Eartha Kitt – St. Louis Blues

Sleeve Notes:

ST. LOUIS BLUES, the motion picture, is a new notch on Eartha Kitt’s achievement tree – her first Hollywood dramatic part. ST. LOUIS BLUES, the record album, scales a new promontory in her variegated recording career, presenting primarily as a blues singer an artist mainly known as the purveyor of sophisticated, mink-lined lyrics.

It is no surprise that the executives and cast of the W. C. Handy film biography expressed delight at her performance in the role of the “other woman” in Handy’s life; nor will it amaze those who know her well that the lithe little girl from the obscure town of North in South Carolina has successfully picked up the gauntlet of the blues. The unsophisticated childhood in southern poverty, the chaotic adolescence among friends and relatives in the Bronx and upper Manhattan, the limited education and the catapulting into an international glamour world as a Katherine Dunham dancer, somehow produced a mature personality rare in anyone of tender age and unstable background: a girl who chatted with Churchill and Nehru and Einstein, who learns new languages as most women buy new clothes. If genius be the ability to meet each challenge in any field of one’s particular choice and interest, then Eartha Kitt surely is a genius.

The material in this album, though uniformly credited to W. C. Handy, is not all strictly blues; nor is all of it to be heard in the movie, though most of the songs have at least some exposure by Eartha or one of the other artists. The details of their origin have been documented in a book of text and music, A Treasury of the Blues (Charles Boni), edited by Mr. Handy with an historical and critical analysis by Abbe Niles; comments from this book are quoted below.

The Memphis Blues, the song that pointed to Handy’s destiny, was the first blues ever documented and published. In 1909 there were three candidates for mayor of Memphis and three leading Negro bands in town. Handy, hired to play for candidate E. H. Crump, decided to celebrate the event with a new song, based on the blues form that had long been at the back of his mind. The Memphis public sang and danced in the streets to the melody of Mr. Crump; Crump was elected and Handy was lionized. The melody (there were no lyrics at that time except for a since-abandoned 16-bar middle strain) lay dormant until 1912, when a local department store worker took the manuscript, re-titled it The Memphis Blues (“better known as Mr. Crump as played by Handy & His Band,” said the sheet music cover), printed 2000 copies and put half of them in the store window. Handy, told that only 1000 copies were printed, was convinced that the piece was too hard for the public and surrendered his copyright to a selling agent for $50. Not until the statutory 28-year first-copyright period had expired was Handy able to reclaim his first hit song. Eartha’s version is the one now most often used, in which lyrics were added that speak of Handy in the third person and describe the impact of his hand on the Memphis public; George Norton of Melancholy Baby fame wrote these words. Shorty Rogers has the instrumental solo; Eartha’s concluding high note is a delightful shocker.

Careless Love, which Eartha does with Nat Cole in the picture, has a traditional, non-blues 16-bar melody that Handy recalls having heard in Bessemer, Alabama, as far back as 1892. He published it in 1921 as Loveless Love; four years later came the present version, with “additional words by Martha E. Koenig and Spencer Williams,” three stanzas of which Eartha offers.

Atlanta Blues is named for the city where Handy made headlines in 1916. His band drew 7000 to an auditorium better known for its visits from the Metropolitan Opera company. Equally well known as Make Me One Pallet on Your Floor, it was published by Handy in 1924, the composer credit being shared with Dave Elman (“known to Americans through his Hobby Lobby broad-cast,” insists the sheet music). This one, too, has a 16-bar main strain, to which Eartha adheres faithfully, as do trombonist Moe Schneider and trumpeter John Best in their solos.

In Beale Street Blues (1916) Handy recaptured some of the turbulence of the Memphis town that was later to honor him with a W. C. Handy Theatre and a Handy Park. Eartha trades lines joyously with the vocal group; the punch line refers, of course, to Prohibition’s emasculating effect on the sinful street. Gilda Gray, one of the earliest white artists to acknowledge the blues, helped make Beale Street famous.

Yellow Dog Blues (1914), which Eartha sings in the movie, has three 12-bar themes, the last taking the lyrical form of a letter from the “easy rider” to his gal (“Dear Sue .. .”). The key line, “tie’s gone where the Southern cross the Yellow Dog,” refers to two railroad lines, the Southern and the Yazoo Delta, which intersected at Morehead, Mississippi. “On the hog” means broke, and “vamp it” is a synonym for “walk it.”

