Monday, June 30, 2014
Song:I'm Into Somethin' Good
Album:Chains: The Dimension Links 1962-1964
Most fans are familiar with Herman's Hermits' 1965 smash hit I'm Into Somethin' Good. But the song was originally recorded and charted for former The Cookies member Earl-Jean "Jeanie" McCrae. Earl-Jean was the younger sister of Darlene McCrae of the Cookies. The Cookies had been around since 1954 and were Ray Charles' backup singers the Raelettes. Darlene reformed The Cookies in 1961 and Earl-Jean was a member of the group at that time. Though The Cookies were mainly used as backup singers for various Brill Building recordings, Carole King and Gerry Goffin signed them to their own label Dimension. Of course The Cookies' biggest hit was Don't Say Nothin' Bad (About My Baby) in 1963. Earl-Jean got pregnant while on tour and the father turned out to be Gerry Goffin. Earl-Jean left The Cookies in 1964 and signed a solo contract with Columbia Pictures owned Colpix Records. Goffin and King continued to write and produce Earl-Jean's recordings. I'm Into Somethin' Good reached #38 on the Billboard Hot 100. Obviously when the song became a big hit for Herman's Hermits, this original version was forgotten. Earl-Jean recorded a few more songs with no success. She quit the music business and opened a day care center. You can get all of Earl-Jean's solo recordings on this Cookies comp from RPM Records. Here's a video of I'm Into Something Good by Earl-Jean.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
The best description of The Bad Plus is they are jazz rock fusion for the new millennium. They like to take chances. Ten years ago Columbia Records thought The Bad Plus could be a mainstream success. But that seems silly now. Physical Cities is from their 2007 CD Prog. Pianist Ethan Iverson is from Wisconsin and bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King are from Minneapolis. They first performed as The Bad Plus in 1990 but then did individual things before reuniting in 2001. They signed with Columbia in 2003. Their music is a mix of original compositions and jazz covers of iconic songs like Smells Like Teen Spirit and Heart Of Glass. And I guess that was the hook Columbia was going to exploit. After three Columbia CDs, The Bad Plus left and signed with Telarc's Heads Up label. The 2007 CD Prog was their first release on Heads Up. Physical Cities was written by Reid Anderson. But there are also covers of Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Life On Mars and This Guy's In Love With You. It's available as a budget CD. After two CDs on Heads Up, The Bad Plus recorded two CDs for E1. Their latest CD was released Mar. 2014 on Sony Masterworks. It is an adaptation of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite Of Spring and probably their most adventurous CD to date. The Bad Plus just appeared at the Ottawa Jazz Festival and tour Europe next month. Here's a video for Physical Cities by The Bad Plus.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Song:The Girl From Ipanema
Album:Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings
The Girl From Ipanema is the most famous song written by the greatest Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. The song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964 when it was recorded by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto featuring Astrud Gilberto on vocals. Jobim played piano on the record. So Brazilian music was getting mainstream attention and Jobim moved to the US. So it's not surprising that Brazilian music got Frank Sinatra's attention. So while he was riding high on the charts with the 1966 hit Strangers In The Night, Sinatra approached Jobim about recording together. Jobim suggested they work with Verve Records arranger Claus Ogerman who had worked with Jobim on his last few albums. It was titled Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim. Mostly the two record Jobim songs including The Girl From Ipanema. Jobim also appeared on the 1967 TV special A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim. What a lot of fans may not know is that Sinatra and Jobim recorded a second album in 1969 but it wasn't released. This was obviously recorded because the first album was highly acclaimed. The album was titled Sinatra-Jobim and it was arranged by Brazilian composer Eumir Deodato and conducted by former Columbia Pictures house composer Morris Stoloff. This album was briefly released on 8-track in 1970 and Sinatra pulled it over concerns it wouldn't sell. Seven of the songs from this album were released on the 1971 album Sinatra & Company with some songs Sinatra recorded with arranger Don Costa. In 1979. Warner Bros. Brazil released the LP Sinatra-Jobim Sessions containing both albums. But the second LP had never been released in its entirety in the US until Concord released The Complete Reprise Recordings in 2010. This is the definitive CD for those interested in Sinatra's recordings with Jobim. Here's Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim performing The Girl From Ipanema on the 1967 TV special A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Album:No Beginning No End
Like his buddy Robert Glasper, Jose James straddles the line between jazz and soul. Both guys are signed to Blue Note Records. I would describe James as a Neo Soul vocalist with jazz leanings. He was born Jan. 20, 1978 in Minneapolis. James says his main influences are John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday. He moved to New York City to study at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He studied with legendary jazz drummer Chico Hamilton and pianist Junior Mance. James' big break came when he got the attention of BBC DJ Gilles Peterson and recorded two CDs for Peterson's Brownswood label. Like a lot of DJs, Peterson has a good ear and is usually ahead of the curve setting musical trends. So James' Brownswood recordings generated a lot of grass roots buzz in Neo Soul. Then he recorded the 2010 CD For All We Know with pianist Jef Neve for Impulse Records. This led to a contract with Blue Note Records probably encouraged by Robert Glasper who was already on Blue Note. The 2013 CD No Beginning No End was James' Blue Note debut. James writes and produces a lot of the songs with veteran session musicians Pino Palladino and Richard Spaven. He wrote Vanguard with Robert Glasper and The Robert Glasper Experiment is the band on this track. R & B singer songwriter Emily King appears on two songs and Moroccan singer Hindi Zahra appears on one song. James' latest CD While You Were Sleeping was released on June 2, 2014. Though Jose James could achieve mainstream success, he has enough of a fanbase that he doesn't need it. He is starting a European tour next week followed by a Japanese tour. I might check him out if he comes my way. Here's Jose James performing Vanguard at the 2013 Black Sea Jazz Festival in Batumi, Georgia.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Song:I'm Movin' On
