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BFT 171 Reveal

Ken Dryden

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June 2018 BFT Reveal

Track 1: Old Devil Moon, written by Burton Lane & Yip Harburg
Alan Dawson: Waltzing With Flo (SpaceTime BG 9808)


From Alan Dawson’s only recording as a leader, released after his death. Although Dawson is better known as a drummer, he recorded sporadically on vibes. 

The musicians on this track include:
Alan Dawson: vibes
Bill Mobley: trumpet & flugelhorn
Billy Pierce: tenor & soprano saxophone
Andy McGhee: tenor saxophone
James Williams: piano
Ray Drummond: bass
Tony Reedus: drums

Track 2: Duo Improvisation No. 1, improvised by Cecil Taylor & Marian McPartland, from Taylor’s first appearance on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz in 1986. 
This show may be available on the Piano Jazz website for listening, though available shows can change without warning. I always enjoyed how McPartland played in a duo setting with a wide range of guests and she got more adventurous in free improv settings as her career progressed.


As you can hear, McPartland is able to keep up with Taylor in a free jazz setting.

I recorded hundreds of her Piano Jazz shows, in addition to other live non-commercial broadcasts, so I might feature one or two similar tracks in a future BFT.

Track 3: Village Blues, written by John Coltrane
From: Paul Gonsalves Boom-Jackie Boom-Chick, (Phono 870286), a rather rare LP recently reissued. 


Paul Gonsalves: tenor saxophone
Pat Smith: piano
Kenny Napper: bass
Ronnie Stephenson: drums

I was so used to hearing Paul Gonsalves with Duke Ellington’s band roaring in uptempo settings or sharing his distinctive approach to ballads that it was fun to hear him tackle something outside of his usual repertoire with this British rhythm section. This is a recent acquisition on the heavily panned Phono label, because the original LP is long out of print and typically sells for a small fortune.

Track 4: Densities, written by Gunther Schuller
From: Eric Dolphy: Vintage Dolphy  (GM 3005CD)


Eric Dolphy: clarinet
Gloria Agostini: harp
Warren Chiasson: vibraphone
Richard Davis: bass

Eric Dolphy was one of my first interests in jazz, though I’ve primarily focused on his recordings with bass clarinet, flute and alto saxophone. This example comes form a 1963 Carnegie Hall performance.

Track 5: If You Could See Me Now, written by Tadd Dameron
Art Farmer & Fritz Pauer: Azure (Soul Note SN 1126 CD)


Art Farmer: flugelhorn
Fritz Pauer: piano

A beautiful duo session featuring Art Farmer with his pianist of choice when playing in Europe. Farmer is one of the masterful ballad interpreters of the modern jazz era.

Track 6: Petite Fleuer, written by Sidney Bechet
Dave Liebman & John Stowell: Petite Fleuer (Origin 82753)


Dave Liebman: soprano saxophone
John Stowell: guitar

Dave Liebman always has multiple projects in various stages of development. This entire CD is devoted to music composed or performed by Sidney Bechet, the first master of the soprano saxophone. Liebman does
not try to copy Bechet’s hard vibrato, but his lyrical duet with Stowell on guitar is worth the price of the CD.
There are also solo versions of this song by Stowell and Liebman (on piano). This is a 2018 release and many of you may have not yet heard it.

Track 7: The Surrey With The Fringe On Top, written by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
Mary Lou Williams Trio: Free Spirits (SteepleChase SCCD 31043)


Mary Lou Williams: piano
Buster Williams: bass
Mickey Roker: drums

Mary Lou Williams was renowned for her ability to play almost any style around during her lifetime, though she is usually identified with bop and swing. She romps through this standard with her left hand likely making this an easy identification. 

Track 8: Samba do Avião, written by Antonio Carlos Jobim
Phil Woods & irio De Paula: Encontro (on Jobim) - The Clarinet Album  (Philology W301.2)


Phil Woods: clarinet
Irio De Paula: acoustic guitar

Phil Woods’ extensive recordings for Paolo Piangiarelli, the owner of the small label Philology, are remarkable in many ways. Piangiarelli parred Woods with numerous talented musicians that the jazz master might not have met on his own, while Woods had the freedom to choose instrumentation and songs. This session is unique as Woods sticks to clarinet throughout the date, even though he had brought his alto  saxophone. He is quoted: “Irio is a master musician and Jobim’s music flowed like sweet spring water.”
Track 9: The Fruit, written by Bud Powell 
Jim McNeely Tentet: Group Therapy (OmniTone 15101)


solo order:
Billy Drewes: soprano saxophone
Scott Wendholt: trumpet
Ed Neumeister: trombone
Dick Oatts: alto saxophone
Tony Kadleck: trumpet
Scott Robinson: baritone saxophone (first solo)
Tom Varner: French horn
Jim McNeely: piano
Cameron Brown: bass
Scott Robinson: baritone saxophone (second solo)
John Hollenbeck: drums

