The Magnificent Goldberg

From Wild Bill Davis to Jimmy Smith

72 posts in this topic

Back in the sixties, as I got more and more interested in Soul Jazz, and organists in particular, the notion that Jimmy Smith was the one and only great organist and that all the others were weak imitators was prevalent in critical circles. To me, as I listened to Freddie Roach, Baby Face Willette, John Patton and others – even R&B organists like Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez, Booker T and Bill Doggett – that was simply wrong thinking. Those people didn’t play like Jimmy Smith – they played like themselves. To see them as pale plagiarists seemed to me to be just lazy; as if the critics couldn’t be bothered to listen to anyone else playing an instrument that they usually admitted to not liking much, if at all.

As I learned more, I found that many of the organists I liked had roots in music that was pre-Jimmy Smith. And I got interested in this.

Some years back, Clem suggested I put a discography of the jazz organists of this period together. That’s too boring – to do, as well as to read – so I thought I’d write something instead. To start off with, I reread Geoff Alexander’s history of the jazz organ here – http://www.afana.org/jazzorgan.htm

Geoff is pretty shaky on the later period of Soul Jazz organists; he wrote the piece in 1988, at a time when much of the Blue Note catalogue was unavailable and hardly anything had been reissued on CD, so it’s not surprising that many of his judgements lack the perspective that wider listening would have brought. And a fair amount of research work has been done since that time. But it’s a helpful piece.

The organ in the Soul Jazz era begins with R&B, and so do I; though actually, many of the musicians involved in the R&B organ scene were jazz musicians. Most of them had a swing background, and that’s what I’ve covered next.

Thirdly, I’ve dealt with the development of the tenor/organ combo, one of the most significant and enjoyable types of band of the post war period.

Next I’ve looked at the other musicians who developed modern approaches to the jazz organ, independently of Jimmy Smith, and approximately concurrently.

Finally, I’ve looked at a few who probably were familiar with Jimmy Smith’s style but who didn’t want to play that way (or not entirely that way) and relied on Wild Bill Davis for much of their inspiration.

More in subsequent posts later.

MG

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Part 1 – The R&B scene

Wild Bill Davis’ first recording on organ was in 1949, but the exact date doesn’t appear to be known. He recorded two R&B style solos for Mercury. The next one I know about wasn’t Wild Bill, either. It was Milt Buckner, with Wild Bill Moore. “Balancin’ with Bill”, “Hey spo-dee-o-dee” (both on King 4383) and two other tracks were recorded on 3 March 1950. These two are available on “The big horn” as well.

Wild Bill Davis worked for Louis Jordan from 1945 to 1951, playing organ on his “Tamburitza boogie” (Decca 27203) and “Lemonade” (Decca 27324), (the latter a cover of a 1949 Eddie Mack recording for Apollo, featuring Willis Jackson, Mack’s colleague from Cootie’s band) both feature Wild Bill Davis on organ and Bill Doggett on piano! They were recorded on 18 Aug 1950, and are available on the Ocium compilation of Wild Bill Davis’ early work – “Organology vol 1 – April in Paris”, Ocium 0046. He organised his first trio, with Bill Jennings and Chris Columbus, in 1951, recording for OkeH. Floyd Smith took over the guitar chair in 1953.

Davis is generally thought to be a swing style player but his own first recordings for Mercury and OkeH were closely based on the Jordan aesthetic. All four tracks done at his first OkeH session, in June 1951, were clear attempts to get hits along the lines Jordan had pioneered; in particular, “Catch ‘em young, treat ‘em rough, tell ‘em nothin’” is a song that Jordan could have had a hit with. Davis, as a singer, was not the man Jordan was, however. All of these are included in the Ocium compilation. Vol 1 covers the period 18 August 1950 to 8 January 1953; Vol 2 covers 11 March 1953 to 17 November 1955. Both CDs include a couple of previously unissued bonus tracks recorded in May and June 1972 for Black & Blue, with Floyd Smith and Chris Columbus. These are marvellous compilations, well worth the effort of tracking them down, though they don’t include all of Wild Bill’s recordings for OkeH/Epic.

Despite the fact that Doggett (possibly) recorded on organ before Davis, there’s no doubt that Davis was the dominant figure in this period of the development of jazz organ. Although his initial recordings were mostly R&B, Bill gradually began recording more straight ahead jazz, firmly in the swing mould. As time went by, however, he broadened his taste and made some albums for Everest and Coral which have a fairly lounge ambiance. His many albums with Johnny Hodges show his swing side very well indeed. Wild Bill, like many other organists, was at home with pretty well any kind of jazz entertainment.

Another R&B tenor player who was early into organists was Willis Jackson. A session recorded for Atlantic on 23 May 1952 features an unknown organist. “Estrellita” (Atlantic 975) was reissued on “On my own” (Whiskey, Women and… RBD705 – a CD), while “Rock, rock, rock” (Atlantic 967) and “Gator’s groove” (Atlantic 975) were reissued on “Atlantic honkers” Atlantic 781-666 – a double LP). It’s got to be said that this unknown guy is not an organist of remarkable originality.