Album:Playlist: The Very Best of Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson was so popular in the early 80s that Columbia Records allowed him to do whatever he wanted. Of course Nelson's duets became a running joke. One of things he wanted to do is record with country music legends. Columbia was fine with all of that. Nelson's 1983 album with Merle Haggard Pancho & Lefty was a big success. In 1980, Nelson recorded the album San Antonio Rose with Ray Price. Then he recorded albums with Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, Webb Pierce, Dolly Parton, Brenda Lee, the music from the film Songwriter with Kris Kristofferson and Faron Young. Canadian country music legend Hank Snow retired in 1979. But Nelson convinced Snow to return one last time for the 1985 album Brand of my Heart. I'm Movin' On was Snow's first number one country hit in 1950. So it's a very iconic song and it's not surprising that Nelson would want to record it with Snow. In 2000, this album was released on CD as a twofer with the 1982 album In The Jailhouse Now featuring Webb Pierce. That CD is out of print. But you can get I'm Movin On on this budget comp that also has duets with Waylon Jennings, Maty Kay Place and Faron Young. Nelson also recorded I'm Movin' On on the 2011 CD Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles with Wynton Marsalis. Charles had a hit with I'm Movin' On in 1959. BTW, Brand of my Heart was Hank Snow's final recording. Here's a video for I'm Movin' On by Willie Nelson and Hank Snow.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
|Hiroyo Matsumoto at ZERO 1|
Song:Lady Sings The Blues
Album:Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959) to Billie with Love From Dee Dee Bridgewater
Singer Dee Dee Bridgewater started out in jazz in the 70s and took a detour to musical theater and won a Tony. She rediscovered jazz when she moved to Europe in the 80s and then returned to the US in the 90s when she signed with Verve Records. She has been very successful with tribute albums to Horace Silver, Ella Fitzgerald and this 2010 tribute to Billie Holiday. She was born Denise Garrett May 27, 1950 in Memphis and grew up in Flint, MI. Her dad Matthew Garrett played trumpet and taught at a local high school. As a teen, Dee Dee sang in local clubs and toured the Soviet Union in 1969 as part of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign jazz band. She married trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater in 1970 and they moved to New York City. Cecil was in Horace Silver's band and Dee Dee was vocalist for The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. She recorded her debut album Afro Blue in 1974. Then she played Glinda The Good Witch in the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz. Dee Dee won a Tony for Best Featured actress and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. This led to a record deal with Elektra Records and three late 70s disco albums. Dee Dee moved to France in the 80s and performed in the musicals Sophisticated Ladies and Lady Day. She returned to the US in 1989 and signed with Verve Records in 1992. The 1995 album Love and Peace: A Tribute To Horace Silver earned her a Grammy nomination and she won two Grammys for the 1998 album Dear Ella. Dee Dee started her own label DDB Records run by her oldest daughter Tulani Bridgewater. She is also Dee Dee's manager. They signed with EmArcy Records and Eleanora Fagan was released in 2010. Dee Dee won a Best Jazz Vocal Grammy. Pianist Edsel Gomez is the arranger. Other musicians are James Carter on sax, Christian McBride on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. Dee Dee's latest CD Midnight Sun was released in 2011. Here is Dee Dee Bridgewater with James Carter on sax, Edsel Gomez on piano, Kenny Davis on bass and Lewis Nash on drums performing Lady Sings The Blues at the 2010 North Sea Jazz Festival in The Netherlands.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Song:The Whiskey Ain't Workin'
Album:The Very Best Of Travis Tritt
Travis Tritt was one of the biggest country music stars of the early 90s. He had five number one country hits. The Whiskey Ain't Working reached #2 and was from his biggest selling album It's All About To Change. He was born Feb. 9, 1963 in Marietta, GA. He sang in church as a child and taught himself to play guitar. After he graduated from high school, Tritt worked for an air conditioning company while playing clubs at night. His dad didn't think he would be successful in music and his mom wanted him to sing Christian music. Tritt quit his day job and worked on demos with Warner Bros. exec Danny Davenport. He signed with Warners in 1987. His deal was three singles would be released. If one of them was a hit, Tritt would get to record a full album. His first single Country Club reached #9 on the Country Singles chart in 1989. And then his second single Help Me Hold On was Tritt's first number one country hit. The 1991 album It's All About To Change was his breakthrough album. It was certified 3XPlatinum and had four top five hits including the number one hit Anymore. The Whiskey Ain't Workin' reached #2. Marty Stuart wrote the song with Ronny Scaife. He offered it to Tritt backstage at the CMA Awards show. Tritt's producer Gregg Brown suggested they record it together. They won a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. Ronny Scaife started out in the 70s with the band Shylo and he was in country star Charly McClain's band in the 80s. And he was a session guitarist and songwriter for hire. Scaife died in 2010. Tritt and Stuart toured together and continue to work together. Tritt's success continued but he started to fade in the late 90s. He left Warner Bros. for Columbia for the 2000 CD Down The Road I Go. That album did well but when his next two CDs didn't perform well, he left Columbia in 2005. You can get all his Warners hits on this Rhino budget comp. His latest CD The Calm After... was released by Post Oak Records July 2013. He is currently touring but obviously his big success is behind him. Here's the video for The Whiskey Ain't Workin' by Travis Tritt featuring Marty Stuart.
