Big Beat Steve

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  1. Swing Bands: Who should I listen to next?

    The "Band that Plays the Blues" pre-Herd too!
  2. Swing Bands: Who should I listen to next?

    All I can say is (and I can only speak for myself) - DON'T!! Listen to whatever you feel like listening to, sample a bit from the bands you want to get an impression of and then explore in more depth what strikes a chord with you - what "gets you". Top-down is all too educational and limiting. You will be missing out on a lot of colorful dots and speckles out there that brighten up the overall picture (and put flesh on the bones) beyond the "big names". By all means listen to all the Big Names of Swing and explore them in greater depth if you want, but if they don't hit it with you right away then go where you WILL be hit. And revisit them later but do NOT - NEVER! - feel obliged to revisit them with top priority just because there is a "canon". Keep your ears open for what there is but make up your own canon and go from there. This will lead you to where you naturally gravitate. Going where you think you are "supposed" to go isn't the way to do it. And "important" is all relative and subjective. Example: I have about as many LPs by Duke Ellington or by Benny Goodman as by Count Basie (a lot!) but I listen ot Basie a lot more often and go to Ellington when I am in a special mood and to B.G. mainly for specific soloists. And I've been blown away by Louis Jordan & His Tympany FIve (and actively tried to get his whole output on LP way back ...) long before I expanded my Duke Ellington or Benny Goodman libraries in greater depth (whereas Basie was more of a must-have at that earlier time). And I've always tended to buy Andy Kirk or Lucky Millinder unheard-unseen-untried rather than Louis Armstrong, for example (not to mention Glenn Miller who was VERY important then yet does not do all that much for me overall). And I have no regrets. It's even more extreme in the field of Modern Jazz - and I do not in the least feel guilty about it.
  3. Swing Bands: Who should I listen to next?

    Why tell me, why preach to the converted? But why at the same time rush those who prefer to FEEL their way into the music? Leave it to them to decide the pace that suits them and don't overcrowd them. About "every town having its own band"; I was more than tempted - in an attempt to filll out the (territory) picture to suggest to the Captain to check out - in addition to obvious ones such as Boots & His Buddies - The Original Yellow Jackets (no, not that more recent gang ), Ike Ragon & His Orchestra or even Carl Cole & His Flint Hill Boys (Who? Yes, them! ),. But what good at this stage? "Sensory overload" - like Brad said.
  4. Swing Bands: Who should I listen to next?

    @ Brad: Well, at least I TRIED to structure my suggestions somewhat: "If you are interested in A, then search out B and C. They might offer you more in the same vein (with some variations)." I think sticking to the kind of band (which in this case to a large extent means style of band) - i.e. big band - and time frame (1935-45) as requested by Captain Howdy, still keeps the suggestions up to this point to a manageable spectrum of bands (for those interesteding in really cutting their teeth into the musical fare, anyway ) Of course there is. The Captain's preferences: "the twenties and early thirties are important. I don't dig that style. I might get there eventually, but not today." It's he who decides. and I'd respect this. No use forcing things onto anybody. It may be his loss now but there's nothing wrong with EASING your way into exploring the music. Everything else will come later ("for those who thus desire"- to quote a tune title from ANOTHER field of jazz )
  5. Swing Bands: Who should I listen to next?

    The inevitable fate of a recommendation thread like this where eventually every band imaginable will get mentioned. And yes - Calloway's instrumentals are worth close listening, and still there are vocals that have a groove of its own that goes beyond the Hi-De-HI stuff that Captain howdy may have become tired of. And lest I forget: @Captain Howdy: As you say you like the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra and have checked out Lucky Millinder, then by all means do check out the Buddy Johnson Orchestra too. His Decca recordings fit your time frame (his Mercury recordings not quite so, and they got their share of pop-ish vocals too). I felt about the same when i saw Eddie Condon mentioned here. Wasn't he - by his very own insistence - the exact opposite of what big band jazz was all about? SMALL band jazz from the 1935-45 period would fill more than one recommendation topic but the way I understood Captain Howdy here we are talking BIG bands. As for the "Progressive" bands mentioned, IMHO they largely fall outside the time frame indicated by Captain Howdy. Though early 40s Stan Kenton has something going for him and fits the time frame. I'd recommend his early 40s transcriptions released on the Hindsight label (not sure if they are from the same source that the MacGregor transcription CD recommended above comes from). For the same reason - time frame - and Captain Howdy's statement that he is not into very early pre-Swing era big band jazz (yet) such as Luis Russell IMHO rules out earlier bands such Alphonso Trent etc. (for the time being). About George T. SImon, his "The Big Bands" book taught me a lot in my early collecting days and made me aware of many second-tier big bands (Hal McIntyre, Sonny Dunham, Teddy Powell, Claude Hopkins, Jan Savitt, etc.) that are quite worth exploring. Even today it is a useful reference tool. As for "just going down the list", how about the books by Leo Walker, Albert McCarthy and Gene Fernett to do some more list checking? And of course "The Swing Era" by Gunther Schuller. Agreed 100%. I'd much prefer some more era-appropriate too. One may or may not like their style but the RCA Bluebird twofers from the 70s did do a bit better in that sense IMO. To me the typical reissues (CDs, in particular) don't look like they are packaged for old men but rather like they are packaged cheaply for casual buyers and were made so that some moderately imaginative "artwork" hired hand lurking about the record label offices could grab a quickie job. Some CD reissuers do show at least some awareness of graphical details and typefaces of the era, though. Two examples quickly retrieved from my CDs:
  6. Swing Bands: Who should I listen to next?

