Blue Note; New York, May 5, 1944: Benny Morton-tb/Edmond Hall-cl/Harry Carney-bar/Don Frye-p/Everett Barksdale-g/Alvin Raglin-b/Sidney Catlett-d.
A something in a summer‘s noon – A depth – an Azure – a perfume – Transcending ecstasy. — Emily Dickinson
From the poem: A Something In A Summer’s Day.
It’s not quite summer yet, but this song, this poem and the promising weather here in Seattle today seem to just fit together nicely.
Black & White; New York, July 1, 1944: Mezz Mezzrow-cl/Gene Schroeder-p/George Wettling-d.
Here’s Mezz Mezzrow, one of the co-authors of the above book, on clarinet. Like Pee Wee Russell, he also started off playing the sax. Somehow I get the feeling that Mezz was more of an “ideas” guy, or a scenester, rather than a sought-after session player or band leader. I’ll have to read more about him after I finish this book.
George Wettling’s signature drum rolls may sound easy, or rudimentary, but don’t let him fool you–those are hard to play and maintain for that length of time, especially with those consistant and solid rim shots thrown in.
Be sure to visit the link to read more about Mezz: Redhotjazz.com
Dial; Hollywood, March 28, 1946: Miles Davis-t/Charlie Parker-as/Lucky Thompson-ts/Dodo Marmarosa-p/Arvin Garrison-g/Vic McMillan-b/Roy Porter-d.
When acquaintances and family ask me what I’ve been up to lately, I invariably say, very casually, that I’ve been really getting into “vintage” jazz. And if they seem even slightly interested, I eagerly drop the blog address on them and enthusiastically ask, “do you like old jazz?”
Well, nine out of ten times I get, “sure, … I like Miles Davis.”
“The Album That Changed Jazz: In 1959, jazz legend Miles Davis released Kind of Blue, an album that charted a completely new direction for the genre. Drummer Jimmy Cobb talks about the historic recording sessions.”
If you enjoy Kind of Blue, which was released 13 years after today’s song, then be sure to take a moment and read the short January 7, 2015 article, with video, featured in the online edition of the BBC.
Musicraft; New York, May 15, 1946: Dizzy Gillespie-t-v/Sonny Stitt-as/Milton Jackson-vib/Al Haig-p/Ray Brown-b/Kenny Clarke-d/Walter Fuller-v.
Portrait of Dizzy Gillespie in the Famous Door of New York (N.Y.), in June 1946.
Dizzy Gillespie promo shot–seven years prior to the infamous horn-bending accident of 1953.
Dial; Los Angeles, June 10, 1947: Erroll Garner-p.
A self-composed number by Erroll Garner.
Recorded a couple of years outside of “Jazz Between The Wars,” but it’s good to step away from the thing that you are working on in order to gain a new and fresh perspective. Coming up, for comparison and contrast, the next couple of videos will again take us a few years beyond our normal period of jazz.
Speaking of perspectives …
“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.
I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.” ― George Carlin
Joke source. Comedian, George Denis Patrick Carlin; (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008).
Mercury; Los Angeles, July 14, 1946: Erroll Garner-p/Red Callender-b/Lou Singer-d.
Quickly composed in 1926 by Irving Berlin for the musical stage production, Betsy, by Rodgers and Hart. The next year, 1927, the song was published and rose to #1 with Ben Selvin’s rendition of the song. Notably, later that year, “Blue Skies” became the first recorded song to appear in a film “talkie.” Here is Erroll Garner’s 1946 interpretation.
Not a bad melody to have buzzing around in your head on the first day of a new year.
Erroll Garner promotional shot. Photo source.
Notice that in the photo there isn’t any sheet music placed in front of Garner. With Erroll, every take was a first take. He never learned to read or write music so each rendition of the song he was performing was done differently and “in the moment.” Unbelievable.
Decca; New York, July 25, 1942: Skeets Tolbert-cl-as-dir/Robert Hicks-t/Otis Hicks-ts/Herbert Goodwin-p-v/John Drummond-b/Larry Hinton-d/Chorus-v.
Swingin’ on the spiritual … “Skeets Tolbert” style.
Skeets Tolbert went on to obtain his degree and become a music teacher. The “Gentlemen” were together on Decca for three years, from 1939-1942, and during that time appeared in four “talkies” and produced 40 jazz sides. Be sure to look up Skeets Tolbert and the Gentlemen of Swing on Youtube to see the band in film action.
The screen shot below is a still from one of the “Gentlemen’s” 1944 film appearances. Skeets Tolbert singing and flirting with dancer.