Monday, October 25, 2021

Part 1 - Herb Snitzer's Glorious Days and Nights - A Jazz Memoir

 © Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.


“I came to jazz through art — painting and photography, the American Abstract Expressionists, beat poets, Greenwich Village wanderings — as a young and very impressionable artist living in New York City. I was drawn to the music, as I was to my art, initially, by the spirit and joy that I felt every time I heard jazz; this multifaceted and highly original music lifted my soul and spoke to my heart, much as Mozart did, and the initial feelings have not left me.”

- Herb Snitzer


Although the Jazz universe is primarily a musical one, many other arts orbit within its sun.


Poetry, literature, criticism, movies and documentaries, painting and photography all occupy a planetary space within its cosmos.


Clubs, concert halls, sea cruises, cinemas and festivals all provide a nexus for the arts to engage and intertwine and visual displays, radio broadcasts and television programs further enrich the interconnectedness of the arts with Jazz.


I’ve always been fascinated by the process of how someone from another art form finds his or her way into the Jazz path and personal memoirs are a fascinating source for revealing these voyages of discovery.


In this regard the photographer Herb Snitzer's Glorious Days and Nights - A Jazz Memoir [2011] explains how he became involved with Jazz following the Second World War in his Preface, Introduction and Chapter highlights and I thought it might be fun to share these with you in a multipart feature on the blog as one example of how other arts fuse with Jazz and enhance the way in which we experience the music.


Preface


“The early Eisenhower years were filled with contradictions; apathy and bus boycotts, conservatism and radicalism. The middle-class white world was recovering from Joe McCarthy; blacklisted writers were using phony names to get work in Hollywood and London; Jack Kerouac and Robert Frank roamed America; and Roy Cohn remained evil. By 1957, the year I moved to New York, the Montgomery, Alabama, buses had been integrated (December 21, 1956).There were growing signs that black America was no longer going to be continuously embarrassed, no longer going to be content in living second-class lives. This "unrest" as the New York Times so quaintly called it, burst upon white America in 1955, when Ms. Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her bus seat, setting off a chain of events, reverberating still.



Amazingly, Judge Franklin Johnson, a Republican-appointed federal judge, ruled that his state's busing laws were unconstitutional. A truly brave act on his part. By December 5, twenty-five-year-old Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association. The boycott began.


The United States has come a long way in internally destroying attitudes that suggest that an entire race by being of a different color should be enslaved with little or no rights, no protections. Attitudes die hard. Between 1882 and 1955 five thousand lynchings were recorded. There were, on average, sixty-seven blacks lynched each year during the first twenty years of the twentieth century. This fact was not lost on the collective black consciousness, and it found musical expression in the haunting ballad "Strange Fruit," sung by the great jazz vocalist Billie Holiday. "Southern Tree bear strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood on the root, / Black body swinging in the southern breeze / Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees."


There is another rendition of this song sung by the great Nina Simone that will chill the spine. Each version is a testament to the greatness of the song and the singer. In fairness, not all southerners were or are evil; too many, however, in positions of influence, did little to stop the lynchings. Too many doctors, lawyers, and judges of the twenties, thirties, and forties were intimidated by members of the KKK who were also in positions of power and influence. It was a sad time in America.


Much has been written about the unanticipated changes that came about after the Second World War relating to increased racial awareness, the internationalization of black music, sensitivity toward minorities, and so forth. But the dark side continued for many years. In the July 1939 issue of the Journal of Negro Education—while Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson, and other noted black artists were wowing audiences (segregated in the South)—Dr. Ralph Bunche of the United Nations prophetically and chillingly wrote, "Unless the Negro can develop and quickly, organization and leadership, endowed with broad social perspective and foresighted analytical intelligence, the Black citizen of America may soon face the dismal prospect of reflecting upon the tactical errors of the past from the gutters of the black ghettoes and concentration camps of the future." His use of the phrase "concentration camps" stunned me. The concentration camps of the Nazis were still relatively unknown to the world for another four years. Or were they?


The great jazz trumpet player Miles Davis once remarked that if white America knew what many blacks were thinking it would scare them half to death. Miles was always one for overstatement, but I cannot discount Miles Davis's personal views of white America. If I were black, living within a hopeless or what I perceived to be a hopeless situation, told by the larger society that I was worthless, second best, unnecessary, eventually I would relate to the larger society in ways which were less calm and other than law abiding. Anger and frustration found their way into the music of the 1950s, 1960s, and i1970s: In the words of Langston Hughes, "Old cop just keeps on 'MOP! MOP ... BE-BOP ... MOPl That's where BE-BOP comes from, beaten right out of some Negroes' heads into them horns and saxophones and piano keys that plays it..."


A special nod goes to two people not directly connected to the jazz world but whose lives were exemplary and whose dreams continue to connect people of goodwill: Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson. Early on they both spoke and sang out for freedom and dignity, equality and self-respect. They are kindred spirits to Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Sarah Vaughan. They have left a legacy that deserves our continuous attention. We owe them an enormous thank you.


I also want to thank my wife, the painter Carol Dameron; thanks to Ed and Gail Snitzer for their unwavering support; longtime jazz friends, Dan Morgenstern and Jerry Smokler; the cultural historian Dr. Benjamin Cawthra, Cynthia Sesso, Gretchen and Barry Singer, Ellen and Burton Hersh, Babs Reingold, and Jim Wightman. A special thanks goes to New York Times best-selling author Peter Golenbock, a dear friend and ultimate professional. Many, many thanks.


Introduction


The question hangs out there like gently swaying laundry. "Why am I, a middle-class humanist white guy so engrossed in the world(s) of African Americans and their drive for freedom and civil rights?" My response is always the same: inequality for one is inequality for all. Racial hatred toward one is racial (ethnic) hatred toward all others.


My parents were pogrommed out of the Ukraine by the dreaded Cossacks so many years ago — they are both dead — yet their stories remain as vivid today as when I first heard them. How dreadfully frightened, alone, and small a black child must have felt in those same years at the beginning of the twentieth century, especially growing up in the South where I now live and work. But does this really explain why my commitment to civil rights and liberties and my sustaining love of jazz remain full-blown, as strong now as forty years ago? My overall feelings about justice, equality, freedom, and the deeply held belief in all people being equal were formed in the late forties, early fifties—my teenage years, those days of Emmitt Till, Brown v. Board of Education, Joe McCarthy, Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights demonstrations, and marches for freedom, dignity, and equality.


