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Thursday, November 29, 2012


TEDDY BUCKNER AND HIS DIXIELAND BAND

STARS OF JAZZ - SEPTEMBER 17, 1956 - SHOW #13

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

The TV guide listing for the September 17, 1956 Stars of Jazz program gave no details regarding Teddy Buckner’s appearance other than listing the five member ensemble, no hint was offered regarding what type of jazz the group performed. Teddy Buckner and his Dixieland Band had a long standing gig at the “400 Club” at 3330 West 8th in Los Angeles.  That stretch of 8th Street was a popular destination for Angelenos seeking entertainment with The Tiffany Club, The 331 Club and Agua Caliente all within walking distance of each other. Teddy Buckner would appear on Stars of Jazz a total of three times during the two and a half year run of the program.


Gene Norman promoted music in Los Angeles in a variety of concert promotions.  His “Just Jazz” concerts brought top names in jazz to auditoriums and concert halls in Los Angeles and Pasadena with such stars as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman. Norman also featured traditional jazz artists at his “Dixieland Jubilee” concerts that he presented in conjunction with Frank Bull. In addition Norman had one of the premier nightclubs on the Sunset Strip, The Crescendo, where top jazz names were always in attendance.  Many of these artists were recorded at these venues and appeared on Norman’s G.N.P. (Gene Norman Presents) Records.

Floyd Levin wrote a profile of Teddy Buckner in his survey of traditional jazz:

Teddy Buckner joined Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band at the Beverly Cavern in Los Angeles on July 16, 1949. He replaced Andrew Blakeney, a particular favorite of mine, so I was initially disappointed to learn about the change. My disappointment evaporated the moment Buckner blew his first note. His Armstrong-influenced tones, tinged with melodic integrity and stunning technical prowess, filled the little club with warmth and vitality. Those same attributes were integral to Teddy's personality. During the years he worked with Ory, he rose to prominence and became a favorite of jazz fans the world over. Our friendship gradually mellowed into a warm relationship, but I always remained a dedicated fan.

Teddy Buckner was born in Sherman, Texas, in 1909; his family moved to Los Angeles when he was eight years old. After he admired a young cornet player in a marching band, his mother promptly bought Teddy a silver horn and arranged for music lessons. "It took a lot of practice after school instead of playing ball," he said, "but I was determined to play music." He began his professional career in Los Angeles at the tender age of fifteen, working a succession of jobs. During the 1920s and 1930s he played with bands led by Speed Webb, Sonny Clay, Edythe Turnham, Lorenzo Flennoy, Les Hite, Lionel Hampton, and Benny Carter.

"I was twenty-seven years old when Lionel Hampton hired me to play with him at the after-hours Paradise Club in 1936," Buckner recalled. "One night Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, and Teddy Wilson came in after their gig at the Palomar Ballroom. They all sat in, and we had the greatest jam session until 4 A.M. When Goodman hired Lionel, he [Hampton] turned the band over to me. I stayed at the Paradise Club until I joined Benny Carter."

In 1954, after five years with Kid Ory, Buckner formed a great little band of his own, Teddy Buckner and His Dixieland All-Stars. It soon ranked among the most successful Dixieland groups in the country and played a vital role in the Los Angeles jazz scene for many years. With few changes, of personnel, the group played extended engagements at the 400 Club and the New Orleans Hotel in Los Angeles, followed by four years at the Huddle in West Covina and sixteen years at Disneyland's New Orleans Square. Buckner's recordings with members of Louis Armstrong's All-Stars, triumphant tours in Europe, and wonderful 1959 French record sessions with Sidney Bechet added to his fame. He was featured in many Hollywood films (both onscreen and on the soundtrack), including Pennies from Heaven with Bing Crosby, Pete Kelly's Blues. Hush. Hush. Sweet Charlotte, and St. Louis Blues.

Levin, Floyd. CLASSIC JAZZ,  A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 2000. 61-62.

SHOW #13
SEPTEMBER 17, 1956
Teddy Buckner and his Dixieland Band: Teddy Buckner, trumpet; John Ewing, trombone; Joe Darensbourg, clarinet, soprano sax; Harvey O Brooks, piano; Arthur Edwards, acoustic double bass; Jesse Sailes, drums.

