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Barry McCanna (Normandy, France)

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Bix Restored Vol 2
Bix Restored Vol 2
Price: 57.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING QUALITY OF SOUND, 17 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bix Restored Vol 2 (Audio CD)
There are certain musicians whose recordings have never been out of the catalogues, and that's certainly true of Bix Beiderbecke, albeit that some have been easier to find than others, particularly if you've been collecting the original 78 issues. But this project by Sunbeam Records, of which this is the second volume, puts all the rest in the shade. Mainly, that's because of the sound quality, which is nothing short of amazing. The presence of the musicians, not just Bix's cornet, but Trumbauer's C-maelody saxophone, Rollini's bass sax, Eddie Lang's guitar and Joe Venuti's violin, to name but a few, can be heard as if it were yesterday. In part that's due to the excellence of the recording system used by Okeh and Victor, but even the difficult sides recorded by Willard Robison's Chicago Loopers for Perfect emerge from the previous hazy sound, albeit surface noise can still be detected.

Over the years Paul Whiteman has had a bad press, but he was an enthusiastic advocate of jazz, hired the best available and paid them extremely well, and it shows. The second and third CDs contain more than their fair share of masterpieces, and the alternate takes (of which there are seventeen in total) show significant development in Bix's solos. This is a set to build on and cherish.

Moonlight Serenade: A Bio-Discography of the Glenn Miller Civilian Band
Moonlight Serenade: A Bio-Discography of the Glenn Miller Civilian Band
by John Flower
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars EVERYTHING IT CLAIMS, AND MORE, 17 Dec 2013
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This has to be an indispensable purchase for any Glenn Miller enthusiast, if not any fan of the Big Band era. Miller came to fame late on in his career, and his schedule of appearances is a revelation. The amount of detail that's gone into it is quite extraordinary, and added to that are photographs of the band in action, and a tune index. Don't be misled by the description, because the signed copy it ain't! Since I bought it for the contents that does not not affect my rating. Strongly recommended.

Around the World on the Latin Beat
Around the World on the Latin Beat
by Bob Butcher
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars A WASTED OPPORTUNITY, 15 Dec 2013
Most musicians' reminiscences are larded with anecdotes and references to other band members, but anyone hoping to find similar material on the Edmundo Ros Orchestra, including the various musicians who comprised that famous band, needs to look elsewhere. In fairness to the author, who played first saxophone between 1946 and 1976, he made it clear that this memoir was intended as an account of his personal experiences, but that means it has far less appeal than would have been the case otherwise. There's not even a mention of the circumstances in which Ros disbanded, effectively firing the musicians, destroyed the arrangements and donated the costumes to charity after the musicians had flouted his authority on tour in Japan. Instead the account just fizzles out, rather like a damp squib. It's hard to see how the price is justified, given also that this is a large-text softback book of less than a hundred pages, with a dozen poorly printed photos, mostly two to a page.

The Frog Blues & Jazz Annual No.3 (The Musicians, the Records & the Music of the 78 era.) [Book + CD] [Oct 2013]
The Frog Blues & Jazz Annual No.3 (The Musicians, the Records & the Music of the 78 era.) [Book + CD] [Oct 2013]
by John Collinson, Gayle Dean Wardlow, Marshall Wyatt, Roger Misiewicz, Helge Thygesen, Richard Linster, Clarrie Henley, Bob Groom, David Butters, Bruce Bastin, and others Paul Swinton
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A VISUAL FEAST PLUS AURAL DELIGHTS, 12 Dec 2013
Sometimes a publication comes along which is so good that no reviewer can do it justice before running out of superlatives. If you've purchased one or both of the earlier volumes you'll know exactly what I mean. If not, read on and find out what you've been missing. The product itself shouts quality from its high gloss pages, which are packed with rare photographs, reproductions of advertisements, record labels, and illustrations.