Friendless Blues, ironically, was selected for the picture to be sung by Eartha as an illustration of an inadequate song, before her discovery of Handy’s music. Nevertheless, Handy did write it, in 1926, and Eartha found it so far from inadequate that she insisted on including it in the album.
Hesitating Blues, often mislabeled Hesitation, was published by Handy in 1915 and sung soon after by Blossom Seeley. Handy once credited the style of the chorus to the improvisations of a blind pianist at Mulcahy’s saloon in Memphis.

The delightful Long Gone (1920), is the true life story of a jail trusty in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who contrived an ingenious escape. Chris Smith, who wrote Bailin’ the Jack, was Handy’s collaborator. “I was happy to sing this,” says Eartha, “because I remember hearing Willie Bryant do it with his band, when I was a kid.”

Chantez-les bas (Sing ’em Low), according to Abbe Niles, “is in the Arcadian French patois with which a soft-voiced neighbor asked some of Handy’s men to please pipe down while they were serenading a girl in a Louisiana town.” As was usual with Handy, there are three different strains. and as is Eartha’s wont through. out these sides, the melodies are adhered to loyally while the Kitt personality effects a perfect merger with them. One of Handy’s later publications (1931), it is sung by Eartha in the dramatic film sequence that reveals his incipient blindness.

St. Louis Blues (1914) is Handy’s monument, the most famous blues in the world. Nat Cole and Eartha sing it in the film, in a version strikingly different from that heard here. Matty Matlock’s arrangement keeps a suggestion in the opening chorus of the tango rhythm that was a revolutionary novelty when the song was first performed. Eartha, by being herself and allowing the melody to be itself, offers one of the most genuine interpretations of the five hundred recorded in the song’s forty-four years of life.

St. Louis Blues (1914) is Handy’s monument, the most famous blues in the world. Nat Cole and Eartha sing it in the film, in a version strikingly different from that heard here. Matty Matlock’s arrangement keeps a suggestion in the opening chorus of the tango rhythm that was a revolutionary novelty when the song was first performed. Eartha, by being herself and allowing the melody to be itself, offers one of the most genuine interpretations of the five hundred recorded in the song’s forty-four years of life.

Steal Away and Hist the Window, Noah, both Handy spiritual adaptations and both sung in the picture by Mahalia Jackson, offer us a chance to hear a different Eartha. “I sang these purely with chest tones,” she says; “all the other songs are done mainly with head tones. I’ve always wanted to do Negro spirituals and we thought it would be a fine idea for contrast to include a couple of them in the album.”

The arrangements by Julian “Matty” Matlock, 49-year-old clarinet veteran from Paducah, Kentucky, and alumnus of the Ben Pollack, Bob Crosby and Red Nichols bands, are in perfect keeping with the spirit of the album and of Handy’s music. I suspect that this album will spend many hours on Mr. Handy’s own turntable. For once, a set of his works has been performed, arranged and sung with the same loving care and fidelity that would be accorded them by the composer himself.

LEONARD FEATHER © by Radio Corporation of America, 1958
Jester Hairston arranged Steal Away and Hist the Window, Noah, and it is his choir that accompanies Miss Kitt on those selections. The arrangements for all the other numbers were made by Matty Matlock, and Miss Kitt was backed by the following people: SHORTY ROGERS—Leader and Trumpet JOHN BEST—Trumpet MOE SCHNEIDER—Trombone MATTY MATLOCK—Clarinet STAN WRIGHTSMAN—Piano AL HENDRICKSON—Guitar MORTY CORB—Bass NICK FATOOL—Drums MILT HOLLAND—Conga Drums
EARTHA KITT With Shorty Rogers and his Orchestra ® 1958 RCA RECORDS

Eartha Kitt - St. Louis Blues

Label: RCA NL 89436

1958 1950s Covers (1984 reissue)

Jackie Gleason – The Torch with the Blue Flame

Sleeve Notes:

This album sets a new standard in sensitive, subdued listening, by a master of the most unusual in musical enjoyment, Jackie Gleason. The magical Gleason touch that translated images into sound in “Oooo!” and “Velvet Brass” is vibrantly present again in an orches-tral setting that features eight marimbas and the luminous trombone of Lawrence Brown. Two of the selections. Time and Alone In The Crowd, are Gleason originals.