Production credits for this show:
Host: Bobby Troup
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Writer: (not credited)
Director: Norman Abbott
Audio: Chuck Lewis
Cameramen: Jack Denton, Claire Higgins
Technical Director: Bob Trachinger
Lighting Director: Vince Cilurzo
Video: Tom Sumner









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.





Sunday, November 11, 2012


THE HAMPTON HAWES TRIO / JULIE LONDON

STARS OF JAZZ - SEPTEMBER 10, 1956 - SHOW #12

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


The September 10, 1956 TV Guide listing for Stars of Jazz gave top billing to the appearance of Julie London.  The future-to-be Mrs. Troup was accompanied on the program by Barney Kessel on guitar plus Ray Leatherwood on bass singing Gershwin’s ‘S WONDERFUL and David Raksin’s LAURA.  Al Viola also appeared on the program performing a guitar solo of Howard Dietz’s and Arthur Schwartz’s ALONE TOGETHER.  The instrumental combo headlining the program was the Hampton Hawes Trio with Hampton Hawes, piano, Red Mitchell, bass and LeRoy McCray, drums.  The trio would perform A NIGHT IN TUNISIA, BODY AND SOUL and a Hampton Hawes original, COOLIN’ THE BLUES.

Robert Gordon’s JAZZ WEST COAST: The Los Angeles Jazz Scene of the 1950s, London, Quartet Books, 1986, pp. 118-120, provides a synopsis of Hampton Hawes background:

Hampton Hawes was born 13 November 1928. His father was a Presbyterian minister and his mother played piano for the church choir, so Hawes grew up steeped in the music of the black church. He took up piano at an early age, teaching himself to play by listening to pianists like Freddy Slack, Fats Waller and Earl Hines on the radio, picking out melodies on the parlor piano. By the time he was in high school, Hawes was playing professionally. He recalled:

In 1947, I graduated from Polytechnic High School, split out the back of the auditorium (thinking, Damn, I'm free, got my diploma and didn't fuck up, can sleep till twelve tomorrow), threw my cap and gown in the back of the Ford and made it only fifteen minutes late to the Last Word where I was working with the Jay McNeely band. A few months later I joined Howard McGhee's quintet at the Hi-De-Ho. Bird had worked his way back from the East Coast and joined us. [Hampton Hawes and Don Asher, Raise Up Off Me, New York, DaCapo, 1979, pp. 12-13]


In the next several years Hawes made jazz time with just about all the regulars on Central Avenue - often in the company of Wardell Gray or Sonny Criss - and began to acquire a growing, if local, reputation. He moved to New York for a short time, then went on the road with Wild Bill Moore's band, and later worked with Red Norvo in San Francisco and Happy Johnson in Las Vegas. By the early fifties he was back in Los Angeles, playing Sunday sessions at the Lighthouse. In 1951 he was pianist on the Shorty Rogers 'Popo' session, and the following year he recorded with Art Farmer and Wardell Gray ('Farmer's Market') for Prestige and Art Pepper ('Surf Ride') for Discovery. In September 1952 Hawes got his own session for Discovery, recording 'Jumpin' Jacque', 'Don't Get Around Much Anymore', 'It's You or No One' and 'Thou Swell' backed by Joe Mondragon and Shelly Manne. Then, just as things were moving into high gear, he got his notice from Uncle Sam.


