Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jørgen Ingmann (1925 - 2015) - A Popular Danish Guitarist

Jørgen Ingmann (1925-2015)
This morning the news in Danish media told the sad fact that the popular Danish guitarist Jørgen Ingmann passed away yesterday, nearly 90 years of age. Jørgen Ingmann was born April 26, 1925 in Copenhagen and started his career as a member of Svend Asmussen's orchestra and was well-known as a jazz artist in the 1940s and 1950s. As a guitarist Ingmann was highly influenced by the American guitarist Les Paul. Jørgen Ingmann implemented Paul’s techniques and began exploring the possibilities of multi-track recording by setting up a home studio. He overdubed himself into a one-man band and recorded multiple layers of guitar at his home studio. Ingmann’s recording also included his own percussion and bass playing. Late 1950s, Ingmann transformed his stage name to “Jørgen Ingmann and His Guitar” and in 1961 he recorded the instrumental 'Apache', which became a hit in the U.S.A.. With his wife he formed a duo as “Grethe og Jørgen Ingmann’ and the duo was elected winner of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Dansevise” in 1963. The duo dissolved, when the marriage ended in 1975, and Jørgen Ingmann gradually left the public scene as a stage artist, but he was still active as a musician and record producer and kept releasing new instrumental recordings that were well received by a still loyal fan base. Ingmann withdrew definitely from the public in 1984 and enjoyed his retirement in his home until yesterday March 21, 2015, when he passed away peacefully according the media news.

Jørgen Ingmann and his guitar
Below is inserted some uploaded highlights from Jørgen Ingmann's career focusing on his guitar playing to honor a great artist. An online discography is available here and a Sound Cloud page has several tracks in streaming audio from Ingmann's easy listening recordings, here 

Here's first an example of Ingmann's multi-track recording - 'Muskrat Ramble'


Next another multi-track recording, 'Amorada' - also known as 'Brasileirinho'


The 1961 instrumental hit, 'Apache' is included here


Finally, to end this small remembrance of Jørgen Ingmann as a guitarist, here is his recording of 'Jeepers Creepers'


Jørgen Ingmann (1925 - 2015) - R.I.P. 
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Jo
keepitswinging.domain@gmail.com

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Svend Asmussen - Embraceable

