As you tuck into your Chili con Carne, and the tang of Mexican spices tickles your tongue, you sip your sparkling Spanish wine and reflect —the flavour is perfect, your companion delightful —but surely an element is missing, the masterstroke that will conjure up the very spirit of the amorous South.
The candlelight flickers in your partner’s eyes as you rise, and crossing the room you lower the stylus deftly onto the solution to your problems—lightly Latin’, a stereo feast of musical delicacies from the Latin lands.
You glow as the International Hits Orchestra bring all their glittering but gentle finesse to Tijuana favourites such as ‘Spanish Flea’ and ‘The Lonely Bull’, you vibrate to the funky bass guitar of ‘Southern Festival’ and tremble to the beguiling percussion of ‘Cast Your Fate to the Wind’; you tingle to the Mariachi trumpets of ‘Lisboa Antigua’ and bask in the beauty of ‘A Day in the Life of a Fool’.
But before memories of Spanish sunsets swamp your brain, climb down from the table, put down your castanets, and clear up the wine. There’s one way you can save your evening. Play the first side again.
“`Wake up to me gentle, sunrise in your hair …” are not only the enchanting opening lyrics of the title song, but also serve to create the vibrant romantic mood which permeates this entire program of fresh ballad excellence by Mr. Al Martino.
These opening lyrics, of course, belong to Wake Up to Me Gentle, written by young composer Ken Mansfield. This great new song emerges as an important ballad of the day when given the exciting Martino vocal treatment plus lush guitar and string accompaniment. Al also concentrates his special talents on If You Must Leave My Life and Didn’t We, two meaningful uptempo ballads by Jim Webb, a young composer already famous for By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Up, Up and Away. Here his songs gleam with the magnificent styling that AI Martino brings to every outstanding composition.
In addition to these great new songs, you’ll enjoy the Martino magnetism in one of the most powerful and popular show songs ever written, The Impossible Dream from “The Man of La Mancha.” Listen as the master of romantic ballads gives new splendor to My Own True Love, a most familiar love theme from the motion picture “Gone With the Wind”; Hank Williams’ great country hit / Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You) and The Look of Love, a Burt Bacharach tune that ranks among everybody’s favorites.
Arranger-conductor John Andrew Tartaglia lends new freshness and a “today” feeling to each of these selections, while Al’s rich-mellow baritone lights new fires under the vintage favorites and soars to the heights with the best of the new ballads. Listen … and as always, enjoy.
Lebel: Capitol ST 2983 Cover Photo: Capitol Studio/Rick Rankin
CHANNEL20SOUND Channel 20 Sound, a new process which realises in superbly lifelike stereo all the potential splendour of each instrument, was specially developed in the Tokyo studios of E.M.I.’s associates, Toshiba Musical Industries. Recordings are made in a new studio designed exclusively for high quality recording a multiplicity of solo microphones captures every subtlety of tone-colour from each instrument, and a specially developed control console blends, mixes and amplifies each microphone’s contribution with the delicacy, precision and engineering brilliance that characterise Japan’s present-day technological achievement.
The impact of Ted Heath’s first “phase 4” stereo album, “Big Band Percussion”, created a demand for more music similarly presented by England’s big band boss—and here it is, ‘Big Band Bash”, destined to follow in the footsteps of the last LP straight to the best-selling charts.
ABOUT THE ARRANGEMENTS:
This entire LP was committed to the unique arranging talents of Johnny Keating. He has striven imaginatively and successfully to carry the big band sound and concept to the requirements of “phase 4” stereo which needs a special accommodation. The programme is spiced with several moods, but consistently there is the kind of writing for which big bands were made. “Hindustan”, “Cherokee” and “Out of Nowhere”—to single out a few—are masterfully arranged by Keating.
