Saturday, 30 January 2016

[repost] DICK HYMAN / MARY MAYO "MOON GAS" (STEREO VERSION, 1963)

I dedicated a post to the mono version of this album in mid November 2014 and promised to offer the stereo version as soon as I was able to obtain a decent copy. A few months later, a reader of this blog was kind enough to send me a FLAC rip of the original stereo album (...thank you Al!!!) and I began to work on it in background mode.

In the meantime, following the mono CD released in Japan back in 2003, the album was finally re-issued in Australia and Europe - both on CD and vinyl - and guess what? Yes, it was mono again, and again and again... It looks like the original stereo masters are lost forever, or at least they are very well hidden in some secret underground storage unit...

Now it's my pleasure to share a remastered stereo version of the album with you here. I did my best to fix all the usual crackles and pops, but the two quieter tracks on Side B were a nightmare and I really couldn't do much to properly restore them.... Anyway, I hope you will enjoy, let me know your feelings about it!




Richard "Dick" Hyman (born March 8, 1927, New York City) is an American jazz pianist/keyboardist and composer, best known for his versatility with jazz piano styles. Over a 50-year career, he has functioned as a pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and, increasingly, as a composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in well over 100 albums recorded under his own name and many more in support of other artists. [1]

Hyman's career is pretty intimidating in its achievements and scope. He has scored, arranged and/or performend for roadway, movies, television and live radio, and he's recorded in every format, from 78s to CD-ROMs. He's got a whole gamut of music genres covered, from Jazz and Blues to Classical to Pop and Electronic Psychedelia. Hyman is exceptionally renowned as a professional musician, and was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1995. His articulate and wry anecdotes, commentary on the business, and techniques of making music have been published along with sheet music in a series of books. [2]

Beginning in the mid-1950s he started recording with his own name for MGM. His cover of "Moritat", on harpsichord with his trio, sold over a million copies in 1956 and was the most successful recording of the tune until Bobby Darin did it as "Mack the Knife". He was the musical director of The Arthur Godfrey Show from 1958 to 1961. He was an early staple of Enoch Light's Command label, for which he recorded light classical, swinging harpsichord, funky organ, and "now sound" combo albums. He also demonstrated his continuing interest in new keyboard instruments, releasing two of the earliest Moog albums. [3]



The aforementioned albums, "Moog - The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman" and "The Age of Electronicus", will be the subject of other posts in the future here on Stereo Candies... For the time being let's take care about "Moon Gas", which is a great, Great, GREAT record from the Space Age era also due to the otherwordly vocals provided by Mary Mayo.

Born 20 July 1924 in Statesville, North Carolina, Mary Mayo first got started as a singer appearing on broadcasts from radio station WBT in Charlotte, just after the end of World War Two. Gifted with a four-octave range, she was soon spotted by talent scouts and wound up working for Tex Beneke, who was leading the post-war version of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. While singing with Beneke, she married Al Ham, an arranger and bass player in the band. Like that of other session singers, Mayo's work is largely uncredited outside her Musicians Union logs. She ghosted on the "original cast" albums of numerous Broadway musicals, and sang alongside Don Elliott in a short-lived vocal jazz combo known as the Manhattanaires. She released a couple of singles for Columbia in the 1950s and she earned a cover billing on one of Leroy Holmes' releases for MGM. Aside from "Moon Gas", her one noteworthy credited appearance of the '60s was at Duke Ellington's legendary 1969 jazz concert at the White House for President Nixon. [4]

Dubbed "a glimpse at the possible sounds of the 22nd century" in the liner notes, "Moon Gas" was by far Mayo's most notable effort and remains much-prized by collectors of Exotica and early electronic recordings, although she enjoyed her greatest commercial success thanks to Coca-Cola: when the advertising agency McCann Erickson hired Ham to assemble a wholesome folk group to record their jingle "I'd Like To Give the World a Coke", he tapped Mayo and their daughter Lorri to lead the studio chorus, and when the commercial proved a cultural phenomenon, the song was re-recorded under the title "I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing", credited to the Hillside Singers. The Metromedia label subsequently released two full-length Hillside Singers LPs, including a Christmas recording, both featuring Mayo. In 1986 the label also issued "Time Remembered", a collection of songs she cut for the NPR radio series American Popular Song nine years earlier. Unfortunately, Mayo did not live to see the album's release, she died of cancer in December of 1985. [5]


Mary Mayo, 1951

Sources:

[1] from Wikipedia

[2] from the introduction to an interview with Dick Hyman conducted by Michael David Toth, published on "Cool and Strange Music!", issue #7, 1997

[3] from Space Age Pop Music

[4] from Space Age Pop Music

[5] from AllMusic


The following liner notes printed on the back cover of "Moon Gas" were written by Leonard Feather, a British-born jazz pianist, composer, and producer who was best known for his music journalism and other writing. Among his music releases we remember "Hi Fi Suite", recorded in 1957 with the Dick Hyman Orchestra; this is the album which contains the original version of "Space Reflex (Blues In 5/4)"...

«This is an album of amazing contrasts.

For Dick Hyman, brilliant 36-year-old pianist/organist, the album is a glimpse at the possible sounds of the 22nd century. For vocalist Mary Mayo, the setting is antithetical to almost everything she has ever known.

Says Hyman of the far-future sounds devised for Mary's environment: "A lot of electronic music has been created by making marks or cuts on the actual recording tape - the 'musique concrete' technique - as well as by using machines that make syntethic tones, or by recording various sounds and then changing them by tricks such as altering the tape speeds, playing tape backwards, adding echo and so forth. By the time you got the final product this way, it was the result of a great deal of editing and splicing of small lenghts of tape.

"We used a different approach here. The same results, we decided, can be produced by playing electronic instruments. So this is electronic music by live musicians, plus Mary's voice and a swinging rhythm section."

"The Lowrey organ has a built-in reverberation, plus a 'glide pedal' with which you can actually bend the notes. Then there's the AOC - the Accompaniment Orchestra Control - which is a feature of a smaller home model Lowrey organ that enables you to play a full chord by just hitting a single note, so that very rapid block-chord passages can be produced with just a single-finger technique."

"Then there's the Martinot, which in addition to a keyboard, has an adjustable ribbon with which theremin-like sounds can be made. And the Ondioline, a keyboard instrument with a wide variety of tones. ln addition, we used a pure-tone oscillator with a dial operated by a telegraph key."

"On top of all this, I was lucky enough to have the help of Vinnie Bell, who has some complicated home-made equipment attached to his guitar, operated by four foot-pedals; this enabled him to make a lot of the rustles, squeaks, rumbles and other inexplicable noises."

The album is a marked contrast to everything Mary Mayo has known right from birth - in a conservative Colonial-style house in Statesville, N.C. - through her upbringing, as a daughter of a concert soprano and an operatic tenor. Her own life in music, too, developed on a very different level. Irish songs, part of the family tradition, were her specialty, and a record of Molly Malone was her first big popular hit.

