Showing posts with label Mousey Alexander. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mousey Alexander. Show all posts

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Buck Clayton & Buddy Tate

Count Basie veterans Buck Clayton and tenorman Buddy Tate teamed up during 1960-61 for a pair of Swingville recordings. This CD reissues the first one, a quintet outing with pianist Sir Charles Thompson, bassist Gene Ramey and drummer Mousie Alexander. The repertoire is split between three standards (including "When a Woman Loves a Man") and three Clayton originals. The melodic music consistently swings and practically defines "mainstream" jazz. Worth picking up.
Scott Yanow

Source :

Buck Clayton
Buck & Buddy


1 High Life (Clayton) 5:25
2 When a Woman Loves a Man (Hanighen, Jenkins, Mercer) 5:34
3 Thou Swell (Hart, Rodgers) 5:14
4 Can't We Be Friends ? (James, Swift) 4:03
5 Birdland Betty (Clayton) 8:01
6 Kansas City Nights (Clayton) 5:42

Buck Clayton - tp 
Buddy Tate - ts 
Sir Charles Thompson - p
Gene Ramey - b 
Mousey Alexander - dr

Recorded in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey ; December 20, 1960

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Al Viola & Johnny Smith - Contemporaries of the Jazz Guitar

A reliable guitarist with a cool tone, a hard-swinging style, and strong technical skills, Al Viola had been an asset to every session that he appeared on, and there have been many. Viola played in a jazz band while in the Army (1942-45), where he met Page Cavanaugh. When they both decided to move to California after their discharge in 1946, they teamed with bassist Lloyd Pratt to form a trio that was very popular during the next three years, appearing in a few Hollywood films (including "A Song Is Born") and recording frequently. The trio accompanied Frank Sinatra on a few occasions during 1946-1947, and when the combo broke up, Viola started working on and off with Sinatra though 1980. In addition, Viola became a very busy studio musician in Los Angeles, performing on the soundtracks of a countless number of films (including playing the prominent mandolin part in The Godfather), television shows, and commercials. Among his more jazz-oriented associations have been engagements with Bobby Troup, Ray Anthony, Harry James, Buddy Collette, Stan Kenton, Gerald Wilson, and Terry Gibbs among many others; in addition to Collette, Viola also recorded in the 1950s and '60s with Jimmy Witherspoon, Helen Humes, and June Christy. In the 1980s, Viola had a reunion with Cavanaugh and soon they were working together on a regular basis in a Los Angeles area club as a trio with bassist Phil Mallory; this association continued into the late '90s, when Viola dropped out of the group. In his career, Viola led three albums, unaccompanied solo dates for Mode (from 1957, reissued by VSOP) and Legend, plus a Frank Sinatra tribute album for PBR (1978); highlights of the latter two sets were reissued on a CD by Starline. Shortly after being diagnosed, Viola succumbed to cancer on February 21, 2007. He was 88.
Scott Yanow

Source :

Al Viola
Johnny Smith
the Jazz Guitar


1 Alone Together (Dietz, Schwartz) 2:45
2 Warm Valley (Ellington) 3:29
3 I Get a Kick out of You (Porter) 2:26
4 Don't Blame Me (Fields, McHugh) 3:40
5 Cheek to Cheek (Berlin) 2:36
6 My Romance (Hart, Rodgers) 3:23
7 I'll Remember April (DePaul, Johnston, Raye) 3:49
8 How Long Has This Been Going On (Gershwin, Gershwin) 4:04
9 Nocturne (Troup) 2:21
10 Yesterdays (Harbach, Kern) 2:51
11 Imagination (Burke, VanHeusen) 3:47
12 My Old Flame (Coslow, Johnston) 2:25
13 It Never Entered My Mind (Hart, Rodgers) 2:35
14 Pawn Ticket (Bryant) 7:10
15 Black Is the Colour (Of My True Love's Hair) (Traditional) 2:08
16 Montage (Smith) 5:03
17 Lover (Hart, Rodgers) 3:26
18 The Maid with Flaxen Hair (Debussy )2:04
19 Body and Soul (Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour) 3:25
20 Hello, Young Lovers (Hammerstein, Rodgers) 4:38
21 The Boy Next Door (Blane, Martin) 2:38
22 Deep Night (Henderson, Valee) 4:05
23 East of the Sun (Bowman) 3:11

