This is the first time that the entire album has been available in the CD format.
Sepia owner and producer Richard Tay has wisely maintained the playing order of the original disc, and has added Covington's 1959 follow-up LP, "More Tea for Two Cha Chas," onto this release - for a total of 24 tracks.
Engineering Robin Cherry has re-mastered the sound of the music (which was recorded in stereo) very well, and graphic artist Ray Leaning has done a quite attractive job with the CD booklet, incorporating a number of photos and other images related to Covington.
Big Band Library rating: EXCELLENT
Now They're On to Something, Too
Vocalion, another CD reissue label in the United Kingdom, has released what, hopefully, will be the first two in a series of recordings by Syd Lawrence and His Orchestra, originally done in stereo. The first titles are "Syd Lawrence Plays the Music of Glenn Miller in Super Stereo" (catalog no.4417) and "Sincerely, Syd Lawrence / Something Old, Something New" (no.4419). It's about time these performances have made it to CD, and, thankfully, Vocalion has remastered them from the original analog stereo tapes.
More New Compact Discs
Tex Beneke. "Goodbye, Glenn Miller Strings," Sounds of Yester Year ( UK ) DSOY 811
[ some of the last performances by the band before the strings were eliminated at the
end of Jan. 1949 ].
Les Brown. "Featuring Peggy Lee and Giselle Mackenzie," Sounds of Yester Year ( UK )
DSOY 809 [ 2 CDs with 40 tracks from "National Guard" transcriptions shows of the
Les Brown's Band of Renown directed by Les Brown Jr. "The Lettermen: New Directions
2010 with Les Brown Jr.'s Band of Renown" [ After the Love Is Gone, Fool for Your Love,
I'll Still Be Loving You, Mornin', My Funny Valentine / Ain't No Sunshine, Listen to the
Music, Pure Imagination, Night Life, Dream / Lover, Come Fly with Me, Just for a Thrill,
Take One Look At Me ].
---. "A Time to Smile: With Vocals by Les Brown and Jana King Evans," [ Sing, Sing, Sing,
They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Sentimential Journey, Night and Day, St. Louis
Blues, I Only Have Eyes for You, Anything Goes, I Thought About You, In the Mood, I'm
Old Fashioned, I’m Beginning to See the Light, A Time to Smile, In the Wee Small Hours
of the Morning, 's Wonderful, Come Fly with Me, Opus #1 ].
Frankie Carle. "Carle's Boogie," Circle CCD-168 [ 1944-47 ].
Duke Ellington. "First Annual Tour of the Pacific Northwest, Spring 1952," Smithsonian
Folkways Archival [ 2-CDs ].
Duke Ellington Orchestra. "Third Generation: Dynamic Sounds of Duke Ellington," King
Japan / Zoom.
Ralph Flanagan. "Plays for Dancing Volume 2," Sounds of Yester Year ( UK ) DSOY 810
[ 21 tracks; AFRS "One Night Stand" program #5003 from the Steel Pier in Atlantic City
on Jan. 22, 1960 and program #5189 from the Starlight Ballroom in Hershey, PA on
Oct. 7, 1960 ].
Dick Jurgens. "Live At the Claremont Hotel," Joyce 1006 [ music from 1947 and 1955
plus a 1989 interview ].
Ralph Marterie. "Into The Fifties," Jasmine ( UK ) JASCD 541 [ 50 select Mercury
recordings on 2 CDs ].
Freddy Martin. Joyce 1003 [ airchecks from 1944 and 1956 ].
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Ray McKinley. "Something Old, New, Borrowed and
Blue / The New Glenn Miller Orchestra in Hi-Fi," Vocalion ( UK ) 1962 [ 22 tracks,
meaning two selections, On the Street Where You Live and My Prayer, have been
excised from the original RCA Victor LPs; NOTE: previously available in their entirety on
CD as BMG ( Japan ) BVCJ 8801/02 in 1998 ].
Artie Shaw. "The Last Recordings, Vol.3: Mixed Bag 1945-6 / The Big Band 1949," Nimbus
( UK ) NI2729/30 [ previously issued separately on MusicMasters ].
