Thursday, September 29, 2016

In The Mood - A Perennial Classic

Bluebird B-10416-A, In The Mood
Glenn Miller and his orchestra recorded In The Mood for the RCA Bluebird label in New York August 1, 1939, issued as Bluebird B-10416 (mx BS-038170-1). The audio of the disc has been uploaded at YouTube and is inserted below

Original film poster
In 1941, Glenn Miller and his orchestra was featured in the musical film Sun Valley Serenade  and performed In The Mood on screen

Joe Garland
On the Bluebird label above Joe Garland is credited as the composer of In The Mood. Joe Garland (1903-1977) was a saxophonist, composer, and arranger, who had started his career by playing classical music but switched to jazz in 1924. He had a long run of associations as a sideman on saxophone and clarinet during the 1920s, joining a.o. Elmer Snowden and Jelly Roll Morton. In the 1930s, Garland performed with and arranged for Mills Blue Rhythm Band (1932-36), played with Edgar Hayes (1937), Don Redman (1938) and Louis Armstrong (1939-42) and made the arrangement of In The Mood based on a tune originally recorded by Wingy Manone in 1930, Tar Paper Stomp 

Wingy Manone
Wingy Manone recorded Tar Paper Stomp on August 28, 1930 as by Barbecue Joe and his Hot Dogs for the Champion label, re-released 1935 as by Wingy Manone's Orchestra
Champion 40005 A - Tar Paper Stomp

Horace Henderson
Horace Henderson used the  'boogie woogie'-like riff from Tar Paper Stomp in Hot and Anxious, recorded by Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra on March 19, 1931 for Columbia

Don Redman
Don Redman and his orchestra recorded Hot and Anxious in 1932 for Brunswick in an arrangement at a faster tempo, the audio of this is available here
Edgar Hayes
The first recording of Joe Garland's version of In the Mood was made by Edgar Hayes and his Orchestra in 1938, with Garland participating, for Decca Records. In this recording there was a baritone sax duet rather than a tenor sax battle as in the version recorded later by Glenn Miller

The riff transferred from Tar Paper Stomp had also appeared in a 1935 recording by Mills Blue Rhythm Band entitled There's Rhythm In Harlem released on Columbia Records which had been composed and arranged by Garland (- audio version available here ). Before offering it to Glenn Miller, Garland sold In The Mood to Artie Shaw in 1938, who chose not to record it because the original arrangement was too long. The Hayes recording was over three minutes in length to fit on one side of a 78 record.
Bluebird, B-10289-B, Jumpy Nerves
Under copyright laws, a tune that had not been written down and registered with the copyright office could be appropriated by any musician with a good ear. Wingy Manone had brought up the issue of the similarity between Tar Paper Stomp and In the Mood to Joe Garland and to the publishing company of the tune. However, Tar Paper Stomp was not copyrighted until November 1941 - thus Manone had no legal claims against Garland's version of In The Mood. Wingy Manone then recorded a new tune entitled Jumpy Nerves for Bluebird on April 26, 1939 that incorporated the riff from Tar Paper Stomp - released three months prior to the Glenn Miller version of In The Mood from August 1 credited to Joe Garland 

Original sheet music front illustration (1939)
The tune had lyrics added by Andy Razaf and was finally sold in 1939 to Glenn Miller, who played around with its arrangement for a while. Although the arrangers of most of the Miller tunes are known, things are a bit uncertain for In the Mood. It has been assumed that Eddie Durham (who contributed other arrangements on the recording date of In the Mood, August 1, 1939), Chummy MacGregor (the pianist, composer, and arranger in the Glenn Miller Orchestra) and Miller himself contributed most to the final version. - The personnel on the landmark August 1, 1939 session at RCA studios in New York were: Glenn Miller, Al Mastren, and Paul Tanner, trombones; Clyde Hurley, Lee Knowles, and Dale McMickle, trumpets; Wilbur Schwartz, clarinet; Hal McIntyre, alto sax; Tex Beneke, Al Klink, and Harold Tennyson, tenor saxes; Chummy MacGregor, piano; Richard Fisher, guitar; Rowland Bundock, string bass; and Moe Purtill, drums.
Glenn Miller & his orchestra 1939
In The Mood is forever associated with Glenn Miller and his orchestra's version of the tune and in 1983 the 1939 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The Glenn Miller Orchestra still exists with new members and performs around the World. Here's a live recording of the Glenn Miller Orchestra from December 2014 in Firenze performing In The Mood to end this story of a perennial classic

The above info is mainly excerpted from Wikipedia, here and further owes inspiration from published research in an article by Dennis M. Spragg: In The Mood (September 2013), available here 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Black Bottom Stomp

Jelly Roll Morton
On September 15, 1926 Jelly Roll Morton recorded his first session for Victor in Chicago featuring his Red Hot Peppers. Morton had signed a 4-year contract with Victor that would produce a series of recordings belonging to some of his best known output and have since become an important part of the jazz legacy of the 1920s. The first session produced four sides, Morton had assembled a group of musicians who could play in the New Orleans style and called them the Red Hot Peppers.