[# 1-12]
Al Viola - g
Recorded Hollywood, California ; September 1957.
[# 13-16]
Johnny Smith - g
Johnny Rae - vb
George Roumanis - b
Johnny Lee - dr
Recorded in New York City ; October 24, 1956.
[# 17-23]
Johnny Smith - g
Bob Pancoast - p
George Roumanis - b
Mounsey Alexander - dr
Recorded in New York City ; September 1957.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Herbie Steward & Marky Markowitz

Two complete LPs from the defunct Famous Door label are reissued on this single CD, both featuring underrated horn players from the late '40s. Herbie Steward was one of Woody Herman's Four Brothers, but by the time he recorded in 1981 he was playing alto, soprano, and clarinet rather than tenor. Although he had been a studio musician for years, he could still swing well, as shown on such songs as "Take the 'A' Train" (taken as a waltz), "The Song Is You," and "Gone With the Wind." He is heard in a quintet also featuring guitarist Eddie Duran and either Smith Dobson or Tee Carson on piano. The second half of this CD features another Woody Herman veteran, trumpeter Marky Markowitz, in a sextet with trombonist Urbie Green, tenor saxophonist Al Cohn, and pianist John Bunch. Markowitz is in fine form on a few group originals, a swinging "On the Alamo," and "How Deep Is the Ocean ?" This set is easily recommended to swing/bop collectors.
Scott Yanow

Source :

Herbie Steward
Marky Markowitz
The Three Horns of Herb Steward
Marky's Vibes


1 Take the "a" Train (Strayhorn)
2 Serenata (Anderson)
3 Song Is You (Kern, Hammerstein)
4 Madeleine (Steward)
5 Too Close for Comfort (Boch, Holofcener, Weiss)
6 Gone With The Wind (Wrubel, Magidson)
7 Body And Soul (Green, Heyman, Sour, Eyton)
8 Herb's Blue (Steward)
9 Marky's Vibes (Cohn) 5:41
10 Over the Rainbow (Arlen, Harburg) 4:34
11 4 1/2 Street, Southwest (Markowitz) 5:37
12 Four Flights Up (Bunch) 5:37
13 How Deep Is The Ocean ? (Berlin) 4:19
14 On the Alamo (Jones, Lyons, Kahn) 6:42

[# 1-8] The Three Horns of Herb Steward
Herb Steward - reeds
Smith Dobson or Tee Carson [# 1, 5-7] - p
Eddie Duran - g
John Mosher - b
Eddie Moores - dr
Recorded at Coast Recording Studios, San Francisco ; March 19, 1981
[# 9-14] Marky's Vibes
Marky Markowitz - tr & flgh
Al Cohn - ts
Urbie Green - tb
John Bunch - p
Milt Hinton - b
Mousey Alexander - dr
Recorded at A&R Studios, New York City ; 1971

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Complete Roost Johnny Smith Small Group Sessions