My own personal struggles were less dramatic. Good people were there to help my parents in time of need. Good people were there when I started my professional career in New York City in 1957. I feel I owe the same embracing to others, and since I love art, jazz, photography, freedom — especially freedom — there was and is an obvious connection to the people who make this music come alive and push it forward.


I came to jazz through art — painting and photography, the American Abstract Expressionists, beat poets, Greenwich Village wanderings — as a young and very impressionable artist living in New York City. I was drawn to the music, as I was to my art, initially, by the spirit and joy that I felt every time I heard jazz; this multifaceted and highly original music lifted my soul and spoke to my heart, much as Mozart did, and the initial feelings have not left me. The early to mid-fifties were spent growing, maturing, serving my country in the United States Army (now that was a trip), splitting for New York City the day after I graduated from an art college in Philadelphia.


I was in the Big Apple, the Waldorf Astoria, 52nd Street, the Bowery, the Five Spot, the Half Note, the Village Vanguard, further uptown, Basin Street East, Count Basie's, Small's Paradise, and of course, the Apollo, where every jazz junkie came for a fix in those days. But we don't use language like that anymore. Now jazz musicians bring their Evian water on the bandstand — bubbles without the bubbly.


Living in New York City between 1957 and 1964 provided me with many breaths of fresh air: Pops, Duke, Sassy, Trane, Eric Dolphy, all alive and swingin', along with Nina Simone, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Stan Getz, Carmen McRae, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, John Birks Gillespie, Red Allen. Oh my, the list was almost endless, and they were all great musicians and some of them wonderful composers. I feel badly leaving out so many other names from this list of jazz artists.


And so along with dropping in on the abstract expressionists, enjoying their slashing and dashing, their parties almost as wonderful as their paintings, it wasn't difficult being drawn to jazz; it was all around, you just needed to reach out, it was here, there, everywhere, anywhere, inside, outside, all around.


The forty years from 1955 to 1995 proved to be tumultuous in the life of the United States and in the singular and collective lives of African Americans. Blacks' struggles for freedom and equality make us a better nation; yet knowing full well how fragile and demanding freedom is, one must be vigilant and knock away the forces of totalitarianism and the ugliness of intolerance and prejudice, whenever and wherever these forces appear. They are in evidence today!


This book is about men and women committed to the making and playing of music we call jazz, addressing its development in relationship to the ever-growing freedoms being experienced and gained by people "of color." The vast majority of jazz musicians are black, and they live in a country that was and is, for the most part, indifferent to and unsympathetic to their concerns, aspirations, and dreams, not as musical artists, but as human beings.


In October 1958 I went to meet and photograph Lester Young. From that day (night) on, jazz musicians have been a part of my life. Their music is entertaining and intellectually stimulating, and their lifestyles swingin'. No Chet Baker, no Spike Lee films, thank you. The Clint Eastwood produced "Straight. No Chaser" is where it's at. Simple and honest, no frills, just the action and the jazz artist. So the music is in my heart. One day I might just hear Sassy (Sarah Vaughan) sing again when I close my eyes and listen hard, with Duke's orchestra, and then she, Ella Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae will sing a song that lasts forever. That would be something.


Certainly this book is an autobiography, but it also reflects the times, and also I have a lot of strong opinions about things I wish to share. The people in this book were very important cultural icons, and it is my fervent wish that my words and photographs bring them into focus in every way possible.


1 Beginnings


One day after graduating from college in June of 1957. I arrived in New York City to stay. You could park on the streets back then. I had driven my brother Ed's '51 Mercury from Philadelphia up New Jersey through the Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan's west side, where I rented a two-and-a-half bedroom, fifth-floor walk-up on 70th Street right off Central Park West for $70 a month. I was ready to capture the world.


Getting there had not been easy or fun. I was a child of the thirties, a son of refugee parents who really had no idea how to raise children. They got off the boat and settled in Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty and the home of the Quakers, but I doubt they knew much about that. My brother and I had to suffer through a lower-middle-class insulated Jewish life, where art and music were considered frivolous activities, and where fear and poverty were never far away. I can still close my eyes and picture my father at age four under a wagon in his small village in the Ukraine, as the Cossacks, brutal men mounted on horses, came rampaging into town, shaking not only the ground but the very soul of my father. How dreadfully small he must have felt.


I caught a break when I passed all the tests and was admitted into Central High School, a very prestigious public institution where only the best students from across the City of Brotherly Love were admitted.


Like a lot of kids, I didn't take my high school education very seriously. I was a football player for my first three years — a halfback — and that was how I saw myself. My most vivid memory in high school is of being on the field when our quarterback was injured. The coach sent in his replacement, an Afro-American kid, who trotted onto the field. As he got to the huddle, the coach hollered out to me, "Snitzer, you call the signals." I remember seeing the kid's face. He was upset and embarrassed, though he didn't say a word. Here we were, going to the best high school in Philadelphia, and this kid was just as smart if not smarter than I was. But it was obvious to everyone the coach didn't want him calling the signals because he was black. Looking back, I have to say I was thrilled for the opportunity, but at the same time embarrassed. I slowly became acutely aware of the racism that existed in the world. Eyes open, I began to notice it more and more. Though most whites treated Afro-Americans as if they didn't exist, I found myself drawn to the handful of black kids at our school. I liked their dignity. I felt they had a reserve about them, a kind of maturity the white kids didn't seem to have, and I also respected the black athletes because to get their chance, they had to be better. Jackie Robinson had joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, but most of the country still didn't get it: there were sensitive, talented people behind those black faces. I'm a little embarrassed to say we never socially mixed—just wasn't done, the times were so terribly different, everyone so immersed in their ethnicities. But that incident left its mark, which made me, in time, pursue history, events that shaped this country, its people, and what I discovered saddened, angered, challenged, and changed me forever.


I used to enjoy going to see the Philadelphia Stars, the local Negro League team. Though most of the people in the crowd were African American, with a sprinkling of whites, I had no hesitation about going. I went because it was baseball and because the men on the field were talented players.

At the end of my junior year, I hurt myself playing football, and I didn't play my senior year. I concentrated on my studies instead, and lo and behold, my teachers found out I was pretty smart.


