The Now Spinning/Recent Purchases Thread

Rudy

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I'm lucky to have a couple '60s Blue Notes I acquired back in the '80s, but never did a side-by-side sonic evaluation. Although, about 20 years ago, before the recent LP boom, a friend and I did an A/B Blue Note comparison with Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch: the '80s CD vs. an '80 re-issue LP. (At the time, my friend bought and recently restored an EICO, I think it had smoooooth, sweeeeet EL-84s.) The difference? Well, the CD seemed a little harder-edged and bulkier with stronger bass and glassier highs; the LP didn't hit as hard, and had muddier bass. In the end, we decided it was just whatever one fancied for sound -- both had advantages and disadvantages.

It's also like we were discussing on another forum--remastering 55+ years old tapes, you are bound to encounter some losses. It's not so much storage degradation alone, but from wear, as some of the masters were used so many times for reissues. And back in the 80s and 90s, the record companies at first were not careful about which masters they used--many early CDs were made from LP production masters (which often have the LP's EQ mastering settings committed to the tape, to make recutting the album easier). I did poke around a bit for original 1964 releases of the Horace Silver album, but there was nothing better than VG+, some VG or G, and prices high.

For kicks I found the Dolphy album on Qobuz, and I'm streaming it in hi-res at the moment. It's a very nice sounding version, very clean.
 

JOv2

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One can only imagine the story of the masters of the '60s pop music of someone like Simon & Garfunkel...wonder how many hundreds of times "the master" was yanked. I'm not intimate with that aspect of the recording/business process, but it would seem there are surely more than one "master"; I'm guessing the "one-and-only" sees limited use -- and that it's use would most likely be limited to making a bank of dups -- from which more dups are made...and so on until the point where the consumer CD/LP is directly made. What I can say is that I've yet to hear any commercial CD or LP or RtR that is equatable with a 1" tape chugging along at 30ips (or even 15ips) in a studio.

As for Blue Note, Song For My Father, The Sidewinder, and a few of the Jimmy Smith LPs were the ones that the powers that be probably kept pulling. (Oh, so is then safe to assume the Blue Note "masters" were safe from the '08 Universal fire.)

That Dolphy Blue Note is something else altogether: avant guard for sure, but devoid of the atonality and honking that all too often characterized "free jazz" of 1963-69.
 

JOv2

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Can't go anywhere without these two:

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JOv2

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Harry Nilsson's very good music to an (apparently) very bad movie, and the one Randy doesn't like given the re-work, etc...

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Rudy

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Hitting the Stan Kenton today. These first two are from the mellophonium era; I think both were also Grammy winners.

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I listened to the stereo LP of this yesterday, and went back to the mono version. The stereo is a mess.

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And this one is a bit of a cash-in on the Bossa Nova fad but still enjoyable for what it is:

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Finally, a 1952 date that starts off with a somewhat pretentious "Prologue" with Stan introducing the members and sections of the orchestra. Maynard Ferguson is features on this one, and his supersonic range was evident even all these decades ago. It's also somewhat discordant--that doesn't usually bother me, but it's laid on a bit thick here.

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JOv2

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Hitting the Stan Kenton today.
I'm weak on '60s Kenton. A friend lent me that Neophonic Orchestra LP back in the late '70s (which I now see was recorded in '65 and has Nic on the drummer's throne). I like Kenton, and as was the case with Dolphy, he's definitely onto something else... His music is surely rooted in improvisation, but Kenton's unique approach doesn't really freely swing like Basie or Herman. It's different. Thirty years ago at Village Music I crossed pathes with a "Kentonophile" (from the day) who told me there was no feeling on this earth comparable to hearing Kenton live with 5 trumpets, 4 bones, 4 mellphones and a tuba blowing fff. Mancini amended his jazz bands with French horns -- but they were always smooooth (not unlike how Burt always added the strings on the second chorus to sweeten up the foundation). Those Kenton mellophones seem rather brash at times -- and apparently were hard to play in tune.