Svend Asmussen
A week ago the world famous Danish jazz fiddler Svend Asmussen (b.28.Feb, 1916) celebrated his 99th anniversary. Part of the celebration included the release of a new CD with previously unissued recordings that have been sitting in Asmussen's private files. The Danish record company, Storyville Recordshas taken the initiative to release this material in co-operation with Asmussen himself at the new CD titled
Embraceable (Storyville, cd 1014296) containg a live-performance recorded in September 1985. The recording was made by French radio and the location was a small club in Paris, 'Le Petit Opportun', with an attentive audience of less than thirty individuals. The location proved to be an ideal setting for a successfull performance and Asmussen himself has estimated the recordings among his best ever according to the info at Sotryville's web: "I had never thought that this September Parisian night would be released and scrutinized, but honestly I think it is the best music I’ve ever recorded!” said Asmussen when he was interviewed about the new release." The circumstances of the performance, however, were rather unusual for Asmussen's standard, as "He played with three musicians he had never played with before and there was no rehearsal, only a few notes scribbled down. Just as they were about to play the radio man casually told them the concert would be broadcasted live on French radio and that Asmussen should present the set in French." Nevertheless, the intimate atmosphere of the location generated spontaneity and a great performance by Asmussen and his accompanying trio. Now a selection of this broadcasted live performance luckily has been released on the new CD to be enjoyed over again thirty years after this special Parisian night.
CD front: Storyville, CD 1014296
There are twelve tracks of music from the live performance preserved at the shown CD and the repertoire contains jazz standards like 'Sophisticated Lady' and 'Things Ain't What They Used To Be' from the Ellington book, modern themes like Sonny Rollins' 'Pent-Up House' and further updated jazz versions of popular compositions like 'Singin' In The Rain','Just A Gigolo' and 'There Will Never Be Another You'. There is also a magnificent version of Chopin's 'Prelude In C-minor' and a solo presentation by Asmussen of Gershwin's 'Embraceable You' that is the highlight of the set showing off an eminent mastery of his instrument without supporting accompaniment.
George Arvanitas (Photo, Esther Cidoncha)
Asmussen is accompanied by a very competent trio featuring Georges Arvanitas (p), Patrice Caratini (b) and Charles Saudrais (dr). Georges Arvanitas is a great piano player who gets the opportunity to show off in Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson influenced solo spots besides being an attentive support to Asmussen's lead voice. The rhythm section is taken good care of by double bass player Patrice Caratini and drummer man Charles Saudrais -  both men provide a solid background for the soloist's musical expression.
Patrice Caratini
Although the four musicians haven't played together before,  there is an excellent interplay between them and each of them contributes to a succesfull performance throughout.
Charles Saudrais
It is a pleasure to listen to this live recording from 1985, the CD release recreates the atmosphere of this special evening in Paris so that the listener has the experience of being present with the four musicians in the intimate setting of the performance. Great that Storyville Records has re-mastered the original tape-recordings and made the material available on disc for a contemporary public, audio quality is splendid. - The CD is available for purchase at the website of Storyville Records and mp3 versions of the tracks are available at Amazon, here 
Svend Asmussen - jazz fiddler supreme
To end this small review of a successfull live-performance by Svend Asmussen, I'll insert a fragment of a similar recording made at about the same time in Copenhagen. The location is club Montmartre and Asmussen is accompanied by  Kenny Drew (p), Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen (b) and Ed Thigpen (dr). The fragment has been uploaded by Storyville Records at YouTube and has a great performance of 'It Don't Mean A Thing ...' - enjoy!


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Jo
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Joe Louis Stomp

Joe Louis, The Brown Bomber
Joe Louis (1914–1981), known as the Brown Bomber, was the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1937 to 1949 holding the title longer than anyone else in boxing history. A career profile is available here

Bill Coleman (1904-1981)
Trumpeter Bill Coleman composed and recorded a swing tune as a homage to the rising boxing star in January 1936, Joe Louis Stomp. At that time Bill Coleman resided in Paris, France, where he had been engaged by Freddy Taylor late 1935 as a member of Taylor's orchestra, but already in 1933 Coleman had been in France as a member of Lucky Millinder's orchestra, and this time he would stay in Paris as his residence until 1940. During this period Bill Coleman also had his own orchestra in Paris that had regular performances at a venue called Villa d'Este, members were  Bill Coleman (tp, ldr), Eugène d' Ellemmes (b), Edgar "Spider" Courance (ts, cl), Oscar Alemán (g) and William Diemer (dm) as shown at the picture below (l to r)
Bill Coleman Et Son Orchestre De La Villa D'Este, c.1936
On January 31th, 1936 Bill Coleman and his Orchestra recorded 'Joe Louis Stomp' in Paris, it was issued on a 78 rpm disc at the French Gramophone label, a devsion of HMV, as the A-side (mx. OLA-851-1, Gramophone (HMV) K-7705), while the B-side had a recording of the tune 'Coquette' (mx. OLA-852-1, Gramophone (HMV) K-7705).
Gramophone (HMV) K-7705
The Coleman quintet is extended to a sextet in this recording, John (Jean) Ferrier is added as the piano player - remaining personnel as mentioned above. 'Joe Louis Stomp' is a great swing tune, both Coleman and Edgar Courance have great solo spots, but here we should also focus on Oscar Alemán's 16 bar guitar solo. This is in fact the first swing/jazz solo recorded by Alemán. It is documenting an already mature and personal style that distinguishes him from other guitarists at the time. Enjoy the tune as recorded on January 31th, 1936 in the inserted video below.



