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BFT 137 reveal


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Y'all made this one look a lot easier than it was. As I write this at midday on the last day of the month, every track has been partially or completely identified except for 7.

It's a privilege and a pleasure to have such a perceptive circle of online friends. You blow my mind sometimes, and it feels so good.

Unadorned text for now. I'll try editing later to add album covers.


TRACK ONE – "Cherokee," Joe Marsala Sextet, Jan. 12, 1945, for the Black and White label. Marsala, cl; Dizzy Gillespie, tp; Chuck Wayne, g; Cliff Jackson, p; Irv Lang, b; Buddy Christian, d. This transfer is from an old, cheap Pickwick reissue CD.

I started collecting jazz in the 1980s, and started with bebop. And I've always collected 78-rpm records, even when I was a kid. This performance became one of the first jazz 78s I owned, so it's here for sentimental and musical value. It's a strange amalgam of swing players and some who were looking further ahead. Over time, I've come to appreciate how remarkable it is that this session happened this way and that the music didn't somehow implode. This is five months before the Dizzy-and-Bird bebop declaration of independence at the Shaw Nuff-Salt Peanuts-Hot House session.


Sangrey's comment nails it: "bebop solos over chunkchunk "swing-to-bop" rhythm section, and nobody's bothered by it at all, it seems. Probably because everybody was still working it out and hadn't yet wholly settled on "do"s, still working on eliminating the "don't"s. Happy people when things are in that stage, sometimes."

Nice to see Chuck Wayne getting some propers in the comments – wonderful touch and invention in this solo – and he deserves them for having his bop pretty well together at an early stage.


TRACK TWO -- "New Morning," Johnny Coles, comp. Coles, from "New Morning" on Criss Cross. Dec. 19, 1982. Coles, flh; Horace Parlan, p; Reggie Johnson, b; Billy Hart, d.

Number one, I have no idea what kind of gong is being used here. I assume it's being struck by the leader.

Sometimes this track sounds just wonderful to me, sometimes it sounds "off." Can't explain that.

The drum solo proved very unpopular.


TRACK THREE -- "Blap," Jimmy Smith, comp. Smith, from "Portuguese Soul" on Verve. Feb. 8, 1973. Unidentified big band, arranged and conducted by Thad Jones.

Really, it's one of the better JOS albums, and it continues to fly under the critical radar. The ugly cover might have something to do with it. But Jimmy goes at this one with everything he's got, and listen to the band respond!

Let's talk about the unidentified band! That's no bunch of studio hacks. Also, note the subtle presence of a good pianist. And hear how they seem to be responding on the fly to prompting from Thad, just like the Thad-Mel band did. Could it be Thad-Mel band?

Then come the horn soloists, the "unemployment stick" as TK called it, and the tenor who struck several people immediately as being Billy Harper. Another pointer to the Thad-Mel band.

And just listen to that drumming.

I admit it, I've been obsessed with identifying the uncredited players on this one. Because it sure sounds like the Thad-Mel band.

I played this for several trusted friends, and all of them agreed, sounds like Thad-Mel. A few weeks later, one of those friends went to a Cookers gig and asked Billy Harper about this recording.

Billy's answer: This is the full Thad-Mel band. The soprano is Jerry Dodgion, Billy is the tenor. The other tenor, heard in solo on the other side of the record, is Ron Bridgewater.

Another friend, who knows Jerry Dodgion, has also promised to ask Jerry about this date.

Now give the album another listen in light of this.


TRACK FOUR -- "Careless Love," Boots and His Buddies. Oct. 28, 1938, their last session, for Bluebird. Clifford "Boots" Douglas, d; Lonnie Moore, Percy Bush, tp; George Corley, tb; Clifton Chatman, cl; Wee Wee Demry, as; Sam Player, Baker Millian, ts; A.J. Johnson, p; Jeff Thomas, g; Walter McHenry, b. That's the personnel as listed on the Classics reissue, but I think there's a second trombone in there.

"Street music" in the best sense, as Sangrey said. The charm and energy survive the recording process and the ravages of time. The banal arrangement and a couple of slight disagreements over where the groove lies don't matter. Boots' beat may have sounded quaint to some even by 1938. But then there's Baker Millian, the guy who consistently lifts this band above itself. Yeah, Boots!


TRACK FIVE -- "Killer Bunnies," Jack Walrath and Spirit Level. Comp. Walrath, from the album "Killer Bunnies" on Spotlite. May 1986. Walrath, tp; Paul Dunmall, ts; Tim Richards, p; Paul Anstey, b; Tony Orrell, d.

Yes, I'm a sucker for contrapuntal compositions. And I'm also a sucker for the way the whole band jumps into this one. A happy product of one of Walrath's trips overseas. The whole album is very fine.

If anyone's ever noticed that my handle on this board comes from another Jack Walrath album, they haven't mentioned it to me.


TRACK SIX -- "Tastalun," Wadada Leo Smith, from "Divine Love," ECM. September 1978. Smith, Lester Bowie, Kenny Wheeler, tp.

