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Teasing the Korean

A Bachelor's Guide to Sauter-Finegan

109 posts in this topic

I'm waiting to see how I like the set I ordered before deterring further appetite, but I also saw that avid set and did not recoil in horror, if you know what  I mean...

I guess Doodletown is a real place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doodletown,_New_York

It's a funny name from a musical standpoint, don't know if that was it or not, but you got Pipers & Fifers both, courtesy of good ol' Doodletown.

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7 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Not yet - but hopefully soon. (I confess I took the plunge and just ordered a copy of the "Four Classic Albums" CD on Avid the existence of which I discovered this morning when, following your plug of the "Adventure in Time" LP, I did an online search for sources of that album and was pleased to see this CD fills my primary gaps among the S-F albums (Sons, Goodman/Miller) just spot-on. (Yes, I bow my head (somewhat) in shame and promise that when I find affordable vinyl copies of these the CD will go into the car player ... ^_^)

Great, please report back!  

I have apparently missed an album in the chronology, another that I don't have:

The Sons of Sauter-Finegan - RCA LPM 1104.

Cover art:  Jim Flora.

Now drinking:  Passion Fruit La Croix sparkling water.  (I don't drink alcohol Monday through Thursday.)

This may be only marginally a Sauter-Finegan album.  It is apparently members of the band blowing through head arrangements, thus making a potentially "jazzier" album than some of the others in the S-F catalog.

Does anyone have this and can you describe it? 

 

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I have "The Sons of Sauter-Finegan" and just listened to it. Not very S-F like, it's a series of showcases (with some minimalistic Finegan charts) for several of the band soloists: trumpeters Bobby Nichols and Nick Travis, trombonists Sonny Russo and Tommy Mitchell, and Joe Venuto. The two-trombone tracks are rather J&K-like -- both men are fluent soloists though not strikingly individual. Nichols, who came to some prominence at an early age with the Miller AAF band, was a lovely lyrical player -- kind of a cross between Bobby Hackett and Don Fagerquist; don't know what became of him after his S-F days. His feature on flugelhorn, "Over the Rainbow," is something else. The three duo tracks with  Nichols and Travis are quite adventurous and successfully so -- almost "free" playing, they  bring to mind some passages from the Stravinsky Octet. BTW, Finegan is on piano and is a tasty comper.

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On 1/27/2019 at 8:39 AM, JSngry said:

Why I'm piqued to see how much "serious" stuff there is, is because I bought a hat record a few years ago that had "classical" compositions by a.o., Stephen Wolpe, John Carisi, and this nice saxophone quartet by Eddie Sauter.

R-856835-1404941642-1568.jpeg.jpg

so...any S-F material you can bring to this table that is coming from this place, I want to hear it, please!

That's a beautiful piece! Thanks for posting that. You'd probably have to go to the stuff he wrote for Getz to find anything on that level...

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On 1/27/2019 at 3:50 PM, JSngry said:

Yeah, they were, but...The Sauter stuff from Goodman so often was pretty much not giving a damn about "jazz or not". It seems that he knew where it was, but he was quite comfortable leaving it alone if that was where the road went. I guess you could look at it as "dance band", but...not really. It was just a medium, this particular general instrumentation and rhythmic apparatus. And truthfully, I think I like Sauter best the less he thinks about "jazz". Finegan too, I like him best when he approaches things as "dance band/orchestra". He'll give you that beat, but is he really trying to make a "jazz statement", or is he instead seeing it all as a canvas/pallate to do HIS thing? Everybody's different, some people need a function to create the content, but these guys both seem like they don't need a function, they just needed a band. When they went ahead and rolled like that, that's when it seems it worked best (for me). But when they engaged with "functionality", eh, maybe not so much?

And somewhere, somehow...I'm thinking that Gil Evans not "being there" in the "marketplace"  for whatever reason for that space in the early-mid 1950s left a gap/vacuum in the "advanced writing" area of post-Big Band music. Funny, in retrospect, Gil got back out there how a lot of stuff kinda either stopped happening, lost relevance, or otherwise just went away, am I imagining that?

Meanwhile, here, look at these guys, 1947!