A honking tenor man who rejoiced in the name of Harold “Pop Pop” Rollins made a smashing 78 called “Wow!” (pts 1 & 2) for Glow Hill (501) in about 1952. Glow Hill was a Newark label. No personnel are listed on the label, but this organist came straight out of a holiness church! You can hear a sample of this style of organ playing in church on the Blues Classics compilation ‘Singing preachers and their congregations’ (BC19); ‘On my way’ pts 1 & 2 (Modern 843, Nov 1951) by Rev C C Chapman. The unknown organist on that is almost certainly not the same one as Rollins’ – he was recorded in Los Angeles – but the style is identical. My best mate used to describe my daughter when, at one year of age, she didn’t want to go to bed and would attempt to scream the house down, as ‘an enthusiastic, but limited, improviser,’ which is what the guy behind Rollins is, par excellence.

Whoever Rollins’ organist was, he doesn’t sound like any other jazz organist. This record never even made it to LP, far less CD. It’s far from clear when the record was made; it’s not in Lord’s discography. Galen Gart’s ARLD gives a release date of January 1957 for Glow Hill 502, but those people would have had to have been out of their tiny minds to have made a record like this as late as that. It sounds like 1952 to me, but could be as late as 1954. It’s probably the first time an out and out gospel style was used on a jazz/R&B recording.

Chicago was another place where some pioneering R&B bands were using organ players.

Schoolboy Porter was a singer and sax player who recorded for Chance in the early fifties. He used an organ player on his session of 1 May 1952; one Eugene McDuffy, better known as Brother Jack McDuff, who had played piano on Porter’s previous Chance session on 25 July 1951.
http://hubcap.clemso...ber/chance.html

But Brother Jack said that he’d taken up the organ in the mid-fifties. I have two of these titles “Small squall” and “Lonely wail” (Chance 1132) on tape and, honestly, it doesn’t sound like Jack McDuff but, if he didn’t take up organ seriously until a few years later, you wouldn’t expect it to sound like him, especially if he’d been kind of dragooned into trying it out in the studio.

Jimmy Coe, about the last of the great honking tenor players to emerge, had a great little band which recorded for States in this period. James Palmer played piano and organ on these sessions. And he was a good ‘un, though he never recorded again. The material was reissued on Delmark 443, but I’m not sure if it actually came out as a CD. I only have it as a K7. (Brother Jack played with this band, too, though I don’t know when.)

Tab Smith was another sax player who recorded for United in the early fifties. Sam Malone was his organist in an August 1955 session, reissued as “Crazy walk” (Delmark 555). Malone did little but provide a nice soft backing for Smith, much as Sleepy Anderson would later do in live performances behind Gene Ammons, often while Jug rapped to the audience. The value of organists who could do this, quietly building the intensity behind a long spoken intro to a song, is greatly underestimated in the jazz world.

MG

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Very much looking forward to the rest of this, MG. :tup

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Part 2 – Swing organists following Wild Bill Davis

Let’s start off by remembering that Count Basie was one of the originators. I haven’t heard too much of his organ playing in the thirties. Those who’ve described it as skating rink music (which I think in England would be called Tower Ballroom, Blackpool style), are being a bit uncharitable. I doubt if Basie’s organ was ever properly recorded until he made the 1965 album Arthur Prysock/Count Basie – no great surprise, as it’s the only time the Basie band ever recorded in Rudy Van Gelder’s.

Basie sounds as if he were the prime influence on Ray Charles’ organ playing. You can get Ray’s organ style quite clearly from “Genius + Soul = Jazz Live”, recorded at the Paris Olympia in October 1961, which shows how Ray really used the organ in performance (and which also contains Don Wilkerson’s greatest solo on “Come rain or come shine”).

But of Wild Bill Davis’ followers, Marlowe Morris had the Basie sound bang to rights. This may be one reason why Morris was Basie’s favourite organist and held down the gig at Basie’s club for many years. After many years working as a sideman (he even did a Gospel session with Sister Rosetta Tharpe) and enjoying steady work at Basie’s, he finally made an album as a leader for Columbia – “Play that thing” – in 1963, which I used to have but seemed pretty boring to me at the time, so I ditched it and now believe that was a serious error, but I’ve never come across it since to check.

My guess is that Milt Buckner didn’t owe anything to Wild Bill Davis, but to say that he simply transferred his locked hands piano style to the organ is an over-simplification; he had a much more penetrating sound than any other organist until Baby Face Willette, which suggests to me that some at least of Buckner’s inspiration came from church organists. Some, undoubtedly, came from Lionel Hampton. Buckner is one of my favourite organists. His exuberance is undeniable. But, like many of the honking school of tenor players, when he plays a ballad, you really feel it. He was the ideal organist to accompany Illinois Jacquet; they both played out of the same bag. Perfect Buckner is to be found on Illinois’ albums “Go power” (Cadet 773, Lonehill LHJ10232) and “The soul explosion” (Prestige 7629, OJCCD674). But don’t miss his many wonderful albums for Argo and later for Black & Blue, in particular, “Green onions”.