Oscar Alemán recorded and released a version of 'Joe Louis Stomp' in Buenos Aires much later, but not during his contract with Odeon from 1941 to 1957. However, during the 1960s, when he had semi-retired from the scene as a performer and recording artist after dissolving his orchestra in 1959, he was from time to time a featured guest performer in radio and TV programs accompanied by a quintet named Cinco Caballeros consisting of cl or vln, p, rh g, b and dm.
Oscar Alemán & Cinco Caballeros, 1960s
With the Cinco Caballeros Alemán performed his own arrangement of 'Joe Louis Stomp' at several live appearances in radio programs during the 1960s as documented in unissued recordings saved by keen collectors. One of the hottest versions I have heard was performed in a program at Radio el Mundo on September 2nd, 1965, inserted in the audio-video below



Note that the speaker of the program mentions Duke Ellington as the composer of the tune, although it rightly should have been Bill Coleman. However, the studio audience probably would not have cared anyway, as Bill Coleman's name and output probably was rather unknown in Argentina at the time. On the other hand, Alemán's version of the tune gets a deserved enthusiastic applause and points to the fact that 'Joe Louis Stomp' had become a part of his standard repertoire at the time. 

As mentioned, he recorded the tune much later, now in a slower and more subdued version, but still with great guitar work showing off his excellence even in his late career. The tune was recorded in September 1974 on the last LP album for the Redondel label titled 'En Todos Los Ritmos' (L-809). Alemán is accompanied by Juan José Gonzalez (cl), Dario “Johnny” Quaglia (rh g), Norberto Villa (b) and Mario Raffaelli (dm). This version has been uploaded at YouTube and is inserted in the video below - a worthy contribution to mark the 106th anniversary of Oscar Alemán and a great swing jazz tune, enjoy!



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Jo
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Monday, January 26, 2015

15th Anniversary of QUATRE TICKETS DE SWING

November last year, the Dutch string swing quartet in the ‘Django Reinhardt’ Hot Club  tradition, Quartre Tickets de Swing, celebrated its 15th anniversary. Below follows a short review of the career of the ensemble.

Georg Lankester
It was at the end of the Nineties of last century that guitarist Georg Lankester took the initiative to form - with three other Dutch musicians - a swing quartet in the ‘Hot Club’ style and he called it Quatre Tickets a French song from the mid Forties. They were inspired by the European Jazz which, in 1934, was created by the “Hot Club de France ‘ Quintet with the legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt & violinist Stéphane Grappelli. It was the first string jazz quintet and only around 1940 this changed in such a way that the violin was replaced by a clarinet. Their unforgettable swing style was – next to several other European groups -  in Belgium adopted by the great WASO quartet which, however, broke up around 1985  

Quartre Tickets de Swing in the beginning
Quatre Tickets de Swing chose for the same line-up as WASO : a reed man, two guitarists and a double bass player. And the enthousiasm of the formation soon brought a lot of performances. Moreover their first cd recordings were made, which in  addition to the many Django compositions included several track from the American ‘Swing’ period.

Quartre Tickets de Swing in ‘Monte Porzio’ near Rome, 2005
In 2005 the quartet was invited to play at an Italian Django-festival nearby Rome. A few years afterwards followed by a visit to the Vosges in France for several concerts. Again a new cd was issued with a variety of swing and ballads in the French way.

Quartre Tickets de Swing with singer Ita van Dijk
Since 2009 lady singer Ita van Dijk came to join the band till end 2013. Starting from 2014 she was succeeded by Inge Alberts and the band repertoire now  includes new songs, many of them again in the French language.

Quartre Tickets de Swing today with singer Inge Alberts
Apart from performances in theatres and jazz clubs, Quatre Tickets took part in the unique Guitar Festival 2014 in Enkhuizen (Holland) and launched their cd  called ‘Swinging and Singing. These recordings can be ordered by e-mail

The CD 'Swinging & Singing' by Quartre Tickets de Swing (click to enlarge)
In November 2014 special swing sessions were organised in Deventer to celebrate the band’s 15th anniversary, whereby several guest musicians were invited. Among them the Lammy Bruyn Combo (Swing Musette), several guest soloists and singers.  It was a swinging performance for a full house.