Maynard Ferguson is features on this one, and his supersonic range
Never really understood MF's approach to playing. Doc and Jumbo were virtuosi who rather enjoyed playing well above high C and would normally do so in a fairly musical manner; by comparison, MF seemed more like a spectacle and less like music.


Today, it was two Alex North s/ts:
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Rudy

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Pat Senatore plays on this Kenton album (and maybe others?):

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Steely Dan was using "Turtle Talk" from this album to open their shows on their 2006 tour.

Maynard's another mixed bag. Some of his stratospheric playing was on top of ensemble works (I think the highest note I ever heard him play was a double-high concert E, on Perez Prado's "Voodoo Suite") and his playing was squirrelly at times, but there are times where his playing goes beyond window dressing. (He could solo his butt off when he wanted to.) His Roulette era is definitely the best, and he had a dual role on the label--he made his best big band albums for the label, but also made a couple of dance albums on the label that covered popular tunes and ran shorter in length. The album Newport Suite (which I'm playing at the moment) is probably one of the best in terms of his ensemble work. (Don Ellis is another notable name on this album.)

His big strengths were his development of young and relatively unknown talent both in playing and arranging, his support of music education, and leading tight ensembles. He extended the Kenton tradition and took it into more melodic territory.

I don't mind his commercial recordings (except the album with "Rocky 2 Disco" which was the absolute rock bottom) as many of those charts were popular among school campuses around the country. (We had a yearly battle-of-the-big-bands between our district's four high schools and we nearly got our butts kicked by one of the other high schools playing Maynard's "Birdland" chart, especially since the lead trumpet player had just gotten herself a Jet Tone mouthpiece. 😁) We played a few of his charts as well, like "Country Road" from M.F. Horn 2.

Buying Mosaic's Roulette Maynard box was a stretch back in the day, but I'm glad I bought it. I really had to push myself since I knew it was limited edition, and we'd also heard rumors of Mosaic's prices increasing from $15 to $16 per CD on their sets (which were all priced by the disc--$15 for CD and $10 for LP if I'm not mistaken). So, I bought in just before the increase. Nowadays you can't find one for under $350.
 

Rudy

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One of my needle drops from last night. Let's see how long it lasts before it's taken down. The LP itself sounds a little odd, so it's nothing YouTube did in its data compression. (And it's probably something only I would notice anyways.)

 

JOv2

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Buying Mosaic's Roulette Maynard box was a stretch back in the day, but I'm glad I bought it. I really had to push myself since I knew it was limited edition, and we'd also heard rumors of Mosaic's prices increasing from $15 to $16 per CD on their sets (which were all priced by the disc--$15 for CD and $10 for LP if I'm not mistaken). So, I bought in just before the increase.
I had no idea about the collectability of those Mosaics. I started buying them in the mid '80s: I was working as a jazz FM station and two of the DJs were all over the Monk set, which I believe was one of the first sets. Ultimately, much of the Blue Note offerings were subsequently eventually issued by Cuscuna.

Rudy, you've got me on a Kenton kick since THR...

Know anything about this one? The backstory is interesting (nice cover art, as well):
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Kenton's piano playing is as immediately identifiable as is his band! I also have his solo piano LP (from round about '74), which I like a great deal.
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As I've aged, Kenton "on fire" can give me headaches (!) so releases like this are becoming more appealing:
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Jack (Sheldon) plays on this one: I think he was a ringer for the session as I can't imagine Kenton recruiting Jackoas their approaches are nearly 180 to each other.
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Here's solid mid '50s Kenton:
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On thing that became apparent as Kenton moved into the 1960s: musicians with "names" (i.e., those who would go on as leaders on recording dates) essentially disappear from his personnel. Most of the names from a couple of the early '60s sets I don't recognize -- even as LA-area session musicians. One thing for sure: Whatever Herb paid Pat for his TJB work was like "free money" (if I may be so bold): Compared to the challenging and complex music Kenton's arrangers were having Pat play, the TJB arrangements -- much of which were very simple "root V" stuff -- must have seem like child's play (ah, the economic benefits of "pop" music!). Apples and oranges for sure. It's just that, knowing what Pat was capable of doing, I wish he could have pushed some of the bass parts of the TJB arrangements into more challenging waters.
 