Bill Doggett goes way back. He ran his own big band in the late thirties, with Lucky Millinder fronting it until it went bust in 1939. Afterwards, Millinder hired Bill as pianist in his own band and he worked for him until 1945, then for Illinois Jacquet until 1947, then replaced Wild Bill Davis in the Louis Jordan band until 1950. He formed his own organ trio in 1951, which doesn’t appear to have been notably successful, so he rejoined Jordan. He made his first organ session for King in January 1952, but it wasn’t until October that year he put his ground-breaking band together, with Percy France on tenor, John Faire on guitar and Shep Shepherd on drums.

Roger “Ram” Ramirez was about the oldest of the post-war generation of organists – two or three years older than Milt Buckner and Bill Doggett, five years older than Wild Bill Davis (who was a personal friend). He’s best known as the composer of the song, “Lover man”, but his career extended back to 1934, when he played piano in Rex Stewart’s band. He started his own trio in 1945. In the early fifties, he followed Wild Bill Davis in taking up the organ. He was only infrequently recorded. There is a 1958 track by King Curtis – “Jest smoochin’” – on the Atlantic Honkers LP. A very fine Ramirez album is “Live in Harlem”, recorded in 1960 at Frank’s Steak House and originally issued on UK Columbia 33SX1355 (now on CD on Black & Blue 927). He’s accompanied only by Ronnie Coles on drums and he majors on inventiveness on the twenty-five minute “Robbin’s nest” – live steamin’! He made two LPs for RCA Victor in 1966 and one for Master Jazz in 1973, none of which I’ve heard.

Jackie Davis

Jackie’s debt to Wild Bill Davis is obvious. He first recorded in about 1951. Later he worked with Dinah Washington and Louis Jordan (in the late fifties). He recorded as a leader for Capitol for about sixteen years (it appears that many of those albums have little jazz content and most aren’t listed in jazz discographies).

Pianists (generally modern) who occasionally played organ

Billy Taylor

Out of hundreds of sessions Taylor has made in a long career, only once has he recorded on organ. But that once puts him in the history books, because it was one of Jaws’ sessions contributing to the development of the tenor/organ combo.

Oscar Peterson

Even more prolific was Oscar Peterson. But he’s made a few sessions on organ, the first of them a Billie Holiday session in 1952. In February and April 1953, he made two great sessions on organ with Roy Eldridge.

Sir Charles Thompson

Like Ramirez, Thompson’s best known for a song; ‘Robbins nest’. He first recorded on organ in 1947, with Ella Fitzgerald, but his real exposure on organ is on his own Columbia album, ‘Swing Organ’ (CL1364) with Rudy Rutherford on clarinet (!) and the great Percy France on tenor. This is another lost organ LP, I think. I’ve never seen it on CD.

Hank Jones is an extremely well-known pianist who occasionally makes a record on organ. The first time was in December 1952, when he made a session with Flip Phillips and another with Illinois Jacquet. In 1963, he shared organ duties with John Patton on Johnny Griffin’s ‘Soul Groove’ (Atlantic 1431). He’s a bit polite on organ.

Skip Hall was mainly associated with Kansas City players and, in particular, from 1949 on, with Buddy Tate, for whom he played piano and occasionally organ. He recorded on organ with Tate for Baton in 1954. He played organ on two splendid Felsted albums by Dicky Wells, with 3 other trombonists, in 1958 and 1959 showing a style that I might, if I were brave enough, characterise as ‘stride organ’. How anyone thought four trombones and an organ would make a band I can’t imagine, but it does. The sound is wonderful! He continued to be associated with Tate until 1968.

MG

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Part 3 – The tenor/organ combo

There were three main pioneers of the tenor/organ combo. But let’s start with someone else; John Coltrane. Yes, that’s right. Before she joined Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis early in 1956, Shirley Scott was in a trio with Trane and Tootie Heath. It must have been in 1955, before Trane joined Miles Davis’ band. Now THAT would have been an interesting band to hear! Unfortunately, it didn’t make any records.

The real pioneer of the tenor/organ combo is, of course, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. He had several attempts before he eventually found the classic combination in 1956.

Jaws’ first tenor/organ date was ‘Mountain oysters’ with Bill Doggett, in 1949, as noted above.

His next attempt was for a 10” Roost LP – ‘Goodies from Davis’ Roost 422, comprising 3 sessions from 1952 and 1953, according to Lord. But Eddie tells a different story in the sleeve of the Vogue twofer that includes all the 10” tracks on side 1. He said he was adamant that he had recorded all the sessions in 1951, before he joined Count Basie. He also said that he wanted Wild Bill Davis as the organist, ‘but by the time I got back to him, he’d signed with another label’. That matches with a 1951 date. The master numbers, however, contradict this. The first session was with Doggett, the second with Billy Taylor and the third with Eddie Bonnemere.

