Wednesday, November 24, 2004

DIANA KRALL - Live At The Montreal Jazz Festival

Live At The Montreal Jazz Festival [DVD]
Catalog #B000378009
release date 11/23/2004
Verve Records


1. Sometimes I Just Freak Out
2. All Or Nothing At All
3. Stop This World
4. The Girl In The Other Room
5. Abandoned Masquerade
6. I'm Coming Through
7. Temptation
8. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)
9. Devil May Care
10. Black Crow
11. Narrow Daylight
12. Love Me Like A Man
13. Departure Bay
14. Narrow Daylight

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Lou Levy Takes You Behind the Scenes with Ella and Peggy

Melody Maker, June 16, 1962

[Pianist] Lou Levy Takes You Behind the Scenes with Ella and Peggy

by Lou Levy

I don’t know of two more generous and understanding singers to work for than Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee. Peggy presents more of a thoroughly planned act, usually doing the same show during an entire engagement. Ella’s concert or nightclub performance is carefully planned, but she makes certain changes while on stage.

Working with Ella is more of a jazz job. There’s more room for variations. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say it’s like working with a horn player. Peggy creates a very strong feeling, but it’s not strictly because of the jazz phrasing she brings to her singing, but because of the way she projects the lyrics and creates a mood as she sings. Ella sings with less dramatic qualities overall. Despite the fact that Peggy works strictly non-jazz nightclubs, she still maintains a jazz feeling in her singing.

The customers come to see Peggy thinking of her as a pop singer, but then discover how she is in reality a jazz artist as well. On the other hand, Ella is known as a jazz singer, but she has become part of the pop music world to the public through her songbook albums. Harmonically they’re both perfect, with never any time or pitch problems. They both have the talent of a complete musician, being able to handle all types of songs at any given tempo.

They both read music well because of their common Big Band background. This kind of training probably helped them in the ease with which they can sight-read a song at first glance. When rehearsing with Peggy, she pre-sets everything including all the piano parts. Ella, however, lets the accompanist set the introduction, the ending and certain interludes. And while Ella uses more material on stage, she takes less time to rehearse with, due to the fact that Peggy does basically one set show while working in a club.

Of course, Ella has always been a true jazz singer, since her beginnings with Chick Webb. Peggy started in the jazz field with Benny Goodman, but she’s worked somewhat away from it. Ella enjoys working with jazz musicians in their groove – trading fours, improvising, joining in on ensembles with the group, and singing harmony parts just as the horns do. The experience of working with great jazz musicians like Oscar Peterson, Lester Young, Ray Brown, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker has really helped define her singing style.

Her years in jazz have made her ear so attuned to a complete jazz concept that hers is even better than that of the normal jazz musicians. One day at her house, while listening to the tape of "Take the A Train" from the album Ella in Hollywood, Ella began singing a second harmony part. She said that someday she wanted to record four different harmony parts in a song and have them dubbed one on top of the other.

Peggy hasn’t realy exploited the jazz field lately. She enjoys using the arrangings of jazz composers – people like Bill Holman, one of my own favorite arrangers, as well as charts by Marty Paich, Al Cohn and Quincy Jones. I really think she would enjoy working more in a jazz groove, like doing a jazz concert tour of major colleges and cities. We did a week of such concerts in San Francisco a couple of years ago which was a big success.

This is the only field of singing in which she hasn’t sustained a real impact. She certainly has all the vocal equipment to do so. In Peggy’s singing you can hear the Billie Holiday influence, even when not doing a tribute medley. Ella outwardly is not influenced by any particular jazz singer, but I know she greatly admired Billie’s singing.

While working nightclub engagements with them, I noticed that Ella occasionally might hit the audience harder earlier with a fast-tempoed tune. On the other hand, Peggy’s show gathers momentum, and received the same tremendous impact. It’s been a sincere pleasure to work with both of them from an artistic as well as personal standpoint.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Complete Roulette Dinah Washington Recordings



If your goal is to broaden your collection of the truly distinctive voices in music, you have got to own Dinah Washington. And if you want to understand what the composers meant -- REALLY meant – when they wrote songs you think you know, you have got to own this collection – The Complete Roulette Dinah Washington Sessions.

This music, from the final stage of Dinah Washington’s short and turbulent life, is a perfect snapshot of all she was in performance – the brash belter, claiming and proclaiming her measure of fun and gaiety; the spurned lover, earnestly searching for one more chance, or determinedly wiping the slate clean of all romance; the wry commentator, knowingly chronicling the world’s troubles as only she could observe them; and the optimistic dreamer, surrendering to the beauties of life.

