952 and it has been there ever since.

Three of Girard's men have been with him from the start - pianist Bob Discom, drummer Paul Edwards and bassist Emile Christian. Discom has spent all his life in New Orleans but most of his musical career has been concerned with serious music. Girard gave him his first professional job as a jazz pianist. Edwards is an example of the revitalized jazz lodestone that New Orleans had become. A native of Columbus, Ohio, he took such a liking to Dixieland music that he packed up and went to New Orleans to make it his home. His first job there was with this band.

Christian is a direct connecting link with the halcyon days of New Orleans jazz. He played trombone with that pioneering group, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Early in the Twenties, he went to England with the ODJB and stayed on for twenty years. Since his return to New Orleans, Christian, who is now fifty-nine, has given up the trombone in favor of the bass.

Clarinetist Harry Shields also provides a connection with the ODJB, although a less direct one. His brother was Larry Shields, the magnificent clarinetist in that early group. Harry, a contemporary of Emile Christian, has spent most of his musical career in New Orleans.

Trombonist Bob Havens, like Paul Edwards, is a young outlander who has been lured to New Orleans by its music. Havens was playing with Ralph Flanagan's band when he first heard Girard's group at the Famous Door. Girard just happened to need a trombone man and Havens was so inspired by the band that he quit Flanagan, sweated out his New Orleans union card and took over the trombone chair at the Famous Door.

These recordings were made during a special performance by Girard's band at the Parisian Room on Royal Street. The tunes are primarily well established Dixieland favorites but a special New Orleans flavor is injected by the inclusion of three numbers closely associated with the town's greatest jazz-playing son, Louis Armstrong - Mahogany Hall Stomp, Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans and Sweethearts on Parade.

- JOHN S. WILSON

Jam Session On Bourbon Street, Dixieland Festival, Volume III - VIK Records

Jam Session On Bourbon Street
Dixieland Festival, Volume III
featuring Pete Fountain



1957 VIK Records LX-1058

Side One
1. When The Saints Go Marching In
2. Tin Roof Blues
3. High Society
4. Farewell Blues
5. I'm Confessing That I Love You

Side Two
1. Ballin' The Jack
2. Some Of These Days
3. Darktown Strutters Ball
4. Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey
5. With You Anywhere You Are


Liner Notes:

Recorded at the Parisian Room, New Orleans, June 12, 1956.
Recording Engineer: Jephson Miller
Produced and directed by Herman Diaz, Jr.
Cover photo by Lucky Kaderian

© by Radio Corporation of America, 1957

Bourbon Street All-Star Dixielanders

Personnel:
George Girard trumpet
Tony Almerico trumpet
Santo Pecora trombone
Jack Delaney trombone
Pete Fountain clarinet
Harry Shields clarinet
Lester Bouchon tenor saxophone
Roy Zimmerman piano
Frank Federico guitar
Phil Darois bass
Roger Johnston drums
Paul Edwards drums

The unusual double Dixieland band which plays this walloping New Orleans jam session is made up of the leading lights of three of the top bands in the Crescent City today, each of which can be heard on its own in the other volumes of the Dixieland Festival series: Tony Almerico's Dixieland All-Stars on Volume 1 (VIK LX-1057), George Girard's New Orleans Five on Volume 2 (VIK LX-1063) and Santo Pecora's famous group on Volume 4 (to be released in the near future).

The multiplication of the standard New Orleans jazz band instrumentation which occurs here (two trumpets, two trombones, two clarinets and even two drums) is sometimes approached at jazz concerts when several groups are combined to provide a monstrous mountain of sound for the finale. And that, unfortunately, is what too often happens when every musician on a jazz program is indiscriminately thrown on-stage at one time and told to blow.

But one of the things that makes the Bourbon Street All-Star Dixielanders unusual is the sense of unity in their playing. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that the group had never played together before its members were assembled for this session and that, in the true tradition of the jam session, a number was called out and played with no time allowed for the preparation of any preconceived approaches. That these men have been able to coalesce so well can be attributed essentially to two factors which are generally missing when massed ensembles are herded on-stage at jazz concerts: all of these musicians are steeped in a single tradition of jazz and in a single style of jazz. They are men whose musical lives have been devoted to two-beat in the great New Orleans tradition. And they are men whose musical lives are centered on the New Orleans of today.

