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If this is your first visit, welcome to my blog of memories and observations. If you wish to be notified of new posts, enter an e-mail address above, and click on "Submit." As we move through a sixth year of this venture, I thank all who have made regular visits, as well as fellow bloggers who have found Stomp Off worth linking to. Doing this sort of thing is time-consuming, but I try to post fresh material at least once a week—let me know what you think. There is a Commentary option at the end of each post and a Guest Book can be reached by scrolling down and clicking on the quill image. I welcome your observations, reaction and/or suggestions in either spot—or both. As for blog content, the most current posts are on the home page, starting at the top. Earlier items are listed by month, year and title in the archive index. To zero in on a particular key word or subject, use the search option that is located directly beneath the blog's masthead. Most images can be enlarged with a mouse click, and there are links to some of my favorite blogs, etc. Since visitors have come from 150 countries, a translator with numerous languages is located below. You can at any time revert to English with a click at the top left of this page:

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11/19/10

1953 Jam Session continued...



Here, from the jam session I recorded when Lionel Hampton brought his band to Copenhagen on November 12, 1953, is a 24-minute version of Indiana. A few years back, I gave my friend Don Schlitten permission to use about ten minutes of this recordings for a Xanadu album called International Jam Sessions. That snippet marks the only publication of anything from these tape until I posted two selections here almost exactly 57 years later. Here is a link to that post, which contains Perdido (sorry for the missing opening solos) and All the Things You Are. Now, I end this particular glimpse of my past with the full version of Indiana. At the very end, you will hear me or someone else say, in Danish, that Lionel is going to play but that we must not record him. Lionel did perform—seated to the right of Jørgen Bengtson—an index finger version of   something I dubbed Anniversary Boogie. Many years later, I confessed to Hamp that I had kept the tape machine running, but under a closed lid. He was happy to hear that and asked me to give him a copy, which I did. The original tape rests somewhere in my closet and I will post it if I find it.

I wish to thank those of you who commented on these tapes in various online forums. They attracted close to 500 visitors in the first two days, which overwhelmed me. I hope Indiana prompts return visits and comments (you can use the comment option that ends this post, or the blog's guestbook). It would also be great if you could help me identify some of the solos.


11/12/10

A 1953 jam session emerges from the closet



As I post this, Veterans/Armistice Day, November 11, 2010 is coming to a close. Exactly fifty-seven years ago, I was backstage at KB Hallen, in Copenhagen with a new friend, the amiable Baron Timme Rosenkranz. On stage was the Lionel Hampton orchestra, a big band about which there had been much advance buzz, it being said that some of the young sidemen were extraordinary. Earlier that day, Timme called and invited me to go with him to a post-concert wedding anniversary party scheduled to begin around midnight at the Richmond Hotel. Lionel and Gladys had been married for 17 years and she had called for a celebration. "She will probably serve hot dogs and beer," said Timme, half jokingly and knowing what a penny-pincher she was. 

The Hamptons. He made the money, she called the shots.
The buzz regarding the band turned out to be correct, but not so Timme's prediction. The party was actually a nice one, complete with a huge decorative ice arrangement and an enormous cake that was brought into the room dramatically, although not with as much fanfare as Gladys herself. Oddly enough, Timme and I were the only outsiders present, but, as far as I was concerned, that just made it more special. When I think back, I still wonder how I so quickly went from being the shy guy seated in the dark back corner at jazz lectures to running around with the esteemed "Baron of bounce" at Lionel Hampton's party.

I should have been in seventh heaven, but I was unable to really enjoy myself, because I knew that a large group of Tuborg and Carlsberg-guzzling jazz fans were assembled in a hall not so far away, anxiously anticipating the promised delivery of jazz stars for an all-night session.

Timme Rosenkranz
You see, I had gone out on a limb earlier in the day when Timme called about the party. I thought this would be a great opportunity for a jam session (musicians still had them in those days), so I asked him if he thought some of Hamp's musicians might conceivably agree to come to the Storyville Club that night. Timme said something about musicians always looking for a good time, and offered to herd them down there. "There," was the Storyville Club, but not at its regular location—we gambled and rented Forsvarsbrødrenes Hus (Copenhagen headquarter for the Danish military veteran's association) for the night. This was a hall larger than our usual one, and it was but a short cab ride from the Richmond Hotel, so I whipped up some flyers and spread the word to spread the word. Now, as we were a couple of hours into November 12th and the anniversary cake dwindled down to the last crumbs, it was time to get busy and round up Hamp's sidemen. I ran behind Timme, reminding him of our mission, but his mind was on the musicians and what was left of the liquid refreshments.

As I've said before, the naked soon learn how to spin new threads, so, when  GIadys' romp was finally fizzling out, I mustered up enough courage to corner Hamp and extract from him a promise that some members of the band would come with me to the club. The musicians were tired of looking at each other and, as word spread about a jam session with free booze and plenty of Danish girls, I saw instrument cases and overcoats being grabbed. Now Timme got into the act and soon we were off in three Volkswagen bus cabs. At the last minute, Hamp slid into the seat next to me and said that he wanted to come along, but that he wouldn't stay long.

