I’ll Never Go There Anymore
The Jazz Side Of Sondheim
(Little Jazz Bird)
Jane Harvey, who is now 87, is a survivor of the swing era who not only looks remarkably young (she could pass for 60) but still has a
surprisingly youthful voice. She was part of the 1946 Benny Goodman Orchestra and, while never becoming a household name, she has
had several comebacks since, singing in a clear voice and in a style that straddles swing and cabaret. Most of her recordings have recently
been reissued on five CDs put out by the Little Jazz Bird label (available from www.janeharveygirlsinger.com).
Travelin’ Light serves as an excellent introduction to Jane Harvey’s singing. The bulk of the CD features her on a very obscure but
rewarding 1959 album (Leave It To Jane) on which she is backed by an orchestra arranged by Jack Kane. The repertoire ranges from
“Impossible” and “Misty” to “Sent For You Yesterday” and “Can’t Get Out Of This Mood.” In addition, there are quite a few “bonus tracks,”
mostly from the late 1940s including four numbers on which she is joined by the Page Cavanaugh Trio.
Lady Jazz is mostly pretty jazz-oriented. Jane Harvey is heard on a little-known session from 1974 that includes guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli
and trumpeter Doc Cheatham. In addition, there are her vocal selections from an album led by pianist Dick Wellstood that featured Fats
Waller songs, and six of her best recordings with Benny Goodman (including “Gotta Be This Or That” and “You Brought A New Kind Of
Love To Me”) along with some additional selections from other dates.
I’ll Never Go There Anymore is a 1964 ballad set in which the singer (in top voice) is accompanied by the Ray Ellis string orchestra. The
Jazz Side Of Sondheim, her most recent recording, is from 1988 and features her with a rhythm section that includes Mike Renzi on
keyboards, doing her best to turn Steven Sondheim’s songs into jazz. Despite adding swing to the songs, very few of the pieces (originally
written to fit into plays) prove to be that adaptable although this album is intriguing.
The Undiscovered Jane Harvey has all types of rarities including two numbers from an unfinished project with Duke Ellington, a unique
version of “I’m Gonna Go Fishing” with a band headed by Don Elliott, ten selections from an audition session with Les Paul, a medley with
pianist Ellis Larkins, odds and ends with other orchestras, and a few rare singles from the late 1940s.
Jane Harvey, who has been performing in recently times and should record again, is well deserved by these five enjoyable releases.
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 4
Van And Schenck
Pennant Winning Battery Of Songland
The Complete Wolverines
(Off The Record/Archeophone)
Archeophone (www.archeophone.com) has during the past few years easily been the top label in compiling sets dealing with pre-1920
music. While some of its releases (including the first three in this review) are outside of jazz, most are of strong interest to vintage music
and early jazz collectors.
The Italian-American Guido Deiro was the first star of the accordion, performing on concert stages and in vaudeville, making records as
early as 1911, and appearing in a Vitaphone short film in 1928. By the end of the 1920s his recording career was over and his star was
fading but Deiro stayed busy as a teacher and a spokesman for the accordion up until the time of his death in 1950. Archeophone, on four
CDs, have reissued all of his then-popular but now largely forgotten recordings. Vol. 3 covers 1917-22 while Vol. 4 dates from 1922-28.
Each of the sets (which is true of all of their releases) includes a colorful, informative and definitive booklet. Deiro alternates between
classical themes, popular songs and Italian melodies, displaying virtuosity and imagination on each selection. The accordion was no joke
in his hands, and he deserves to be remembered as a pioneering and early instrumental master of his instrument. Archeophone has served
his musical legacy extremely well.
Gus Van and Joe Schenck were very popular recording artists and hits on vaudeville. Both sang with Schenck accompanying the duo on
piano, and they were joined by orchestras on their records. Their Archeophone release has all of their earliest recordings from 1916-18
and is highlighted by their recording (the earliest) of “For Me and My Gal.” Van and Schenck are at their best when their voices are
harmonizing, and at their worst during Gus Van’s occasional solo numbers where his various dialects are full of dated and sometimes
offensive stereotypes typical of the era. Fans of early vaudeville will find this CD to be of strong historic interest.
The legendary and innovative cornetist Bix Beiderbecke made his first recordings with the Wolverines in 1924. Those recordings usually
sound quite primitive but on the recent Off The Record CD (released through Archeophone), Doug Benson’s magical restoration brings the
music to life; never before have these performances sounded so clear. With David Sager writing the very interesting liner notes which
really dissect the recordings and bring a fresh perspective to the classic records, the Complete Wolverines is recommended even to those
who already have these recordings. In addition to the 15 Wolverine performances with Beiderbecke (highlighted by “Jazz Me Blues,”
“Riverboat Shuffle,” “Royal Garden Blues,” “Tia Juana’ and “Big Boy”), Bix is featured with the Sioux City Six and the Rhythm Jugglers.