DAN BOLTON

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I had no idea about the collectability of those Mosaics. I started buying them in the mid '80s: I was working as a jazz FM station and two of the DJs were all over the Monk set, which I believe was one of the first sets. Ultimately, much of the Blue Note offerings were subsequently eventually issued by Cuscuna.

Rudy, you've got me on a Kenton kick since THR...

Know anything about this one? The backstory is interesting (nice cover art, as well):
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Kenton's piano playing is as immediately identifiable as is his band! I also have his solo piano LP (from round about '74), which I like a great deal.
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As I've aged, Kenton "on fire" can give me headaches (!) so releases like this are becoming more appealing:
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Jack (Sheldon) plays on this one: I think he was a ringer for the session as I can't imagine Kenton recruiting Jackoas their approaches are nearly 180 to each other.
R-5158048-1398701690-7184-jpeg.jpg



Here's solid mid '50s Kenton:
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On thing that became apparent as Kenton moved into the 1960s: musicians with "names" (i.e., those who would go on as leaders on recording dates) essentially disappear from his personnel. Most of the names from a couple of the early '60s sets I don't recognize -- even as LA-area session musicians. One thing for sure: Whatever Herb paid Pat for his TJB work was like "free money" (if I may be so bold): Compared to the challenging and complex music Kenton's arrangers were having Pat play, the TJB arrangements -- much of which were very simple "root V" stuff -- must have seem like child's play (ah, the economic benefits of "pop" music!). Apples and oranges for sure. It's just that, knowing what Pat was capable of doing, I wish he could have pushed some of the bass parts of the TJB arrangements into more challenging waters.

I would imagine that the relative simplicity of the TJB arrangements vs the Kenton stuff Pat played meant that he could knock out a bassline in a rather short time, which is a real boon during a recording session. If being the bass player for the TJB might not have been technically challenging, he most definitely was being satisfied artistically, or he wouldn't have stayed with the group.
 

Rudy

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I really have no problem with a musician if they want to go from serious music over to where the money is. To them, a gig is a gig, and they have to keep a roof over their heads. After having heard how little the bulk of musicians make, it's understandable. One band I know of who recorded for a few major labels made little from touring, but it boosted the sales of their current recording, where they'd see the proceeds of it at a minimum several months if not a year after it was recorded (both songwriting and performance royalties...they get their trickle at the very end after everyone else has grabbed their share, and they've recouped any advances the record label gave them to record the album). And all of the musicians in the band have side gigs. They work as studio musicians, they teach at universities, they do private tutoring, and they take on local gigs to back other artists.

And like Dan says, the pros can easily translate Herb's ideas into music, and add their own touches. Many bands create music when someone brings forth a sketch of a tune, and the members take it places the composers never thought of. That's what the power of the musicians in the TJB had behind them--they were well-seasoned enough to get Herb's ideas out as music, and embellish it with their own personal touches that put a distinct signature on it.

On thing that became apparent as Kenton moved into the 1960s: musicians with "names" (i.e., those who would go on as leaders on recording dates) essentially disappear from his personnel. Most of the names from a couple of the early '60s sets I don't recognize -- even as LA-area session musicians.

I've noticed that too. I wonder if that was due to economics, or how music was changing at the time. A lot of the usual west coast musicians were doing gigs in the studios, probably for better pay than Kenton's organization could offer for recording and touring. Or maybe they all gravitated towards Maynard's band. 😁

I had no idea about the collectability of those Mosaics.

One of the first to gain notoriety was the 15-CD Nat King Cole Trio box--it sold out, and used prices even back then were soaring. As much as I like his Trio recordings, I don't know that 15 hours' worth is something I could digest that easily. Some of the Mosaic boxes have been the only reissues of some of the material--a few of Maynard's better-known albums appeared on digital in later years, but not all of this Roulette catalog has.
 