SIDE 1 1. HINDUSTAN (Wallace; Weeks)
With a brilliant and bright anacrusis from the trumpets (right), we swing into this big band classic with free-flowing ease. The brass (right). rhythm and saxes (left) wheel it along to a magnificently performed duet between two tenor saxes (one left and one right). In a splendidly realized section of the arrangement we hear, behind the saxophones’ passage, flutes and trumpets (right), trombones (right) and driving rhythm (left) all weaving independent threads into a richly textured pattern—a beautiful piece of big band scoring.
2. A-TISKET A-TASKET (Fitzgerald; Feldman) The curious needle-point chatter of the tight-skinned bongos is heard. with a crisp precision on the left; and setting off the latinate patter is the contrasting weight of the heavily struck timpani and sharp-edged sparkle of the finger cymbal (right). Intoning the melody is the piercing flute (right) and grumpy baritone sax (left). Occasional thick and humorous grunts are heard from the full-bodied bass trombone (right). From there, bright and playfully, “Tisket” moves happily along in a sprightly arrangement.
3. I DON’T KNOW WHY (Turk; Ahlert) The marimba speaks mellowly but firmly from the right as the rhythm is ushered in gently by a silken vibraphone run (left). The pattern breaks momentarily when the string bass is heard from (left). The saxophones on the left play the melody at the second chorus, and to that fine satin finish is added Be sound of the “bodiful trombones (right). Two muted trumpets are heard adding a bit of colour as well (right).The work is paced and prepared to meet an impressive flow of sound at the point of climax just before the return of the marimba (right)who recalls the pattern of the introduction and brings the title to rest.
4. CAPUCCINA (Masser., Sherman; Pallavicini) There is something prettily naive about the mandolin figure which is heard on the left; and, as one would imagine such a figure to be short-lived in a Heath LP, it is soon stopped by the intrusion of an exciting walking bass line (left) whose mood is jazzily supported by the sure hand of the drummer (right). The guitar carries the melody (left) as the mood is percussively punctuated by the light chords on the piano (also left). Briefly joined by the vibes (left), the melody passes to the saxophone section on the left. Slowly and with measured planning the trumpets and trombones (right) come into the picture as the whole arrangement moves toward a frenzied climax. 5. HERNANDO’S HIDEAWAY (Adler; Ross) Spook figures haunt the hideaway left and right as the piece opens up a barrel of fun colours and sounds. Instruments and effects are apparent throughout this title as the music jumps about between speakers. This is good listening fun.
SIDE 2 1. CHEROKEE (Noble) Tom-toms herald the war council (left and right) and are broken temporarily by saxes (left) and flutes (right). The tom-tom chatter continues behind the melody (played on the left by the bass clarinet and baritone sax.) Soon the fltites as flying arrows are hurled out of the right speaker. As Mr. Heath said at the session: “the saxes are cowboys and the flutes are the Indian arrows coming at them.” That done, the whole Heath band begins to swing like a band of winning Indians in this great, wide-open and bust arrangement.
2. HARLEM NOCTURNE (Hagen) The delicate tinkle of a finger cymbal and soft tapping of the bongos (right) strike a mood of midnight mystery as the walking bass (left) soft cymbal and muted trombones (right) weave a background pattern in which the melody-playing alto flute is darkly set. The saxophone section (left) and brass (right) each have a turn at this lovely melody before the plaintive solo sound of the alto sax is heard (left) against which a pleasant obbligato flute figure is moving. The mood of the piece, sustained by the spell of intrigue which the rhythm sets, is constant to the end.
3. SABRE DANCE (Khachaturian; Roberts; Lee)• Swinging and driving as ever a big band was meant to, this title gets off the ground brightly and sharply with the trombones hammering left, the trumpets attacking right, and the saxophones driving from the left. With a clean, precise performance, the arrangement moves this famous Khachaturian opus home dramatically.
4. IN A PERSIAN MARKET (Ketelbey) A magic carpet flys (right to left) across the market place, and the plaza comes to life in the form of a grumpy, hoarse bass clarinet and baritone sax (left). Soon awakened are the less sleepy time-keeping skulls (right) and the sharp percussive xylophone and piccolo (also right). A young Arab is heard selling his wares (right) and a chorus of saxophones sell every bit as loudly from the left. Soon the brass choir (right) gets into the act and before you know it the whole market place is jumping in a magnificent display of swing playing. The picture fades at the end amid the hub-bub of the market.
