Monday, August 7, 2017

Famous Door - Ace Guitarists (Howard Alden, Lloyd Ellis & Cal Collins)

The three enjoyable straight ahead jazz sessions that are reissued in this package have several things in common. They have been out-of-print for years, they are led by talented guitarists who are stimulated by the presence of two other major soloists, each date fatures a quintet that includes swinging bass and drum team, and all of the projects came about due to the guidance of producer Harry Lim, a true friend of Jazz...
Scott Yanow (from the booklet)

Famous Door
Ace Guitarists
Howard Alden
Lloyd Ellis
Cal Collins


Cd. 1

1 Make Believe (Kern, Hammerstein II)  4:18
2 Blue Because Of You (Carpenter, Dunlap, Wilson)  4:20
3 Intimacy Of The Blues (Strayhorn)  5:08
4 The Seventh Day (Turney)  3:40
5 You're My Thrill (Lane, Washington)  4:26
6 Everything I've Got (Hart, Rodgers)  3:35
7 I Brung You Finjans For Your Zarf (Farlow, Norvo)  4:30
8 Can't We Be Friends ? (Warburg, Swift)  4:00
9 The Folks Who Live On The Hill (Kern, Hammerstein II)  3:10
10 Merilee Shuffle (Turney)  4:35

Howard Alden turned up on a lot of jazz record dates in the 1980s and 1990s for a good reason : he proved himself as a superb technician who could also swing like mad. This 1987 LP is one of his earliest as his leader, with a supporting cast that includes pianist John Bunch, alto saxophonist Norris Turney, bassist Michael Moore, and drummer Jake Hanna, so it is no puffery for producer Harry Lim to refer to Alden's group as an "All Star Quintet." His playing, as well as that of his sidemen, frequently approaches perfection. Alden has always had a knack for covering overlooked songs and out-of-favor once popular standards; this date is no exception. The foot tapping "Blue Because of You" features some of the musicians' best solos. Turney wrote two originals for the session, including the Gospel-flavored "The Seventh Day" and the impromptu "Merilee Shuffle," which concluded the date. Alden's duet with Moore of the lovely ballad "The Folks Who Live on the Hill" intertwines the leader's lyrical lines with Moore's matchless arco bass. Sadly, this excellent record disappeared from print shortly after the death in 1990 of Harry Lim, founder and owner of Famous Door, and few of the label's recordings have been reissued elsewhere. This release deserves to appear on CD, but, until that time, it will grown exponentially in value for fans of Howard Alden.
Ken Dryden

Source :


Cd. 2

1 Sweet Georgia Brown (Bernie, Casey, Pinkard)  4:26
2 All The Things You Are (Kern, Hammerstein II)  5:51
3 Blues To Go (?)  4:04
4 Las Vegas Blues [aka Vegas Blues Jam] (Ad Lib)  9:26
5 It's A Wonderful World (Adamson, Savitt, Watson)  4:56
6 Avalon (Rose, Jolson DeSylva)  4:03
7 Blues To Go [take 1] (?)  4:04
8 It's A Wonderful World [take 2 + 1] (Adamson, Savitt, Watson)  4:56
9 Avalon [take 2] (Rose, Jolson DeSylva)  4:03

Lloyd Ellis remembers when Django Reinhardt 78's were brand new releases, not historical reissues. As a young teen he was playing on the radio in his hometown Pensacola, Florida and influenced by Reinhardt. He joined the Navy, during WWII, and was a member of the George Liberace band “Music Under The Stars”, which entertained over 400,000 troops in the Pacific. After the war he settled in Los Angeles and for some years in Pheonix where he was active in studio and club work. Then he moved to Las Vegas and for 3 years he was a member of the Red Norvo Trio at the Tropicana Hotel. For the next seven years he was a member of various hotel house bands and backed such artists as: Liza Minnelli, Ann-Margaret, Barbara McNair, Eydie Gorme, Mitzi Gaynor, Steve Lawrence, Vic Damone, Robert Goulet, Liberace, Roger Williams, Phil Harris, Don Rickles, and Shecky Green. For twelve years, until 1988, Ellis was a member of the Pete Fountain Jazz group in New Orleans. They appeared each year at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan; Heinz Hall in Pittsburg, PA ; Chautauqua Institute in Chautauqua, NY ; Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga, NY ; and the Blossom Music Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Also a command performance at the White House with President Reagan and an appearance for Pope John Paul II in New Orleans, LA. Television credits include the Boston Pops, Wolftrap, Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, and two Austin City Limits. Also two shows, “The Lloyd Ellis Jazz Quartet”, for PBS and the same for National Public Radio. The DVD “I Just Wanted to Play” a documentary of Lloyd's musical career and various live performances is available from Kristina Weick.