The world of jazz in the late '40s, '50s, and early '60s was graced with one of the most talented guitar virtuosos of all time: Johnny Smith. Unless you were a budding young jazz guitarist or a lover of guitar at that time, you probably don't own or haven't heard most of the incredible recordings that this great artist produced. Mosaic Records' release of The Complete Roost Johnny Smith Small Group Sessions is exactly that.This 8-CD box set release contains 178 tracks that cover 15 original LPs and 4 ten-inch sessions in a beautiful digital format, paying due homage to the guitar virtuoso in celebration of his 80th birthday. This set fills a missing piece in the recorded history and legacy of jazz guitar. A large part of Smith's life-work is covered in this volume - and, of course, some of the greatest jazz guitar performances ever heard.The musicians appearing on the recordings are for the most part Mousey Alexander (drums), George Roumanis (bass), and Bob Pancoast on piano. Hank Jones, George Duvivier, Eddie Safranski, and Don Lamond are also featured, along with Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Paul Quinichette. Johnny Rae (vibes and percussion), another great musician, also appears on some of the cuts.Discs 1 and 2 cover some excellent recordings which offer a relaxed format and brilliant harmonic, lyrical, thematic, and humorous improvisation, fluently executed by Smith on tunes such as “Where Or When,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” “Easy to Love,” and “Have you Met Miss Jones.” Smith's stunning technique and harmonic knowledge never got in the way of his playing, which retained a feeling of simplicity in the midst of complexity: a quality that characterizes genius. The dynamic combination of jazz great saxophonist Stan Getz with Smith produced a unique sound exemplified in their classic hit, “Moonlight in Vermont.” The guitar giant always remains interesting and creative, as in the great standard “How About You,” during which Smith modulates to a different key in the midst of his solo break, embarking upon a swinging solo that only he could produce. The first and second CDs showcase his beautiful closed voice and different chordal solos - particularly on ballads like “What's New,” ”Sophisticated Lady,” and “Autumn in New York.” Johnny Smith's clean technique and beautiful single line solos can be heard in “I'll Remember April,” “Blues for Birdland,” and the burning tempo tunes “Jaguar,” ”Cherokee,” “S'Wonderful,” and a host of other great standards on these two discs. His own composition, “Walk Don't Run” (later a hit record) gives the listener an idea of what the composer's initial idea for the song might have been.Discs 3 and 4 feature more of the great jazz and pop standards in a quartet format, with the late Johnny Rae on vibes replacing piano on half of disc three. This group represented one of the best jazz guitar quartets of all time. Johnny Rae's cool and swinging interpretation of Milt Jackson's “Bags Groove” and Thelonious Monk's “Round Midnight” show the talent of this great jazz musician who was also a wonderful drummer and percussionist. Smith's solo on “Bags Groove” is one cool jazz 12 bar blues solo, pretty much summing up his single line solo style. Rae appears on nine of the ten tracks that were on the original LP, with Smith playing “Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair” as a solo piece. Disc 4 contains more of the classic quartet songs like “Body and Soul,” “East of the Sun,” and “Zing Went the Strings of my Heart,” definitely completing the four-disc group.Discs 5 and 6 are a rare addition of many great classics that time and room did not allow for in the first four discs. And luckily so, for they include many Rogers and Hammerstein favorites, like “You are Beautiful” and ”People Will Say We're in Love.” A large portion of these two CDs highlight Smith's seeming ease in pulling off a guitar trio session, which is a more difficult task, as the guitar is more exposed. Taking advantage, however, of the extra space in that setting, Smith shines brilliantly once again. Tunes such as Like “Someone in Love” and “A Foggy Day” give a good idea of what Johnny's conception of the guitar in a trio setting.Last but not least, we have disc 7 and 8, which give us an even broader view of the versatility of the guitarist. In addition to the final collection of quartet sessions that include a number of tunes featuring Hank Jones on piano - notably “Embraceable You,” “Misty,” and “Gypsy in my Soul” - there is more. We are treated to the special recordings of Johnny Smith playing solo guitar - a treat indeed ! This recording, called ”The Man with the Blue Guitar,” was recorded at the Johnny Smith Guitar Center in Colorado Springs in early 1962. He performs his own solo arrangements and adaptations of composers such as Ravel and Scrabin.The only thing that's missing in this set is the LP that Johnny did with jazz vocalist Ruth Price. This, in my opinion, was a jazz classic ranking with the noted Barney Kessel - Julie London collaboration. Ruth Price Sings with the Johnny Smith Quartet has priceless versions of “A Sleeping Bee,” “Back in Your Own Backyard,” and a lot of other good tunes. Oh well, lets consider ourselves lucky. Maybe next time.
Ken Dryden

