Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Jazz Guitar of Joe Puma

Born Joseph J. Puma, 13 August 1927, Bronx, New York Died 31 May 2000, New York City, New York. Joe Puma was a proficient and respected jazz guitarist, but among space age pop fans, he will be best remembered for his 1961 collaboration with producer Eddie Hall and arranger/composer/organist Dick Hyman, Like Tweet. Like Tweet started with not much more than a collection of bird calls and Hall’s idea that they might be turned into the basis of a series of jazz tunes. Hall and Hyman took each call, picked out a melody or motif from it, then built a whole combo arrangement around it, featuring Puma’s guitar as the centerpiece and chief special effects generator. Like Tweet looks like a gimmick on the surface, but Hyman created some solidly grooving tunes, and led by Puma, the combo makes the most of the material. “Noah’s Ark,” for example, is far better than just a novelty item, revealing a rocking side that Hyman let show on later occasions such as his classic “The Liquidator” from The Man from O.R.G.A.N.. And Puma’s light and versatile guitar-playing never lefts the novelty become unbearable, as is usually the case about 3 cuts into gimmicky albums. Puma’s father played both guitar and lute, and Puma taught himself to play guitar at an early age. After serving in the Army Air Corps in World War Two, Puma focused on perfecting his skills and surviving as a freelance musician. He played with Artie Shaw in Shaw’s last incarnation of the Grammercy Five, and with other groups more sedate (Sammy Kaye) and more frenetic (Lee Konitz and Herbie Mann). In 1957 he won the New Star Award for Guitar from Metronome Magazine. Puma recorded only infrequently under his own name, beginning with a 1954 album for Bethlehem, never staying on a label more than one release. He teamed up with fellow guitarist Chuck Wayne for a well-received duo, in the 1970s. Puma also performed on countless recording sessions, including with such vocalists as Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Chris Connor, Mark Murphy, Morgana King, Helen Merrill, and others.

Source :

The Jazz Guitar of
Joe Puma


1 Loris (Puma)  4:12
2 A Little Rainy (Puma)  3:09
3 What Is There To Say (Duke, Harburg)  2:49
4 Hallelujah (Youmans, Robin, Grey)  3:26
5 How About You ? (Lane, Freed)  3:28
6 Pumatic (Puma)  4:07
7 Liza (Gershwin, Gershwin)  3:06
8 Moon Song (Johnston, Coslow)  3:08
9 I'm Old Fashioned (Kern, Mercer)  2:46
10 Time Wa (Prado, Luna)  2:21
11 Ain't Misbehavin' (Waller, Razaf, Brooks)  2:27
12 Li'l Basses (Garcia)  2:45
13 Unison Blues (Burke)  4:19
14 Ubas (Pettiford)  5:04
15 Blues For Midge (Puma)  5:54
16 Stablemates (Golson)  5:51
17 I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good (Ellington, Webster)  4:37
18 Mother Of Earl (Zindars)  4:34
19 Indian Summer (Herbert, Dubin)  7:10


[# 1-8] East Coast Jazz/3 (Bethlehem BCP-1012)
Don Elliott - vb
Barry Galbraith - g
Joe Puma - g
Vinnie Burke - b
Teddy Sommer - dr
Recorded in New York City ; November 30, 1954
[# 9-12] The Four Most Guitars (ABC Paramount ABC-109)
Joe Puma - g
Dick Garcia - g
Dante Martucci - b
Al Levitt - dr
Recorded in New York City ; December 1955
[# 13] The Vinnie Burke All-Stars (ABC Paramount ABC-139)
This was the only tune featuring Puma
Joe Puma - g
Eddie Costa - vb
Vinnie Burke - b
Jimmy Campbell - dr
Recorded in New York City ; July 1956
[# 14-16] Quartet & Trio (Jubilee JLP-1070)
Joe Puma - g
Eddie Costa - vb
Oscar Pettiford - b
Recorded in New York City ; 1957
[# 15-19] Quartet & Trio (Jubilee JLP-1070)
Joe Puma - g
Bill Evans - p
Oscar Pettiford - b
Paul Motian - dr
Recorded in New York City ; 1957

See also


moha said...

I'm hardly searching for any material of Ernő Bacsik and Lukacs Koszta (Hungarian gipsy guitar gods) If You find something please let me know!

Melanchthon said...

I know only Elek Bacsik...

moha said...

take a look:

satch04 said...

Thank you very much!!!!
This material is hard to find :)

Hank Garland said...

Actually the Dick Garcia here is Hank Garland. He used his union card to record in NY, Long Island and many stuido's outside Nashville. The songs listed here "Li'l Bases" is Hank Garland so is "Blues for Midge" Midge was another one of Hank Garland's brothers. & other songs (look at "A Message From Garcia" that is Hank Garland too! We have photo's of these sessions and yes, Hank Garland used the name Dick Garcia to play with George Shearing, Barry Galbraith, Chuck Wayne and many) We have the photo's and even a nice one with Tony Scott.
The Hank Garland Family
we have known this for years and personally talked to jazz Guitarist Hank Garland played with under that name at that time period. They knew the deal !
The Hank Garland Movie by Favored Nations starring Waylon Payne, Ali Larter a film by Rick Bieber with cameo appearance of Steve Vai as Hank Williams' Sr.
The reason he had to change his name was he played in Nashville so he would fly up there and go under the name Dick Garica to play Jazz.Hank Garland loved to play Jazz .
check out
a Favored Nations Film

Eric said...

The Garcia - Garland question intrigued me and I asked Bill Crow about it and this is his reply----
"I knew Dick, and as far as I could tell, he wasn't Hank.

Bill Crow"

Enough said

deGallo said...

Thank you. Very Nice!!
The above comment by "Hank Garland" is just plain silly and completely untrue....disregard it.

Greeny said...

Thanks, Mel, this is - more or less - essential early Joe Puma. Additionally, there is "Wild Kitten" on dawn Records (and the strange 'novelty'-album "Like Tweet" on Columbia).
But the weirdest of all Joe Puma recordings is called
(believe it!) Joe Puma & Scott Mills, classical guitarists - Love in Spain (Mount Vernon Music mvm-138) where the two guitarists sound more like Chet Atkins & Hank Snow playing with a heavy Spanish "accent"...

kristophermc28 said...

Thanks Mel!

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

AmyBRAINS said...

It's really a great post!
Many thanks, Melanchthon.

Melanchthon said...

Fred Archtop said...

Thanks a zillion Mel !

Kovina Kris said...

Thank you for yet another nice upgrade on this one Mel.