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Sunday, December 22, 2013

CAL TJADER QUINTET / SHIRLI SONDERS


STARS OF JAZZ - FEBRUARY 11, 1957 - SHOW #32

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

At the close of the February 4, 1957, Stars of Jazz program Bobby Troup announced that the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band would be featured next on the show, the first TV appearance of Dizzy’s band on the west coast.  The band was in town for an extended engagement at Peacock Lane, across the street from Jazz City at 5505 Hollywood Boulevard.  TV Guide received the same information and noted in the edition covering the week of February 11 that Dizzy’s big band would be the featured guest.  

The full page displayed, as has been the custom from time to time, places the Stars of Jazz program among the other offerings on Los Angeles television that evening. Stars of Jazz followed the Lawrence Welk show that preceded it on channel 7.  Most of those viewers probably tuned in one of the western movies after the champagne bubbles subsided.

Arrangements to have the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band on Stars of Jazz were not successful and the Cal Tjader Quintet filled the February 11, 1957, program.  The vocalist on the program was Shirli Sonders.  The Tjader quintet was in town performing at Zucca’s Cottage in Pasadena.


The jazz club scene in Los Angeles in February of 1957 was still quite healthy as noted by the diversity of groups performing in the club listing from Down Beat, and the groups booked into Zucca's Cottage before the Cal Tjader Quintet arrived on February 7, 1957.

Cal Tjader rose to prominence in the Dave Brubeck Octet in the late 1940s, and then with Brubeck’s trio on the Fantasy label.  When the Weiss brothers decided to record Tjader as a leader of his own group they launched their second label, Galaxy.  Tjader’s eight Galaxy sides were later released as a Fantasy 10” LP.  Tjader was hip to the emerging marriage of Latin rhythms to jazz and released several albums for Fantasy that focused in this area.  The Mambo was the “in” Latin rhythm in the early 1950s and Life magazine dispatched a photographer to San Francisco’s Macumba Club to document Tjader’s Latin combo and the patrons swaying to the Mambo on the dance floor. The Life feature on the Mambo craze appeared in the December 20, 1954 edition of the magazine.


          © N.R. Farbman, LIFE, 1954

Shirli Sonders began her music career after winning a Horace Heidt Talent Discovery contest.  After making several vocal demos at Gold Star and W.R. S. Recording studios she was discovered by Ken Hanna who featured Sonders as vocalist on his Trend LP, The Bright New Orchestra, TL-1007.  Sonders was also featured on Hanna’s next recording ventures for Capitol’s “Kenton Presents Jazz” series, T6512.



                           Cal Tjader at Zardi's            Ken Hanna and Shirli Sonders at Capitol

SHOW #32
FEBRUARY 11, 1957
The Cal Tjader Quintetz; Cal Tjader, vibraphone; Vince Guaraldi, piano; Gene Wright, acoustic double bass; Al Torres, drums; Luis Kant, percussion. Bobby Hammack, piano; Shirli Sonders, vocal.

Production credits for this show:
Host: Bobby Troup
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Writer: Bruce Lansbury
Director: Leo G. “Hap” Weyman
Audio: Chuck Lewis
Cameramen: Jack Denton, Sal Folino
Technical Director: Gene Lukowski
Lighting Director: Vince Cilurzo
Video: George Hillas













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

Sunday, December 1, 2013

SHORTY ROGERS BIG BAND / KAY BROWN

STARS OF JAZZ - FEBRUARY 4, 1957 - SHOW #31

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

The TV Guide listing for the February 4, 1957, edition of Stars of Jazz got most of the details correct.  Shorty’s big band was actually 18 pieces: Oliver Mitchell, Conte Candoli, Shorty Rogers, Al Porcino, Harry “Sweets” Edison, trumpets; Milt Bernhart, Frank Rosolino, Frank Strong, Jr., Harry Betts, trombones; Sam Rice, tuba; Herb Geller, Jack Montrose, Bill Holman, Bill Perkins, Pepper Adams, saxophones; Pete Jolly, piano; Stan Levey, drums; Red Mitchell, bass. The big  band accompanied the guest vocalist, Kay Brown, performing Shorty’s arrangement of Wow! that Miss Brown had recorded for Mercury under Maynard Ferguson’s leadership (Mercury 5863) and Shorty’s arrangement.  Miss Brown’s second performance on the program was a medley of spirituals with solo accompaniment by Eddy Samuels on piano (the script mistakenly notes that the big band accompanied Brown on this number).  


Bobby Troup’s commentary traced the career of Shorty Rogers from his early big band days with Woody Herman and Stan Kenton to his arrival on the west coast and his contribution to the jazz style that would be associated with west coast jazz.  Many critics consider Shorty’s first album for Capitol, Modern Sounds, to be the beginning of the movement.  After signing with RCA Victor, Shorty would continue to create albums that explored all of the nuances of big band writing.  Shorty was also comfortable in a smaller combo setting and Bobby Troup promoted Shorty’s Giants (quintet) album, Wherever The Five Winds Blow, with Jimmy Giuffre, Lou Levy, Ralph Peña, and Larry Bunker by holding up a copy of the LP at the end of the show.


Kay Brown was born In Peoria, Illinois. Peoria used to be to vaudevillians what Covina and Azusa are to TV comics today.   So logically enough, Kay started her show business career in Peoria...and in vaudeville.

She was all of three when she first ventured on the boards as singer and acrobat in a Peoria movie palace.    At eight years, she took off as a member of a touring vaudeville troup known as the "Cyclones of Youth.A couple of years later her parents brought her out to Hollywood, where she stayed for good.

Hollywood quickly recognized Kay's talent as singer and dancer.  As a student at Hollywood High, she was booked on various radio shows and soon had her own TV show, Varsity Varieties.  At sixteen she signed her first recording contract with Mercury, and at seventeen, she had the lead opposite Mickey Rooney in an M-G-M picture called “The Strip."  Prior to making her recordings for Mercury Kay Brown had some 78 singles on the Crown label where she was backed by the Van Alexander orchestra.

It was in this picture Kay sang a number called "A Kiss to Build A Dream On," her first big hit.   This led to a job with the Stan Kenton band, where Kay proved herself a fine jazz singer.


This edition of Stars of Jazz concludes with Shorty's big band accompanying a silent film with Rudolph Valentino. Shorty had broken into the film industry shortly after his arrival on the west coast when Marlon Brando insisted to his producers and director that he wanted Shorty Rogers to play jazz on the soundtrack of The Wild One.


SHOW #31
FEBRUARY 4, 1957
Shorty Rogers Big Band: Oliver Mitchell, Conte Candoli, Shorty Rogers, Al Porcino, Harry “Sweets” Edison, trumpets; Milt Bernhart, Frank Rosolino, Frank Strong, Jr., Harry Betts, trombones; Sam Rice, tuba; Herb Geller, Jack Montrose, Bill Holman, Bill Perkins, Pepper Adams, saxophones; Pete Jolly, piano; Stan Levey, drums; Red Mitchell, bass. Shorty Rogers, arranger, leader. Kay Brown, vocal; Eddy Samuels, piano.

Production credits for this show:
Host: Bobby Troup
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Writer: Bruce Lansbury
Director: Leo G. “Hap” Weyman
Audio: Chuck Lewis
Cameramen: Jack Denton, Sal Folino
Technical Director: Gene Lukowski
Lighting Director: Vince Cilurzo
Video: George Hillas



















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