Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Red Mitchell and Harold Land Quintet [With Revisions and Additions]

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

“Mitchell was known for a fluent improvising style in which pulled-off (rather than plucked) notes in a typically low register (Mitchell used a retuned bass) suggest a baritone saxophone rather than a stringed instrument; Scott LaFaro was later sanctified for a broadly similar technique.”
- Richard Cook and Brian Morton, The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, 6th Ed.

“The basic sound of the Mitchell-Land group is one that the musicians find elusive of verbalization. "Hard" is an adjective that has been applied too often lately to any brand of jazz with a substantial degree of aggressiveness; the implication that hardness involves harshness seems to invalidate the use of the term here. It is more relevantly a jubilant, sinewy, cohesive sound, in which the key factors are self-confidence and the kind of group feeling that can only stem from musicians who have been working together and listening to one another closely over an extended period.”
- Leonard Feather, Jazz author and critic

Among the unique voices in modern Jazz that always impress me every time I hear them are Red Mitchell's singing bass lines and Harold Land’s “Texas Tenor Sax Sound,” the blues-inflected, “moan within the tone” that Cannonball Adderley ascribed to this style.

Imagine my delight then when I learned that Red and Harold had teamed up in a new quintet that featured Carmell Jones on trumpet, Frank Strazzeri on piano and Leon Petties on drums.

Although the group disbanded after only about a one year stint, it was one of the finest bands on the West Coast playing a style with an emphasis on “heat” rather than the “cool” usually associated with Jazz on the Left Coast during the 1950s and early 1960s [all of which was exaggerated marketing nonsense to begin with].

Gene Lees offered these observations and thoughts on Red in his Cats of Any Color: Jazz, Black and White:

“Back in the 1950s, two names loomed very large on the bass: Ray Brown and Red Mitchell, idols of other bass players. Mitchell has to be accounted one of the most influential of jazz bassists, in a line with Walter Page, Jimmy Blanton, and Charles Mingus, if only because one of his proteges. Scott LaFaro, influenced just about every younger bass player since his death at twenty-four — almost the same age at which Blanton died. But more bassists have obvious audible debts to LaFaro and to Mitchell, who remains, as Mingus did, a phenomenon of one.

No one sounds like Mingus. No one sounds like Red Mitchell. What makes his playing so really odd is that he developed an approach to the instrument as if it were a saxophone, extracting from it melismatic vocal effects, glissandi that bespeak enormous strength in the left hand. At times he would play bottom notes on the first and third beats of die bar and then strum the rest of the chord on two and four on the top three strings, using the backs of his fingers a little like one of the techniques heard in flamenco guitar.

He developed a huge sound, producing tones that lasted forever, and did things on the instrument that no one else had ever done, and possibly no one else will ever do. He long has been looked on as something of a curiosity because he changed the tuning of his bass from the conventional fourths to fifths. One of the things one would not figure out for oneself is that the tuning actually could affect the sound of his instrument by altering the nature of its resonance.

Ted Gioia in his definitive West Coast Jazz: Jazz in California, 1945-1960 offered these comments about Harold Land beginning with his early association with Max Roach and Clifford Brown’s Quintet before the group moved to New York and Harold, who chose to stay in Los Angeles, was replaced by Sonny Rollins:

“His early Coleman Hawkins sound had by now broadened to include a fluent command of the bebop idiom, complete with a polished technique that could navigate the most challenging progressions and tempos. Throughout his career Land has shown a continued ability to assimilate new sounds and musical ideas. First grounded in the music of the big band era tempered with a dose of R&B, Land later assimilated the modern jazz vocabulary and made it his own, just as, in the 1960s, he would adopt many of the musical mannerisms developed by John Coltrane and his followers.

A restless stylist, Land has been the jazz leopard who continually tries to change his spots. His stint with the Brown/Roach Quintet was no exception: For two years Land further refined his craft within the confines of this world-class ensemble, slowly forging a quintessential hard bop sound that would reach its fullest expression in his later work as a leader and with the Curtis Counce group.”