From high school I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Even though I didn't take it seriously, I knew I liked to draw, and so I went to the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. The school wasn't accredited, and my parents never supported me, but I was headstrong, and I pursued the arts anyway. While there, I noticed evocative photographs displayed on the walls, and I bought a cheap camera, and I began to learn how to take pictures and how the darkroom worked. I also began taking weekend trips to see Broadway plays and to visit the great art museums of New York. It didn't cost much, a bus ride and a night at the YMCA. Back then you could sit in the balcony and watch a great, serious Broadway show for ninety-five cents.


When I was drafted into the army early in my junior year in February 1953, I took my camera with me, making lots of photographs of paratrooper jumps and of people in the military. Unfortunately, I don't have any of those negatives.


My military life was nothing to write home about. My most vivid memory was going home to Philadelphia in my military uniform and attending a Quaker meeting. I listened to Senator Wayne Morse talk about his opposition to the Korean War, and there I was sitting provocatively in the audience in my military uniform. Only later did I realize how patient and tolerant the Quakers were of me.


My other army memory came in May 1954.The Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education in favor of those who sought integration. I celebrated with a few black soldier friends, who wouldn't take me to a black bar, and I certainly couldn't take them to a white one — being stationed in the South at the time — and so we drove around, sipping drinks, wondering what the hell was going to happen now.


I never got to see the shores of Korea. I was against the war, against violence, but back then there was no draft counseling as there was during the Vietnam War. Going to Canada was out of the question. I was drafted right out of college at age twenty, and every day I hated being a soldier so much I almost drank myself to death. After I began my military career at Camp Pickett near Richmond, Virginia, I moved on to Fort Knox, and then I spent the last five months of my active service in a military hospital in Valley Forge suffering from alcoholism, hepatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver.


After twenty-seven months in the service I received an honorable discharge. I returned to the Philadelphia College of Art and got my degree. I had decided to make photography my life. Every senior had to turn in a thesis, and mine was to photograph the Philadelphia Orchestra. I had always loved music. The orchestra played just two blocks from the college. I went to the administrators of the orchestra and got permission to photograph Eugene Ormandy and his orchestra. I have early photographs of Leontyne Price singing Handel's "Messiah." I took over a hundred photographs, and a few years ago printed a series from those negatives.


I received an A plus on my thesis. I was twenty-three years old. I knew where I wanted to go, back to the museums and the Broadway shows. And so, the day after graduation I revved up the Mercury and headed for the big city.”


To order the book directly from the University of Mississippi Press please use this link.



Saturday, October 23, 2021

Joe Maini by Gordon Jack

 © Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.


Gordon Jack is a frequent contributor to the Jazz Journal and a very generous friend in allowing JazzProfiles to re-publish his perceptive and well-researched writings on various topics about Jazz and its makers.


Gordon is the author of Fifties Jazz Talk An Oral Retrospective and he also developed the Gerry Mulligan discography in Raymond Horricks’ book Gerry Mulligan’s Ark.


The following article was published in the October 6 & 15, 2021 editions of Jazz Journal. 


For more information and subscriptions please visit www.jazzjournal.co.uk


© -Gordon Jack/JazzJournal, copyright protected; all rights reserved; used with the author’s permission.


“During a relatively short career Joe Maini became one of the finest alto soloists and lead players of his generation. Hugely admired by fellow performers he was born on 8 February 1930 in Providence, Rhode Island and by 1948 he was on the road with Johnny Bothwell. Bookings became scarce so together with fellow band-mates John Williams and Frank Isola, Maini jumped-ship in Ohio. He took off for Los Angeles where he worked with Roy Porter’s orchestra sitting in the section with Bob Gordon and Eric Dolphy who played lead. His friend Jimmy Knepper was also in the band and by early 1950 they decided to leave the west coast to try their luck in New York.


Once in the big city they rented an apartment located on the corner of 136th. Street and Broadway which soon became a location for all-night jam-sessions. Herb Geller who was a regular attendee told me, “You could visit at any time and there was always music being played together with all kinds of nefarious activities going on. Everybody used to go there –Dizzy, Joe Albany, Max Roach, Miles, Mulligan, Zoot, Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz. If you went to Joe’s you would meet the entire who’s-who of jazz”. Lenny Bruce often visited to socialise with the musicians. Don Lanphere recorded Charlie Parker there in May 1950 with John Williams, Buddy Jones and Frank Isola and the results were eventually released as The Apartment Sessions (Philology W842-2 CD). A more famous example of Lanpheres’s taping (aided by Maini) occurred a few months earlier when Parker’s quintet with Red Rodney appeared at a dance gig at St.Nicholas Arena. The album was released as Bird At St. Nicks (OJC CD041-2).

 

Around this time Maini was involved with a Gene Roland project that rehearsed at Nola’s Studio.  It was a twenty-five piece band designed as a feature for Parker known as The Band That Never Was because it did not work, it just rehearsed. Eddie Bert was there and he took a series of photos that have been reproduced in Ken Vail’s Bird’s Diary. Maini already had a drug problem which led to his incarceration at The Public Health Facility in Lexington, Kentucky. Vail’s book quotes a letter Joe sent to Charlie Parker from Los Angeles dated 23 January, 1953 – “It felt good to get your warm letter while I was in the “hospital”. Jimmy Knepper and I got out on 17 November and I have become a solid citizen and good musician. No more raucous living for me. That sixteen months changed me. Jerry (sic) Mulligan is making a lot of money out here. He’s got a small group with no piano and I played with him the other night on his gig and it was a lot of fun.”  Parker and Maini became very close and for a while they lived in the same apartment. Parker gave Joe a tenor which he continued to use during the fifties.


Having been off the scene for a while Joe like a lot of musicians took whatever work he could find which often included  performing in strip clubs. Brew Moore, no stranger to burlesque, once said he was 21 before he saw a naked woman from the front. Geller told me about the Los Angeles bohemian under-world of the time - “I sometimes worked in striptease clubs because I knew Night Train and Harlem Nocturne which I suppose qualified me. Lenny Bruce was the comic at several clubs and we got to know each other real well. Sometimes Joe Maini and I would split a job. If I had a jazz gig he would cover for me at the strip club and vice versa.” One of the most notorious clubs was Duffy’s Gaiety near Santa Monica Boulevard where Bruce was the M.C. and his wife Hot Honey Harlow did the stripping. Ronald Collins and David Skover in their Trials Of Lenny Bruce make it clear what the punters would find at Duffy’s - “Unemployed jazzmen gigged there, hookers cruised there, strippers grinded there, junkies scored there and Lenny thrived there”. Stars like Bob Hope, Hedy Lamarr and Ernie Kovacs were regular visitors and Gary Crosby (Bing’s son) used to date the girls. As Herb said, “Lenny was really infamous then, not quite a star yet but “in” to the real hip people”.  When Maini, Geller and Jack Sheldon were not actually playing they apparently had a free seat every night.


