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Jazz fans and collectors love discographies. A good jazz discography tells all of the important information about a recording session: the songs, personnel, recording dates and location, and the CDs and/or Lps on which the music has been released. There have been many comprehensive jazz discographies ever since Charles Delauney came out with his Hot Discography in 1936. However, despite the importance of the numerous groundbreaking works, none can touch Tom Lord’s The Jazz Discography.

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Originally a 34-volume series available in books, Tom Lord’s The Jazz Discography is now available online (for a monthly fee of $9.99) and is updated on a daily basis. It traces every known jazz record session from 1917 up to the present plus earlier sessions (going back to the late 1890s) that are of interest to jazz collectors. While the main index lists the bandleaders in chronological order, one can use the massive work in a variety of ways. If you want to find out every session on which bassist Milt Hinton or Oscar Peterson was on (including as sidemen) in chronological order, or find every jazz version of “Stardust,” it only takes seconds to get the list. There is information on nearly 200,000 sessions and over a million musicians and songs yet the data is sorted in seconds for whatever question one has. It is also possible to catalog one’s own record collection on the discography to make it easier to see what is left to acquire.

More information on signing up for the TJD Tom Lord Discography) Online can be found . I have found this remarkable work to be indispensable and use it on a daily basis.


The Dale Fielder Quartet, comprised of the leader on baritone, alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, pianist Jane Getz, bassist Bill Markus and drummer Thomas White, has been together for over two decades. They currently perform once a month at the beautiful and historic Hotel Normandie in downtown L.A. Recently they celebrated the debut release of Fielder’s earliest album as a leader, Scene From A Dream, which is mostly comprised of a timeless 1983 session featuring the late great pianist Geri Allen.

Fielder began the night with some passionate soprano playing on “Sensuous Universe,” one of his many originals performed by the group. The quartet stretched out on “Consensus,” an original in 5/4 that featured the leader on his powerful baritone and Getz who contributed some classic bop piano. Fielder and the bowed bass of Markus brought in “Periphery” which had some fiery baritone along with piano playing by Getz that hinted at McCoy Tyner. Paul Cohen, who co-produced Scene From A Dream, did a fine job sitting in on drums during “A Good Friend Of Mine” and “Fugue 1978,” numbers that had Fielder displaying perfect control on alto along with the influences of Charlie Parker and Jackie McLean. The always appealing singer Rita Edmond performed winning versions of Paul Desmond’s “Embarcadero” (with Fielder’s lyrics) and “I Thought About You.” The second set found the quartet performing “Dimensions” (an original utilizing the chords of “Star Eyes”), “Profane” and the jazz waltz “Light Blue” before Ms. Edmond closed the night with a few more songs including “Almost Like Being In Love’ (which had some warm tenor from the leader), “Moon River” and “Route 66.” With Thomas White driving the band, Bill Markus taking occasional solos, Jane Getz in particularly inventive form, and Dale Fielder sounding very much at home on each of his four horns, it made for a very musical evening. Be sure to check out the Dale Fielder Quartet at this attractive venue.


Vibrato recently hosted the 2018 ASCAP Jazz Awards. Five different artists were honored and one song apiece was performed before a packed house with the emphasis on avant-garde jazz. Trombonist Mariel “Spencer” Austin received the Foundation Phoebe Jacobs Award, playing a complicated and partly written-out work with her sextet. Matthew Shipp introduced pianist Gerald Clayton who was given the Vanguard Award and performed a thoughtful improvisation. Shelea sang “Make Me A Rainbow” with the accompaniment of a tape (why no live band?) and a tenor-saxophonist, paying tribute to Marilyn Bergman who received ASCAP’s President’s Award. Baritone saxophonist Benjamin Barson, who won the Johnny Mandel Prize, performed an odd piece in 7/4 time that featured his wife on an operatic vocal, a rapper, and trumpeter Winston Byrd who gamely belted out some expressive high notes. The great Roscoe Mitchell, founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and an avant-garde giant for a half-century, was presented with the Founders Award. With pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Junius Paul and drummer Vincent Davis providing a stimulating backdrop, Mitchell took a 15-minute solo on soprano that utilized circular breathing. While starting peacefully, the music became quite intense and stayed at a very passionate level. It was great that ASCAP chose to honor adventurous musicians.