JOv2

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More on Jack Sheldon: He's playing the "featured" solo trumpet on the Johnny Mandel s/t "The Sandpiper". Mandel stated that he wanted a trumpet, but he wanted a player who could feel the freedom of jazz devoid of any embellishments...which he knew was a tall order. So through a few contacts, Sheldon was asked if he'd to it. In the FSM (Film Score Monthly) issue I have, Mandel recounts a funny story where Jack's standing behind the orchestra playing his solo part over the musicians and the conductor keeps calling loudly over to him using traditional Italian musical notation...to which Jack finally calls loudly back: "Hey, man, this is just a hobby for me", which caused the orchestra members to crack up. Of course, session work was a hobby: Jack was a headliner.

More Kenton: I think Richards was his 2nd wife. The well-known story is that Kenton divorced her because she did a Playboy layout without his knowledge ('61.)
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This one I'm also curious about -- from the tale end of his Capitol run ('68). After this its "Creative World" Kenton and the 1970s.
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JOv2

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especially since the lead trumpet player had just gotten herself a Jet Tone mouthpiece
Yep. There's also the double cups. I understand a lot of the Mexican bands use those things -- a quick and dirty way to get at playing about a half-octave higher. I've read the trade off is the usual: proper embouchure development and a robust tone. Let's put is this way: Pops was hitting those crazy notes in the 1920s with most likely an old 1x on cornet.

Years ago, a friend lent me one of those MF-roulette LPs (from the '50s). I recall the recording quality was unique; I tried to like it (being a trumpet player) but just couldn't get into it.
 

Rudy

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It was Tamba Trio this evening (their first album), and Diana Krall's The Look of Love. I also fit in Sade's Stronger than Pride and the self-titled Bebel Gilberto. 12:54am and it's Howard Roberts again, H.R. is a Dirty Guitar Player. Ironic title since the recording quality is so clean on this one!

If I get the time and energy, I have some room tweaking to do tomorrow--the diffusion/absorption panels arrived from GIK Acoustics this morning. Thing is, I also need to hang the TV and soundbar on the wall, but have to get someone to help out who can help lift the TV.
 

Rudy

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Qobuz very surprisingly had this old record:

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This was one of those stereo records my dad must have purchased after we got the Maggotbox console in the living room. Since Latin rhythms were all the rage at the time, this one is a typical cash-in on the fad. Generic faux-Latin music. Typical of earlier stereo in that everything is hard left and right, and the intros to some songs pan the same sound left and right. The title track is mostly all I remember--the rest so far is forgettable faux-Latin and, I guess, typical of the type of background music Enoch Light was recording at the time (given that he produced this recording, and was recorded on the Grand Award subsidiary of his Command Records label).

I had this in my cart at Discogs. I think if I find the copy my dad owned (it's in storage), that'll be plenty. And given what I'm hearing now, ummm....fat chance I'll ever play it anyways.

Untruth in advertising--I don't even know if I hear more than one set of bongos except only occasionally. Timbales? Congas? Sure, and a few other noisy percussion bits (more cowbell? there's constant cowbell here) to add to the faux-Latin atmosphere. With the percussion and the loud brass, constantly at 110%, it's tiring to listen to. Seven tracks in, and I think I'm done.

I don't want to go so far as to say it's easy listening dreck but....OK, yeah, I'll just go ahead say it. It's easy listening dreck. 🤣 Expertly played and passable-sounding dreck, but it's dreck. I didn't think Latin music could sound so generic. And in all honesty, I never heard my dad play this one either! I'm going to need some Machito or Xavier Cugat to cleanse my ears after this one.

So yeah...one star. ⭐ And I'm being generous!

The cover art from the digital version, stealing Columbia's "LP" logo and "360 Sound" slogan for good measure:

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Rudy

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Willie Rodriguez, as you'll note on the original LP jacket above, was "featured" on the recording. He passed in 1966, in Puerto Rico, from a ruptured appendix, at the age of 48. He was largely working as a session musician and sideman back in the day, and the album above could essentially be called an Enoch Light & The Light Brigade album drenched in Latin percussion.