There is nothing illogical, though, in the radical new departure on these sides. Juilliard trained in voice, piano and theory, Mary has had every kind of experience in popular singing, from dance band work (with Tex Beneke) to theatres, supper clubs, television (with Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Jackie Gleason, Jack Paar and the late Ernie Kovacs) and recordings with Ray Conniff, Kirby Stone and innumerable others.

Married to the talented arranger-conductor Al Ham, who doubles as manager of Oscar Brown Jr., Mary is the mother of a six-year-old daughter and in recent years has confined her activity chiefly to work in and around New York.

"I've done singing commercials ad infinitum", she reports, "and enjoy doing them; you get to work with the finest studio musicians around. But making this album with Dick Hyman was a ball - and an exciting challenge. We'd worked together on a lot of other people's records and it was great to be working on our own.

"I've been so thrilled about the whole album idea - the girl from outer space, or love music two hundred years from now. And it was a special kick, after being associated lately with so many dates on which I just sang oohs and aahs and obligatos, to know that this time I was going to be able to use real words too!"

The basic personnel comprises Dick Hyman on Lowrey organ, AOC and piano; Nick Tagg on Lowrey organ, Hammond organ, AOC and piano; Vinnie Bell on -what shall we call it?- super-electric guitar; Bob (Rosie) Rosengarden on bongos, tambourine, Martinot, oscillator, door buzzer, etc.; Osie Johnson on regular drums; and Joe Benjamin on bass (replaced on the first, third and fourth tracks on Side 2 by Milt Hilton).»


Dick Hyman, circa 1960


"Moon Gas" contains the following tracks:

01. Moon Gas (2:15)
02. Maid of the Moon (2:48)
03. Isn't It Odd (3:12)
04. Stella By Starlight (2:58)
05. Imagination (2:35)
06. Space Reflex (Blues In 5/4) (3:15)
07. Bye, Bye Blues (2:33)
08. They Can't Take That Away From Me (3:38)
09. For All We Know (3:13)
10. Desafinado (Slightly Out of Tune) (2:43)
11. I'm Glad There Is You (3:36)
12. Star Eyes (2:38)

All tracks were remastered in January 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

Please have a look at the comments for the download link.

Here's the complete credits and personnel list of the album:

Mary Mayo: vocals
Dick Hyman: Lowrey organ, Ondioline, AOC and piano
Nick Tagg: Lowrey organ, Hammond organ, Martinot, AOC and piano
Vincent (Vinnie) Bell: guitars and sound effects
Bob (Rosie) Rosengarden: bongos, tambourine, cymbal, Martinot, oscillator, door buzzer
Osie Johnson: drums
Joe Benjamin: bass
Milton Krause: Ondioline (on "I'm Glad There Is You")
George Barnes: guitar (on "I'm Glad There Is You")
Milt Hinton: bass (on "Bye, Bye Blues", "For All We Know" and "Desafinado")

Director of engineering: Val Valentin
Cover photograph: Murray Laden

Produced by Creed Taylor.


"Moon Gas" was released by MGM Records sometimes in early 1963 with catalogue number SE-4119 for the Stereo version and E-4119 for the Mono version. According to this book, some of the session for the album were recorded in November 1962.

The following track-by-track commentary is a just slightly adapted version of the original liner notes by Leonard Feather.



"Moon Gas", with a wordless vocal by Mary, is a futuristic blues, opening with sound effects (pah!) by Vinnie, proceeding to buzzer and oscillator by Rosie, Nick's pecking on AOC and Dick working the glide pedal on his Lowrey solo. This track, though organized by Dick, was largely improvised.

"Maid of the Moon", composed by Dick, is a minor-mode waltz, with tape echo effects during Dick's piano solo, Nick gliding away the Lowrey and Mary recalling memories of Kay Davis with the Ellington band of the 1940s.

"Isn't It Odd" is a rare example of Dick Hyman as both lyricist and composer. Notice the bell sounds and quasi-Hawaiian-guitar effects by Dick on Lowrey, and Nick's theremin-like mood on the Hammond. In spite of all the effects, this remains a love song, and a waltz at that, providing a remarkable showcase for Mary's lovely sound and expressive interpretation of the unusually-constructed words.

"Stella By Starlight" should perhaps have been retitled Stella By Moongaslight. Opening and closing with that charming 22nd century couple, Mary and the oscillator, it includes in the second chorus a wild solo - sweeps, chimes and reed-like answers - all by Dick on Lowrey.

"Imagination", played as a waltz and with Mary returning to the land of words, has Nick on Lowrey and a solo by Dick in which the use of AOC for rapid-chord sequences in strikingly shown.

"Space Reflex (Blues in 5/4)", originally called Bass Reflex was the first blues in 5/4 time ever written and recorded - in a 1956 LP Dick and I made called "Hi Fi Suite" on MGM E3494. I wrote the main theme (played here by Nick on piano with strings blocked to sound an octave higher); Dick added the minor passage, to which he plays a bass-clarinet-like obligato while Mary sings it wordlessly. The various whoops and clangs are Vinnie on guitar; the funky blues solo is Dick in some wild, rocking Lowrey work.



Side B opens with "Bye, Bye Blues", again showing Mary's grace and purity of tone. It has Nick on Hammond, Rosie on oscillator and Dick on AOC; again there are strange rustles and comments by spaceman Vinnie.

Mary's wordless statement teams with Dick's Lowrey effects - glide pedal, chimes and clarinet sounds - on "They Can't Take That Away From Me".

The not-quite-human sounds that introduce "For All We Know" are invoked by Nick on the Martinot. One indescribable sound on this tune, Dick points out, was achieved by Rosie and consists of a cymbal being slowly lowered into a pail of water. Mary says 'Tomorrow may never come', but from the evidence it would seem that tomorrow is very much with us.

"Desafinado" is totally unexpected in the context of this album. "Another enjoyable challenge", says Mary. "I had to learn both the music and the Portuguese lyrics from the Joao Gilberto record. I like all Dick's arrangements -they're all so imaginative- but this is my favourite." The bossanova rhythm is played by Nick on Hammond and the solo on AOC by Dick.

"I'm Glad There Is You" was recorded with a different personnel: Hyman on Lowrey and Tagg on Hammond with Milton Krause on Ondioline and George Barnes on electric guitar. Mary's lyrical, sensitive style is well suited to the words of both verse and chorus. This song, incidentally, was written by Paul Madeira, who as Paul Mertz played piano on many Bix Beiderbecke records in the 1920s.

"Star Eyes", with fine walking bass by Benjamin, swings from the start, with words by Mary, Martinot trills by Rosie, guitar pings by Vinnie, plus Nick and Dick in a Lowrey-and-AOC duet. The two-octave upsweep at the end is one of the wildest finales I have ever heard.