    Which style of bands are you more inclined towards? Is it a matter of "historical listening", i.e. listening to all varieties to cover the field in full (as a matter of "essential educational" listening), or do you already have preferences from what you so far have listened to? Bands like Basie or the Duke are musts, but Tommy Dorsey (or Harry James) on the one hand and Erskine Hawkins on the other already point in different directions unless you are a "devour-it-all" type. Some of my personal perennial favorites: Earl Hines Lionel Hampton Jimmie Lunceford (minus many of its male vocals, though) Andy Kirk Lucky Millinder Fletcher Henderson's later work Benny Carter Cab Calloway Don Redman Woody Herman (including his post-war Herds, of course but that goes beyond your time frame) Charlie Barnet Jimmy Dorsey Jan Savitt Tony Pastor and then ... Will Bradley-Ray McKinley (McKinley's own band is mostly beyond your time frame) early Les Brown Hal McIntyre Hudson-De Lange (I kid you not!) plus some relatively short-lived big bands such as Teddy Wilson Jack Teagarden Muggsy Spanier and honestly, if I'd want some Glenn Miller sounds, I'd often rather listen to Bob Chester than Glenn Miller (his style is not all that different but his tunes haven't been played to death yet ) These are the ones I'd think of first ... P.S: I'd VERY MUCH second the recommendations of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm and of Ina Ray Hutton made by Lipi above.
  7. Ben Webster

    Very cheaply indeed. Picked this up a couple of years ago at a record store clearout sale at 1 (ONE) Euro. Dutch pressing on Westside Stereo (6802 656), (I don't see that Westside would have been a grocery store label, though. ) I haven't listened to it that intently but at 1 euro you can never go wrong with any Ben (for later listening when you are in the mood or whenever ...).
  8. Great Finds

    I only dimly remember the details of the interior of that shop at Portobello Road that I visited in 2000 but I do remember that when I was in there I wondered what that shop may originally have been ... The way it was, the shop had something of an air of "we're going to squeeze the record racks in there, come what may" about it. So I'd believe the "butcher" past without hesitating ...
  9. Great Finds

    Yes, an interesting story. So it sems the Honest Jon's shop I popped into in the 70s wasn't the one that became Rhythm Records but their still earlier site.
  10. Great Finds

    Funny how things come full circle. I remember checking out Honest Jon's (whose name had figured in tourist shopping guides along with Dobell's) during my stays in London in 1975-76-77 (while I was still in school) but don't think I bought there as IIRC his range of records was very special, spending money was very tight and there were SOOOO many excellent record shops in London at the time. Then, during my last record-buying stay in London in the year 2000 (time flies ...) I literally stumbled into Honest Jon's up somewhere at the north end of Portobello Road (revisiting memories of my excursions in the 70s when I had sought out Portobello Market too) and bought a couple of LPs there. I knew this was not his shop of the old days but was pleasantly suprised he was still around. Now, Rhythm Records is familiar too. I went there several times during my stays in London in the 90s (Camden Town was a prime target for other addresses and shops each time). I do remember the jazz section downstairs (manned by a fairly grumpy elderly character who seemed to take his time to warm up to his clientele). The last time I was there in 2000 I also browsed the boxes with original 45rpm EPs and picked some (getting seriously licked with one that I failed to inspect carefully - its vol. 1 brother was in EX condition - and it turned out to have the grooves covered with splotches of some sort of candle wax or such that I have not been able to remove - never would have imagined a record in such condition would ever make it into the racks of a shop doing business with collectors - luckily I have the music on LP, and the cover is nice ;)). Anyway ... now I know this actually was where Honest Jon's used to be (I did not remember ..). P.S. About that Garth Cartwright book mentioned? Is that "Going For a Song"?
  11. Herman Chittison

    Didnt he come along a bit later? How about Carmen Cavallaro?
  12. Herman Chittison

    Not quite that likely. He was dead by early 1951.
  13. Mosaic Records is releasing a Savory collection set

    Thanks for your reply. Good to see their standard airmail service works OK. (Any others who'd like to share their experiences? 9 Considering how much I've bought from US sellers through the years (mostly eBay, some occasional record mail order services) basicially i can do without a tracking number but admittedly it does provide some peace of mind these days.
  14. Mosaic Records is releasing a Savory collection set

    A question to long-time Mosaic customers from OVERSEAS: I am still unsure about whether to order the Savory set directly from Mosaic (now that the release date seems to be real) or waiting for it to show up at Jazzmessengers (not knowing what they will charge for the set, however, so not sure at all how much their price tag will be above the Mosaic price incl. shipping): If I order from Mosaic the overseas shipping costs look like either $20 for standard airmail (2 to 4 weeks, no tracking no.) or $50 for UPS Worldwide Express (4 to 8 days) The UPS rate is quite hefty, though. What are you international customers' experiences with their standard airmail shipping program? Ever had any problems? Arrived within that time frame? Packaging OK? etc. Thanks ...
  15. 2019: Blue Note's 80th Anniversary

    There you go ... And yes, i'd second your reissue suggestions.