George Girard, the nominal leader of this group, is one of the brightest stars of the new generation of New Orleans jazzmen. He has led his own band at the Famous Door on Bourbon Street since 1952 and before that his trumpet was featured for three years with the famous Basin Street Six. Girard learned the Dixieland repertoire by sitting in with Tony Almerico's band at the Parisian Room on Royale Street (where this session was recorded, regardless of the title given to this collection) and the veteran Almerico is on hand here to provide a balance of age and youth in the trumpet section.

There is a similar balance between the trombonists: Santo Pecora and Jack Delaney. Pecora is one of the great veterans of New Orleans jazz, the only member of this group who has spent much time away from his home town. He replaced George Brunis in the legendary New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1924 and later spent a long time in Hollywood with Wingy Manone. Since 1942 he has been back in New Orleans leading his own group which has shared the stand at the Famous Door with George Girard's band in recent years. Delaney, a regular member of the Almerico band, is a very direct descendant of Jack Teagarden in both his instrumental and vocal styles.

The clarinetists are also drawn from two generations of New Orleans musicians. Pete Fountain, from Almerico's band, is a graduate of the Junior Dixieland Band and is in the great tradition of mellow and lyrical New Orleans clarinet men. Harry Shields, Pecora's clarinetist, is a brother of Larry Shields, the great clarinetist of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

Balding Lester Bouchon is a versatile musician from Pecora's band who plays clarinet and bass saxophone but, for this session, stuck to tenor saxophone which he plays in the rolling style typical of New Orleans tenors.

Pianist Roy Zimmerman has been a fixture in the New Orleans musical scene for many years, playing with groups of all types before he settled into his current niche with Almerico. Almerico's guitarist, Frank Federico, is another slightly traveled veteran: he was in Ben Pollack's band in the Thirties and spent some time on tour with Louis Prima. Phil Darois, who varies between tuba and string bass when he is playing with the Pecora group, limits himself to the more flexible string bass for this free and easy session. The two drummers are Roger Johnston of Pecora's band and Paul Edwards, a young immigrant from Ohio who now lives in New Orleans and drums regularly for Girard.

The tunes are some of the sturdiest of the standards in the traditional New Orleans repertoire, augmented by one number - I'm Confessing That I Love You - which is not strictly New Orleans but which has received authentication as a result of Louis Armstrong's famous version of it. On every selection, the order of horn solos is the same: Girard, Shields, Delaney, Bouchon, Almerico, Fountain and Pecora. Federico's guitar gets solo attention at the end of I'm Confessing and Ballin' the Jack. Darois' bass is heard on its own in the middle of Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey and piano solos by Zimmerman are spotted on Tin Roof Blues, Farewell Blues, Ballin' the Jack and Bill Bailey. To complete the over-all New Orleans flavor of this session, the numbers are introduced in the inimitable manner of the Parisian Room's regular announcer, Pinky Vidacovich.

- JOHN S. WILSON

Santo And His Tailgaters - Dixieland Festival, Vol. IV - Dixieland Mardi Gras - VIK Records

Santo And His Tailgaters
Dixieland Festival, Vol. IV
Dixieland Mardi Gras


1956 VIK Records LX-1081 Mono
(VIK is an RCA Records subsidiary)

Side One
1. Tailgate Itch
2. South Rampart Street Parade
3. Mack The Knife
4. Copenhagen
5. Clarinet Marmalade

Side Two
1. China Boy
2. March Of The Bob Cats
3. Toot-Toot Tootsie Goodbye
4. You Can Depend On Me

Liner Notes:

Arranged and conducted by Santo Pecora.
Recorded in the Parisian Room, New Orleans, June 11, 1956.
Recording Engineer: Jephson Miller.
Produced and directed by Herman Diaz, Jr.

