August 2010

Fradley Garner By

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Two East Coast Big Bands specialize in music of the 1920s and '30s. Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks share the pre-Swing era with Long Island trombonist Ray Osnato and his South Shore Syncopators, a 10-piece band with five singers whose performances mimic a 1930s radio show, complete with honey-tongued announcer. Like Giordano, Osnato started young, collecting original arrangements and later transcribing vintage recordings. His book holds some 150 tunes, many associated with the youthful Bing Crosby, Paul Whiteman and Fletcher Henderson. Vince declined to comment on his colleague across the Hudson, except to note, in an e-mail, "I've heard thru the grapevine this gent has many unfavorable things to say about my band and what i'm doing...hehe..and that's fine,,,he has a right to his opinions."

One More Time, A Master gets his due while he's here and active. Sunday, October 10, at 7:00 PM, more than 80 musicians and many more fans are expected at Saint Peter's Church, Manhattan, for the 40th annual "All Nite Soul." This year's honoree is 88-year-old Frank Wess, an old-school tenor saxophonist and flutist with a forever fresh sound. One of the last Count Basie sidemen of the '50s and '60s, his most recent album, Once is Not Enough (Labeth, 2009), has Wess fronting an all-star nonet for the first time. "Frank is playing as well if not better than ever. He's hands down one of the greatest living tenor players, and of course peerless on flute," jazz historian Dan Morgenstern told this column, adding: "I hope he's writing that book—what stories that man has to tell." Photos and memorabilia document Wess's career on the church Living Room wall. $20 is the suggested advance donation, or $25 at the door, 619 Lexington Ave. at 54th St. "E" train to 6th Ave. or No. 6 to 51st St.

Put on a 45 RPM LP? Acoustical LP records are back again. Digital CDs sound "hard." They lack the fuller range of vinyl. Mint condition Blue Note albums from 1955 to 1967 sell today for hundreds of dollars. These have the "Blue Note sound," as fans call the close-up mikings of Englewood Cliffs, NJ audio magician Rudy Van Gelder. Two firms are reissuing Blue Note classics on 12-inch, pure vinyl LPs mastered to play at 45 RPM. They spin about a third faster than standard 33 1/3 LPs, so the tracks fill two discs. So far, Music Matters has released 64 titles, with 116 more to come. Analogue Productions has issued 32. Each two- disk album retails for $50, ordered online from musicmatters.com and acousticsounds.com. Dear they are—except maybe for those with turntables few can afford. But the reissues sound even better than mint-grade originals now costing 10 to 100 times as much as they did back then—when you can find them.

Many Monday Night in New York's upper east side Hotel Carlyle, "amid the soigné murmur of rustling silk and clinking stemware, 90 eager patrons of all ages gather in the Café Carlyle supper club" to see more than to hear the clarinetist, Woody Allen. They've paid about $100, adds Stephen Holden in The New York Times, and they get their money's worth. A lover of trad jazz, Woody is "really a very knowledgeable musician," said pianist Dick Hyman, Allen's longtime film score composer and arranger. "He ... uses jazz, and understands how it works with the kinds of scenarios he writes." Woody differs. "To be even as bad as I am, you do have to practice every day," he told Holden before sitting down to play. "I don't have a particularly good ear for music. I'm a very poor musician, like a Sunday tennis player."

Job Opening:The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, NY, is looking for a development assistant.

Billy Taylor Turns 89 on July 24 and went right on working as a pianist, composer, educator and sometime broadcaster. Billy's trio (Chip Jackson, bass, and Winard Harper, drums) were featured at the 300th, and final, concert of Jack Kleinsinger's "Highlights in Jazz" series in May, at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in lower Manhattan. That's a less happy story. Kleinsinger, a New York attorney, said he spent $40,000 out of pocket over the last two years as he watched ticket sales follow the economy. He started the concerts in 1973 at the urging of Bucky Pizzarelli and Zoot Sims. Musicians were helpful, and "I was able to get artists like Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie and Teddy Wilson to play for $50." Them were the days.


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