Underscored by strings, guitar and harp, vibraphone, piano and orchestra bells, the marimbas and trombone blend in rich versions of low-keyed mood songs…soft, dream-provoking Gleason sounds that sing with a flickering, haunting light …The Torch With The Blue Flame.

Jackie Gleason - The Torch with the Blue Flame

Label: Capitol LCT 6161
Cover Photo by Peter Fink

1958 1950s Covers

The Paris Conservatoire Orchestra – Chopin Les Sylphides

Sleeve Notes:

CHOPIN: LES SYLPHIDES In 1894 Glazunov published an orchestral suite entitled “Chopiniana,” consisting of orchestrations of four piano pieces by Chopin. At the start of the new century the choreographer Michael Fokine (1880-1942) decided to use this suite for a ballet.

He set to work and after an additional Valse had been selected and orchestrated by Glazunov the work was produced in St. Petersburg. Shortly afterwards “Chopiniana” was redesigned and danced to a new selection of music orchestrated by Maurice Keller: the only item retained from the previous production was the additional Chopin-Glazunov Valse. The Keller version was presented at St. Petersburg in April, 1908. A year later Diaghilev decided to include the work in the opening season of his “Ballets Russes” at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, and it had its first performance on June 2, 1909. At the suggestion of Alexandre Benois the title “Chopiniana” was dropped and that of “Les Sylphides” substituted : for this same production, the score was reorchestrated by Stravinsky. In Les Sylphides, a number of danseuses dressed in white and one danseur, also in white apart from black shoes and jerkin, join in a series of dance numbers against a background of moonlit glade and ruined monastery. The work provides a perfect unity of music, movement, scenery and costume.

TCHAIKOVSKY: THE SLEEPING BEAUTY Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, his second important ballet, was first performed on January 1/15, 1890, at the Maryinsky Theatre, with choreography by Marius Petipa. The story is based on the well-known tale of the Sleeping Beauty, as related in Charles Perrault’s Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé. Modern revivals have differed in their treatment of the ballet as a whole; but it was originally presented in five scenes. The first (Prologue) represents the christening of the Princess Aurora; the festivities include dances by various fairies, of whom the most important is the Lilac Fairy—she is, as it were, the guardian angel of the story. The wicked fairy Carabosse, who has not been invited to the christening because everyone thought she was dead, suddenly interrupts the festivities and places a terrible curse on the Princess. In the second scene (Act 1), which takes place sixteen years later, the Princess is at her spinning-wheel; the spindle pricks her finger, and she falls into a deep sleep from which she cannot be awakened. The third scene (Act 2, Scene 1) is a hundred years later; Prince Charming is out hunting with his friends. The Lilac Fairy appears to him and shows him the Sleeping Beauty in a vision; she promises to guide him to her. The fourth scene (Act 2, Scene 2) shows the Princess’s awakening by the Prince, and in the fifth (Act 3) we see their wedding celebrations. The well-known Suite consists of music from various parts of the ballet, and is in five movements.

ROGER DESORMIERE Roger Desormiere is one of the most outstanding French conductors of our time. Born at Vichy in 1898, he studied music at the Paris Conservatoire, and in 1922 won the Prix Blumenthal for composition. Two years later he took part in the soirees held by Count Etienne de Beaumont in Paris and later directed the performances of the Swedish ballet. From 1925 to 1930 he was musical director of the Diaghilev ballet, and conducted performances of this company all over Europe. When the company broke up after the death of Diaghilev, Desormiere toured Europe as a guest conductor, appearing in Paris, London, Brussels, Munich,Budapest, Leningrad and Moscow. He has taken part in most of the I.S.C.M. annual festivals, and in 1949 was invited to the Edinburgh Festival with the Paris Radio Orchestra. In 1944 Desormiere was appointed director of the Paris Opera-Comique, where he conducted many important revivals. In 1946 he ceased to hold any official appointment, but continued to make guest appearances in the main musical centres of Europe.