Personnel:
Santo Pecora, trombone
Roy Liberto, trumpet
Lester Bouchon, clarinet and tenor sax
Ronald Dupont, piano
Paul Guma, guitar
Arthur Seelig, bass
Roger Johnston, drums

Like the prophet who is without honor in his own country, the great jazz musician who stays in his home town is all too apt to be taken for granted. New Orleans-born Santo Pecora has been playing in his home town since 1942 but, unlike the ignored home-bred prophet, Pecora is accepted as one of the elder statesmen of jazz, a great figure of the traditional form of the music. That Pecora has gained such warm-hearted acceptance at home can be attributed, to some extent at least, to the fact that he astutely spent much of the twenty years preceding his return to New Orleans in such distant and glamorous quarters as Chicago and Hollywood building the reputation that he was eventually to take home in triumph.

In this day of many aging but active jazz musicians, when Kid Ory is on the crest of success at 70, Sidney Bechet is the toast of France at 60, when 65-year-old Pops Foster still plucks vigorously at his bass and 60-year-old Tony Spargo, the drummer in the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, still whacks his snare and huffs heatedly on his kazoo - amidst all these, Pecora is not startlingly old (55 in March, 1957) but he is one of the true veterans of jazz.

He first attracted attention as a member of the famous New Orleans Rhythm Kings when he replaced George Brunis, two years his senior, on trombone in 1924. To do this, he had to leave New Orleans for Chicago (for, despite its name, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings was actually a Chicago band, but one which was dominated by refugees from New Orleans). Before taking this trip, Pecora had studied French horn with what could only have been legitimate intentions - this was some thirty years before anybody thought of the French horn as a jazz instrument. However, before he became too involved with the French horn, he gave it up and switched to trombone. Thus equipped, he entered on his professional career by playing in a New Orleans movie theater.

Pecora's two-year stay with the NORK (New Orleans Rhythm Kings) provided him with a reputation which opened doors for him for years afterward. He worked steadily in a variety of commercial bands in the late Twenties and during the Thirties he traveled the land with numerous dance bands, including Benny Meroff's and Buddy Rogers', and got back onto the edges of the jazz scene in Ben Pollack's band. When Paul Mares, the original trumpet man in the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, reorganized the group for a recording date in 1935, Pecora was back in the trombone chair.

From then on he devoted more and more of his time to jazz rather than to commercial work. He played with his New Orleans confrere, the distinctive trumpet man, Sharkey Bonano, in New York, then switched his locale to the West Coast. He was there for several years, playing with Wingy Manone and with groups of his own. While he was in Hollywood, Pecora appeared in two films, Bing Crosby's "Rhythm on the River" and "Blues in the Night."

In 1942, when the prodigal son came home, he was greeted as any true prophet should be. Since then, he has stayed close to New Orleans, taking a jaunt out now and then but spending most of his working time in the neighborhood of Bourbon Street with Sharkey's band or his own group. In recent years his band has shared the stand at the Famous Door with young George Girard's group (which can be heard on the second volume of this Dixieland Festival series, Vik LX-1063; Volume One, which is Vik LX-1057, features Tony Almerico's Parisian Room Band and Volume Three, Vik LX-1058, is a jam session involving members of the three bands heard in the other volumes, including Pecora himself).

Pecora's band is made up of Roy Liberto, trumpet; Lester Bouchon, clarinet and tenor sax; Ronald Dupont, piano; Paul Guma, guitar; Arthur Seelig, bass; Roger Johnston, drums; and, of course, "Mr. Tail-gate" himself on trombone.

The tunes reflect Pecora's relatively cosmopolitan nature. The emphasis is not as strongly in the basic Dixieland repertoire as it has been in the earlier volumes in the Dixieland Festival series. To be sure, Clarinet Marmalade and Copenhagen are straight out of that repertoire. But China Boy and You Can Depend on Me are reflections of Pecora's Chicago period for these are tunes that the Chicagoans were bringing to light then. The tinge of music hall in Toot-Toot Tootsie Goodbye offers a strong suggestion of one of the contributory sources of jazz. South Rampart Street Parade and March of the Bobcats both come from the Bob Crosby band which had a nucleus of New Orleans men and drew in spirit on the Crescent City. Mack the Knife, from Kurt Weill's "Three Penny Opera," was first put into traditional jazz form by Louis Armstrong, with an arranging assist from Turk Murphy. As for Tailgate Itch, this is Pecora's own composition, a showcase for his masterful demonstration of the proper use of the tailgate trombone.

