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ghost of miles

Jazz recordings associated with Esquire Magazine

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Hey all, I'm working on a Night Lights show about Esquire Magazine's connection to the jazz scene in the 1940s and 50s.  I've got the following CDs on hand, but anything else I should seek out?

Esquire's All-American Hot Jazz Sessions

The First Esquire Jazz Concert (two versions, the Laserlight and the 2-CD Christly Records edition, which includes more material)

The Second Esquire Jazz Concert 

Woody Herman/Duke Ellington concert with Orson Welles as MC (from Woody Herman V-Disc Years 1944-46)

Leonard Feather-produced session for Continental Records (on The Continental Sessions V. 3)

Coleman Hawkins and Leonard Feather's Esquire All Stars Commodore session

 

Much appreciation in advance for any additional suggestions that you can offer.

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Posted (edited)

Ghost, this is probably of no value to you, but...

I have a CD from 1995 called

Esquire Jazz Collection
Masters of Modern Jazz
Toward the Light

I got it from the BMG Record Club in '99.  Its club catalogue number is D 105120.  It looks to me that its original catalogue number was CDP 7243 8 32993 2 4.

These are Blue Note recordings.

Herbie Hancock - Cantaloupe Island
Joe Henderson - Blue Bossa
Larry Young - The Moontrane
Dexter Gordon - Clear the Dex
Lee Morgan - The Sidewinder
Freddie Hubbard - Plexus
Art Blakey - Hammer Head
Stanley Turrentine - The Hustler
Jackie McLean - Blue Rondo

Edited by GA Russell

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Posted (edited)

I have 4 of "The Esquire Jazz Collection" including the above mentioned "Toward the Light".  The others I have are: "Breakthrough", "The Voices of Soul", and "Crosstown Traffic" and they contain cuts from Bluenote or other EMI owned product with an explanation of the parallels between Bluenote and Esquire.  (Basically they both started in the '30s.) Happy to send you a scan of the note if you like.  

I presume I got them for free.  Don't know why else I'd have them. 

Edited by medjuck

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Posted (edited)

I think what Ghost is alluding to is the period from the Esquire polls of the 40s up to the final Yearbook of 1947 and possibly the renewed jazz involvement surrounding the "Esquire's World of Jazz" book from 1962.

I wonder where the later "Esquire Jazz Collection" CDs would fit in there, except as a vehicle to market the name of the magazine.

I cannot give any concrete leads to more Esquire-related recordings as I am not familar with the CDs in the opening post but as there is no label and release no. information to check online I can only guess what is on them. I probably have most of that on various LPs but have no idea what overlaps or omissions there may be on these various reissues. Anyway ... all the essentials of what the typical 40s candidates associated with the Esquire magazine recorded seem to be there in that list.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I am indeed zeroing in on that 1943-46 period of recordings, since those were made at the behest of the magazine—just wanting to make sure that I’m not overlooking anything from that era, or any later recordings that were produced as a result of polls or such. Esquire published articles about jazz before and after the mid-1940s (most famously the “Great Day in Harlem” photograph and the issue in which it appeared, as well as the 1962 book to which Steve alludes), but the run of Esquire-sponsored recordings and concerts seems limited to the 1943-46 period (around the same time that they were publishing their jazz yearbooks). 

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That's my impression too. And when covering that period, don't forget to include a word on the Condonites/Ernie Anderson clique vs. modernists pollmembers confrontation surrounding the 1947 Yearbook too. Apprently quite a scandal then, but a mildly amusing variation on the moldy figs vs sour grapes quarrels today.

36035473ei.jpg

Browsing through that issue now, i cannot really find a fitting tune to illustrate that this issue acknowledged that there WERE notable modern recordings then, after all. Except the ones marked below in the excerpt from their page covering "Esquire's 1946 Hot Discography": in that issue: ;)

36035474vk.jpg

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Posted (edited)

ESQUIRE17062019.jpg

Here's and example from 1944.  Mainly reprints of earlier articles form the magazine  but concentrating on what they consider "hot" jazz.

Edited by medjuck
new thoughts

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Posted (edited)

33 minutes ago, medjuck said:

ESQUIRE17062019.jpg

Here's an example from 1944.  Mainly reprints of earlier articles form the magazine  but concentrating on what they consider "hot" jazz.

