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Wednesday, October 10, 2012



COMMENTARY © James A. Harrod, Copyright Protected; All Rights Reserved

The August 20 copy for Stars of Jazz in TV Guide gave a full listing of the members of The Dave Pell Octet who would be the special guests on the program: Dave Pell, tenor sax; Jack Sheldon, trumpet; Ray Sims, trombone; Marty Berman, baritone sax, Paul Moer, piano; Frank Capp, drums; Bob Bates, bass and Tom Tedesco, guitar.  The featured vocalist, Marcie Miller, was not mentioned.  The copy also noted that the octet would play “HOW ARE THINGS IN GLOCCA MORA?” and MOUNTAIN GREENERY.”  The Dave Pell Octet was appearing at Jazz City, alternating sets with Anita O’Day. Although TV Guide noted Marty Paich as being on piano with the octet, photos from Ray Avery's archive confirm that it is Paul Moer at the piano.  Paich might have been on the set as well playing some of the musical examples such as the Bach fugue.

The Dave Pell Octet’s first album was for Albert Marx’s Trend record label playing the compositions of Irving Berlin with arrangements by Shorty Rogers and Wes Hensel.  The octet followed that successful outing with two more LPs exploring individual composers, Burke & Van Heusen on Kapp KL 1034 and Rodgers & Hart on Trend TL 1501 also released on Kapp KL 1025.  With this trio of albums The Dave Pell Octet initiated the jazz trend to celebrate individual composers.  The short list of arrangers who wrote for the octet included: Shorty Rogers, Marty Paich, Wes Hensel and Johnny Mandel.

Nesuhi Ertegun recruited Shorty Rogers as A&R head for Atlantic Records when Nesuhi joined his brother, Ahmet, at Atlantic.  Shorty in turn recruited west coast musicians to add a different flavor to the Atlantic jazz catalogue. In between recording “Jazz In Romantic Places” and “Love Story” for Atlantic, Dave Pell went into the recording studios at Capitol to make “I Had The Craziest Dream” with the octet.  Dave signed with RCA Victor in 1956 and recorded a series of albums with the octet whose members changed, but Dave always had the cream of Hollywood’s jazz community anxious to play in the octet and fill an empty chair.

Marcie Miller was the featured vocalist with the Ray Anthony orchestra when she made her appearance on Stars of Jazz.  Like many of the songbirds who appeared on the show, Marcie never made an album under her own name but appeared on wax with the Ray Anthony orchestra.

The bust of J. S. Bach from a Ray Avery proof sheet © Ray Avery/CTSIMAGES

Production credits:
Host: Bobby Troup
Executive Producer: Pete Robinson
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Director: Don Whitman
Technical Director: Al Haywood
Lighting Director: Vincent Cilurzo
Audio Engineer: Chuck Lewis
Video Engineer: Gene Lukowski
Cameramen: Sal Folino, Jack Denton
Art Director: Edgar Lansbury

The ABC network granted permission to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service to distribute the Stars of Jazz shows to armed forces overseas via their transcription service. The AFRTS guidelines stipulated that all commercial content had to be removed from the program.  Thus the commercial spots for Budweiser Beer and Schweppes Quinine Water were removed by the transcription service.  The August 20, 1956 program was Show #4 in the AFRTS series, transcription master #AF-6866 dated August 9, 1957.

The photos that greatly enhance this presentation have been provided courtesy of the Ray Avery Estate.  The author would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to Cynthia Sesso, Licensing Administrator of the Ray Avery Photo Archives.  Please note that these photos remain the property of the Ray Avery Estate and are used here with permission.  Any inquiries regarding their use, commercial or otherwise, should be directed to:  Cynthia Sesso at CTSIMAGES.

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