In 1954 Maini made notable contributions to a high-profile Best Coast Jazz date for Mercury where he more than held his own in the heady company of Clifford Brown, Walter Benton, Herb Geller, Kenny Drew, Curtis Counce and Max Roach. He is heard on Coronado, You Go To My Head, Caravan and an inspired Autumn In New York where his soulful approach contrasts effectively with the suave elegance of the other alto-man on the session - Herb Geller. The following year he was seen on screen with Connie Haines and the Dan Terry Orchestra in a short film titled Birth Of A Band. That year he also appeared on a relaxed Shelly Manne date with Bob Enevoldsen, Bill Holman and Jimmy Giuffre where they performed Summer Night, Spring Is Here and You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me.


When Bob Gordon died in 1955 his wife Sue wanted a band to play at his funeral. Jack Sheldon, Bob Enevoldsen, Joe Maini and Jack Montrose performed Jack’s arrangement of Good-Bye and Enevoldsen told me that it was almost impossible to perform given the circumstances. Maini was working with Kenny Drew at the time and he is featured on both alto and tenor on the pianist’s Talkin’ And Walkin’ which has a number of the pianist’s intriguing compositions together with a memorable I’m Old Fashioned. The following year he and Red Norvo recorded Concertino Da Camera with composer Jack Montrose. It has an unusual three-part baroque canon form with a series of key and tempo changes developing into an examination of the blues featuring Maini at his best.


Joe Maini, a consummate sight-reader, was part of the large studio orchestra on Johnny Mandel’s 1958 I Want To Live film sound-track. Years later Mandel told Marc Myers, “Joe was beyond great. He could play anything I wrote with incredible soul and energy”. Everyone who knew Maini had similar views about his musicality. This is what Bill Perkins who played with him in Terry Gibbs’s band told me, “He was one of my all-time favourite musicians...those who played with him will never forget him. Along with Lanny Morgan he was the greatest, most dynamic jazz-oriented lead alto I ever played with.” When Pete Christlieb was about sixteen he played in a Saturday morning rehearsal band. He told me that “Occasionally somebody good would sit-in to show us how the charts should really sound. The great Joe Maini once visited and played the lead alto chair and he was so good it was frightening. He more or less said, “You follow me kid and try to stick close to my ass because we’re going down the road and we’re going fast!” Man what authority. It was fantastic to play in the section with him”.


Herb Geller once told me an amusing story concerning Maini and Art Pepper. This anecdote which occurred in the late fifties also appears in Pepper’s Straight Life but with a slightly different ending. “There was never any love lost between Art and Joe, or Art and anyone else for that matter because nobody liked him personally. They had both been in jail and there were rumours that Art had named names. The word for that is a fink and that is what people were calling Art. Anyway there was an after-hours club on Hollywood Boulevard where Bill Holman had the group with my wife Lorraine on piano and musicians would go there after their gigs to jam. Joe and I would usually go together and one night we met Art in the parking-lot getting ready to go in. We greeted each other and Art’s wife Diane said, “How can you be so friendly when you know that you all hate each other?” Art said to Joe, “Yeah, you’ve been going around telling everyone I’m a fink and that’s not true”. Joe said, “Listen, I was in the joint too and I would never call anyone a fink unless I really knew for sure. I didn’t call you a fink, all I said was that you couldn’t blow shit man! I’ve been telling everyone that”. They were going to start fighting but Herb and Diane held them both back. Pepper’s friend bass player Hersh Hamel provides a different ending in Art’s autobiography –“They got into a fist-fight and were rolling around on the concrete hitting each other”. 


In 1959 he became a founder-member of Terry Gibbs’s dynamic and well-named Dream Band recording eight albums with them until Gibbs disbanded in 1962. Apart from the leader the band was packed with top-draw soloists like Conte Candoli, Frank Rosolino, Bill Perkins and Richie Kamuca. Maini had features on No Heat, Evil Eyes, Flying Home, The Big Cat, Opus One and many others. In a recent telephone conversation this is what Gibbs had to say about his lead alto – “Joe could memorise a chart after playing it just twice – he wouldn’t have to look at it again. The only other musician I knew who could do that was Stan Getz. He was a great sight-reader able to play anything that was put in front of him. He had a drug problem but he was always reliable, showing up on time and taking care of business. Buddy Clark once brought in an arrangement of Parker’s Just Friends. The saxes (Med Flory, Maini, Kamuca, Perkins and Bill Hood) used to play it at the end of the night and that was really the beginning of Supersax. I announced them as “Joe Maini and the Maniacs!”  More fine examples of his big band work can be heard on Louis Bellson’s 1962 Live From The Summit album and on Cool from West Side Story Bellson said “Joe reached a peak of down-home swing”. One of his last bookings was with the band at Shelly’s Manne-Hole in March 1964. 


 Joe Maini died on 8 May 1964 and Down Beat’s obituary gave the cause of death as “A bizarre accidental shooting”. Reference books over the years like The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and The Feather/Gitler Jazz Encyclopaedia have claimed he was playing Russian Roulette and this has become an accepted part of jazz folk-lore. In June 2010 Marc Myers’s excellent JazzWax site provided a platform for Maini’s daughter Tina to put the record straight with information she received from Joe’s friend Ray Graziano.  “Late at night after a gig my father went back to Ray’s house to get high. He picked up the pistol and started telling a joke. He waved the gun around and it went off accidentally.” After the funeral there was a Memorial concert at Shelly’s Manne-Hole and the money raised was put into a trust-fund for Maini’s two children.


Selected Discography

As Leader

Joe Maini - The Small Group Recordings (LonehillJazz LHJ 10322).


As Sideman

Clifford Brown All Stars – Best Coast Jazz (Emarcy 838306-2CD).