James Morrison, who was born and raised in Australia, has been a brilliant musician for decades. Equally skilled on trumpet and trombone (he can also play all of the saxophones, piano, bass, tuba and drums quite credibly) and well versed in all eras of jazz from trad to hard bop and beyond, Morrison is also a witty announcer who clearly loves playing swinging jazz.

At Catalina’s he headed a 17-piece big band that included his talented sons Will and Harry on guitar and bass. After the orchestra played a version of “Caravan” that ran through several styles, Morrison came on stage and led the band through a dixielandish chorus of “All Of Me” before the music became boppish. Whether playing trombone on “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” (which featured some very high notes), trumpet on the level of Arturo Sandoval, jamming a medium-tempo blues with a quartet on piano (sounding a bit like Oscar Peterson) or performing originals, Morrison put on a spectacular show. Also excellent was singer Becky Martin who performed “What A Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Sway” (which featured Rusty Higgins leading the sax section on soprano) and “Dream,” displaying a strong voice, swinging phrasing and the ability not to get overwhelmed by the high-powered band. Catalina’s was packed on a Monday night and the performance was quite memorable. James Morrison is a musical marvel who, while popular on the jazz party circuit, deserves to be much better known by the jazz public


The great bop-oriented guitarist Bruce Forman has often performed his continually evolving one-man show “The Red Guitar.” At the Main in Newhall, Forman told stories about his guitar, the jazz life and such inspirations as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Django Reinhardt and Ray Brown while accompanying himself on guitar. Highlights included “Imagination,” “Now’s The Time” (playing Bird’s solo), a Wes Montgomery blues, “Nuages” (which he chorded using just two fingers in his left hand like Django, and then one), “I’m An Old Cowhand,” and his vocal on the satirical “Mr. Sound Man” (based on “Mr. Sandman”). Forman put on a relaxed yet fast-paced hour. After intermission, he continued the music with such songs as “Eddie’s Twister” (by Eddie Lang), “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” and “You And The Night And The Music.” As with Joe Pass, Forman is a colorful orchestra by himself and there was never a time when one missed the bass and drums. Bruce Forman’s fascinating The Red Guitar should be caught by every jazz fan.


The harp has never been a common jazz instrument and one can only name a handful of great jazz harpists from the past 80 years. One of the very best around today is Lori Andrews, who always puts on an entertaining and witty show.

At the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, she performed with her husband Bart Samolis on fretless electric bass, drummer Kurt Walther and Mark Hollingsworth on tenor, flute and clarinet. Most of the first half of the program was devoted to classical themes with the harpist playing melodies by Debussy (“The Girl With The Flaxen Hair”), Faure, Bizet and other composers. The performances, while quite respectful, were far from dry as Ms. Andrews told humorous stories, Hollingsworth made two appearances on flute, and Samolis performed some Spanish guitar. The set closed with “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby,’ leading to the jazz-oriented second half. On such songs as a blues waltz reminiscent of “All Blues," a swinging "Alice In Wonderland,” “Senor Blues,” “Scarborough Fair,” “Spain,” and “Mercy Mercy Mercy,” Lori Andrews showed that there was no reason why she could not play as inventively as her sidemen. She created dazzling solos that were both melodic and unpredictable, showing that she has few peers when it comes to playing jazz harp.


Stan Kenton’s Concerts In Miniature was one of the most musical radio series in jazz history. There were some previews in April 1952 and then the series ran on a weekly basis from June 3, 1952 until Nov. 3, 1953. The half-hour programs broadcast on NBC were mostly unscripted. While there was an announcer to help out, Kenton was really the host. His friendly, informative and witty talking, which was quite spontaneous, helped make the show a popular attraction. Kenton treated his musicians with respect and good humor, sometimes allowing them to talk briefly on the shows.

It was an intriguing time for Kenton, with a musical tug of war taking place. The advanced and sometimes classical-oriented arrangements of Bill Russo fought for dominance with Bill Holman’s more swinging charts. While Kenton personally leaned towards the former, Holman’s arrangements were favored by his musicians and the 1952-53 Kenton band became one of his most swinging outfits.