4843120275_3cc87fae99_b.jpg

Can anyone id these guys?  I think it's Ralph Burns on the bottom. 

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8 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

I have "The Sons of Sauter-Finegan" and just listened to it. Not very S-F like, it's a series of showcases (with some minimalistic Finegan charts) for several of the band soloists: trumpeters Bobby Nichols and Nick Travis, trombonists Sonny Russo and Tommy Mitchell, and Joe Venuto. The two-trombone tracks are rather J&K-like -- both men are fluent soloists though not strikingly individual. Nichols, who came to some prominence at an early age with the Miller AAF band, was a lovely lyrical player -- kind of a cross between Bobby Hackett and Don Fagerquist; don't know what became of him after his S-F days. His feature on flugelhorn, "Over the Rainbow," is something else. The three duo tracks with  Nichols and Travis are quite adventurous and successfully so -- almost "free" playing, they  bring to mind some passages from the Stravinsky Octet. BTW, Finegan is on piano and is a tasty comper.

Thank you!

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On 27.1.2019 at 10:55 PM, Teasing the Korean said:

Now Playing:  

New Directions in Music - RCA Victor LPM 1227.

Cover art:  Modern minimalist abstract.

Now drinking: Cabernet Sauvignon

This 1956 album may be a compilation of earlier singles, but I'm not sure.

Side 1:

Doodletown Fifers - No. Just no.

April in Paris - a ballad featuring wordless female vocals (Sally Sweetland?) and a few lines sung with lyrics.  This has some nice touches, but I wouldn't include it on my imaginary S-F compilation.

Midnight Sleighride - More Doodletown silliness.  I'm guessing they wanted to get in on some Leroy Anderson/David Rose action for a while.  Unfortunately, this doesn't come close to the best of either.

Rain - Nice, mid-tempo ensemble work including harp and marimba.  A space-age gem.

Camptown Races - This sounds like something that Glenn Miller may have done as a novelty number.  I was expecting this to be really awful, but I kind of like it.  Did they succeed here, or are the Doodletown pheromones starting to work on me?  I'm getting concerned.  

A Doodletown Yankee - See "Doodletown Fifers" notes above.

Side 2:

Azure-Te (Paris Blues) - A quiet ballad featuring alto flute. Nice colors with muted trumpets and harp accents.  

Stop! Sit Down! Relax! Think! - This sounds like another Glenn Miller novelty number, with the band singing in unison in parts.  

Moonlight on the Ganges - Full-on exotica with nice orchestral colors.  I have DJed this track during exotica sets.  Axel Stordahl referenced parts of this arrangement when he included it on his 1960 exotica masterpiece Jasmine and Jade (Dot), and I like Stordahl's version better.

When Hearts are Young - Subdued mid-tempo swing, with space-age touches, but it's missing the mark for me.

It's Mutual - A vocal number, a ballad.  I don't know this song.  Is it famous in jazz circles?  The singer is not identified. The backing is overall quiet, but it has some intricate, dissonant ensemble work that is very good.  This is the first S-F vocal number I've liked.

Exactly Like You - Medium up.  Another vocal, at least for one chorus. Teeters into corny territory in several spots.

Overall:  A letdown after Concert Jazz. I wouldn't recommend this album to Jsngry, or most others, for that matter, but when BMG hires me to do a Sauter-Finegan compilation, I will include a few of these tracks.  

 

Just getting into the details of this one now ...

This actually is a reissue of their first 10" album of 1953 (RCA LPM-3115) and also has a few tracks from "The Sound of Sauter-Finegan". The only new track seems to be "Exactly Like You", a "leftover" from one of the sessions that yielded the "Concert Jazz" album.

Some of the contents of this will crop up again on "Inside Sauter-Finegan Revisited" (RCA LPM/LSP 2473).

