Daily Archives: November 2, 2009

TENOR MADNESS (Hanna, Phil, and Tom)

If you saw the title and assumed that this was a Sonny Rollins tribute band, get that thought right out of your head.  As much as I admire Rollins, the tenor saxophone is sufficiently well-established in jazz so that it doesn’t need the extra publicity.

No, TENOR MADNESS looks like this:TENOR MADNESS

I’m only sorry that the picture is bite-sized, for it captures Phil Flanigan, heroic bassist, his wife Hanna Richardson, a wonderfully unaffected yet hip singer (and tenor guitarist), and Tom Bronzetti (also on tenor guitar).  Oh, say can they swing! 

They have a MySpace page, where you can hear them and see where they are playing next: http://www.myspace.com/tenorguitarmadness

I’ve been an admirer of Hanna and Phil’s for some years now, ever since I was asked to review their first CD (on the LaLa label) for the late lamented Mississippi Rag — I became a fan as well as a convert to their insouciant swing.  Jazz party producers, are you paying attention?  This trio is compact yet their swinging music pours out generously.  And they don’t care if the piano in your living room is out of tune.  I predict great things!

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THE SPIRIT OF LOUIS, 2009

Deep thanks to my fellow jazz cinematographer, Flemming Thorbye — http://www.thorbye.net — who took his video camera to the Kulturhus Brønden, Brøndby Strand, Denmark, on October 25, 2009, to capture three songs by the Scandinavian Rhythm Boys with Joe Muranyi as their esteemed guest star.  The SRB consist of Robert Hansson, trumpet; Frans Sjostrom, bass sax; Ole Olsen, bass; Michael Bøving, banjo/vocal. 

Perhaps it’s their tempos, their choice of songs, their incredible feeling — but I felt as if Louis was everywhere on that stage.  Not that the players copied his solos — but his intensity and his eloquence.  See if you don’t feel it, too.

First, a stately NEW ORLEANS — even though Boving does his own version of Carmichael’s lyrics, the spirit resonates fervently:

Much beloved of Jimmie Noone and Nat Cole, SWEET LORRAINE:

Finally, a walking SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET:

Bless all of them for their willingness to show their feelings.  And what feelings they are!  Visit the SRB website to learn about the band, to hear performances, and to buy their CDs.  (http://www.srbjazz.com) And bless Thorbye for sharing this very moving music.

BOBBY HACKETT, 1939

I paid a visit to eBay not long ago to search for my usual favorites, among them Bobby Hackett.  The expected records and compact discs were all there, but this was new:

tinkelsong1009

Stops you cold, doesn’t it?

Reader, I bid on it.  And now it’s MINE!  (Awaiting delivery, mind you, but I am a patient fellow.)  I could ruminate here about the practice of musicians, singers, and vaudevillians paying to have their portraits put on the covers of sheet music, and wonder if Feist paid Hackett or Hackett actually agreed to have his big band play THE TINKLE SONG in hopes that it would be a hit.  Harry Woods (of TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS and many others) had been successful, although THE TINKLE SONG seems to have perished without so much as a . . . trace.  On that subject, Paul Riseman, seller-extraordinaire of sheet music, has offered a copy of STAIRWAY TO THE STARS, presumably the same vintage, with the same youthful Hackett photograph, and I once saw a sheet of the song LITTLE SKIPPER with the same photo. Aside from STAIRWAY, the other two songs offer sad evidence of just how low the Hackett band was in the eyes of song-pluggers, don’t they? 

I will report on the lyrical-musical content of the song when I get the sheet music and peruse the lyrics.