Source :

The Complete Roost
Johnny Smith
Small Group Sessions
[Mosaic box, 8 cds]


Cd. 1

1. Where Or When (Rodgers, Hart) 2:24
2. Tabu (Stillman, Russell, Lecuona) 2:39
3. Moonlight In Vermont (Suessdorf, Blackburn) 3:13
4. Jaguar (Smith) 2:31
5. Jaguar (alternate version) (Smith) 2:27
6. (I Don't Stand A) Ghost Of A Chance With You (Crosby, Washington, Young) 3:08
7. Vilia (Franz Lehar) 2:40
8. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers, Hart) 2:37
9. Sometimes I'm Happy (Youmans, Caesar) 2:17
10. Stars Fell On Alabama (Parish, Perkins) 3:02
11. Nice Work If You Can Get It (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:23
12. Tenderly (Lawrence, Plante, Gross) 3:24
13. Yesterdays (Kern, Harbach) 2:50
14. Cavu (Smith) 2:12
15. I'll Be Around (Wilder) 2:44
16. Cherokee (Noble) 2:47
17. Ramona (Gilbert, Wayne) 2:20
18. The Terry Theme From Limelight (Chaplin) 3:13
19. Lullaby Of Birdland (hearing) 3:03
20. My One And Only Love (Wood, Mellin) 2:28
21. Stranger in Paradise (Wright, Forrest) 2:36
22. Our Love Is Here To Stay (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:16
23. 'S Wonderful (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:23
24. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington) 2:31



Cd. 2

1. What’s New (B.Haggart, Burke) 3:04
2. I’ll Remember April (Raye, DePaul, Johnson) 2:46
3. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington, Parish) 3:01
4. Easy To Love (Porter) 3:14
5. Autumn In New York (Vernon Duke) 2:42
6. Walk, Don’t Run ! (Smith) 2:46
7. Lover Man (Davis, Ramirez, Sherman) 2:25
8. Someone To Watch Over Me (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:14
9. How About You ? (Freed, Lane) 2:43
10. Dancing On The Ceiling (Rodgers, Hart) 2:56
11. Blues For Birdland (Smith) 2:37
12. Have You Met Miss Jones ? (Rodgers, Hart) 2:31
13. But Beautiful (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:49
14. Swinging On A Star (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:35
15. I Could Have Told You (C. Sigman, Van Heusen) 2:49
16. It Could Happen To You (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:09
17. Oh You Crazy Moon (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:32
18. I Thought About You (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:10
19. Deep In A Dream (De Lange, Van Heusen) 2:49
20. So Help Me (De Lange, Van Heusen) 2:49
21. Nancy (With The Laughing Face) (P. Silvers, Van Heusen) 3:17
22. Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:42
23. Darn That Dream (De Lange, Van Heusen) 3:27
24. Imagination (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:34


Cd. 3

1. Django (Lewis) 5:02
2. Wait Till You See Her (Rodgers, Hart) 2:15
3. 0500 Blues (Smith) 3:45
4. More Bass (Roumanis) 2:28
5. Un Poco Loco (Powell) 4:25
6. Easy Living (Rainger, Robin) 3:16
7. Old Girl (George Roumanis) 3:52
8. Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart) 2:47
9. Tired Blood (Smith) 4:16
10. Spring Is Here (Rodgers, Hart) 2:44
11. It Never Entered My Mind (Rodgers, Hart) 2:31
12. Samba (Smith) 2:49
13. Black Is The Color (Of My True Love's Hair) (Adapted by Smith) 2:04
14. Pawn Ticket (Bryant) 7:07
15. 'S Wonderful (Gershwin, Gershwin) 4:59
16. You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To (Porter) 2:08
17. Blue Lights (Basheer Qusim) 4:11
18. Montage (Smith) 4:59
19. Bags' Groove (Jackson) 3:18
20. ‘Round Midnight (Monk, Hanighen, Williams) 3:42