One of the highlights of attending the IAJE Conference in New York City in January 2001 was a pre-release performance of the Jim McNelly Tentet’s Group Therapy, with the band playing all but one selection. McNelly’s inventive treatment of Bud Powell’s “The Fruit” was one of many outstanding arrangements. There’s also a great scoring of “Village Blues” on this out of print CD.
Track 10: Bond Street, written by Fats Waller
Dick Hyman: Cincinnati Fats  (Musical Heritage Society MHS 512089T)


(The cover is from an earlier LP, I managed to lose my CD booklet some time ago.)

Dick Hyman: Emery Theatre WurliTzer (with attached grand piano)

Dick Hyman was honored last year at the age of 90 as an NEA Jazz Master. Known for his wide range as a stylist, Hyman has recorded extensively on both pipe and electric organ, in addition to his numerous piano recordings. This CD has long been a favorite and it is a bit brisker than the composer’s sole known recording (a second version of Waller’s “London Suite” is presumed lost and was never issued. “Bond Street” is supposed to represent Waller’s impression of a day in the life of a London hooker.

Track 11: Springtime For Hitler, written by Mel Brooks
Toshiko Akiyoshi Trio: Four Seasons  (Ninety-One CRCJ-91002)


Toshiko Akiyoshi: piano
George Mraz: bass
Lewis Nash: drums

When Toshiko Akiyoshi was working on her CD Four Seasons, she obviously wasn’t thinking of Vivaldi. Instead she selected songs with various seasons in their names or titles which are readily affiliated with specific times of the year. Lew Tabackin told me that he suggested “Spring Time For Hitler” (from Mel Brooks’ hilarious film, Broadway musical and second film ‘The Producers’) and that she was unfamiliar with it but gave it a go. This farcical song becomes even funnier played in an uptempo bop setting.
Track 12: Step Tempest, by Herbie Nichols
Philip Johnston’s Big Trouble: Philip Johnston’s Big Trouble (Soul Note 120152-2)


I first became aware of Herbie Nichols’ music when I bought the Mosaic boxed set of his Blue Note recordings and wasn’t disappointed. I’m not sure whether I first heard Philip Johnston on his own or as a part of The Microscopic Septet. Johnston proves to be a savvy arranger of this Nichols’ gem.

David Hofstra: Bass, Bass [Fender], Tuba
Drums, Percussion, Marimba, Glockenspiel – Kevin Norton
Keyboards, Sampler – Joe Ruddick
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Phillip Johnston
Soprano Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Bob Debellis
Trombone – Jim Leff
Track 13: Just Friends, written by John Klenner & Sam M. Lewis
Terry Gibbs, Victor Feldman (as Vic) & Larry Bunker: A Jazz Band Ball - Second Set (V.S.O.P. #40)


Terry Gibbs has the melody line on vibraphone in the opening chorus.
Vic Feldman: vibraphone (first solo)
Terry Gibbs: marimba (second solo)
Larry Bunker: vibraphone (third solo)
Lou Levy: piano
Max Bennett: bass
Mel Lewis: drums

A fun date that has been issued under several different titles on various labels.
Track 14: Georgia On My Mind, written by Hoagy Carmichael
Ben Webster: At The Renaissance (OJC OJCCD-390-2)


Ben Webster: tenor saxophone
Jimmy Rowles: piano
Red Mitchell: bass
Frank Butler: drums
This live recording from 1960 by Ben Webster first appeared in 1985. Webster’s big tone on tenor sax is unmistakable, while the West Coast rhythm section backs him well. Jim Hall also plays on this recording but is not present on this track.
Track 15: Seven Come Eleven, written by Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian
Jim Hall Trio: The Complete “Jazz Guitar” (Gambit 69259)
Jim Hall: electric guitar
Carl Perkins: piano
Red Mitchell: bass


Producer Dick Bock was notorious for messing around excessively with records. Jim Hall’s debut as a leader deserved a better fate. Bock edited many of the solos by Red Mitchell and Carl Perkins, then when a Pacific CD reissue was in production, it was discovered that a number of the original unedited tracks had been lost, along with one entire song. Fortunately, this out of print gray market (or bootleg) CD restores the original recordings in full.