This LP and the 78s that made it up never made much of a splash. Roost failed to issue them on 45, so they didn’t get on juke boxes. They’re good Jaws but none of them are really as exceptional as one would expect innovative recordings to be.

In 1954, Jaws got his own organist; Doc Bagby, A&R director of Gotham Records, one of the most important gospel labels of the late forties and early fifties. More on him later. A great gig at Birdland, with Sonny Stitt sitting in, was recorded in 1954. Bagby recorded with Jaws for King until February 1956.

In 1956, he joined up with Shirley Scott and recorded with her for King from July 1956 to February 1957, then for Bethlehem in June 1957, then for Roulette/Roost from December 1957 to March 1958, back to King in June 1958, finally settling down at Prestige a few days later to make the first of the Cookbooks. Jaws and Shirley stayed together until mid 1960, when Jaws teamed up with Johnny Griffin.

Bill Doggett’s bands kind of paralleled those of Jaws, with a number of tenor players - Percy France, Skinny Brown and Frank Heppinstall - joining him for short periods before he created his classic band with Clifford Scott and Billy Butler in 1956.

He first recorded for King in January 1952, just as a trio, with guitar and drums. By October, Percy France had come in, John Faire had replaced Jimmy Cannady as guitarist and Shep Shepherd was on drums. The Doggett combo was on the way. France recorded with Bill until December 1953 and was replaced by Irving ‘Skinny’ Brown for a few sessions, then Percy returned in June 1954 for a session, followed by Arthur ‘Pigmeat’ Garner, for an October 1954 session. Frank Heppinstall, a fabulously frantic player, did two sessions with Bill in 1955, before Percy came back for a session in August 1955. It wasn’t until January 1956 that Clifford Scott and Billy Butler joined Shepherd and Doggett. ‘Honky tonk’ was recorded in June of 1956. Clifford stayed with Doggett until he left King and recorded for WB in December 1960. So their time together almost exactly coincided with Jaws’ and Shirley’s.

Ernie Freeman was the man who pioneered the tenor/organ combo on the west coast. He got his first recording session in 1950, as part of the Dexter Gordon band, backing Helen Humes. He was playing piano then and only took up the organ in 1954, when he was recording for Crown with tenorman Lorenzo Holden. The Freeman/Holden recordings from 1954 to 1956 are documented on an album called ‘Cry of the wounded jukebox’ (Southland SCD26). Freeman had a long career, with several major hits under his belt before becoming successful as an arranger (he arranged ‘Strangers in the night’ for Frank Sinatra).

MG

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Part 4 – Developing modern approaches

I have to admit to a slight preference for Shirley Scott as an accompanist, rather than a soloist. Her full chords are reminiscent of Wild Bill Davis, but they’re not sustained, and this gives her playing much more of a bounce and a modern sound. When I listen to Shirley, I often think of Red Garland, not Jimmy Smith. Shirley seems to have had a distinct preference for working with explicitly modern musicians – John Coltrane and Jaws (kind of unclassifiable, Jaws is), as already noted, of course, Stanley Turrentine, Oliver Nelson, George Coleman, Harold Vick, and Buck Hill. Terrell Stafford and Tim Warfield were featured on her final album, “A walkin’ thing” (Candid 79719, 1992).

Of course, playing organ, she had to do the Soul Jazz thing and found the perfect partner in Stanley. But her recordings with Nelson, Hill and, particularly, Vick speak to me of where she was really coming from.

One of the problems with Shirley was the fact that she was almost invariably recorded with a bass player. As far as I know, only her first session with Jaws, for King, “Dearly beloved” (Blue Note 4081), “One for me” (Strata East 7430) and “Lean on me” (Cadet 50025) were recorded entirely without a bass player. She could certainly carry the bass line herself and I often wonder why she recorded so seldom like that. The only time a bass player actually sounded like a worthwhile investment was on the ‘Drag ‘em out’ album (Prestige PR7305) where Major Holley’s sound makes a major contribution.

Tommy Dean was a St Louis pianist and organist who recorded for Vee-Jay between 1953 and 1958, his last but one session, featuring Grant Green, being unissued (still!). He’d previously recorded on piano for Town and Country, Miracle and States.

tommy.jpg

An album of his recordings was issued in Denmark by Official, just before the company folded. After many years of searching, I finally got a reasonably priced copy of it.

Dean ran a combo that, in the mid fifties, was clearly inspired by that of Bill Doggett. But whereas Doggett’s combo usually featured a sassy, hip swinging, walking rhythm, Dean’s band soared! The much lighter shuffle rhythm Dean developed when solely a pianist was carried over to his organ combo and was much more jazz-oriented than R&B-oriented, owing to his sound choice of bass players. I don’t think Dean played a Hammond; his sound is more like that of Jordin Fordin and the lighter sound of whatever organ he was playing contributed to the flying feeling of his band, although it was already there in his piano material. (He had good taste in sidemen, as well; Oliver Nelson was in his band for the first two Vee-Jay sessions in 1954 and ’55.) Although Sam Lazar – also from St Louis – said that his primary influence was Jimmy Smith, to judge by his style, particularly on up tempo numbers, there’s a significant Tommy Dean influence in his playing. Small wonder that Grant Green should hook up with Lazar.