These serve to illuminate the wide-ranging articles, many of which are arranged in an organic form. For example, Lil Armstrong's reminiscences about Louis are followed by a letter from Louis to bassist Hayes Alvis, an account by Kaiser Marshall of when Louis came to New York, and a highly critical review of Louis' concert at the London Palladium in July 1932. Similarly, an article about "Cow Cow" Davenport's last years and late recordings leads into a 1944 interview with the pianist, followed by an appreciation by Jasper Wood. Other articles examine the quality of Freddie Keppard's playing, and the role of Fate Marable in taking jazz upstream.

On the blues side, articles include an appreciation of the role of African-American fiddlers on early phonograph records, an analysis of Big Bill Broonzy's influence on Texas blues, an examination of the death of Peetie Wheatstraw, a detailed discography of the 1928 Tommy Johnson/Ishman Bracey sessions for Victor, and the history of the Meritt record label. And that's not the half of it! Accompanying this visual feast is an aural delight in the shape of a 25-track CD of rare recordings, which have been chosen to complement the articles, as follows:

Jasper Taylor & his State Street Boys - Stomp Time Blues
Roberta Dudley - Krooked Blues
Moanin' Bernice Edwards - Low Down Dirty Shame Blues
The Washingtonians - Choo Choo
Julia Lee - Won't You Come Over to My House?
Fate Marable's Society Syncopaters - Pianoflage
Lottie Kimborough & Winston Holmes - Lost Lover Blues
Lottie Kimborough & Winston Holmes - Wayward Girl Blues
Tommy Johnson - Canned Heat Blues
Big Bill Broonzy - San Antonio Blues
South Memphis Jug Band - Doctor Medicine
Charlie Burse & his Memphis Mudcats - Beale Street Blues
Jelly Roll Morton & his Red Hot Peppers - Sidewalk Blues #2
Freddy Keppard's Jazz Cardinals -Salty Dog #2
Louis Armstrong & his Hot Seven - Potato Head Blues
Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra - Knockin' a Jug
The Hokum Trio - You Do It
Ruth Willis - Experience Blues
Poor Boy Lofton - Dark Road Blues
Cow Cow Davenport - Alabama Strut
Doc Cook & his Orchestra - Hot Tamale Man
Lee Collins & the Hangover All Stars - I Found a New Baby
Leadbelly - Mississippi River
Wilson "Thunder" Smith - Mr Freddie's Blues
Cow Cow & Congregation - Do You Call That Religion?

This is an illuminated treasury of a bygone age, which I cannot recommend too highly.

Verve: The Sound of America
Verve: The Sound of America
by Richard Havers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 29.25

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE RECORD OF A LABEL, 10 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In the words of author Richard Havers "This is the story of Verve and the man with the vision to take jazz out of the clubs and into the concert halls of the world". That man was Norman Granz, and this hefty tome, which weighs over five pounds, sets out in chronological order the tours he organised, the musicians and singers involved, and the many problems which he had to overcome. Granz insisted that his audiences should not be segregated, and he's quoted as saying "You sit where I sit you. You don't want to sit next to a black? Here's your money back". That's interspersed with the development of the label, beginning with Clef in 1947 and progressing via Norgran in 1954 to Verve the following year. The book is also a treasury of visual delights, packed with 1,200 illustrations, often accompanying profiles of key artists, and including hundreds of reproductions of album covers. It should be an essential purchase for any jazz devotee, whom it will keep engrossed for hours!

Banjo Boogie Beat
Banjo Boogie Beat
Price: 11.25

4.0 out of 5 stars FIVE-STRING WIZARD, 9 Dec 2013
This review is from: Banjo Boogie Beat (Audio CD)
Eddie Peabody was born in 1902 in Reading, Massachusetts, and taught himself to play the violin, guitar, banjo and mandolin. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1916 and served on a submarine throughout World War One, being discharged in 1921. He then began a career in vaudeville, and recorded for Columbia. When America entered the Second World War he again enlisted, his role as a Lt. Commander being to help with entertaining the troops. His career didn't take off again until the late 40s when he began recording for the Dot label, became in demand for supper clubs, and appeared on TV. He continued to perform until his death in 1970. His playing was energetic, and allied to a considerable technique, which earned him the soubriquet "King of the Banjo".