While many of the broadcasts (recorded live wherever the orchestra was appearing) had been previously available in piecemeal fashion, Sounds Of Yester Year has become the first label to ever work on releasing all of the music complete and in order. The series, which will probably end up with 25 volumes, usually features three shows on a CD. Recently Concerts In Miniature Parts 20-22 have been released. During this period Kenton’s orchestra included such notables as trumpeter Conte Candoli, trombonist Frank Rosolino, altoist Lee Konitz (who is in consistently superb form), Zoot Sims and Bill Holman on tenors, guitarist Sal Salvador and drummer Stan Levey along with many fine section players. While the earlier volumes includes some of Kenton’s more forbidding pieces, by Part 20 (which begins with the June 30, 1953 broadcast), the band was swinging as hard as it ever did.

Rather than give a play-by-play of the music, suffice it to say that anyone interested in Stan Kenton and rousing big band music in general will want all of these well-recorded volumes which are available from . They add a great deal to Kenton’s musical legacy and make for a very enjoyable listen.

Every jazz musician needs a well-written press biography, and every CD deserves informative liner notes, and important events benefit from press releases.

I write all of these and more at reasonable rates. Contact me 661-724-0622 or
for further information about my services.

February 2018

text ventage jazz and blues

This month this column is focusing on three valuable CD reissue programs, all by British labels. While American record companies with just a few exceptions (such as Mosaic and Rivermont) largely neglect reissues, vintage jazz and blues are treated with the respect and reverence that they deserve by many overseas companies.

image of text JAZZ GEMS FROM AVID

During the past decade, the Avid label ( ) has had an extensive jazz reissue series that focuses mostly on the 1950s and early ‘60s. Their series of two-CD sets reissue the contents of three to five former Lps, usually led by a single musician and often including the original liner notes. Sold at reasonable prices, the twofers give listeners an opportunity to quickly acquire a large batch of music from a favorite artist at one time. To give an example, upcoming releases (usually there are around 5 a month) include sets on Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Red Garland and Don Ellis. In this article I am covering three recent reissues featuring top saxophonists.

Photo of cd Sidney Bechet’s Five Classic Albums

Sidney Bechet’s Five Classic Albums Plus 3 – Second Set is filled with some of the great soprano-saxophonist’s most exciting recordings of the 1950s. Bechet (1897-1959) emerged as the first major jazz horn soloist on record in 1923, a few months before Louis Armstrong. A virtuoso on both soprano-sax and clarinet, Bechet had a powerful tone that featured a wide vibrato, very impressive technique, and a love for dominating ensembles. While he mostly stuck to New Orleans jazz throughout his career, he rarely played the predictable and was capable of stretching to sophisticated swing standards.

After becoming a major hit in France in 1949 during a jazz festival, Bechet moved to Paris. While fairly obscure in the United States during the decade before his death in 1959, in France he was so famous that he was considered not only a matinee idol but a national hero. The Avid twofer features Bechet jamming many hot numbers with French bands led by clarinetists Claude Luter and Andre Reweliotty. Along with some standards are such Bechet originals as “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere” (which was heard throughout Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris film), the exciting “Dans les Rues d’Antibes,” “Ghost Of The Blues.” and his hit “Petite Fleur.” In addition to including five former studio Lps from 1952-54, there are three Eps of material that Bechet wrote and performed in three French films in 1955.

While Bechet was an American who moved to Europe, tenor-saxophonist and flutist Bobby Jaspar (1926-63) was born and raised in Belgium before spending an important part of his career playing in the U.S. Married to Blossom Dearie, Jaspar moved to New York in 1956 and his cool tone was heard with a variety of top hard bop musicians before his premature death. Three Classic Albums Plus reissues sets recorded for Barclay (Bobby Jaspar All-Stars), Riverside (Tenor & Flute) and Prestige (Interplay for 2 Trumpets & Tenors) during 1955-57. The All-Stars set is with fellow Europeans, Tenor & Flute teams Jaspar with trumpeter Idrees Sulieman and pianist George Wallington in a quintet, and the Interplay set finds Jaspar holding his own in an octet alongside John Coltrane including on the original version of Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes.” Also included on this reissue are a four-song E.P. from 1957 with guitarist Sacha Distel, and the two songs from Chet Baker’s 1955 album I Get Chet that showcase Jaspar.