- JOHN S. WILSON

Sunday, January 27, 2008

On Canal Street - Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Jass Band - Columbia Records

On Canal Street
Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Jass Band
featuring Pete Fountain



1950 Columbia Records SEB-10104 7" EP

Side One
1. Rose Of The Rio Grande
2. Basin Street Blues

Side Two
1. Twelfth Street Rag
2. Canal Street Stomp

Liner Notes:

Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Jass Band

Personnel:
George Girard (trumpet)
Santo Pecora (trombone)
Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Fred Landeman (piano)
Lou Massenter (bass)
Eddie Grady (drums)

Recorded In March, 1950

JAZZ, as everybody knows, was born in New Orleans. Since that far-off natal time, however, the music has spread to almost every corner of the globe until nowadays groups of young musicians playing in the New Orleans style can be found all over Europe and America. Yet the fact remains that the men who play most convincingly in that style are the musicians born and raised in New Orleans. Most of the instrumentalists heard on this EP fall into that category, notably the trombonist leader, Santo Pecora.

Although Pecora started out studying French horn it was not long before he was blowing a lusty, tailgate trombone in early white New Orleans groups. He travelled to Chicago in 1924 as a member of the original New Orleans Rhythm Kings and subsequently worked with bands of all kinds, both large and small. Like so many of the older generation of jazz musicians the 1930s saw him retire into obscurity for a while, but the traditional jazz revival has brought him back into the forefront again.

Two of the tunes which Santo Pecora and his band perform on this EP celebrate two of the most famous streets in New Orleans - Canal and Basin Streets, the latter, alas, no longer in existence. Santo Pecora wrote Canal Street Stomp himself. Basin Street Blues was composed by Spencer Williams in 1923 and has remained a jazz classic ever since. The remaining tracks contain Rose Of The Rio Grande, a "standard" always popular with jazz musicians, and Euday Bowman's Twelfth Street Rag, published in 1909 and often interpreted with humour as well as zest. All the performances are notable for tightly-knit, exciting ensemble playing and fluent solos from Pete Fountain, the late George Girard, Fred Landeman and Santo Pecora himself.

Mardi Gras - Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Band - Columbia Records

Mardi Gras
Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Band
featuring Pete Fountain



1950 Columbia Records SEB-10079 7" EP


Side One:
1. March Of The Mardi Gras
2. Mahogany Hall Blues Stomp

Side Two:
1. Listen
2. My Lou'siana


Liner Notes:

Recorded In June, 1950

Santo Pecora and His Dixieland Band

Personnel:
George Girard (trumpet)
Santo Pecora (trombone)
Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Armand Hug (piano)
John Sense (bass and tuba)
Santo Pecoraro (drums)

It was early in the 19th century that the term "Dixieland" was coined. A band in New Orleans issued a ten dollar bill on which was printed in large letters the French word disc, and from that time onward "Dixie" or "Dixieland" became the popular name for New Orleans and the Southern States. Nowadays the white musicians' way of playing Negro New Orleans jazz is always known as "Dixieland style".

The music on this record is typical of Dixieland jazz. Santo Pecora, one of the finest tailgate trombonists and a veteran of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and other early bands, has surrounded himself with a group that performs ruggedly yet with intimate ensemble feeling. Two outstanding soloists are Armand Hug, who began playing in the New Orleans French Quarter in 1923, and George Girard, one of a younger generation of New Orleans musicians.

March of the Mardi Gras takes its title from the annual Mardi Gras carnival, when New Orleans becomes a city of gay lights and exciting music. The old Louis Armstrong speciality, Mahogany Hall Blues Stomp, features Armstrong-like trumpet from George Girard and a liquid, lower register clarinet solo by Pete Fountain, as well as Armand Hug's crisp, two-handed piano playing and gruff-toned trombone work by the leader.

Listen is devoted to solos by trombone and piano. Pecora plays with a sensuous tone and agile phrasing, while Hug's piano is relaxed and inventive. My Lou'lsana a bright, lively tune, moves briskly, all the front line musicians taking nimble solos.