Sadly, Red and Harold’s quintet only made one recording together - Hear Ye!!!! [Atlantic Jazz 1376-2] which the distinguished Jazz author and critic Leonard Feather annotated in the following insert notes to the original LP.

“The record debut of the Red Mitchell-Harold Land Quintet may mark a turning point not only in the career of this group, but in the whole image of West Coast jazz.

For too many years this slogan was associated with a brand of music, emanating exclusively from Los Angeles, that employed tautly scored little performances with all the shine and sparkle of a prune. It was claimed at times that this represented a new trend in jazz, that the music had its own validity and was not a mere faded reflection of some ideas that had become desiccated on their way west from New York. Time has killed theory and music alike.

Red Mitchell and Harold Land were never a part of that scene. True, they have worked at times with some of the musicians said to typify West Coast jazz, but this has no more direct bearing on their musical ambitions than Red's TV shows with Mahalia Jackson or Harold's Las Vegas excursion with Brook Benton. Both were interested in a new, fresh, bold sound, one that could give the tired West Coast slogan a valuable meaning.

That their paths crossed, leading to the creation of what John Tynan in Down Beat aptly called "the most stimulating and creatively alive jazz group resident on the West Coast," was the product of a series of fortuities. Red, a New Yorker, had worked in the East with Chubby Jackson (as pianist doubling on bass), Charlie Ventura and Woody Herman. He moved to Hollywood in 1952, when he began a two year membership in the Red Norvo Trio.

"I can't remember exactly where and when I met Harold," says Red, "but I heard him with the Clifford Brown-Max Roach group around 1954-5, and then really got to listen to him extensively a year or two later when he was with Curtis Counce's combo.

I guess there was a mutual respect thing going; we started hanging out more, got to like each other a lot personally, and found out we had a lot of things in common, a lot of musical ideas and ideals.."

"It seemed a natural thing for us to get together. Even our families had grown close — our wives and sons — and somehow we started out with an idea for a quartet. But we wanted a fuller sound, and different voicings, and we had this concept of using the bass as a third voice on some things, so we agreed that the quintet is a perfect jazz instrumentation,"

"I can't remember exactly where and when I met Red," says Harold, completing the mutual oblivion pact, "but I think it was in San Diego, where I lived before I came to Los Angeles. He played there in a little group that Woody Herman had with Bill Harris and Bags, in 1950. That was four years before I moved north."

"The first time we played together was at an art exhibit, with a quartet. By that time I had known and admired Red's work for a long while. We both got to thinking that we could provide a few fresh approaches to the quintet sound. We felt there weren't enough well-organized, tightly-knit combos on the scene. . ."

The three sidemen lined up by these two leaders were all logical choices. "Carmell had come out to the coast primarily to work with Harold; he dug him that much," says Red. "Of course, I knew him well too; he had sat in with me several times. Frank Strazzeri and I had worked together a lot, and Leon Petties came here from San Diego, like Harold, and had been jobbing with Harold's quartet. I had known Leon since he sat in with me in 1956, when I was with Hamp Hawes' Trio; in fact, I had tried to get Hamp to hire him."

The five musicians began rehearsing in the summer of 1961. All but Petties doubled as writers, and all five had identical feelings concerning the group's objectives and musical potential.

"There has been so little of this kind of music organized out here," Red points out. "Curtis had a fine group, but it didn't last too long. We realized, too, that forming a group like this in Los Angeles and trying to keep it together was not the easiest thing in the world."

Despite the evident handicaps, the men were unflaggingly cooperative in making- rehearsals. All made sacrifices of one kind or another to keep the group intact. (On one occasion, in order not to miss a rehearsal, Red turned down a gig that would have meant a whole TV series for him.)

The basic sound of the Mitchell-Land group is one that the musicians find elusive of verbalization. "Hard" is an adjective that has been applied too often lately to any brand of jazz with a substantial degree of aggressiveness; the implication that hardness involves harshness seems to invalidate the use of the term here. It is more relevantly a jubilant, sinewy, cohesive sound, in which the key factors are self-confidence and the kind of group feeling that can only stem from musicians who have been working together and listening to one another closely over an extended period.