Cd. 4

1. Hello, Young Lovers (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 4:34
2. Love For Sale (Porter) 3:54
3. The Maid With The Flaxen Hair (Debussy, adapted by Smith) 2:00
4. Love Letters (Heyman, Young) 2:12
5. Tickle Toe (Young) 2:47
6. Goodbye (Jenkins) 2:18
7. Body And Soul (Green, Heyman, Eyton, Sour) 3:20
8. Lover (Rodgers, Hart) 3:22
9. The Boy Next Door (Martin, Blane) 2:35
10. Potter’s Luck (Silver) 3:37
11. Autumn Nocturne (Myron, Gannon) 2:07
12. Band Aid (Freeman) 3:03
13. Angel Eyes (Dennis, Brent) 4:11
14. Deep Night (Vallee, Henderson) 4:00
15. These Foolish Things (Strachey, Marvell, Link) 3:30
16. East Of The Sun (Bowman) 3:09
17. There’s A Small Hotel (Rodgers, Hart) 4:12
18. Laura (Raksin, Mercer) 2:31
19. Tea For Two (Youmans, Caesar) 4:39
20. You Go To My Head (Coots, Gillespie) 4:30
21. I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You (Washington, Bassman) 5:08
22. Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart (Hanley) 5:53


Cd. 5

1. Swingin' Shepherd Blues (Koffman) 2:33
2. Lullaby Of Birdland (George Shearing) 2:05
3. You Are Beautiful (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 3:53
4. I Enjoy Being A Girl (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 3:47
5. Sunday (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:32
6. A Hundred Million Miracles (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:36
7. Grant Avenue (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:27
8. Love Look Away (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 3:31
9. Like A God (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 4:03
10. Finale (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 7:13
11. When I Fall In Love (Albert Selden) 2:45
12. It Might As Well Be Spring (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:47
13. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (Rodgers, Hart) 2:20
14. Black Is The Color (Of My True Love's Hair) (Adapted by Smith) 2:30
15. Like Someone In Love (Burke, Van Heusen) 2:35
16. You Don’t Know What Love Is (Raye, DePaul) 2:42
17. Isn’t It Romantic (Rodgers, Hart) 2:52
18. I Remember The Corn Fields (Mayne, Ralton) 2:05
19. A Foggy Day (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:59
20. Scarlet Ribbons (Danzig, Segal) 2:42
21. People Will Say We’re In Love (Rodgers, Hammerstein) 2:53
22. The Nearness Of You (Carmichael, Washington) 2:32


Cd. 6

1. Moonlight In Vermont (Suessdorf, Blackburn) 2:33
2. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers, Hart) 3:20
3. Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart) 2:50
4. My One And Only Love (Wood, Mellin) 2:43
5. Jimmy Van Heusen Medley :
Darn That Dream (De Lange, Van Heusen)/Polka Dots and Moonbeams (De Lange, Van Heusen) 4:05
6. Satin Doll (Ellington, Strayhorn) 2:54
7. Blues Backstage (Foster) 3:55
8. Everything Happens To Me (Adair, Dennis) 3:21
9. Pavane (Maurice Ravel) 1:30
10. Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronnell) 6:04
11. Vilia (Franz Lehar) 3:42
12. Fools Rush In (R. Bloom, Mercer) 2:36
13. I Remember Clifford (Benny Golson) 4:05
14. The Lady Is A Tramp (Rodgers, Hart) 2:46
15. There Will Never Be Another You (Warren, Gordon) 3:07
16. Autumn Leaves (Mercer, Prevert, Kosma) 4:02
17. Mood Indigo (Ellington, Bigard) 2:50
18. Sentimental Journey (Brown, Homer, Green) 3:18
19. Three Little Words (Ruby, Kalmer) 2:16
20. My Romance (Rodgers, Hart) 2:28
21. Sometimes I’m Happy (Youmans, Caesar) 3:43
22. I’ll Take Romance (Oakland, Hammerstein) 3:03
23. Song For Jimmy Atkins (Smith) 3:39


