Thursday, July 7, 2016

Dodo Marmarosa - Chronological Classics

Michael "Dodo" Marmarosa was a marvelous, flexible pianist. He could cook passionately in the middle of a steaming hot band or ease into an ethereal mood with hardly anybody else in the room. Classically trained, Dodo hung out with young Erroll Garner when they were still figuring themselves out back home in Pittsburgh. He made great records with Artie Shaw, Slim Gaillard, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray, and Howard McGhee. What you have here is a chronological grab bag of recordings from Dodo's most promising years. The Barney Kessel All-Stars session, resulting in four sides issued on the Atomic label in 1945, is an exciting discovery, notable for the reeds and vibes of Herbie Steward and Johnny White. Seven months later, the pianist led a pared-down group in concocting another four recordings for Atomic. Dodo has said that he composed "Mellow Mood" when he was only 14 years old. This version, waxed when he was all of 20, exudes a calm sophistication. "Dodo's Blues" is honest and cool, with nice brushwork from Jackie Mills. "How High the Moon" bristles with hot percussion and a wild tenor sax solo by Lucky Thompson. The flip side is a ballad to end all ballads. If you didn't know it was Lucky pouring Alfredo sauce over "I Surrender Dear," you'd think it was Coleman Hawkins himself. The tenth and last side issued by Atomic offers a rare example of Dodo Marmarosa the vocalist. It's worth having as a tasty curiosity, as are two sides cut about a year later with Dodo backing Miss Dana, a singer who really belts out Fats Waller's "Black and Blue." The definitive Dodo is heard on five trio sides recorded for the Dial label in Los Angeles on December 3, 1947. "Bopmatism" has a slightly manic quality that will stay with you long after the piece has ended. "Dodo's Dance" is a giddy, high-velocity workout. "Trade Winds" delivers a much cooler mood, bringing to mind the very beat legend that Dodo once painted the inside of his bathtub green so his bath water would more closely resemble a tropical ocean. Dodo's meditative side is beautifully languid and precious as true love and peace of mind. "Dary Departs," a simple study in relaxed 4/4, is one of his greatest achievements. "Cosmo Street" turns out to be nothing more than a friendly version of Rodgers & Hart's "Lover." The disc ends with four Savoy sides made back home in Pittsburgh during the summer of 1950. Anyone familiar with Marmarosa's discography will be puzzled by the gaps in this picture. Dodo's unaccompanied "Tone Paintings" of 1947 definitely belong in the chronology along with "Deep Purple" and "Tea for Two," fine solos from early 1946. Although other volumes in the Classics series offer plenty of initially "rejected" material, we are told that this volume contains "only those tracks that were actually issued at the time." As for ten additional sides made in collaboration with Barney Kessel and six more with Lucky Thompson, it would be logical to expect them to appear on the Classics label under those artists' names. An excellent survey of Marmarosa's recorded works from 1946 and 1947 was issued in 1991 by Fresh Sound [FSCD-1019], bearing the title Dodo's Bounce.
arwulf arwulf

Source :

Dodo Marmarosa
Chronological Classics


1 Atom Buster (Barney Kessel)  2:49
2 What Is This Thing Called Love ? (Porter)  2:49
3 Slick Chick (Brooks, Kessel)  2:37
4 The Man I Love (Gershwin, Gershwin)  3:15
5 Mellow Mood (Marmarosa)  3:14
6 How High the Moon (Hamilton, Lewis)  2:53
7 Dodo's Blues (Marmarosa)  3:13
8 I Surrender, Dear (Barris, Clifford)  2:20
9 Raindrops (Marmarosa)  2:49
10 I've Got News for You (Easton)  2:59
11 Black and Blue (Brooks, Razaf, Waller)  3:01
12 Remember I Knew You When (Griffin, Callender)  2:52
13 Bopmatism (Marmarosa)  3:10
14 Dodo's Dance (Marmarosa)  3:07
15 Trade Winds (Marmarosa)  3:11
16 Dary Departs (Marmarosa)  2:47
17 Cosmo Street (Marmarosa)  3:30
18 My Foolish Heart (Washington, Young)  2:38
19 The Blue Room (Hart, Rodgers)  3:07
20 Why Was I Born ? (Hammerstein II, Kern)  3:15
21 The Night Was Young (Marmarosa)  2:48