Who was Jordin Fordin?

Don’t ask me, Guv. If there’s a name that absolutely HAS to be a pseudonym, it’s got to be Jordin Fordin. Whoever he was, he was a member of Joe Holiday’s little band in 1951. They cut the Prestige 10” LP, “New sounds from Newark” (PRLP131 – OJCCD1786) on 13 December 1951. (This was the session at which Holiday recorded his popular standard, “This is happiness”, normally credited to him, but actually a composition by De La Rosa, Collazo & Menendez.) So even in 1951, Newark was an organ town.

Fordin was certainly not playing a Hammond organ of any description. I don’t know what he was playing, but it may have been the same kind of instrument that Les Strand played – a Baldwin. He’s nice and he’s different. But…

The gospel influence

Doc Bagby was one of the A&R directors of Gotham Records, a Philadelphia label established in 1946, which stayed in business until 1957 or so. He seems to have produced most of the firm’s Gospel output and played organ on most of them (though the only sessions on which he is documented are the one (or two) by the Angelic Gospel Singers with the Dixie Hummingbirds in September 1950/April 1951, and one by Brother John Sellers from June 1950. (He’s also on a 1956 Mercury album by Sister Rosetta Tharpe.) He may also have played on some of Gotham’s R&B or jazz recordings, but I only have Gospel music from Gotham.

In 1954, he joined Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, who was fresh out of the Basie band and aiming, once more, at popularising the tenor/organ combo. He can be heard in extended mode on Jaws’ Birdland album “Battle of Birdland” (Roost 1203) with Sonny Stitt. This was the first time Stitt had recorded with an organist and he wasn’t too keen. But once they started playing, he was really into it. This is a damn fine cookin’ session!

After a while, Bagby went back into Gospel music.

Other important Gospel organists, who generally didn’t make jazz records, but who were significant influences include Rev Maceo Woods, Professor Herman Stevens and Professor Alfred Miller. Woods and Stevens were avowed influences on one of the most original of all jazz organists - Baby Face Willette.

Baby Face first recorded in 1952 in Los Angeles, on piano, for Recorded in Hollywood, very much in Milt Buckner/Lionel Hampton mode. Some time later, he moved to Chicago and came under the influence of Woods and Stevens. You can hear the influence of Woods in WIllette’s keyboard playing, but it sounds like his ominously growling bass line comes from Stevens, who played like that on more swinging numbers.

In September 1955, he recorded four tracks for Vee-Jay, only two of which were released. ‘Why’ is an up-tempo number with Willette on piano. ‘Can’t keep from loving you’ is a slow blues with Willette backing himself on organ (and Red Holloway on tenor sax). This song was later transmuted into the long blues ‘Chances are few’, on Willette’s second LP, ‘Stop and listen’. Willette’s organ playing on Vee-Jay is essentially what came out of the Blue Note and Chess studios over the following decade. He was far more helpfully recorded in Ter Mar than in RVG’s. Seems to me that Alfred Lion had a concept of how he wanted organ records to go, whereas Esmond Edwards was happy to let Baby Face do his own thing, which wasn’t much like Jimmy Smith’s thing.

(I’m greatly indebted to Dan Gould for needle drops of Willette’s two singles.)

MG

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Part 5 – Later followers of Davis

For some later organists, Jimmy Smith didn’t say it all. Despite the amazing success Smith was having, these musicians developed their own styles, based on the more orchestral approach of Wild Bill Davis. Johnny “Hammond” Smith and Hank Marr had been around for a little while and had got their heads together on piano.

Earl Grant was a singer, much in the vein of Nat ‘King’ Cole, who died in a car crash in 1970. He had quite a few hit albums and singles in the period 1958-1969. He also played Davis-inspired organ. Quite a bit of Earl’s recording career was taken up with polite R&B or slightly tough lounge music. Plas Johnson is on a lot of it and there’s always a little bit more going on than just what seems to be happening. Got a soft spot for Earl, I have.

Johnny ‘Hammond’ Smith is one of the greatest players of ballads the organ world has seen. He said he took up the organ in 1958, but by late ’58 or early ’59, he had made his first album as a leader (‘Imagination’ for Warwick) and his style was already fully formed. It’s a style that was based partly on Smith, partly on Davis and partly, it’s said, on Erroll Garner. I’m not very familiar with Garner’s piano style but I can remember quite a lot of trills in his ballad playing; that comes out in Johnny ‘Hammond’ Smith’s work, too. In the seventies he seems to have been quite influenced by Charles Earland, to an extent that fooled me on the bonus cuts to Stanley Turrentine’s ‘Don’t mess with Mr T’ (CTI), but Creed Taylor didn’t record him playing ballads :)