That said, the banjo is to the ear as Marmite is to the taste; you either love it or you hate it. If you fall into the former category so far as the banjo is concerned then this generous compilation will get your hands clapping and your feet tapping. It presents four original Dot LPs, probably from the late fifties/early sixties, namely "Favourites by Mr. Banjo Himself" (CD 1, tracks 1-16), "Man with the Banjo" (tracks 17-28), "Me and My Banjo" (CD 2, tracks 1-12), and "When You're Smiling" (tracks 13-24).

Mountain Carnival
Mountain Carnival
Price: 9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE PEAK OF LATIN-AMERICAN RHYTHMS, 9 Dec 2013
This review is from: Mountain Carnival (Audio CD)
This compilation is a reissue of the first two of thirty albums recorded by Geoff Love under the pseudonym of Manuel and his Music of the Mountains. He was following in a long tradition, perhaps best epitomised by Geraldo & his Gaucho Tango Band, of donning a more exotic identity to identify his music. Like Gerald Bright, it was the South American rhythms in which Geoff Love specialised, and which are currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity thanks to the BBC programme "Strictly Come Dancing". The difference being, as you can hear, that Manuel's instrumentation is far better suited to the genre. Add to that the brilliant stereophonic sound quality and you have a sure-fire winner.

Swing Low, Sweet Clarinet
Swing Low, Sweet Clarinet
Price: 11.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars C'EST BON, MAIS PAS SI BON, 9 Dec 2013
Pete Fountain (real name Pierre Dewey la Fontaine) was born in New Orleans in 1930, and counted both Benny Goodman and Irving Fazola (whose crystal mouthpiece he inherited) among his influences. He made his first recordings in the early fifties with the Crescent City group The Basin Street Six, and subsequently joined the Dukes of Dixieland in Chicago. His big break came when he was featured on The Lawrence Welk Show between 1957 and 1959, playing in the Dixieland style. After which he moved back to New Orleans and opened his own club, "The Bateau Rouge".

His finest recordings were made for Coral between 1959 and 1965, and this compilation has "taken a veritable feast of tracks from some of his LPs covering the period 1959-1962". All well and good, but that begs the question why they aren't specified, since a knowledge of the original albums would have enhanced the listener's appreciation. Tracks 1 to 12 on the first CD come from the 1959 LP "The Blues", on which the orchestra was directed by Charles Bud Dant, personnel being as follows:

Trumpets - Mannie Klein, Conrad Gozzo, Art Depew, Shorty Sherock
Trombones - Moe Schneider, William Schaefer, Harold Diner, Peter Lofthouse
Reeds - Jack Dumont, Eddie Miller, Russ Cheever, Babe Russin, William Ulyate
Rhythm - Jack Sperling, drums; Stan Wrightsman, piano; Morty Corb, bass.
Personnel on: ST. LOUIS BLUES - BLUE FOUNTAIN - WANG WANG BLUES Trumpets - Mannie Klein, Conrad Gozzo, Art Depew, Jackie Coon
Reeds - Wilber Schwartz, Eddie Miller, Babe Russin, Matty Matlock, Chuck Gentry
Trumpets - Ray Linn, Jackie Coon, John Best, Art Depew
Reeds - Jack Dumont, Russ Cheever, Eddie Miller, Babe Russia, Chuck Gentry
NOTE: Trombones and rhythm remain unchanged throughout

Tracks 13 to 16 come from the 1962 LP "Bourbon Street", personnel being Eddie Miller on tenor sax, Jack Sperling on drums, Stan Wrightsman on piano, Morty Corb on bass and Bobby Gibbons on guitar. Those four tracks alternated with four others, with Al Hirt on trumpet and Ray Bauduc on drums, which have been omitted. Tracks 17 to 24, plus tracks 1 to 4 of the second CD, come from the 1960 LP "Pete Fountain Salutes the Great Clarinetists", and the original sleeve note set out the associations involved, which are as follows:

Woodchopper's Blues - Woody Herman
Petite Fleur - Sidney Bechet
Sometimes I'm Happy/Let's Dance - Benny Goodman
Frenesi - Artie Shaw
When My Baby Smiles at Me/Me and My Shadow - Ted Lewis
March of the Bob Cats/My Inspiration - Irving Fazola
Begin the Beguine - Artie Shaw
Green Eyes/Amapola - Jimmy Dorsey

Tracks 5 to 16 come from the 1962 LP "I Love Paris", and tracks 17 to 28 come from the 1962 LP "Swing Low, Sweet Clarinet". The cover of that last-named album has been used to illustrate the inlay, but the illustration on the front comes from the 1959 album "Pete Fountain's New Orleans", which does not feature.

All of these albums were released in both mono and stereo versions, but this CD reissue is in mono. Nevertheless this is a very good compilation, and had more detail gone into it, liner note included, I would have gone the whole hog with five stars.

4 Classic Albums Plus
4 Classic Albums Plus
Price: 9.77

5.0 out of 5 stars THE JONES BOYS, 7 Dec 2013
This review is from: 4 Classic Albums Plus (Audio CD)
This generous package presents the art of the arranger by way of the 10" Paramount LP "This is How I Feel About Jazz" from September 1956, three Mercury LPs, namely "Harry Arnold + Big Band + QJ = Jazz" recorded in Stockholm in April 1958, "The Great Wide World of QJ" from 1959, and "At Newport `61" plus two tracks from the 1953 Mercury LP "Jazz Abroad". Quincy's philosophy was that jazz should be a natural growth, rather than a forced development, and his work was an illustration of that approach. The first album, which opens with an extended version of "Walkin'", is best described as orchestral jazz. It's a relaxed meander by some of New York's best session musicians of the time, using three different line-ups, which include variously Herbie Mann, Art Farmer, Lucky Thompson, Phil Woods, Zoot Sims, Charles Mingus and Charles Persip.

The Harry Arnold album falls into the big band category, and is played with a snap and precision that's delivered in full measure by the superb stereo recording. The programme is a blend of swingers and ballads; for example, saxophonist Arne Domnerus solos throughout "The Midnight Sun Never Sets", and that's followed by Ray Noble's "Cherokee". That latter number crops up again on "The Great Wide World", which was recorded shortly before the band sailed for Europe to tour with a Harold Arlen show. The album includes six other standards, from Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Irving Berlin, Don Redman and Harold Arlen. Three numbers were written by Quincy's arrangers, two by Ernie Wilkins and one by Bill Potts. The album is nothing short of a tour-de-force. The Newport album captures the excitement of a live big band, and represents Jones' swan song as a bandleader.

3 Classic Albums Plus
3 Classic Albums Plus
Price: 8.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HAVING A BALL WITH BENNY, 4 Dec 2013
This review is from: 3 Classic Albums Plus (Audio CD)
This 2-CD set draws on two Columbia LPs, namely "Happy Session" from late 1958, and four tracks in stereo from "BG Swings Again" which was recorded live at Ciro's in Hollywood in early 1960, plus both of the RCA Victor albums "BG in Moscow" , which tour took place in mid-1962. That concert occupies the first CD and the first three tracks of the second. Interspersed in the running order was a quintet medley for which purpose Teddy Wilson was included, the old favourite "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" played by a septet, and a couple of numbers by an octet. The recording captured the enormous excitement generated by the 17-piece orchestra.
The presentation on the original album cover for Happy Session was somewhat misleading, because six of the ten tracks were recorded by a 16-piece orchestra, and only four tracks by a quintet, with André Previn and Russ Freeman featured on two apiece. That said, the title is a good description of the overall mood. I particularly like Benny's reading of the old standard "Diga Diga Doo". The compilation goes out on a high, with a ten-piece orchestra playing four numbers from Benny's standard repertoire, culminating in a nine-and-a-half minutes version of "Sing, Sing, Sing".

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