Monday, June 23, 2014
|Robert Randolph, Andrew Prince|
Here's the fight video from Saturday's WSOF show with Jessica Aguilar vs Emi Fujino. The fight went the full five rounds as expected but it was an easy win for Jessica which I also expected. Emi Fujino is very tough. All her losses have gone the distance. I'm sure Jessica knew that so she paced herself very well. She bloodied Emi's nose in round one and it affected Emi's breathing. Jessica took one shot at a finish in round three. But her arm choke was never applied properly and it took her a while to recognize that and she switched to ground and pound. By that time, it was too late in the round to get a finish. So Jessica went back to outpunching Emi in the last two rounds. I scored the fight 50-44 for Jessica and so did the judges. Emi Fujino gets a lot of credit for toughness. But that doesn't make her an elite fighter. I don't know why she can't get over that hump. But at age 33, it may be too late for her to figure it out. In the other women's match on the show, Ashlee Evans-Smith danced around with boxer turned MMA fighter Marceia Allen for two rounds. I scored Marceia ahead after two rounds. I guess Ashlee's light bulb went on and in round three, she took Marceia down and finished her easily. I was discussing this on Twitter afterwards and I'll never understand why some fighters want to beat their opponents at their own game. Because once Ashlee used her strength to exploit Marceia's weakness, she finished the fight. Maybe Ashlee is getting paid by the hour. Ha ha. Enjoy the video.
Song:Some Enchanted Evening
Album:Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific: The New Broadway Cast Recording
Paulo Szot is an internationally renowned baritone opera singer. He won a Tony Award for playing Emile De Becque in the 2008 Broadway revival of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific. But mostly he performs in theatrical operas. He was born July 7, 1969 in Brazil. His parents were Polish immigrants who moved to Brazil after WWII. Szot trained in classical piano and violin and then ballet. His hopes for a dance career were ended by a knee injury. But his teacher suggested Szot try singing. He studied at Jagiellonian in Poland and joined the Slask Song and Dance Ensemble. He sang for several opera companies in Brazil until he moved to the US in 2003 to work for the New York City Opera. Since then he has performed with opera companies worldwide. Obviously the producers of the 2008 Broadway revival spotted Szot performing with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and cast him as Emile De Becque. It's a role that requires an opera singer but one that can act. That's why in the 1958 film, The producers hired Rosanno Brazzi but dubbed him with an opera singer. Szot has a lot of stage experience and so he was the right guy for playing the role on Broadway. The show ran for two years so it was very successful. And Szot won a Tony Award. He also performed in the 2011 London production of South Pacific. Szot has never recorded an album. Maybe he should. He regularly performs at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and has returned to Brazil for some performances. Here's Paulo Szot performing Some Enchanted Evening in South Pacific from the PBS show Live From Lincoln Center 2010.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Album:Ultimate 50s Collection
Short Shorts was a top five hit in 1958. It turned out to be the only big hit for The Royal Teens. The group was from Fort Lee, NJ and were originally called The Royals and then The Royal Tones. They were forced to change the name to The Royal Teens because those group names were already taken. They didn't like the name The Royal Teens. The leader of The Royal Teens was pianist Bob Gaudio. He is best known as the co-founder of The Four Seasons. Other members were Billy Crandall on sax, Billy Dalton on guitar and Tom Austin on drums. Short Shorts came from an instrumental jam the group would perform on stage. Gaudio and Austin were trying to come up with a title for the song when they saw two girls wearing shorts so short they should be illegal. They were messing around with some leftover recording studio time and they improvised some words for this instrumental. Producer Leo Rodgers brought in a couple of girls to sing the refrain We Wear Short Shorts. After the song was a local hit in New York City, Power Records sold it to ABC-Paramount and it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. So now they had to tour. But Billy Crandall was only 14 years old so his parents wouldn't let him tour. He was replaced by Larry Qualiano. The Royal Teens didn't have another big hit. You can get Short Shorts on this 3CD Collectables various artists comp. Of course Bob Gaudio went on to form The Four Seasons. He was replaced by Al Kooper. The Royal Teens split up in 1959. Leo Rodgers tried to revive The Royal Teens in 1962 and there have been various versions of the group over the years. Billy Crandall was the lead singer of the 1966 hit Lies by The Knickerbockers. Here are the Royal Teens performing Short Shorts in the 1959 film Let's Rock.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Song:3 X 7 = 21
