I have no intention of detailing my trips to Trader Joe’s and Macy’s. To do so would bore even the most fervent reader of JAZZ LIVES. But yesterday, I went to one of the three thrift stores I favor. There I found a new chamois L.L. Bean shirt, a blue glass soap dish, both much desired . . . and two records.
One is yet another posthumous Glenn Miller reunion, recorded 1958 for Enoch Light’s Grand Award label (GA 33-207). The orchestra is conducted by trombonist Bobby Byrne, and the personnel is wonderfully authentic: Dale “Mickey” McMickle, Bobby Hackett, Bernie Privin, Steve Lipkins, trumpet; Bobby Byrne, Al Mastren, Frank D’Annolfo, Harry DiVito, trombone; Jimmy Abato, Peanuts Hucko, Hank Freeman, Tex Beneke, Al Klink, Mannie Thaler, reeds; Lou Stein, piano; Carmen Mastren, guitar; Trigger Alpert, string bass; Maurice Purtill, drums. They play MOONLIGHT SERENADE, LITTLE BROWN JUG, TUXEDO JUNCTION, STAR DUST, STRING OF PEARLS, SUNRISE SERENADE, JOHNSON RAG, RHAPSODY IN BLUE, AMERICAN PATROL, ADIOS, ALICE BLUE GOWN. The sleeve says the recording is monaural, but the disc is true stereo.
As a deep Hackett fancier, I can report that he offers interesting variations on his STRING OF PEARLS solo. I am amused to note that since he was presumably still under contract to Capitol Records, although his name is listed in the personnel, the notes are very quiet about his presence: “Here again you hear a famous trumpet soloist take his famous solo on A String of Pearls — but this time in high fidelity!”
It is indeed high fidelity; the arrangements are expertly played, and there are solo spots as there were on the originals.
Here’s A STRING OF PEARLS (a diligent YouTube searcher can find more):
But there’s more. And I’m not even talking about the soap dish.
I’ve passed this record by several times — one can’t buy everything at once — but now I didn’t. It’s Bing, with Bob Scobey, Frank Beach, trumpet; Abe Lincoln, trombone; Matty Matlock, clarinet; Dave Harris, tenor; Ralph Sutton, piano; Clancy Hayes, guitar; Red Callendar, string bass; Nick Fatool, drums, recorded in Los Angeles in February 1957. The songs are a delicious collation of old-time favorites and Bing is in fine form — as is the band. DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME / SOME SUNNY DAY / I’M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER / TELL ME / EXACTLY LIKE YOU / LET A SMILE BE YOUR UMBRELLA / MAMA LOVES PAPA / DOWN AMONG THE SHELTERING PALMS / LAST NIGHT ON THE BACK PORCH / ALONG THE WAY TO WAIKIKI / WHISPERING / MACK THE KNIFE. Scobey is particularly fine, and glimpses of Lincoln and Fatool are always life-enhancing. (A collector’s perhaps silly side-note: the previous owner paid $18 for the record at a New York City record shop.)
And here’s the music. How easy and rich it sounds.
I know that the Crosby recording was issued on CD, but the thrill of finding both these records by surprise (amidst banjo discs, Andy Williams records, and other items) is not to be sniffed at. Each disc cost slightly more than a dollar. Good value.
Someone who loved “Dixieland” may have died, or at least no longer uses or owns a turntable, and the records now cheer another listener. I left behind an anonymous record by “the New Orleanians” and the Project 3 issue of Bobby Hackett and Vic Dickenson, called THIS IS MY BAG — which I already have. Let others get wonderful surprises, too. Music is meant to be heard, not hoarded.
May your happiness increase!