Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 39: Bud Powell "Paris Sessions," The Cherry Poppin' Daddies "Zoot Suit Riot" and W.C. Fields "The Best of W.C. Fields"

I think I hit a vein. This bag must have represented a portion of CDs that I listened to in rotation until a move when they were lost in the shuffle. The grab for this was a series of bittersweet moments. What I thought I was grabbing was Sun Ra's Angels and Demons at Play, which is a fantastic album which I would love to have on my iTunes. It's an album I not only bought on purpose, but I special ordered (well, I was the buyer for that section, so I just ordered it, but it never made it to the floor because I ordered it for me.) Although now that I think about it, I believe I've seen that CD loose before, so I should have known.

Instead, however, it was the major label compilation for The Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Zoot Suit Riot. Which is cool in its own way. I actually love this band. I can feel you cringing from here. I'll get to why in the review. However, since it's a compilation I already have most of that album on iTunes, so I kept digging.

There was a CD case for a box set of Beat Generation recordings that I have already ported to iTunes, but learning from my earlier experience I checked. Sure enough, inside was Sex Mob's Din of Inequity. This, too, is on my iTunes. It actually makes me a little sad, because I was sure this CD was lost and I also love Sex Mob, so I re-bought the CD through the iTunes store a few years ago. It seemed easier than scouring the collection to find out where it went. Turns out it was sitting in the Beat Generation CD case...

But that CD is already in, so digging I go and we come up with my second radio program. Finally. Though now I really just want to go through the bag to find out what else is buried in there...

Bud Powell
Paris Sessions
I've already commented about how Europe loves jazz more than Americans (being the backdrop of the movie Round Midnight). This CD is a product of that phenomenon, a collections of sessions from 1957 to 1964 with a pretty comprehensive whose who on it.

It has two saxophonists on it that I was into pretty early on in my discovery of jazz, a product of being taught by my own set of old jazz men. So early on I was hunting out recordings of Zoot Sims and Johnny Griffin. As a result this has the sound of 'the jazz I listened to before I knew what the hell I was listening to or for.'

Ideally there would be some sort of profound realization, like retroactively going back to my head and unlocking the secrets of the music that moved me to want to be a jazz musician. Unfortunately, I got nothing. I just liked it. I like it now. My tastes have grown more 'refined' in what I like specifically, so when going through the giant rolodex of what is available in jazz I might skip over a Bud Powell CD despite him being a legendary player. But it's still good, and I could close my eyes and easily transport myself back to my old Chevy playing this over my 40 watt Radio Shack car stereo (with equalizer!).

This is also the second version of Satin Doll to go in since I started using it as my go-to 'generic jazz standard.'

It's hard to come up with something to say here, I mean it's Bud Powell. I feel like I should though, with how hard on piano players in general I have been.

This doesn't have that Rudy van Gelder edition style cleanness about it, there is a definite difference in the quality of each session. Not to say that it's a messy as the Nat King Cole album, but it certainly retains a lot of its, lets call it 'analog charm.'

I've talked before about jazz piano players revisiting those classical lessons they endured in childhood and trying to 'jazz them up.' This however just contains a short track of Bud doing some straight, unidentified Bach labeled Bud on Bach.

The Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Zoot Suit Riot

I don't have a cover to go with this one because it was mislaid in a Sun Ra CD case. I thought I had lost this and that is still technically true, because I actually got three of these. I think I gave one away and then lost the other and got the third to replace it. Then, apparently, it made its way into a Sun Ra CD case. I let it go because of a few reasons. First, if I lose three that might be a sign. Second, this was their 'breakout' album that made them a one hit wonder to everyone else who hadn't been collecting their CDs. Third, it was really just a compilation of the first three albums that I already had with four new tracks added in.

This was their major label signing, which happened to coincide with the sudden and inexplicable flash in the pan popularity of New Swing music. Sadly, The Daddies were picked up on that, so the label went through their albums and pulled out all the swing related songs on their previous albums and put them on this one. Even sadder, this didn't happen until new swing was on its downward arch where it had become a bigger joke than it was something people genuinely 'liked.' So The Daddies became the face of a ridiculous trend that they weren't really following.

In a lot of ways there were a more genuine extension of jump jive bands rather than a revival. They didn't go for 'authentic,' often they didn't even go for swing at all. The album before this one barely contained any swing elements at all. There's as much rock influence from bands like Oingo Boingo as there is Cab Calloway. And their subject matter was not really poodle skirts and derby hats--their one hit, after all, is about a race riot.

Since it is a compilation I already have most of the songs, I just needed the four new tracks loaded up. Having made all the excuses for them, all four of these songs are about as traditional jump jive as they ever get. I like to think that there was some angry "Told you so!" yelling when they went for their second album, because that one was the funkiest in their catalog. Not that it made any difference, they were the poster children for the Swing fad. Singer Steve Perry (different Steve Perry) went and got a degree in molecular biology, released a glam rock album under another name, and eventually came back to The Daddies.

W.C. Fields
The Best of W.C. Fields
In theory I should like radio comedy more than anything. It was the first of the radio theater I had found. At some point someone had recorded a Jack Benny program either off the radio or a record or something that also contained Who's On First and an episode of Burns and Allen. I wore that tape out listening to it, pretty close to memorized the whole thing.

But it was later when I discovered mysteries and sci-fi radio dramas that I finally realized my love for old time radio.

I got this as a set of CDs that contained highlights of various radio dramas on the cheap. Apparently it's not available anymore because even the ISBN doesn't come up. I hadn't been exposed to much W.C. Fields so I wanted to at least have a sampler.

All I remember from the first time I listened to this was how odd it was to have a ventriliquest dummy as a character on a radio show. I know that the show is done in front of an audience, but it's still a radio program. It's such a strange device to use in the comedy. Today they might call it 'meta.' Or maybe not.

Most of this is essentially sparring matches between Fields and Charlie McCarthy the dummy and have the host of The Chase and Sandborn hour set him up for his rambling stories where he would flaunt the rules of the broadcast as a way to seed his movies and the show's sponsors.

No comments:

Post a Comment