5. CLOPIN-CLOPANT (Coque., Duclan; Goell, Rome) A bit of French sentimentality is heard from on the right in the form of the balmusette. The horse cart is heard clip-clopping along (also right). Alternately the famous melody is sounded by the flute (right), contra-bass clarinet (left) and the guitar (left). Following a break into latin tempo, the opening pattern is again recalled as the horse clip-clops out of sight.
6. OUT OF NOWHERE (Heyman; Green) There would be such to call to your attention in this title: the various colours you hear emanating from your separate speakers, the instrumental patterns effected by the different band choirs, etc. But at the heart of this title is its arrangement and structure, its tonal blends and fine performance. The Heath band has never sounded better and Johnny Keating has turned in one of his finest scores.
The infectious, sophisticated sound of Les Elgart and his orchestra is a natural for either those who like dancing (to The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, The Continental, for instance) or those who prefer that relaxed, reflective mood (as in I Concentrate on You, or Sermon). Elgart’s orchestra and his distinctive approach to a melody have been immensely popular for some time.
Most recent evidence: he was twice voted Favorite Band in Disc Jockey Polls by the authoritative music trade paper Billboard, and in a poll by Cash Box, another music trade publication, Elgart was voted Most Programmed Band by disc jockeys.
How did this all come about? As a mere ten-year-old in New London, Connecticut, Les began playing the bugle; in high school he switched to a more widely-appreciated trumpet. An excellent baseball player, Les was also adept at organizing his own teen-age orchestras. But proficiency in more than one skill breeds its own problems and choices. Although three major league scouts spotted him, Les excused himself from baseball and chose instead to pursue a career in popular music.
In the Forties, Les played with the Bunny Berigan, Charlie Spivak and Hal McIntyre orchestras. When the Elgart orchestra was formed, an important step was taken in achieving distinctive quality of sound. On-stage seating of the musicians was re-arranged for better spread between the instruments; plywood reflector boards were placed behind them to focus the sound more sharply. These innovations resulted in an improved resonance and a richer sound.
On IT’S DE-LOVELY we can hear further developments Les has made in the famous “Elgart sound,” as well as his fresh arrangements of many “standards.” He proves, for example, that the venerable Trees could make good dance music, that Lerner and Weill’s Green-Up Time (from the Broad-way show Love Life) is irresistible. Newer tunes treated by Elgart are Off Shore, Scotch Hop, and Sermon.
Here, then, are Les’ latest offerings for those who enjoy either dancing or just listening – In the Still of the Night.
Every smash-hit musical seems to be more overwhelming that the last, yet amongst them all South Pacific is something of a phenomenon – ever since the memorable night of April 7th, 1949, when it opened at the Majestic Theatre, New York.
James A. Michener had already been awarded the Pullitzer Prize for his “South Pacific” stories, and they looked like remaining at the top of the best selling lists for years to come. Joshua Logan, one of the most distinguished directors working on Broadway and in Hollywood, collaborated with Oscar Hammerstein 2nd on an adaptation for the stage. Richard Rodgers set about writing the music which was eventually to include some of the best-loved songs ever written. When South Pacific opened the notorious Broad-way critics were unanimous in their glowing praises. Rodgers and Hammerstein had done it again. Oklahoma!, Carousel and now South Pacific.
The setting, an exotic tropical island, is the background for the story of Emile de Becque, a French widower and planter, and Nellie Forbush, a young nurse stationed there with American troops during the last war.
After an opening song (“Dites Moi”), a conversation takes place between Nellie and her host, Emile, who is giving a party. He listens to her philosophy of life (“Cock-eyed Optimist”) and tells her of his love in the beautiful song “Some Enchanted Evening”. Emile lives on the island because he has fled from France for mysterious reasons, some years before. He had married a Polynesian woman and they had several children. She is long since dead. Nellie is attracted to him, feels herself falling in love with him, but is frightened to make a decision.