The Paris Conservatoire Orchestra - Chopin Les Sylphides - beautiful album cover from 1958, one of hundreds of beautiful album covers at

Label: Ace Of Clubs ACL 8
Cover photo by Houston Rogers of Meriel Evans in ” Les Sylphides.”

1958 1950s Covers

Hukilau Hulas – Various Artists

Sleeve Notes:

THE lovely music of Hawaii makes you want to do MORE than just listen! It’s an invitation to try your hand (and the rest of you) at the art of fluent motion—THE HULA —interpretive dancing at its most basic level. THE HULA gives you the opportunity to express physically the meaning of the words of the song in gracefully abstract motions of the body . . . anybody can do it well, whether “malihini” (stranger) or “kamaaina” (old timer).

Hukilau Hulas - Various Artists

The music housed within this splendid album cover is best described as Sponge Bob Square Pants Music but with vocals. Don’t believe me? Listen here for yourself:

Label: Vogue Records VA 160197

1958 1950s Covers

The George Shearing Quintet – Black Satin

Sleeve Notes:

The satin-smooth Shearing sound has never been so expressive of its creator’s unique versatility as it is in this album. Augmented by rich instrumental backgrounds, here is an inspiring variety of distinctive moods: the subdued, lyrical rendering of a tender ballad set to an elegant chorus of strings; the easy swinging rhythm of a popular song; the occasional lilt of a Latin tempo. Capturing the lush sophisticated setting that distinguished his highly successful “Velvet Carpet”. George Shearing with his own inimitable styling creates appealing music that will set a delightful backdrop for any romance — as suitable for the girl in blue gingham as it is for the lady in luxurious “Black Satin”.

The George Shearing Quintet – Black Satin

Label: Capitol ST 858

1958 1950s Covers

La Orquesta Sensacion – Cha Cha Cha

Sleeve Notes:

On sait, par les précédents disques que nous avons consacré à la Cha-Cha-Cha (Barclay – 6. 82014 82015 et 820161), avec quelle rapidité cette danse, née depuis peu dans Ille de Cuba, a conquis les suffrages du monde.

C’est en effet une toute jeune fille aux yeux sombres, à la peau bronzée, vive comme un oiseau. Elle est apparue, en raison du désir de nouveau qui agite les homrnes, et, pour les mêmes raisons qui ont créé merengues ou calypsos, toutes enfants des îles.

Le hasard d’une inspiration lui a donné le jour, alors qu’un orchestre de La Havane, spécialisé dans les « Danzones, s’amusait à cltercher des rythmes curieux. Et c’est sur un départ de quelques mesures que la première Cha-Cha-Cha prit forme et reçut son nom d’après les trois mots rythmiques qui l’avaient accueillie.

Il y a d’abord du Mambo dans cette danse dont l’allure .t pourtant assez lente, mesurée. Tout en développant ea personnalité la Cha-Cha-Cha a gardé les interruptions du tempo, lee syncopes soudaines qui caractérisent son aînée. On le remarquera dans la plupart de celles que nous présentons ici, tout. cependant différent. par leurs couleurs externes et leurs mouvements inté-rieurs, matière musicale capricieusement renouvelée sur le soutien d’une nerveuse batterie et dont la flûte au chant d’oiseau est le principal leader.

Les douze Cha-Cha-Cha que nous présentons sur les deux faces de ce disque ont été enregistrées à Cuba, par un orchestre typique composé de jeunes musiciens sous la direction de Rolando Valdès. Il est devenu très vite populaire à La Havane et dans la grande île sous le nom mérité de « Sensacion ».

Le premier chanteur de l’ensemble est Abelardo Barroso dont la gloire est immense, là-bas. Il a commencé sa carrière en 1930, allant d’orchestre en orchestre. Avec une incroyable souplesse, Barroso a su passer des « sons» traditionnels aux rythmes modernes, si bien qu’aujour’hui il enchante les jeunes générations avec la jeune Cha-Cha-Cha.

Les airs recueillis dans cette deuxième collection sont tous authentiques, en dépit des arrangements obligés. C’est dans la brève cadence des pas rapides qu’on peut déceler le témoignage le plus exact de la musique Cha-Cha-Cha.

