Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 24, 2015

While some are away (on a Jazz Cruise!), the rest of us can still play. This week's participant's were Gene on drums, Sam on bass and trumpet, Jack on trumpet, your scribe on alto (all fixed thanks to the folks at Schmitt Music in Brooklyn Center), Wes on tenor and clarinet, and Dick on vocals (including a surprise--a quite excellent chorus whistling).

We got things kicked off with Sam calling Benny Goodman's "Air Mail Special."(It's trickier than it sounds on the recording.) Greg chose last week's recording feature, McHugh and Fields' "On the Sunny Side of the Street." Ellington's "Creole Love Call" proved a soulful choice by Jack. We then tried out an arrangement of Lane and Harburg's "Old Devil Moon"--something to work on over a few months, perhaps for the Freedom Jazz Festival. Wes pulled out the melodically tricky but harmonically satisfying "Ceora"by Lee Morgan. Gene changed things up with Lester Young and Buddy Feyne's "Jumpin' with Symphony Sid." Back around the circle to Sam, who introduced most of us to "Sugar"--the one by Stanley Turrentine, not the Archies. Greg thought "Cry Me A River" would be fun, and it was. Next, I called for "Tangerine," a great Mercer/Schertzinger collaboration. Dick joined the group, and had the opportunity to take two: Ahlert and Turk's "Mean to Me," and "How High the Moon," by Lewis and Hamilton. Wes went looking through the book and came up with Kern and Hammerstein's "All the Things You Are"; we even did the intro. Two more from vocalist Dick: "I'm Confessin'" and Ahbez's "Nature Boy." At Sam's request, we gave Thielman and Gimbel's "Bluesette" a whirl. We closed out the afternoon with Dick's choice, the Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer classic, "Skylark."

Participant's Picks
This week's choices for recordings you might want to hear.

Greg has a follow-up from last week: "On the Sunny Side of the Street" recorded by Teddy Wilson.

Wes suggests we listen to Dizzy Gillespie performing his original, "Groovin' High." I've included a 1945 Sextet recording, and a 1981 "Dream Band" live version.

Dick wants us all to "Straighten Up and Fly Right" with the Nat King Cole Trio.

Sam is eager to have you listen to George Benson’s 1976 “Affirmation.”

I am a bit partial to Zoot Sims, Oscar Peterson, and Joe Pass. Here they are joined by Grady Tate and George Mraz for "I Got Rhythm."



Saturday, January 17, 2015

After weeks of trying, Sam has finally gotten me to take over as scribe of the Saturday workshop sessions.

In order of appearance, our players this week were Sam (bass and trumpet), Gene (drums), yours truly (the first thing I did was drop my alto on the floor and jam the octave key, which left me with nothing to do but plunk out some chords on the piano), Wes (tenor), Ray (bass, which freed Sam up to play more trumpet than usual), Carl (trombone), Annie (vocals) and Dick (vocals).

Tunes covered this week:
It Might As Well Be Spring
It Could Happen To You
My Little Suede Shoes
My Old Flame
Cousin Mary
The Nearness of You
Early Autumn
I Thought About You
Dear Old Stockholm
Gravy Waltz
Out Of Nowhere
Never Let Me Go
Black Orpheus
Groovin' High
In the Still of the Night
I Could Write A Book
The Way You Look Tonight
Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
I Remember You

New feature: Workshop members' picks of recordings they want us to hear.
Since no one knows about this feature yet, I'll get us kicked off with several recordings of "On The Sunny Side of the Street"(Jimmy McHugh (music), Dorothy Fields (lyrics)).

The first is the classic version from Tommy Dorsey and the Clark Sisters.
Ella swings it with a bunch of people who do not seem to belong there.
Here's Dizzy Gillespie and who on tenor? Is that Sonny Stitt?
And, of course, Johnny Hodges.


Monday, January 12, 2015

January 10, 2015

I’ve Got You Under My Skin, This Can’t Be Love, How High The Moon, Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You, The Girl From Ipanema, Eb’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too, Blame It On My Youth, Bye, Bye Blackbird, Cousin Mary, Close Your Eyes, Come Rain Or Come Shine, Bag Is Groove, Dindi, Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me, Giant Steps, Don’t Explain, Lets Fall In Love.


Gene-Drums, Sam-Bass, Steve M-Alto, Steve H-Alto, Craig-Guitar, Todd-Trumpet,
Jack-Trumpet, Wes-Tenor/Clarinet, Carl-Trombone..