Month: September 2016

Bud, Benny and the High Holidays

With the approach the High Holidays of the Jewish faith each year, I think of the pioneering jazz tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman. Although Bud was Jewish, I think it accurate to describe him as a secular or non-practicing Jew. However he practiced his faith, he was aware of the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah […]

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Mary Lou Williams…First Woman of Swing

I have recently been re-reading the wonderful biography of pianist/arranger/composer Mary Lou Williams entitled “Morning Glory,” by Linda Dahl, (1999) University of California Press. I have long been beguiled by Ms. Williams’s compositions and arrangements, especially those she wrote for Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy in the 1930s. These include:”Walkin’ and Swingin’,” “Lotta Sax […]

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“King Porter Stomp” (1935) Benny Goodman

Composed by Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton, arranged by Fletcher Henderson. Recorded on July 1, 1935 by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra for Victor Records in New York. Benny Goodman, clarinet, directing: Roland B.”Bunny” Berigan, first and solo trumpet; Ralph Muzzillo and Nate Kazebier, trumpets; Jack Lacey and Sterling “Red” Ballard, trombones; Nuncio “Toots” Mondello, first […]

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Tales from the Kingdom of Swing

Tale Number One: “Hey Eugene, take the gum out of your mouth.” The swing era was not only a time when wonderful music was being made, it was a time when interesting personalities were very often at the center of the music making. One of the most interesting and colorful personalities of the swing era […]

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“Begin the Beguine” (1938) Artie Shaw

  “Begin the Beguine” composed by Cole Porter; arranged by Jerry Gray Recorded by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra for RCA Bluebird on July 24, 1938 in New York. Artie Shaw, clarinet, directing: John Best, first trumpet; Chuck Peterson and Claude Bowen, trumpets; George Arus, first trombone; Harry Rodgers and Russell Brown, trombones; Les Robinson, […]

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“It Don’t Mean a Thing…If It Ain’t Got That Swing” (1932) Duke Ellington

  “It Don’t Mean a Thing…If It Ain’t Got That Swing” music, lyric and arrangement by Duke Ellington. Recorded by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra on February 2, 1932 for Brunswick Records in New York. Duke Ellington, piano, directing: Arthur Whetsel, Freddy Jenkins, Charles M. “Cootie” Williams, trumpets; Lawrence Brown, Joseph “Tricky Sam” Nanton, trombones; […]

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