His replacement Jimmy McPartland is heard with the Wolverines on two numbers, and there are six later recordings by the reunion band
(called “The Original Wolverines”) including two selections that feature clarinetist Frank Teschemacher. The Complete Wolverines not
only contains timeless music but makes it possible for today’s listeners to finally hear what these performances really sounded like.
Four Classic Albums Plus
Four Classic Albums
Four Classic Albums
Five Classic Albums
The British Avid label (www.avidgroup.co.uk), under the direction of Dave Bennett, has done a consistently masterful job of bringing
back 1950s jazz. Their series of two-CD sets generally include at least the music from four complete Lps and sometimes more, and the
sound quality is superior. Four of Avid’s recent reissues are in this article.
Blossom Dearie’s high childlike voice always contrasted with her interpretations of sophisticated lyrics and her top-notch jazz piano
playing. On Four Classic Albums Plus, which has her first four full-length albums, six selections from her tenure with the French vocalese
group The Blue Stars Of France and her guest spot on King Pleasure’s “Moody’s Mood For Love,” shows that her voice was not quite as high-
pitched on her first couple of sessions as it would become. While Blossom Dearie Plays For Dancing is a rare instrumental set, she is heard
in her early vocal prime on the albums Blossom Dearie, Give Him The Ooh-La-La and Once Upon A Summertime. She not only found
something fresh to say on standards but took such obscurities as “Now At Last,” “A Fine Spring Morning,” “Moonlight Saving Time,”
“Bang Goes The Drum” and “I Walk A Little Faster,” helping to introduce a fresh repertoire to the jazz and cabaret worlds.
Whether on tenor or alto, in the late 1940s or the 1980s, Sonny Stitt always stood for bebop. His Four Classic Albums features Stitt leading
quartets on Saxophone Supremacy and Personal Appearance, jamming a full set with the Oscar Peterson Trio, and battling fellow tenor
Eddie “Lockjaw Davis” on four numbers. Plenty of sparks fly during these sets from 1954-59, with Stitt displaying his ability to
confidently string together an endless series of bebop licks that helped to define the music. He never ran out of gas.
While trumpeter Joe Newman is best remembered for his association with Count Basie, he led many rewarding small-group sessions of his
own, particularly during the 1950s. Four Classic Albums reissues Locking Horns (a quintet set with tenor-saxophonist Zoot Sims), All I
Wanna Do Is Swing (an octet album with tenor-saxophonist Al Cohn), The Midgets (a septet with flutist Frank Wess), and Soft Swingin’
Jazz which teams Newman with organist Shirley Scott. In each setting Newman’s trumpet is heard at its prime, with arrangements
contributed on the latter two dates by Ernie Wilkins. Basie fans will certainly enjoy these performances.
Illinois Jacquet, who made “Flying Home” famous with Lionel Hampton in 1942 and whose honking and screaming ushered in the era of
r&b tenors, was a well-rounded swing-to-bop stylist who was always capable of generating a great deal of heat. Five Classic Albums has
Jacquet at his most stirring during 1951-57, romping with a variety of groups ranging from five to eleven pieces with appearances by
baritonist Leo Parker, trumpeter Roy Eldridge, Illinois’ brother trumpeter Russell Jacquet and two hot encounters with Ben Webster. This
is some of the most exciting jazz of the period, another gem from the Avid label.
(Ben Powell Music)
Violinist Ben Powell’s New Street (available from www.ben-powell.com) is partly a tribute to Stephane Grappelli although mostly a
showcase for Powell’s individual violin playing. Powell does sound a little like Grappelli tone-wise in spots but he is mostly his own man,
performing music that ranges from modern swing to postbop jazz.
Most of the selections feature Powell in a quartet with pianist Tadatako Unno (a fine soloist), bassist Aaron Darrell and drummer Devin
Drobka. From the hard-driving “Judith” to a heartfelt “La Vie En Rose” and a witty “Monk 4 Strings,” Powell (whose five originals
includes “Swingin’ For Stephane”) shows that he is one of the more stimulating and skilled jazz violinists around today.
