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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HAROLD LAND / RED MITCHELL


JAZZ SCENE U.S.A. #8

HAROLD LAND / RED MITCHELL QUINTET



TUESDAY, JULY 31, 1962

CBS TELEVISION CITY, LOS ANGELES, CA



Commentary © James A. Harrod, Copyright Protected; All Rights Reserved



The Harold Land / Red Mitchell Quintet was the eighth jazz combo taped for Steve Allen’s Jazz Scene USA series.  They recorded a single album for Atlantic Records, HEAR YE!!!!HEAR YE!!!! (Atlantic 1376).  The quintet members were: Harold Land, tenor sax; Red Mitchell, bass; Carmell Jones, trumpet; Frank Strazzeri, piano and Lawrence Marable, drums.  The liner notes by Leonard Feather that accompanied the LP indicate that the quintet hoped to tour the quintet, but the AD LIB column in the June 21, 1962 issue of Down Beat for Los Angeles noted that the Red Mitchell-Harold Land Quintet had quietly dissolved recently with Mitchell concentrating on studio work and Land moving to Las Vegas for a while to work at the Carver House Hotel.  The Jazz Scene USA appearance was most likely a reunion of sorts with only four members of the original quintet as Lawrence Marable filled the drum chair that Leon Petties occupied in the original quintet.  Harold Land’s remark that it is hard to keep a group together acknowledged the reality of their short lived quintet.




Prior to their quintet LP for Atlantic both Harold Land and Red Mitchell had recorded four LPs separately as leaders.  Land’s first album as leader was for Les Koenig’s Contemporary Records, HAROLD IN THE LAND OF JAZZ (Contemporary C3550), followed by an album for David Axelrod’s HI-FI label, THE FOX (Hi-Fi Jazz J612).  Harold Land’s third and fourth LPs as leader were for the Jazzland subsidiary of Riverside Records, WEST COAST BLUES (Jazzland JLP20) and EASTWARD HO! - HAROLD LAND IN NEW YORK (Jazzland JLP33).

Red Mitchell’s first two LPs as leader were both on Bethlehem Records, HAPPY MINORS (BCP-1033) and RED MITCHELL (BCP-38).  His next LP was for Les Koenig’s Contemporary Records label, PRESENTING RED MITCHELL (C3538) followed by an LP for Dick Bock’s Pacific Jazz label, REJOICE (PJ22).

The 7th annual yearbook of jazz published by Down Beat, MUSIC 1962, featured an extensive article, A DISCUSSION: JAZZ WEST COAST,  hosted by John Tynan with Red Mitchell, Harold Land and Jimmy Rowles wherein they discuss the current state of jazz in Los Angeles.  The topics range from “music contractors” to “jazz club owners” and provide insights into reasons why groups like the Mitchell-Land Quintet were difficult to form and more difficult to sustain in the present music environment.


(Excerpt from liner notes for Atlantic 1263 © Atlantic Records)

The record debut of the Red Mitchell-Harold Land Quintet may mark a turning point not only in the career of this group. but in the whole image of West Coast jazz.

Far too many years this slogan was associated with a brand of music, emanating exclusively from Los Angeles, that employed tautly scored little performances with all the shine and sparkle of a prune. It was claimed at times that this represented a new trend in jazz, that the music had its own validity and was not a mere faded reflection of some ideas that had become desiccated on their way west from New York. Time has killed theory and music alike.

Red Mitchell and Harold Land were never a part of that scene. True, they have worked at times with some of the musicians said to typify West Coast jazz, but this has no more direct bearing on their musical ambitions than Red's TV shows with Mahalia Jackson or Harold's Las Vegas excursion with Brook Benton. Both were interested in a new, fresh, bold sound, one that could give the tired West Coast slogan a valuable meaning.

That their paths crossed, leading to the creation of what John Tynan in Down Beat aptly called the most stimulating and creatively alive jazz group resident on the West Coast," was the product of a series of fortuities. Red, a New Yorker. had worked in the East with Chubby Jackson (as pianist  doubling on bass), Charlie Ventura and Woody Herman. He moved to Hollywood in 1952, when he began a two year membership in the Red Norvo Trio.

"I can't remember exactly where and when I met Harold," says Red, "but I heard him with the Clifford Brown-Max Roach group around 1954-5, and then really got to listen to him extensively a year or two later when he was with Curtis Counce’s combo. Later on I guess there was a mutual respect thing going; we started hanging out more, got to like each other a lot personally, and found out we had a lot of things in common, a lot of musical ideas and ideals."

