zaterdag 6 oktober 2012

Blues (Pt 1-3) (1944) / Rockin At The Philharmonic (1958)

The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - BLUES, Part 2

Chuck Berry's song "Rock At The Philharmonic" was based upon "Blues" (pt 1-3).
especially the duel between Nat King Cole on the piano and Les Paul on the guitar in part 3.
Nat and Les are chasing each other for almost 3 minutes !!!
The song was part of a concert at the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Photograph of the Philharmonic Auditorium

That very first concert was held on Sunday, July 2, 1944, at the Philharmonic Auditorium, Los Angeles, and featured Illinois Jacquet, Jack McVea, J. J. Johnson, Shorty Sherock, Nat "King" Cole  , Les Paul, Johnny Miller, Meade Lux Lewis, Bumps Myers, Joe Sullivan, Buddy Rich, Randall Miller, Bud Hatch, Marie Bryant, Red Callender, Lee Young and Carolyn Richards. Illinois Jacquet, Nat "King" Cole and Les Paul, in particular, created a sensation. The title of the concert had been shortened by the printer of the advertising supplements from "A Jazz Concert at the Philharmonic Auditorium" to "Jazz at the Philharmonic". Norman Granz organised the concert with about $300 of borrowed money. Only one copy of the first concert program is known to exist. Norman Granz recorded many JATP concerts, and sold or leased (from 1945 to 1947) the recordings to Asch/Disc/Stinson Records (record producer Moses Asch's labels).

As it happened, Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic show had been recorded for the Armed Forces Radio Service for overseas broadcast to GIs, but the recordings were simply too exciting to keep from the general listening public. So, in 1946, Granz made arrangements with future Folkways Records founder Moses Asch, to issue the first Philharmonic concert on Asch's Disc label. That release offered home listeners the new experience of hearing extended solos, with the musicians egged on by the roar of the audience.

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The song "Blues" was divided in 3 parts and was contained on 3 sides (#6024A, #6024B and #6025A) (SEE PICS ABOVE) that were part of the album "Jazz at the Philharmonic Vol. 4",
Recorded Live at the "Philharmonic Auditorium", Los Angeles, CA, July 2, 1944.
This album also contained the song "Lester Leaps In" (also divided in 3 parts)
This 3 record album-set was released c. 1947 on the Disc Label (Set #504).
David Stone Martin made the influential cover illustration. (*SEE BIO on the bottom of this post)

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Here's a Youtube of the complete song "Blues" (parts 1-3)

Here are a few photos of that first JATP show, taken by Life magazine photographer Gjon Mili.

Photo 1

Photo 2

The personnel for "Blues" (parts 1-3):

J.J. Johnson - trombone
Illinois Jacquet, Jack McVea - tenor saxes
Les Paul - guitar (Les was called in at the last minute, to replace Oscar Moore on guitar).
Nat King Cole - piano (who used "Shorty" Nadine as a pseudonym on this release)
Johnny Miller - bass
Lee Young - drums (brother of Lester Young)

In 1950 Granz leased the recordings to Mercury Records
It was released on Mercury MG 35005
David Stone Martin again was responsible for the cover illustration.

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Norman even later reissued/issued them on Norgran (founded 1953), from 1953 on Clef (founded 1946), and from 1956 on Verve (founded 1956), at the time, his own labels.

Nowadays Etaoin Shrdlu is credited as the composer for "Blues" on CD re-issues. But Etaoin Shrdlu is not a real composer. It is a nonsense phrase that sometimes appeared in print in the days of "hot type" publishing because of a custom of Linotype machine operators. It is the approximate order of frequency of the 12 most commonly used letters in the English language.

On April 22, 1946 an all-star band recorded a slow version of "Blues" (this time called "JATP Blues")
The introduction is by Norman Granz himself.
The personnel for this April 22, 1946 concert :
Buck Clayton - trumpet
Charlie Parker, Willie Smith - alto saxes
Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young - tenor saxes
Irving Ashby - guitar
Kenny Kersey - piano
Billy Hadnott - bass
Buddy Rich - drums

In 1958 Chuck Berry made his own Rockin version of "Blues".
His cover-version was titled "Rock At The Philharmonic" (on the back-cover)
Though on the label the title is spelled "Rockin' At The Philharmonic".
Recorded  December 29–30, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois
Released March 1958 on the album "One Dozen Berrys" (Chess LP 1432)
Chuck Berry – vocals, guitar
Fred Below – drums
Willie Dixon – bass
Lafayette Leake – piano

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Listen here:

"Rock At The Philharmonic" was also contained on the EP "Sweet Little 16" (Chess EP 5121)

British group The Scorpions recorded two singles at Abbey Road. The second single was a cover of Chuck Berry's "Rockin' At The Phil" (Rock At The Philharmonic).  A demo was recorded in December 1960, the EMI release was in May 1961 on Parlophone R4768 Rockin' At The Phil b/w Scorpio.

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A US group called "The Legends" recorded a very similar version in 1961 but it was not released at the time.
Finally released on a Dutch compilation CD:

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*BIO David Stone Martin:
David Stone Martin was born in Chicago 1913. He graduated from the art school in 1935 and came to New York in the early 1940s. Always interested in jazz, he hade a close friendship with pianist Mary Lou Williams and when she recorded for the Asch label in 1944, she persuaded the owner, Moses Asch (later the founder of Folkways Records), to let Martin design the album cover. It was his very first record album.
During the 1940s he continued to work for Asch and also for the company´s other labels, Disc and Stinson. But it was working with Norman Granz and his various impresario ventures, that he made his reputation.

David Stone Martin´s first commission for Granz was to design a logo for the "Jazz At The Philharmonic" concerts and tour. He created the famous Trumpeter logo, which Norman Granz featured on all his concert programs and record labels. It continues to be used today on reissues and is still perhaps the best recogniezed logo in jazz.

David Stone Martin: Clef Records trumpet logo

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