WHEN THE RADIO WAS HOT: “JAZZ AT STORYVILLE,” featuring PEANUTS HUCKO, JOHNNY WINDHURST, GEORGE WEIN, DICK LE FAVE, JOHN FIELD, MARQUIS FOSTER, ERWIN FERRY, EDDIE PHYFE, and NAT HENTOFF (WMEX, Boston 1951).

Johnny Windhurst
Peanuts Hucko at the Famous Door, 1946-48, by William P. Gottlieb
George Wein

There was a time when live hot jazz came pouring out of the speaker of your AM radio. We’ve heard airshots by the big bands and Charlie Parker and his friends, but radio station WMEX in Boston, for a time, offered prime live music, often hosted by a then-young Nat Hentoff. Collectors recorded and saved these broadcasts, doing us a great service decades later. My copy of this music may have originated with Joe Boughton, who passed it on to John L. Fell.

Here’s a half-hour of lively music from the spring of 1951, a Sunday afternoon session, “Jazz at Storyville,” from George Wein’s club in that city. The players are Johnny Windhurst, cornet; Peanuts Hucko, clarinet, vocal; Dick Le Fave, trombone; Wein, piano; John Field, string bass; Marquis Foster, drums, later joined by Erwin Ferry, trombone, with Eddie Phyfe replacing Foster.

The repertoire is what you would hear at Eddie Condon’s club in New York, and that is no bad thing: INTRODUCTION / ROYAL GARDEN BLUES / SQUEEZE ME (scat vocal Hucko) / STEALIN’ APPLES (Hucko, Wein, Field, Foster) / Eddie Phyfe, drums, replaces Foster; Erwin Perry, tenor saxophone added for EASTER PARADE / WHEN YOU’RE SMILING / IMPROVISATION FOR THE MARCH OF TIME (or DEEP HARLEM) //

I’m most charmed by Hucko’s vocal, Windhurst’s electricity, and Wein in splendid form, but this half-hour stands as testimony to the durability of the common hot language, call the results what you will:

Seventy-one years old, but it doesn’t show its age.

May your happiness increase!

One response to “WHEN THE RADIO WAS HOT: “JAZZ AT STORYVILLE,” featuring PEANUTS HUCKO, JOHNNY WINDHURST, GEORGE WEIN, DICK LE FAVE, JOHN FIELD, MARQUIS FOSTER, ERWIN FERRY, EDDIE PHYFE, and NAT HENTOFF (WMEX, Boston 1951).

  1. The treat for me was hearing the unheralded Dick LeFave, a smooth trombonist comfortable in any setting. That’s his frequent musical companion Ernie Perry on the tenor.

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