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Baby Face Willette

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you must post the contents of this article- my computer crashes/freezes that link (my comp. sux) thank u

What's it worth to ya?

... It's a "money jungle" out there.

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Yeah....Face (as he was called by other musicians)....was as bad as an organist that has ever lived. Face To Face and Grant's First Stand are just unbelievable. But everything he was on is a gem. The Argo's open up a whole other side and sound from his as well.

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I've probably said this before - In 1994 I helped Lazaro Vega and the late Gordon Darrah with a listener's guide to jazz recordings for WBLV. In the last part of the booklet the contributors were asked to list 10 recordings not fitting the "historical" perspective of the main text. In that section I mentioned "Face to Face" with this message: My choice for best organ/tenor record of all time. A serious jam party. This is why God allowed Mr. Hammond to desecrate the organ.

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'Face to Face' is indeed a great one.

No love so far for 'Stop and Listen' though? :huh:

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its been all day: will someone PLLLLLLLLEEEEEEASEEEEEEE post this article on the board. is it about baby faces son? what did he play? is it an obituary? i have so many quetsions

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OK chewy! You can relax now...

Willette was a fast-burning flame in Milwaukee jazz

By Bobby Tanzilo

Managing Editor

Published Feb. 13, 2007 at 5:23 a.m.

The pantheon of jazz -- America's classical music -- is awash in brilliance, from Armstrong to Ellington to Coltrane and beyond. But don't let the musical constellations obscure the fainter lights, especially those shooting stars that burned brightly, but briefly. They often provide some of the music's most shining moments.

One such fireball was organist Baby Face Willette, who recorded a pair of Blue Note discs as a leader in the early 1960s (he also performed on a few sessions, too, accompanying sax man Lou Donaldson and guitarist Grant Green) and two more for Chicago-based Argo.

Willette had a Milwaukee connection. Correction, Willette still has a Milwaukee connection. Forty-odd years after he was based here, the organist's son, Steve, still calls the North Side home.

Willette, who died in 1971, is shrouded in mystery and while some sources say he was born in 1933 in Little Rock, others say New Orleans.

"I thought he was from Chicago," living Brew City jazz legend Berkeley Fudge tells OnMilwaukee.com.

Roosevelt Willette likely learned the piano from his mother, a missionary who played in church or from his uncle Fred Freeman, who also played. Church -- his father was reportedly a minister -- was also likely where Baby Face (so called because of his youthful visage) was introduced to the organ. He accompanied gospel groups put together by his sisters Dorothy and Georgia before finding his way into R&B and touring North America with the likes of Johnny Otis, Guitar Slim, Big Jay McNeely, Joe Liggins and others.

"(Touring) was always a hassle," Willette is quoted as saying in the liner notes to his "Face to Face" disc. "I would just go where there was work."

Sometime in the 1950s he began centering on Chicago, doing stints in the city -- the last known of which was from 1966 to 1971. There, he turned his attention to jazz.

Fudge remembers the self-taught Willette, who couldn't read music; but just barely, it seems. He takes a while to answer, carefully considering his responses, and appears to really be scanning his memory bank.

"It wasn't a long time (that Willette was in Milwaukee)," recalls Fudge, noting that he shared the stage with the organist at the Wilson Club on 12th and Center Streets. Also treading the boards was tenor saxophonist John "Wild Man" Gilmore famous for his work with Sun Ra.

"At that time the organ was coming back out (in jazz)," he adds.

Few who wrote about Willette at the time fail to mention his stature and his dapper good looks. Those must have been formidable traits in Willette because Fudge conjures those details up too.

"He was a nice guy. He was a little guy; a little, small guy and he dressed real nice all the time."

Willette's four Blue Note appearances (two mentioned above plus his own "Stop and Listen" and Grant Green's "Grant's First Stand") were all recorded in January 1961 (except "Stop and Listen" which was committed to tape in April of that year). His two Argo sets -- "Mo-Roc" and "Behind the 8 Ball" -- were recorded in May and November 1964, respectively.

From there, Willette seems to disappear from recorded jazz. Organ jazz enthusiast and scholar Pete Fallico notes on his doodlinlounge.com Web site that five tracks recorded in '65 remain unreleased.

While even casual jazz fans won't recognize his name, Baby Face charmed the conoscenti. New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff is a Willette devotee.

"'Face to Face' transcends the cliches of organ jazz records," he told an interviewer. "There is a drive and a gut feeling on the record -- and really excellent playing -- that makes you feel that you are not listening to just another organ record."

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I mentioned "Face to Face" with this message: My choice for best organ/tenor record of all time.