Though the above comments should give you a few helpful pointers in your trip through outer space with Mary and Dick, the journey should prove thoroughly stimulating with or without guideposts. But please watch out for flying saucers!


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album: enjoy "Moon Gas", "Maid of the Moon", "Isn't It Odd", "Space Reflex (Blues in 5/4)", "Bye, Bye Blues", "Desafinado (Slightly Out of Tune)" and "Star Eyes"!
















The following interview was published on "Cool and Strange Music!", issue #7, 1997

The Further Adventures of The Man from O.R.G.A.N.

An interview with Dick Hyman by Michael David Toth

MDT: It seems like at this time in your career it's reversed from the '50s and '60s, in that very little of your professional time now is spent doing studio recordings for albums, but most of it is in live performances, film work, and other sundry side projects for stage and screen. Am I assessing this correctly?

DH: Yes, you're correct. In the '50s, I was still on staff with NBC in New York, and before that at a smaller station, WMCA. That led to my being totally freelance for several decades, except for a three-year period when I didn't do much, but be Arthur Godfrey's music director. Before and after that time, my work was primarily record dates, films, and radio and television commercials. After a time, however, I got into the more recent period, which you describe accurately, where I do a lot more concerts and performances which I produce or organize, as well as films.

MDT: What sort of things caused that shift in making live performance more attractive than doing studio work?

DH: A couple of things: one was I felt the need to express myself a little bit more personally rather than continue to be a largely anonymous player or arranger. Also, my name was increasing in stature due to my own arrangements, and this somewhat made it awkward to be on call working for other arrangers. I'd been able to maintain that balance of both doing my own things and working for other people for a long time, but at a certain point it seemed to tip the other way, and I was into my own projects much more. And then too, the golden age of studio work had begun to decline. There came to be much less of it, and today, as far as I know, there's only an echo of the amazing flourishing we had in the '50s through the '70s.

MDT: Jumping back to the subject of your film work, probably some of the prominent batches of your recent work are related to Woody Allen projects. How did that whole working relationship with Woody Allen get initiated? What was the first film that started with?

DH: I think the very first film that I did of Woody's was when I worked for Mundell Lowe, who did the music for "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex". Thereafter, I began to get calls from Woody's office to do piano solos, for example in "Stardust Memories" and "Manhattan". These led to more responsible orchestral scoring; the first of these was Zelig, which required a lot of music, both arranging and original stuff. And it went on from there. At this point I do whatever is necessary whenever it's necessary. For example, it took about a year to put all the music together for "Everyone Says I Love You", which is the most recent film of Woody's.

MDT: Regarding the honky-tonk piano album fad in the days of Knuckles O'Toole and your other aliases: one of the things you mentioned in the book was how a lot of the honky-tonk albums of the time used stuff like thumb-tacks on the mallets and various tricks to mess with the piano tuning, kind of veering into the territory of John Cage's prepared piano experiments.

DH: Well, it really is the same thing, except Cage was a lot more sophisticated about it. He prepared the piano with different sounds for each hammer and got a whole arsenal of effects that way. For a honky-tonk piano, you just put staples in the hammers, or thumb-tacks, and get an overall saloon sound.

MDT: Were you aware of the prepared piano stuff that Ferrante & Teicher were doing with pop standards around that time, and have you ever experimented with prepared piano?

DH: I think I still have one of those prepared recordings of theirs, actually I have sometimes used some of the effects, for example using a soft mallet on the strings, chains, or sheets of paper. I've tried these effects on film or TV scores, and sometimes it's a good idea.

MDT: With the experimentation in sound that you did, when you were recording them, did you feel like "Moon Gas" or "Electric Eclectics" were any sort of important landmark, pioneering achievements? Do you take pride in these records?

DH: I take pride in them, sure. I liked doing them, and I like hearing them now. But at the time I didn't regard them as landmarks, and I'm not sure I would now. Understand that this was a wonderful time in the record business when every kind of invention was encouraged. It seemed that record companies were open for any suggestions. All manner of stuff was being recorded, because they suddenly found themselves needing entirely new stereo catalogues. It was the demand of the new technology; they simply wanted to record everything in the new "hi-fi," and we did the strangest kinds of albums... titles like "Music for Tired Golfers". Have you come across that one?

MDT: No! Did you work on that one?

DH: Yes, I played on that. I think LeRoy Holmes may have been the arranger/conductor. "Music for this" and "Music for that"... it was that kind of time.

MDT: I think that whole period where record labels were willing to try anything is what fuels the Cool & Strange Music! Magazine demographic, trying to discover just what all is out there. Would you have ever guessed that these albums would become such sought-after cult-favorite items decades later?

DH: No, I never would have thought that. I did have a sense of recording history and continuity, because I was a record collector early on, and knew about the 1920s and before. But I never would have thought "Music for Tired Golfers" would be a cult item later.

MDT: What do you think about the current interest in a lot of that stuff?

DH: I'm pleased by it. I marvel at it, and I'm glad I kept most of those things that I recorded... hmm, let's say many of those things that I recorded.

MDT: I'd imagine there's hundreds (thousands?!?) of albums you’re on from those decades.

DH: One of these days l'll have to put together a definitive discography, but at this point I still don't have the time. I used to get every new record that I was on, and I still pick up some items when I spot them in the bins. I have a wall of such records, but it gets self-defeating after a while - on some of those records you can't hear the piano or the organ, so what's the point? I understand collecting, though.

MDT: On that subject, I don't know if you're aware of this, but "Moon Gas" is basically the Holy Grail of Dick Hyman records among collectors, with its unusual sound and concept, plus being much harder to find than the Moog LPs.

DH: I didn't know it was that much of a collector's item, but it didn't sell very many, and I'd imagine it's long, long gone. I think that the MGM catalog ended up with either MCA or Polygram though.

MDT: Was "Moon Gas" largely improvised...?

DH: No, it wasn't improvised, it was all arranged and plotted out with instruments or techniques I was more or less familiar with. For example, dunking a vibrating cymbal into a pail of water (which makes the pitch rise) was something I'd read about. We actually did that... we really didn't think of the dangers of electrocution, and fortunately nothing went wrong. I think I'd read that this had been done in the past by John Cage. The other instruments were keyboards that l was more familiar with: the Ondioline, the Lowrey organ in particular, plus sound effects such as a doorbell, and especially Vinnie Bell.

MDT: Sort of why I asked, as it seems like it would be impossible to have a vocabulary of all those experimental sounds, like all those weird Vinnie Bell guitar noises.