Everybody loved James Moody (1925-2010), a brilliant and humorous tenor-saxophonist and flutist who was a major part of the jazz scene for over 60 years. Four Classic Albums features him at the head of his regular septet during 1955-57 on albums made for Prestige (Wail, Moody, Wail and Hi-Fi Party) and Argo (Flute ‘N The Blues and Moody’s Mood For Love). Eddie Jefferson takes five vocals along the way (including on “Birdland Story,” ”Parker’s Mood” and “Moody’s Mood For Love”), Dave Burns or Johnny Coles are featured on trumpet, and highlights include the 14-miinute “Wail, Moody, Wail,” “There Will Never Be Another You,” “Foolin’ The Blues” and “Stardust.” The Argo albums were particularly rare before this typically excellent Avid reissue.


The Acrobat label (available from ) has been doing a superb job of reissuing essential blues performances from the 1950s. Their series “The Complete Singles As & Bs” lives up to its name, compiling all of the 45s of major blues artists during a specific period of time. Their Howlin’ Wolf set was previously reviewed in an earlier issue.

Muddy Waters, as a singer and a guitarist, modernized and electrified the blues. The Complete Aristocrat & Chess Singles 1946-62 is a four-CD set that is quite definitive of Muddy Waters’ career. The original versions of “I Won’t Be Satisfied,” “Rollin’ & Tumblin,’” “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Manish Boy,” “Got My Mojo Working,” “Tiger In Your Dark” and “I Just Want To Make Love To You” are best known, but nearly all of the 98 selections are memorable in their own way. Strangely enough, Waters was discouraged from recording with a full band until 1952 so the earliest recordings often feature him with a duet or a trio. But from 1952 on his sextet with Little Walter or Junior Wells on harmonica, Jimmy Rogers, Hubert Sumlin or Pat Hare on guitar, and pianist Otis Spann virtually defined the Chicago blues sound of the 1950s and beyond.

Little Walter was one of the top graduates of the Muddy Waters school of blues although he continued recording with Waters after he began his own solo career. His Complete Checker Singles 1952-60 has 51 performances on its two CDs. Little Walter, who had a big hit with his first solo recording “Juke” (the only harmonica instrumental ever to become #1 on the R&B charts), often utilized Waters’ other sidemen on his records along with such notables as guitarist Robert Lockwood Jr. and bassist Willie Dixon. He is considered the premiere blues harmonica player of the 1950s and, some would say, all time. This twofer shows why.

In a word association test, the name of Elmore James would always be followed by “Dust My Broom,” his signature piece. James, who is showcased throughout the 54 selections on his two-CD set The Complete Singles 1951-62, never duplicated the commercial success of that spontaneous performance but he recorded quite a bit of influential music that was later cited as an inspiration by many rock guitarists. James’ distinctive slide guitar sound (he was an electrical engineer who knew how to distort his tone) make these spirited recordings (which include the intriguing title “Elmore’s Contribution To Jazz”) both a bit futuristic and primitive.

Still the most famous name in blues history, B.B. King is documented in a five-CD 123-selection set by Acrobat, The Complete Singles 1949-62. The recordings, originally made for the Bullet, RPM and Kent labels, trace King’s evolution from the start of his career up until the time when he was getting ready to sign with ABC-Paramount. Included are his first hit “3 O’Clock Blues,” “Everyday I Have The Blues,” “Dark Is The Night,” “Early In The Morning,” “Sweet Sixteen” and even “Sixteen Tons” along with many lesser-known but generally rewarding performances. B. B. King’s success would continue to grow over time, reaching a phenomenal level analogous to that of Louis Armstrong in jazz. This valuable and well-conceived reissue shows how he sounded at the beginning.