When he was finally released from the army in 1955, Hawes returned to LA to re-establish his credentials as a musician. His luck finally turned for the better. First, Shelly Manne introduced Hawes to Lester Koenig, who was anxious to record the pianist on his Contemporary label. Then, by sheer serendipity, the Hampton Hawes Trio was formed. As Hamp remembered it:


Next day John Bennett, owner of The Haig on Wilshire Boulevard, phoned and said if I'm available he wanted me to come in with a trio and there was a bass player standing right next to him who would be perfect for me. Things were happening-, I wasn't forgotten. I drove down there and the bass player said, 'I'm Red Mitchell and I think we might have fun playing together.' I said, 'Well let's go in and see.' Four bars into 'All the Things You are' I turned to him and said, 'I think we're going to have fun playing together.' With Mel Lewis on drums, and then Chuck Thompson who had played in the Happy Johnson band with me, we began a two-week engagement that stretched to eight months. I can't remember a happier time. [Ibid, pp. 77-78]


A few months later Hamp felt ready to record. The session was held in the gymnasium/auditorium of the Los Angeles Police Academy in Chavez Ravine, an isolated (in those pre-Dodger days) setting several miles from downtown Los Angeles, and lasted from midnight to dawn on 28 June 1955. 'They had a good Steinway there that Arthur Rubinstein used,' Hawes explained, 'and Lester [Koenig] wanted to get away from the cold studio atmosphere, experiment with a more natural sound. It was a relaxed session, the lights were low, Jackie [Hamp's wife] and Red's wife Doe sipping beer at a table behind the piano while we played ..., [Ibid, 78] Lester Koenig expanded on this in the liner notes of the resulting album:


It was agreed Hamp would just play sets as he did on the job, letting the tunes run as long as he pleased. We got a balance while he warmed up, and when he was in the mood, the recording machines were turned on. Between sets we listened to a few playbacks, had a few drinks, made additional takes on a couple of tunes, and so the pre-dawn hours passed quickly and pleasantly. [Notes to Contemporary 3505]


The album, Hampton Hawes Trio, Vol. 1, was a best-seller for Contemporary, and established Hawes's credentials on a national level.  In the next year Hampton Hawes recorded two more trio albums for Contemporary and went on a nationwide tour which included an extended stay in New York.



When Hampton Hawes made his appearance on Stars of Jazz he was booked into an extended gig at Jack Tucker’s Tiffany Club.  The Down Beat Critics Award for New Star in the piano category had been awarded to Hampton Hawes and the award would be presented to Hawes by Jack Tucker at the end of the Stars of Jazz program.

(Julie London, Hampton Hawes, Jack Tucker)

Julie London’s debut on record was on a Bethlehem LP entitled “Bethlehem’s Girl Friends” where she shared billing with Carmen McRea and Chris Connor.  Julie was backed on that album by an instrumnetal combo led by Bobby Troup that included Buddy Collette on alto sax and flute; Howard Roberts on guitar; Bob Enevoldsen on bass; Don Heath on drums and Bobby Troup on celeste.

Bobby Troup had recorded two LPs for Bethlehem following his debut on record with Capitol Records.  Harry Babasin had recorded Bobby’s trio live at the Celebrity Room and the session was to be the first release in a new series on Nocturne Records under the banner, Music in Hollywood.  Harry Babasin and Roy Harte had launched Nocturne Records in 1954, initially with a vocal release aimed at the pop market, and then with a Jazz In Hollywood series featuring jazz artists not being given a nod by the existing record companies.  

Nocturne Records folded in 1955 and the assets were acquired by Liberty Records.  The Bobby Troup Trio session would be released on Liberty, and Bobby Troup was instrumental in bringing Julie London to the label where he produced Julie London’s first two Liberty LPs, JULIE IS HER NAME (Liberty LRP3006) and LONELY GIRL (Liberty LRP3012). CRY ME A RIVER from Julie’s first Liberty album became a million seller soon after its release.  Julie’s accompaniment on the Stars of Jazz program was quite deliberate, Barney Kessel and Ray Leatherwood had backed Julie on her first Liberty LP, and Al Viola’s appearance was deliberate as well.  Al Viola on Spanish guitar had been the sole accompaniment to Julie London on her second Liberty LP.

SHOW #12
SEPTEMBER 10, 1956
The Hampton Hawes Trio: Hampton Hawes, piano; Red Mitchell, acoustic double bass; LeRoy McCray, drums. Al Viola, guitar. Julie London, vocal; lip syncing to her Liberty recording with Barney Kessel, guitar, Ray Leatherwood, bass.