I am still trying to figure out your angle as I do not seem to be able to grasp it all yet. But that moment will come ... ;)

One remark anyway about your review of "Stop! Sit Down! Relax! Think!" My reaction to listening to this one right now (for the very first time for ages) was totally different. It certainly is no Glenn Miller novelty (unless you lump in any danceable white big band swing under "Glenn Miller"). Miller may have been there if he had been around after 1944 and active in the 50s, but do we know? And vocal novelties IMO start a bit farther down the line.
To me it is a surprisingly nice example of danceable swing of some more "progressive" (and actually fairly space-agey IMO) 50s style. I'd love to see a few couples of swing-loving dancers do a relaxed, easy going  jive or lindy hop to this one but am afraid not many would be hip enough, at least in those circles I am familiar with.

Just like "The Honey Jump" (from the "Sound of S-F" album that you unloaded) is an entertaining and danceable period piece even to those who are familiar with other versions of that time (and don't take their music not all that stylistically seriously), starting with Oscar McLollie's original for Modern or the cover version (by one totally unknown called Jody Webb & His Round Up Boys) for the hillbilly market on the Modern subsidiary Flair. I'd rate it as a sort of sauterfineganish equivalent of the Shorty Rogers gang (under the Boots Brown moniker) or the Lighthouse men (on "Big Boy" etc.) having a not quite that serious go at R&B.

Both something for hip enough space-agey bachelors to dig if they for once want to get out of their lounge chair and out on the dance floor to move a leg to something more sophisticated and less raucous than real R&B or the burgeoning rock'n'roll sounds of the day.  ;)

As you can see there is more than one way to approach some of this music even from the points of reference of the times.

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

As you can see there is more than one way to approach some of this music even from the points of reference of the times.

Of course.  I am writing with my own set of prejudices and expectations, just like anyone else.  

My problem so far with Sauter-Finegan is that I think some of their stuff is very good - I just can't find an entire album like that (although Inside and Concert come the closest so far).  I think my taste in S-F leans more closely to what Jsngry is seeking, even though we may be using slightly different terminology.

For a comparison, I think of someone like Les Baxter, who did IMO top-shelf stuff (exotica) and schmaltzy stuff, but he did not mix the two styles on the same album. Regardless of your preference, it is relatively easy (though at times pricey) to just get what you want and avoid what you don't want. 

Again, I am looking forward to hearing about S-F's Adventure in Time album, which seems promising. 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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On 1/27/2019 at 4:28 PM, Teasing the Korean said:

I should add here that whether I like or don't like this arrangement or that, EVERYTHING I've heard is very well executed.  These were top-shelf players and obviously very adept at playing in varying styles.  

't'was always so:

that's going to really, really suck (SUCK!) if it's less than perfectly (and sensitively) payed and interpreted.

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On 1/27/2019 at 8:39 AM, JSngry said:

Why I'm piqued to see how much "serious" stuff there is, is because I bought a hat record a few years ago that had "classical" compositions by a.o., Stephen Wolpe, John Carisi, and this nice saxophone quartet by Eddie Sauter.

R-856835-1404941642-1568.jpeg.jpg

so...any S-F material you can bring to this table that is coming from this place, I want to hear it, please!

Thanks for posting this - I missed this disc and went to Amazon - first notices were "not available" but around page 4 I found one available on Prime for $15.42. The lesson is keep digging.

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I got mine from either DG or BRO, don't remember which, probably BRO. They had a lot of hat "classical" stuff for almost free, so I just got all the titles they had. Some of it seemed kind of lax, some of it was quite good. None of it was a waste fo time to listen to at least once.

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On 29.1.2019 at 1:02 AM, Teasing the Korean said:

Great, please report back!  

I have apparently missed an album in the chronology, another that I don't have:

The Sons of Sauter-Finegan - RCA LPM 1104.

...

This may be only marginally a Sauter-Finegan album.  It is apparently members of the band blowing through head arrangements, thus making a potentially "jazzier" album than some of the others in the S-F catalog.

Does anyone have this and can you describe it? 

 

Received my copy of the AVID CD containing the Sons, Adventure in Time, Goodman/Miller (and their first 10") albums last night.

The Adventure in Time album is heavy stuff (for my listening habits), though, that I need to take (and take in) piecemeal. So please bear with me and be patient ... ;)

It's all about percussion, reminding me of the Persuasive Percussion and Provicative Percussion albums in places, but more ambitious still ... 