Track 16:  The Peacocks, written by Jimmy Rowles
Pierre Michelot: Basses And Bosses (EmArcy 842 531-2)


Pieree Michelot: bass, arranger
Toots Thielemans: harmonica
Pierre Blanchard: violin
Maurice Vander: piano
Billy Higgins: drums

This was one of many CDs that seemed to stay in print only briefly. Pierre Michelot was one of the great European bassists and this was a relatively rare opportunity for him to lead his own record date. Toots Thielemans is easily recognizable as is the Jimmy Rowles composition, but everyone else, maybe not as much.

Edited by Ken Dryden
Fixed spacing issue
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Thanks for a very good BFT.

Bud Powell's "The Fruit" is written into my brain, but as with so many tunes nowadays, I couldn't put a name to it.

I will be catching up with the Dawson, Gonsalves, Farmer and Jazz Band Ball via Spotify.

I already know the Hall and Webster from the same source.

Thanks again.

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This is a great Blindfold Test.

1. I did not know that Dawson played vibes! Surprising, and very interesting, especially how well he plays them. I saw Dawson live in Boston around 1980, in a small group which opened for Big Joe Turner. Needless to say he played no vibes that evening.

2. This is a ahock now that it is finally revealed. I was thinking hard about who was it playing in a Cecil Taylor style. It never occurred to me that it was Cecil himself! He was much more powerful and played more densely when I saw him live. Maybe he was trying to meet McPartand halfway. This strikes me as a much more successful collaboration than the album with Cecil Taylor and Mary Lou Williams. I saw McPartland live many times and she never hinted at this kind of playing. You fooled me completely, in a good way.

3. As I stated in my discussion of this track, I love it and had never heard of this album. I have already ordered the album on CD.

4. I thought I had heard most or all of what Dolphy recorded but I did not identify this one. Now that I know that it is Dolphy, with Richard Davis too, I am fascinated by this track.

6. I did not identify Dave Liebman or the composition. I should have been able to. I have not heard this yet and will now check it out.

8. I was not aware of this Phil Woods recording of Jobim. I like this track and will now listen to the entire album.

9. Jim McNeely! I liked this track a lot as I was listening. I have another large ensemble album by him but I think I like this better. I am going to have to listen to this entire album for sure. I think I will order it on CD.

10. I am not familiar with much of Dick Hyman. You really threw me a curve. I thought it might be a much later recording with a rock star layering keyboards and trying to sound jazzy. I was not aware of this kind of work by Hyman.



11. I really like Toshiko’s small group recordings. I have this one but did not identify her. 

12. So this is the Phillip Johnston album that this great track comes from! I have this album on CD but have not played it in quite a while. I will have to remedy that later today.

14. Wow. This really fooled me. This is one of those classic Blindfold Test situations where the listener is not favorably impressed with some of his or her favorite musicians. I really did not like the backing trio when I heard this, and wondered if they were semi-skilled local musicians, perhaps from a small nation without much jazz tradition, where Ben had gone for a much needed gig late in his life. Instead, this is from much earlier, and with three master musicians who I have liked a lot in their other recordings! I don’t want to be ashamed of my honest reaction, but I am very surprised.

16. Toots is unmistakable to me so I recognized him right off. I was not aware of this album. Since I like to find good albums that Toots plays on, I am going to listen to this entire album.

This is one of the best Blindfold Tests for me in a while! Thanks so much for putting it together and sharing it with us.

Edited by Hot Ptah
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Wow!  Some definite surprises.  Never would have gotten Alan Dawson, but feel pretty good about my assessment of James Williams.  A lot of people saw him in a lower tier, but I've always felt he was under-respected within the genre. 

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Thanks for the kind words from all of you. It was fun putting the BFT together and it's nice to hear that you consider a few of these CDs worth buying.

I was able to see Marian McPartland in a number of different cities over the years and emceed her solo concert here in 1990. She was always a fun interview and able to communicate with her audience. One of her most memorable sets was at the first IAJE in Toronto (2003),  featuring her with bassist Don Thompson and drummer Barry Elmes. It is mentioned in this article I wrote for All About Jazz:



Edited by Ken Dryden
Fixed an issue
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19 minutes ago, Ken Dryden said:

They don't seem too interested in keeping her music in print now. Of course, i know that Sackville ended up in Denmark's hands following John Norris' death.

I bet it is a great performance, wish I could hear it.

That would be "Delmark's hands".

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