The Basin Street Six - Rebel Rhythms - Mercury Records

The Basin Street Six - Rebel Rhythms
featuring Pete Fountain



1952 Mercury Records EP-1-3115 Mono 7" EP

Side A:
1. Tin Roof Blues
2. When It's Sleepy Time Down South

Side B:
1. Muskrat Ramble
2. Margie

Liner Notes:

Personnel:
George Girard (trumpet,vocals)
Joe Rotis (trombone)
Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Roy Zimmerman (piano)
Bunny Franks (bass)
Charlie Duke (drums)

Recording Dates New Orleans August and November 1950, Chicago September 19, 1951 Record released March 1952

In this Extended Playing album Mercury presents a genuine treat for jazz lovers in a sampling of the Dixieland which has brought quick fame to the Basin Street Six, a group of young musicians which Mercury believes is destined to become a legend in the jazz field. Jazz connoisseurs of long standing aver that this brand of music has not been heard since the days of the fabulous New Orleans Rhythm Kings. who remain, after many years, the criterion for excellence.

It is not by accident that the Basin Street Six has been compared to the New
Orleans Rhythm Kings. Like their great predecessors, the Basin Street Six came from New Orleans to Chicago and immediately created a sensation at such spots as Jazz Ltd. and the Blue Note. Their youth, vigor and obvious joy and talent in the music they play has brought them a fanatical following. In 21 year old George Girard on trumpet they have one of the most promising jass musicians to come along since the immortal Biz. The others, Pete Fountain on clarinet, Joe Rotis on trombone, Roy Zimmerman on piano, Charlie Duke on drums and Bunny Frank on bass, form a combination with Gerard that is the talk of the jazz world.

The four selections offered here are among the choicest in the Basin Street Six's rapidly expanding repertoire. You'll enjoy "Margie," with vocal by Girard, played as we doubt you've ever heard it played before. Then there's Louis Armstrong's old theme, "Sleepy Time Down South," played tenderly yet with amazing variations which will leave you breathless with awe at their musicianship. "Muskrat Ramble" is a gay romp, played with all the buoyancy and bounce this jazz standard calls for. "Tin Roof Blues" is a delight to anyone who appreciates authentic Dixieland.

Here, then. is the Basin Street Six, a young but musically mature group which has been called "the reincarnation of one of the first great jazz bands, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings."

The Basin Street Six - Way Down South In New Orleans - Mercury Records

The Basin Street Six
Way Down South In New Orleans
featuring Pete Fountain



1952 Mercury Records EP-1-3116 Mono 7" EP

Side A:
1. Hindustan
2. Melancholy Rhapsody

Side B:
1. If I Could Be With You
2. Farewell Blues


Liner Notes:

Personnel:
George Girard (trumpet,vocals)
Joe Rotis (trombone)
Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Roy Zimmerman (piano)
Bunny Franks (bass)
Charlie Duke (drums)

Recording Dates New Orleans August and November 1950, Chicago September 19, 1951 Record released March 1952

In this Extended Playing album Mercury presents the newest sensations in the jazz field, the Basin Street Six, in a medley of torrid tunes which have been rocking Chicago for the past two years. Whether or not you are a devotee of the Dixieland type of jazz, you will enjoy the amazing virtuosity of the various members of the Basin Street Six and their uninhibited yet sound musicianship.

The Basin Street Six is made up of 21 year old George Gerard, whom many have already compared to the immortal Bix Beiderbecke, on trumpet, Pete Fountain on clarinet, Joe Rotis on trombone, Ray Zimmerman on piano, Charlie Duke on drums and Bunny Frank on bass. Together they came up from New Orleans to Chicago, an unheralded group, filled with dreams of success and boundless energy and ambition.

The dreams were not long in being fulfilled. Their very first appearance in one of Chicago's jazz niteries created a furor of enthusiasm unseen since the glorious days of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, still considered tops among jazz groups. The Basin Street Six has since amassed a fanatical and loyal following at such noted Chicago jazz emporiums as Jazz, Ltd., and the Blue Note. They have been responsible for the renaissance of Dixieland, the jazz form which, through its limitless freedom of expression. has given rise to all the great jazz musicians of memory.