Terry Gibbs Dream Band – The Sundown Sessions (Contemporary CCD 7652-2).

Terry Gibbs Dream Band – The Big Cat (Contemporary CCD 7657-2).

Terry Gibbs Dream Band - Main Stem (Contemporary CCD 7656-2).

Louis Bellson – Big Band Jazz At The Summit (Fresh Sound Records FSRCD 783).

I would like to acknowledge the help received from both Bob Weir and the Jazz Institute in Darmstadt, Germany while researching this article.




Friday, October 22, 2021

How John Coltrane Got His Sound

 © Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.


Over the years, much has been written about John Coltrane’s SOUND.


But how exactly did Coltrane produce it?


As you will come to understand after reading the following excerpts from Lewis Porter’s John Coltrane: His Life and Music [1999], Coltrane’s sound was made up of musical and mechanical elements that he had the genius to blend into one of the most recognizable “signatures’ in Jazz history.


The context for Lewis’s observations and analysis is the period from 1955 - 1957 when John was a member of Miles’s first, classic quintet which he then left for a stint with Thelonious Monk’s Quartet before returning to Miles, this time as a member of Davis’ sextet with Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb. 


“Coltrane was very serious about his art. 


Cannonball Adderley recalled, "Where sometimes Miles would take on some humor in his playing—or lots of times I might feel lighter than usual—John was heavily involved with being just serious and musical, all the time."


He almost never indulged in musical humor or in quoting entire phrases that would be familiar to listeners, and in this respect he was the opposite of Rollins, who is the musical quoter nonpareil.  .. Coltrane's music, more and more, seems to have been about the here and now, about being involved with what he and his group were playing at that moment. Quotations had no place in that world.


The serious tone of the minor mode may be one reason that Coltrane liked to use it (and later the Dorian). "Serious" is a generalization and does not apply to all minor melodies in all cultures; but it does seem fair to say that in Coltrane's music, minor tends to be serious.18 On the blues he relies heavily on the flat seventh and third, which gives his blues playing a minor quality as compared with the major-sounding blues solos of, say, Parker and Lester Young. Significantly, Coltrane liked to write blues themes in the minor. A minor blues, he told Leonard Feather in 1959, "is always good." He said in 1965, "I have a natural feeling for the minor."19


Apparently, it was also during this period that Coltrane became interested in the possibilities of sequences of fourths, something that was to figure prominently in his melodies of the 1960s.  … Coltrane  noted that around the time he was with Monk "I started playing fourth chords" 9”Coltrane on Coltrane"). However, it is hard to interpret his statement that he could create a bigger sound with "more volume" on fourths than on arpeggiated ninth chords. Perhaps this has to do with his practicing of multiphonics, which typically involves trying to bring out the overtone a fifth above (and thus related to the fourth below} each note.


Coltrane was always working on his sound. [Emphasis mine.] No doubt many of the hours that Coltrane spent practicing, throughout his life, were not devoted to finger exercises but were spent quietly experimenting with reeds and mouthpieces. Tom Dowel, Coltrane's recording engineer at Atlantic Records, remembers Coltrane's warmup routine: "John usually showed up about an hour before the session. Much in the manner of classical musicians practicing before a recital, he would stand in a corner, face the wall, play, stop, change reeds, and start again. After a while he would settle on the mouthpiece and reed that felt most comfortable to him, and then he would start to work on the 'runs' that he wanted to use during the session. I would watch him play the same passage over and over again, changing his breathing, his fingering, and experimenting with the most minute changes in his phrasing. Once in a while he would go back to a mouthpiece he had abandoned earlier."


On the saxophone finding your own sound depends largely on finding your personal combination of mouthpiece and reed. Many types and hardnesses of reeds and dozens of mouthpieces are available. Each saxophone also resonates a certain way, and the shape of one's air cavities and sinuses will also help determine the sound one gets—this last, obviously, is not under the player's control. Some players, such as Charlie Parker, had a reputation for being able to get the sound they wanted even on borrowed mouthpieces and instruments. Coltrane was not easily satisfied—he searched hard for the perfect sound. Fellow saxophonist Wayne Shorter says that Dexter Gordon recalled giving Coltrane a mouthpiece to help him project. Shorter believes Jimmy Oliver gave him one too, and that Coltrane sounded so good on it that Oliver wanted it back. By all accounts, Coltrane eventually had a large collection of mouthpieces. Even when he found a mouthpiece he liked, he would sometimes have a specialist adjust it (by fine sanding and other methods) to get closer to what he heard inside his head.


Most photographs show Coltrane playing on a metal mouthpiece, usually an Otto Link model. (Occasionally in the early 1960s, he can be seen using a black, hard-rubber model.) One might think that the metal mouthpiece created the edge in Coltrane's sound, but it's not that simple. Metal mouthpieces generally are very resonant and reinforce the upper partials, but do not by themselves determine the resulting tone. Lester Young, for example, used a metal mouthpiece on his famous recordings with Count Basie during the 1930s, and his ethereal sound was worlds apart from Coltrane's.


Coltrane experimented with different ligatures—the strap that holds the reed onto the mouthpiece. He also tried putting a piece of rubber on top of the mouthpiece, where the teeth hit. (Today one can buy such a strip at an instrument shop.) Reportedly, Coltrane was so fanatic about having a perfect connection with the instrument that he had his upper teeth filed into a slight curve so as to match the curve of the top of the mouthpiece. Coltrane talked about his setup: "I was in the habit of using extremely hard reeds, number nine, because I wanted to have a big, solid sound. And while playing with Monk I tried using number four. I very soon realized that the number nine limited my possibilities and reduced my stamina: with the four I had a volubility that made me give up the nine!" I don't know of any reed make whose numbering goes up to nine, but some mouthpieces do. Coltrane told Valerie Wilmer in 1961 that he used a hard reed, and that "my good ones usually last two weeks."


Coltrane articulated even his most rapid passages with great precision. This is accomplished through the use of the tongue on the reed. The fingers must be very accurate as well, so that the closing of the keys is coordinated with the tongueing. Coltrane told fellow saxophonist George Braith around 1966 that he also obtained clarity through "a definitive way of closing the keys" without relying as much on the tongue.


