Thursday, January 30, 2014

Drop Doc Cheatham Off In Harlem

photo by Marc Marnie

Another video from the Legendary Trumpet Masters session in Bern. Here, as a special tribute to Doc Ceatham, he has been given space for a solo on Drop Me Off In Harlem. For accompanists, Hank Jones is on piano, Jesper Lundgaard on bass and Clarence Penn on drums.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

By the Deathbed of Woody Guthrie

Friend (Pete Seeger) and son (Arlo Guthrie), by the deathbed of Woody Guthrie, singing the last song. Taken from Alice's Restaurant (1969).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Joe Albany... a Jazz Life (1980)

On the occasion of what would have been Joe Albany's 90th birthday, watch the documentary Joe Albany...a Jazz Life, directed by Carole Langer.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Landy's The Band Book

The great Rock 'n' Roll photographer Elliott Landy is putting together a book of his massive collection of The Band photos, many of which have not seen by anyone except the photographer himself. In order to raise the money for publication of the book, he has started a Kickstarter campaign here. I'm glad to say that the project has already raised twice as much the amount of the pledge. However, if you still want to be part of it, the deadline is January 28, 2014.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Berlin Calling!

I'm planning to attend Berlinale for the first time and probably because of that one would find me in an essentially German mood. Now, thanks to the Berlin based jazz label Sonorama that feeling is delightfully doubled as they sent me a batch of records that document some of the most remarkable European Jazz of the 50s and 60s.

The first time I encountered a Sonorama release was when I discovered a fascinating recording of The European Jazz All Stars 1961, a meeting between top European jazz musicians during the Cold War which was presented by the Norman Granz of German jazz, Joachim-Ernst Berendt.

The line-up on this rare reissue is composed of no less than 13 musicians from 12 countries who, according to Berendt, couldn't speak in the same language but jazz. However, if you're expecting one of those off-the-cuff blowing sessions, I must say you are on the wrong track, as all the pieces in the repertoire are fully arranged by the Belgian Francy Boland.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hot Club USA

The fiercely swinging guitar-violin format which became hugely popular by Hot Club de France and its key members Django Reinhardt and St├ęphane Grappelli was the subject to many imitations and replica bands with various degrees of success. However, throughout the years some original voices arrived who were using the same framework but also were adding a lot of their own. That was the case with the homage band, Hot Club USA whose Django was guitarist extraordinaire Frank Vignola and whose Grappelli, the Uruguayan Federico Britos.

The Hot Club USA's first and best known recording [picture above] featured many classics of Reinhardt-Grappelli team, as well as some original compositions by Britos. "Vignola is a furious demon of strummed chords," wrote one reviewer of the album, while commenting on the combination of these two talents as "quite attractive."

I have a special video of Hot Club USA playing one of the songs from the debut album which, to me knowledge, has never been seen in the online world. But before any further procedure, allow me to introduce to leading musicians a little bit more:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Swiss Jazz School Big Band feat. Bobby Shew

The Swiss Jazz School is the first independent jazz school in Europe which was founded in 1967. In this video from 1997 the school's big band enjoys a 30th anniversary concert at the local Bern Jazz Festival.

The first solo, on trumpet, is beautifully played by the American trumpeter Bobby Shew. The second soloist is the Swiss George Robert on alto saxophone. I don't know the name of the rest of the musicians in the band. Any Swiss jazz expert out there to give us some names?

January 15 update: Bobby Shew Remembers

Monday, January 13, 2014

Jazz Parade in Twickenham

While searching on YouTube, I came across this fascinating footage from a mid-fifties jazz parade in London. Brian Rutland, a trumpet player who has provided the video, adds his commentary to the footage of the jazz ball:
"These movies were taken in 1955/56. My first band, The Grove Jazz Band (my family lived in The Grove , Isleworth at the time), often hired a lorry to advertise the various venues where we were playing in the area e.g. the Swan, Rose & Crown, The Town Hall at Isleworth, the Barmy Arms in Twickenham and the first jazz sessions to be held at Eel Pie Island (sometime before Arthur Chisnall became involved).  The clips show a local college rag parade with floats passing though Isleworth High Street with the Grove JB on the lorry and Ken Colyer's marching band. If you look closely you will see Acker Bilk, not in band uniform, marching in the front line - this was before his rise to fame. There are various clips of the band and dancers at jazz clubs. And finally the band preparing and setting off to tour Twickenham and adjoining areas to promote the Twickenham clubs. Also see photos at 1950's pics - The Grove Jazz Band / Eel Pie.  The cover music was recorded by my band in 1968 and is now on a CD. The Brian Rutland Band "Doctor Jazz". The personnel included Gordon McKay (trombone), Mike Atterbury (clarinet), Dave Rylance (piano), Paul Sealey (guitar), John Boddy (bass), Colin Bowden (drums) and Johnny Silvo (vocals)."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Echoes: Sonny's Naima

"Sonny Rollins, you heard him recently? Yeah, like some guys, you know, you call great. Sonny, he's one. He's just reached that great status, man." -- John Coltrane, 1958

From September 6, 1968, at Cafe Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sonny Rollins Quartet performs Coltrane's composition, Naima. Kenny Drew (pic above) plays piano, Niels-Henning ├śrsted Pedersen is on bass and finally Albert Heath occupies the drum chair.