Rodriguez rarely recorded under his own name, although he did have a jazz quartet album on Riverside where he played drums and percussion:

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Many well-known Latin percussionists, like Ray Barretto, consider Rodriguez a mentor or influence on their playing.
 

Harry

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Two quite different spins today, both for doing needledrops.

First was the third of a trio of Laura Nyro albums we have around here. This one is ELI AND THE THIREENTH CONFESSION:

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I thought I'd like this as much as the other two that we have around here. This one was in Marie's stash, so I figured it might be kind of folk-y, but it's an album that's hard to describe. A couple of familiar Nyro tracks are on here, "Stoned Soul Picnic", "Sweet Blindness", and "Eli's Comin". The first two tracks, "Luckie" and "Lu" are kind of good, and much of the rest of the album goes off into a wild territory. I'm not sure I'll be listening to this one straight through very much. More likely I'll pick and choose the tracks I do like.



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Then we headed off to the easy listening area, but this is a good kind of easy listening in my book. With the recent passing of Perry Botkin, Jr., I dug out his PORTS album, A&M SP-4639. I grabbed this LP a while ago when I found out that the opening track, "The Lovers" was a Herb Alpert composition. And I wondered what the rest of the album was like - it turns out to be a pretty good companion album to the NADIA'S THEME compilation. PORTS is from 1977 and features 8 of its 11 tracks as Botkin compositions. One of them is a mash-up medley of his two more famous songs, "Nadia's Theme and Bless The Beasts And Children." Added to the mix is a nice version of Milton Nascimento's "Bridges (Travessia)" and Erik Satie's "Gymnopedies #1". Much of this album is piano based with Botkin doing most of the piano work and all of the arranging. There are some recognizable names among the musicians here like Bud Shank, Mike Melvoin, Jim Keltner, Harvey Mason, Lee Ritenour, Dennis Budimir, Tommy Morgan, and Gayle Levant among them. This is a good one to relax to.
 

JOv2

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wonder if that was due to economics, or how music was changing at the time. A lot of the usual west coast musicians were doing gigs in the studios, probably for better pay than Kenton's organization could offer for recording and touring.
Agreed. Playing the studios was a far better "gig" as it were: it was stable (if you were on first call), it paid well, and you could hang out at Santa Monica or Malibu and make to Western in 35 minutes. I read that by the late '50s Kenton was not packing the halls like he used to (I'm sure such was true for anyone in the "big band" business). Add to this that the older, established musicians were getting married and having families and not wanting to tour and it stands to reason more often than not that younger and younger musicians were populating his bands. Turnover was probably picking up as well as many more younger musicians were increasingly interested in rock by the late '60s...

There was a time round about 1960-62 where you couldn't get a pop LP released unless it had bongos on it. As you write, Enoch was a pacesetter in this regard. The "nameless" LP below was on TIME (a COMMAND knock-off of sorts); however, check this out: Clark Terry and Urban Green are blowing on it while the bongos are played by "Pacheco". It's actually quite listenable -- well, then again, if you fancy this sort of thing (I mean if you're into Blue Cheer or Deep Purple, don't bother.) I always got a kick out of the fact that all these Latineqsue LPs of the late '50s / early '60s feature personnel that's probably something like 50% Jewish, 30% Italian and then you have the one or two Cuban guys. Ha!)

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First was the third of a trio of Laura Nyro albums we have around here. This one is ELI AND THE THIREENTH CONFESSION:

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I thought I'd like this as much as the other two that we have around here. This one was in Marie's stash, so I figured it might be kind of folk-y, but it's an album that's hard to describe. A couple of familiar Nyro tracks are on here, "Stoned Soul Picnic", "Sweet Blindness", and "Eli's Comin". The first two tracks, "Luckie" and "Lu" are kind of good, and much of the rest of the album goes off into a wild territory. I'm not sure I'll be listening to this one straight through very much.
I first heard this in '95. I'm not a fan of her (or any for that matter) soprano voice; but, man, her fascinating songs and unique arrangements are par excellence to my ears. With hope, it'll grow on you over time. (Some of the lyric content is lost on me. Like Steely Dan, to me this is East coast (e.g. "NYC music") and, to someone born into '60s / '70s coastal CA culture, at times, I haven't a clue what on God's green earth Laura or Fagen are singing about.)
 