Quartre Tickets de Swing at the jubilee performance, November 2014
Here are the members of Quartre Tickets de Swing: Peter Swart (clar/sax), Georg Lankester (solo g), Arthur Siero (g), Eric  van Buysen (b), Inge Alberts (voc.). Together a swinging ensemble, listen to Quartre Tickets de Swing in the inserted audio-videos below.

Quartre Tickets de Swing plays ‘Swing 42’, a composition by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, enjoy!


Finally, Quartre Tickets de Swing with vocalist Inge Alberts plays the standard ‘For Me Formidable’ with lyrics in French, enjoy!


Further  info on Quartre Tickets de Swing available here or here 

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Jo
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Jacob Fischer Trio - Two CDs Recorded In Two Days!

Jacob Fischer (photo: Ina Løndal)
The Danish jazz guitarist Jacob Fischer (b 1967) made his debut at the Copenhagen jazz festival at 17 and has since then been one of the hardest working musicians in Scandinavia. Jacob Fischer has worked with the best Scandinavian musicians as well as with visiting jazz greats. His versatile virtuosity can be heard on about 200 CDs. Since 1992 he has been a member of violin legend Svend Asmussens quartet and in 2008 he finally decided to release his first album in his own name, Jacob Fischer Trio featuring Svend Asmussen. This was followed by two more CDs by a Jacob Fischer Trio recorded in Copenhagen, in 2010 was released a CD titled Blues featuring Jacob Fischer's Organ Trio and in 2011 the CD titled Django - a tribute to the Gypsy legend featuring accordionist Francesco Cali. During a guest performance at The Fourth Annual Arbors Records Invitational Jazz Party (Fl., USA) in January 2012 Jacob Fischer recorded a CD titled Guitarist under his own name featuring fellow guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli in a quartet setting. More about the mentioned CDs at the official website, here.
Jacob Fischer (photo: Morten Langkilde)
Jacob Fischer has toured Scandinavia, Great Britain, Japan, Brazil and several European countries and he has recorded with internationally acclaimed musicians both in Denmark and abroad. In June 2013, he was in New York to record material for the Japanese Venus Records to be released in Japan, the recordings were done in two days, June 20 and 21, and the recorded material was released on two CDs in Japan later that year. Now the music of both CDs finally is available outside Japan and accessible for purchase at Amazon, Itunes a.o.
CD-front: My Romance (Venus Records, VHCD-1132)
As mentioned, the two days recording session in New York was released on two CDs, in all 25 tracks of which 13 are accessible on the shown My Romance, a tribute album to the inventive jazz piano player, Bill Evans. Jacob Fischer is accompanied by double bass player Martin Wind  and drummer Tim Horner, both acclaimed and New York based musicians.
Martin Wind - photo: All About Jazz web
The repertoire of the disc is concentrated on ballads and lyrical standards like the title tune by Richard Rodgers and there are four compositions in this genre by Bill Evans, "Time Remembered" and "Waltz For Debby", further "Show Type Tune" and "Interplay". Bill Evans and Miles Davis' collaboration is remembered in a reading of Davis' "Nardis" and modern jazz ballads like "I Fall In Love Too Easily" (Styne/Kahn), "My Foolish Heart" (V. Young), "Come Rain Or Come Shine" (H. Arlen) and "Polka Dots And Moonbeams" (J. Van Heusen) are also presented, the last mentioned as a solo guitar piece. A complete tracklist is available here.
