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Learning Django

The following is a post I wrote last February, but got too sick to polish and publish.  Here it is now:

I’ve got a week’s relief from chemo, so neuropathy side effects, particularly in my hands, have all but disappeared, a good thing since I can now resume my guitar playing.  I’ve been wanting to get back to practicing the Django Reinhardt tune I’ve been working on for the past year—”Minor Blues.”  I’ve managed to get down the first 33 bars (out of 45) of an arrangement by David Blacker, a superb swing guitarist and instructor for TrueFire.com.  Blacker classifies his arrangement as “beginner,” but because of the timing and rhythm of this piece, which is swing time and relies heavily on flurries of 1/8th note triplets throughout the tune, I would place it in the “intermediate” level category.

There’s two versions of Django playing “Minor Blues” that I know of.  Blacker’s arrangement is one of them:

Hubert Rostaing (1918-1990) plays clarinet solo.  Rostaing is probably best known for his clarinet playing on Django’s “Nuages.”

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Jacky Terrasson with his trio at the Iridium jazz club, New York City, June 25, 2009

Jacky Terrasson with his trio at the Iridium jazz club, New York City, June 25, 2009

It’s jazz pianist Jacky Terrasson’s birthday today.  He is an enormously talented and gifted musician.

Born in Berlin in 1965, his mother was African-American and his father French.  Terrasson grew up in France, starting to learn the piano when he was five, studying, initially, classical piano, then jazz.  He studied music formally at the Berklee College of Music.  He won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Piano Competition in 1993 and started touring with Betty Carter.

Since then, Terrasson has toured widely and often in Europe as well as here in the states.  He makes his home in New York and his newest release, Mother, just came out this year on Impulse! with his long-time partner and friend, the trumpet player Stephane Belmondo.

I first heard of Jacky Terrasson because of my interest in the young and talented vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant.  I happened to come across some wonderful videos of Terrasson’s band accompanying Salvant in concert on youtube.  Here’s one in particular I like: “Gouache,” performed in 2012 at the Saint Emilion Jazz Festival—Jacky Terrasson, piano; Cécile McLorin, vocal; Minino Garay, percussion; Burniss Travis, bass; Justin Faulkner, drums:

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Here’s the playlist for Tueday night’s All That Jazz radio show:

First set a couple of fairly unknown jazz piano players:  Pat Flowers, who recorded during the 40’s, played piano and sang; Putney Dandridge, who also sang and recorded during the middle 30’s.

Pat Flowers and His Rhythm

“Googie Woogie” composed by Flowers from Pat Flowers 1945-1947 (1945) on OJC — Pat Flowers, piano, vocals, leader; Herman Autrey, trumpet; Gene Sedric, clarinet; Jimmy Shirley, guitar; Cedric Wallace, bass; Slick Jones, drums

“Ain’t that just like a woman” composed by Claude Demetrius / Fleecie Moore from Pat Flowers 1945-1947 (1945) on OJC — Pat Flowers, piano, vocals, leader; Herman Autrey, trumpet; Gene Sedric, clarinet; Jimmy Shirley, guitar; Cedric Wallace, bass; Slick Jones, drums.

 

Pat FlowersThis next tune from Flowers is especially interesting.  The tune features vocals from unknown (from a recording standpoint) singer, piano player Bunty Pendleton.  We know next to nothing about Pendleton.  Apparently, this was the one and only time she ever recorded anything (see Tim Brosman’s “A Discography of One: “Horizontal” by Bunty Pendleton”).  She seemed to be most active during the forties.  “Horizontal” was recorded in July of 1946 as a kind of “welcome” back song for the troops post WWII.  She was also gigging at Jimmy Ryan’s East Side on 52nd street in NYC, a club that routinely featured New Orleans style musicians, which may have led Pendleton to find gigs later on.  William Gottlieb has several famous photographs of Pendleton playing piano at “Riverboat on the Hudson”.  Her voice is very low-key, yet has enormous emotional quality.  Judge for yourself from the following video.

  “Horizontal” composed by Hal David / Ricca from Pat Flowers 1945-1947 (1946) on OJC — Pat Flowers, piano, leader; , vocals; Herman Autrey, trumpet; Gene Sedric, clarinet; Jimmy Shirley, guitar; Cedric Wallace, bass; Slick Jones, drums.

 

 

Putney Dandridge

Putney Dandridge, like Flowers and Pendletron, a relatively unknown jazz piano player and vocalist to anyone outside of NYC during the 30’s, played with some of the great swing musicians of the era.

“Nagasaki” composed by Mort Dixon / Harry Warren from Putney Dandridge 1935-1936 (1935) on OJC — Putney Dandridge, piano, vocals, leader; Henry Allen, trumpet; Buster Bailey, clar and alto; Teddy Wilson, piano; Lawrence Lucie, guitar; John Kirby, bass; Walter Johnson, drums

“I’m in the mood for love” composed by Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh from Putney Dandridge 1935-1936 (1935) on OJC — Putney Dandridge, piano, vocals, leader; Henry Allen, trumpet; Buster Bailey, clar and alto; Teddy Wilson, piano; Lawrence Lucie, guitar; John Kirby, bass; Walter Johnson, drums

Here’s Dandridge performing “Cheek to Cheek,” 1935:

 

 

“Cheek to cheek” composed by rving Berlin from Putney Dandridge 1935-1936 (1935) on OJC — Putney Dandridge, piano, vocals, leader; Henry Allen, trumpet; Buster Bailey, clar and alto; Teddy Wilson, piano; Lawrence Lucie, guitar; John Kirby, bass; Walter Johnson, drums