"It seemed a natural thing for us to get together.  Even our families had grown close — our wives and sons and somehow we started out with an idea for a quartet But we wanted a fuller round, and different voicings, and we had this concept of using the bass as a third voice on some things, so we agreed that the quintet is a perfect jazz instrumentation."

"I can’t remember exactly where and when I met Red," says Harold, completing the mutual oblivion pact, "but I think It was in San Diego, where I lived before I moved to Los Angeles. He played there in a little group that Woody Herman had with Bill Harris and Bags, in 1950. That was four years before I moved north."

"The first time we played together was at an art exhibit, with a quartet. By that time I had known and admired Red's work for a long while. We both got to thinking that we could provide a few fresh approaches to the quintet sound. We felt there weren't enough well-organized, tightly-knit combos on the scene. . ."

The three sidemen lined up by these two leaders were all logical choices. "Carmell had come out to the coast primarily to work with Harold; he dug him that much," says Red. "Of course, I knew him well too; he had sat in with me several times. Frank Strazzeri and I had worked together a lot, and Leon Petties came here from San Diego, like Harold, and had been jobbing with Harold's quartet, I had known Leon since he sat in with me in 1956, when I was with Hamp Hawes' Trio: in fact, I had tried to get Hamp to hire him."

The five musicians began rehearsing in the summer of 1961. All but Petties doubled as writers, and all five had identical feelings concerning the group’s objectives and musical potential.

"There has been so little of this kind of music organized out here," Red points out. "Curtis had a fine group, but it didn't last too long. We realized, too, that forming a group like this in Los Angeles and trying to keep it together was not the easiest thing in the world.”

Despite the evident handicaps, the men were unflaggingly cooperative in making rehearsals.  All made sacrifices of one kind or another to keep the group intact. (On one occasion, in order not to miss a rehearsal, Red turned down a gig that would have meant a whole TV series for him.)

The basic sound of the Mitchell-Land group is one that musicians find elusive of verbalization. “Hard” is an adjective that has been applied too often lately to any brand of jazz with a substantial degree of aggressiveness; the implication that hardness involves harshness seems to invalidate the use of the term here.  It is more relevantly a jubilant, sinewy, cohesive sound, in which the key factors are: self confidence and the kind of group feeling that can only stem from musicians who have been working together and listening to one another closely over an extended period.

Fortunately the opportunities for the quintet, though limited by their geographical situation, have exceeded their original expectations.  In addition to stretching out for several weeks at Los Angeles’ Town Hill Club, they have worked every Monday at Shelly’s Manne-Hole for several months, played weekend concerts at Le Grand Theater, and have gigged at the Renaissance and other local spots.  With the release of this album they plan to make their first joint trip east.

It is a healthy sign that a group of this type has been able to get going in Southern California.  After having lived out here for a year, this writer can attest to the frustrations that beset Los Angeles jazzmen whose ambitions are analogous with those of, say. a Blakey or Silver or Adderley in New York,  Removed by thousands of miles not only from the principal jazz clubs but also from the booking agencies headquarters, most of the record companies, and many of the influential jazz critics, the musicians in Los Angeles are sometimes tempted to become bitter as they see extensive publicity and work opportunities falling in the path of other groups, whose musical value may be equal lo their own but is certainly not so far superior as to justify the great disparity in recognition.

Had the above mentioned New York groups been stationed in Los Angeles during the past six or seven years while Red, Harold & Co. were transplanted to New York, it is entirely possible that jazz history might have been written a little differently.

Although I have stressed the importance of the group’s overall sound, obviously no combo that relies heavily on improvisation can be any stronger than its weakest solo link.  The steel links in this chain know no weaknesses; all ensemble considerations aside, this is, man for man, as strong an alliance of compatible talents as you will find on the scene today — and this doenot just mean the California scene.

LEONARD FEATHER

The January 10, 1962 issue of Down Beat magazine published a review of the Mitchell-Land engagement at Shelly's Manne-Hole:

(© 1962 Maher Publications)

The Lord Jazz Discography lists four tunes that were recorded by Atlantic for the Mitchell-Land HEAR YE!!!!HEAR YE!!!! album but remained unissued.  One of those tunes, FROM THIS MOMENT ON, was performed during the taping of Jazz Scene USA and is presented here for readers enjoyment.