Album:Let The Good Times Roll Vol. 2
Here's a nice little slice of New Orleans R & B that has historical significance because it was the very first recording session produced by Dave Bartholomew. Jewel King had a brief recording career that ended because of her husband's selfishness. She was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1928 and moved to New Orleans in the mid-40s. She played local clubs and recorded a couple of songs for DeLuxe Records that were not released. But her next visit to a recording studio was Cosimo's and that was the right place to go because she met legendary producer Dave Bartholomew. He had just signed a production deal with Imperial Records and was about to record his first session. The date was Nov. 29, 1949. Jewel recorded four songs including 3 X 7 = 21 and Tommy Ridgely recorded his single Shrewsbury Blues. Bartholomew led the backup band which included Joe Harris, Herb Hardesty, Red Tyler, Salvador Doucette, Ernest McLean, Frank Fields and Earl Palmer. 3 X 7 = 21 has a great sax solo by Tyler. 3 X 7 = 21 reached #4 on the R & B charts in 1950. At the same time, Fats Domino's The Fat Man charted. So Imperial Records owner Lew Chudd wanted to send Domino and Jewel on a national tour with Jewel headlining. Jewel would sing with Domino's band. Jewel's husband was bandleader Jack Scott and he wouldn't let her tour unless it was with his band. She backed out and was replaced by Ridgely. This turned out to be a huge mistake as subsequent singles didn't sell and by 1952, Jewel and her husband moved back to Texas. This is where it gets confusing. Imperial released a new version of 3 X 7 = 21 in 1956 credited to Jewel King. But it's not her singing. Different versions may be on different CDs. I don't think a lot of people are aware that there are two versions. And there is only one version on Youtube so I'm not sure which version is real. The one in the Youtube video is on this Liberty Records various artists budget CD that is a great intro to classic New Orleans R & B. Here's a video for 3 X 7 = 21 by Jewel King. Thanks to Dik de Heer of Black Cat Rockabilly for the Jewel King info.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Jackie Ryan is a jazz singer from San Francisco. She has been recording on her own label since 2000 and has worked with many jazz luminaries. Her father is a classically trained Irish baritone. Her mother moved from Acapulco, Mexico to San Francisco with her family. Her mom died when Jackie was 15. Jackie got a big break when legendary jazz singer Eddie Jefferson took a liking to her and this led to her moving to England to be the house singer at the famed Ronnie Scott's club in London. When she returned to San Francisco, she recorded and toured with a who's who of jazz including Clark Terry, Toots Thielemans, Barry Harris and Red Holloway. She records for her own label Open Art Records. Speak Low is from the 2009 2CD set Doozy. Her musical director is pianist Cyrus Chestnut. Other musicians are Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, Eric Alexander on sax, Romero Lubambo on guitar, Ray Drummond on bass and Carl Allen on drums. Speak Low was written by Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash and sung by Mary Martin in the 1943 show One Touch Of Venus. Guy Lombardo had a hit with Speak Low in 1944. Since then, Speak Low has become a jazz standard that has been recorded by Laurindo Almeida and Bud Shank, Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Clark, Stan Kenton and many others. Jackie Ryan's latest solo CD Listen Here was released Jan. 2013. She also appears on Swing Fever by Grandmasters Of Jazz featuring Clark Terry, Buddy Defranco and Terry Gibbs which was released Oct. 2013. Jazz vocal fans should check out Jackie Ryan. Here's Jackie Ryan with Steve Campos on flugelhorn, Larry Dunlap on piano, Ruth Davies on bass and Deszon Claiborne on drums performing Speak Low at Yoshi's in San Francisco 2009.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Song:Theme From A Summer Place
Album:16 Most Requested Hits
As musical director at Columbia Records in the 50s, Percy Faith arranged and conducted many hits by Doris Day, Tony Bennett and many others. But he also recorded his own albums and Theme From A Summer Place topped the charts in 1960 and is the biggest instrumental hit of all time. He was born Apr. 7, 1908 in Toronto. He was a piano prodigy and he gave a recital at Massey Hall at age 15. His plans for a career as a concert pianist ended when his hands were burned in a fire. So he turned to arranging and conducting. He had his own radio show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the 30s. When the CBC cut his budget, Faith moved to Chicago and then to New York to work for NBC. He also recorded for Decca and RCA. Faith joined Columbia Records in 1950 and was the musical director at their New York studio for the next two decades. He wrote and produced hits for Burl Ives, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett and Guy Mitchell. Faith's recording of Delicado topped the charts in 1952 and his recording of the Theme From Moulin Rouge featuring vocals by Felicia Sanders topped the charts in 1953. He also won an Oscar for adapting the music for the 1955 film Love Me Or Leave Me starring Doris Day as Ruth Etting. And he composed the music for the TV series The Virginian. But his biggest success was when Theme From A Summer Place topped the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks in 1960. He won a Record of the Year Grammy in 1961. A Summer Place was a hit 1959 film starring Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee. It was aimed at young people so it's not a surprise that the theme would be popular with teens. The song was written by legendary film composer Max Steiner who invented film scores. In 1976, a disco version of Theme From A Summer Place topped the dance charts. You can get all of Faith's hits on this budget comp. As the 60s progressed, Faith copied his buddy Ray Conniff and used a chorus more frequently. Faith continued to get airplay on Adult Contemporary radio but he never had another pop hit. Percy Faith died of cancer on Feb. 9, 1976 at age 67. Here's Percy Faith performing Theme From A Summer Place 1960.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Song:Milonga Is Coming
Album:If You Love Me
Richard Galliano is generally thought to be the heir to the accordion throne of Astor Piazzolla. The big difference is Galliano plays jazz on the accordion. On this 2007 CD, he plays with vibraphone legend Gary Burton who recorded with Piazzolla in the 80s. Galliano was born Dec. 12, 1950 in Cannes, France and his father taught him to play the accordion. Then he got into jazz and copied Clifford Brown trumpet solos on the accordion. Other than his dad, his big influences were Argentine accordionist Astor Piazzolla and especially Israeli accordionist Yehuda Oppenheimer. Trying to get a jazz gig with an accordion proved to be challenging so in the 70s, Galliano worked with French singer Claude Nougaro and his orchestra. But eventually he worked as a sideman for Chet Baker, Joe Zawinul, Toots Thielemans and Ron Carter. Galliano first recorded as a leader in the early 90s when he signed with Dreyfus Jazz. On this 2007 CD If You Love Me, he teams up with vibraphonist Gary Burton who recorded with Piazzolla in the 80s. Milonga Is Coming was a song Burton recorded with Piazzolla in 1988. There is a clip of them performing together but it's very poor quality. Other musicians on this album are veteran sidemen George Mraz on bass and Clarence Penn on drums. Though Galliano still performs jazz, his recent albums have been tributes to Vivaldi, Bach and film composer Nino Rota for Duetsche Grammophon. The Rota CD is a jazz album but the other two are classical. His latest CD Sentimentale is on Resonance Records. Galliano is currently on tour in Europe. Here's Richard Galliano featuring Gary Burton performing Milonga Is Coming in Germany 2007.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Song:Bye Bye Boyfriend
Canadian singer songwriter Fefe Dobson was poised to be an international star with her 2003 single Bye Bye Boyfriend. But her record company cancelled her second album and contract and Fefe has been trying reestablish herself since then. She has had success as a songwriter and she will release a new CD this year. She was born Feb. 28, 1985 in the east Toronto suburb of Scarborough, ON. She sent demos to record companies as a teen and Jive Records tried to sign her when she was 13. They were going to try to turn her into a teen R & B star like Brandy. Fefe didn't sign with them and met Jay Levine of The Philosopher Kings and Prozzak. She signed with Nelly Furtado's manager Chris Smith. Universal Music Canada was interested in Fefe but Smith wanted a US record deal. Island/Def Jam president Lyor Cohen flew to Toronto for a showcase and signed her. Her debut CD Fefe Dobson was released Dec. 2003. Bye Bye Boyfriend was the first single and it reached #8 on the Canadian Singles chart. It is her biggest hit to date. The album did well in Canada but Fefe didn't break through in the US which is what Island/Def Jam wanted. Fefe recorded her second CD Sunday Love with producer Matthew Wilder. It was scheduled for a 2006 release. When the first two singles did poorly, Island/Def Jam cancelled the CD and dropped Fefe. Part of the problem is that as a black artist, Fefe was stereotyped as R & B when she preferred a hard edged alternative rock sound. While attempting to get a new record deal, Fefe had success when her songs were recorded by Miley Cyrus and Jordin Sparks. While working on her CD Joy with veteran Canadian producer Bob Ezrin, Fefe was re-signed by Island's 21 Music label. Joy was released in 2010. It did OK in Canada but did not break through in the US. Maybe she will have better luck with her new CD Firebird. Three singles have been released but no release date for Firebird has been announced. We'll see how it does. I think time may have passed Fefe Dobson by. Here's the video for Bye Bye Boyfriend by Fefe Dobson.