DH: Vinnie was a man I got to know very early and I came to rely on him for many things, because he's a great inventor. He invented the use of those sounds, with the use of a pedal board with which he could control them and select them very quickly and efficiently. I relied on Vinnie a lot for that album, and for a lot after that...films and so forth. I had a rough idea of the sort of things that Vinnie could do, because I'd heard him do them on other dates. He had what I called an electronic waterfall effect and a sort of space mandolin, and various percussion devices which he used on off-beats, all kinds of reverb... very interesting things for that day. Now they're commonplace and part of the catalog you get with any tabletop keyboard, but as far as I know, Vinnie was the first to use them in a pop vocabulary.

MDT: He strikes me as someone way too underrated. While usage of his sort of guitar-effects technology has become more common, I still think there are a lot of his effects-work that sounds like nothing else l've ever heard come out of anybody else, even with electronic keyboards. I'm amazed there's not more of a fuss made about him considering the kinds of things he was up to then.

DH: He's still very much around. I believe he's been working in pit orchestras for the past few years, playing for the "Twin Peaks" TV show, and probably a lot of other things on the side. Vinnie played for me for "Everyone Says I Love You" - many sessions. A nice guy and a good friend.

MDT: Everyone in this whole circle of musicians, in my experience related to the Enoch Light stuff just seems so amiable, and there's a real sense of camaraderie and community with everybody.

DH: There was, there really was. We were all hiring each other all the time and meeting each other at other people's dates. Particularly with the Enoch Light group, there was a camaraderie. Enoch was very loyal to his coterie of players, and we did all sorts of things for him as a unit more or less. But all of us were all over town in every other studio at the same time, and as often as not, working for each other. This extended into a certain amount of social life too. There were various parties at each other's houses for one thing or another. We attended each other's children's weddings and Bar Mitzvahs and there was an annual party that was presented by an organization called the "Rinky Dinks" headed by Mona Hinton, Milt's wife. There really was a camaraderie. We still keep in touch, and sometimes we even still play together, but by now, of course, time has taken its toll.


A few more information about Dick Hyman, Mary Mayo and "Moon Gas" is available here:

http://www.dickhyman.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Hyman

http://www.spaceagepop.com/hyman.htm

http://www.discogs.com/artist/15443-Dick-Hyman

http://moogfoundation.org/moog-a-history-in-recordings-dick-hyman-master-stylist-of-the-moog-modular/

http://tapeop.com/interviews/92/dick-hyman/

http://tapeop.com/articles/92/dick-hyman-bonus/

http://robertjaz.com/2014/06/happy-birthday-dick-hyman/

http://www.spaceagepop.com/mayo.htm

http://www.digitalinberlin.de/mary-mayo/

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/mary-mayo-mn0001321378/biography

http://dougpayne.blogspot.com/2010/02/rediscovery-moon-gas-dick-hymanmary.html

http://waxidermy.com/dick-hyman-mary-mayo-moon-gas/

http://www.discogs.com/Dick-Hyman-Mary-Mayo-Moon-Gas/release/2111137


If you have any other useful information about Dick Hyman, Mary Mayo and "Moon Gas" - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

GIUSTO PIO "RESTORATION - THE ANCIENT SCHOOL OF RESTORATION" (1983)

«When I think about the events of my life and the wonderful people I met, I can only be grateful to God for what happened to me.»

[Giusto Pio, translated from the book "Dedicato a Giusto Pio"]



Giusto Pio was born in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, in 1926. He inherited a passion for music from his father, who played several instruments without ever having attended regular schools.

At 13 he began to study violin in Marghera and three years later he was accepted at the Liceo Musicale Cesare Pollini of Padua. In 1941 he moved to Venice, where he studied composition and violin under Luigi Enrico Ferro, the last great violinist of the "Venetian School", at the Benedetto Marcelli Conservatory.

Pio graduated in violin in 1947, a few years later he got married and moved to Milan. During the '50s he received important national and international awards and entered the RAI orchestra of Milan (Italian television orchestra) as Concertino violin, a role that enabled him to acquire, in about thirty years of activity in close contact with the best directors and performers of the world, a wide experience in the field of orchestral-symphonic and operatic music.



During the '60s and the '70s, he also carried out an intense didactic activity with the best Milanese and Italian chamber music ensembles, contemplating a vast repertoire of music that, starting from the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Letitiae Musicae, the pioneer group in Italy for Medieval and Renaissance music), went through the Italian Baroque (Complesso Strumentale Italiano, Symposium Musicum Milano, Giovane Quartetto di Milano, Complesso Barocco di Milano, etc.), and then reached the contemporary music of today with many premières of the greatest Italian living composers.

Over the years Giusto Pio has participated in several recordings for the major record companies of the time (Ricordi, Angelicum, Vox, Decca). These musical performances were always philologically attentive, thanks to the help of musicologists such as Francesco Degrada and Raffaello Monterosso of the Musical Paleography School of Cremona.

At the same time, his expertise was also in demand in the field of Popular Music, and Pio has worked as a session musician adding his instrument to the recordings of many famous Italian singers of the '50s and '60s, including Claudio Villa, Luciano Tajoli, Nilla Pizzi, Tony Dallara, Betty Curtis, Domenico Modugno, Adriano Celentano and Mina.


Franco Battiato and Giusto Pio in the late '70s

In the late '70s Pio was hired by Franco Battiato as violin teacher and they soon became friends. Later on, almost for amusement and curiosity, Pio began to play improvised concerts with him and vocalist Juri Camisasca.

In 1978 he worked as musician on "Juke Box" by Battiato and during the same year he released his first album of experimental music entitled "Motore immobile" (...you can listen to the minimal title track here...) on Cramps Records.

The long collaboration with Battiato was one of the most prolific and interesting during the '80s and '90s in Italy; this partnership took Pio to new heights in the fields of commercial and avantgarde music, with a great success in terms of popularity and discography.

Most of the albums by Franco Battiato, from "L'era del cinghiale bianco" (1979) to "Unprotected" (1994), depending on the case, included Giusto Pio as co-author of the music or of the arrangements, as violinist or as conductor. All the tours performed by Battiato during those years always included Giusto Pio among the essential lineup of musicians.


"Restoration", original innersleeve

In those years, always with Battiato, he wrote the music and arrangements of many hit songs for Italian singers Alice, Giuni Russo and Sibilla ("Per Elisa" by Alice won the Sanremo Festival in 1981, you can watch the original performance here), produced two albums for Milva and various songs for other artists.

In 1984 Pio, Battiato and lyricist Rosario 'Saro' Cosentino penned the Eurovision Song Contest entry "I treni di Tozeur", performed by Alice and Battiato, which finished 5th in the contest and became a considerable commercial success in Continental Europe and Scandinavia. A video of the original performance, which briefly shows Giusto Pio as orchestra conductor, is available here.

Between 1982 and 1987 he released three album of Pop music ("Legione straniera", which I already remastered some time ago, "Restoration", the subject of this post, and "Note"). In particular, "Legione straniera" and "Restoration", both written along with Battiato, sold very well and Pio became a well-known name among the younger audiences, as evidenced by the musical chronicles of those years on many magazines and newspapers.