Fortunately the opportunities for the quintet, though limited by their geographical situation, have exceeded their original expectations. In addition to stretching out for several weeks at Los Angeles' Town Hill club, they have worked every Monday at Shelly's Manne Hole for several months, played weekend concerts at Le Grand Theatre, and have gigged at the Renaissance and other local spots. With the release of this album they plan to make their first joint trip East.

It is a healthy sign that a group of this type has been able to get going in Southern California. After having lived out here for a year, this writer can attest to the frustrations that beset Los Angeles jazzmen whose ambitions are analogous with those of, say, a Blakey or Silver or Adderley in New York. Removed by thousands of miles not only from the principal jazz clubs but also from the booking agencies' headquarters, most of the record companies, and many of the influential jazz critics, the musicians in Los Angeles are sometimes tempted to become bitter as they see extensive publicity and work opportunities falling in the path of other groups, whose musical value may be equal to their own but is certainly not so far superior as to justify the great disparity in recognition.

Had the above-mentioned New York groups been stationed in Los Angeles during the past six or seven years while Red, Harold & Co. were transplanted to New York, it is entirely possible that jazz history might have been written a little differently.

Although I have stressed the importance of the group's overall sound, obviously no combo that relies heavily on improvisation can be any stronger than its weakest solo link. The steel links in this chain know no weaknesses; all ensemble considerations aside, this is, man for man, as strong an alliance of compatible talents as you will find on the scene today — and this does not just mean the California scene.

Harold Land, in the course of these sides, manages to communicate all the essential values of contemporary jazz: not merely the harmonic knowledge and technical virtuosity, but the obvious respect for basics, the understanding of the blues force in jazz, the emotional quality without which all his equipment would be earth-bound. He is a modernist whose respect for tradition and traditionalists has prevented him from transgressing beyond the true orbit of this music. The influences are clear from time to time — Coleman Hawkins, whose Body And Soul, played a large part in forming his love of the instrument; Lucky Thompson, whose warmth of sound and fluency of style impressed him a few years later; and of course Charlie Parker, whose soul was Bird's legacy to a whole generation. Above and beyond the influences, Harold is vitally and consistently himself, both as instrumentalist and composer.

Red Mitchell, whether playing arco (as in his solo during the title number) or in the round, clear pizzicato that has made him the most consistently respected bassist of the past decade, remains the most supple and subtle of artists. He takes pride in his work, in his associates, in his remarkable bass fiddle with its big sound, and in the compositions he has contributed to the books. Rosie's Spirit, named for his wife, is an energizing up-tempo sample of his writing,

Carmell Jones is the most recent Californian of the five. Born in 1936 in Kansas City, Kansas, he took up trumpet at 11, studied locally, went to the University of Kansas for two years and moved to Los Angeles in August 1960. Originally influenced by Miles Davis, and for a while by Chet Baker, he was traumatically impressed by a Clifford Brown record; it is clear from the lyrical timbre and the Brownie-like touches in much of his phrasing that he remembers Clifford very well. Samara, a slow and beguiling minor theme, is an admirable example of his promising work as a composer.

Born in Rochester, N. Y., where he studied at the Eastman School of Music, Frank Strazzeri lived in New Orleans and Las Vegas before moving to Hollywood early in 1960. He names Teddy Wilson and Bud Powell as early influences, Al Haig and Hank Jones as overall preferences. Trained empirically in every phase of jazz — he has worked in Dixieland bands as well as with Sweets Edison, Kenny Dorham and Conte Candoli — Frank has developed amazingly in the past year. He might be called a West Coast equivalent of McCoy Tyner or Wynton Kelly in terms of fluidity, technique and imagination.

Leon Petties, since he moved to L.A. from San Diego, has gigged with Buddy Collette, and worked with Shorty Rogers a few times when Shorty took over Harold's quartet en masse for a series of engagements. Petties is admired by his colleagues in the quintet for his steady time, taste and consistency.