Except for early photos with Gillespie where he appears to be playing a King "Super 20" tenor, Coltrane was partial to Selmer saxophones—as are most professionals—and different Selmer models vary in sound quality and in ease of fingering. David Demsey and Carl Woideck, both saxophonists and educators, agree that in photos of the late 1950s Coltrane appears to be using the model known as a "balanced action," which was introduced in the mid-1930s and then revised around 1947. During 1960 Coltrane seems to have taken up the Mark VI model that Selmer had introduced in 1954. Shorter recalls that in the 1960s Coltrane had a brand-new Selmer that he tried out at a club in Manhattan. But he couldn't get the sound he wanted, so he drove all the way back to Huntington, Long Island — where he was living at the time — to get the old one. Coltrane was very dependent on having the right equipment.


On Coltrane's solos with the Gillespie small group in 1951, he exhibited a rich tone, a medium-fast vibrato, and pronounced use of portamento. Over the fears, his vibrato slowed down considerably. By 1955, Coltrane utilized a very slow and relatively narrow vibrato, lending a poignant delicacy to his sound. At faster tempos, Coltrane's tone became more raspy and intense. Despite enormous changes in repertory, Coltrane always sounded aggressive and virtuosic on fast numbers, serene, lyrical and sensitive on slow pieces. Compare, for example, "In a Mellotone" with Hodges from 1954 with "Don't Blame Me" of the same date; from 1957, "Time Was" with "While My Lady Sleeps"; from 1960, "Liberia" with "Central Park West"; from 1965, "Vigil" with "Welcome"; and, finally, from 1966, "Leo" with "Peace on Earth."


Coltrane's respectful approach to ballad melodies reflects a tradition before bop; the Parker way was to improvise double-time lines and fills in a ballad. Johnny Hodges was famous for his sensuous ballad paraphrases, with his own distinctive set of ornaments applied similarly each time. It is extremely likely that Coltrane learned much about ballad playing from Hodges, although he certainly learned as well from recordings of Lester Young. Young had a similar way of pacing himself on a ballad. A graphic illustration of Young's dichotomy of style as of September 1949 may be heard by comparing his frenetic solo in "Lester Leaps In," full of overblown low notes and guttural effects, with his pure, singing rendition of "Embraceable You" from the same concert.”




Thursday, October 21, 2021

Sam Jones - Down Home with the Soul Society and The Chant

 © Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.



Recorded from 1960 - 1962 with arrangements by Ernie Wilkins, Jimmy Heath and Victor Feldman these largely forgotten sessions present bassist Sam Jones in a variety of orchestral and large groups settings with a host of marvelous musicians including his mates from Cannonball Adderley's quintet, plus Frank Strozier and Blue Mitchell and the likes of either Louis Hayes, Ben Riley and Vernel Fournier booting things along from the drum chair.


Jones was the bassist with alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley’s quintet and Julian served as an informal musical advisor to Orin Keepnews who was co-owner of Riverside and the producer for its recordings.


At the time, it wasn’t unusual for a bassist to be a leader for a recording date - let alone three - but it was uncommon.


Not surprisingly, Cannonball, who was articulate in writing as he was in speaking before an audience at a club or a concert at which his group was performing, provides the following insert notes for the first of these recordings - Sam Jones - The Soul Society [Riverside - OJCCD 1789-2; RLP 1172].


As they contain a wealth of information about both Sam’s background and what went into the making of the album, I thought I’d share them with you “as is.”


Incidentally, Sam Jones - The Soul Society along with its successors - Sam Jones Plus 10 - The Chant and Sam Jones & Co. - Down Home - is still available on CD, both individually and in a combined format of three LPs on two, remastered CDs.


A word in passing. Given how little actual primary source documentation there is available to accompany much of recorded Jazz history, as the years move along, these anecdotal notes from the back of LP sleeves have become an invaluable repository of information.


Notes by   JULIAN "CANNONBALL" ADDERLEY

“It is a special pleasure for me to write the notes to this SAM JONES album. As everyone should know, Sam is my bass player (by which I mean a lot more than just that he is the bassist in my band), and I am happy to have a connection with his first album. As I realized when I showed up at the recording studio for one of the sessions, everyone on the date was obviously also very happy to be a member of this particular "Soul Society." This pleasure and affection for Sam can very easily be heard (and, I'm sure, will be shared) by everyone listening to the album.


During the past two years, Sam has become the most sought-after bass player for recording in New York. This situation is simply a testament to the general awareness of the universal feel in his playing and to the fact that a great many of the best modern drummers choose Sam as the most relaxed section-mate they can find.


"Home," as he is affectionately known to his friends, was tagged with that name in much the same way as Lester Young became known as "Pres" — for Sam refers to everyone else as "Home"! Although born in Jacksonville, Florida (in 1927), he considers Tampa as his home town, for his family moved there when he was three years old. "Home" played bass drum in the Middleton High School band; however, he was always fascinated by the string bass, and began his professional career on that instrument in Ralph Duty's local band while still a Tampa high school student.


Sam's reputation preceded him to New York by quite a few years, via musicians who travelled through Florida, while "Home" himself was gathering experience in the Southern states. (Some of that experience was non-musical, including most of the fabled circumstances encountered by itinerant musicians. Certainly his having been stranded in Texas and arrested in Florida are among the factors that contribute to his earthy soul.) He was leader of a swinging quintet in Miami that included Blue Mitchell on trumpet; and he played in numerous rhythm-and-blues and commercial bands, including those of Tiny Bradshaw and Paul Williams. His introduction to big time jazz, however, was in Illinois Jacquet's band. "Home" then became a member of my previous band in 1956, replacing Keter Betts (who is also effectively displayed in this album). He later worked with Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk before re-entering my present quintet when it was formed in the Fall of 1959.


Sam lists as his favorite bassists the veterans Ray Brown and Israel Crosby. Among the younger players he is particularly fond of Betts and Paul Chambers. "Home" also notes that "I never heard Jimmy Blanton in person, but his record of Jack the Bear with Duke Ellington influenced my direction more than any other bass performance."


Everyone's initial reaction to Sam Jones' playing is respect for his big sound and "choice" notes. Orrin Keepnews, Riverside's A & R chief, says: "Probably the best favor ever done for me by Miles Davis is that I was first introduced to Sam by him." Sam is now Riverside's first-call bassist and although I haven't actually counted, it is my distinct impression that he has appeared on nearly half the label's releases since mid-1958 when he made his debut with Riverside on a Clark Terry date on which the rest of the rhythm section was only Thelonious and Philly Joe!


