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Record Label Profiles

Fresh Sound Records and the Legacy of Recorded Jazz

By Published: November 22, 2012
And dig who's on the session in addition to Edwards: How about trombonist Frank Rosolino
Frank Rosolino
Frank Rosolino
1926 - 1978
trombone
, trumpter Jack Sheldon
Jack Sheldon
Jack Sheldon
b.1931
trumpet
, alto sax legend Art Pepper
Art Pepper
Art Pepper
1925 - 1982
sax, alto
, pianist Pete Jolly
Pete Jolly
Pete Jolly
1932 - 2004
piano
and bassist Jimmy Bond
Jimmy Bond
b.1933
? Ah...the west coast. CD number two in this same package is a 1961 Edwards session, Good Gravy! featuring pianist Phineas Newborn
Phineas Newborn
Phineas Newborn
1931 - 1989
piano
, bassist Leroy Vinnegar
Leroy Vinnegar
Leroy Vinnegar
1928 - 1999
bass, acoustic
and drummer Milt Turner. This informal session swings from the start and like the title says, is "Good" indeed.

There are some singers on the scene today who have received a good deal of critical acclaim because of their similarity to Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
1915 - 1959
vocalist
, most notably Madeleine Peyroux. A bunch of writers applauded Diana Ross version of Holiday as well. But in the late 1950s, sounding like Lady Day, intentionally or otherwise, must have been considered a crime of some sort.

The case of Marilyn Moore
Marilyn Moore
b.1931
, heard on Bethlehem's Moody from 1957 and MGM's Oh! Captain! from the year following, was good illustration of that attitude back in the day. Despite great critical reaction—in 1957, the influential Leonard Feather called her "the finest new jazz singer I've heard this year"—that Lady Day albatross and the controversy surrounding it did not help her career.

Holiday is in there, to be sure, but Moore swings like the devil in her own way on items like "Lover Come Back to me," and sings the heck out of a none-to-easy score to the Broadway show, "Oh! Captain." She's backed herein by a group of sympathetic jazz stars, including her then-husband on tenor sax, Al Cohn
Al Cohn
Al Cohn
1925 - 1988
sax, tenor
; bassist Milt Hinton
Milt Hinton
Milt Hinton
1910 - 2000
bass, acoustic
; tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
1904 - 1969
sax, tenor
in a rare role as sideman; and no less than the very forward-thinking composer, George Russell
George Russell
George Russell
1923 - 2009
piano
, who contributed "Born to Blow" and plays piano on three tracks.

Calling Lucy Ann Polk a jazz singer may be stretching things somewhat. Polk, the best-known of all these singers, gained no small amount of fame from her 1951-1954 stay with the big band of Les Brown
Les Brown
Les Brown
1912 - 2001
composer/conductor
. Brown's band, at least in terms of its jazz content, was considered to be at its peak in those years. And Polk rode the crest of the bands' popularity, as she won what was called the best "Girl Band Vocalist" award, given to her by Down Beat magazine for four yeas in a row. She's backed here in three separate sessions from 1953, 1956 and 1957 by groups led by pianist/arranger Marty Paich
Marty Paich
1925 - 1995
composer/conductor
and saxophonist Dave Pell
Dave Pell
Dave Pell
b.1935
saxophone
, and though you can't deny the influence of Doris Day, Polk has a pleasing, secure take—and a much more jazz-oriented one—on the Holiday sound.

Young and aspiring singers should give this a listen. Polk's diction, time and intonation are superb. She swings lightly and politely on 22 standards, with more than appropriate backing by west coasters like trumpeters Shorty Rogers
Shorty Rogers
Shorty Rogers
1924 - 1994
trumpet
and Don Fagerquist, pianist Claude Williamson
Claude Williamson
b.1926
piano
, drummers Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
1929 - 1990
drums
and Jack Sperling
Jack Sperling
Jack Sperling
1922 - 2004
drums
, and Polk's husband, trombonist Dick Noel.

Enter the album name here In 1960, the Washington, D.C.-based pianist Dick Morgan was playing at a club called the Showboat. He so impressed saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
Julian
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
1928 - 1975
saxophone
during that engagement, that Adderley got Morgan a record date with the Riverside record label. Fresh Sound's Dick Morgan Trio is a two-CD set that includes Morgan's three dates for Riverside.

All are characterized by Morgan's funky, swinging and crowd-pleasing style, that seems much closer to that of Bobby Timmons
Bobby Timmons
Bobby Timmons
1935 - 1974
piano
than Morgan's admitted influences, Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
1925 - 2007
piano
and Erroll Garner
Erroll Garner
Erroll Garner
1921 - 1977
piano
. This is what they used to call "good time party music," and that it is, especially the live date at The Showboat, complete with out-of-tune piano and happy crowd noises. The then Washington-based bassist Keter Betts
Keter Betts
Keter Betts
b.1928
bass, acoustic
plays on two of the three dates from 1960 along with local drummer Bertell Knox. Knox is a killer with brushes, by the way. The 1961 session, recorded in New York, pairs the pianist with the better known Ben Riley
Ben Riley
Ben Riley
b.1933
drums
on drums and Joe Benjamin on bass.

No matter. Morgan was the centerpiece of these dates, and his happy grooving on standards and a few originals (check the funky "Big Fat Mama") still holds up. As of this writing, the 81-year old pianist, known as the "Dean of Washington, D.C. piano," is still out there wailing.


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