Archive for the ‘Lionel Hampton’ Category

Al Grey

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Listen: Salty Papa / Al Grey AlGreySaltyPapa.mp3

Ella Fitzgerald’s version of ‘Black Coffee’ is classic. Some adult radio station spun it while riding in a friend’s parent’s car back in the early 70′s. His Dad was driving us somewhere or another, a couple of hours away, and everyone was well fidgety trying to tolerate the music. Indeed, it was a challenge until this came on, then suddenly worth the struggle.

Soon after, I found a promo of her then current Reprise album, THINGS AIN’T WHAT THEY USED TO BE, in a used shop for $1.00. Not only was ‘Black Coffee’ included, but her rendition of ‘Sunny’ was as well. Perfect.

Al Grey featured on the trombone. Although not one for brass, it was hard to ignore his post-swing era style, almost muzak or bachelor pad. You couldn’t have matched a better player to the songs.

Fast forward to September 2010. While rummaging through a Detroit junk shop, I came across a fairly beat copy of Al Grey’s ‘Salty Papa’ on Argo. A no brainer at 25ยข.

Somewhat more in the Lionel Hampton or Dizzy Gillespie pocket than I was expecting, ‘Salty Papa’ has still settled nicely into the Seeburg’s C4 slot, parked between The Marvelettes’ ‘I’ll Keep On Holding On’ and Lee Perry’s ‘Roast Fish And Cornbread’…and sounding perfectly at home.

Wes Montgomery & His Brothers

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Listen: June In January / Wes Montgomery & His Brothers WesMontgomeryJune.mp3

Having recorded initially with his siblings as The Montgomery Brothers, Wes Montgomery released his first few Fantasy singles continuing to include the boys. This is one.

I’ve many times thrown on a handful of his 7′s, or an album. They make for a good mood feel. I’d actually forgotten about finding ‘June In January’ in such perfect condition until doing some filing earlier this evening, so when deciding to share it, did some Wes Montgomery research.

Basically, he learned his craft by listening to and learning the recordings of idol, guitarist Charlie Christian and was known for his ability to play Christian solos note for note. As a result, he got hired by Lionel Hampton for this very reason.

According to Jazz guitar educator Wolf Marshall, Montgomery often approached solos in a three-tiered manner: He would begin a repeating progression with single note lines, derived from scales or modes; after a fitting number of sequences, he would play octaves for a few more sequences, finally culminating with block chords. He did not know scales or modes, let alone musical theory and used mostly superimposed triads and arpeggios as the main source for his soloing ideas and sounds.

Don’t ask me what the hell he’s talking about – I just like when Wes sounds like he’s showing off, even though he’s completely not.