But this album is no mere gift to reward a faithful performer. Says Keepnews: "This LP was planned as a showcase for Sam's neglected solo abilities on both bass and cello — 'neglected' even though he has of course had lots of solo spots on both instruments, because neither one gets too much attention from listeners unless you really make a point of shining the spotlight on it. And Sam has so much to say on both." Neither instrument dominates here, with Sam playing each on four of the eight tracks. 


Incidentally, "Home's" cello-playing talent was first revealed on one number in a Riverside album by my brother Nat Adderley (Much Brass: RLP 12-301) and has since been featured throughout another of Nat's albums (Work Song: RLP 12-318).


The opening track here, Some Kinda Mean, is a minor piece written for cello by Keter Betts. It is highlighted by a Belts bass solo that will be talked about for some time. All Members is a blues-format composition by Jimmy Heath. The Old Country is an adaptation of an Israeli folk tune, written by Nat. Outstanding here is a walking bass solo by Sam and Blue Mitchell's open-horn sound. (Nat and Blue divide the trumpet spot on this album, by the way, in recognition of both being just about equally close and long-standing friends of Sam's.) The side closes with Jimmy Heath's big-band-styled arrangement of Just Friends, on which Sam plays remarkable cello throughout.


The second side opens with a tune of mine, entitled Home. The melody is played by arco bass and is accompanied by a repeated rhythmic figure based on two chords. Deep Blue Cello, written by Sam himself, is a swinging medium blues. No Greater Love opens most effectively with unaccompanied cello playing a rubato melody; later the rhythm section joins in, swinging lightly. Finally, So Tired is a funky Bobby Timmons work featuring a melody played by pizzicato bass.


Since most of the performers here are well-known as among the most able around, it should be pointed out in particular that this album marks the Riverside debut of Charlie Davis, who demonstrates that he is a man to be reckoned with on baritone sax.


Notes reproduced from the original album liner.”


“It is one of the jazz world's frustrations that bassist Sam Jones [1924-1981] is more valued over a decade after his passing than in his lifetime; and one of its saving graces that labels like Riverside were recording such underrated musicians at their peak. This 1961 session was Jones's second, and clearly much more than an informal blowing date. With a big band constructed around the Cannonball Adderley quintet of the time plus such stellar additions as Blue Mitchell, Jimmy Heath, and Wynton Kelly; and with Heath and Victor Feldman providing arrangements of bluesy original tunes and jazz and pop standards, Jones found an exceptional setting for his bass and cello mastery.”



Fortunately, there was to be a 1961 sequel to Sam’s first Riverside Sam Jones Plus 10 - The Chant [Riverside OJCCD - 1839-2; RLP-358] and Orrin Keepnews explains how it came about in the following notes:


“The second meeting of the "Soul Society" is hereby called to order!


In other words, the impressively talented bassist and cellist named SAM JONES, whose first recording as a leader was the Riverside album entitled "The Soul Society," is back in the spotlight. And once again he is in the company of a group of his good friends, all of whom share such important qualities as: 1) exceptional jazz skills; 2) strong admiration and affection for the remarkable Mr. Jones, who happens to be one of the best-liked men in the business; and (3 the ability to create notably soulful music.


This time much of the emphasis is on a bigger and fuller sound than on Sam's previous album. A good-sized ensemble, performing unusual scores by two of the very best of the younger jazz arrangers, provides a suitably rich orchestral background for the leader's bass and cello. And the group also includes a number of first-rank blowers to share solo honors with Sam.


Rhythm-section members are not often given albums of their own—even when they reach status such as Jones has achieved ("New Star" bassist in the 1960 DownBeat Critics' Poll; constantly in demand for record dates; a key member of the high-flying Cannonball Adderley Quintet; and regarded with something like awe by most fellow-musicians). One possible reason for this scarcity is the problem of figuring out just how to go about featuring a drummer or bassist, other than the not-particularly-satisfying idea of giving him a long solo on each number. But in the present case the initial problem can't really be said to have existed at all. For one thing, Sam has (if you'll pardon the expression) an extra string to his bow: in addition to being a bassist of unsurpassed firmness and inventiveness, he is a uniquely intriguing pizzicato cellist, providing legitimate instrumental variety right from the start. Furthermore, he is a musician of considerable taste and imagination, which led him to specifically request from tenorman Jimmy Heath and from Victor Feldman, the British-born pianist and vibist who is the newest member of the Adderley group, arrangements designed to showcase the melodic properties of both cello and bass.


The result is an album in which the leader's playing is strikingly integrated into the overall framework. Feldman scored his own deeply earthy The Chant and Benny Golson's Blues on Down for the bass session, and arranged Charlie Parker's Blue Bird and a Sam Jones original dedicated to Ray Brown, In Walked Ray, for the cellu date. Heath built versions of Miles Davis' Four and young composer Rudy Stevenson's Off-Color to feature bass, and arranged two standards for the cello session: the Harold Arlen ballad, Over the Rainbow; and the old Al Jolson vehicle Sonny Boy (Sam's performance of which is intended as a tribute to the late Oscar Pettiford).


The formation of the literally all-star group here was simply a matter of selecting from among friends and co-workers. It's easy enough to spot in the personnel listing the other members of the tight-knit Adderley group—Cannonball and Nat, Vic Feldman, Lou Hayes. Blue Mitchell has been a friend since they worked together as 'teen-agers in Florida; Nat, Lou, Blue. Jimmy Heath and Keter Betts (who plays bass on Sam's cello selections) were all present on the first Jones LP. Wynton Kelly shares the piano spot with Feldman for the simple reason that the two men share a top place in Sam's opinion- both as soloists and as invaluable accompanists. Les Spann, whose guitar is added for fuller rhythm support on numbers where bass is featured, worked alongside Sam in Dizzy Gillespie's Quintet. And so on ...


