Wednesday, October 01, 2008

V-Disc Record

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The V-disc has also been one of those records that fascinated me. They were released during the 1940s to entertain the US-troups by the Music Section of the Special Services Divisions. The records were distributed to military personnel all around the world and also on short-wave radio broadcasts.
I think I first heard about these records when I was collecting Fats Waller on records. In September 1943 Fats was asked by Steven Sholes, who worked for the V-Disc ( V for Victory) unit in the Victor Studios in New York City to make a session "for the boys" and Fats recorded several tunes that were released as V-Discs, like Ain't misbehavin'- Two Sleepy People and Sligtly Less Than Wondefull - There's a Gal In My Life ( on V-Disc 33) and some more ..... On most sides Fats gives a spoken introduction: "Hi there fellows. What you say! This is little Fats Waller. My mother is 285 pounds of jam, jive and everything. They got me in on this V-Disc mess here this afternoon, so here't is. so watch out. One of my own ompositions Ain't Misbehavin' and I ain't do ......" These typically spoken Waller-introductions fascinated me and later I learned that during this session, which started in the early afternoon by Fats at the piano and ended, after a short break ( and several bottles of Cutty Sark Whisky later) on the organ late in the evening; the last two tunes were rejected ( probably due to the effects of the whisky). The subtile sound of the organ and the fluent melodic lines are excellent elements in a tune when the whisky bottles are getting empty. Listen to that great version of Solitude, which Fats Waller introduces with a thick tongue: Well boys ... He couldn't be here today - but I got in here today - He's right at my fingertips - Duke Ellington's Solitude. And this is the solitude. Now, stop all the thinking; don't worry 'cause everything's fine.
.......... And I Ain't Misbehavin'... ( Fats Waller)
Can you imagine that I wanted to have such a great V-Disc in my collection? Well, a few years ago I found myself a copy (not a Fats Waller one), but one with Connee Boswell with the Eddy Howard Orchestra and two Ella Mae Morse recordings: Invitation To The Blues and Cow Cow Blues.
I found a small promo fragment by The Andrew Sisters promoting their new

Let me open your eyes ....; the songs on both sides of my V-Disc 325 don't really fascinate me, and, the quality of the record is rather poor, but the fact that I have a real V-disc on the wall feels good !!
Connee Boswell - Eddy Howard and his Orchestra: Personel no details
Recorded 28th of August 1944
Released on V-disc 325A
Ella Mae Morse - Freddie Slack and his Orchestra
INVITATION TO THE BLUES Fisher-Roberts-Goodwin
COW COW BOOGIE Raye-Carter-dePaul
Recorded summer 1944 (first tune) and Hollywood 21st of May 1944.
Released on V-disc 325B
The V-Disc records are a treasure for jazz lovers, because these discs were made during the so-called record ban by the American Federation of Musicians, the period between July 1942 and November 1944. V-Discs were allowed because they were not sold, but sent to the soldiers as a gift. V-Discs were released for some period after the war, but it stopped definitely in the late 1940s
I hope, once, to find a copy of the Ain't Misbehavin'- Two Sleepy People V-Disc nr. 33 ( or the Navy version, with blue instead of red at the bottom of the label) nr. 133 ) in excellent condition ( E++),
unplayed and still with the smell of Waller's Cutty Sark whisky
Hans Koert -
Hi Hans, sorry for my English but let me tell you something, you dont need to be a musician to be an expert in jazz and you are a realy good one. I'm not a good English speaker but I understood jazz perfectly ... Thanks for your time and now you know you can count me as your friend ... God Bless You
José Pepe V. (Florida USA)

Keep swinging

Hans Koert

Nederlands-Vlaams-Vlaams ( To the English section with a story about the V-Disc )
Het komende weekend, op zondag 5 oktober 2008, treedt het Narcissus Quartet op in Porgy en Bess in Terneuzen, het eerste reguliere jazzconcert van het nieuwe seizoen. Het kwartet bestaat uit Roben Verheyen op saxen, Josef Dumoulin op piano en fender, Clemens van der Feen op bas en Flin van Hemmen op slagwerk. De muziek die Robin Verheyen beinvloedde in zijn spel is die van John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Mark Turner, Steve Coleman, Keith Jarrett en dat soort namen. Hij won afgelopen zomer nog de Django D' Or 2008, een prestigieuse Belgische onderscheiding, die alleen uitgereikt wordt aan de meest talentvolle jonge musici. Clemens van der Feen geeft een Zeeuws tintje aan dit kwartet, want hij komt oorspronkelijk uit Middelburg en speelde onder andere met zijn broer Paul in de Feen Brothers en het Van Der Feen Quartet. Net als Rik Mol, die morgen in Porgy en Bess de Stimuleringsprijs 2008 van het Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds Zeeland in ontvangst mag nemen, speelde Clemens al als aankomend bassist op het podium van deze Zeeuwse jazztempel. Flin van Hemmen is zo'n jonge slagwerker, die voor mij alleen nog maar een naam is en dat geldt ook voor de Belgische pianist Josef Dumoulin. Reden genoeg om zondagmiddag naar Porgy en Bess te gaan, denk ik - met buiten regen en wind toch nog niet zo'n gekke manier om de zondag kapot te slaan.

Keep swinging

Hans Koert

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