. A number of jazz reissues using strings have been finding their way beneath my laser. I reviewed Chet Baker and Strings last month in these virtual pages ( AJJ, September, 1998, Issue #11). Cleverly disguised as a standard jazz date, Buddy DeFranco and Oscar Peterson Play George Gershwin is a with strings recording and turns out to be a surprise on several other levels. First, I bought the disc because of Buddy DeFranco and thought how I wished I had bought the Buddy DeFranco/Sonny Clark Verve recordings on Mosaic when it was available. Oscar Peterson may have been the most formidable pianist in the late 1950s, but I always considered him too busy to be a complete accompanist. A second surprise stems from this first prejudice, both Peterson's and DeFranco's playing is lyrical, tasteful and evenly paced. I expected a bebop free-for-all and I heard almost a throwback to the swing era.
A Meager Wage
. The list of available Buddy DeFranco discs is very short. There are currently only three other discs: Born to Swing (Hindsight 00701), Chip Off The Old Bop (Concord 04527), and Mr. Lucky (Original Jazz Classics 00938). There have also been several Terry Gibbs-Buddy DeFranco collaborations. It would be so fine if Verve would re-release the Buddy DeFranco/Sonny Clark recordings, in spite of the Mosaic set, the same way that Blue Note re-released the complete quartets of Grant Green and Sonny Clark in spite of a similar (thought not identical) Mosaic set.
George at 100.
Undoubtedly this disc was re-released with George Gershwin's 100th birthday in mind. The performances remind me more of period pieces for swing era mavens than white-hot Bop from two splendid practitioners. These arrangements remind me of the Gershwin cacophony that permeated the Gene Kelly/Oscar Levant movie, "An American in Paris." All finely performed and wistfully transparent. An exceptional reissue.
I Wants to Stay Here, I Was Doing All Right, 'S Wonderful, Bess, You Is My Woman Now, Strike Up The Band, They Can't Take That Away From Me, The Man I Love, I Got Rhythm, Someone To Watch Over Me, It Ain't Necessarily So, I Wants to Stay Here (Alt), Someone To Watch Over Me (Alt)
Personnel: Buddy DeFranco (clarinet); Oscar Peterson (piano); Joe Pass (guitar); Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass); Martin Drew (drums).
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.