The selections offered in this album are pure gems from the rapidly expanding repertoire of the Basin Street Six. The basic melodies of several of these, such as "Hindustan" and "If I Could Be With You," are doubtless familiar to you, but the variations on them, skillfully exploited by the individual instruments of the Basin Street Six, offer you a delightful and unique musical experience.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Godfrey Hirsch At Pete's Place, New Orleans - Godfrey Hirsch and His Vibes - Coral Records

Godfrey Hirsch At Pete's Place, New Orleans
Featuring Pete Fountain




1965 Coral CRL 757475 Stereo / CRL 57475 Mono


Side One
1. Ja-Da
2. Quiet Nights
3. Muskrat Ramble
4. Debbie
5. Red Roses For A Blue Lady
6. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans

Side Two
1. Love For Sale
2. Panama
3. Willow Weep For Me
4. Momma Was There
5. Josephine
6. Tin Roof Blues


Liner Notes:

Vibraphone Solos With Instrumental Accompaniment

The instrument used on this Album is the "Musser Century Vibe" used exclusively by Godfrey Hirsch.

Personnel:
Godfrey Hirsch - Vibes
Pete Fountain - Clarinet
Eddie Miller - Tenor Saxophone
Earl Vuiovitch - Piano
Paul Guma - Guitar
Oliver "Stick" Felix - Bass
Paul Edwards - Drums
Nick Fatool - Drums

You know Godfrey Hirsch if you've ever seen Pete Fountain's group in action. He plays vibes, and his choreography for mallets is certainly something to behold. A great showman, he also makes an invaluable contribution to the ensemble in terms of color, and when the rhythm needs extra punch he shifts over to the second percussion chair to beat a snare drum.

As Pete's right-hand man, Godfrey works and lives a great deal of the time in Pete's Place, New Orleans. In-deed, when the boss is away on missions of importance, it is Godfrey who usually takes over in his place. That's right. He takes Pete's place in Pete's Place. Pardon the emphasis.

Most of the performances on this record were made during Mardi Gras in 1964 and 1965, when Pete Fountain was out on the streets, not roistering or behaving in any unseemly fashion, but marching his music like a well-brought-up son of the Crescent City.

There were some musician guests down there for the festivities, and after a while they hied their weary feet to Pete's place of refreshment. You may have heard drummer Nick Fatool enjoying himself in 1964 on the earlier album, Pete's Place (CRL 57453), but this time there is another visitor, Eddie Miller. Not that Eddie is any newcomer to New Orleans, because he was born there. Normally, he is active on the West Coast, where he participates in many of those sessions which help to keep his hometown's jazz idiom alive, but here his tenor saxophone is heard instead of Pete's clarinet on three tracks.

Thus it is Pete's group, without Pete, but with guests, and headed by Godfrey Hirsch, that is ready to entertain you in this set. Many of the numbers are those used to introduce shows at the club before the clarinetist mounts the stand, and they roll with ease and fluidity in familiar routines, Eddie Miller fitting right in as though he were one of the regulars.

Ja-Da, the opener, is one of those good of good ones. In fact, it has been quietly rocking the nation ever since 1918, the year when New Orleans jazz really got going on its travels around the world. The vibes and Oliver Felix's bass move it out, the mood relaxed and the tempo medium, Nick Fatool kicking it along with accurate accentuations. Enter Eddie Miller, very much at ease and swinging freely. There follow exchanges between bass and drums, between vibes and tenor, and then the out chorus. The performance makes a good introduction to an album that is smoothly professional and never exhibitionistic. Because the men know where they're going on the well-organized charts, there is no fuss and no wasted effort.