Monday, June 16, 2014
|Sugi Rock, Ayaka Hamasaki|
Song:Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)
Album:Jingle Bell Jazz
I am asked about Christmas jazz CDs all the time and I think this is the first time I have ever featured a Christmas jazz CD. It's an oddball track recorded for the 1962 various artists CD Jingle Bell Jazz. And I'm sure many jazz fans don't know that jazz vocal legend Bob Dorough recorded with Davis. Dorough is best known for writing, producing and sometimes singing the music for the popular 70s ABC kids educational series Schoolhouse Rock. He's been around the New York jazz scene since the 50s. And he's still around. He celebrated his 90th birthday on Dec. 12, 2013. Blue Xmas was recorded in Aug. 1962 around the time Davis was recording the 1963 album Quiet Nights. Columbia Records was preparing a various artists Christmas album. They asked Davis to record a song for the album with Bob Dorough. Davis wasn't crazy about the idea but he went along with it to please Columbia. Blue Xmas was one of two songs recorded at the session. The band was Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Frank Rehak on trombone, Paul Chambers on bass, Jimmy Cobb on drums and Willie Bobo on congas. This session has historical significance as it was the first time Shorter recorded with Davis. He plays the sax solo on Blue Xmas. Of course Shorter continued to play with Davis until he left to form Weather Report in 1970. Columbia released Jingle Bell Jazz in Oct. 1962. The second song recorded at this session was Devil May Care. Both songs were released on the 1965 European Miles Davis odds and ends LP Facets which has never been released on CD. Devil May Care was added to the 1967 Davis album Sorcerer. Columbia released Jingle Bell Jazz on CD in 1990. They took six of the songs from the original Jingle Bell Jazz LP by Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck and others and merged it with the 1981 various artists Christmas LP God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen featuring Dexter Gordon, McCoy Tyner and others. Though traditionalists will not like the changes and will prefer the original 1962 Jingle Bell Jazz, I have heard God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen and it's a good album. Jingle Bell Jazz is a budget CD so it's worth getting. I wish the cover was better. Here's a video for Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern) by Miles Davis featuring Bob Dorough.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Here is the match video of Valerie Letourneau vs Elizabeth Phillips from last night's UFC show in Vancouver. Both women deserve a lot of credit for stepping up on short notice. I thought the more experienced Valerie would pace herself better and outpoint Elizabeth. Elizabeth's only hope was to win by an early finish. And she almost did that. But then she quickly ran out of gas. Elizabeth came out quickly and won the first round. She landed some hard shots including an overhand right that damaged Valerie's left eye. I think she may have suffered a broken orbital bone. Elizabeth's corner kept telling her to go for a takedown. But Valerie defended well and there were no takedowns in this fight. By the end of round one, Elizabeth was already tired and Valerie's high kick to the head seemed to take a lot out of her. Though Valerie was never close to finishing Elizabeth, she did enough in round two and three to outpoint Elizabeth. I'd like to see what Elizabeth could do with a full training camp. We may have a diamond in the rough. She's pretty damn tough already. I scored the fight 29-28 for Valerie. The judges gave her a split decision. The win gets Valerie another UFC fight but I'm not sold on her yet. She is now training at America's Top Team in Florida. Maybe she's improved down there training with guys like Hector Lombard and Mike Brown who were in her corner. Her poor performance in the TUF18 qualifying match still nags at me. This win does not erase that. Enjoy the video!
Song:So Long, Eric
Album:Town Hall Concert
This 1964 band was the end of a very productive period for legendary bassist Charles Mingus. The band came to a screeching halt when Eric Dolphy died while they were on tour in Europe. After that, Mingus started a family and even quit music until he returned in the 70s. This period began with the 1959 classic album Mingus Ah Um and continued with albums like Money Jungle with Duke Ellington and Max Roach in 1961 and The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady in 1963. In 1964, Mingus formed one of his best known bands to tour Europe. The band included Eric Dolphy and Clifford Jordan on sax, Johnny Coles on trumpet, Jaki Byard on piano and Dannie Richmond on drums. Mingus grew up with Dolphy in Los Angeles. Richmond had been Mingus' drummer since 1957 and Byard played on The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. As the band was rehearsing, Dolphy told Mingus he planned to remain in Europe after the tour. He believed jazz musicians were more appreciated in Europe. So Mingus wrote So Long, Eric as a tribute to Dolphy. The band played a couple of warm up concerts before the tour including the Apr. 9, 1964 show at the Town Hall in New York City. You can get it as a budget CD. There are several CDs available from the European part of the tour. You'll notice that Johnny Coles is not on some of those recordings. Coles got sick halfway through the tour and he was not replaced. The band ended when Eric Dolphy died in Berlin on June 29, 1964. He collapsed while on stage and went into a diabetic coma. So this band was Dolphy's last hurrah and he is outstanding. Jaki Byard was also a standout and he was a guy who normally didn't get much critical acclaim. Mingus didn't really do much for the rest of the 60s. He married Sue Mingus in 1966 and they had a daughter. He was evicted from his New York apartment for non payment of rent in 1966. He even quit music for a while. This period is chronicled in Thomas Reichman's documentary Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968. Mingus returned to music in the 70s with albums like Changes. But then he got sick with ALS and cancer and died on Jan. 5, 1979 at age 56. This band is just one of many Charles Mingus recordings that should be essential for jazz fans. Here's Charles Mingus performing So Long, Eric in Belgium Apr. 19, 1964.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Album:David and Jonathan