I wouldn't disagree with you on that one at all. That record is just downright smoking. You couldn't find guys who could play like that today if you looked the world over. Truely a moment in time captured perfectly in RVG's studio. Fred Jackson...jeez...Grant's distorted tone...Ben Dixon's shuffle...and Face burning that unique sound of his into your eardrums.

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thanks brownie chunks u r still #1

oh

my

god

babyface has a son. SON OF BABY FACE

Steven Willette

3755 N 22nd St

Milwaukee, WI

(414) 873-1254

NOW I THOUGHT TO BE GENROUS ID MAYBE LET SOUL STREAM OR BROWNIE OR WHOMEVER WANTS TO VOLUNTEER DO THE HONORS, IF YOU WISH TO CONCEDE TO CHEWY, LET ME KNOW AND I WILL TALLY UP ALL THE QUESTIONS.

THIS MAN IS THE ONLY LIVING LINK TO BABYFACE THE GREAT. WE MUST CONTACT HIM IMMEDIALTLY AND ASK HIM THOUSANDS OF QUESTIONS (in a polite, respectful fashion)

lets get started people....

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i think first and foremost we need to broadly ask him about his reccolections of his father, personally and musically, etc- and also it is imparative that we address his dimise and the mysterious circumstances surrounding that-- also isnt babyface owed millions of dollars in back royalities by EMI or blue note? maybe we can bring that up too.....

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I'm still waiting for a Baby Face Willette Mosaic Select. Guess I'll grab that 2-LPs-on-1-CD Argo collection in the meantime.

Edited by Kyo

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i also want to know what kind of babyface memorbilia he has, eg photos etc

*

* photos of Babyface playing the Kennedy funeral

* elder don clementine

Clem, beware of Dan Gould regarding ANY Kennedy related matter. :D

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i also want to know what kind of babyface memorbilia he has, eg photos etc

* polaroid photos of Babyface with Brigitte Bardot, Julie Christie, Michelle Phillips, Angie Dickenson-- he fugged 'em all, dude!!

* movie posters in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French for Jean-Luc Godard's supressed acid Western, "The Man From Topeka" that Babyface starred in with Lee Van Clef, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine & Isela Vega. (I have a dodgy nth-gen vhs if yr interested)

there's a lot more but these are some of the highlights--

elder don clementine

:lol:

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thanks brownie chunks u r still #1

oh

my

god

babyface has a son. SON OF BABY FACE

Steven Willette

3755 N 22nd St

Milwaukee, WI

(414) 873-1254

NOW I THOUGHT TO BE GENROUS ID MAYBE LET SOUL STREAM OR BROWNIE OR WHOMEVER WANTS TO VOLUNTEER DO THE HONORS, IF YOU WISH TO CONCEDE TO CHEWY, LET ME KNOW AND I WILL TALLY UP ALL THE QUESTIONS.

THIS MAN IS THE ONLY LIVING LINK TO BABYFACE THE GREAT. WE MUST CONTACT HIM IMMEDIALTLY AND ASK HIM THOUSANDS OF QUESTIONS (in a polite, respectful fashion)

lets get started people....

Maybe he'll invite us over for a SAMMICH!

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This is WAY too funny! I'll add this from Wikipedia[: He has a son named Kevin D. Bailey.

Edited by marcello

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Steve Willette apparently didn't participate in that article, other than being mentioned. Is it really cool of you to post his address and phone number here? He may not wish to be contacted by complete strangers.

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I think the member that posted the original question has run away!

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It semi-cool, because chewy brought up a good point: he may be due some royalties from BN.

It so happens I have to give Blue Note a new contact for Butch Warren, so I could throw this in as well.

2 questions:

1) Is this the right guy?

2) Who at Blue Note should I contact? Tom Evered is no longer in charge of jazz, and I never heard of the new guy. If no one else has any ideas, I'll contact Michael Cuscuna.

Bertrand.

Edited by bertrand

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I've been busy ordering "Face to Face"! :)

- Jostein

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* movie posters in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French for Jean-Luc Godard's supressed acid Western, "The Man From Topeka" that Babyface starred in with Lee Van Clef, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine & Isela Vega. (I have a dodgy nth-gen vhs if yr interested)

there's a lot more but these are some of the highlights--

elder don clementine

I grew up in Topeka. It's definitely acid Western...

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clementine u are comletely out of control

That's why I enjoy him.

That's also why I enjoy you.

The Clem "persona" is "smarter than you".

The Chewy "persona" is "dumber than you".

Hard to imagine both of you in the same world, but then I say "yup". :cool:

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are we gonna get this taken care of this weekend? am i gonna have to do it? if you guys dont come up w/ a plan im definetly definetly calling him this weekend

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