The British Trad Jazz movement of 1945-63 ran parallel to the American Dixieland Revival movement. The George Webb Dixielanders (who can be thought of as the British equivalent of Lu Watters’ Yerba Buena Jazz Band) helped lead the revival in its early days and was followed by Humphrey Lyttelton and Ken Colyer. Trad reached the height of its popularity with such groups as those led by Chris Barber (who is still active), Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk. Those bands had hits that were on the pop charts before the rise of the Beatles and other rock groups pushed the music back underground. The Lake label ( ) has done an admirable job of reissuing a great deal of music from that era, not only covering the prime years but the many excellent British classic jazz bands that have been active in the years since.

One of the many projects undertaken by the Lake label has been a series called British Traditional Jazz At A Tangent. It has now reached eight volumes with each CD including music that fits a specific topic. When listening to the 175 selections, it is apparent that there were quite a few very talented trad bands active in Great Britain during the era beyond the major names.

Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (both subtitled “Breaking The Mould”) are the most unusual CDs in the series for they feature trad groups playing mainstream swing, blues and other styles of music that stretch beyond trad. Vol. 1 has rare performances by the Christie Brothers Stompers, Keith Christie, Kenny Baker, the excellent soprano-saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith (who by the 1970s was playing fusion), a hot group led by pianist Pat Hawes, Dave Carey, Bertie King and Tony Coe. Vol. 2 has Django Reinhardt-type music by Diz Disley’s String Quintet and Bob Clark, bluesy jazz from Ken Colyer with Little Brother Montgomery (three charming performances) and Bruce Turner with Big Bill Broonzy, skiffle by The Barnstormers Spasm Band, blues-oriented material from Alexis Korner, Sandy Brown and novelties by Chris Barber and the Temperance Seven..

The other six CDs are much more trad-oriented. Vol. 3 (Out Of The Limelight), which has nine performances released for the first time, focuses on excellent groups that never got much publicity: The Graham Stewart Seven, Bobby Mickleburgh’s Bobcats, Mike Peters, the Famous Southern Stompers, Eric Silk’s Southern Jazz Band and Duc Clews.

Vol. 4 (The Territory Bands) has bands that played in Great Britain but rarely in London: Ken Ingram’s Eagle Jazz Band, the Gateway Jazz Band, Bill Croft, Archie Semple, Mick Gill, the Zenith 6, the Back O’Town Syncopators and the Avon Cities Jazz Band.

Vol. 5 (Second Line) puts the spotlight on some of the trad bands that were fortunate enough to sign with major labels: Mike Cotton, Alan Elsdon, Beryl Bryden, Gerry Brown, Forrie Cairns, Jim McHarg, and the Avon Cities Jazz Band.

Vol. 6 (The Classic Style Bands) features Mike Daniels, Steve Lane, Colin Kingwell, the Dolphin Jazz Band, Ian Bell, the Original Down Town Syncopators, and the Temperance Seven.

Vol. 7 (The Chicago Dixieland Style Bands) has Carlo Krahmer’s Chicagoans, Archie Semple, Mark White, Bobby Mickleburgh, Joe Daniels and Laurie Gold while Vol. 8 (the New Orleans Style Bands) features the Crane River Jazz Band, the Christie Brothers, Monty Sunshine, Mike Peters, the Storyville Jazzmen, Ken Colyer, Pete Dyer and Keith Smith including nine previously unreleased performances.

Photo of Willie Jones  drummer

Classic jazz and Dixieland fans will find a great deal to discover, consume and enjoy in the British Traditional Jazz At a Tangent series and in the huge and very valuable Lake catalog.

Every jazz musician needs a well-written press biography, and every CD deserves informative liner notes.

I write both and more at reasonable rates. Contact me at 661-724-0622 or
for further information.

January 2018


The Regency West in Leimert Park played host to memorable performances by Barbara Morrison and Kevin Mahogany (who tragically passed away 30 days later from a stroke). The always remarkable Ms. Morrison paid tribute to Ella Fitzgerald during much of her set. Highlights included “This Time the Dream’s On Me,” “Lullaby Of Birdland,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “I Was Doing Alright” (during which she imitated Louis Armstrong), and “I Loves You Porgy.” Barbara Morrison told humorous stories between songs, took consistently joyful vocals, and joined the audience in having a great time.