Cd. 7

1. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) (Ellington, Webster) 2:39
2. Let's Fall In Love (Koehler, Arlen) 2:17
3. I Can't Get Started (Duke, Gershwin) 4:56
4. Some Of These Days (Brooks) 2:26
5. You Took Advantage Of Me (Rodgers, Hart) 2:08
6. Over The Rainbow (Harburg, Arlen) 2:26
7. Out Of Nowhere (Heyman, Green) 3:34
8. Prelude To A Kiss (Ellington, Mills, Gordon) 3:30
9. Un Poco Loco (Powell) 3:30
10. Hippo, The Sentimental Hippy (Roumanis, Messner) 2:58
11. It's You Or No One (Cahn, Styne) 2:56
12. Come Rain or Come Shine (Mercer, Arlen) 4:42
13. Gypsy In My Soul (Boland, Jaffe) 3:17
14. Embraceable You (Gershwin, Gershwin) 4:51
15. Misty (Garner, Burke) 5:26
16, As Long As There’s Music (Cahn, Styne) 4:02
17. ‘Round Midnight (Monk, Williams, Hanighen) 4:26
18. This Can’t Be Love (Rodgers, Hart) 3:18
19. Blues Chorale (La Porta) 3:54
20. Prelude (Scriabin, adapted by Smith) 1:24


Cd. 8

1. My Romance (Rodgers, Hart) 2:11
2. Little Girl Blue (Rodgers, Hart) 2:32
3. Pavane (Maurice Ravel) 1:32
4. Prelude (Scriabin, adapted by Smith) 1:30
5. Black Is The Color (Of My True Love's Hair) (Adapted by Smith) 2:44
6. Wait Till You See Her (Rodgers, Hart) 2:04
7. The Maid With The Flaxen Hair (Claude Debussy, adapted by Smith) 2:56
8. Shenandoah (Adapted by Smith) 2:27
9. Green Leaves Of Summer (Tiomkin, Webster) 2:49
10. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers, Hart) 3:13
11. Dancing In The Dark (Dietz, Schwartz) 2:37
12. Old Folks (Robison, Hill) 2:32
13. I Loves You Porgy (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:27
14. Soon (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:21
15. There’ll Be Other Times (McPartland) 4:32
16. Satin’s Doll (Smith) 5:04
17. I’m Old Fashioned (Kern, Mercer) 1:54
18. I Remember You (Mercer, V. Schertzinger) 2:47
19. Fitz (Roland) 4:28
20. Li'l Darlin’ (Hefti) 3:55
21. Time After Time (Styne, Cahn) 3:30
22. You Are Too Beautiful (Rodgers, Hart) 3:47
23. Sweet and Lovely (Arnheim, Tobins, Lemare) 3:29


Feat. Johnny Smith, Stan Getz, Hank Jones, George Duvivier, Ed Shaughnessy, Bob Pancoast, George Roumanis, Mousey Alexander, Nobby Totah, Jerry Segal, Perry Lopez, Arnold Fishkin, Don Lamond, Joe Mooney, Eddie Safranski, Sanford Gold, Bob Carter, Morey Feld, etc...