Tim Horner - photo: Tim Horner website
The complex yet lyrical interpretation of the music reflects Bill Evans' ideas of using standard jazz tunes as a stepstone for reharmonisation and modulations of themes thus creating a tonal improvisation and motivic development of the music. This consept of jazz improvisation resembles the ideas applied by other modern jazz piano players like Thelonius Monk and Bud Powell, however, each of them are distinct and different in their own specific way, of course. Here on the CD by Jacob Fischer Trio no piano is playing, nevertheless Fischer's guitar playing reflects Evans' ideas convinsingly with great support by his two sidemen. Fischer's approach reminds me of fellow guitarist Lenny Breau, who also excelled in the exploration of jazz and standard tunes with ideas 
from the field developed by modern piano players like Bill Evans a.o..
CD-front: Black Orpheus (Venus Records, VHCD-1138)
The second CD from Jacob Fischer Trio recorded in the June 20 and 21 New York session is titled Black Orpheus  containing 12 tracks of Brazilian or Brazilian inspired tunes and may be considered a tribute to bossa nova and the roots of this style of music. Jacob Fischer, guitar, is again accompanied by Martin Wind on double bass, however, Brazilian drummer Duduka Da Fonseca has replaced Tim Horner.
Duduka Da Fonseca - photo: All About Jazz web
The title track of the CD refers to the famous 1959 film Orfeu Negro made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in the modern context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. The film is particularly noted for its soundtrack by two Brazilian composers, Antônio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá, who - together with vocalist João Gilberto -  introduced the bossa nova internationally with this film. The music from the film has since been absorbed in the standard jazz repertoire and recorded numerous times by various artists. 
Original film poster (source: Wikipedia)
The tune "Black Orpheus" is also known as "Manhã de Carnaval", composed by Luiz Bonfá, and there is one more composition by Bonfá included, "Gentle Rain", which introduces the CD. A.C. Jobim is represented through five compositions - "Triste" (from the Black Orpheus film), "How Insensitive", "Once I Loved", "Desafinado" and "This Happy Madness" - the last mentioned here performed as a solo guitar piece. The remaining repertoire is represented by three compositions by choro mandolinist Jacob Bittencourt (aka Jacob do Bandolim) - "Assanhado", "Bole-Bole" and "Doce de Coco" - and two compositions by Jacob Fischer, "Little Teardrop" and "Sonho Carioca", both also recorded at the Django tribute CD from 2011 and reflecting Fischer's adoption of Brazilian choro. The trio again delivers a great musical output, the support of the rhythm section is excellent and Fischer's guitarplaying marvels throughout, his approach to this repertoire pays its due to other guitarists like Charlie Byrd and Gene Bertoncini a.o. as well as modern jazz influence, however, arrangements and interpretation are his own.