Kevin Mahogany, one of the major male jazz singers, had not visited Los Angeles in some time. With fine backup by a trio that included pianist Karen Hammack and drummer Cecil Brooks III, Mahogany displayed a warm voice on “I Want To Talk About You,” scatted up a storm on “Centerpiece,” combined together “Route 66” and “Red Top,” and came up with fresh ideas on “The Girl From Ipanema.” He also dueted with the bassist on “All Blues” (which became “East Coast Blues” for a bit), paid tribute to Joe Williams on “In the Evening When The Sun Goes Down” and “Everyday I Have The Blues,” sang Charlie Parker’s lyrics to “Yardbird Suite”(“What Price Love”) and introduced his colorful original “It’s Too Late.” It is hard to believe that he is no longer with us for his singing found him very much at the peak of his powers.

He will be greatly missed.


Judy and Ed Hirsch opened up their home to a colorful house party that featured some of the greatest in classic jazz today.

Clarinetist and tenor-saxophonist Dan Levinson, who was a regular at the late lamented Sweet and Hot Music Festival, put together an all-star group to perform at their attractive house. In addition to his wife Molly Ryan on vocals, he hired Dan Barrett on trombone and trumpet, pianist Chris Dawson, guitarist John Reynolds, bassist Katie Cavera, and drummer Garrett Price. When it comes to playing songs from the 1920s through the ‘40s, it would be difficult to improve upon this group.

One of the joys of hearing a band with this lineup is that they only play a few standards and instead revive superior obscurities. How often does one get to see such songs as “Without My Gal,” “Moonlight” (heard in a very rare vocal version), “Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella,” and “There’s Nothing Too Good For My Baby” performed live? It becomes immediately obvious that these musicians have an infinite amount of knowledge about early jazz.

With Ms. Ryan, Reynolds and Cavera contributing occasional vocals (Levinson even joined in), there was plenty of variety. Among the performances that stuck out were Ryan and Dawson sounding a bit like Peggy Lee (or Maxine Sullivan) and Teddy Wilson on “The Folks Who Live On The Hill,” Barrett’s trombone feature on “If You Were The Only Girl In The World,” Katie Cavera singing “My Mother’s Son-In-Law,” Chris Dawson hinting at Art Tatum on “If I Had You,” Barrett quoting “Moonlight Serenade” at the end of “Moonlight,” the trombonist’s expertise with the plunger mute on “The Glory Of Love,” and a rousing rendition of “I’m Sorry I Made You Cry.” Reynolds’ whistling was an added plus. No wonder Levinson (who was in excellent form) was smiling throughout the afternoon.

Suffice it to say that everything worked well.


One of the top clarinetists in jazz (and also very good on tenor), Anat Cohen led a tentet at the Valley Performing Arts Center. The group, consisting of four horns, four rhythm, cello and vibes, mostly performed music from their new CD Happy Song.

Other than a closing piece and an encore, the set consisted of a nonstop suite of tunes from their recording that lasted for over an hour. The music ranged from romps to ballads, a partial recreation of Benny Goodman’s version of “Oh Baby,” funky numbers, melodies and rhythms that were influenced by the folk music of other countries, klezmer, blues/rock and unclassifiable music. Musical director Oded Lev-ari and Cohen provided the arrangements and among the key soloists in addition to the leader (who stuck exclusively to the clarinet) were guitarist Sheryl Bailey, trombonist Nick Finzer, cellist Rubin Kodheli, vibraphonist James Shipp and Vitor Goncalves on piano and accordion.

The music, which was consistently spirited and covered a wide range of moods and grooves, kept one guessing throughout the evening. Anat Cohen played quite brilliantly and she clearly inspired her musicians.


One of the top trumpeters in jazz today, Jeremy Pelt led an excellent quintet at a concert held at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood that was presented by Ruth Price and the Jazz Bakery. Pelt was joined by pianist Victor Gould, bassist Richie Goods, drummer Jonathan Barber, and percussionist Jacqueline Acevedo.

The opener, “Make Noise,” found Pelt sounding a bit like Freddie Hubbard while Acevedo (mostly heard on congas and timbales) showed that she is an important part of the group’s musical personality. Pelt excelled on his ballad “Prince” and the fairly free “Black Love Story,” and played beautifully on the night’s lone standard “I Will Wait For You.” While some of the other originals were not all that memorable by themselves, the solos of Pelt and Gould along with the stimulating support offered by Goods, Barber and Acevedo resulted in a high-quality night of post-bop jazz.


