Sidney Bechet recorded these four Christmas songs on December 10 and 12, 1958, accompanied by Jean-Claude Pelletier, organ, Claude Gousset, trombone, Alix Bret, bass and Kansas Fields on drums. Less than six month later, Sidney Bechet died in Paris from lung cancer on May 14, 1959, on his 62nd birthday.
While these Holiday tunes might not be considered cream of the crop by some jazz fans, Sidney Bechet did not record a bad song in his lifetime. He even pulled off a spirited version of White Christmas….
Around 1960, the Hallo label out of Rastatt/ Baden-Württemberg, released around four dozen flexi discs, often containing original tunes, to go with their Hallo magazine, a rock´n´roll knock-off of Bravo. I haven´t posted any Hallo flexis, because a book about Hallo and a CD, was soon to be released. That was years ago, but so far, no book. If the book and the CD finally come out, I´ll be happy to buy a copy. Meanwhile, this Hallo flexi is fine blog material: 50 plus years old, defunct label, unknown artists, not available in digital format elsewhere.
Franz von Suppé´s Liebestraum was turned into a Twist hit in 1961 by Charly Cotton and his Twistmakers, a band led by prolific songwriter Christian Bruhn. I´ve posted a bunch of versions of Der Liebestraum als Twist over the years, by Jimmy Brown (Tempo), Bert Landers (Tip) and Bob Gerry (Baccarola and the Gary Edwards Combo (Oriole). This Accordeon-Jazz-version, typical of the 1950s trend of Jazz-takes on Classical music, predates Charly Cotton´s.
The condition of this flexible record seems to be the result of a familiar scene. Flexis were cheap products for teenagers, teenagers that lived in the same rooms with their little brothers and sisters. Like I did with my little brother until I was 13 years old. Frequently we would get in fights. I´m sorry to admit it, but my brother always lost.
In revenge, he would take his crayons and draw all over my stuff…
This is an EP that I found last week in the 50 cents bins of a local second hand record store. Didn´t even listen to it in the store, but was expecting some boring Christian music from the subtitle “Worte Jesu im Chanson“. What a surprise, when I put the needle on the record! Of course, if I had read the liner notes more carefully, the name Peter Herbolzheimer would have rang a bell. No idea why such a highly acclaimed jazz musician contributed to a record that was meant to help “The advancement of the clerical professions”. In 1972, Herbolzheimer, together with Jerry van Rooyen and Dieter Reith, won the highest German medal of honour, the Bundesverdienstkreuz, for the opening score of the Olympic Games in Munich. Incidentally the three of them teamed up again for this record. Herbolzheimer died aged 74 in his hometown of Cologne on 27 March 2010
Despite the big names, these songs have never been re-released, obviously because they´re suffering from a severe case of Flandersitis.
But listen to the funk!
This 45 is fitting easily into the concept of this blog. It´s a privately pressed EP, that has never been reissued in 40 years, of four jazz tunes, recorded live at a furniture store in 1973, on the occasion of a design-exhibition.
The fact that this 45 is a promotional item makes it seem musically inferior to a proper jazz release, but it´s far from that. Band leader and pianist Hans-Jürgen “Specht” Bock (1939-2006), bassist Klaus Schulze and drummer Slick Salzer were already seasoned jazzmen when they recorded these songs. Everything is excellent here, even down to the graphics, credited on the front to a certain hace. I especially dig the label design that doesn´t imply “furniture store”.
The Ragtime Specht Groove recorded five albums. For this EP they cover Jelly Roll Morton´s “Grandpa Spells”, Tom Delaney´s “Absent Minded Blues”, first recorded by the Dutch Swing College Band, and “Numbers Boogie” recorded by Sugar Chile Robinson. My favorite of this batch is Ragtime Specht Groove´s own original tune “Gisa”. I especially love the part when they go to a minor scale in the middle of the song and the bassist changes from playing with the fingers to a bow, Jimmy Blanton-style. And then suddenly they pick up the tempo again!
These Stuttgart cats sure were groovin´…
Here´s another one of those underrated German cheapo Dixieland tunes that I love so much. The flip is a schmaltzy Bob Gerry Schlager that I just didn´t care enough for, to record. Otherwise all the usual blog requirements: defunct budget label, anonymous band, 50 plus years old songs, never been reissued.
Mozart´s famous lullaby put through the Dixieland meat grinder….
This cash-in version of Chris Barber´s 1959 hit coupling of Petite Fleur/ Wild Cat Blues, recorded by The Dixieland Wild Cats, an anonymous group, was both published by the budget label Baccarola and the Bertelsmann record club. I already posted another version by Kid Orbis on the Delta super-budget flexi-label in 2012.
Petite Fleur was an international hit in 1959 and spearheaded the popularity of the Trad-Jazz movement in Europe. Sidney Bechet, who wrote and first recorded Petite Fleur in 1952, wasn´t able to share the late success of his song. He died in Paris on May 14, 1959.
I really do like these budget versions, especially the rhythm section on Wild Cat Blues. The vibraphone, the bass and the guitar, add a dynamic, slightly more modern touch to the standard early 1920s chug-chug-chug rhythm of the original. I also dig the novelty ending:
Found this in the 50 cent bin of a local thrift store recently. Sleeveless, but still in okay condition. Here´s all the information that I could find about this mysterious, completely forgotten group.
- Bert Landers was a Berlin band leader who recorded a great number of records for various German labels, but mainly for the budget Tip. He also recorded under the name of Berth von Landers und sein High Society Orchester. I assume that The Bertlanders-Starband is actually the studio orchestra of Bert Landers in one of its earliest formations.
- The Bertlanders-Starband are: Heinz Wulfestieg – trumpet; Karl Wolfgang Wiesenthal – trumpet; Bert Button – trombone; Dieter Siebert – alto-sax; Volkmar Schmidt – tenor-sax, Detlev Clausen – piano; Joachim Gilow – bass; Kurt Giese – drums
- Alto-Saxophonist Dieter Siebert might be identical with 20th-century classical music composer Wilhelm Dieter Siebert (1931-2011). His Wiki-resume mentions that he played Jazz in the late 50s.
- I further assume that Volkmar Schmidt is saxophonist, clarinetist and orchestra leader of East-German groups Gruppe Schmidt, Schulz & Co., Orchester Volkmar Schmidt and Volkmar Schmidt Combo.
- Drummer Kurt Giese later became a producer for North German radio (NDR) and arranged Chet Baker´s “Last Great Concert” in 1988 in Hannover, two weeks before Baker´s death.
- Trumpet solo on Franz Grothe´s Mitternachts-Blues by Karl Wolfgang “Charley” Wiesenthal.
These four tracks, exclusively recorded by Opera – Europäischer Phonoclub, have not been reissued in 50 years.
Yah-dah! is a nicely up-dated version of one of the earliest Jazz recordings,Yah-de-dah, first recorded in 1917 by the Frisco Jass Band.
Hazy Osterwald, the undisputed King of Swiss pop and jazz music, died in 2012 at the age of 90. Without ever trying very hard, even I have collected a bunch of his records. This promotional record, made for a brand of men’s safety razors, has never been reissued.
For obvious reasons….