Jimmie Rowles is one of my most exalted musical heroes — unpredictable, witty, full of feeling, unpredictable yet always right in ways that no one could expect.

This is a particularly rare Rowles-hearing, and one that people haveci,  sought after for some time (my fellow Rowlesians Michael Kanan, Jacob Zimmerman, and Richard Salvucci, this is for you).  Many jazz fans will be excited by this because it pairs Charlie Parker and Chet Baker for one of the few times they were captured together, but for me the attraction is Rowles.

The Stash record with this rare music; background by Tommy Bahama.

The occasion: a concert at the University of Oregon. These three songs or excepts from songs appeared on a Stash lp sometime before 1988: as far as I know this music, recorded on tape, has not appeared on compact disc.  Typically for that time, the unnamed recordist was thrifty: recording tape was costly, so (s)he concentrated on Bird.  Thus the recordings are excerpted — COOL BLUES less so — so we have to wait until eleven minutes in to hear Rowles out in the open, and he sounds so delightful.

Sonic caveats here: I decided a long time ago that I would rather present imperfect videos than spend time learning how to perfect the technology, so what follows is the original Stash lp, played through speakers, recorded by my camera.  Thus the sharp-eared may hear rustlings of cars outside, my refrigerator singing its own songs, and the pre-school brother-and-sister upstairs who live to chase one another.  I apologize for all this, but the music is the gift.

Bless Jimmie Rowles.

May your happiness increase!


  1. Bill Morrison

    The first two tracks did appear on CD in 2006, on the United Archives label, but sadly, they didn’t include “Cool Blues,” “due to the poor technical quality of the recording and is musically lamentably below the standard of other numerous versions available.” Quibbles over syntax aside, how could they? Or more to the point, how couldn’t they? Don’t they know there are Rowles fanatics out here?

  2. douglaspomeroy2871

    It is off pitch, running too fast. MY ERROR! Doug Pomeroy • audiofixer@verizon.com 193 Baltic St., Brooklyn, NY 11201-6173 718 855-2650

  3. Happy to have added more Rowles to your aural archives, Bill. And we’re not “fanatics”; we’re “acolytes,” I think. And we know syntax!

  4. William G Morrison

    Point taken re: fanatics. I try to keep my enthusiasms civilized, but every now and then I slip.

  5. All is forgiven. Come home! There’s a saucer of Rowles on the doorstep.


    Michael, Don’t think we ever mentioned Rowles, one of my all time favorite pianists and also got to know well. Do you have his Ellington CD? A British fellow fan made a copy for me but it’s so long ago I forgot who, and what label was. Gary Giddins was first to mention it to me so I could ask him, but of course you may know it, it’s solo. Love him with Ben Webster! And I interviewed him for the NEA project (JOHP) which is stashed at IJS. As I’m sure you know he had a booze problem which no doubt shortened his life. Bob Porter will know all about that Bird-Chet thing—is he in your circle? Dan


  7. I am pretty sure we spoke of Rowles in person, will check — and if not, he should be next on the list. Stay cool!!

  8. William G Morrison

    The Ellington disc Dan speaks of is on the Cymbol label (not to be confused with the Ellington/Strayhorn Rowles album on CBS).

  9. also duets with Joe Newman on Cymbol . . .

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