Meanwhile, “Bloody Mary”, a Tonkinese woman who trades with the Yankee soldiers, listens to the riotous “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame”, but suddenly the atmosphere changes with the arrival of Lt. Joseph Cable. Mary is fascinated by him, and tells him about “Bali Ha’i”, an island just visible from the shore, where she lives. But Cable has a mission to perform. He is here to enlist Emile’s help on a spying mission, and the commander of the American troops asks Nellie to sound out the French-man. Nellie. having just decided against seeing Emile again (“I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-a My Hair”) has to admit in the end “I’m In Love With a Wonderful Guy”.
Cable visits Bali Ha’i with Bloody Mary. where she lets him meet her lovely daughter, Liat. Alone together the couple shyly talk, and Cable, very much in love, sings “Younger Than Springtime” to her. Mary paints a glowing picture of their life together (“Happy Talk”). Their songs are among the most beautiful in the score.
Back at camp Nellie and the nurses entertain the soldiers (“Honey Bun”), but Emile. saddened because Nellie is still horrified at his former marriage to a Polynesian, asks Cable to explain this American attitude (“Carefully Taught”). Resigned to life alone. Emile sings “This Nearly Was Mine”.
The two men go off on their secret mission. Cable is killed, and Nellie. fearing that Emile is also dead, comes to a maturer understanding of her own love and his. She comforts his children until he makes his dramatic re-appearance.
This love story is threaded through a background of vital and amusing characters -an irresistible Bloody Mary, the wonderful Luther Billis, who runs the local laundry baths and showers in his spare time. There is also a rough bunch of tender-hearted American soldiers and sailors, attractive nurses and various island eccentrics.
HERE ARE THE ARTISTS
On this record, Johnny Douglas has conducted the Nee World Show Orchestra in his own special orchestrations of the songs which fully capture the flavour of the original.
Ian Wallace who sings Emile de Becque, understudied Enzio Pinza in New York. He has sung with the Glyndebourne Opera, and also in Rome, Venice, Parma and Berlin. More recently he played the Pinza role in the London production of Fanny.
Joyce Blair is a perfect choice to sing Nellie Forbush. She appeared in the London production with Mary Martin in 1951. A talented dancer, singer and straight actress, Miss Blair has appeared in a long list of shows such as Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls, Grab Me a Gondola and The Teddy Bear.
Peter Grant plays Lieutenant Cable, the role which brought him high praise in the original London production. He also played the juvenile lead in Kismet on the West End stage, and sings with the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company.
Isabelle Lucas, who comes from Toronto, sings the part of “Bloody Mary”. Her ambitions lie in the field of opera, but she enjoys the lighter side of music and played in the famous all-coloured show The Jazz Train, Simply Heavenly and The Crooked Mile. Miss Lucas has recently made Miracle in Soho for the Arthur Rank Organisation.
Music supervised and conducted by Johnny Douglas.
Arrangements by Johnny Douglas.
Sound Engineers: Christopher Noel-Smith and Ron Godwyn.
Design supervision by Frederick Woods. Produced by Cyril Ornadel.
Here is another gem for the disc diadems of collectors of the Chaquito art. One that shines as brightly as all its predecessors, and one that reveals still more facets to the imaginative talent of this Latin gentleman.
Chaquito adherents are well aware by now that he has been in Fontana recording operation for over ten years, beginning in the first rhythmic flush of the cha cha cha dawn and continuing ever since with a scintillating LP string of instrumental Latin American pyrotechnics in the modern manner that bears comparison with any produced anywhere else, including Latin America itself. They also know he shows signs of positive response to the name of Johnny Gregory, too, and they realise he is an adept and active gentle-man over a vast range of musical territory from the classics to hit-parading pop, taking in film music, TV music, Gilbert and Sullivan, dance music and jazz between the two poles. But, being Chaquito adherents, they are especially interested when he wears his sombrero, dips his arranging pen in tequila, and scores the exciting Latin entertainment typified by this present selection.