HAROLD LAND-RED MITCHELL QUINTET - FROM THIS MOMENT ON

Production credits:
Host: Oscar Brown, Jr.
Executive Producer: Steve Allen
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Director: Steve Binder
Associate Producer: Vince Cilurzo
Associate Director: George Turpin
Technical Director: Jim Brady
Lighting Director: Leard Davis
Audio: Larry Eaton
Art Director: Robert Tyler Lee
Production Assistant: Penny Stewart
Jazz Consultant: Leonard Feather
Title Films: Grant Velie
Cameras: Bob Dunn, Ed Chaney, Gorman Erickson, Pat Kenny



















Saturday, October 6, 2012

JOE PASS


JAZZ SCENE U.S.A. #7

SOUNDS OF SYNANON


TUESDAY, JULY 31, 1962

CBS TELEVISION CITY, LOS ANGELES, CA

Commentary © James A. Harrod, Copyright Protected; All Rights Reserved


Joe Pass, Bill Crawford, Greg Dykes, Dave Allan, Ronald Clark and Arnold Ross in performance at Synanon House

The seventh jazz combo taped for Steve Allen’s JAZZ SCENE USA series had recently emerged on the jazz scene with their only album as a group, SOUNDS OF SYNANON.  The members: Joe Pass, Bill Crawford, Greg Dykes, Dave Allan, Ronald Clark and Arnold Ross toured the west coast in 1962 partly in support of the enterprise that had played a major role in their rehabilitation from drug dependence, Synanon House of Santa Monica, California.

John Tynan had written an extensive article in the February 2, 1961 issue of Down Beat about Synanon House and the rehabilitation program that had brought many jazz musicians back from the brink.  The cover of that issue of Down Beat was used on the front jacket of SOUNDS OF SYNANON and John Tynan wrote the liner notes for the album.

The following brief biographies of the members are taken from John Tynan’s liner notes for the Pacific Jazz album, PJ-48 © EMI Capitol Music.

An important manifestation of Synanon's work may be heard in these Sounds Of Synanon. They are but a small number of addicted musicians in residence there but the jazz group they have created is a constant morale builder. Consistent with the group consciousness of the residents, there is no leader as such. As a matter of policy and mutual agreement the musicians work together. This is not to say that talent and experience do not prevail in matters musical. And pianist Arnold Ross is the recognized dean in this respect.



"Like all addicts who come to Synanon for help, Arnold Ross was desperate" this reporter wrote in Down Beat. "His first visit. . . was in May, 1959. He described the events leading to his arrival.



"'I'd tried to kill myself; he said matter of factly, 'and landed in County General hospital. They found needle marks on me, and I was booked for 'misdemeanor—marks’. When my case came up, my lawyer told me the only way I could avoid the county jail was to commit myself to Camarillo for treatment. So I did. Then, when I got out, I went with (a) club group. I was back on dope fast. I quit the group and tried to kick again by myself, but I couldn't make it. So I came to Synanon'.



"Heeding a variety of rationalizations, he didn't remain this first time. But last July 7 (1960), Ross returned and stayed.



"Pianist Ross enjoyed a rising reputation in the late 1930s and '40s with a variety of bands, including the late Glenn Miller's army orchestra and Harry James (1944-47). In 1950, Ross says, while on a tour of Europe as accompanist to a name singer, he started his first serious heroin habit.


"'When we got back’, he continued, 'I kicked- But soon I'd started another'. After that, there was no turning back" Today, at 40, Ross has turned back. Or, to state it more accurately, he has taken a new turning. He has taken and accepted the Synanon way.

Joe Pass (Passalaqua), one of the most exciting talents on jazz guitar to emerge in recent years, is a native of New Brunswick, N. J., born January 13, 1929. He began formal study of guitar at age 9, sticking with these lessons, he says, about a year. By then, he was gigging around his hometown. He had several small groups in Johnstown, Pa., before leaving on a tour with the Tony Pastor band. This was of short duration ; he had to leave the band and return to school. He chronicles the balance of his life as follows: "Left school and got a Local 802 card. I gigged around Long Island, Brooklyn, and started goofin'—pot, pills, junk. Traveled around the country with different tours. Then I was draped into the Marine Corps. I was in a year. Meantime I'd been in and out of hospitals and seeing doctors and so on. In the Corps, I played cymbals in the band, worked in a small group at N.C.O. and officers' clubs. Then I got busted. I moved to Las Vegas and worked the hotels there. Busted again. After that I spent three years and eight months at the U. S. Public Health Service Hospital at Fort Worth, Texas. Then I went back to Vegas. I recorded with Dick Contino on Capitol and with several other commercial groups. Meanwhile, I was in and out of jails for narcotics violations. I came to Synanon from San Diego after a final 'marks beef. At the time this album was recorded, Joe Pass had been at Synanon 15 months.