Rudy

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I always got a kick out of the fact that all these Latineqsue LPs of the late '50s / early '60s feature personnel that's probably something like 50% Jewish, 30% Italian and then you have the one or two Cuban guys. Ha!)
That certainly seems to be the case! 😁 It was also interesting to get some of the CD reissues of Perez Prado's recordings. The late 40s to about 1952 or so (?) before he came to the US, we don't really know who played on those records. But once he got here to the US, he had many of the great west coast musicians on his albums, even Maynard Ferguson (on "Voodoo Suite" which was recorded with Shorty Rogers' band). Many of those musicians were on Mancini's late 50s albums, and beyond. There were also those handful of percussionists from Cuba, Puerto Rico and other places that made the rounds.

If you think about it, it's too bad that era has passed, where so many gigging musicians could make a living doing mainly studio work, on so many albums. You had someone like Mancini whose early contract called for three LPs a year. Even rock and pop bands in the 70s and 80s were regularly releasing one album a year. Nowadays, you're lucky to get an album every two or three years from some musicians. With others it's even longer.
 

JOv2

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But once he got here to the US, he had many of the great west coast musicians on his albums, even Maynard Ferguson
Doc, too -- on some of those late '50s Tito Puento dates. I still am not a big fan of Doc's own LP (too showy), but, man, as a ringer, he was tops. Seriously, he can't miss on all that stuff over high-C.
If you think about it, it's too bad that era has passed,
That was when the musical mainstay of pop permanently crossed, 1964-68, from arranged ensembles to guitar-based combos. Transitions were not immediate, but the music from that era became increasingly less viable in a mainstream broadcast media sense and by the early '80s it was pretty much done. For me, I grew up on that era. When dad moved on to '70s music, I was only playing all his '50s and '60s stuff -- and I never got past it. Les Brown, Norman Luboff and the Limeliters are just as great to hear now as they were back in 1972.
 

Rudy

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You're making me want to get out my red vinyl copy of West Side Story now. 😁

When dad moved on to '70s music, I was only playing all his '50s and '60s stuff -- and I never got past it. Les Brown, Norman Luboff and the Limeliters are just as great to hear now as they were back in 1972.
Funny, it was the opposite in our house. My dad stayed with the older music, although he did like Carpenters. And I was all over the place. Funk and R&B in high school, along with the big band recordings (since we played those charts in jazz band). We also had a superb jazz station in town that played a bit of fusion along with some classics, as well as current (for the time) releases. I've done some really wide swaths of music over the years, still have favorites from each of the genres and eras, and will switch gears at the drop of a hat. Anything from ZZ Top to Mancini to Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, Funkadelic and The Mavericks have been done all in one day. I'm crazy like that, and the neighbors probably think I'm unhinged. 😁 I was listening to The Police before dinner while wrapping up work, played my 70s Soul Pandora station during dinner in the kitchen, and have Nelson Riddle playing now.

I'm up to "Naked City (Theme)" on this one:

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JOv2

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I've done some really wide swaths of music over the years, still have favorites from each of the genres and eras, and will switch gears at the drop of a hat. Anything from ZZ Top to Mancini to Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, Funkadelic and The Mavericks have been done all in one day. I'm crazy like that, and the neighbors probably think I'm unhinged
That characterizes me fairly well, too -- but about 90% within a 1957-70 context. Today it was Sinatra & Jobim, The Beatles, two Haydn symphonies, 3 Rota soundtracks, Buck Owens, The Yardbirds, and some Mexican "banda" music.

I'm up to "Naked City (Theme)" on this one:

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Ever heard the vocal version of the Route-66 theme? Check this one out, if you've not yet heard it...

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Rudy

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Ever heard the vocal version of the Route-66 theme? Check this one out, if you've not yet heard it...
I just looked it up and found it on Qobuz--I'll give it a spin this evening. 👍 Nice Vette, too. 😁
 
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