These are the men of whom Tynan reported: "They are the happiest jazz news to sing out on the coast in years." The key word is "happiest." If you are among those who have expressed alarm at the neurotic trend in modern jazz, and are looking for a group that is fresh, vital, integrated (in both senses of the word), you will find the joyous answer in the Mitchell-Land Quintet.”


Sunday, April 21, 2024

Michael Cuscuna: Lifetime Achievement in Recording by John McDonough


Copyright ® John McDonough, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Michael passed away on April 19, 2024.

His death is an immense loss to the Cuscuna family and the Jazz World.

This article, which appeared in the January 2, 2024 issue of The Magazine, is posted as a tribute to his memory and as a way of saying “Thank You” to the many kindnesses he shared with the JazzProfiles blog.

“Once upon a time, a tiny handful of early jazz critics wrote about rare old jazz records like priests talking about the Bible when most of the world couldn’t even read. Like the lonely tree in the forest, early jazz history and legend constituted a silent saga you took on faith. The scriptures were closely held.

Then came the swing era, and reissues boomed. New fans demanded to hear the real evidence for themselves. A new breed of independent discographer began to emerge, part producer and part archeologist. Then George Avakian and Dave Dexter showed Columbia and Decca how to mint free money from their vaults. Packaging, prestige and regularity came to the reissue.

They and a select core of successors would turn graveyards of entombed performances into meticulously documented monuments. They would rescue reputations from obscurity and put the best of the past within reach of the present and future. They would secure recognition and even immortality for the overlooked and make a place where their bodies of work could live in perpetual honor and comfort. They are, in many ways, the gatekeepers to jazz’s Valhalla.

Accordingly, this year DownBeat honors Michael Cuscuna for his lifetime of achievement in the recording industry, which includes production credits on more that 2,600 LPs and CDs, the preponderance of which have been reissues. Between 1985 and 2007 alone, he produced at least 60 reissues a year for Blue Note and its sister labels. “Except for a few artists,” he says, “basically reissues kept us afloat. They were the pad that kept us in a profit position.” It would be the training camp that prepared him for the definitive box collections on Mosaic Records, the label he founded in 1982 with Charlie Lourie.

Born in Stanford, Connecticut, in 1948, Cuscuna first got into music at the age of 9 or 10. “It was contemporary R&B on the radio at first,” he recalled recently. “But I played drums on a little starter kit and got into drum records like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich on Verve, then Max Roach and Art Blakey. When I started to hear the music around the drums, that’s when I got completely hooked. I went through Benny Goodman, Dave Brubeck and the MJQ, until I caught up to what was going on around me around 1960.

“By age 14, I was going to Birdland, which had a peanut gallery. That’s when I heard Blakey and the Messengers, the Coltrane Quartet and Miles. They became my passion and still are. It’s the stuff that gets to you between about 12 and 25 that stays with you for life. You never absorb music in quite the same way after that.”

He was in sync with his time but knew he was not a musician. So he looked for other entry points into the business — record stores, radio, attending the Wharton School of Business, even writing for DownBeat. He learned the ropes, the labels and an endless discography of sessions, released and unreleased, especially of Blue Note sessions. When he met Charlie Lourie, Blue Note’s Los Angeles marketing chief, at a press party in the early ’70s, Lourie was mightily impressed. “He said let me see if I can pull together a deal,” Cuscuna said. “In a day, my dream came true. I started diving into the Blue Note vault, a floor full of steel shelving crammed with unissued Blue Note material. Jesus Christ, I’m in heaven. The wealth of it was more than I imagined.”

He got about 80 releases into the Japanese market, and about 20 in the U.S. But by the ’70s the jazz record business was dying. “I was being paid in free records,” says Cuscuna, whose heaven was suddenly in waiting. Blue Note was retired and would not return until the EMI takeover in 1985 and the arrival of Bruce Lundvall as the company’s president.