The very pocket size-ish Armed Services Edition.
Copies of this are the priciest ones on the market these days, it seems, but the main 1944 editions were the two below: Magazine-size and hardcover. As far as I can see only about 14 of the 90 pages included reprints of earlier Esquire coverage of jazz, the rest appears to be new for that edition.

36035691nb.jpg

The 1945 edition also came in magazine and hardcover versions but I am not sure that hardcover book versions existed of the 1946 and 1947 editions.

BTW, a hint "for those who thus desire";), a condensed edition with features from the 1944-45-46 editions was published in the UK in 1947:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Esquire-s-Jazz-Book-Peter-Davies-1st-1947-hardback-In-d-j/202426468683?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649.

 

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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2 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

The very pocket size-ish Armed Services Edition.
Copies of this are the priciest ones on the market these days, it seems, but the main 1944 editions were the two below: Magazine-size and hardcover. As far as I can see only about 14 of the 90 pages included reprints of earlier Esquire coverage of jazz, the rest appears to be new for that edition.

36035691nb.jpg

The 1945 edition also came in magazine and hardcover versions but I am not sure that hardcover book versions existed of the 1946 and 1947 editions.

BTW, a hint "for those who thus desire";), a condensed edition with features from the 1944-45-46 editions was published in the UK in 1947:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Esquire-s-Jazz-Book-Peter-Davies-1st-1947-hardback-In-d-j/202426468683?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649.

 

 

You're right.  Because it's literally deteriorating in my hands I only looked at a few pages.  BTW Where is there a market for this?  Maybe I can sell it before it completely disintegrates.  

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Posted (edited)

I bought mine (magazine versions) of the 1944 thru 1947 editions on eBay about +/-15-18 years ago whenever one came up at a very good price (relatively speaking). The Armed Services edition struck my fancy (for its convenient size and the historical context) but I found it was somewhat scarcer than the magazine or book editions (which vary in availability too). I checked eBay off and on again over time and found the usual price for the Armed Services edition to be $30 for copies in relatively good condition (including among the listings right now). A bit too much for me, given that I have the other two editions. They must sell eventually, though, as the ones listed don't remain up forever.

Actually there is a clean one at $5 on auction right now on eBay that might tempt me a lot but $25 for overseas shipping is pure ripoff for such a tiny book.

 

(P.S. re-my above post: Checking eBay I now see the 1946 yearbook also existed as a hardcover)

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I'm happy to send you mine if you don't mind waiting for cheap, and presumably slow, delivery.  Sounds like you'd appreciate it more than I do.   (I'll put it in an envelope and mail it.  Given its size I think I can get away with that-- though I'm not sure.)  DM me your snail mail address. 

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Posted (edited)

Don't forget Kenyon Hopkins' Sound Tour series, Impressions in Sound of an American on Tour. 

Five LPs were included in this joint venture between Verve and Esquire.  

I have France and Spain.  Others in the series include Italy and Hawaii.  The fifth album was a sampler with tracks from each. 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Fremeaux reissued a bunch of the Esquire 40s sessions on its 2-cd "Summit Meetings" set (dominated by the Metronome All Stars recordings). I don't have the old RCA cd "Esquire's All-American Hot Jazz Sessions," so I don't know if they all duplicate or not there. I do have the old RCA Vintage LP, and it did not have the 1943 recordings by "Coleman Hawkins with Leonard Feather's Esquire All Stars" that are included on the Fremeaux set. Feather appears to have organized most of the Esquire sessions in the mid-40s until the blow-up over the Condon business in 1947. Tad Hershorn offers a fairly concise summary of that in his (very good) biography of Norman Granz on pp. 101-102. .

 

 

gregmo

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6 hours ago, gmonahan said:

Fremeaux reissued a bunch of the Esquire 40s sessions on its 2-cd "Summit Meetings" set (dominated by the Metronome All Stars recordings). I don't have the old RCA cd "Esquire's All-American Hot Jazz Sessions," so I don't know if they all duplicate or not there. I do have the old RCA Vintage LP, and it did not have the 1943 recordings by "Coleman Hawkins with Leonard Feather's Esquire All Stars" that are included on the Fremeaux set.