I'm glad these three got together in one room at the same time and did some telepathic improv. The last minute or so really gets to me.

Oh, and it reminds me of the time I had three cats, and how they were fascinated by the sound of Harmon-muted trumpets.

I'm thinking it's Wadada in the middle, Lester on the left, Kenny on the right, but Nick thought otherwise, and there's plenty of room for that. If anybody has hard info, please speak up.

Edited by Spontooneous
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TRACK SEVEN -- "Language of Love," Ben Allison and Man Size Safe, comp. Steve Cardenas, from "Little Things Run the World," Palmetto. August 2007. Allison, b; Ron Horton, tp; Steve Cardenas, g; Michael Sarin, d.

A haunting composition from Cardenas, and Ron Horton really gets into it. Cardenas is a Kansas City friend, in school at the same time I was. We used to pay him terrible pittances to play for our student poetry readings, and he would play his ass off anyway. I wish I had a recording of the way Allison and Cardenas played this tune together in KC a couple of months ago.


TRACK EIGHT -- "Kitty on Toast," Horace Henderson and His Orchestra. Okeh 78; this transfer is from the Classics CD. Chicago, Feb. 27, 1940. Henderson, p, arr; Emmett Berry, Harry "Pee Wee" Jackson, tp; Ray Nance, tp, vln; Edward Fant, Nat Atkins, tb; Dalbert Bright, cl, as; Willie Randall, as; Elmer Williams, Dave Young, ts; Hurley Ramey, g; Jesse Simpkins, b; Oliver Coleman, d.

My weakness for jazz violin is known. Ray Nance didn't stay hidden for long here – was the pizzicato lick a giveaway? This is from the Classics CD, but I first heard it on an Okeh 78 that gave Ray a solo credit on the label, which was unusual then.


TRACK NINE -- "Kids Are Pretty People," Billy Mitchell, from "A Little Juicy," Smash Records. Comp. Thad Jones. Thad, tp; Mitchell, ts; Richard Wyands, p; Kenny Burrell, g; Herman Wright, Oliver Jackson, d. August 1 or 6, 1963.

And so we hear from Thad again. This pre-dates the more famous big-band version. Maybe a couple of touches in the arrangement are too cutesy. The guitar spot got unusually much attention. I'm taken with the rapport demonstrated by Thad and Billy Mitchell over several sessions together, and I wish this album would re-appear on CD.


TRACK TEN -- "And Things Will Change," Carmell Jones with the Erich Kleinschuster Sextet, comp. Carmell Jones. Recorded January 1969 for the weekly "Jazz Mit Erich Kleinschuster" program on Austrian Radio (ORF); issued by Universal in "Joe Henderson/Carmell Jones/Clifford Jordan & The Erich Kleinschuster Sextett." With Kleinschuster, tb; Robert Politzer, tp, flh; Hans Salomon, ts, bcl; Fritz Pauer, p; Jimmy Woode, b; Erich Bachtragl, d.

In 1981, when I didn't know the first thing about jazz, I was a young obituary writer for the newspaper in Kansas City. One afternoon we heard that a local jazz musician had died, and I was tasked with finding another jazz musician to give us some quotes for the obit. A senior editor, the wonderful, wonderful James W. Scott, came to my rescue by handing me a slip of paper with Carmell's phone number. Jim explained that Carmell was famous in Europe but had just come home, and hardly anybody here knew who he was. I guess I didn't make a fool of myself on that phone call, because Carmell remembered me and was always very kind and forthcoming with me. And as I got older and slightly smarter, I made it my business to hear him on as many occasions as possible. So this track is here in memory of a friend.

I'm guessing the second brass solo here is Politzer.

This is on a double CD set that's well worth seeking out, not just for almost a full album's worth of Carmell originals you can't hear elsewhere, but also for performances by Joe Henderson and Clifford Jordan that aren't overshadowed by their other work.


TRACK ELEVEN -- "Yardbird Waltz," Jay McShann. Comp. McShann. From "McShann's Piano," Capitol.

McShann, p; Charlie Norris, g; Ralph Hamilton, Fender bass; Paul Gunther, d; Jesse Price, d. (Cover doesn’t say which drummer plays on which numbers.) Recorded August 1966.

Another Kansas City connection. McShann recorded very little in the 1960s, and this album on Capitol, produced by Dave Dexter, came and went pretty quickly. The drummers were Kansas Citians; I'm not familiar with the guitarist or bassist. Yes, what a peculiar guitar sound.

This is a nice example of the things McShann could do when he didn't have an audience that insisted on him playing nothing but blues.


TRACK TWELVE -- "Trinity," Jennifer Koh. Comp. Ornette Coleman. From her CD "Violin Fantasies" on the Cedille label.

In memory of Ornette. Here we have his language, couched in an unexpected sound.

I confess, I've misplaced the CD so I don't have access to the liner notes just now. Is this named after the river that runs through Fort Worth?

Thanks again and again to all who listened and responded.

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