Nous vous laissons la surprise de les découvrir successivement. Nous citerons toutefois celle qui ouvre la première face t Arrancame la vida, qui est le modèle-type du genre, avec son entrée un peu lente, la scansion des rythmes sous le chant, le survol de la flûte. Citons aussi En Guantanamo où la voix de Barroso fait merveille, où la flùte exprime une charmante et douce mélodie. Et puis La Witt de Juan Simon, dow l’expression est si amoureuse, 1. bouches fermées dans Vo ta vanta. Par instants, les voix d’autre:. ebanteurs accompagnent celle de Barroso, dans A Una Ola, par exemple, ou El Cuajiro de Cunagua dont le thème principal semble avoir été fourni par quelque très vieille chanson noire. Danses, orchestre, chanteurs, et disque « Sensacion » sur toute la ligne.


English translation (approximate)

We know, from the previous discs that we have devoted to the Cha-Cha-Cha (Barclay – 6. • 82014 • 82015 and 820161, with what speed this dance, born recently in Ille de Cuba, conquered the votes of the world.

It is indeed a very young girl with dark eyes, tanned skin, lively as a bird. It appeared, because of the desire for new which agitates the men, and, for the same reasons which created merengues or calypsos, all children of the islands.
The chance of an inspiration gave it birth, while an orchestra from Havana, specializing in “Danzones”, amused itself by clicking curious rhythms. And it is on a start of a few bars that the first Cha-Cha-Cha took shape and received its name after the three rhythmic words which had greeted it.

First of all, there is Mambo in this dance, the pace of which is nevertheless quite slow, measured. While developing her personality, the Cha-Cha-Cha has kept the interruptions in tempo, the sudden syncopations which characterize her elder. We will notice this in most of those we present here, everything. however different. by their external colors and their internal movements, musical material capriciously renewed on the support of a nervous drums and of which the flute with the song of bird is the principal leader.

The twelve Cha-Cha-Cha that we present on both sides of this disc were recorded in Cuba, by a typical orchestra composed of young musicians under the direction of Rolando Valdès. It quickly became popular in Havana and the Big Island under the well-deserved name of “Sensacion”.

The first singer of the ensemble is Abelardo Barroso whose fame is immense there. He began his career in 1930, going from orchestra to orchestra.

With incredible flexibility, Barroso has been able to switch from traditional “sounds” to modern rhythms, so much so that today he enchants the younger generations with the young Cha-Cha-Cha.

The airs collected in this second collection are all authentic, despite the arrangements required. It is in the brief cadence of rapid steps that one can detect the most exact testimony of Cha-Cha-Cha music.

We leave you the surprise to discover them successively. We will however cite the one that opens the first side t Arrancame la vida, which is the typical model of the genre, with its somewhat slow entry, the scansion of the rhythms under the song, the flute overflight. Let us also quote En Guantanamo where Barroso’s voice works wonders, where the flute expresses a charming and sweet melody. And then La Witt by Juan Simon, dow the expression is so amorous, 1. mouths closed in Vo ta vanta. At times, the voices of other :. ebanteurs accompany that of Barroso, in A Una Ola, for example, or El Cuajiro de Cunagua whose main theme seems to have been provided by some very old black song. Dances, orchestra, singers, and “Sensacion” record across the board.


La Orquesta Sensacion - Cha Cha Cha

Label: Barclay 26.001

1958 1950s Covers

The George Shearing Quintet – Latin Lace

Sleeve Notes:

With his first latin-styled album, Latin Escapade, George Shearing demonstrated the new excitement and color his Quintet and deft piano stylings give to South American rhythms.

In Latin Lace, Shearing’s piano, leading the way for the Quintet and a brace of latin percussionists, wends its way through a still wider variety of melodies.

In Latin Lace, the Shearing touch lends the tunes an equally wide range of sound, from the lazy rhythms of the siesta hour to the sweep and turnult of the Amazon.

In Latin Lace, there’s a whole continent of swinging evidence to Shearing’s romantic way with these Wiles, all with a latin accent.

In Latin Lace, with the Shearing piano as the catalyst, you find a fresh, beguiling adventure in a style perfect for imaginative listening in the tropical mood.