Eight tracks appear for the first time ever, including one astonishing medley of songs, informally presented with just piano and flute accompaniment, that lasts more than 20 minutes – probably the closest thing on record to what it was like to hear her perform after hours.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Complete Norman Granz Jam Sessions

The Complete Norman Granz Jam Sessions
Catalog #B000325202
5-CD set
reissue release date 11/9/2004
original releasing label Clef Records


Disc 1
1. Jam Blues
2. Medley
3. What Is This Thing Called Love?
4. Funky Blues
Disc 2
1. Apple Jam
2. Medley
3. Oh Lady Be Good
4. Blues For The Count
Disc 3
1. Jamming For Clef
2. Rose Room
3. Stompin' At The Savoy - Part 1
4. Stompin' At The Savoy - Part 2
Disc 4
1. Blue Lou
2. Just You, Just Me
3. Jam Blues
4. Medley (Ballad)
Disc 5
1. Funky Blues
2. Lullaby In Rhythm


Count Basie Piano, Organ
Ray Brown Bass
Buddy DeFranco Clarinet
Benny Carter Trumpet, Arranger, Alto Saxophone, Composer
Harry "Sweets" Edison Trumpet
Roy Eldridge Trumpet
Herb Ellis Guitar
Stan Getz Tenor Saxophone
Dizzy Gillespie Trumpet
Wardell Gray Tenor Saxophone
Freddie Green Guitar
Lionel Hampton Piano, Drums, Vibraphone
Bill Harris Trombone
J.C. Heard Drums
Johnny Hodges Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
Illinois Jacquet Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Barney Kessel Guitar
Oscar Peterson Piano
Charlie Parker Alto Saxophone
Flip Phillips Tenor Saxophone
Buddy Rich Drums, Vocal
Arnold Ross Piano
Charlie Shavers Trumpet, Arranger
John Simmons Bass
Willie Smith Alto Saxophone
Ben Webster Tenor Saxophone

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Black Coffee
Catalog #B000309302
Album Length Compact Disc
reissue release date 10/26/2004
original releasing label Decca Records

1. Black Coffee
2. I've Got You Under My Skin
3. Easy Living
4. My Heart Belongs To Daddy
5. It Ain't Necessarily So
6. Gee Baby (Ain't I Good To You)
7. A Woman Alone With The Blues
8. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
9. When The World Was Young
10. Love Me Or Leave Me
11. You're My Thrill
12. There's A Small Hotel

Peggy Lee Vocal
Pete Candoli (1-4, 7-10) Trumpet
Jimmy Rowles (1-4, 7-10) Piano
Max Wayne (1-4, 7-10) Bass
Ed Shaughnessey (1-4, 7-10) Drums
Stella Castellucci (5-6, 11, 12) Harp
Lou Levy (5-6, 11, 12) Piano
Bill Pitman (5-6, 11, 12) Guitar
Buddy Clark (5-6, 11, 12) Bass
Larry Bunker (5-6, 11, 12) Percussion, Drums, Vibraphone


Anita O'Day And Billy May Swing Rodgers And Hart
Catalog #B000235302
Album Length Compact Disc
reissue release date 10/26/2004
original releasing label Verve Records

1. Johnny One Note
2. Little Girl Blue
3. Falling In Love With Love
4. Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered
5. I Could Write A Book
6. Have You Met Miss Jones
7. Lover
8. It Never Entered My Mind
9. Ten Cents A Dance
10. I've Got Five Dollars
11. To Keep My Love Alive
12. Spring Is Here

Anita O'Day Vocal
Billy May Arranger, Conductor
Pete Candoli Trumpet
Conrad Gozzo Trumpet
Uan Rasey Trumpet
Ed Kusby Trombone
Murray McEachern Trumpet
Tommy Pederson Trombone
Bill Schaefer Trombone
Tommy Shepard Trombone
Ted Nash Alto Saxophone
Wilbur Schwartz Alto Saxophone
Fred Fallensby Tenor Saxophone
Justin Gordon Tenor Saxophone
Chuck Gentry Baritone Saxophone
Unknown Strings
Joe Castro Piano
Al Hendrickson Guitar
Ralph Pena Bass
Irv Cotter Drums
Stan Levey Drums
Russell Garcia Producer