Meanwhile, with Blue Note in limbo, Cuscuna and Lourie saw an opportunity that became the model for Mosaic Records: license a specific body of work for a limited run of 5,000 copies and package it with the care and authority that Columbia had brought to its box sets of the 1960s.

“I was incredibly impressed by them,” Cuscuna remembers. “They were very much on my mind when I came up with the Mosaic idea. Box sets had fallen by the wayside by late ’70s. So I thought it was time to step in with Mosaic and fill the gap.”

The first Mosaic came out in 1983: Thelonious Monk: The Complete Blue Note Recordings. For Mosaic, direct marketing, no distributors and low inventories meant ultimate sustainability. For Blue Note and sister EMI labels particularly, Mosaic transformed a dusty archive into easy cash. Modernity mingled with tradition. Kid Ory and George Lewis were served along with Mingus and Mulligan, although the catalog has tilted long-term to the post-war scene. Today there are more than 275 Mosaic collections, most circulating as rare collectors items.

Mosaic also transformed the fundamental standards of the reissue and the album note. “I didn’t want people to go through what I went through” Cuscuna says, meaning mixing sessions without coherence or explanation. “It drove me nuts. My idea was to make Mosaic definitive, with sessions in proper order, in the best sound, and with the context that only thorough annotation could provide.”

Definitive also meant new material where possible, inclusive of everything released and previously unreleased. For Cuscuna, this came with limits, however. “I’m not a fan of false starts and breakdowns,” he says. “But judicially used, I’m fine with partial and alternate takes. But I don’t think you should ever put out anything that would embarrass the artist. It’s an invasion of privacy. I’m not sure there’s a statute of limitation on that rule. That’s my take, at least.”

Mosaic had early competition. Time-Life and Franklin Mint each had a similar jazz series at the time. By the mid-’80s, however, they were selling for $8 at Goody’s and Tower Records. “That scared me,” says Cuscuna, “because we were only a few years into our company when that happened.” Today you’ll still find Time-Life sets in vinyl stores for a few bucks. But the hand-numbered Mosaics sell on eBay, sometimes for hundreds of dollars.

Many years ago, Woody Shaw said of Cuscuna, “No matter what you produce or do in your life, the thing you’ll be remembered for is rescuing all that Blue Note material.”

“Looking back all these years,” Cuscuna says today, “I’m content with that.”” 

Friday, April 19, 2024

Ahmad Jamal Cheek To Cheek (Live At The Spotlite Club, Washington, D.C./1958)

with Israel Crosby on base and Vernel Fournier on drums.

Shorty Rogers Is Long On West Coast Jazz [From the Archives with Additions]

 © -  Steven A. Cerra - copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“The definition of "West Coast Jazz?" You know, I've been asked that question so many times. It's a hard one. I'm not trying to evade the question, I'm just trying to figure it out myself. Maybe I was a practitioner of it, but as I think it over, all of us in music are products of our environment and heritage. Shelly Manne, Jimmy Giuffre and myself who are so distinctly associated with this sound...when I look back at our musical heritage, I remember that we all loved the Kansas City 7, a small unit out of the Basie band, and groups that you don't hear people speak about anymore. Bassist John Kirby, for instance, had kind of soft sounding group.

Just to express ourselves and have fun, some of our tunes were in the softer groove. Lester Young played clarinet in the Kansas City 7 and created a sound much like Giuffre was getting later. If you research it and analyze it, you'll see a very strong similarity between the Kansas City 7 sound and what later became known as the "West Coast Jazz" sound. A quite similar sound coming out of the East Coast was called "Cool Jazz." They are kind of interrelated with each other.

The bottom line is we're just a few guys trying to have fun, enjoying and expressing ourselves through playing.”
Shorty Rogers as quoted in Steven Harris, The Kenton Kronicles

Although not specifically credited, the following piece on Shorty Rogers appeared under the continually running “The West Coast of Jazz” series in the February 5, 1959 edition of Down Beat magazine. The Los Angeles Associate Editor at that time was John Tynan who more than likely penned the piece.