Label: Capitol T1082

1958 1950s Covers

Billy Randolph and The High-Hatters – The Roaring Twenties

Sleeve Notes:

“The Roaring Twenties” . . . the most hysterical and frantic era of American life came right after the stern and cruel years of World War I. The crisis was over . . . we had won . . . and instead of rebuilding the country and the economy . . . America went on a 10 year binge.

The whole pattern of the times was that of a gigantic playground, reaching its aesthetic peak in 1929. Spurred on by Prohibition – the last gasp of the dying order — Americans went on a 10 year “bat”. Sex was rediscovered, and the nation reacted between the rhythms of the “Charleston” and the “Black Bottom”.

In between bouts it staggered to the window to cheer Al Capone, Charles A. Lindbergh, Peaches Browning, Gertrude Ederle, Herbert Hoover’ and Aimee Semple McPherson.

Americans in the thousands surged into the cabarets . . . and from there to the speakeasies, joints and dives. The legitimate theatre and even the all-powerful vaudevalle (sic), watched the patrons pass them by for headier entertainment. But the legit theatre soon sensed the trend and spiced up its offerings . . . however, vaudeville was soon almost devoured by what had been, up to now, a laughable medium . . . the motion pictures.

Radio came into its own . . . and had it not been for the “talking pictures” . . radio might have forced Hollywood off its pinnacle.

This was the mad era of American life. Prices started to climb upwards and upwards. And in the early 20’s many started to get their feet wet in the stock market. There were some who warned of over-inflation . . . but the brakes were off and nobody wanted to listen. Between 1924 and 1927 Americans were dazzled to learn that the crop of millionaires had increased from only 75 to 293. Show business was bulging at the seams. There were 21,897 theatres, museums and concert halls; 190 circuses, and 8,876 other types of exhibition. A 1925 issue of The Saturday Evening Post carried 249 pages of ads that cost $1,400,000. William Jennings Byran lectured in Florida on the advantages of buying land . . . and for an encore, Gilda Gray did her shimmy dance.

The bubble began to burst in 1926, and collapsed with a roar in September of that year when a hurricane roared out of the Caribbean to swamp the Miami boom area.

March 24, 1928 marked the beginning of the “Bull Market” on Wall Street which swirled the nation to the top of its financial razzle-dazzle. Everybody from bootblack to steeplejack plunged into the market for a nip at the Golden Apple. But in October of 1929 . . . the entire facade fell with a crashing sound that was heard around world. The grey skies over Wall Street seemed light compared to the ashen faces of those who saw their entire life go roaring by.

The financial bankruptcy of 1929 was the logical follow-up to an era that began in 1919 with a spiritual bankruptcy.

The feminine fashions of the 20’s seem to be recreating themselves in the late 1950’s . . but with the hope that the fashions don’t foreshadow the same financial deluge.

But what of the music of this frantic and frentic era? The songs were those of the flapper… the one with the stockings rolled “below” the knee. The hip-flask… and long cigarette-holder (for women had just started to smoke in public). The songs of the era were bright and slightly fragile. The melodies that depicted wild life on the campuses of America. The songs from the smoke-filled cabarets of the major cities. The spots where for a price, the most beautiful dancer in the show would bathe in a bowl of champagne… for the exotic enjoyment of the elite. An era running full-speed towards destruction. Not knowing it. But laughing and singing as they went. An era that is represented many times over in other ages past.

So this… the music of the roaring 20’s. Gay! Light-hearted! Not subtle! Just music for a good time… and never mind about tomorrow. Typical of the Roaring 20’s.

Billy Randolph and The High-Hatters - The Roaring Twenties - another great album cover from Cover Heaven

Label: Crown Records 5070
Cover Assembly: HOSCO ARTS

1958 1950s Covers

Charlie Ventura Plays HiFi Jazz

Sleeve Notes:

If it’s jazz you’re after—that is, the listening and dancing kind—you’ll go a long way before hearing anything as truly great as this superb Hi-Fidelity recording by Charlie Ventura and his quintet.

Here you have in Ventura a saxophone virtuoso who for many years has been an unparalleled great. His fabulous technique, warm tone, and ability to play with a strong swinging beat have won him the respect and admiration of fans and critics throughout the world.