Of course most folks are familiar with The Beatles classic Michelle. But this cover of Michelle by David and Jonathan was a US top 20 hit in 1966. I think a lot of listeners thought the record was by Chad and Jeremy. David and Jonathan? They had one other hit in England. They are the very successful songwriting team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. Both guys are from Bristol, England. Greenaway was a member of The Kestrels. When Cook joined the Kestrels in 1964, they started writing together. Their first big hit was You've Got Your Troubles by The Fortunes in 1965. Then they started recording together as David and Jonathan. The odd thing was they were on EMI just like The Beatles and George Martin was their producer. Michelle was their second single and it reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. In those days, anything remotely related to The Beatles was likely to be a hit. That was David and Jonathan's only hit in North America but Lovers Of The World Unite reached #7 on the British Singles chart. They also sang the theme for the 1966 film Modesty Blaise. When Greenway and Cook started to have a lot of success as songwriters, they decided to quit recording as a duo. You can get all their recordings on this comp from RPM Records. Greenaway and Cook continued to write many hits together until Cook moved to Nashville in 1975. Cook was also lead singer of the late 60s group Blue Mink. Here's a video for Michelle by David and Jonathan.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Quickie QM-7 Powerchair
QRamp Modular Access System
Body-Up Lift and Transfer Chair
Many disabled folks are unable to transfer to and from anything. And usually the lifts that I have seen are cumbersome and hard to use at home. Body Up aims to change that. Though it looks like a modified wheelchair, you'll notice that it has a sling for a seat. And it slides underneath a bed. So instead of the disorientation one might feel in a standard lift, it acts more like a chair. Of course the Body Up has a lifting mechanism and the sling is easily opened using belts. It also takes up less space than lifts that I have seen. And the caregiver doesn't have to be a bodybuilder to use it. So it looks like a solution for the home user. Body Up is manufactured in Greece and is very popular in Europe. It is now just entering the North American market through Mobility Innovations in Pennsylvania. Though he has sold product to Canadians through his website, he is looking for a Canadian distributor. Currently Body Up can carry up to 220lb but the manufacturer is developing a version of the product that can handle even larger folks. For more info, call 1-877-228-9988 or mobilityinnovationsllc.com.
That's it for new products at this year's People In Motion show. It should be interesting to see how the show develops with a new owner. Check out my blog at frankp316.blogspot.com and I am on Twitter @frankp316.
Song:See You Tonight
Album:See You Tonight: Deluxe Version
Scotty McCreery was 17 years old when he won season ten of American Idol in 2011. This was at a time when AI producers thought younger was better. After the usual AI hangover, he is starting to have success in country music. See You Tonight is his highest charting country single. He was born Oct. 9, 1993 in Raleigh, NC. After winning a couple of local talent contests, McCreery auditioned for American Idol in Milwaukee. The notable thing about him is he's a teenager with a deep voice. I thought he sounded way too much like Josh Turner. And that similarity was going to be a big challenge in selling him to country music fans. So he won AI and Lauren Alaina finished second. Both are very young country singers. The producers of AI thought going really young would spike the ratings but it didn't. The ratings continue to decline and I think AI should be cancelled. When I talk about the AI hangover, obviously in the long run, McCreery is a country singer. But his first album and singles did better on the pop charts. His 2011 debut CD Clear As Day sold over a million copies. It was produced by Rascal Flatts producer Mark Bright. So with McCreery's 2013 CD See You Tonight, Mercury Records got serious about selling McCreery to country fans. They brought in Brad Paisley's producer Frank Rogers. See You Tonight was the first single and it reached #10 on the Country Singles chart. The CD didn't sell anywhere near as well as his first CD but it did better with country fans. McCreery wrote See You Tonight with Zach Crowell and Ashley Gorley. Crowell plays bass for Keith Urban. Gorley has written several hits for Carrie Underwood. Alison Krauss appears on one song. The CD is available in a Deluxe Version with three bonus tracks. It appears that Scotty McCreery is settling into a long career in the country music business at a very young age. Here's the video for See You Tonight by Scotty McCreery.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Song:I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
Album:I Got It Good And That Ain't Bad!
Ivie Anderson was the featured vocalist with The Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1931 to 1942. She was forced to retire due to illness and she died in 1949. Her best known performances include It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Mood Indigo and I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good). She was born July 10, 1905 in Gilroy, CA. She learned to sing in the local convent and trained with Sara Ritt at the Nunnie H. Burroughs Institution in Washington, DC. She started singing professionally when she returned to Los Angeles. She was in the 1925 national touring company of Shuffle Along and she sang with several bands including Curtis Mosby, Paul Howard and she toured with Sonny Clay. Ivie's big break came when she sang with Earl Hines at the Grand Terrace in Chicago in 1930. Duke Ellington was scheduled to open at The Oriental Theater in Chicago in early 1931. It was suggested that he should hire a female vocalist. In the past, clubs usually provided singers. Ellington chose Ivie over May Alix because he thought May was too light skinned. And he was impressed with Ivie's training. Her first big hit with the Ellington band was It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) in 1932. She also sang Stormy Weather long before it became Lena Horne's signature song. Ivie sang All God's Chillun Got Rhythm in the 1937 Marx Brothers film A Day At The Races. Other hits included Solitude and Mood Indigo. Ivie's last big hit with Ellington was I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) in 1942. Ivie retired in 1942 due to asthma and opened the Los Angeles restaurant Ivie's Chicken Shack. She returned to music briefly in 1946 with Charles Mingus, Willie Smith and Lucky Thompson. But her illness got worse and she died on Dec. 27, 1949 at age 44. This comp from Jasmine Records is a good intro to Ivie's music. Here's the Soundie for I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) by Ivie Anderson with The Duke Ellington Orchestra featuring Johnny Hodges on sax. What's a Soundie? They were 1940s short films that played on video juke boxes. I love Soundies.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