Three songs feature what is billed as the “Stephane Grappelli Tribute Trio.” Powell is teamed with the great vibraphonist Gary Burton and
guitarist Julian Lage on a pair of Grappelli tunes (“Gary” and “Piccadilly Stomp”) plus “La Chanson Des Rues.” The unusual violin-vibes-
guitar trio swings hard and, as is true throughout New Street, the music does Stephane Grappelli justice.
Chico & Rita
The recent animated musical film Chico & Rita has been receiving very good reviews. The story is about a Cuban pianist (Chico) and a
singer (Rita) in the 1940s and ‘50s. Bebo Valdes plays many of the piano parts and composed and arranged much of the music while
Idania Valdes does the singing. Such historic characters as Chano Pozo, Dizzy Gillespie (whose part is played by Michael Mossman), Charlie
Parker, Tito Puente and Ben Webster (Jimmy Heath takes his solos) are portrayed as is Nat King Cole, with Freddy Cole filling in for his
The soundtrack CD (available from www.calle54records.com) holds up very well apart from the film. While some of the 30 selections are
brief, there is fine playing by Bebo Valdes (who recently retired at the age of 92) and Rolando Luna on pianos, a variety of Cuban
musicians and three guest spots for Jimmy Heath. The music includes Afro-Cuban jazz, Cuban dance music and the various styles heard
in Cuba in the 1950s.
This is a CD well worth checking out, as is the valuable film.
To The Ladies Of Cool
Kathy Kosins’ tribute To The Ladies Of Cool pays homage to June Christy, Chris Connor, Anita O’Day and Julie London, but not in an
obvious way. Ms. Kosins does not make any attempt to copy any of the four singers (all of whom were in their prime in the 1950s) and her
slightly heavier voice is distinctive in its own right. While she mostly performs material on this project that was recorded by one or more
of the singers, their most famous tunes are not here and some of the numbers (such as “Nightbird,” “Don’t Wait Up for Me” and
“November Twilight”) are obscure. So her tribute is really more to their legacy rather than direct emulation. In any case, this is an
excellent effort that will be enjoyed by fans of those singers. Pianist Tamir Hendelman, who also contributed all of the arrangements, is
joined in the sextet by the powerful saxophonist Steve Wilkerson (long an underrated great in the L.A. area), trumpeter Gilbert
Castellanos, guitarist Graham Dechter, drummer Bob Leatherbarrow and either Kevin Axt or Paul Keller on bass. Kathy Kosins sounds
jubilant on “Hershey’s Kisses” (a Johnny Mandel song for which she wrote the lyrics), revives “Learnin’ The Blues,” and is appropriately
sly on “Kissing Bug.” To The Ladies Of Cool (available from www.resonancerecords.org) is one of her most appealing recordings so far.
Veteran singer Judi Silvano mostly performs well known standards on Indigo Moods, but in a very different setting, as part of a trio with
pianist Peter Tomlinson and trumpeter Fred Jacobs. Tomlinson’s playing is sympathetic and restrained while Jacobs often blends in with
the singer. Ms. Silvano does a fine job of casting a fresh light on such songs as “Mood Indigo,” “Skylark,” “If You Could See Me Now” and
“Embraceable You.” The interpretations are thoughtful, creative in subtle ways, and melodic but with a few quiet surprises. This
excellent outing is available from www.judisilvano.com.
Lauren Henderson’s debut recording finds the young singer displaying a great deal of potential.
She sounds equally comfortable singing ballads such as “Skylark” and “I Should Care” as she does light swingers (“Taking A Chance On
Love”) and in Portuguese (“Veinte Anos” and Jobim’s “So Tinha de Ser Com Voce”). Ms. Henderson’s voice is quite attractive, her youthful
sound is infectious, and she knows how to improvise while doing justice to the lyrics and melody. This is a fine effort (available from www.
laurenhendersonmusic.com) that makes one look forward to Lauren Henderson’s future projects.
Luke Gillespie Trio
Third Bass Line
Luke Gillespie, on his two previous CDs Footprints and Live At The Station, showed that he was a superior pianist who was adept at
reharmonizing and reinventing standards. Third Bass Line is his third trio recording with bassist Jeremy Allen and drummer Jason
Tiemann. The players’ close musical communication and familiarity with each other is obvious.
Gillespie performs modernized versions of four standards and four of his originals (which could almost pass as standards). Highlights
include a fresh rendition of “Star Dust” and a version of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” that is thoughtful and includes the rarely-heard
verse. But in reality all eight numbers are rewarding, with the three musicians often seeming to think as one
Third Bass Line, which is easily recommended and available from www.watercourserecords.com, was recorded in Bloomington, Indiana
and is strong evidence that creative jazz is alive and well in the Midwest.