In 1988 he published "Alla corte di Nefertiti", an album that marked the passage to a music style which was very different from his previous output and had far less commercial appeal. His association with Pop music definively waned after the end of his artistic fellowship with Battiato.


"Restoration", original innersleeve

Over the past decade, Pio increasingly approached acoustic and electronic research, and produced music for theater (for example the play "Medea", for the Florentine group Krypton, which won first prize for music at the Massa Carrara Festival, or his collaboration on Battiato's operas performed in the major Italian theaters), music for movies and interactive musical comments with other art forms such as painting, sculpture and poetry.

Among his most recent music releases we remember "Utopie" (1990), "Missa Populi" (dedicated to His Holiness John Paul II, 1995), and "Le vie dell'oro" (2000).

The book "Dedicato a Giusto Pio", which includes a companion CD entitled "Dolomiti Suite" and is now also available online, was published in 2010 to celebrate Pio's 85th birthday.

Giusto Pio has turned 90 on 11 January 2016; while searching updated information about him for this post I discovered that he has recently suffered a serious domestic accident. Let this be my biggest congratulations to the Maestro, and I'd also like to take this opportunity to offer him my most sincere wishes for a full recovery.


Franco Battiato and Giusto Pio, early '80s


"Restoration - The Ancient School of Restoration" contains the following tracks:

01. Gente a lavoro (4:01)
02. Happy Morning (3:40)
03. Radio Taxi (3:42)
04. Jour de Fête (3:46)
05. Rodolfo Valentino (3:16)
06. Passato e presente (3:27)
07. El Condor (3:10)
08. Restoration (3:40)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in January 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

Please have a look at the comments for the download link.



As I already mentioned in the previous post dedicated to Giusto Pio, the overwhelming success of Franco Battiato's "La voce del padrone", co-arranged by Pio - the first Italian album with a certified sale of more than 1.000.000 copies - finally led him to come out into the open with "Legione straniera", his first Instrumental Pop album:

«Working with Battiato in a confident and unbiased way without any preconceptions has helped me to see Pop in a different light. For example, I learned that some songs written by Paul McCartney were every bit as good as some of Schumann's work.» [1]

Recorded just one month earlier, "Restoration - The Ancient School of Restoration" was released by EMI Italiana with catalogue number 3C 064-18610 in March 1983; to date it has never been officially reissued on CD.

Once again, the album was produced by Angelo Carrara and co-written hand-in-hand by Pio and Battiato. Music, arrangements and stylistic features are quite similar to those contained on the LPs released by Battiato under his own name during the early '80.


Francesco Messina, Giusto Pio, Franco Battiato, Alberto Radius and Donato Scolese, circa 1981-82

«"Restoration" includes a few instrumental pieces composed by Franco (Battiato) and me; I also handled all the violin parts. It is mostly an album of Pop music, but it takes its title from a well known pavane by the French composer Gabriel Faurè that we reworked, as we had previously done with Bach, in our completely independent and peculiar way. In fact, when we registered it with SIAE (Italian collecting society for composers' copyrights) we presented both the original Faurè score and ours, so that the percentage of rights is shared between the heirs of the musician and us...» [2]

"Restoration" features the same team of musicians from the 'Battiato Factory' who already worked on "Legione straniera", including Paolo Donnarumma on bass, famous guitarist Alberto Radius and keyboardist Filippo Destrieri.

On this work Enzo 'Titti' Denna (...who probably engineered "Legione straniera" without being credited on the sleeve for an unknown reason...) also takes care of the Fairlight CMI programming, which is played by Destrieri. Compared to the previous release, "Restoration" sounds a bit more electronic to my ears, just like "L'arca di Noè" when compared to "La voce del padrone".

The elegant album cover, based on a drawing by Austrian painter Max Kurzweil, was designed by Francesco Messina «with the intention to 'paraphrase' the graphics of Deutsche Grammophon.» [3]

As already happened for the song "Legione straniera" the previous year, Battiato and Pio also took care of directing a promotional videoclip for the title track. Anyway, no song was issued as a single to 'drive' the album if we exclude this promotional item; I must admit that I don't remember having ever watched that clip then and unfortunately it hasn't resurfaced on YouTube yet... Anyway, you can watch a live performance of "Restoration" here.

One song from the album, "Rodolfo Valentino", was later given lyrics by Francesco Messina and released as a single by Italian singer Farida. Curiously enough, Giusto Pio was not credited as author on this release and Battiato appeared as Kui, one of his psudonyms... This version is available here.

That's all Folks!



Sources:

[1] translated from this interview;

[2] translated from the book "Dedicato a Giusto Pio";

[3] translated from the book "Ogni tanto passava una nave - Viaggi e soste con Franco Battiato" by Francesco Messina.


Here's the complete credits and personnel list as translated from the back cover of "Restoration - The Ancient School of Restoration":

Music and arrangements by Franco Battiato and Giusto Pio.
Produced by Angelo Carrara.
Art Director: Francesco Messina
Music Publisher: Belriver s.r.l.

Front cover by Francesco Messina.
Drawing on front cover by Max Kurzweil.
Picture on back cover: Ilvio Gallo.

Keyboards: Filippo Destrieri
Drums: Alfredo Golino
Bass: Paolo Donnarumma
Guitars: Alberto Radius
Fairlight Computer (programming): Enzo 'Titti' Denna
Fairlight Computer (performing): Filippo Destrieri
Violins: Giusto Pio
Choir: Franco Battiato and Alberto Radius

Recorded at Radius Studio in February 1983.
Sound Engineer: Enzo 'Titti' Denna


Giusto Pio as he appears on the back cover of "Restoration"


The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, please enjoy "Gente a lavoro", "Radio Taxi", "Rodolfo Valentino" and "Restoration"!









...and here's a live rendition of the title-track as performed in 1984 for an Italian television show; the audio sucks, but still is nice to see Mr. Pio and the band on stage!




More information about "Restoration - The Ancient School of Restoration", Giusto Pio and Franco Battiato is available here:

http://www.giustopio.it/

http://digilander.libero.it/giustopio

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giusto_Pio

http://digilander.libero.it/gianni61dgl/giustopio.htm

http://www.stefanomeneghetti.it/2010/04/giusto-pio/

http://www.frontiereprogetti.com/index.php?startpage=eventi&id=127

http://www.discogs.com/artist/369428-Giusto-Pio

https://www.debaser.it/giusto-pio

http://digilander.libero.it/giustopio/intervista.htm

http://www.musicletter.it/?x=entry:entry111208-130248

http://dentroisecondi.blogspot.com/2013/07/giusto-pio-se-ne-consiglia-la-lettura.html

http://aliceedintorni.blogspot.com/2010/12/dedicato-giusto-pio-11-gennaio-2011.html

http://www.arte.go.it/2015/01/18/video-latelier-di-giusto-pio-1/

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoration_%28Giusto_Pio%29

https://www.debaser.it/giusto-pio/restoration/recensione

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco_Battiato

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjvL7E0J8bQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFjXwOB26MU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U07EtWdyk3Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja8iWzit_vY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2XpAAQZ1JQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCwPaltMbOM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUlfOk1gnkE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN7BNsxiUx8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnx_k6SYAUM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9PXZNhL0qY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tsyp_39RFRo


If you have any other useful information about this post or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

JOHNNY TAN "SHAKIN' ALL OVER" (1967)



My spare time has been quite limited recently, that's why this month all you get is this very short post about the mysterious Johnny Tan and his one-and-only release.