Source :

Cd. 3

1 Limehouse Blues (Furber, Braham)  3:13
2 For All We Know (Coots, Lewis)  5:05
3 ‘Tis Autumn (Nemo)  3:07
4 Young & Foolish (Hague, Horwitt)  5:06
5 A Pretty Girl (?)  4:13
6 You're My Everything (Warren, Young, Dixon)  5:12
7 Cincinnati Capers (?)  3:48
8 Bernie's Tune (Miller)  3:54
9 Young & Foolish [take 1] (Hague, Horwitt)  5:04
10 A Pretty Girl [take 1] (?)  4:13
11 You're My Everything [take 1] (Warren, Young, Dixon)  5:12

One of the most widely respected jazz guitarists, and easily the best-known to ever come out of the Cincinnati area, was Cal Collins. Born on May 5, 1933, in Medora, IN, Collins began his career by playing bluegrass mandolin, eventually relocated to Cincinnati (once he'd completed serving in the Army), and shortly thereafter switched to the six-string after hearing landmark recordings by such jazz guitar greats as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian. From the '50s through the '70s, Collins played regularly and was brought on board in 1976 to become Benny Goodman's guitarist. Around this time, Collins issued several acclaimed solo recordings on the Concord label, including such titles as Cincinnati to L.A., In San Francisco, Blues on my Mind, By Myself, Interplay, and Cross Country (and in 1979, was honored by Cincinnati with a Post-Corbett Award). In 1993, he appeared as part of the Masters of the Steel String Guitar tour, playing alongside such notables as Doc Watson, bluegrass Dobro player Jerry Douglas, and the blues duo of Cephas & Wiggins, and five years later, issued what would be his final recording, S'Us Four. On August 27, 2001, Collins passed away at the age of 68 in Dillboro, IN, due to liver failure.
Greg Prato

Source :


[Cd. 1] The Howard Alden All Star QUintet - Swinging Into Prominence (Famous Door HL-154)
Howard Alden - g
Norris Turney - s
John Bunch - p
Michael Moore - b
Jake Hanna - dr
Recorded at Giant Sound Studio, New York ; December 1987
[Cd. 2] Lloyd Ellis Quintet with Carl Fontana: Las Vegas-3 A.M. (Famous Door HL-110)
Lloyd Ellis - g
Carl Fontana - trb
Charles McLean - as
Bob Badgley - b
Stan Harris - dr
Recorded at Las Vegas Recording Studio, Las Vegas, Nevada ; June 16, 1976
[Cd. 3] The Cal Collins Quintet with Carmen Leggio and John Bunch - Ohio Boss Guitar (Famous Door HL-13)
Cal Collins - g
Carmen Leggio - ts
John Bunch - p
Michael Moore - b
Connie Kay - dr
Recorded at Mastertone Studios, New York ; 1978


Fourcade said...

Thanks so much for this "reunion"!! And a Happy New Year!
Cheers Daniel, from Spain...

deGallo said...

Wonderful post! Thank you.

Benjamin Riley said...

Happy new year, Mel.

Vancouver said...

Thank you and Happy 2016!

lowgroove said...

Very much looking forward to listening to this. Thank you and happy new year!

Bill said...

Thank you & Happy New Year!

Otis Foster said...

Happy New Year, mealnchthon, with thanks for the enjoyment you've brought to me and other aficionados of great music during 2015

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. Is it just me or have others also problems extracting the audio files?

jose arboleda said...

Muchas Gracias, feliz ano nuevo.

theblueamos said...

Thank you Mel.Happy 2016.Best wishes from Jerusalem.

stringbender said...

Fabulous - Merci et Bonne Annee!

fusionman said...

As usual, thank you Mel for another fine jazz guitar release.

fusionman said...

As usual, thank you Mel for another fine jazz guitar release.

bho wani said...

Bonne et heureuse année à toi, Mel ! et merci pour ce fabuleux, un de plus !, partage !

ol'baz said...

Many thanks for this delightful post and best wishes for 2016.
I unfortunately have been unable to extract these files. Any advice please would be welcome.

ol'baz said...

Thanks Mel. I have finally worked it out. Again many thanks

rowgatien said...

Thanks very much! Got to this one with the "Famous Door" + search.

Kovina Kris said...

Cal Collins is really underrated IMO. Nice upgrades for me here. Thank you very much Mel!

Anonymous said...

Hi dear Mel! Couldn't agree more with Kovina Kriss - Cal Collins is criminally underrated!

Melanchthon said...


Cd. 1

Cd. 2

Cd. 3

lucky5 said...

Thanks a lot, Mel!

Jazz Padd said...

Thanks for the rare guitar sessions!

Angel said...

Wonderful sounds. Thanks Mel.