Clifford Brown
I guess many back and forth phone calls were made by Storyville members that day, because the place was packed when we arrived. I had already set up my B&O recorder, next to the upright piano, and placed the microphone on the small stage. Hamp was greeted with loud cheers and he ended up staying for two or three hours. In fact, he also performed. When he saw my tape machine, he told me that it was okay to record "the cats," but that I had to switch the machine off when he played. When he surprised us all by seating himself at the upright, I merely closed the lid of the recorder. Twenty years later, when I told him of my deception, Hamp grinned and said he would love a copy of the tape. I made him a dub, but a fire in his apartment crudely reduced it to a lump of mylar.

don't recall everybody who else came along, but I wrote down the names of Gigi Gryce, Clifford Brown, Anthony Ortega, Jimmy Cleveland, Quincy Jones, and Clittord Scott. Of the Danish musicians I recall trumpeter Jørgen Ryg participated, his playing later improved measurably, but he had great success as a standup comic and film actor. Baritone saxophonist Max Brüel also played, as did Erik Moseholm, a fine bassist, and pianist Jørgen Bengtson. The drummers (you hear them both on Indiana) didn't quite have it down, but one of them was considerably better than the other.

The session continued after the tape ran out, until about 7 a.m. With only one microphone, a crude, unscientific setup, and a large room filled with jubilant beer drinkers, it's a miracle anything was recorded at all, and an even greater miracle that the tape didn't get lost during my nomadic days.

Be prepared for chaotic sounds with good and bad intertwined, and please let me know what you think of these recordings and my posting of them.

The above text is a fleshed-out version of my original post, which was made in August of 2009, when I started this blog. At that time, I did not know how to include audio or video files, so I have relegated that one to the deep recesses of my archives.


Addendum: Timme Rosenkrantz was truly an unforgettable person to those of us who had the good fortune of knowing him. He was a witty, delightfully eccentric Baron (the real thing) who often wrote of his addiction to jazz and those who performed it. Timme's writing has now been  translated into English and lovingly assembled by Fradley Garner. The book, Harlem Jazz Adventures, is due out by the end of 2011 and you can keep up to date on it by going to The Jazz Baron

Here is Perdido:


Here is All the Things You Are



Here is a link to more.

11/8/10

Jimmy Heath 1972 - interview and music



Notwithstanding the sync problem—which persists, but is being worked on—I decided to post the remainder of the Jazz Set show featuring the Jimmy Heath All-stars. It begins with a brief interview in which Jimmy expresses his aversion to playing jazz in taverns—the TV set replicated such a place—and with the term itself. Reflecting a prevalent attitude of the times (1960s and '70s)  he preferred to call it "Afro-American music." Like so many other era-generated notions, this, too, did pass and we are all instinctively able to distinguish between fornication and great music. 

Jimmy with Dave Brubeck, Jimmy Heath and Mel Tormé, at BMI event,
flanked by Jean Banks and Burt Korall. (Photo by Gary Gershoff)
Of course, not everyone recognized great music when they heard it. Twelve years earlier, I made a living (though barely) spinning jazz records seven days a week on WHAT-FM in Philadelphia. My taste being eclectic, I played jazz of every kind throughout the week, but I devoted Sunday afternoons to my 78 rpm collection, so you know that it was a sometimes scratchy trek back in time. Philadelphia jazz listeners seemed open to a wide range of styles: older listeners enjoyed the nostalgia as well as the music, and the younger set appreciated hearing where their favorite sounds came from. There was, however, this one guy who didn't like what he heard, so he called me regularly on Sundays to complain. Why, he wondered, did I play all this "Uncle Tom" music? In one of our discussions, he pointed out that he was black and that this "Mickey Mouse" music—as he also called it—was "the kind of thing we are trying to get away from."

Jimmy Heath with his brothers Percy and Albert.
In the early 1960s, calls to radio stations were still off the air, so it was just Bill and I, arguing privately.  It would have been interesting had other listeners been able to join in. I have later come to understand why some black Americans wanted to distance themselves from the past, but—with European soil still clinging to the bottom of my shoes—I could not imagine how anyone, especially a professed jazz fan, might regard the Armstrong Hot Fives, Bechet's magical soprano rides, Morton's amazing Red Hot Peppers, or Ellington's extraordinary sound paintings as anything other than stunning examples of creativity. Bill was not to be swayed, but I took comfort in the fact that his were the only complaints.

Percy and Jimmy (photo by Dorothy Tanous)
About four years later, I had moved to New York City and was working at  WNEW when our music librarian was giving a new comedian a tour of the station. He was promoting his first album and we all had to meet him. "Chris Albertson!," he exclaimed after our introduction. "Are you the guy who used to play all that Uncle Tom music on WHAT?"

I have had very mixed feelings about Bill Cosby since that day.



I hope you remember to click on images for the Viagra™ effect, forgive me for the sync problem, enjoy this retro glimpse of Jimmy Heath, and leave a comment.
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