June 14, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

Miles Davis, Richard Carpenter, Rufus Thomas, Chuck Israels, Al Green, Hod O’Brien, Chick Webb – Photos, Videos

Richard, of course, is the surviving half of the Carpenters, the best-selling 1970s sunshine pop group. Richard’s sister Karen died in 1983 at age 32 of heart failure brought on by anorexia nervosa. Richard and I talked about his early years growing up with Karen and how they became America’s top pop group.

On a personal note, I’ve been a big Carpenters fan since the early 1970s and have always felt that Karen’s voice remains the greatest female pop voice in the post 1970 era. Recently released is Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic and at Spotify. [Photo of Ricahrd Carpenter in his California home for The Wall Street Journal]

Karen and Richard singing Rainy Days and Mondays. Watch at roughly 3:15 the signal between Richard and Karen to take a hard stop before continuing. Richard throws his right hand down, away from the keyboard, as Karen catches the sign peripherally so they stop together…


Musicians and booze ads.
 Following the post on jazz and beer ads, readers sent along links to clips of other artists hawking alcohol:

Miles Davis in 1985 for Van shochu, a Japanese beverage distilled from rice, courtesy of William Jensen…

Rufus Thomas for Schlitz Malt Liquor in 1974, courtesy of Tom Shaker…

Chuck Israels on Hod O’Brien.
 Bill Evans bassist Chuck Israels (above) sent along the following email…

“In 1955, I was 19 and spent summers in Stockbridge, Mass., where my parents ran a summer music and arts camp for teenagers called Indian Hill. Randy Weston had a regular summer gig in nearby Lenox, across the road from Tanglewood. Tumpeter Richard Williams and baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne were regular wind players there. A succession of drummers and bass players passed through—Sam Gill, Peck Morrison, Ahmed Abdul Malik, Ron Carter and Jim Atlas. I’d get invited to sit in from time to time. I learned a lot. So there was plenty of jazz in that sophisticated, rural, Berkshire County environment, and I was somewhat known as a young, aspiring player.

“At some point, someone told me there was another young jazz musician in Stockbridge—pianist Hod O’Brien. He, too, was 19. Someone introduced us, and I found a fellow aspiring professional jazz musician and a lifelong friend. Hod had been a student at Oberlin College in Ohio, and we had lots of time to get to know each other.

“Hod’s playing was already well developed, and a short time later he moved to New York and landed a job as the pianist in Oscar Pettiford’s band. I had multiple opportunities to be at rehearsals at Janet Stuart Rhinelander’s swank Park Avenue apartment thanks to my friendship with Hod.

“As a young bass player, I was exposed to Oscar’s high level of bass playing, inventive soloing and advanced arranging and leadership skills. I didn’t have enough experience hearing other bands to know how extraordinary Oscar’s musicianship was. It was simply the model to which I was regularly exposed. I just assumed, ‘That’s the way you’re supposed to do it.’

“What a fortuitous opportunity—to fall into the center of the New York jazz crucible and be exposed to such a high standard at the beginning of my musical development. I’m grateful to Hod (he played beautifully throughout his career and died last year) and to Oscar, for setting a wonderful example before I even knew that it was an exceptional one. I still play Oscar’s music with enormous satisfaction.”

Hod O’Brien and bassist Daryl Johns at New York’s Mezzrow in 2016 playing Tadd Dameron’s Tadd’s Delight…

Chuck with Bill Evans on piano and Larry Bunker on drums in London in 1965 playing Waltz for Debby

Remember who started it.
 Chick Webb’s recording of Stompin’ at the Savoy in May 1934 with song composer Edgar Sampson’s Lindy arrangement (despite Columbia’s attempt to call it a fox trot on the label)…

Benny Goodman and His Rhythm Makers’ first-time transcription recording of the same arrangement of Stompin’ at the Savoy in June 1935 slowed slightly to a fox trot…

Roy Eldridge radio.
 Next Wednesday, January 30, WKCR-FM will present its annual “Roy Eldridge Birthday Broadcast.” The music of the trumpeter known as “Little Jazz” will play for 24 hours starting Tuesday night at 11:59 p.m. (EST). You can listen from anywhere in the world on your phone or computer. [Photo of Roy Eldridge above by William P. Gottlieb]

What the heck:
 Al Green singing Let’s Stay Together in the early 1970s (to read my WSJ sit-down interview with Al in Memphis back in 2012)…

Oddball album cover of the week.


Given the Wolfman moon-rise across the lake and the ominous feel of the illustration, what mood exactly is she supposed to be in? And why would she need music?

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