Wednesday, December 30, 2015

John Pisano & Billy Bean - Makin' It + Take Your Pick

Duetting beautifully in a variety of settings, West Coast based guitarists John Pisano and Billy Bean display their versatility on Makin’ It and Take Your Pick, two late-1950s albums they made for Decca’s Mood Jazz in Hi-Fi series. Both albums were marked by some excellent supporting groups and a well-balanced, expertly played set of tunes with a predominantly jazz feeling.
Standards like "Ill Wind" are coloured by the pastel shades of arranger Fred Katz ; others, such as "Linger Awhile" and "Little Old Lady", by the brassily forthright hand of arranger Calvin Jackson. But they also include simple blowing things like "Pixie" and "Billy’s Beanery", featuring the flowing vibes of Gene Estes, or "The Song Is You", in which Pisano and Bean mesh with inventive fluency over the bass support of Hal Gaylor. Bill Potts, the talented Washington, D.C. arranger/composer, contributes three tunes, including the remarkable "Pottsville U.S.A.". The sole departure from the jazz approach is "Pastorale", by Fred Katz, a study in neo-modern, moody impressionism, where the musical values stressed are collective rather than individual.

Source :

John Pisano
Billy Bean
Makin' It + Take Your Pick
The John Pisano-Billy Bean Recordings on Decca
(2 Lps On 1 Cd)


1 Ill Wind (Arlen, Koehler; arr. Katz)  3:48
2 Cirrus (Horn)  3:38
3 Indian Summer (Herbert)  3:52
4 Little Old Lady (Adams, Carmichael; arr. Jackson)  3:40
5 When I Fall In Love (Selden)  4:09
6 Our Waltz (Rose; arr. Katz)  2:16
7 Flute Cocktail (Potts)  3:43
8 The Song Is You (Kern, Hammerstein II)  3:55
9 I See Your Face Before Me
(Schwartz, Dietz; arr. Jackson)  3:29
10 Crazy Head (Potts)  4:19
11 Take Your Pick (Pisano)  4:00
12 Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye (Porter; arr. Smith)  3:01
13 Pixie (Pisano)  2:25
14 Pastorale (Katz)  4:09
15 Fat Feet (Bean)  2:50
16 Dingle Bird (Potts)  3:45
17 Billy’s Beanery (Bean)  3:26
18 Pottsville, U.S.A. (Potts)  4:42
19 Half Breed (Potts)  4:04
20 Memento (Pisano)  3:59
21 Motivation (Bean)  3:11
22 Linger Awhile (Rose, Owens; arr. C. Jackson)  2:45


John Pisano & Billy Bean - g
[# 2, 3, 5, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 20 & 21]
Gene Estes - vb
Hal Gaylor - b
Paul Horn - fl [# 2]
Chico Hamilton [# 3] & Larry Bunker - dr
Recorded at the Decca Records Studio in Hollywood, 5505 Melrose Avenue ; January 24 [# 3 & 5], January 30 [# 2], March 14 [# 11, 12, 13 & 17] & March 21 [# 15, 20 & 21], 1958
[# 1 & 6]
Paul Horn - fl
Gene Estes - vb
Calvin Jackson - p
Hal Gaylor - b
Chico Hamilton - dr
Alexander Neiman & Irving Manning - vl
Raphael Kramer & Edgar Lustgarten - cel
Recorded same place as above ; January 30, 1958
 [# 7 & 10]
Paul Horn & William Green - fl & cl
Hal Gaylor - b
Gene Estes - dr
Recorded same place as above ; February 3, 1958
[# 4, 9 & 22]
Pete Candoli, Kendall Bright, Melvin Moore & Irving Goodman - tp
Si Zentner, Karl DeKarske & Hoyt Bohannon - tb
Fred Katz - p
Hal Gaylor - b
Red Callender - tb
Gene Estes - dr
Recorded same place as above ; February 3, 1958
[# 8]
Hal Gaylor - b
Recorded same place as above ; February 3, 1958
[# 14, 16, 18 & 19]
Paul Horn, William Green & Chuck Gentry - fl & reeds
George Smith, Abe Most - cl
Jules Jacobs - ob
Justin Gordon - bass cl
Calvin Jackson - p
Hal Gaylor - b
Larry Bunker - dr
Recorded same place as above ; February 25, 1958

[# 1-10] from the album “Makin’ It” (Decca DL 9206)
[# 11-22] from the album “Take Your Pick” (Decca DL 9212)


Two tracks from the album “Makin’ It” (While the Music Plays On and Symphony, arranged by cellist Fred Katz), have not been included in this compilation due to the time limitations of the CD format.
Both tracks are included in a CD release dedicated to Fred Katz (FSRCD 744)
and can be found here


Anonymous said...

link already dead.
Any chance of restoring all the john graas items?
your taste is exquisite.

Anonymous said...

glad you are back...

Philo said...

The link is fine. The account has hit the daily download limit imposed by RS. It resets every 24 hours.

The music is great. I am particularly enjoying hearing Gene Estes on vibes.

May I also say how nice it is to see the blog up & running again.

Thanks, Mel.

FrankDell said...

More great stuff. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

thank you Philo. Downloading now. Appreciate your explanation.
Thank you for the music.

Félix said...

Thanks very much for these posts!

The password "melanchthon" doesn't work for me though... Help?

walter_vdb said...

The password "melanchthon" doesn't work for me though... Help?

Blue Eyes said...

Mille millions de mille sabords! File owner's public traffic exhausted!

duck said...

Now have this one, thanks Mel, seems i have missed some great music but getting it right at last

Prof. Yaffle said...

Thank you

jose arboleda said...

Hola de Colombia.,muchas gracias por su gran aporte.,su ayuda es invaluable.,su amigo José.

francisco santos said...

Big THX !....

neil said...

Many thanks for making this available again, mel; missed it first time around...

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

xxx said...

Thank You! Melanchton

Markus Rose said...

I try to always thank you for your generosity, Mel. I'm not sure why you do this, but thank you so much.

Melanchthon said...

deGallo said...

Thank you.

Blue Eyes said...

Many thanks for the re-up! bonnes fetes de fin d'année Mel!!

elpeleon said...

Como todos los demas, gracias Mel !!

nlrp said...

many many thanks; ...something new for me. nrp