That's probably because the Coleman Hawkins recordings were done for Commodore.

 

6 hours ago, gmonahan said:

 Feather appears to have organized most of the Esquire sessions in the mid-40s until the blow-up over the Condon business in 1947. Tad Hershorn offers a fairly concise summary of that in his (very good) biography of Norman Granz on pp. 101-102.

In that case Leonard Feather's "The Jazz Years" autobiography would also provide some backgrund information (p. 79 to 94), including a facsimile reprint of the entire letter that the Granz bio quotes from - and details of the recording sessions of the preceding years and their reception by the market, of course.

BTW, in all fairness it needs to be said IMHO that while the 1947 book is extremely lopsided in its coverage and totally (and apparently intentionally) misses the point of what it is supposed to present, OTOH what IS in there (mostly a presentation of the state of the Condonite et al. segment of the jazz world as of late 1946) is quite good anyway and worth reading as historical first-hand documents of the times..

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That's right, they were done for Commodore. In my cursory look, I thought it said "Columbia." Pays to look closer! I've never read Feather's autobiography. Is it worth a read?

 

 

gregmo

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1 hour ago, gmonahan said:

 I've never read Feather's autobiography. Is it worth a read?

 

I did like it and find it interesting. I know there are some (known) usual suspects here who will give it a roundabout blast and tear it to (virtual) shreds because it is by Feather, but my stance is that ANY autobiography needs to be taken with a grain of salt and should be read as ADDITIONAL info in a wider context of OTHER source documents on the same subject matter and weighed accordingly. And whatever Mr Feather may have said or done during his "active" years that came across as too much of "blowing one's own horn" in hindsight (and no doubt there was plenty of this), it must be said too that he DOES acknowledge a number of errors or misjudgments he commited back in the day and seemed to have come to regret later on. Including in the context of the Esquire history and the 40s mold fig vs sour grapes feuds. One example is that Feather did acknowledge that in the venom spit both ways at that time, Hugues Panassié (of all jazz scribes and critics ...) was one from the opposing camp who did give him an even-handed and factual rebuttal and put him in his place in a way that Feather seemed to have taken seriously. And this despite the fact that Panassié did not really relent at later occasions in blasting Feather whenever he put anything in print that went against Panassié's grain (often connected to what Panassié saw as belittling or withholding the tribute due the elder African-American jazzmen). In short, Panassié's disdain of Feather may have been way deeper than what Feather realized (or cared to comment on).
Of course, don't expect to find him confessing all his personal flaws and weaknesses there (I'd know offhand of at least two major and quite telling incidents that have been documented elsewhere but that would be off-topic) - but whose autobiography would include ALL of that anyway?
 

 

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22 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

I did like it and find it interesting. I know there are some (known) usual suspects here who will give it a roundabout blast and tear it to (virtual) shreds because it is by Feather, but my stance is that ANY autobiography needs to be taken with a grain of salt and should be read as ADDITIONAL info in a wider context of OTHER source documents on the same subject matter and weighed accordingly. And whatever Mr Feather may have said or done during his "active" years that came across as too much of "blowing one's own horn" in hindsight (and no doubt there was plenty of this), it must be said too that he DOES acknowledge a number of errors or misjudgments he commited back in the day and seemed to have come to regret later on. Including in the context of the Esquire history and the 40s mold fig vs sour grapes feuds. One example is that Feather did acknowledge that in the venom spit both ways at that time, Hugues Panassié (of all jazz scribes and critics ...) was one from the opposing camp who did give him an even-handed and factual rebuttal and put him in his place in a way that Feather seemed to have taken seriously. And this despite the fact that Panassié did not really relent at later occasions in blasting Feather whenever he put anything in print that went against Panassié's grain (often connected to what Panassié saw as belittling or withholding the tribute due the elder African-American jazzmen). In short, Panassié's disdain of Feather may have been way deeper than what Feather realized (or cared to comment on).
Of course, don't expect to find him confessing all his personal flaws and weaknesses there (I'd know offhand of at least two major and quite telling incidents that have been documented elsewhere but that would be off-topic) - but whose autobiography would include ALL of that anyway?
 

 

Thanks for the run-down on it. I'll have a look.

 

 

 

gregmo

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