Born in Jacksonville. Florida, in November of 1924, our Sam Jones is not to be confused with the basketball Boston Celtics' Sam Jones (who is the same height but jumps higher} or the San Francisco Giants pitcher of the same name (whose right arm is probably stronger but certainly no more supple). This Jones was with Cannonball's original quintet, then with such top stars as Gillespie and Thelonious Monk before rejoining Adderley when he formed his present group in the Fall of '59. Perhaps aided by the vast amount of attention paid to the sensational Adderley band, Sam has of late begun to receive deserved recognition as one of the most important of today's bassists: an impeccable rhythm-section member and an increasingly forthright soloist. As noted previously, he is in demand for more record dates than one man could possibly get to with particular emphasis on the fact that — by the specific insistence of a great many Riverside artists — he appears on as many of this label's albums as is possible.


Among the horns, the solo emphasis here is on Mitchell, Nat Adderley and Jimmy Heath (Cannonball, feeling that the spotlight belongs on his sideman, solos only on Blues on Down, otherwise functioning as leader of the sax section). In those cases where there might be room for confusion, note that Nat solos on The Chant, Blue on Down, Sonny Boy and Off-Color. Both play on Blue Bird (Nat is first) and on Blues on Down (Mitchell playing the opening melody and taking the first trumpet solo). The piano solo on Sonny Boy is by Kelly; on Blues on Down and Off-Color by Feldman.”


—Orrin Keepnews Notes reproduced from the original album liner.


Thankfully, Orrin once again assembled Sam and his cohorts in June and August of 1962 to produce the third in the series -  Sam Jones & Co. - Down Home [Riverside OJCCD 1864-2 RLP-9432] which DownBeat rated as four stars in its review.


Bassman's Holiday could be the subtitle for Sam Jones's third Riverside album. It includes a version of Ray Brown's "Thumbstring," Jones's own "O.P." in tribute to bass/cello pioneer Oscar Pettiford, and six tracks where Jones is supported by his peers Ron Carter and Israel Crosby. This particularly well conceived collection features four tracks by a nonet/tenet playing Ernie Wilkins arrangements with the leader heard on bass, and a like number of quintet titles with flute and Jones's cello providing the lead voices. With assists from old working partners like Les Spann and Joe Zawinul, and a sampling of solos from the other all-stars heard in the ensemble, the entire program shows once again that the man they called "Home" was one of the most down bassists (and cellists) in jazz history.



“In a 1957 Down Beat interview, the late Oscar Pettiford described the bass as "one of the most important — if not the most important — instruments in any orchestra. You can take just a bass and somebody can sing to it or play to it. You don't need piano or drums. The bass can be much more of a horn than it often has been in the past. When I finish, the bass will be right down front where it belongs."


Pettiford's death in 1960 unfortunately robbed us of undoubtedly important future contributions from him. But his prophecy had already begun to come true; the scope of the bass in general has broadened, and in particular its importance as a solo instrument has greatly increased. One of the strongest illustrations of this growth is the series of albums that bassist SAM JONES has made for Riverside.


Jones is a highly regarded sideman with Cannonball Adderley's group and on many a record date, but in his sets for this label he has been given opportunities to really express his own musical personality. In "Down Home", as before, he makes the most of the situation — as a remarkable bassist and cellist; as leader of an outstanding, hand-picked supporting cast; and as a composer. In the present album there is heavier emphasis than previously on this last quality; three of the eight selections, including the title tune, were written by Jones.


Throughout this album, Sam is "right down front" — as Pettiford put it. As on his previous LPs, he divides his time between bass and cello, with four tracks devoted to each instrument. And, also as before, he is joined here by some of the finest sidemen available. Sam is one of the best-liked musicians around, and his colleagues seem always to make that extra effort towards ensuring the success of his records. Jones' regular boss, Cannonball, does not participate as a musician this time, but he did lend his services as A & R man for the session that produced 'Round Midnight, "O.P.", and Falling in Love with Love. That, by the way, was probably the last record date for Israel Crosby, the vastly respected veteran bassist, in recent years a cornerstone of the Ahmad Jamal trio. (When Crosby died, of a heart ailment, on August 11, 1962, his last leader, George Shearing, paid him a supreme compliment. Asked who would take Israel's place, Shearing replied: "I don't

think anybody   is   going  to  take  his  place;   nobody  took Art  Tatum's  place.  .  .   .")


Bassists and references to bassists abound in this album. Sam plays cello on the three tracks noted above, with Crosby in the rhythm section behind him; on Down Home, his cello is backstopped by Ron Carter on bass. Carter, one of the most impressive of the great new crop of young bassists, is also on Strollin' and Come Rain or Come Shine. Here Jones' bass is voiced with the horns in a melody part on the ensembles, with Ron functioning as the rhythm man. Sam is the soloist on both, but there is a bit of a bass duet near the end of the latter tune.


According to his "Encyclopedia of Jazz" biography, Sam's preferred bassists are Al Hall, Milt Hinton, Jimmy Blanton, Pettiford and Ray Brown. This list gives a clear indication of where he stands: squarely in the middle of a great tradition which he is continuing and enriching. And there are direct references in the material here to the last two names on the list. 


Thumbstring was written by Brown, who has explained that the title refers to the fact that the bass parts are "done with the thumb only, and going in the opposite direction from the normal way of playing" the instrument. Sam does this expertly, and a captivating strummed blues sound is the result. "O.P." is, of course, in honor of Petti-ford, who pioneered jazz cello in 1949, and is a suitably bright and joyous line.


Ernie Wilkins is responsible for the fine, functional arrangements on the four band-and-bass tracks. (The first of these, the irresistibly swinging Unit 7 — composed by Jones — has for some time now been heard in clubs as the closing theme for each set. by the Adderley group.) Ernie's ensemble passages are full of good ideas and voicings. Especially effective are the backgrounds that perfectly set off Sam's strong, sure and well-developed solos. There are also other fine choruses sprinkled through the album, by Jimmy Heath, Blue Mitchell, Frank Strozier, Les Spann (on flute), and pianists Joe Zawinul and Wynton Kelly.


Down Home is a title with several ramifications. First of all, it well describes the mood of that blues piece and, for that matter, the feeling of the album as a whole. Secondly, "Home" is Sam's nickname (he calls a lot of other people "Home'', too, the way baseball pitcher "Bobo" Newsom used to call everyone "Bobo"); and since he is a very "down" and soulful cat, this interior pun contains a strong element of accuracy.


In the interview quoted at the start of these notes, Oscar Pettiford also said: "The bass, after all, is the root of the whole thing." And certainly, after all, Sam Jones has some pretty strong roots.”


— IRA GITLER

Notes reproduced from the original album liner.