Ventura is the fourth of thirteen children. As a youngster, when his father was teaching him the hat-making trade, Charlie bought a tenor sax. and spent every spare moment practicing his horn and developing the intricate fingering technique that enables him to rip off difficult tunes and passages at terrific tempos with ease and assurance.
After graduating from South Philadelphia High School in 1935, he spent as much spare time as he- could jamming with jazz men at various Philadelphia clubs.

At one time or another in his varied and colourful career, Charlie has worked with some of the greatest names in contemporary jazz . . . men like Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Harris, Buddy DeFranco, Teddy Powell, to mention just a few.

Eventually Ventura formed his own group and their fresh approach to jazz won for them first place in “Down Beat”, “Metronome” and “Orchestra World” polls. Charlie’s imaginative and swinging tenor playing also won for him a Metronome Saxophone Soloist award.

About his music, Ventura says, “Our music is composed, arranged and performed for both the listening and dancing audience, and while using original ideas incorporating ‘new sounds’ into the music, we do not lose the general structure of a melody, line, or rhythm. We follow through with this method on all of our numbers and in this way, we do not alienate the many, who have not yet come to completely accept the rapid change being made in popular music and jazz these days.

Playing tenor, alto, baritone and bass saxophones, Ventura leads

Dave McKenna—Piano Mousey Alexander—Drums Richard Davis—Bass Billy Bean—Guitar

The verve and versatile, the change of mood and mastery of style which he displays on this Gala L.P. has made Ventura one of the unquestioned greats among the great jazz instrumentalists.
This record is a USA TOPS recording

Charlie Ventura Plays HiFi Jazz

Label: Gala Records GLP 344

1958 1950s Covers

International Symphonic Orchestra – Scheherazade

Sleeve Notes:

Scheherazade, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff (1844-1908) is a sea haunted work that has never failed to exercise its magic from the time it was composed, in 1888, to to-day. It is an extraordinarily strong and beautiful composition portraying with dreamy seriousness both the fantasy and realism of the Arabian Nights. It is a symphonic composition in four movements with fairy tale titles.

To the score, Rimsky-Korsakoff appended the following paragraphs:

‘The Sultan of Schahriar. persuaded of the falseness and faithlessness of women, has sworn to put to death each one of his wives after the first night. But the Sultaila Schehcrazade saved her life by interesting him in tales which she told him during one thousand and one nights. Pricked by curiosity the Sultan puts off his wife’s exe-cution from day to day, and at last gave up his bloody plan.”

Notable is the orchestral glow of Scheherazade. The strings arc dethroned from their supremacy in the classical symphony orchestra, but they sing all the more sweetly as solo voices and divided choirs. Woodwind and brass instruments play is much more important role than in the classical orchestra, both as solo instruments and in fascinating, everchanging combinations. Greatly expanded, too, is the role of the percussion instruments, the composer using not only is variety of drums, but pizzicato strings and staccato woodwinds.

The work is in four movements like a symphony, although it hardly follows the symphony-sonata form: As indicated in Rimsky-Korsakoff’s program, the opcn-ing movement depicts The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship. The largo e maestoso opening introduces the Scheherazade theme. The main portion is in a faster allegro non troppo tempo, marked by undulating figures. It presents most of the melodic subject matter of the later movements already.

The second movement describes the Narrative of the Kalender Prince. Again the Scheherazade motive is heard, lento, by violin and harp. After an andantino interlude, the movement concludes with is staccato allegro motto brass motive. The Young Prince and the Young Princess is the subject of the third movement, marked andantino quasi allegretto. There is is particularly graceful violin melody in addition to the Scheherazade motive, which is heard again from the solo violin and the harp.

The concluding movement portrays is Festival at Bagdad, The Sea – The Ship goes to pieces on is Rock Surmounted by is Bronze Warrior. In allegro molto, earlier themes arc repeated and, so to speak, summarized. The festival is pictured by an allegro molto e frenetico passage. The Scheherazade motive returns briefly, followed by is tarantella marked vivo, with the Scheherazade motive repeated softly and tranquilly in conclusion.


Label: Gala GLP 349

1958 1950s Covers