Today's Grofe. Or tomorrow's. Or next week's. I'm flexible. Ten selections this time, and a neat Grofe mystery. It concerns Ferde's Blue Nocturne , heard here on a Paul Whiteman radio broadcast (the boxed set doesn't say which one), and there is no doubt that a Blue Nocturne by Grofe existed--I found the 1945 copyright entry on line. So, it's not a mislisting. But we also have Stanley Black performing a Grofe number called Deep Nocture, from the 1977 Valentino soundtrack, and it, too, was copyrighted by Grofe--in 1947. So, two different pieces, right? Nope. Same piece. For some reason, Grofe decided to retitle it, I guess.
So we have the Blue and Deep nocturnes, with Black giving the latter number (identical to the former) a beguine rhythm (or is that a rumba?). And I think I need a six-pack of Bud right about now.
Today's offerings also include the 1922 song Suez, an "oriental fox trot romance" by Grofe and Peter (Deep Purple) De Rose. And, speaking of Peter, I've always strongly suspected that Grofe's Blue/Deep Nocture was inspired by De Rose's superb (and way better known) Deep Purple, which began life as a "symphonic jazz"-style piano solo in 1934, featuring a hand-stretching parallel-ninth-chord intro that was old news in Classical music, but quite modern for pop. Purple went from piano solo to concert piece in 1935, when Domenico Savino arranged it and Paul Whiteman played it on the radio. So my source tells ms. As much as I like Grofe's nocturne, it's not up to De Rose's piece, which was in turn not quite up to the composer who inspired it--George Gershwin. Who, in turn, got much of his shtick from Debussy, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel, and... I'm getting dizzy here. Where's my six-pack of Bud?
From the LP Adventures in Music, Grade 4, Vol. 1, we have the Desert Water Hole movement from Grofe's very entertaining Death Valley Suite, and it was probably deemed educational for kids because of the ingenious (however corny) Oh! Susanna medley. My vinyl copy has bubbles in the surface, but I denoised them best I could. I reduced them to a minor nuisance, and they occur mainly during the big pause. Then, from a 1967 U.K. Columbia LP, a beautifully-recorded (in stereo) piano roll performance by Grofe--as "Ferdie Grofe"--giving us Hard Hearted Hannah. The Ampico roll dates back to the 1920s--1924, very possibly, which was the year of the song. The jacket does not say which Ampico roll or when. Grofe certainly had cleaner technique than Gershwin--maybe this was because Grofe's formal schooling went well beyond Gershwin's. And we have a gorgeous Old Crole Days (from Mississippi Suite), arranged and performed by Carmen Dragon on the Nightfall LP (highly recommended); then, a fabulous rendition of the Over There Fantasie by the United States Army Band; moreover, three memorable On the Trail renditions by, among others, the great Myron Floren; and, as mentioned above, a recording of Suez--Clyde Doerr's Orchestra, 1922. It sounded not so great on my after-market Stanton 500 78 needle, but my highly-rated Japanese after-market 600-series 78 needle did a majorly better job on it. To my relief, I should add. I won't say this playlist will change your life, but it may. Who knows? No way to be sure until you download.
DOWNLOAD: Today's Grofe
Blue Nocturne (Grofe, 1945)--Paul Whiteman, from radio brodcast
Deep Nocturne (Grofe, 1947)--Arr. and conducted by Stanley Black, from Valentino soundtrack (1977)
Death Valley Suite: Desert Water Hole (Grofe)--National Symphony Orch., c. Howard Mitchell, 1961
Old Creole Days (Grofe, Arr. Dragon)--Carmen Dragon c. Capitol Symphony Orch., 1961
Over There Fantasie (Grofe)--United States Army Band, c. Col. Samuel R. Loboda, 1975
Hard Hearted Hanna (Yellen-Bigelow-Bates)--Ferdie Grofe, Ampico piano roll, 1920s (From 1967 LP)
On the Trail (Grofe)--The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde, 1969.
On the Trail--Myron Floren, Accordion w. Orch., 1982.
On the Trail--Lew White, Organ, 1941
Suez (Ferdie Grofe-Peter De Rose)--Clyde Doerr and His Orch., 1922 (Victor 18947; 1922)