The program agreeably contrasts old standards from the New Orleans repertoire, such as Muskrat Ramble, Panama and Tin Roof Blues, with others of more recent vintage like Red Roses For A Blue Lady and Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans. There is also a bow in the direction of Brazil and Antonio Carlos Jobim with Quiet Nights, where the Hirsch versatility is demonstrated in dark colors appropriate to a nocturnal mood. On this, on the pretty Debbie, and on Momma Was There, which provide changes of pace, he plays with a restraint and delicacy that recall Red Norvo's in similar contexts. On the more insistently danceable tempos, he swings with an insidious but well-defined beat. The effective tempo changes on Willow Weep for Me show off his rhythmic control very handsomely, and this interpretation, especially, reveals the close understanding that exists within Pete Fountain's quintet. Its tonal quality is excellent and it moves as one over Paul Edwards' tasteful brushwork. There are passages elsewhere, too, where each of its members shines individually, Panama giving first guitarist Paul Guma and then pianist Earl Vuiovitch a sixteen-bar opportunity to take off.

All too soon, Eddie Miller is sounding the sad, forlorn strains of Tin Roof Blues, and it is time to leave Pete's Place, but it is some consolation to know that it is left in the very able hands of Godfrey Hirsch.

- STANLEY DANCE

Happiness Is... - Godfrey Hirsch and His Vibes - Coral Records

Happiness Is... Godfrey Hirsch and His Vibes
Featuring Pete Fountain


1966 Coral CRL 757489 Stereo / CRL 57489 Mono

Side One
1. Happiness Is
2. So Nice
3. Hanky Panky
4. What's New Pussycat?
From The Charles K. Feldman Production "What's New Pussycat?"
5. Flamingo
6. Juno

Side Two
1. Whispering
2. Born Free
From The Columbia Picture "Born Free"
3. Lara's Theme From Dr. Zhivago From The Mgm Picture "Dr. Zhlvago"
4. What Now My Love
5. Strangers In The Night
A Theme From The Universal Picture "A Man Could Get Killed"
6. Summertime

Liner Notes:

Produced By Charles "Bud" Dant
Cover Photo By Hal Buksbaum

Personnel:
Godfrey Hirsch - Vibes
Pete Fountain - Clarinet
Stan Wrightsman - Piano
Morty Corb - Bass
Al Hendrickson - Guitar
Jack Sperling - Drums

The instrument, used on this Album is the "Musser Century Vibe" used exclusively by Godfrey Hirsch.

It is with a great deal of pleasure that we bring you this HAPPINESS IS album by the inimitable vibist from New Orleans, Godfrey Hirsch. The instrumentals packaged here kick along at a delightful pace, from the opening four bars of the title tune to the final eight of Summertime.

Beginning with Happiness Is, Godfrey settles into a swingin' groove, and then bounces into So Nice, backed by the excellent guitar solos of Al Hendrickson, with Jack Sperling laying down a good beat on drums.

What's New Pussycat? gets a brand new treatment by the group, and if Stan Wrightsman's funky piano doesn't make you happy, nothing can. Time out for a little Hanky Panky, with Morty Corb on bass, backing up Godfrey's flamboyant vibes for some fun and games with this one.

A good standard at any time, Flamingo has been given a new look - an old friend in modern dress. An imposing newcomer, Juno, written by Godfrey with Charles "Bud" Dant, comes in for exciting treatment, completing Side I.

Whispering and Summertime, the first and last numbers, respectively, on Side II, are two more of the great standards that Godfrey's fans call for when he's playing with Pete Fountain at Pete's Place in New Orleans.

Recent hit movies have provided some marvelous material for the mellow vibes of our talented artist, and the group gets together here for a bow to three of them, Born Free, Lara's Theme From Dr. Zhivago and Strangers In The Night, from "A Man Could Get Killed."

What Now My Love...and what more could you want besides another helping of musical improvisation by Godfrey Hirsch? Happiness Is...Godfrey Hirsch!

- Margaret Linn

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pete Fountain With Bill Neely - "A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story" - Memorabilia

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story



1972 Henry Regnery Company - Pete Fountain With Bill Neely
A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story

Liner Notes:

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Pete Fountain With Bill Neely

Pete Fountain realized at the age of nine that music would be the most important part of his life. uring the countless hours he spent leaning against the wooden fence that bordered the top hat and listening to the sounds of Harry James, Gene Krupa, and Leon and Louis Prima, he discovered that jazz was in his blood. Jazz was born in New Orleans, and it was in the French Quarter of that city that Pete Fountain was born and that he learned to play the music he loves.