Trumpeter David Allan was reared, and attended high school, in Chicago where he was born April 1, 1928 into a musical family. His father, he says, was a songwriter and song-and-dance man in vaudeville. At age 12 he was playing in a jazz band with his two cousins. He spent 1946 and '47 with army bands in the U. S. and in the Philippines. Following an honorable discharge from the army, Allan settled in Southern California where he formed a jazz group with pianist Don Friedman, tenorist Lin Halliday, bassist Don Payne and drummer Gary Frommer. During this period he played regularly with Chet Baker, Ornette Coleman, Joe Maini and Russ Freeman. Allan attended Whittier College, Whittier, Calif., and, he says, was one semester short of securing his bachelor's degree in economics "when addiction caused me to leave college" Before coming to Synanon, he was committed to the U. S. Public Health Service Hospital at Lexington, Ky.

Greg Dykes, trombonist and trumpeter, who plays baritone horn in this album, was born in Los Angeles, January 20, 1931. This is his story: "My Father was a music teacher and I started playing trumpet at around 10. Through school I played music as a hobby. After high school, I played two years in army bands. While in hospital in Fort Worth, I changed to baritone horn and valve trombone. I worked in local (Los Angeles) big bands, but have done very little work in jazz. In 1958, I became associated with Art Pepper who helped me a great deal. Now I feel that I am just scratching the surface; I'm starting to write music, too. As is the case with my life in Synanon, my life in music is just beginning"

Ronald Clifford (Ronnie) Clark is another native Angeleno, born September 19, 1935. He attended high school with trumpeter Don Cherry and drummer Billy Higgins and began playing alto sax. Then he stopped playing, he says, until 1959, when, while living with school-mates Cherry and Higgins, he started on string bass. At the time of this recording, Clark had been at Synanon 11 months.

Bill Crawford, a member of Synanon's board of directors and the band's drummer, was born in Seattle, Wash., February 3, 1929. He began musical studies at five years and pursued the study of harmony and clarinet for two years at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. While at the conservatory, Crawford says, he smoked marijuana for the first time. "I never returned to school after that” he recalls. "I spent the next 10 years smoking weed, shooting dope, going to jam sessions in Los Angeles and San Francisco, in and out of jail and working at various jobs—including four years repairing cash registers with the National Cash Register Co" Crawford arrived at Synanon in October, 1959. At the time of the recording he had been studying drums for one year under volunteer teachers Eddie Atwood and Bill Douglass, well known Hollywood musicians who donated their professional services to Synanon.

The following liner notes by Pete Welding place the importance of The Sounds of Synanon in the career path of Joe Pass.

Following his discovery and first recording by Pacific Jazz's Dick Bock, Joe Pass recorded extensively over the next few years. That maiden effort, 1962's The Sounds of Synanon (Pacific Jazz 48), was succeeded by the guitarist's participation in a large number of Pacific Jazz recordings by its contracted artists as well as several well-received albums under Pass' name - Catch Me!, For Django, Simplicity and others - on all of which it was made abundantly clear that an impressive new, fully matured talent was on the scene and performing at peak creativity. They revealed that Pass had not only assimilated his early influences, among whom were Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Parker and several important early '50s jazz guitarists, but had perfected a strong, identifiable voice of his own.

His approach was characterized by great melodic fertility, harmonic sophistication and a natural, easy command of swing, and the music he made was both invigoratingly inventive and thoroughly accessible. Like Parker and other great melodists in jazz, Pass had the singular gift of improvising lines of natural, singing clarity and firm inner logic. That he rose, with superb consistency, to the opportunities afforded him through his affiliation with Pacific Jazz can be heard in every one of his numerous recordings from this period, and it is tribute to his deep, committed creativity that his work as a sideman is fully as resourceful and imaginative as that recorded under his own leadership. Too, it is tribute to Dick Bock's acumen that he provided the guitarist such plentiful opportunity to commit that creativity to record. Certainly it paid off handsomely too, for Pass contributed tellingly to every session he made with Bud Shank, Les McCann, Clifford Scott, Groove Holmes, Gerald Wilson and even blues singer Bumble Bee Slim. And his own albums, Catch Me! and For Django in particular, have taken their place with the very finest jazz guitar recordings of the last two decades.