In-Print and / or Online
Mark Cantor, "Gene Krupa and His Orchestra: 'The Ace Drummer Man' and His Three
Panoram Soundies," IAJRC Journal, Vol.43 No.1 / Mar. 2010, pp.37-40 [ the three
titles, recorded on Dec. 18, 1941, were Let Me Off Uptown, Thanks for the Boogie Ride,
and After You've Gone ].
Graham Dixon. "In the Limelight - Glenn Miller Orchestra," Midland [ TX ] Reporter-
Telegram, Mar. 11, 2010 [ mixed review of band; Dixon stated, "While Julia Rich has
little more than a passable voice, her male counterpart Brian Epstein crooned to
perfection . . . Some of the original work paled in comparison with the great Glenn
Miller. Unadvisedly Julia Rich included one of her own songs that suffers with the line
'I will sing my sad songs to the flowers' - and I was left with the impression that she
should have followed her own advice." ].
Jeff Hamilton. "Farewells: Louie Bellson 7.6.24 - 2.14.09," Jazztimes, Mar. 2010, pp.28-29.
Steve Voce. "Scratching the Surface," Jazz Journal, Mar. 2010 / Volume 63 No.3, p.9
[ discussing various books about Stan Kenton ].
Michael P. Zirpolo. "Artie Shaw: That Mosaic Box Unpacked," IAJRC Journal, Vol.43 No.1 /
Mar. 2010, pp.29-31 [ points out some flaws of Mosaic's 7-CD Shaw boxed set ].
---. "Bunny Berigan Mr. Trumpet: The Business of Success," IAJRC Journal, Vol.43 No.1 /
Mar. 2010, pp.42-54 [ another chapter to a forthcoming Berigan biography ].
He Got Their Attention
Herb Stark of Massapequa, NY enjoys big band music and often sends out letters in support of two former Ralph Flanagan vocalists, Harry Prime and Peggy King. Herb's latest, printed in this month's "Chords & Discords" column in DownBeat, suggests that the magazine add a "nostalgia" category to its annual "Readers Poll." As Herb puts it, ". . . to honor the big band years that gave us such great musicians and vocalists . . . it would be a nice gesture on the part of DownBeat to make this addition."
Interesting idea, Herb - though I don't think "nostalgia" would be the right word. I wasn't even born by the time Prime and King had left Flanagan's band, so it isn't nostalgia to me - just timeless American music.
Orrin Keepnews, b.Mar. 2, 1923. Writer (A Pictorial History of Jazz: People and Places
From New Orleans to Modern Jazz) and record producer.
Rocky Rockwell, b.Mar. 2, 1923. Trumpeter - vocalist with Welk '51-'62.
Harry Prime, b.Mar. 5, 1920. Vocalist with Brooks '47; Fina '47; T. Dorsey '47; Flanagan
Dick Hyman, b.Mar. 8, 1927. Pianist with Goodman '50 / '55 / '85-'86.
Keely Smith, b.Mar. 9, 1932. Vocalist with Prima '49-'61.
Donn Trenner, b.Mar. 10, 1927. Pianist with Fio Rito '43-'45; Morrow '47?; Brown '54-'56 /
Quincy Jones, b.Mar. 14, 1933. Trumpeter with Hampton '51-'53 and Gillespie '56; and
composer (Basie '58 Rat Race / The Midnight Sun Never Sets / Meet B.B.).
George Avakian, b.Mar. 15, 1919. Record producer.
Bob Wilber, b.Mar. 15, 1928. Clarinetist - soprano sax with Hackett '57; Goodman '58.
Larry Elgart, b.Mar. 20, 1922. Saxophonist with Byrne and brother Les Elgart; and
bandleader with Les and on his own.
Bill Hughes, b.Mar. 28, 1930. Trombonist with Basie '54-'57 / '63-'84 and leader of the Basie
Orch. '03- .
Necrology: Jerry Valburn
Big band historian and collector Karl Pearson has notified me of the March 26, 2010 death of Jerry Valburn who was age 84.
"Over the years Jerry released much interesting material on his Jazz Archives and Merritt record labels," Karl recalled. "Jerry was a tireless researcher/collector of Duke Ellington's music and had donated his Ellington collection to the Smithsonian. In recent years I had assisted him with his research on the Coca-Cola Spotlight Bands series."
Other Passings This Month
Big Tiny Little, 79, d.Mar. 3, 2010. Pianist with Welk '55-'59.
Dorothy King, 98, d.Mar. 10, 2010. Wife of Wayne King.
