Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New York In The 30s

The Japanese Audio Park label released a compilation with seldom heard recordings of the mid 1930s. This times it is not related to a certain record label, but all tunes were recorded in the mid 1930s.
Some musicians to be found on the collection are well known, like Henry Allen, Bunny Berigan and Adrian Rollini; other names are known to experts only, like Taft Jordan, Vic Berton and Gene Gifford.

What makes this release so special, as thousands of records were released in this period?

Around 1934 these musicians started to make recordings under their own names. Taft Jordon was the regular trumpet player in Chick Webb’s band and recorded four sides as Taft Jordan & the Mob (Mob means Gang) and Freddie Jenkins, who had left Ellington because of sever health problems couldn’t desist from recording as Freddie Jenkins’ Harlem Seven. He had to stop playing his trumpet definitely some years later due to lung ailments.

Willie Bryant was a vocalist in the 1920s and started his own band in the mid 30s and Adrian Rollini, known as the baritone saxophone player of the California Ramblers who started his own club, Adrian’s Tap Room did recorded too. His orchestra contained brother Arthur on tenor and other known musicians like Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman and Dick McDonough.
Vic Berton became famous because of his singing drums in the Red Nichols’ groups. In the tune Blue ( track 12) he demonstrates his remarkable playing. He made just a few records in 1935.
Wingy Manone is a bit exceptional. He had made records with his own band late 1920s, but due to the depression mankind had to wait until 1934 before he started with a new extensive series of recordings. The song Isle of Capri ( track 13) became a hit.
Gene Gifford, guitar player, became famous for his arrangement in the Casa Loma Orchestra. He made four recordings as Gene Gifford and his Orchestra.
Bunny Berigan and Mezz Mezzrow, both skilled musicians, started to make records under their own names. The compilation opens with a great version of Rug Cutter Swing (track 1). Allen plays a great 56-bars trumpet solo, Gunther Schuller labels it as a model of economy, as it only has six short riffs.

NEW YORK IN THE ‘30s – 1934 – 1936
Henry Allen & his Orchestra: Rug Cutter Swing - There’s A House In Harlem For Sale / Taft Jordan & his Mobs: Night Wind – If The Moon Turns Green / Freddie Jenkins’ Harlem Seven: Old Fashioned Love – Nothin’ But Rhythm / Willie Bryant & his Orchestra: Mary Had A Little Lamb – Cross Patch / Adrian Rollini & his Orchestra: Waitin’ At The Gate For Katy / Adrian’s Ramblers: I Wish I Were Twins / Vic Berton & his Orchestra: Tahoo – Blue / Wingy Mannone & his Orchestra: The Isle Of Capri – I Believe In Miracles / Gene Gifford & his Orchestra: Nothin’ But The Blues – New Orleans Twist / Bunny Berigan & his Boys: It’s Been So Long – Swing, Mister Charlie / Mezz Mezzrow & his Swing Band: A Melody From The Sky – Lost.

The selection for this CD makes it a very interesting compilation worth to get yourself a copy. If you’re anxious please contact the producer Tohru Seya for more details.

Hans Koert


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