Hank Marr was a great organist who seems to me to have been equally influenced by Jimmy Smith and Wild Bill. He was, for a long time, associated with Rusty Bryant. He was Bryant’s pianist in the band Rusty ran at the Carolyn Club, in Columbus Ohio (with Paul Weeden on guitar, aficionados of Don Patterson will be interested in knowing). That band had a sizeable hit with ‘All night long’ (Dot 15134), a fast version of ‘Night train’. Surprisingly, it didn’t make the R&B charts but did make #25 in the pop charts for one week in April 1954. Rusty’s career ran down after that; he disbanded and made a couple of LPs for Dot, then wasn’t heard of for a while. In the meantime, Hank had been working on organ and, after Bill Doggett left King for Warner Bros, Hank was signed by King as their ‘new’ Bill Doggett, recording for them first in December 1960. And Rusty Bryant was now working for Hank!

There was a lot of Doggett in Hank’s style at that time, as well as Davis. Gradually he moved towards a more modern approach, but one which was always distinctively bluesy and greasy. He was, I think, the first organist to employ a two tenor approach (Rudy Johnson was the other player) and some of his arrangements for the two saxes were really very interesting to me.

The name of (Jerome) Tyrone Parsons is almost entirely unknown. As far as I know, he only recorded twice. He was a west coaster who emerged suddenly in 1963, playing with a lot of Wild Bill Davis feel, but a very different sound (which makes me wonder whether he was playing a B3), and a few different ideas that make him quite an interesting inheritor of the Davis legacy.

His first recording was as leader of his own trio, with an uncredited guitarist and drummer, on the Imperial LP “Organ-eyes” (LP9231, 28 March 1963). While there are two numbers out of the Davis book – “Stolen sweets” and “Azure-te” - in the album, there’s quite a bit that Wild Bill wouldn’t have done. A superfast version of “Begin the beguine” allowed Tyrone to show the kind of chops he had. Two fast cuts in 6/8, “Gravy waltz” and “Organ-D waltz” are also well off the Wild Bill map of those days.

The following year, Tyrone appeared on half of the tracks of “This is Ernie Andrews” (Dot 25778). And that’s it for Tyrone Parsons.

Jiggs Chase deserves to be a LOT better known than he is. As far as I know, he didn’t record until 1964, with the Joe Thomas/Bill Elliott band on the Sue LP ‘Speak your piece’. He also appeared on one track of Buddy Terry’s LP ‘Natural soul’ on which Larry Young played piano! In subsequent years, he was mainly associated with Joe Thomas but also appeared on one side of Pharoah Sanders’ India Navigation LP ‘Pharoah’ in 1976. On all these jazz sides, he showed himself to be a late follower of Wild Bill Davis. It seems, on first blush, very odd to find him in Pharoah’s company but the other side of that LP features Bedria Sanders on harmonium so that was obviously a sound that Pharoah wanted.

Later, he became a producer for Sugar Hill records and produced, co-composed and arranged one of the greatest Rap classics ever – ‘The message’ by Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five. He also produced, arranged and wrote for Gloria Gaynor, Patti LaBelle, Kool & the Gang, Cheena, the Sequence and other rap and soul artists. Who knew?

Perri Lee was born in 1925 and played piano on the west coast in a number of bands from the mid forties on. She was inspired to take up the organ when she was playing a gig with Wild Bill Davis’ trio as the other band. That was around 1956, it seems. She made her first recording in 1957, “Presenting Perri Lee Blackwell” (Combo 600). She moved to New York in about 1960 and recorded live leading a trio with Eddie Chamblee on tenor and John Kreigh on drums; “A night at Count Basie’s” (Roulette 52080) is a hell of a jumpin’ album (and thanks to Dan for this!) While in New York, she played on part of Sonny Stitt’s LP “Sonny Stitt and the top brass” (Atlantic 1395, July 1962), Her last album was “Miss Perri Lee at the Parisian Room” (Dot 25729, 1966).

Trivia: Perri also sang and appeared in films. She accompanied Doris Day in “Pillow talk”.

Finally, there’s Dayton Selby, who only made one recording that I’ve ever come across; “The rocking tenor sax of Eddie Chamblee” (Prestige 7321) was recorded as late as February 1964 and shows not a trace of Jimmy Smith’s innovations. But it shows how an organist of the Wild Bill persuasion could equally well boot a tenor player beyond the stratosphere into pure hysteria or provide a soft, romantic cushion under a ballad.

Er... discuss. :)

MG

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What's this about a version of "Mountain Oysters" with Bill Doggett on organ? All the ones I've heard have been with piano?

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Amazing work! Making me aware of some players I've not previously, thank you :)

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Baby Face first recorded in 1952 in Los Angeles, on piano, for Recorded in Hollywood, very much in Milt Buckner/Lionel Hampton mode.

MG

I gotta listen to those first two singles ... I always thought of them as of a piece with the Vee Jay sides but maybe I didn't pay enough attention to his piano and was just concentrating on the vocals.

Very good, MG and someday ... we're gonna find that other Peri Lee recording!

