Monday, May 11, 2020

COVID-19 Level 3: Day 14

Billie Holiday Today it was recordings featuring the larger 10 or 11 piece groups from late 1938 - early 1939. I haven’t spent as much time listening to these as I have the smaller groups. In general when it comes to jazz, I prefer the looseness of the smaller groups – and that’s true this set too. It was nice to hear a couple of soprano features by Tab Smith on “Everything Happens for the Best” and “Long Gone Blues”. Anyone with some spare time wish to collate a list of non-Bechet soprano saxophone solos pre-1950s? I should start noting them down each time I cross paths with one. I can’t remember much about the background of these sessions – who was the arranger etc. I do remember reading (somewhere) that Teddy Wilson and Billie would get together in the days before a session to select tunes. Teddy would have a big stack of sheet music and they’d run through them and make selections. This mornings listening had me imaging just how many arrangements from this era exist only on recordings. And then there are all the pieces that were never recorded. Somewhere along the line I heard that the number of surviving original Ellington charts (from any era) is shockingly low. Another project could be to create a list of recordings of stock arrangements – it would be interesting to hear different bands playing the arrangements. I’ll leave it there for today, Dizzy made a brief appearance, but I wasn’t in the mood for it today and I tuned out (sorry Diz!).

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