This afternoon, Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports reported that the UFC has booked the very first Women's Strawweight bout for UFC Fight Night July 16 in Atlantic City. It will be Brazilian Claudia Gadelha vs Finland's Tina Lahdemaki. Claudia was supposed to be in TUF20 but was pulled after Nova Uniao claimed that she wouldn't be able to make 115lb on the kind of short notice necessary for TUF. Nova Uniao has been very protective of her in the past and it was reported in Brazil several months ago that Claudia would not participate in TUF. She denied it at the time but it turned out to be true. I said at the time that I didn't think it was the real reason and I still don't think it's the real reason because of how Nova Uniao has tried to protect her in the past. That being said, Claudia has elite level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Her record is 11-0 but only one of those fights was at 115. The rest were at 125. So my main doubts about her are can she make 115 consistently and is it an unhealthy cut for her. Remember her last fight in Invicta was cancelled when she got sick after weigh in. I don't have any doubts about her as a fighter. She's really good. But I don't like the coddling. Tina is from Pori, Finland. Her record is 5-0. But she hasn't fought outside Finland and she hasn't fought top level competition. And she took a 2 1/2 year break after two fights in 2010. She returned last year. Her best known opponent to date was Spaniard Karla Benitez. Karla is a kickboxer with zero ground game. Tina took her down and submitted her with an arm triangle choke at the end of round one. I've got the video of the fight so you can check it out for yourself. All of Tina's fights have been at 125lb. Though Claudia is younger than Tina, she has a lot more experience and has fought in front of international audiences. So I would favour Claudia to win handily. Enjoy the fight video.
Album:The Essential George Jones: The Spirit Of Country
When one thinks of George Jones, one thinks of his duets with Tammy Wynette and his 70s hits on Epic Records. White Lightning was Jones' very first number one country hit in 1959 and his music from that era is much different from the later music that most fans are familiar with. Jones first recorded with producer Pappy Daily in 1954 and worked with him at several labels until he signed with Epic in the early 70s. Jones started out with Starday Records and moved to Mercury with Daily in 1957. Jones toured on The Louisiana Hayride with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Jones was urged to try rockabilly influenced by Presley's stardom. But he didn't like doing it and preferred a honky tonk style. So the funny thing about White Lightning is it certainly sounds like rockabilly. It was Jones first number one country hit in 1959 and it's a novelty song and Jones recorded several novelty songs in the early 60s like The Race Is On. But Jones didn't like rock and roll though he could have been a rock and roll star. White Lightning was written by JP Richardson AKA The Big Bopper. He and Jones were very good friends. White Lightning was recorded a week after Richardson died in the tragic plane crash with Richie Valens and Buddy Holly. Jones says he was very drunk at the recording session and recorded 80 takes before they got one they could use. Bassist Buddy Killen was so upset he threatened to kill Jones. That's ironic when you consider what the song is about. Jones' other number one country hits from that era were Tender Years in 1961 and She Thinks I Still Care in 1962. Then Jones and Daily moved to United Artists and later Musicor. This Epic Legacy 2CD comp is expensive but it includes not only Jones' Epic recordings but his Starday, Mercury, UA and Musicor recordings. A similar comp called The Essential George Jones does not include his Musicor recordings. He also re-recorded White Lightning so this comp has the original version. George Jones became a country music legend until his death on Apr. 26, 2013 at age 81. But you don't want to overlook his early hits. Here's George Jones performing White Lighning 1959.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Trombonist Bill Watrous has been a sideman and studio musician since the 60s. And he's led his own big band since the 70s. Space Available was released in 1995. He was born June 8, 1939 in Middletown, CT. His father played trombone so Watrous learned to play at a very early age. While serving in the US Navy, he studied with jazz pianist Herbie Nichols. In the 60s, he spent several years in trombonist Kai Winding's band and also played with Quincy Jones, Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman. Watrous also played trombone in The Merv Griffin Show band. He also played with the jazz rock group Ten Wheel Drive. Then Watrous formed The Manhattan Wildlife Refuge Big Band and recorded two highly acclaimed albums for Columbia Records. This was around the time Columbia president Clive Davis left Columbia to start Arista Records and Watrous was dropped when new management came in. Watrous moved from New York to Los Angeles in the late 70s because studio work had dried up in New York. Watrous records occasionally but mostly he does a lot of studio work. And he's a professor at USC Thornton School of Music. Space Available was released in 1995. The song was written and arranged by Tom Kubis. Kubis plays trombone but he is mainly known as an arranger. Other arrangements on the album were written by pianist Shelly Berg, sax player Gordon Goodwin, Ken Kaplan and Frank Perowsky. Watrous, Kubis, Berg and Goodwin have worked together on various projects since the 70s. This album is not available on CD but it is available on mp3. Watrous hasn't recorded as a leader since 2004. But he still records as a sideman and studio musician. Here's Bill Watrous performing Space Available from the 1983 VHS video In Concert. The sax solo is by Gordon Goodwin. This video has never been released on DVD.