Recorded between March 11, 1952 & 1964

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Charlie Ventura Quintet

A fine swing-oriented tenor saxophonist, Ventura is best-remembered for his attempt at popularizing bebop during the tail end of the music's mid- to late-'40s heyday. Born Charles Venturo, he came from a large, musically inclined family. His first instrument was C-melody sax. He switched to alto before eventually settling on tenor. Ventura left his day job at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1942 to join Gene Krupa's band. He became a featured soloist with Krupa, playing with the drummer from 1942-1943 and 1944-1946 (working in the interim with guitarist/bandleader Teddy Powell). Ventura achieved considerable popularity while with Krupa, winning a Down Beat magazine award as best tenor saxophonist in 1945. He started his own big band in 1946 with middling results. He had more success fronting a small band, one version of which included trumpeter Conte Candoli, trombonist Bennie Green, alto saxophonist Boots Mussulli, drummer Ed Shaughnessy, and vocalists Jackie Cain and Roy Kral. Ventura recorded for small labels before getting signed to RCA Victor, which at the time wanted to capitalize on the emergence of bebop. An RCA executive purportedly told him that they wanted the word "bop" in the band's name. Ventura came up with the phrase "Bop for the People," which implied an accessible form of the music. Ventura formed a big band in 1948, but soon cut it down to eight members, retaining Cain and Kral, who were crucial components of the band's sound. The Bop for the People band worked through 1949 (during which time Ventura employed modern jazz's greatest saxophonist, Charlie Parker, on a record date), but in the end Ventura's stab at making a commercial success of bop failed. Indeed, as fine a player as he was, Ventura himself was never really a bopper. During the early '50s Ventura led another big band; formed a highly acclaimed group called the Big Four with bassist Chubby Jackson, drummer Buddy Rich, and pianist Marty Napoleon ; briefly ran his own night club in Philadelphia; and also worked again with Cain and Kral. Ventura's health was not the best, yet he continued to work with Krupa into the '60s. After the '50s, Ventura recorded commercially only once (in 1977, with pianist John Bunch for the Famous Door label). Still, he remained active. He worked in Las Vegas (with comedian Jackie Gleason), and fronted various groups in the '70s and '80s, before dying of lung cancer in 1992.
Chris Kelsey

Source :

Charlie Ventura
High On An Open Mike


1. Intro-High On An Open Mike (Ventura, Sandole) 4:27
2. Charlie's Ant (Ventura, Hildinger) 3:15
3. Cry Me A River (Hamilton) 3:45
4. Love And The Weather (Berlin) 2:53
5. Euphoria (Ventura, Kral) 3:29
6. Parlay 2 (Ventura, Niehaus) 3:26
7. Jazz Roost (Ventura, Cohn) 3:05
8. Sleep Till Noon (Ventura, Hildinger) 2:40
9. East Of Suez (Ventura, Stein) 3:27
10. Bernie's Tune-1 (Miller) 4:16
11. Bernie's Tune-2 (Ad lib) (Miller) 3:42
12. Runnin' Wild (Harrington, Grey, Wood) 2:41
13. Honeysuckle Rose (Waller, Razaf) 2:24
14. When The Saints Go Marching In (Trad.) 3:14
15. It's Only A Paper Moon (Arlen, Harburg, Rose) 2:49
16. Sweet Sue, Just You (Young, Harris) 3:00
17. Dark Eyes (Trad.) 2:08
18. Bill Bailley, Won't You Please Come Home ? (Trad.) 2:27
19. Star Dust (Carmichael, Parish) 3:24
20. Sweet Lorraine (Burwell, Parish) 2:28
21. Harvest Moon (unknow) 2:40
22. Exactly Like You (McHugh, Fields) 3:21
23. I've Got You Under My Skin (Porter) 3:06

[#1-11] The New Charlie Ventura in Hi Fi (Baton BL 1202)
Charlie Ventura - as, ts & bs
Billy Bean - g
Dave Hildinger - p
Richard Davis - b
Elmer "Mousey" Alexander - dr
[#12-23] Charlie Ventura Plays Hi Fi Jazz (Tops L 1528)
Same as above, except Dave McKenna replaces Hildinger - p

Recorded in 1956 & 1957 ?