I tried hard to find some information about him on the Internet, but all my efforts were useless... I easily guess that Johnny's "15 minutes of fame" happened a few years ago when small label Outhouse Records stole one of his pictures - the same you can see scrolling this page a little bit - to grace the cover of the vinyl bootleg compilation "Chinese Rocks"...

"Shakin' All Over", the title track from the EP featured in this post, was also included on such compilation, along with other rare cuts by The Stylers, The Quests, Shao Fong Fong, The Steps, The Silverstones and many others.



I usually try to avoid personal comments on the artists themselves, but I must admit that Johnny's trendy apparel and his superquiff (...is this the correct English term for his hairstyle?) make him look a bit over the top, in a manner of speaking.

Despite his tall stature, his frail falsetto voice suggest me that probably Tan was still in his early teens when he recorded the tracks compiled on the release presented on this page.

The excellent accompanying band featured on these recordings is Charlie and His Go-Go Boys, a Singaporean group that in 1966-67 released many instrumental EPs and one album on Swan Records (...or Star Swan...), the same independant label that also released Johnny Tan's EP sometimes in 1967.

While searching for more information about them, I chanced upon two other bands with a similar name which were active in Singapore during the late '60s / early '70s: Charlie and His Boys and Charlie and His Orchestra... Could it be that Charlie simply opted for a change of name when the A Go-Go trend was over?

Anyway, as usual, I would really like to know something more about Johnny and Charlie, maybe someone out there can share any information? Thanks in advance!


Johnny Tan as he appears on the back cover of "Shakin' All Over"


Here's the track list for this 7" EP:

01. Shakin' All Over (2:52)
02. My Bonnie (1:46)
03. Love Potion No. 9 (1:47)
04. My Love (2:36)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in December 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments section for the download link.



Side A obviously begins with "Shakin' All Over", a famous Rhythm'n'Blues number originally performed by U.K. band Johnny Kidd & the Pirates in 1960. During the years the song has been covered many times, most notably by The Guess Who in 1965 - available here.

The song is followed by "My Bonnie", a traditional Scottish folk song which was also recorded by Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers - an alias for The Beatles! - in 1961 (...original version is available here).

On Side B we find the immortal "Love Potion No. 9", a song written in 1959 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and originally performed by The Clovers. An alternate version of the original was also included on the soundtrack release for the movie "American Graffiti" in 1973.

The EP ends brilliantly with a cover of Petula Clark's international hit "My Love", a song written by Tony Hatch in late 1965; here's a playback of the original version.




The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered EP, enjoy!










A few more information about Johnny Tan, Charlie & His Go-Go Boys and the 60s Singapore music scene is available here:

http://modcentric.blogspot.com/2015/05/johnny-tan-love-potion-no-9.html

http://www.discogs.com/Various-Chinese-Rocks-60s-Garage-Surf-Trash-Rock-n-Roll-A-Go-Go-From-Southeast-Asia/release/2878461

http://www.discogs.com/artist/2391475-Charlie-His-Go-Go-Boys

http://madrotter-treasure-hunt.blogspot.com/search/label/charlie%20and%20his%20go%20go%20boys

http://www.psychemusic.org/singapore.html

http://www.tofu-magazine.net/newVersion/pages/gogo.html

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Apache-Over-Singapore/304722106211508

http://mocamborainbow.blogspot.com/2009/05/100-greatest-singapore-60s-definitive.html


If you have any other useful information about this post, or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Friday, 20 November 2015

DON SEBESKY "DON SEBESKY & THE JAZZ-ROCK SYNDROME" (1968)

«I don't think that there is such a thing as the Don Sebesky sound. [...] I think the common denominator here is more an attitude towards music, a willingness to blend various influences without worrying about where they come from. The way I look at music is the way I look at life - I have no pre-conceived notion about either. If today I feel like doing a certain kind of music, that's what I'll do. And tomorrow, I might try a different kind. I think that if I had one sound, if I stumbled on one formula and I had to stay with that one sound and keep pushing it, I'd never be happy. That's why I said that I don't think I have a "sound". But an attitude, an approach to music, definitely, yes.»

[Don Sebesky, from an interview conducted in 1973 by Didier C. Deutsch]



Donald John Sebesky was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA, on 10 December 1937; his father worked in a steel-cable factory, his mother was a housewife. At the age of eight he started learning the accordion; he later came to realize that this instrument was the best possible choice he could have made because, as he says, «the accordion is a 'mini-orchestra' and teaches the principles of harmony from the very beginning».

Sebesky soon started learning piano too, and in high school he switched to the trombone to get into the marching band. Then he began commuting into New York from New Jersey to study with Warren Covington at the Manhattan School of Music. His earliest influences were the big bands of Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson.

During the mid '50s he began his professional career playing with Kai Winding, Claude Thornhill, and the Tommy Dorsey Band led by Covington. In 1958 he was hired to play the trombone in Maynard Ferguson's band appearing on their album "A Message From Newport"; on such occasion he signed two compositions: "Humbug" and "Fan It, Janet".


"Don Sebesky & The Jazz-Rock Syndrome" back cover

He also played briefly with Stan Kenton appearing on "Viva Kenton!" in 1959, but at the turning of the decade he decided to give up trombone playing and devote himself full time to writing and arranging, working out an individual style based on a combination of Jazz and Classical music.

In 1965 Don Sebesky joined Verve Records when Creed Taylor was still a producer for the label. One of his most distinctive and successful arrangements was for Wes Montgomery's album "Bumpin'" released the same year.

In 1967, when Taylor left the company to launch his own CTI, Sebesky joined the newborn label as staff arranger, giving his precious contribution in creating many hit records.

During the late '60s / early '70s, his orchestral backgrounds helped make artists like Montgomery, George Benson ("Shape of Things To Come", 1968), Paul Desmond ("From the Hot Afternoon", 1969) and Freddie Hubbard ("First Light", 1971) acceptable to audiences outside of Jazz.


