Monday, July 28, 2008

My Uptown Lowdown Collection

( Naar de Nederlandse vertaling.)
Now I Know what turn you on. You collect records like this one just because your kids hate them. These are the opening words of one of the Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band LPs I have in my collection written down by Mrs. Bert A. Barr, jr. - the mother of the leader of the band Bert Barr.
This US Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band is a traditional jazz band that plays the music of the 1920s in a West Coast Style traditional jazz, better known as the San Francisco Style or for short Frisco. The band was founded in 1971 by cornet player Bert Barr and I learned from its website that this band still exists. They made a lot of recordings and the four albums I have in my collection are all LPs: Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band ( G.H.B. Records GHB 149) (1980) - Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band - Hauling Ash (refering to the Mount St. Helens eruption from 1980 (GHB-159) (1981) - Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band in Colonial York, Pa ( Stomp Off SOS 1030) (1981) and, last but not least Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band - Road Apple Rag ( Yerba Buena Jazz YBJ 101)(1987).

Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band - Volume 4 . Cover design Dave Loomis (1980)
In 1979, a year before my "oldest" G.H.B. album was released ( = Volume 4) (G.H.B. means George H. Barnum, the Atlanta producer of this label), the Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band had decided to become a professional band which wasn't so easy. Bert's mother remembers this period as hectic: They booked 306 gigs (often two a day). Making a living in music is no picnic, though the band played for six of them as well as a bicycle derby and five nights at a Burger King. There was a job on an escalator, two in elvators, one in an underground garage and Christmas in five shopping centers: Mrs. Bert A. Barr remembers, but six county fairs and twenty four boat trips and salmon bakes later, the Uptown Lowdown still had energy enough to play for thirteen dances and over thirty cocktail parties and receptions.
Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band in Colonial York Pa. Cover design Dave Ember (1981)
I bought these LPs somewhere in the 1970s and early 1980s because I liked the music and I was fascinated by the great covers. They were weird, archaic or, at least, rather remarkable. When I sold all my LPs in the late 1980s ( everyone has weak moments in his life, I guess) I kept all my Uptown Lowdown's ( and my Charquet et Co and Orpheon Celesta LPs and some more ..... ) and I'm glad about that because the covers are collectables and the music is really great ... relaxed hot Frisco jazz which swings.
Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band - Hauling Ash. Cover design Zeppelin Studio (1981)
The Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band is still active and if you visit its website you'll learn that they made a lot of recordings. As far as I found out, only my "last" LP album Road Apple Rag with the terrible cover by Ron Oshier has been reissued on CD. There are a lot of film fragments to be found on internet of performances by the Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band nowadays, but most have a bad sound quality, which doesn't give me that same feeling I have when I play these old LPs. Maybe someone can let me hear one of their recent CD albums by way of comparison.
Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band - Road Apple Rag (= horse-droppings) 1987. Cover design Ron Oshier.
Enjoy one fragment of a 2007 concert at the 14th Annnual Glacier Jazz Stampede festival ten months ago, titled Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down. The band members on this fragment are Bert Barr - Cornet/Leader, Rose Barr - Piano, Tom Jacobus - Trombone, Paul Woltz and John Goodrich - Reeds, Art Horgen - Tuba and Al LaTourette - Banjo. Only leader Bert Bart and his wife piano player Rose Barr ( = Rose Marie Sparks) are members from the originally band of the 1970s and Tom Jacobus, who played the tuba in the first records is now on trombone.

So, sorry, miss Bert A. Barr jr.: it's not because my kids hate this music that I have these albums from your son - but because it has some great Frisco jazz on it.
Hans Koert -

Hans Teeuwen will perform at the Zeeland Nazomerfestival in Middelburg ( in the southwest of The Netherlands) 2nd of September 2008. Hans Teeuwen is best known in Holland as a stand-up comedian, but he is also a great crooner - vocalist. He will bring tunes previous sung by others, more often and much better, as he says about his repertoire. He will bring songs from the so-called American Songbook by artists like Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter. He will be accompanied by some great Dutch jazz musicians like Benjamin Herman, Joost Kroon, Sean Fascani, Jesse Van Ruller and Gideon van Gelder. The concert is scedulded at the innercourt of the abbey in Middelburg 2nd of September 2008 9.00 p.m. Zeeland Nazomerfestival

Keep swinging

Hans Koert

Nederlands ( To the English translation )

Ik heb vier LPs in mijn verzameling van de Amerikaanse Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band en die hebben eind jaren tachtig zelfs mijn grote verkoop van LPs overleefd. Ze mochten blijven ....... Bert A. Barr jr., de moeder van de leider van de band, Bert Barr, zegt op één van de hoezen te weten waarom: Now I know what turn you on. You collect records like this one just because your kids hate them. ( = Ik weet nu waarom jullie platen zoals deze verzamelen: omdat je kinderen ze verschrikkelijk vinden). In de Nederlandse vertaling, morgen, getiteld Mijn Uptown Lowdown Verzameling lees je de echte reden!
Hans Koert -

Hans Teeuwen is geboekt op het Zeeland Nazomerfestival in Middelburg op dinsdag 2 September 2008. Hans Teeuwen is het best bekend als cabaretier, maar hij is ook crooner - zanger. Hij zal nummers zingen, die anderen al veel vaker en beter vertolkt hebben, zoals hij zelf omschrijft; nummers uit het American Songboek, van artiesten als Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra en Cole Porter. Hij wordt begeleid door een ervaren groep jazzmusici zoals Benjamin Herman, Joost Kroon, Sean Fascani, Jesse van Ruller en Gideon van Gelder. Het concert staat gepland op 2 september 2008 om 21.00 u op de binnenplaats van de abdij van Middelburg. Zeeland Nazomerfestival.

Keep swinging

Hans Koert

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one - excellent - LP - "Hauling Ash" - and it is indeed excellent. I also have the band on two (commercial) cassettes by Dan Jazz Productions - one on its own, the other alternating with the Japanese band King Kresole.
What I cannot understand is how people who clearly love this kind of music can listen to the noise wrongly called "modern jazz."
Your current blog reminded me of a letter read in the Down Beat ages ago: "Free jazz? Avant Garde? We played like that thirty years ago, but then we called it 'tunung up'" (quoted from memory, so the number of years may be wrong, and the words may not be in the same order).

10:48 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

Thank you, Hans, for pointing to this great band, a swinging unit featuring two bass saxes, quite unusual, but I'm shure A.Rollini would have liked the idea as well!


8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice even if the recordings are from the early 70's & 80's.


6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I like the Road Apple Rag cover art. I much prefer its simple folksiness rather than a lot of the photoshopped crap that passes for most cd covers.

10:04 AM  

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