By 1956 tenor-saxophonist Charlie Ventura no longer had a regular band and was drifting into semi-retirement. In fact, other than an album for King the following year and a set for Famous Door in 1977, this Lp was his final recording. Teamed with the then-unknown pianist Dave McKenna, guitarist Billy Bean, bassist Richard Davis (at the beginning of his career) and drummer Mousey Alexander, Ventura switches between tenor, alto, baritone and bass saxophones. The repertoire is filled with swing and dixieland standards including such unlikely songs as "When The Saints Go Marching In," "Bill Bailey" and "Sweet Sue" (in addition to a remake of Ventura's old hit with Gene Krupa "Dark Eyes") but the interpretations are full of spirit and swing. Although it may not look too promising, this budget Lp (which is long out of print but may be found at a cheap price) is actually well worth picking up.
Scott Yanow

Source :

See also :

For the Tops label

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Johnny Smith

When cool-toned guitarist Johnny Smith left New York for Colorado in the mid-'50s, he didn't hang up his guitar. He continued to play locally and make occasional trips back to the Big Apple to record. The two sessions included on The Sound of the Johnny Smith Guitar were the results of two trips in 1960 and 1961. Just about everything goes right on these sessions. Smith's guitar especially shines in the company of pianist Hank Jones, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Ed Shaughnessy in the second set. There's a lovely, soulful version of "'Round Midnight," with a nice long solo by Smith (he even bends a blue note or two) and a shorter, though poignant one, by Jones. The band goes into overdrive for "This Can't Be Love," filling it with bouncy rhythm and sharp lead work. Pianist Bob Pancoast, bassist George Roumanis, and drummer Mousey Alexander join Smith on the 1960 session, originally issued as Johnny Smith Plus the Trio. As with the 1961 set, solid instrumental choices like "Some of These Days" and "Hippo the Sentimental Hippy" brighten up the proceedings. The band also bravely tackles Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco," kicking it off with an extended, fiery drum workout by Alexander. In fact, the band doesn't join in until the last minute of the piece. Whether one considers the choice selections, good accompaniment, or wonderful guitar work by Smith, The Sound of the Johnny Smith Guitar is a lovely album and a good introduction to a fine guitarist.
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

Johnny Smith
The Sound of the Johnny Smith Guitar


1 Come Rain or Come Shine (Arlen, Mercer) 4:45
2 Gypsy in My Soul (Boland, Jaffe) 3:20
3 Embraceable You (Gershwin, Gershwin) 4:54
4 Misty (Burke, Garner) 5:28
5 As Long as There's Music (Cahn, Styne) 4:04
6 'Round Midnight (Hanighen, Monk, Williams) 4:28
7 This Can't Be Love (Hart, Rodgers) 3:20
8 Blues Chorale (LaPorta) 3:56
9 Prelude (Scriabin, Smith) 1:26
10 I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) (Ellington, Webster) 2:42
11 Let's Fall in Love (Arlen, Koehler) 2:20
12 I Can't Get Started (Duke, Gershwin) 4:58
13 Some of These Days (Brooks) 2:28
14 You Took Advantage of Me (Hart, Rodgers) 2:11
15 Over the Rainbow (Arlen, Harburg) 2:29
16 Out of Nowhere (Green, Heyman) 3:37
17 Prelude to a Kiss (Ellington, Gordon, Mills) 3:33
18 Un Poco Loco (Powell) 3:32
19 Hippo, The Sentimental Hippy (Messner, Roumanis) 3:01
20 It's You or No One (Cahn, Styne) 2:59

Johnny Smith - g
Hank Jones - p
George Duvivier - b
Ed Shaughnessy - dr
Johnny Smith - g
Bob Pancoast - p
George Roumanis - b
Mousey Alexander - dr

Recorded in New York City ; 1960 & 1961.