As you read about what was going on in Shorty’s career in 1959, please keep in mind that this is just one aspect of the vibrant and dynamic musical scene that was the world of many Los Angeles based Jazz musicians.

Doing movie studio calls, radio jingles and TV commercials during the day and playing Jazz gigs at night while interspersing recording sessions at all hours of the day and night was the norm.

It was a marvelously creative time for all concerned.

Who knew that in less than a decade much of it, if not most of it, would all be over?! With the benefit of hindsight, there is an ironic twist to one meaning for the word  “long” in the title of this piece.

“Arms dangling, head bent and bobbing to the beat, fingers snapping and jaws chomping gum, the short, dark-bearded trumpeter stood alone in the center of the recording studio listening to a playback.

Shorty Rogers had left his horn at home for this particular record date. In his capacity as west coast supervisor for RCA-Victor jazz albums his job in this instance was in the booth, overseeing the performance of a small group, led by tenor-ist Jack Montrose, which included Red Norvo (Shorty's brother-in-law), Barney Kessel, Red Wooten, and Mel Lewis.

''Swell, fellas," Shorty drawled as the playback ended, "let's go on to the next one."

Back at his bench in the booth, Rogers lit his tenth cigarette since the session began, took a swig from a bottle of coke and, when the musicians were ready, cued them on the first take of the next number.

During Montrose's solo, Shorty nodded repeatedly, a broad smile on his face. "The closer Jack gets to the shape of a pretzel," he grinned, "the funkier he plays."

"The Kenton guys used to call Jack 'George Washington' because he looks just like him. See?" Impulsively he pulled out a dollar bill, blocked off Washington's head, triumphantly repeating, "See? The cover of this album's gonna be a dollar bill," he chuckled.

With an unusually generous capacity for fun and laughter, 34-year-old Milton Rogers, late of Great Barrington, Mass., has much to enjoy these days.

Now solidly established at Victor's Hollywood office as jazz chief, his arranging chores know little letup as he churns out endless charts for record dates that range from his own swingers to the most commercial pop singles.

Shorty works all hours of the day or night, when he has a deadline to meet, in a large, untidy work room in back of his redwood-and-brick ranch style Van Nuys, Calif., home. Here an old upright piano stands in a corner adjacent to the large draftsman's table on which he writes. The rest of the space is taken up by a clutter of papers, a guitar and miscellany on a low table, old magazines and a variety of bric a brac. On the far side of the room four multicolored mobiles dangle and stir restlessly in perfect balance.

"I shut the door and make these," he laughed, "and my wife thinks I'm writing."

Marge, Shorty's pretty, blond wife, functions in the very positive capacities of wife, mother of three sprouting children and intelligent manager of her husband's business affairs.

Tangible results of Mrs. Rogers' skill in management are evident in many corners of Shorty's demesne. Not only is his back garden graced by a large swimming pool, but he has had built two poolside Polynesian-type grass huts, one for changing clothes, the other a cabana with table and chairs.

Here his three children, Michele, 11; Mike, 9, and Marshall, 7, romp to their hearts' delight while Mom and Dad relax in the cabana enjoying the fruits of a successful career in music.

A typical week's activity for Shorty was the seven-day period preceding Down Beat's interview. Monday he had a record date with a vocalist; he wrote four arrangements for that. The next four days were spent locked in his study, completing charts for his own big band date, Chances Are — It Swings, set for April release. Saturday Shorty spent in the studio, recording the album till the early morning hours.

On the day of rest, the trumpeter-arranger lounged around his home in a grey, terrycloth playsuit while wife and children visited relatives. Most of the afternoon he spent sprawled in the rumpus room watching a basketball game on one of three television sets in the house.

There is no question of Will success spoil Shorty Rogers?  It hasn't — personally nor musically. While his backbreaking writing chores are accepted as a happy vocation, he enjoys more than ever, he says, playing trumpet or Fluegelhorn.