l-r: Omer Simeon (cl); Andrew Hilaire (d); John Lindsay (sb);
Johnny St. Cyr (bj-g); Kid Ory (tb) and George Mitchell (c)
Jelly Roll Morton (p,ldr,arr)
The first title recorded was an original composition by Morton titled Black Bottom Stomp, personnel are Jelly Roll Morton (p,dir,arr), George Mitchell (c), Omer Simeon (cl), Kid Ory (tb), Johnny St. Cyr (bj-g), John Lindsay (sb) and Andrew Hilaire (d), and the recording was released on Victor, Vi 20221

Victor 20221-A - Black Bottom Stomp
The music has been uploaded at YouTube and is inserted below

Black Bottom Stomp composed by Morton in 1925 and originally entitled Queen Of Spades is a key example of the New Orleans jazz style and demonstrates Morton's genius as an arranger of classic jazz. An analysis of the tune is available here

Jelly Roll Morton and his Red Hot Peppers 1926
At the same session on September 15, 1926 was recorded Smoke House Blues, inserted below from YouTube

The last tune to end this famous session by Jelly Roll Morton and His Red Hot Peppers was The Chant, originally composed by Mel Stitzel and here arranged by Morton. The tune was recorded twice during the September 15, 1926 session, audio from YouTube is inserted below.

The recordings featuring Jelly Roll Morton and His Red Hot Peppers were among the first jazz records I collected more than 45 years ago. They still belong to the core of my jazz collection and I am thrilled every time I'm listening to these jazz classics. Thus, I could not resist pointing to the start of this famous series of recordings, made ninety years ago today.

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Song Of The Islands

Hans Koert (1951-2014)
On this day it has been two years since my good friend and orginator of the Keepswinging website and associated blogs, Hans Koert (1951-2014), passed away all too soon. Hans left us a precious legacy of knowledge, enthusiasm and wit regarding the music he loved and generously documented and shared with the readers of his many articles still accessible. Before it was too late, I promised him to continue his work the best I can, a task I felt and still feel honored to fulfil. Hans and I shared many interests in music, thus, today I'll focus on a subject I know would have pleased him. In remembrance of a dear friend and a great friendship, this entry concerns the music of the popular English bandleader Felix Mendelssohn and his Hawaiian Serenaders.

Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn (1911-1952)
Felix Mendelssohn was a huge pioneer in helping make Hawaiian music popular in Europe throughout the 1930's and 40's. Born in London in 1911, he originally wanted to become a stockbroker but fate took him on a different journey as his love for Hawaiian music grew. Felix started out as a manager for various clubs and soon became the promotional manager for several band leaders. Felix formed his own dance orchestra that played on Radio Luxembourg and BBC as well as recorded for DECCA. It was in these performances that he would occasionally play a Hawaiian song. In 1938 Felix took over a band led by Canadian steel guitarist, Roland Peachy and renamed it "Felix Mendelssohn's Hawaiian Serenaders". The band was successful in several recordings, but in 1940, Peachy left the band. Felix arranged for a stage tour and a two year contract with Columbia records in 1941. In 1942 the Serenaders made their first appearance in a variety show called the Yankee Clipper and at this time the Serenaders were becoming increasingly popular. The band made 50 short films and their music was reissued and famous all over the world. Felix built up an entire troupe of Hula Dancers from around the world  which he called his "South Sea Lovelies" in which Felix would make up a story about each dancer and would involve audience members in the show as well. In 1946 financial problems overcame the band which continued until 1950 when Felix appeared in bankruptcy court. After promising to repay his debts, he arranged another tour but it was a financial disaster and he had to arrange a free show for the Army so he could get back home. In the fall of 1950, Felix became ill with a stomach ailment and although he continued to work, his health became worse and on February 4, 1952 after entering the hospital, he died of Hodgkins' Disease at the age of 40. (Kanahele, George. Hawaiian Music and Musicians. Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii, 1979. Qoted from this source)

Felix Mendelssohn's Hawaiian Serenaders ( photo courtesy this source)
I first heard the music of Felix Mendelssohn's Hawaiian Serenaders on a LP reissue of some of the band's recordings associated with the popular swing jazz repertoire of the 1930s and early 1940s and was instantly caught by the high quality of the performance by this English ensemble - ever since I have been a fan of these recordings made 1940-41.
LP front, World Records, SH 394
Fortunately, a lot of material featuring Felix Mendelssohn's Hawaiian Serenaders has since been reissued on CD, a discographical overview is available here

As mentioned in the quoted paragraph above, Felix Mendelssohn's Hawaiian Serenaders made a considerable number of short films during the band's career. The British Pathé archive has saved a selection of these shorts which also have been uploaded on YouTube. Below I'll insert some examples here to share some memorable musical moments with Felix Mendelssohn's Hawaiian Serenaders. - Here is first a performance of Song Of The Islands from 1939

As mentioned, the repertoire of the orchestra also included popular swing tunes of the time, here is a great performance of In The Mood from 1941

The steel guitar player of the Hawaiian Serenaders until 1941 was Roland Peachey -  Enjoy his excellent contribution to this performance of String Harmony from 1940

From 1944, here's a performance of Sophisticated Hula by the Hawaiian Serenaders which by this time had extended its members and replaced Roland Peachey with another steel guitar player (Harry Brooker?)

To end this small presentation of some of the music saved on screen by Felix Mendelssohn's Hawaiian Serenaders, here is the ensemble's version of Aloha Oe featuring a hula dancing maid, paper moon and shady cardboard palm trees in the background - enjoy


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