Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lyle Ritz Plays Jazz Ukulele

As a highly regarded studio bassist in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s, Lyle Ritz (born 1930) could hardly have imagined the impact of a few earlier recordings he had done using a considerably smaller four-string instrument. His two ukulele jazz recordings on the Verve label in the late 1950s, “How About Uke ?” and “50th State Jazz”, were unlike anything previously recorded.
Ritz will always be known as the brilliant pioneer in the area of ukulele jazz. His recordings are legendary and have inspired countless players both in Hawaii and on the mainland, including such names as Peter Moon, Roy Sakuma, and Moe Keale. Ritz returned to his ukulele roots in the mid 1980s, releasing a number of more recent recordings as well as an instructional book of his arrangements.

Source :

Lyle Ritz
How About Uke
50th State Jazz
(2 Lps On 1 Cd)


1 Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington, Russell)  3:15
2 Have You Met Miss Jones ? (Rodgers, Hart)  3:02
3 Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart)  2:52
4 Solamente una vez (You Belong to My Heart) (Lara, Gilbert)  2:51
5 Moonlight in Vermont (Suessdorf, Blackburn)  3:44
6 Ritz Cracker (Ritz)  2:12
7 Lulu’s Back in Town (Warren, Dubin)  3:23
8 Playmates (Dowell)  2:33
9 I’m Beginning to See the Light (James, Ellington, Hodges, George)  2:53
10 How About You ? (Laine, Freed)  2:49
11 Sunday (Conn, Miller, Krueger, Styne)  2:08
12 Tangerine (Mercer, Schertzinger)  3:24
13 Sweet Joan (Ritz)  2:29
14 Leis of Jazz (Conrad)  2:48
15 Rose Room (Hickman, Williams)  4:06
16 Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Burke, Van Heusen)  3:33
17 Blue Hawaii (Robin, Rainger)  2:32
18 Clean from Porterville (Ritz)  2:38
19 The Song Is You (Kern, Hammerstein II)  3:32
20 Perjazz (Ritz)  2:49
21 Hana Maui (Darby, Wright)  2:47
22 Blue Lou (Sampson, Mills)  2:53
23 Skylark (Carmichael, Mercer)  3:20
24 On the Beach at Waikiki (Stover, Kailimai, P.D.)  2:42
25 Pick-A-Lili (Botkin)  2:26


[# 1-13] How About Uke (Verve MG VS-2087)
Don Shelton - fl
Lyle Ritz - ukl
Red Mitchell - b
Gene Estes - dr
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood ; September 18, 28 & October 1, 1957
[# 14-25] 50th State Jazz (Verve MG VS-8333)
Bernie Fleischer - cl, fl, as & ss
Don Shelton - cl, fl, ts & ss
Gene Cipriano - egh, fl, ts & ss
Paul Horn - cl, fl & ts
John Bambridge Jr. - bcl, ts & ss
Lyle Ritz - ukl
Joe Mondragon or Red Mitchell - b
Jerry Williams, Frank Capp or Larry Bunker - dr
Gene Estes - vb & mrmb
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood ; April 15, 16 & 21, 1959


danair said...

New to me Mel. really looking forward to hearing this one, George Formby it aint !

CrunchyFrog said...

Nothing's more fun than jazz played on an atypical instrument, and it can often be so great, as is the case with accordionist Art Van Damme. By the lack of comments it seems there wasn't too much interest in this. Shame on you guys! try something different! Thanks, Mel!

jose arboleda said...

Muchas Gracias

Mindy said...

Who wouldn't enjoy jazz ukelele - thanks for this unusual recording!

5 cents said...

Not like Webley Edwards and the Hawaii Calls show! Thank you, Mel.

FrankDell said...

Tasteful. Sweet. Unexpected. Appreciated.

Philo said...

Jazz ukulele? You've done it again! Another wonderful jazz obscurity.

Lovely music. Thanks Mel.

jazzman77 said...

Thanks a bunch Mel, this looks great, lets all broaden our horizons and listen to something different, it's a good start when the majority of songs are from the American songbook.

Prof. Yaffle said...

Sounds fun. Thank you.

deGallo said...

I have a great download with Ritz & Rebecca Kilgore so have always like the Uke in a jazz context. Thank you for this very "cool" album.

Albertito Jazz said...

Thanks Melanchthon!

reincidente said...

Thank you very very much, Melanchthon!

boogieman said...

Didn't know these two LPs but I'm definitely curious. Thanks Mel!

Aureacordes said...

Muchas gracias

AmyBRAINS said...

Many thanks, Melanchthon.

bho wani said...

Thanks, Mel !

Melanchthon said...

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

trucha3 said...

Sorry I missed this - He was a great musician. Sorry to learn that he died earlier this year. His album with Herb Ohta is marvelous.