Jackie Mills, 88, d.Mar. 22, 2010. Drummer with Raeburn '45-'46; James '50 / '51-'53 /
'56 / '58-'59; T. Dorsey '51 / '53-'54; Barnet "Presents a Tribute to Harry James" Crown
Laurie Wright, 81, d.Mar. 28, 2010, cancer. Publisher of Storyville magazine and author
of Fats in Fact (Storyville, 1992).
Herb Ellis, 88, d.Mar. 28, 2010, had Alzheimer's disease. Guitarist with G. Gray '44; J.
Dorsey '45-'47; Carter '54.
John Bunch, 88, d.Mar. 30, 2010, melanoma. Pianist with Herman '57; Rich '59 / '74;
Goodman '60 / '62-'63 / '73-'74 / '75 / '76 - '79 / '80 / '82; Krupa '61-'64.
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole: Mar. 17, Columbus, OH; Mar. 18-19,
Cleveland, OH; Mar. 21, lebanon, PA; Mar. 26, Winter Haven, FL.
Les Elgart Orchestra directed by Russ Dorsey: Mar. 17, "Association of Professional
Orchestra Leaders" dinner-dance, Porretta's Banquet Facility, Chicago, IL.
Duke Ellington Orchestra directed by Paul Mercer Ellington: Mar. 11, Meyerhoff Symphony
Center, Dallas, TX.
Harry James Orchestra directed by Fred Radke: Mar.13, Salisbury, NC; Mar. 14, Albemarle,
NC; Mar. 26, Laughlin, NV.
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Mar. 1, Rio Grande Theatre, Las Cruces,
NM; Mar. 2, Commemorative Air Force Museum, Midland, TX; Mar. 4, Quinta Mazatlan.
McAllen, TX; Mar. 5, Omni Corpus Christi Hotel, Corpus Christi, TX; Mar. 6, The Centrum,
Spring, TX; Mar. 7, Bandera High School, Bandera, TX; Mar. 9, Mineral Wells High
School, Mineral Wells, TX; Mar. 13, Fine Arts Center, Van Buren, AR; Mar. 14, Broken
Arrow Performing Arts Center, Broken Arrow, OK; Mar. 15, Dunbar Auditorium, Mountain
Home, AR; Mar. 16, Gillioz Theatre, Springfield, MO; Mar. 18, Bethel College, North
Newton, KS; Mar. 21, Holland Performing Arts Center, Omaha, NE; Mar. 23, Indiana
Theatre, Terre Haute, IN; Mar. 25, Migration Hall, Kingsville, Ontario, Canada; Mar. 26,
Centennial Hall, London, Ontario, Canada; Mar. 27, Jackson Community College,
Jackson, MI; Mar. 28, Macomb Center, Clinton Township, MI.
"Les Brown Weekend"
People in the region around where Les Brown was from in Pennsylvania took a "sentimental journey" in his memory on the 26th and 27th of this month. A son of R.W. Brown, a baker and musician, Brown was born March 14, 1912 in the Tower City area and raised in Reinerton, PA.
The fourth annual "Les Brown Weekend" included several activities, beginning with a dance and concert held at Williams Valley High School in Tower City. Tenor saxophonist Dave Pell, who played with Brown from 1947-55, was the special guest, and a collection of memorabilia about Brown and his Band of Renown was on display at the School. Admission to the concert was free, but donations were accepted.
The following day, "an impromptu pizza party" took place with Pell at a local restaurant, the Korner Pizzeria in Reinerton. Pell gave out free photographs and autographs.
Joel Guldin, Williams Valley Elementary instrumental director, explained the reason for the celebration to Vicki Terwilliger, a reporter for the Pottsville [ PA ] Republican newspaper.
"One is to instill pride of the musical heritage of the valley in the students," he said. "The other is for the Browns [ Les and his brothers Stumpy and Warren ] to be an inspiration to the children, helping them understand that through determination and education any dream can be realized."
"Ho Hum Hollow" for Sale
Tommy Dorsey's onetime residence, a Cape Cod colonial built in Greenwich, CT, is on the market. It sounds especially impressive, judging by the description offered from Danbury, CT News-Times Correspondent Susan Nova.