(from Pete Welding’s liner notes for JOY SPRING, Blue Note LT-1103 © EMI Capitol Music)


The following video clip from YouTube is from the 7th show and features the group performing “C.E.D.” (the initials for the head of Synanon, Charles E. Dederich):






Production credits:
Host: Oscar Brown, Jr.
Executive Producer: Steve Allen
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Director: Steve Binder
Associate Producer: Vince Cilurzo
Associate Director: George Turpin
Technical Director: Jim Brady
Lighting Director: Leard Davis
Audio: Larry Eaton
Art Director: Robert Tyler Lee
Production Assistant: Penny Stewart
Jazz Consultant: John Tynan
Title Films: Grant Velie
Cameras: Bob Dunn, Ed Chaney, Gorman Erickson, Pat Kenny

















The photos that greatly enhance this presentation have been provided courtesy of CTSIMAGES.  The author would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to Cynthia Sesso, Licensing Administrator of the Howard Lucraft Collection.  Please note that these photos remain the property of the Howard Lucraft Collection and are used here with permission.  Any inquiries regarding their use, commercial or otherwise, should be directed to:  Cynthia Sesso at CTSIMAGES.


Friday, October 5, 2012

FRANK ROSOLINO


JAZZ SCENE U.S.A. #6

FRANK ROSOLINO QUARTET



TUESDAY, JULY 31, 1962

CBS TELEVISION CITY, LOS ANGELES, CA

Commentary © James A. Harrod, Copyright Protected; All Rights Reserved

Stan Kenton was an exclusive Capitol Records recording artist in the early 1950s and persuaded his superiors that a series under his imprint would be a prudent expansion of Capitol’s jazz line.  The first albums were released as ten inch LPs, and the series later migrated to the twelve inch format as it became the standard.  Many of the artists featured under the “Kenton Presents Jazz” banner were former members of the Stan Kenton Orchestra.  Frank Rosolino was one of those featured artists.

A few years later Rosolino recorded for Bethlehem Records during their foray into recording artists working on the west coast.  He also recorded an album as leader for Mode Records when that label was launched in 1957.  Another album was recorded for David Axelrod’s Specialty Records, but unreleased at the time.  When Rosolino was tapped for the Jazz Scene USA segment he was a member of the orchestra working the Steve Allen Show under Donn Trenner’s leadership.  The other members of Rosolino’s quartet on the show were: Mike Melvoin, piano; Bob Bertaux, bass and Nick Martinis, drums.  Rosolino had recently recorded another album as leader for Reprise Records, TURN ME LOOSE. that Oscar Brown, Jr. featured on camera.


Frank Rosolino - Please Don’t Bug Me



The Frank Rosolino show was one of the programs selected for release on VHS by Shanachie in 1994.  It would also see release on DVD a few years later.

Jimmie Baker’s production team at CBS studios used the “Playhouse 90” crew.  At the time the various professionals at CBS who regularly worked one of the continuing network programs in the CBS line up adopted a crew moniker as the same group of TV professionals would always work that particular series or program.  

The production team would tape three programs during each scheduled daily session.  Steve Allen assumed the executive production credit when Phil Turetsky exited the team.

Production credits:
Host: Oscar Brown, Jr.
Executive Producer: Steve Allen
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Director: Steve Binder
Associate Producer: Vince Cilurzo
Associate Director: George Turpin
Technical Director: Jim Brady
Lighting Director: Leard Davis
Audio: Larry Eaton
Art Director: Robert Tyler Lee
Production Assistant: Penny Stewart
Jazz Consultant: John Tynan
Title Films: Grant Velie
Cameras: Bob Dunn, Ed Chaney, Gorman Erickson, Pat Kenny


















The photos that greatly enhance this presentation have been provided courtesy of CTSIMAGES.  The author would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to Cynthia Sesso, Licensing Administrator of the Howard Lucraft Collection.  Please note that these photos remain the property of the Howard Lucraft Collection and are used here with permission.  Any inquiries regarding their use, commercial or otherwise, should be directed to:  Cynthia Sesso at CTSIMAGES.