If Pete came from a musical city, he also came from a musical family. His father played all instruments by ear, and it was he who taught Pete to blow his first note on the clarinet. Pete's first concerts were given on the side-walks of New Orleans; there he first learned that he had a "fat sound." Pete continued to listen and practice. George Lewis, Papa Celestin, and Billie Holliday became his mentors.

The long hours, endless practices, and the temptation of drugs threatened to discourage Pete, but "either true, love or insanity" held him to his music. The decline of Dixieland and the birth of "bebop" in 1950 caused Pete to leave New Orleans and move to New York. But Dixieland was only dormant, not dead. In New York Al Hirt, Jack Teagarden, Ray Bauduc, and Ray Leatherwood began to revive the sound, and Pete was there with them.

Pete Fountain's success with Lawrence Welk is legend. Television audiences listened raptly to him every week and loved what they heard. Pete had the best of both worlds: his music and "respectability" in an unstable career.

In spite of his success Pete could not get the sights, smells, and sounds of New Orleans out of his system. Whenever he sang "Dancing at the Mardi Gras," "When the Saints Go Marchin' In," "The Blues," and his most popular song, "A Closer Walk With Thee," his home sickness became stronger. As he always knew he would, he returned to New Orleans and took his music and the music of others back to where it was born.

"A Closer Walk With Thee" is Pete Fountain's song, appropriately because his life has been filled with his closeness to his family, his fellow musicians, his city, and his music. The warmth and love of the man permeate A Closer Walk. But his story is not only about his life. It is the story of musicians, their struggles, their triumphs, and their friendship. And a closer walk is the story of jazz - the constantly changing, soul-rending music form that is a keystone of the American folk tradition.

Bill Neely has collaborated with Richard Petty on Grand National: the autobiography of Richard Petty and with Craig Breedlove on his auto-biography Spirit of America: Winning the World's Land Speed Record.

Henry Regnery Company
Chicago

Pete Fountain With Bill Neely - "A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story" - Memorabilia

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Photographs From The Book. Set 1 of 9
(Click on photos to enlarge)

Pete's Baby Picture


Liner Notes:

1972 Henry Regnery Company
A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Pete Fountain With Bill Neely

Photographs from the book.

Pete Fountain With Bill Neely - "A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story" - Memorabilia

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Photographs From The Book. Set 2 of 9
(Click on photos to enlarge)







Liner Notes:

1972 Henry Regnery Company
A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Pete Fountain With Bill Neely

Photographs from the book.

Pete Fountain With Bill Neely - "A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story" - Memorabilia

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Photographs From The Book. Set 3 of 9
(Click on photos to enlarge)





Liner Notes:

1972 Henry Regnery Company
A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Pete Fountain With Bill Neely

Photographs from the book.

Pete Fountain With Bill Neely - "A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story" - Memorabilia

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Photographs From The Book. Set 4 of 9
(Click on photos to enlarge)






Liner Notes:

1972 Henry Regnery Company
A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Pete Fountain With Bill Neely

Photographs from the book.

Pete Fountain With Bill Neely - "A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story" - Memorabilia

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Photographs From The Book. Set 5 of 9
(Click on photos to enlarge)





Liner Notes:

1972 Henry Regnery Company
A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Pete Fountain With Bill Neely

Photographs from the book.

Pete Fountain With Bill Neely - "A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story" - Memorabilia

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Photographs From The Book. Set 6 of 9
(Click on photos to enlarge)





Liner Notes:

1972 Henry Regnery Company
A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Pete Fountain With Bill Neely

Photographs from the book.

Pete Fountain With Bill Neely - "A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story" - Memorabilia

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Photographs From The Book. Set 7 of 9
(Click on photos to enlarge)





Liner Notes:

1972 Henry Regnery Company
A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Pete Fountain With Bill Neely

Photographs from the book.

Pete Fountain With Bill Neely - "A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story" - Memorabilia

A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Photographs From The Book. Set 8 of 9
(Click on photos to enlarge)





Liner Notes:

1972 Henry Regnery Company
A Closer Walk: The Pete Fountain Story
Pete Fountain With Bill Neely

Photographs from the book.