The beautiful gatefold cover in all its glory

Sebesky's arrangements have usually been among the classiest in his field, reflecting a solid knowledge of the orchestra, drawing variously from Big Band Jazz, Rock, Ethnic music, Classical music of all eras and even the Avant-garde for ideas. He once cited Béla Bartók as his favorite composer, but one also hears lots of Stravinsky in his work.

In 1968 he debuted as a solo artist with "Don Sebesky & The Jazz-Rock Syndrome", the subject of this post, an albums intended to merge - as per its title - Jazz and Rock music. This record was soon followed by "The Distant Galaxy", a weirder affair that combined exotic and electronic instruments with unusual arrangements; this precious gem will hopefully appear on these pages sometimes soon.

In the late '60s / early '70s Sebesky also arranged for Carmen McRae, Tamiko Jones (...her album "I'll Be Anything For You" is available here on Stereo Candies...), Peggy Lee, Hubert Laws, Kenny Burrell and Dionne Warwick, to name just a few, but the list is so much longer... In 1971 his song "Memphis Two-Step" was the title track of the Herbie Mann album of the same name.


"Don Sebesky & The Jazz-Rock Syndrome" inner gatefold, left panel

In 1973 Sebesky released his opus "Giant Box", a double LP for which he employed musicians that makes the term 'all stars' sound like an understatement; this may have been Creed Taylor's most ambitious single project.

Among the numerous artists gathered together for the occasion were Paul Desmond, George Benson, Randy Brecker, Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, Airto Moreira, Grover Washington Jr., Jackie Cain and Roy Kral.

The album reached number 16 on the U.S. Billboard Jazz Albums Chart and was nominated for a Grammy. Later on, this step out into the spotlight was followed only by sporadic releases among which we remember "The Rape of El Morro" (1975), "Three Works For Jazz Soloists & Symphony Orchestra" (1979) and "Full Cycle" (1983).


"Don Sebesky & The Jazz-Rock Syndrome" inner gatefold, right panel

Active as a teacher since the 70s, Sebesky is the author of "The Contemporary Arranger", an authoritative easy-to-understand text covering all aspects of arranging for Jazz bands and other Contemporary / Pop ensembles, which is used in colleges and music schools all over the world.

He has worked with such orchestras as the London Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Pops, The New York Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic of London, and the Toronto Symphony.

As a recording artist and in collaboration with other artists, he has won three Grammy Awards and has been nominated for 27 more, won a Tony and has been nominated for two more, won two Drama Desk Awards and four Clio Awards.

During the years, he has composed and arranged music for Christina Aguilera, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Britney Spears, Chet Baker, Vanessa Williams, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, Cyndi Lauper, and a host of other pop stars.


The original inner sleeve displays a few pictures of the most representative Verve artists and a list of their releases...

Sebesky has composed and orchestrated for several films, including the Oscar-nominated short subject "Time Piece" (1965) starring and directed by Jim Henson (...available here, it is worth your precious time, believe me!), "The People Next Door" (1970), "F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles'" (1974), "The Rosary Murders" (1987) with Donald Sutherland (for which Sebesky also conducted), and "Julie & Julia" (2009) with Meryl Streep.

Sebesky's work for television has garnered three Emmy nominations for "Allegra's Window" on Nickelodeon, "The Edge of Night" on ABC, and "Guiding Light" on CBS.

His Broadway theater credits include "Porgy and Bess" (London production by Trevor Nunn), "Sinatra at The Palladium", "Sweet Charity", "Kiss Me Kate", "Bells Are Ringing", "Flower Drum Song", "Parade", "The Life", "Cyrano", "The Goodbye Girl", "Will Rogers Follies", "Sinatra at Radio City", "Pal Joey", "Come Fly Away" and "Baby It's You".

One of the most highly regarded arrangers in the business, Sebesky's work is precise and elegant, yet bristles with ideas and always displays his sure grasp of instrumental potential and the abilities of the performers for whom he writes.


...and more on the back!


"Don Sebesky & The Jazz-Rock Syndrome" contains the following tracks:

01. The Word (3:46)
02. Shake a Lady (3:46)
03. Banana Flower (2:52)
04. Meet a Cheetah (4:07)
05. I Dig Rock'n'Roll (2:05)
06. Never My Love (3:11)
07. Dancing In the Street (3:21)
08. Somebody Groovy (4:12)
09. You've Got Your Troubles (2:57)
10. Big Mama Cass (2:58)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in November 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

Please have a look at the comments for the download link.



Recorded between June 1967 and January 1968, and bearing catalogue number V6-8756, "Don Sebesky & The Jazz-Rock Syndrome" was released on Verve Records during the first half of 1968. The album comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve with colourful pictures by Joel Brodsky which is a real pleasure for the eyes.

As the 'V6' prefix in the catalogue number implies, the album is recorded in full stereo, althought mono copies were also pressed as promotional items for radio stations.

The following liner notes printed on the inner gatefold were written by Cool Jazz musician and author Michael Zwerin.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

«Big bands are not coming back. Let's face it. The old style, rooted in the swing era, is an anachronism. Those bands will hang around only as long as that generation is alive; they are relics, museum pieces - still groovy, but relics nonetheless.

Basie, Herman, James and the few others still carrying on will not survive their own generation. They have no issue; young cats do not generally form swing bands these days. They play Rock and Roll, whether we like it or not.

But something else has been coming-on lately. It has been called 'Jazz-Rock', a budding love affair between a raw but vital, enthusiastic child and a somewhat weatherbeaten but dapper older gentleman.

Basically the one-eyed monster killed old-style dance bands, along with a lot of other things. For awhile, when the tube was still a novelty, nobody did anything else at all but sit in front of it. Then came the Twist and people began moving out again - to dance. The Twist really buried big bands; four electrified kids could produce the volume of fifteen unamplified guys, a lot cheaper. And the other eleven musicians starved or became school teachers.

It may have been a blessing in the long run. The new beat spawned dancing as a worldwide participation sport. For the first time, you don't have to know the steps; anything goes. Just move out on the floor, stay loose and swing.

As the dances became more abstract and creative, more permissive and popular, the music kept pace - becoming more and more complex until, suddenly, we find Jazz peeking through the door again. Many straight-ahead Rock groups are beginning to add horns. Some will inevitably add more and, since there are few sounds as exciting as seven brass and five saxophones wailing, new-style big bands will soon begin criss-crossing the country just like the old once did; not museum pieces, but contemporary, communicating dance organizations. People will once more dance to big bands - which will sound like this record.



Though he just turned 30, Don Sebesky is a product of the big band tradition, having played trombone with Warren Covington, Stan Kenton, Claude Thornhill and Maynard Ferguson. His big writing break came through Maynard and he has since scored albums for Wes Montgomery, Astrud Gilberto, Erroll Garner and Kenny Burrell.