Production credits:
Host: Bobby Troup
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Director: Norman Abbott
Technical Director: Bob Trachinger
Lighting Director: Vincent Cilurzo
Audio Engineer: Chuck Lewis
Video Engineer: Tom Sumner
Cameramen: Claire Higgins, Jack Denton



























Friday, November 2, 2012


THE LIGHTHOUSE ALL STARS / JUNE CHRISTY

STARS OF JAZZ - SEPTEMBER 3, 1956 - SHOW #11


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


The September 3, 1956 listing in TV Guide for the Stars of Jazz program had more details concerning the content and personnel to appear than had been the custom for such listings in TV Guide.  All five members of the All Stars were mentioned plus the guest vocalist, June Christy.

Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All Stars would appear on Stars of Jazz three times during the two and a half year run of the program on the American Broadcasting Company television network.  The September 3, 1956 appearance was their first and the current members of the Lighthouse All Stars were Frank Rosolino, trombone; Bob Cooper, reeds; Sonny Clark, piano; Howard Rumsey, bass; Stan Levey, drums. Bob Cooper’s wife, June Christy, was the guest vocalist appearing with them.  

The production script does not list a credit for the writer who spelled the Hermosa Beach cafe and jazz club “Litehouse” but the other facts presented are correct.  Jazz had been presented non-stop in the club beginning in 1949 when Howard convinced the owner, John Levine, that he could provide live jazz that would bring customers into The Lighthouse. 



Bobby Troup promoted the latest Lighthouse All Stars LP on the Contemporary Records label, C3504, The Lighthouse All-Stars Vol. 6.  An image of the front cover was projected on the back screen as seen in Ray Avery’s photo below. C3504 was the second 12” LP release on Contemporary Records.  The first 12” LP release was C3501, SUNDAY JAZZ A LA LIGHTHOUSE, that had been released initially on the Lighthouse Record Co. label as LP301.  When Les Koenig signed the Lighthouse All Stars to the Contemporary label in 1953 his production standard was the 10” LP format and thus the four volumes between LP301/C3501 and C3504 were issued as 10” LPs.  Contemporary Records would not adopt the 12" LP format until 1955.

(Bob Cooper, Sonny Clark, Frank Rosolino, Stan Levey)

THE FOUR LIGHTHOUSE ALL STARS LPS IN THE 10" LP FORMAT

The second volume of the Lighthouse All Stars was released as a 10” LP on Contemporary records, C2501, the first LP in Contemporary Record’s modern jazz series.  

It was followed by volume three on C2506. 


Volume four featured the flute and oboe work of Bud Shank and Bob Cooper and was released on Contemporary Records C2510.  


Volume five of the Lighthouse All Stars was released on C2515 with the sub title, IN THE SOLO SPOTLIGHT.



Volume three, C2506, was reissued as a 12” LP, C3508, with additional tracks added.  

Likewise volume four, C2510 was reissued in the 12” LP format as C3520 with additional tracks added to fill out the 12” format.  


Volume five, C2515, was reissued with the same title and volume number as C3517 with additional tracks.  


The second volume of the Lighthouse All Stars, C2501, was not reissued in the 12” LP format.  Other than the leader, Howard Rumsey, the only musician who performed on all of these releases was Bob Cooper.




William Claxton took the cover photograph of the Lighthouse All Stars on the beach.  This overhead shot taken from the pier at Hermosa Beach was one of the photos that Claxton took during the shoot.  The members on Vol. 6 were, from left to right: Bud Shank, Stan Levey, Bob Cooper, Conte Candoli, Claude Williamson and Howard Rumsey.


SHOW #11
SEPTEMBER 3, 1956
The Lighthouse All Stars: Frank Rosolino, trombone; Bob Cooper, reeds; Sonny Clark, piano; Howard Rumsey, bass; Stan Levey, drums. June Christy, vocal.



Production credits:
Host: Bobby Troup
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Director: Norman Abbott
Technical Director: Bob Trachinger
Lighting Director: Vincent Cilurzo
Audio Engineer: Chuck Lewis
Video Engineer: Tom Sumner
Cameramen: Claire Higgins, Jack Denton




























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.