"Set inside a more than 4-acre landscape of enchantment, the house is complemented by an expansive pond with a waterfall and two islands accessed by bridges, rolling land and specimen plantings," Nova begins. "Across the street is a separate, lightly treed, level and buildable lot, potentially adding another 2 acres to this romantic spot. The floor plan of the stone and shingle house is unusual, with three full bedroom suites, plus additional bedrooms. Beyond the entry is a front-to-back living room, with a beadboard wall behind the fireplace and a windowed bay for a love seat. Backing up the fireplace is a fieldstone wall in a passage room that leads to a guest suite, with sitting room, bedroom and a white-tiled bath with pedestal sink. On the other side of the entry is a den with wide-board, pegged plank floors and a beadboard fireplace wall. The fireplace, with an old brick hearth, is surrounded by niches with doors and black iron latches, an echo of the past, and one wall has bookshelves atop cabinets, while another boasts tall cabinets with a single bookshelf above. The oversized dining room, spanning the width of the house, hosts a rectangular table for eight or 10, and a large round table occupies an easy-flowing extension with corner cupboards. The kitchen with white wooden cabinets has two double sinks, double wall ovens and a built-in microwave and leads to an adjacent family, or garden, room. Nearby is an enclosed porch overlooking the in-ground swimming pool and the pond. Beadboard walls are prevalent throughout, lending an antique air to the 1941 house."
Nova continues, "The lower level displays a pine-paneled sitting room with a plate rail, an original kitchen, a bedroom and a period bath with a wall-hung sink. A sizable family room has a fireplace of fieldstone whose mantel reads, 'Here one laughs and dances.' That's the way the dipsy doodle works. The ceiling is of rough-sawn wood planks and beams, and walls are of fieldstone or beadboard. The floors are of unusually wide antique wooden planks. The master bedroom suite on the second floor has a white-painted, stepped brick fireplace, bejeweled with blue and white porcelain tiles of flowers and fruits. A sitting area by the fireplace oozes comfort. There's an enclosed sleeping porch and a dressing room with vanity table, along with a windowed niche for an exercise bike. The master bath in white Corian has a double vanity. Also on this level are two additional bedrooms, one tucked under the front eaves with a built-in desk and cabinets. There are two more baths, one with shower, the other with a tub. A detached three-car garage is topped with a miniature dovecote, and to one side is a roofed pavilion overlooking the pond. Alongside the pond is a guesthouse, with a living room and dining area with a beamed cathedral ceiling and a stepped stone fireplace, a kitchenette, a bedroom, a bath and a deck overseeing the waterfall. Nearby is a greenhouse."
And the price? The home is available for less than $4 million and the lot across the street for $2.65 million. Or together, for a total of $6.3 million.
Dorsey died in a second floor bedroom there at the age of 51 in 1956. Ironically, many years later, his biographer, Peter Levinson, stated that the building had at one time been nicknamed "Ho Hum Hollow."
The most recent owner of the house was philanthropist Robert Bendheim, who passed away in August 2009.
This and That
Nice to see photos of several former big band players attending a recent "Meet & Greet" sponsored by Local 47 of the American Federations of Musicians in Los Angeles. They included Max Herman (who worked with Bob Crosby), Gerald Wilson (Jimmie Lunceford), Johnny Rotella (Jerry Gray), and Gene Cipriano (Tex Beneke) ... Yes, that was 94-year-old Van Alexander himself who showed up at author-historian John Tumpak's talk about Ella Fitzgerald on the 8th at The Ebell, a university women's club in Los Angeles. Alexander shared a few words about his experiences with Chick Webb's band, for whom he arranged, among others, A-Tisket, A-Tasket with Fitzgerald's vocal ... Five big band recordings have shown up in an unexpected place: as part of the video game BioShock 2. The selections are Nightmare-Artie Shaw, Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition-Kay Kyser, Dawn of a New Day-Horace Heidt, My Heart Belongs to Daddy-Eddie Duchin, and Jitterbug Waltz-Fats Waller ... Artie Shaw's recording of Special Delivery Stomp was played for Israeli-born clarinetist Anat Cohen recently - she said, "I've never heard anything like this. That's great . . . I've got to check out more Artie Shaw, definitely." ... Les Brown's Band of Renown, directed by Les Brown Jr., is scheduled to be at the Sun Coast Hotel in Las Vegas at the end of this month, filming a video with The Lettermen.