When Don started to think about this album, he "wanted to come up with something new. It seemed to me that the style in which I had been writing - traditional Holman-influenced Basie - had become a dead end for me. It was either a matter of getting more complex and involved, or simpler. I chose the latter, or rather it was chosen for me. I discovered The Mamas and the Papas and their light, groovy approach influenced my thinking tremendously."

So there are very few hard, 'shouting' big band moments here. Instead, it sings with unisons and counterpoint. The tunes themselves reflect the Mamas and the Papas influence: "Somebody Groovy", a John Phillips tune, "Dancing in the Street", in which Don based the writing on Cass Elliot's phrasing of the same tune, and "Big Mama Cass" which is of course dedicated to her.

The musicians - who were all chosen "for their ability to swing in a Jazz way and yet relate to a Rock feel at the same time" - evidence obvious enthusiasm playing Sebesky's music. I particularly call your attention to Don MacDonald's drums, to Chuck Rainey's really astounding Fender bass - and to two young men you're going to be hearing from a lot, Larry Coryell and Dick Spencer.

Coryell, who's already made quite a name for himself with the Gary Burton group, is perhaps the personification of the Jazz-Rock movement among musicians. He plays real Jazz guitar - writing his own line, improvising on the changes - but unlike some of his colleagues he has also taken the time and trouble to master the electronic effects available on the amp. As a result, Coryell has virtually cornered the market on the wailing, haunting kind of guitar you hear on "Dancing in the Street" and, most especially, on "The Word" - a too-much tour de force right down to the closing cadenza.

Spencer likewise epitomizes the new generation of horn men - guys who grew up with Jazz and Rock in the unswerving belief that the twain shall meet. It's his soulful alto that puts the groove in "Somebody Groovy", the personality in the portrait of "Big Mama Cass". On "Meet a Cheetah", Spencer gets together with Joe Beck (another very now guitarist) and Sebesky himself - who, like Bob Brookmeyer, turns out to be a trombonist who also plays a mean piano. And organ (on "I Dig Rock 'n' Roll Music"). And harpsichord (on "Banana Flower"). And clavinet (dig his dialogue with Coryell on "The Word").

Don feels that "this is the first big band of the Rock era, bringing the influences of traditional big bands and combining them with the music being written today by John Phillips, the Beatles, the Beach Boys and other meaningful groups in an instrumental way, featuring a good strong rhythm section and blues-influenced soloists."

Obviously, Don Sebesky has found an alternative, a way to move ahead while still acknowledging his musical roots. Jazz-Rock is the turning point. Listen, dance and rejoice to it.»


Don Sebesky, exact date unknown, probably late '60s / early '70s


...and to finish this post, here's the complete credits as reconstructed from the original list included on the inner gatefold and the information written on the center labels of "Don Sebesky & The Jazz-Rock Syndrome". Additional information about some of the tunes is also included, along with some clips that offer a generous preview of the remastered album, this time I couldn't help to upload less than six... Enjoy!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Recorded in June 1967 and January 1968 at A&R Studios, New York City.

Director of Engineering: Val Valentin
Cover photo: Joel Brodsky
Painting on Girl: Mario Rivoli
Art Direction: Acy R. Lehman

Produced by Esmond Edwards.

The Word
(John Lennon / Paul McCartney - this track was also released as a single with cat. number VK-10605; the original version appears on the Beatles' "Rubber Soul" released in 1965, more information about the song is available here)
Clavinet: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Larry Coryell
Bass: Chuck Rainey
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Flute: Hubert Laws



Shake a Lady
(Ray Bryant - original version appears on Ray Bryant's "Cold Turkey" released in 1964)
Piano: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Joe Beck
Bass: Don Payne
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Alto Saxophone: Richard Spencer
Flute: Jerry Dodgian

Banana Flower
(Don Sebesky - this track was also included on Side B of the VK-10605 single)
Harpsichord: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Joe Beck
Bass: Don Payne
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Flute: Jerry Dodgian
Vocals: Janet Sebesky



Meet a Cheetah
(Don Sebesky)
Piano and Harpsichord: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Joe Beck
Bass: Don Payne
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Alto Saxophone: Richard Spencer
Flute: Jerry Dodgian



I Dig Rock'n'Roll Music
(Paul Stookey / James Mason / Dave Dixon - original version appears on Peter, Paul and Mary's "Album 1700" released in 1967; more information about the song is available here)
Organ and Clavinet: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Joe Beck
Bass: Chuck Rainey
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Alto Saxophone: Richard Spencer
Flute: Hubert Laws
Vocals: Janet Sebesky

Never My Love
(Donald Addrisi / Richard Addrisi - original version appears on The Association' "Insight Out", released in 1967; the Addrisi Brothers later released their own version in 1977 - more information about the song is available here)
Harpsichord: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Joe Beck
Bass: Chuck Rainey
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Flute: Hubert Laws
Vocals: Janet Sebesky



Dancing In the Street
(Marvin Gaye / William Stevenson / Ivy Jo Hunter - original version by Martha and The Vandellas was released as a single in 1964; the song was later covered by the The Mamas and The Papas in 1966 and by many other artists, including David Bowie & Mick Jagger in 1985 - more information about the song is available here)
Clavinet and Organ: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Larry Coryell
Bass: Chuck Rainey
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Alto Saxophone: Richard Spencer
Vocals: Janet Sebesky

Somebody Groovy
(John Phillips - original version appears on The Mamas and The Papas' debut album "If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears" released in 1966)
Clavinet and Organ: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Joe Beck
Bass: Don Payne
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Alto Saxophone: Richard Spencer
Flute: Jerry Dodgian
Vocals: Janet Sebesky



You've Got Your Troubles
(Roger Greenaway / Roger Cook - original version by The Fortunes was released as a single in 1965; more information about the song is available here)
Piano: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Joe Beck
Bass: Chuck Rainey
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Flute: Hubert Laws
Vocals: Janet Sebesky

Big Mama Cass
(Don Sebesky - this song was covered by The Buddy Rich Big Band; it appears on their "Mercy, Mercy" live album released in 1968)
Organ and Clavinet: Don Sebesky
Guitar: Joe Beck
Bass: Chuck Rainey
Drums: Donald MacDonald
Alto Saxophone: Richard Spencer
Flute: Hubert Laws
Vocals: Janet Sebesky




More information about Don Sebesky is available here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Sebesky

http://www.donsebeskymusic.com/

http://www.discogs.com/artist/45768-Don-Sebesky

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/don-sebesky-mn0000801711/biography

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/don_sebesky

http://www.masterworksbroadway.com/artist/don-sebesky

http://www.dougpayne.com/ctiads.htm

http://www.jazzwax.com/2010/12/interview-don-sebesky-part-1.html

http://www.jazzwax.com/2010/12/interview-don-sebesky-part-2.html

http://www.whosampled.com/Don-Sebesky/sampled/


If you have any other useful information about this post, or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

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