Frankie Newton, trumpeter and bandleader, known for his small combo work in clubs around 52nd street as well as the Cafe Society Club house band (regularly backed Billie Holiday) recorded some great stuff.  Here’s a few examples:

Frankie Newton and His Uptown Serenaders “You showed me the way” composed by Green, et al from Frankies Jump (1939) on Charley Records — Frankie Newton and his Uptown Serenaders: Newton, trumpet; Pete Brown, alto; Cecil Scott, tenor; Don Frye, piano; Richard Fulbright, bass; Co9zy Cole, drums; Clarence Palmer, vocals

Frankie Newton and his Orchestra “Rosetta” composed by Hines from Frankies Jump (1939) on Charley Records — Frankie Newton, trumpet; Mezz Mezzrow, clar; Pete Brown, alto; James P. Johson, piano; Albertr Casey, guitar; JohnKirby, bass; Cozy Cole, drums

Frankie Newton and His Cafe Society Orchestra “Parallel fifths” composed by Newton from Frankie’s Jump (1939) on Charly Records — Frankie Newton and his Café Society Orchestra: Newton, trumpet; Tab Smith, alt; Kenneth Hollon (solo), tenor; Kenny Kersey, piano; Ulysses Livingston, guitar; Johnny Williams, bass; Eddie Dougherty, drums

Fats Waller “Brother, seek and you shall find” composed by Frank Crum / Slam Stewart from Fats Waller 1935, vol 2 (1935) on OJC — Fats Waller, piano, vocals, celeste; Herman Autrey , trumpet; Rudy Powell, clarinet, alto; Jimmy Smith , guitar; Charlie “Fat Man” Turner, bass; Arnold “Scrippy” Bolden, drums

Fats Waller “The girl I left behind me” composed by Edgar Leslie / George W. Meyer / Billy Rose from Fats Waller 1935, vol 2 (1935) on OJC — Fats Waller, piano, vocals, celeste; Herman Autrey , trumpet; Rudy Powell, clarinet, alto; Jimmy Smith , guitar; Charlie “Fat Man” Turner, bass; Arnold “Scrippy” Bolden, drums

Fats Waller “Rhythm and romance” composed by J.C. Johnson / Arthur Schwartz / Richard A. Whiting from Fats Waller 1935, vol 2 (1935) on OJC — Fats Waller, piano, vocals, celeste; Herman Autrey , trumpet; Rudy Powell, clarinet, alto; Jimmy Smith , guitar; Charlie “Fat Man” Turner, bass; Arnold “Scrippy” Bolden, drums

John Kirby and His Orchestra “At the crossroads” composed by Lecuona, Russell from The Biggest Little Band in the Land (1945) on ASV — John Kirby, bass, leader; Charlie Shavers, trum; Buster Bailey, clar; George Johnson, alto; Clyde Hart, piano; Bill Beason, dri,s

John Kirby and His Orchestra “9:20 special” composed by Warren, Engvick from The Biggest Little Band in the Land (1945) on ASV — John Kirby, bass, leader; Charlie Shavers, trum; Buster Bailey, clar; George Johnson, alto; Clyde Hart, piano; Bill Beason, dri,s

John Kirby and His Orchestra “Mop Mop” composed by Demtrius, Williams from The Biggest Little Band in the Land (1945) on ASV — John Kirby, bass, leader; Emmett Berry; George Johnson, alto; Bud Johnson, tenor; Ram Ramirez, piano; Bill Beason, drums

Tab Smith “Cuban Boogie” composed by Smith from Ace High (1952) on Delmark — Tab Smith, alto

Tab Smith “A bit of blues” composed by Smith from Ace High (1952) on Delmark — Tab Smith, alto

Candy Johnson “Freight Train” composed by Trad from Candy’s Mood (1973) on Definitive — Candy Johnson, tenor;

Tubby Hayes “Johnny one note” composed by Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers from The Tubby Hayes quintet down in the village (1962) on Redial — Recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s—Tubby Hayes, tenor, leader; Jimmy Deuchar, trumpet; Gordon Beck, piano; Freddy Logan, bass; Allan Ganley, drums

Ira Sullivan “Con alma” composed by Gillespie from After Hours (1996) on Go Jazz Records — Ira Sullivan, soprano;

Charlie Shavers “Summertime” composed by Gershwin from Shavers Shivers (1950) on Soundies — Charlie Shavers, trumpet, leader

Earl Bostic “Sleep” composed by Earl Lebieg from Earl Bostic for You (1956) on King — Earl Bostic, alto;

Plas Johnson “Hittin’ the Jug” composed by Ammons from Hot, blue, and saxy (1950) on carell music — Plas Johnson, tenor; Cedric Lawson, piano; Richard Reid, bass; John Kirkwood, drums

King Curtis “Da Duh Da” composed by Curtis from The New Scene of King Curtis (1960) on OJC — King Curtis, tenor; Nat Adderley, trumpet; Wynton Kelly, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Oliver Jackson, drums

Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers “Pink Champagne” composed by Liggins from Joe Liggins & the Honeydrippers (1950) on Specialty Records — Joe Liggins orchestra, Liggins on piano, vocals

Louis Jordan “Reet, petite, and gone” composed by Jordan from Five Guys Named Moe (1991) on decca — Louis Jordan, tenor, vocals

 

 

 

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