Saturday Apr 20

Favorite listening from 2006

Here are a few listening recommendations that I came up with a few years back.  Most are still available here or there.


Trio a Cordes Francais: 4 Quartets for Winds and Strings (Nonesuch LP)

I picked up a lightly used copy of this Nonesuch LP of quartets by Carl (sometimes "Karl") Stamitz and found it totally entrancing.  So far I've not been able to find a CD with precisely these performances on it. The basic group is Trio a Cordes Francais which is augmented by flute (Jean-Pierre Rampal), clarinet (Jacques (Lancelot), oboe (Pierre Pierlot), and Horn (Gilbert Coursier).

The works in question come from Opus 4 and Opus 8 (two quartets from each). Edward Tatnall Canby's liner notes sum up the listening as "elegant, polished, urbane, marvelously styled and turned."

Count Basie Presents Eddie Davis

Count Basie Presents the Eddie Davis Trio + Joe Newman (Roulette LP)

This is on of my perennial favorites.  It came out on the Roulette label in 1958 and offers up some of the tastiest modern idiom small band swing that has ever graced a vinyl disc.  Much of that is due to the fact that Basie does more than "present" the group. He's an added starter and his piano work greatly energizes the proceedings. George Duvivier's round bass tone fills out the rhythm section, too.

In fact, there are six members of the group:  Basie, Davis, and Newman (as indicated by the title) with Shirley Scott on organ and Arthur Edgehill on drums completing Davis's trio and last but assuredly not least, the redoubtable George Duvivier added on bass.

I'm perennially astounded that this sweet set has never, to my knowledge, surfaced on CD.  The vinyl issue does come around regularly on eBay, however, and tends to sell at reasonable prices. But be careful. Roulette put out a later version of this LP (with the same 52007 number) that leaves out two of the tunes, including "Marie," a highlight of the original issue.

Laughing in Rhythm

Slim Gaillard:  Laughing in Rhythm (Verve)

When someone says "Slim Gaillard," the natural response of most jazz fans is "Flat Foot Floogie." But there's so much more to Slim.  He's credited with songs from "Down By the Station" (you know, the "little pufferbellies" tune we all sang on our way up) to "Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine."  You can snag a lot of Slim Gaillard online, but this compilation is an easy way to get a good overview of his art.

The highlights, for me are the various performances that include participation by tenor sax giant Ben Webster, the utter coolness of pianist Jimmy Rowles, and occasionally both.

Gatemouth: The Man

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown:  The Man (Verve)

We lost Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown this year, but we'll never lose his music. My first taste of Gate was his "Song For Renee" which features his smoky, snaky amplified viola. I happened upon it on Louisiana Scrapbook, a Rykodisc sampler CD.  [As of 2011 update it's offered used on Amazon for 63 cents + shipping.]  These days that performance is more readily available on One More Mile and Texas Swing, the latter being a compilation that includes tunes from One More Mile and from Alright Again!, which won a Grammy for Brown.

But I most regularly pick up the Verve CD listed above.  The Man gives a full realization of the breadth and depth of his eclectic approach to American music including blues, jazz, country, Cajun, boogie, and pop.