"It's really a gas blowing now." He tugged at the short, curly beard, eyes twinkling. "I get the same feeling playing now as I used to get when I was real young. Today, when I get a club gig with the group, I feel like I'm back in high school when I play. It's my getting a chance to blow . . . a fresh feeling. Playing for enjoyment's sake, that's a groovy thing."

Shorty, who plays only on his own dates now, admits the tension and clinical atmosphere of a recording date puts somewhat of a strain on his own playing.

"There's such a lot to think about," he explained. "You're concerned with the writing, balance, kicking off the tempos, and all the rest of it. But in spite of all the hassle, when you get your horn up and blow, it's a relief from all the other complications."

Rogers' records have enjoyed particular success on the Victor label, and the sales statistics account for his being the only jazz artist on the west coast under long term contract to the Little Dog.

Though in charge of Victor jazz recording on the coast, Shorty spreads his talents to encompass much writing in the pop field, too. He doesn't feel that this versatility will work to his detriment with fans and buyers of his jazz albums and cites the activity of arrangers such as Neal Hefti and Al Cohn to support his contention. Besides, he argues, his connection with non-jazz record production provides additional work for the many jazzmen he calls to do the pop sessions.

"My using the jazz cats on these dates gives them a chance to prove to everybody that they're very good musicians who can handle any style music with ease," he stressed.

As the acknowledged first High Lama of modern jazz on the west coast, Rogers feels that if coast jazzmen are playing differently from their brothers in the east ". . . it's not because of their more stable, domesticated lives, but because they're listening more . . . to all music.”

"Jazz is constantly changing," he avered. "It's changing so rapidly that what's valid today might not be valid three weeks from now. So musicians have got to go on developing with it and, in turn, change the music to fit the time."

Shorty's efforts in this direction are due principally, he feels, to study under Dr. Wesley La Violette, Los Angeles teacher whose students include Red Norvo, Jim Hall, John Graas, and others.

To Rogers, LaViolette's main value and most important quality as a teacher is that "... he tries to teach the technique of writing. Just as a pianist works to develop his fingering, La Violette encourages his students to develop their personal writing technique. And within that lies the development of what you might call the 'inner technique' to be yourself and to express yourself."

As proof of the soundness of La Violette's method, Shorty cites the fact that none of those musicians who have studied under the white-haired maestro write alike.

Looking forward to touring Europe in the spring, Rogers said simply, "I'm a bug on the National Geographic and I'm dying to see some of those places I've been reading about/' Originally, he said, the tour was planned for last October but the promoters, changing their minds, felt that the hornman would encounter better weather in six months.

One of Shorty's favorite enthusiasms is the husband of his sister, Eve, Red Norvo. During the Montrose date red-headed Norvo was relaxing on a chair by the piano, arm propped on the chair back and his little cap tilted over one eye. Watching him from the booth, Shorty grinned. "Look at Red. He looks looks like a cross between Hemingway and Burl Ives." Then, he added, "For all the years Red's been around, it's really great to see his records doing so well for Victor.''

Shorty and Red are inveterate football fans. "When we go to a game together, Red is jumping up and down like a yo-yo, tearing his cap off his head, slapping it on again, yelling at the plays. And the cap is waving in the air like a flag. He's cute."

Of Bob Yorke, the RCA-Victor executive to whom Shorty is directly responsible, the trumpeter waxed eloquent. "He was the cat I did my first Victor albums for. Remember? He's a wonderful guy and a great friend to jazz musicians. Having him here is crazy for us because now he's in charge of everything. Yeah, it's a real break for jazz."”

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Shorty Rogers-Powder Puff.

Album "Shorty Rogers Short Stops" Shorty Rogers (arr,cond,tp), Milt Bernhart (tb), John Grass (fb), Gene Englund (tuba), Art Pepper (as), Jimmy Giuffre (ts), Hampton Hawes (p) Joe Mondragon (b), Shelly Manne (d).

Monday, April 15, 2024

Pancho from Latinville by Victor Feldman

The soloists are Frank Rosolino on trombone and Walter Benton on tenor saxophone.