During 1935-41, engineer Bill Savory, who worked by day for a transcription service, spent his nights recording over 100 hours of swing music from the radio. The priceless music was very well recorded and kept hidden by Savory for quite a few decades. In 2010, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem acquired the archive from Savory’s heirs. Thus far four volumes have been released although unfortunately only digitally; hopefully these classic performances will come out on CD someday. Since I previously reviewed the first two sets, this piece covers the second two.

Vol 3 is subtitled Fats Waller & Friends although seven different groups are featured, only one of which features Waller. The great boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons starts the program with a fresh version of his famous “Boogie Woogie Stomp.” Trumpeter Roy Eldridge is heard early in his career on “Body And Soul,” overcoming a metronomic rhythm section to take both a warm ballad solo and a hot double-time section. From the same broadcast, drummer Chick Webb joins Eldridge on “Liza,” creating one of his best solos to be documented. This is the only performance on Vol. 3 that was out previously, on a Jazz Archives collectors Lp.

Definitely not previously available are five numbers featuring pianist Fats Waller (who sings on his “Honeysuckle Rose”) heading an all-star group that includes trumpeter Charlie Teagarden, trombonist Jack Teagarden, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, tenor-saxophonist Bud Freeman and rhythm guitarist Eddie Condon. “China Boy” and “I’m Coming Virginia” (the latter has quotes from Bix Beiderbecke’s famous cornet solo) are highpoints. Next are ten songs that showcase the unique John Kirby Sextet, all from 1940 except for a very brief version of “Honeysuckle Rose” from 1938 that has the eccentric scat-singer Leo Watson helping out. Oddly enough, there is a brief narration from an actor before some of the 1940 performances in which he tells a story as if he were Kirby, but that does not detract from the superb music which holds its own with the sextet’s studio recordings. The advanced cool-toned ensemble features trumpeter Charlie Shavers, clarinetist Buster Bailey and altoist Russell Procope. Vol. 3 concludes with two numbers from the Benny Carter big band (with some fine trumpet by Carter on “More Than You Know”) and a rousing version of “China Boy” by pianist Joe Sullivan’s sextet.

Vol. 4 is titled Bobby Hackett & Friends – Embraceable You. Hackett had a soft sound on the cornet and a medium-register style that appealed to Miles Davis although he spent much of his life playing in Dixieland and swing settings. Hackett is a sideman on the four numbers led by clarinetist Joe Marsala which are very much a hot jam session. Actually they sound like they are from a session headed by Eddie Condon although Condon was not involved on this date. Hackett and Marsala team up with such Condon regulars as baritonist Ernie Caceres, pianist Joe Bushkin and drummer George Wettling for four extended numbers. “California Here I Come” (which like the Condon studio version does not reveal its melody until way into the performance) and a surprisingly hot version of “When Did You Leave Heaven” are nearly seven minutes long and quite exciting.

Two appearances on radio shows by Hackett resulted in a pair of excellent interpretations of ballads (“Embraceable You” and “Body And Soul”) and a hot version of “Muskrat Ramble” that also features clarinetist Pee Wee Russell. Pianist Teddy Wilson led a big band in 1939 that unfortunately did not go anywhere before breaking up. A broadcast from late in the year adds to the group’s slim recorded legacy. Wilson is featured throughout and there is a spot for tenor-saxophonist Ben Webster on “Jitterbug Jump,” performed shortly before he joined Duke Ellington. Trombonist Jack Teagarden leads a jam session group also featuring the young Charlie Shavers on “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Jeepers Creepers.” The latter has a chorus apiece sung by its composer Johnny Mercer, Teagarden and Leo Watson. Wrapping up Vol. 4 are three numbers by the Glenn Miller Orchestra including a version of “In The Mood” that differs a bit from Miller’s famous recording.

If your mouth is watering after reading this review, be sure to get all four volumes of the Savory Collection which is available from

Every jazz musician needs a well-written press biography, and every CD deserves informative liner notes.

I write both and more at reasonable rates. Contact me at 661-724-0622 or
for further information.