[# 1-4] Barney Kessel All-Stars
Herbie Stewart - cl & ts
Johnny White - vb
Dodo Marmarosa - p
Barney Kessel - g
Moris Rayman - b
Louis Fromm - dr
Recorded in Los Angeles, California ; June 7, 1945
[# 5-8] Dodo Marmarosa Trio/Quartet
Lucky Thompson - ts [# 6 & 8]
Dodo Marmarosa - p
Ray Brown - b
Jackie Mills - dr
Recorded in Los Angeles, California ; January 11, 1946
[# 9-10] Dodo Marmarosa Trio
Dodo Marmarosa - p & vcl [# 10]
Barney Kessel - g
Gene Englund - b
Recorded in Los Angeles, California ; September 23, 1946
[# 11 & 12] Miss Dana with Dodo Marmarosa Trio
Dodo Marmarosa - p & vc
Barney Kessel - g
Gene Englund - b
Recorded in Los Angeles ; circa autumn 1947
[# 13-17] Dodo Marmarosa
Dodo Marmarosa - p
Harry Babasin - b & cel
Jackie Mills - cl
Recorded in Los Angeles ; December 3, 1947
[# 18-21] Dodo Marmarosa
Dodo Marmarosa - p
Thomas Mandrus - b
Joe Wallace - dr
Recorded in Pittsburg ; July 21, 1950

See also


Melanchthon said...

deGallo said...

Great upgrade and with Barney Kessel the greatest jazz guitarist that ever lived! Thank you

zero said...

Nice to have the CC presentation of this great material and to read arwulf's enticing review. Thanks!

Olde Edo said...

I was raised in Pittsburgh, and often visited the Carnegie Museum.
This is a common spot for elementary school "field trips", and
I'm guessing that some kid from Marmarosa's school must have seen
the stuffed dodo bird on display there and then pinned the nickname
"Dodo" on him...
I also heard a story about his pushing a piano out of a 2nd floor
window, because he "wanted to hear what chord it would make when it
hit the ground". Sad that his fragile mental state prevented him
from having a richer career, he was a real genius. You can see him
in several scenes in the 1945 movie "Thrill of a Romance", as part
of Tommy Dorsey's big band.
Thanks for sharing this!

cvllos said...

Thanks, Melanchthon for this chance! Your lessons are always welcome! And a nice story Edo brought to us, thanks too!

blbs said...

Fantástico! Gracias!

neil said...

One of bebop's great pianists; many thanks, mel, for the opportunity to hear this...

Otis Foster said...

Thanks Melanchthon - and thanks to Olde Edo for the Dodo stories.

My favorite involved the time he was with Artie Shaw. Shaw designated a handler to keep track of Dodo. One day Dodo disappeared, so the handler went looking for him. He wasn't in the familiar places- usually racetracks - Dodo loved horses. Finally someone told him Dodo was seen at a Chinese laundry. The handler went there, but the owner denied having seen Dodo. Suddenly, there was the faint sound of humming coming from the back room. The handler went back there and found Dodo ironing shirts!

The handler had to buy Dodo back from the Chinese owner in order to get him to tell Dodo it was OK to go back to Artie.

Mike said...

Looks wonderful. Thank you.

musician3 said...

AMAZING................................THANK YOU FOR ALL

sunman said...

Thanks for the upgrade!

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thank you so much, Mel

MrBill said...

Love Dodo's playing - most of these cuts are new to me. Thanks!

Kovina Kris said...

Another nice upgrade. Thank you Mel!