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What's this about a version of "Mountain Oysters" with Bill Doggett on organ? All the ones I've heard have been with piano?

You're probably right. I just listened to it again and, although the discographies say organ, you can hear that the intro is a piano. As for the rest of the track, I couldn't be certain. In this, the world's discographies (well, the ones I've seen) should bow to you, JIm.

Oh, I haven't got, or heard, the B side. Have you? Perhaps Doggett played organ on that, otherwise it's hard to see how the error crept into Jepsen and Lord (as well as Proper's own sleeve note).

Baby Face first recorded in 1952 in Los Angeles, on piano, for Recorded in Hollywood, very much in Milt Buckner/Lionel Hampton mode.

MG

I gotta listen to those first two singles ... I always thought of them as of a piece with the Vee Jay sides but maybe I didn't pay enough attention to his piano and was just concentrating on the vocals.

Very good, MG and someday ... we're gonna find that other Peri Lee recording!

Other? I've only got the one I got from you, Dan. Which of the two others have you got that I haven't?

MG

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thanks for going to the effort of pulling this all together, many new names, to me.

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Baby Face first recorded in 1952 in Los Angeles, on piano, for Recorded in Hollywood, very much in Milt Buckner/Lionel Hampton mode.

MG

I gotta listen to those first two singles ... I always thought of them as of a piece with the Vee Jay sides but maybe I didn't pay enough attention to his piano and was just concentrating on the vocals.

Very good, MG and someday ... we're gonna find that other Peri Lee recording!

Other? I've only got the one I got from you, Dan. Which of the two others have you got that I haven't?

MG

From your comment about the earliest, L.A. recordings, I assumed you had them as you describe them "in Milt Buckner/Lionel Hampton mode." I have a cassette transfer of his Hollywood 45, in rather muddy multi-generation sound - wouldn't call them in a Buckner/Hampton mode myself but as I said, I should listen again.

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Baby Face first recorded in 1952 in Los Angeles, on piano, for Recorded in Hollywood, very much in Milt Buckner/Lionel Hampton mode.

MG

I gotta listen to those first two singles ... I always thought of them as of a piece with the Vee Jay sides but maybe I didn't pay enough attention to his piano and was just concentrating on the vocals.

Very good, MG and someday ... we're gonna find that other Peri Lee recording!

Other? I've only got the one I got from you, Dan. Which of the two others have you got that I haven't?

MG

From your comment about the earliest, L.A. recordings, I assumed you had them as you describe them "in Milt Buckner/Lionel Hampton mode." I have a cassette transfer of his Hollywood 45, in rather muddy multi-generation sound - wouldn't call them in a Buckner/Hampton mode myself but as I said, I should listen again.

It's the enthusiasm, which is pure Buckner/Hampton.

MG

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He was far more helpfully recorded in Ter Mar than in RVG’s. Seems to me that Alfred Lion had a concept of how he wanted organ records to go, whereas Esmond Edwards was happy to let Baby Face do his own thing, which wasn’t much like Jimmy Smith’s thing.

(I’m greatly indebted to Dan Gould for needle drops of Willette’s two singles.)

MG

MG, thanks for this history. As I think I said elsewhere, Esmond Edwards may not have been exactly empathetic with Baby Face Willette. Ajaramu, drummer on the Behind The 8-Ball date, said the producer had Baby Face in tears and he (B.F.) had to drink a quart of whiskey to complete the session. Note that Argo liked to have its artists record 3-minute tracks.

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He was far more helpfully recorded in Ter Mar than in RVG’s. Seems to me that Alfred Lion had a concept of how he wanted organ records to go, whereas Esmond Edwards was happy to let Baby Face do his own thing, which wasn’t much like Jimmy Smith’s thing.

(I’m greatly indebted to Dan Gould for needle drops of Willette’s two singles.)

MG

MG, thanks for this history. As I think I said elsewhere, Esmond Edwards may not have been exactly empathetic with Baby Face Willette. Ajaramu, drummer on the Behind The 8-Ball date, said the producer had Baby Face in tears and he (B.F.) had to drink a quart of whiskey to complete the session. Note that Argo liked to have its artists record 3-minute tracks.

That's most interesting, John. I hadn't heard or seen it before. What's a quart - 2 pints? I'm surprised he could even SEE the organ, much less play it!

Argo/Cadet did have shorter tracks than Blue Note or Prestige, but there were often, perhaps even usually, longer ones mixed in - and few that I've seen (other than R&B albums) have six cuts per side. 'Song of the universe' is just over 7 mins, so Baby Face seems to have been able to get something out of his whiskey :)

MG

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Yes, and Song Of The Universe is a great performance. Makes you wonder how many other beauties Willette had in him.

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Yes, and Song Of The Universe is a great performance. Makes you wonder how many other beauties Willette had in him.

Yeah, pity the social conditions of his life probably retarded that somewhat.

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What's this about a version of "Mountain Oysters" with Bill Doggett on organ? All the ones I've heard have been with piano?

