Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jazz Age gems, 1926-1929 (plus "Deep Purple," 1934)

To go with Ferde Grofe's jazzy concert piece, Metropolis (previous post), here are fourteen Jazz Age gems.  Well, to be fair, Peter DeRose's Deep Purple, while an example of "symphonic jazz," falls outside of the Jazz Age window, but it nevertheless has much in common with the 1928 Metropolis, though I imagine most people would hear Gershwin (which is not unreasonable).

The other thirteen tracks are jazzy dance music from the latter 1920s, (Thirteen tracks?  Gulp....)  And, believe it or not, one of the jazziest is Guy Lombardo's (!) 1928 Waitin' for Katy.  The flip, not included here, sounds much more like the "real" Guy.  Corny, in other words.  (I love Guy.)

And there's the superb novelty side, Ragamuffin, by Louis Katzman's Anglo-Persians, one of the most charming numbers of its type, and there's Jean Goldkette's 1927 I'd Rather Be the Girl in Your Arms, sung by (wait a minute)... Frank Bessinger?  Whoa.  What's up with that?  Actually, male vocalists singing songs with female lyrics (so to speak) wasn't unknown in the Jazz Age--I have a male vocal refrain on a recording of The Man I Love (Troubadours, maybe?), for instance.  Back then, lyrics were lyrics, I guess.  The tradition didn't last, of course.  Good thing--imagine Rosemary Clooney singing 16 Tons.

Jean Goldkette's famous Sunday (famous because Bix Beiderbecke is on it), features the Keller Sisters and Lynch, and I love "the Keller Sisters and Lynch."  The sound of it, I mean.  Their vocal sound is pretty cool, too.  And Red Nichols--ahh, yes. My introduction to the 1920s.  I grew up listening to my dad's Brunswick 78 set of Red Nichols on the Garrard hi-fi, and my dad instisted Red wasn't real jazz (too studio-perfect?).  Well, I thought he was, and I still do.  Awesome stuff.  He is too often regarded as a Bix Beiderbecke sound-alike, but when I listen to Red, I hear Red.

The wonderful Deep Purple, more famous as a song than a concert piece, was arranged by... dunno.  I'm guessing Ferde Grofe or Roy Bargy.  Grofe had left Whiteman by 1934, but he was still writing arrangements, so it could be him.  It's certainly in his style.

Click here to experience: Jazz Age Gems


I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover--Sam Lanin's Dance O., v: Billy Jones, 1927
Waitin' for Katy--Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, w. Vocal Trio, 1928
Doin' the Raccoon--The Knickerbockers (Ben Selvin), 1928
Ragamuffin (Greer)--Anglo-Persians, Dir. Louis Katzman, 1929
I'd Rather Be the Girl in Your Arms--Jean Goldkette Orch., v: Frank Bessinger, 1927
Sugar Babe, I'm Leavin'!--Blue Steele and His Orch., w. vocal chorus, 1927
Jericho--Arthur Ross and His Westerners, v: Tom Frawley, 1929
Girl of My Dreams, I Love You--Blue Steele and His Orch., w. vocal chorus, 1927
Sweet Dreams--Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orch., v: The Four Rajahs, 1928
Sunday--Jean Goldkette Orch., v: Keller Sisters and Lynch, 1926
Feelin' No Pain--Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, 1927
Ida!  Sweet as Apple Cider--Same
I'm on the Crest of a Wave--George Olsen and His Music, v: Bob Borger, 1928
Deep Purple (Peter De Rose)--Paul Whiteman and His Concert Orch., 1934



DonHo57 said...

A neat lineup of artists and tunes, Lee, thanks! I enjoy anything by Whiteman, and don't see much of Red Nichols, so many thanks. I was befriended years ago by a nephew of Red, and he loved telling stories of his uncle and his musical influence on his own life.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Wow, that's awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Yes, Nichols is neglected, at least here in the U.S., and who knows why. He was a major, major Jazz Age musician....