They will realise with agreeable surprise that, as well as eight big band powerhouse tracks, there are four blending a twenty-piece string section and voices in a warmly successful manner. They will recall that strings are a speciality amongst the writing and arranging attainments of the man named Gregory, and they will surely welcome their inclusion in the Chaquito fold as a rewarding innovation.
The big band consists of the usual formidable five-piece rhythm section that is the constant, reliable basis for Chaquito’s musical magnificence, reeds and woodwind, and a brass section augmented by tuba and French horn for additional rich sonority.
This combination opens the proceedings with a turbulent presentation in the style of the Venezuelan joropo of El Mensu, written by the Argentine folk specialist and painter Ramon Ayala. This track packs all the potent Latin punch and ebullience of Chaquito, swinging like a belfry at wedding time. The woodwind and brass share the tune, there is some wild tenor-saxophone and trumpet soloing during the jazz interlude, and the
jumping rhythm section is sparked by some dazzling, rapid-fire timbales drumming from Barry Morgan. Serenata Negra introduces the strings and voices in cha cha cha tempo, with some solo vocal lines from one Miguel Sammes, and more neat timbales work rattling forth from Senor Morgan during the breaks.
Dardanella comes from the old New Orleans jazz bag, but get a baion showcase here as Stu Gordon’s rasping cabasa sets the rhythmic pace. Chaquito gestures respectfully towards New Orleans by means of a straight jazz passage before the chiming brass ring back the baion. A guitar cues in the strings and voices again for the beautiful Song of Orpheus from that memorable “Black Orpheus” movie award winner, and the heavy Chaquito brigade returns with The Gypsy, effectively featuring horn and tuba in its voicings. The first side ends with Steve Race’s outstanding musical tribute to his daughter as the woodwind, celeste, trumpet and cabasa combine to paint a very pretty picture that outdid the composer’s own recorded version at the time.
Ola, Ola, Ola rocks along infectiously, and then Stu Gordon gets up steam to relate the stirring tale of determined effort and its eventual award won by The Little Engine with obbligato “Choo choo choos” from the rest of the boys. The strings and voices make the most of Chaquito’s mambo variant (some say deviant) La Fajanada, complete with jazz piano break, Morgan timbales volleys, and a surprise ending. The Private Ay-ay-ay is a slightly sardonic tribute to all film and TV detectives by Chaquito and West End rumba bandleader Francisco Cavez, giving ritmoleros Jack Peach (drums), Denis Lopez (bongos), Barry Morgan (timbales) and Stu Gordon (maraccas) a chance for some violent exercise, plus some sky-scraping trumpet work from Stan Rodriguez. Tengo Una Esperancita reduces the temperature somewhat, paving the way for that famous number about the Greek lady of joy’s working motto, featuring the strings and voices once more. Another twelve tracks from London’s finest session musicians and Latin specialists, arranged and directed by a truly unique talent. It’s that Chaquito again without doubt.
Once Harry James’s band was on tour and delayed by a snowstorm. Harry picked up a group of local musicians and went on the aft. A listener observed, “The audience heard that trumpet and they never knew the difference!” His great, honeyed horn always cuts a very wide swath — it’s a powerhouse. Even in the midst of the great sidemen in the Goodman band of the late Thirties and early Forbes where he played, James stood out like a jewel. He was “born in a circus trunk” where his mother was a trapeze artist and his father a bandleader. His full name is Henry Haag James, the Haag from the circus of the same name where his parents worked. In this album, we’ve chosen some of his greatest recordings — they’re danceable and very listenable and they include some of the finest songs in recent years. As an added bonus, two of the numbers feature the marvelous voice of Doris Day, who was once the band vocalist for Harry — her first big break. When you add it all up, it’s a package you should be proud to take home and play.