Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jimmie Noone film footage

Long ago I wrote of the elusive film footage of Jimmie Noone. My search came to naught, but thanks to hoffmanjazz, is is available on YouTube:

It ain't much, but something's better than nothing!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chu Berry - 'Maelstrom'

I remember playing this Chu Berry tune with Tom Baker, on my final day with him. I struggled with the unusual bridge!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

'Moon Love' - Mildred Bailey

Captivating melody, singing and arrangement:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Early Benny Carter

Musicians who live a long time often resent the attention paid to their earliest recordings, favouring their more recent output. It's understandable, of course - artists want to feel like they are improving. If Benny Carter was still alive today, I'm fairly certain he wouldn't approve of my preference for his earlier recordings - to me, his 1920s/30s/40s recordings are (together with Johnny Hodges and the like) the peak of swinging alto sax. After that, I find his sound less pleasing and his ideas not so unique. Have a listen to the sparkling articulation and tone he demonstrates with the Little Chocolate Dandies in 1929 on these two:

'That's the Way I Feel Today':

 'Six or Seven Times':

These two, by the similar Chocolate Dandies a year later, also show a big, woody clarinet sound that reminds me of Bechet in its authority:

 'Bugle Call Rag'

'Dee Blues'

Musicians may prefer to see their evolution as constant improvement, but listeners will always find the music that appeals most to them.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lionel Hampton - not just a great vibraphone player

Long time, no post - I've been short on time, but thankfully not great music! There used to be a category in 'best jazz musician' polls for miscellaneous instruments (violinists, flautists, I'm looking at you!). It's easy to overlook these often great musicians just because they don't fit neatly into our established categories. I'm occasionally guilty of overlooking Lionel Hampton in just this way, but lately I've been digging the atmosphere of his small-group sessions particularly. Let's leave aside his own performances on vibraphone, drums, piano and vocals - they are celebrated elsewhere. I'm more fascinated by the atmosphere on his sessions, a casual yet focused feel that brings to mind the Teddy Wilson/Billie Holiday sessions and the best of Fats Waller's bands.

Here are a few of my current favourites, uploaded to YouTube in gloriously rich sound by SwingMan1937 (Thank you!).

 One of Johnny Hodges' ballad features:


 This one really swings:


 What a band - Red Allen, Sid Catlett, Charlie Christian, J.C. Higginbotham and more:


 Finally, dig this beautiful tune by saxophonist Toots Mondello: