Listening to Jazz – July 2020

Hi All,

This week I started off by listening to a cd by Helen Sung (Re)Conception 2009, in trio with Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. This is an early recording by a recent/current Minguns Big Band pianist, one well worth searching out. She’s technically proficient, thoughtful and interesting , and here she produces some swinging music on a wide range of tunes, some not well known. Nice disc!

Monday kicked off with Eddie Condon: The Golden Days of Jazz 1954/55. Will Bill Davison and Billy Butterfield on trumpets, Cutty Cutshall and Lou McGarity on trombones, Ed Hall and Peanuts Hucko on clarinets, Bud Freeman on tenor, Gene Schroedeer on piano, Al Hall on bass and Cliff KLeeman on drums support Condon’ (non-existent or inaudible if he played at all) on guitar. The band is a mix of white Chicagoans and New Orleans musicians, and Eddie and his friends kept Chicago/Dixieland style alive at his New York club well into the 60s. This sound was also an influence on British trad at the time – cf Alex Welsh for example. Foot tapping music again…

Wild Bill Davis/Johnny Hodges: Con Soul and Sax 1966. Hammond organ player Davis joined Ellington’s band near the end of its life, mainly as an arranger. A number of small group sides were made with Hodges in the mid 60s, of which this is one. It’s mainly Ellington/Strayhorn tunes with a couple of outsiders, but it features some fine Hodges – always one of my favourite alto players. The Cd was the Rosenborg Trio – Tribute to Django., Live in Saumois, 2003, where there is an annual Django festival – he lived in the town. Stochello Rosenborg is firmly in the Django tradition, but also that known as manouche or gypsy music. His brothers Nous’che on rythm guitar and Nonnie on bass support this tremendous guitar player and produce swinging music all the way. They are even better live than they are on this live recording – saw them once in a small church in a coastal village near Lorient – a night to remember. Anne stayed home…

Tuesday was a day off  – that was Stowe day, so I kicked off Wednesday with Charles Mingus – Mingus – Ah Um 1959. One of his greatrest albums. Along with Ellington and Monk, Mingus is one of top jazz composers and not even the Mingus Big Band can play his music better than this band did .’Everything has its place’ – another outstanding disc. I followed it up with another grat record – Sonny Rollins: More Live from te Vanguard 1957. Wilbur Ware on bass and Elvin Jones make up the rest of this trio – the cd version is a much for any serious jazz record collection. It’s modern jazz by an exceptional trio caught live at its best…the first live recording of many at the Village Vanguard since. The cd was Martin Taylor: Spirit of Django 1994. Guitarist Taylor, who worked a lot with Stephane Grappelli recaptures the spirit of Django and French 50s popular music. There is some reliance on the disc on Jacki Emblow on accordian and a young Dave O’Higgins on soprano and tenor. The disc is probably best known for supplying background to a TV commercial of the Renault Clio in the mid 1990s. Taylor is as good as always, but Rosenborg he ain’t! It’s nice music to enjoy whilst relaxing with an apero on a summer’s evening!

Thursday brought out Roswell Rudd: Blown bone 1976. Very modern freeish sounds from the long time Steve Lacy ( soprano sax) associate, trombonist Rudd feastures strongly on one of he few records under his name. Lacy, Kenny Davern (cl) and Paul Motian drms are in support. Billie Holoday – Live at Storyvillle 1951/53. Club recordings by the greatest jazz singer ever. Backed by her working trio of the time, plus three tracks with Stan Getz. The good atmosphere helps bring out Billie at near her best for the time, even if the sound quality taken from broadcasts is not perfect. Soprano Summit – Soprano Summit 11, 1974/77 was up next. Bob Wilber and Kenny Davern (clarinets and soprano saxes) work their way through a set of  traditional tunes from Joplin, Jelly Roll and Gershwin to Wilber. Bucky Pizzarelli plays some fine guitar and banjo! – modern traditional music.

Friday I dug out a Paul Motian record: Monk in Motian 1988. Drummer Motian, Joe Lovano on tenor and Bill Frisell on guitar give their modern interpretations of 10 Monk tunes. Dewey Redman on tenor and Geri Allen on piano guest on two tunes each. There are some very interesting interpretations of Monk’s music, typical of a group that stayed together through much of the 80s and 90s. Lester Young: The Greatest 1945-47 was last – Young with a variety of line ups, resulting in variable performances. Some are great e.g. These Foolish Things, but others disappoint e.g S M Blues. Blue Note re-issued these tracks on a 2cd Complete Aladdin sessions.

That was it for this week – if the weather warms up properly and the thick grey cloud disperses, we can all get out and about and enjoy the fine weather! That’s all folks! Have a good week.

 Mike Goldsmith, Group Organiser