As for the Sons of S-F, a first listening-in confirms what Larry Kart said above, though I don't find it quite that "marginally S-F" only. It all depends which part of the recorded spectrum of S-F charts you approach this from.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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BB Steve, what is the quality of the sound of your Avid cd?

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I do not have a high-end audio setup but I am pleasantly surprised. Last Sunday I spun my original stereo copy of the "Inside Sauter-Finegan Revisited" LP which reissues part of the first S-F 10" LP and did not find the sound bad at all to start with (the stereo doesn't detract) and then, last night, listened to the same tracks (from that first 10") on the CD and found the sound nicely full and bright. They claim on the CD the tracks have been remastered and give a name (not one I am familiar with and I am not at home but in the office right now so cannot check) so my impression is they clearly did some work on these tracks.

(Disclaimer ;): This is just some subjective impression - this is the first Avid CD I ever bought, I am no extreme sound frequency analytics geek and do not spend hours and hours comparing this or that reissue, repressing or remastering of one and the same track for some finicky details but rely on my general listening impressions for what I personally want to get out of the music overall ^_^)

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Thanks Steve!  Every day I receive an email from oldies.com promoting various pd labels.

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5 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

The Adventure in Time album is heavy stuff (for my listening habits), though, that I need to take (and take in) piecemeal. So please bear with me and be patient ... ;)

It's all about percussion, reminding me of the Persuasive Percussion and Provicative Percussion albums in places, but more ambitious still ... 

Oh, that sounds promising.  Do you think it was mastered from vinyl?

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Honestly - search me. This is something that I can't tell. See my above disclaimer. ;)

How would YOU tell on a technical level? (Discounting shoddy bootlegs where you can hear the needle being dragged off the platter at the end of the tune but before the very last fade-out tone has faded out ... ;) - or musings on who may or could possibly have had access to source or master tapes at all)

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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4 minutes ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Honestly - search me. This is something that I can't tell. See my above disclaimer. ;)

How would YOU tell on a technical level? (Discounting shoddy bootlegs where you can hear the needle being dragged off the platter at the end of the tune but before the very last fade-out tone has faded out ... ;) - or musings on who may or could possibly have had access to source or master tapes at all)

Tell tale signs include a combination of minor clicks/pops during quiet passages and inner groove distortion.  If tracks 6 and 12 sound more distorted than the rest, there you have it.  

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2 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Tell tale signs include a combination of minor clicks/pops during quiet passages and inner groove distortion.  If tracks 6 and 12 sound more distorted than the rest, there you have it.  

You mean where we approach the center of the disc in the case of the original vinyl, then?

I will try to listen closer the next time I spin this.

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5 minutes ago, Big Beat Steve said:

You mean where we approach the center of the disc in the case of the original vinyl, then?

I will try to listen closer the next time I spin this.

Yes, that's it.  If the distortion is increasing toward the center, it's vinyl.  

Of course, if they were using pristine vinyl and very high end turntable, cartridge, and tone arm, you wouldn't hear this.  But someone with that kind of money probably wouldn't waste their time or resources re-issuing Sauter-Finegan records from the 1950s. ;)

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On ‎1‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 6:56 AM, JSngry said:

Started on this one this AM, Post-Space Age Married Man Commuter Car Music (progress?). It's on Jasmine, and for the first 20 minutes or so, it sounds like it's been noise-reductioned to the point of near uselessness. Seems to me that I have a Jasmine Hi-Lo's release that's also go the same issue. Is this common for Jasmine on material of this vintage? Are there other PD (or otherwise) releases of this material that have nice crisp sound? "Doodletown Pipers" does not seem to me the type of piece that was intended to have a bunch of high-end shaved off.

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8 minutes ago, JSngry said:

...it sounds like it's been noise-reductioned to the point of near uselessness. Seems to me that I have a Jasmine Hi-Lo's release that's also go the same issue. Is this common for Jasmine on material of this vintage? 

That approach is often used by the lower-end PD labels to mask the fact that they are using vinyl. 

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grrrrr.....

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51 minutes ago, JSngry said:

grrrrr.....

Forget it, J. It's Doodletown.

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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