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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jazz At Pasadena '69 - Volume 1 (1969)

Another interesting find on usenet. Wonderful live jazz with a heavy Dixieland feel. Quite a mix of good songs and long out of print. I have included the complete liner notes for those who like the details.


SMOKEY MARY is what used to be called a "flag-waver" during the big band
era. It features the work of one of the finest and busiest drummers- on the West Coast, Jack Sperling. Jack recorded this number during a remake in 1955, so technically he can be said to have "rehearsed" it. The rest of the band are sight reading, except for Professor Matty Matlock who is responsible for the tune and the arrangement We are possessed of the notion that a swinging big band sound adds a lot to a jazz party in spite of the "clams" which always pervade a first reading. Commercial recordings often spend several hours getting one or two numbers on tape and as the precision goes up the spirit tends to drop a little. The solos here by Cary, Lodice, Matlock, Havens and Sperling are right out of the air and generally superb.

BODY AND SOUL is part of a set which was a reunion between Abe Most, Jack Sperling and Ray Leatherwood, all of whom worked in the Les Brown band. Johnny Guarnieri's light, dry piano compliments Abe's distinctive clarinet style.

WOLVERINE BLUES appeared on last year's record as a jazz band number and is redone here for several reasons. First, it is rarely sung and the Clancy Hayes vocal is a complete and definitive one. Secondly, one of the world's foremost jazzband trombonists, Bob Havens, demonstrates the Miff Mole approach to the sliphorn. Genuinely a lost art, even Miff, in his later years, was unable to execute this difficult technique. Marvin Ash flavors the proceedings with his rocking piano style.

BLACK AND BLUE is a showcase for the splendid trumpet work of Johnny Best, one of the all-time great lead trumpets (Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw etc.) The piano is by Dick Cary, another fine brass man who was however, featured on piano with the Louis Armstrong band. The tune was a favorite with Pops and it is seldom played except as a tribute to him. This version is no exception.


IDA, arranged by Matty Matlock, recalls the original version by Red Nichols. The Bass Sax lead, done first by Adrian Rollini and later by Joe Rushton, is played here by a great and often unsung saxophonist, Wayne Songer, on baritone. The arrangement always produces an involuntary murmur of appreciation from listeners and the fine Dick Cary trumpet solo, and Abe Lincoln's trombone chorus are fringe benefits.

HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON? had been going on a couple of minutes-when the circuit breakers in the club basement were finally located and recording resumed. Fortunately, it captures some of the prettiest Jess Stacy piano, and some equally fine guitar by George Van Eps. This party marked the return of Stacy to the piano after a long absence, much to the joy of his many friends.

MY HONEY'S LOVIN' ARMS demonstrates the amazing gymnastics of "Thumbs" Guarnieri who does everything so fast that on this cut Jack Sperling just made it in time for the last half of the number. The ending is anything but a cop-out.

UP A LAZY RIVER is this year's winner of the "Feet of Clay" award, by which we strive to encourage budding instrumentalists by demonstrating that even the giants occasionally get lost. In this case, the titans of the trombone, Bob Havens and Abe Lincoln, grapple with a fine old tune whose unusual construction, made more complex by the time-honored custom of splitting choruses, leads them into a trap near the end. The splendid demonstration of two completely different styles and sounds, not previously heard together, makes this a collector's item which would never have been allowed out of a studio. Another Blue Angel first!

MILK COW BLUES must have been sung at some time or other by Kokomo Arnold. We have never heard it attempted by anyone but Nappy Lamare and to hear it is to understand why. Nappy renders (in the classic sense) both choruses of this bucolic lament in such a way as to chill the marrow of any potential competitor. Fortunately, there are no dairy farms within eight miles of Pasadena.

The BLUE ANGEL JAZZ CLUB is based upon the idea that great jazz is the product of the interaction between great musicians, devoted and appreciative audiences and a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. Blue Angel tries to bring these elements together in its informal jazz parties and then attempts to capture the results in fine, high fidelity recordings. All funds realized from the sale of these recordings are used to further promote the primary aim of the club, which is to encourage and to support great professional jazz musicians. Membership in Blue Angel or further information may be obtained by writing to the address below. Recordings may be obtained only through jazz specialty dealers who are members of The Blue Angel Jazz Club or by direct mail order at $5.50 per record, including tax and postage.

BAJC 505


Personnel: Matty Matlock, Don Lodice, Wayne Songer (reeds); Dick Cary, John Best (trumpets); Abe Lincoln, Bob Havens (trombones); Johnny Guarnieri (piano); Nappy Lamare (guitar); Ray Leatherwood (bass); Jack Sperling (drums)

Abe Most (clarinet); Johnny Guarnieri (piano): Jack Sperling (drums); Ray Leatherwood (bass)

(Spikes Bros.-Morton)
Clancy Hayes (banjo and vocal); Dick Cary (trumpet); Matty Matlock (clarinet); Marvin Ash (piano); Bob Havens (trombone); Ray Leatherwood (bass); Jack Sperling (drums)

John Best (trumpet); Don Lodice (tenor sax): Matty Matlock (clarinet); Bob Havens (trombone); Dick Cary (piano); Nappy Lamare (guitar); Artie Shapiro (bass); Jack Sperling (drums)


(personnel same as Smokey Mary, above)

2. HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON? (Gershwin Bros.) 4:45
Jess Stacy (piano); George Van Eps (guitar); Morty Corb (bass); Jack Sperling (drums)

Johnny Guarnieri (piano); Jack Sperling (drums)

4. UP A LAZY RIVER (Arodin-Carmichael) 6:13 Abe Lincoln and Bob Havens (trombones); J. Guarnieri (piano); J. Sperling (drums); R. Leatherwood (bass)

5. MILK COW BLUES (Kokomo Arnold) 3:26 Nappy Lamare (vocal and guitar) personnel as in (1.) above.

Recorded at the University Club of Pasadena, November 1, 1969
Produced by Wm. A. MacPherson, M.D. and Geo. C. Tyler, M.D.
Cover Design by Chuck Jones © Recording by Wally Heider
Mastering by Artisan Sound Recorders, Hollywood


George Van Eps appears through the courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.

Download Link: Enjoy the Music!

Other recordings by personnel on this recording:

Matty Matlock
Dick Cary
John Best
Bob Havens
Johnny Guarnieri
Nappy Lamare
Clancy Hayes
Jess Stacy
George Van Eps

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