You're probably right. I just listened to it again and, although the discographies say organ, you can hear that the intro is a piano. As for the rest of the track, I couldn't be certain. In this, the world's discographies (well, the ones I've seen) should bow to you, JIm.

Oh, I haven't got, or heard, the B side. Have you? Perhaps Doggett played organ on that, otherwise it's hard to see how the error crept into Jepsen and Lord (as well as Proper's own sleeve note).

The flip side, Huckle Boogie, has piano throughout too. Probably all discographies have just copied the initial erroneous source.

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What's this about a version of "Mountain Oysters" with Bill Doggett on organ? All the ones I've heard have been with piano?

You're probably right. I just listened to it again and, although the discographies say organ, you can hear that the intro is a piano. As for the rest of the track, I couldn't be certain. In this, the world's discographies (well, the ones I've seen) should bow to you, JIm.

Oh, I haven't got, or heard, the B side. Have you? Perhaps Doggett played organ on that, otherwise it's hard to see how the error crept into Jepsen and Lord (as well as Proper's own sleeve note).

The flip side, Huckle Boogie, has piano throughout too. Probably all discographies have just copied the initial erroneous source.

You're very likely right. Well, now we know about 'Huckle boogie' too. Thanks.

MG

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My dear Goldberg,

Thanks for that MAGNIFICENT job...as usual whenever you commit your efforts to investigate the Hammond organ history : this is really great!

There are many names barely known to me in your text, but I was rather surprised to discover there was a Live version of the fantastic "Genius+Soul= Jazz". And what's more, recorded in Paris, not so far away from where I live.

Can we have some more comments on this album please? And is it still available?

Thank you.

Michel

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Looks like it's from Paris, October 22, 1961.

http://www.discogs.c.../release/932251

01 Let The Good Times Roll 2:35

02 Georgia On My Mind 7:32

03 I Believe To My Soul 3:49

04 Come Rain Or Come Shine 7:01

05 Hallelujah, I Love Her So 3:22

06 Alexander's Ragtime Band 2:36

07 I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town 5:17

08 Hit The Road Jack 2:42

09 Margie 2:36

10 I Wonder 3:56

11 What'd I Say 6:26

Credits:

In-depth detail here: http://raycharlesvid...paris-1961.html

Edited by JSngry

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A bit more on the Ray Charles Paris stuff

Genius + Soul - Jazz live was recorded on 22 October 1961 at the Paris Olympia.

Let the good times roll

Georgia on my mind

I believe to my soul

Come rain or come shine (which is a complete and total genius piece with Don Wilkerson's greatest solo ever!)

Hallelujah I love her so

Alexander's ragtime band

Outskirts of town

Hit the road, Jack

Margie

I wonder

What'd I say

The previous day (the sleeve says 21/22 Oct) he was also recorded at the Olympia, this time on piano, released as 'Rock + soul = genius' JMY 1009

4974981961_-_Rock_+_Soul_-_Genius.jpg.jpg

Trax

Doodlin'

The story (that's the James Moody tune that Hank Crawford included in his first LP)

Lil' darlin'

One mint julep

(above 4 all instrumental)

Let the good times roll

Georgia on my mind

Ruby (not Ruby my dear as sleeve says :))

My Bonnie

The right time

Sticks and stones

Hallelujah

What'd I say

The first 3 tracks are EXTREMELY interesting but marred by what sounds like a dirty source tape. Hog Cooper plays some of the most INCREDIBLY soupy baritone sax I've ever heard on 'Lil darling' - it's hilarious.

Personnel on both discs

Ray (voc, org or p), Phil Guilbeau, Wallace Davenport, Marcus Belgrave, John Hunt (tp), James Lee Herbert, Edwards Lee Comegys, Henderson Chambers, Keg Johnson (tb), Rudy Powell, Hank Crawford (cl, as), David Newman (fl, ts), DOn Wilkerson (ts, cl), Leroy Cooper (bars), Elbert Sonny Forriest (g), Edgar Willis (b), Bruno Carr (d), The Raelettes - Gwen Berry, Darlene McRae (Darlene Love?), Priscilla Lyles, Margie Hendricks.

Ray never had a greater big band than this. These are (despite what Bob Porter said in the sleeve notes to the Pablo album 'Ray Charles in Berlin') the first live albums with Ray's new big band and, for a Ray Charles fanatic, they're essential, despite the poor sound at the start of the piano session. Worth what they're worth to you.

MG

Looks like it's from Paris, October 22, 1961.

http://www.discogs.c.../release/932251

01 Let The Good Times Roll 2:35

02 Georgia On My Mind 7:32

03 I Believe To My Soul 3:49

04 Come Rain Or Come Shine 7:01

05 Hallelujah, I Love Her So 3:22

06 Alexander's Ragtime Band 2:36

07 I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town 5:17

08 Hit The Road Jack 2:42

09 Margie 2:36

10 I Wonder 3:56

11 What'd I Say 6:26

Credits:

In-depth detail here: http://raycharlesvid...paris-1961.html

You type quicker than me, Jim :D

MG

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