The music on the two mentioned CDs is a splendid example of the span of Jacob Fischer's musical universe and his capacity as a musician and guitarist, here exposed in a trio setting that shows off the best both in solo playing and support. Highly recommended!

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Jo
keepitswinging.domain@gmail.com  


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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dexter Payne Quartet + 1 - Pra Você

Dexter Payne
Since the bossa nova wave hit the music scene in the U.S.during the 1960s there has been a growing interest in Brazilian music traditions among non-Brazilians, some of this interest naturally generated inspiration in musicians to further explore the vast musical landscape of Brazil. Clarinetist Dexter Payne is an example of a musician who has seriously devoted his interest and skill to explore and incorporate Brazilian music in his own musical repertoire with success. According to his website, Dexter Payne went on a walk-about playing with bands and artists from Tijuana to Buenos Aires, during this odyssey he stayed in Brazil for ten months where he recorded with samba vocalist Beth Carvalho and met composer and percussionist Thiago de Mello with whom he collaborated and recorded four acclaimed CDs (- more info on Dexter Payne's CDs, here ). Back in the U.S. he founded his own quintet that has specialized in Brazilian instrumental music from samba and choro to baião and other traditions from the Northeast of Brazil. Earlier this year this ensemble released a CD titled Pra Você (- in English meaning 'for you') that is in focus here.
CD front: Pra Você, DEXOFON 1401
The shown CD was recorded in 2012 and Dexter Payne (clarinet) is accompanied by Bill Kopper (guitar and 7-string guitar), Dave Willey (accordion), Raoul Rossiter (drums, pandeiro) and Victor Mestas Pérez (piano), all very competent musicians with a deep understanding of various Brazilian instrumental music genres. There are nine tracks on the CD and the over-all impression of the performed music is an uplifting experience. The music clearly reflects the gafiera repertoire and atmosphere, the genuine Brazilian ball-room tradition of danceable instrumental music with roots in samba and choro - a well known example of this music style is the gafieira jazz project initiated by pianist Cliff Korman in collaboration with Brazilian clarinetist Paulo Mouro a.o., read more here.
Clarinetist Dexter Payne
Dexter Payne and his musicians pay tribute to one of the originators of the gafieira tradition on the CD, Severino Araújorecording their version of Araújo's 'Chorinho pra você'. Zeca Freitas' 'Alma Brasileira' introduces the CD and the lighthearted atmosphere of the disc, and there are further two famous choros by Jacob do Bandolim, 'Doce de coco' and 'Assanhado', the last mentioned in a new arrangenment, 'Conversa de botequim' by samba composer Noel Rosa, three modern pieces: 'Sampa' by Caetano Veloso, 'Playground' by renowned guitarist Nelson Faria, 'Lembrei do Ceará' by composer, accordionist Marcelo Caldi and finally an example of the collaboration between Dexter Payne and Thiago de Mello, 'No Wolf at the Door'. - Below I'll insert some examples of the recorded music that has been uploaded on YouTube. The CD is available for purchase here, and you have the opportunity to listen to all tracks in streaming audio here 
Dexter Payne (cl), Victor Mestas Pérez (p), Bill Kopper (g), Dave Willey (acc)
As mentioned above, the CD takes off with Zeca Freitas' 'Alma Brasileira', here recorded live in a concert last year featuring guest performer Mitchell Long on electric guitar


The tune 'Playground' by Nelson Faria was recorded live in an intimate video-performance


Finally, from the same intimate session here is Dexter Payne Quartet + 1 performing Caeteno Veloso's 'Sampa'



The music presented here are great examples of the Brazilian influence on skilled musician like Dexter Payne and his quintet, and the CD is well worth lending your attention for listening and dancing celebrating the new year in a couple of days ahead.

A Happy New Year 2015 to all readers of the blog - and thanks for your support so far!
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Jo
keepitswinging.domain@gmail.com


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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

After You've Gone

Sheet music front
'After You've Gone' is a 1918 popular song composed by Turner Layton, with lyrics written by Henry Creamer. It was recorded by Marion Harris on July 22, 1918 and released on Victor 18509. 'After You’ve Gone,' joins 'St. Louis Blues' (1914) and 'Indiana' (1917) as the top three pre-1920s jazz standards. Few compositions of the early 20th century endured the transition to the smooth swing sound of the 1930s and beyond. - Al Jolson introduced 'After You’ve Gone' to the vaudeville audience in 1918. Within a year several other artists had recorded the song, but it was Marion Harris’s rendition that became the most popular.

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In the early 1920s Harris was a popular singer in vaudeville and Broadway shows. One of the first white women to sing blues and jazz songs, she favored songs by African-American writers.

Marion Harris
Marion Harris explained her preference by saying, “You usually do best what comes naturally, so I just naturally started singing Southern dialect songs and the modern blues songs.” Harris recorded 'After You’ve Gone' for the Victor Record label, but in 1920 when that label refused to allow her to record W.C. Handy’s 'St. Louis Blues,' she left the label and moved over to Columbia Records, where she did record 'St. Louis Blues,' which became a hit.

Bessie Smith
Another female singer, Bessie Smith - The Empress of The Blues - recorded 'After You've Gone' in 1927, and this version adds the true blues feeling to the tune, a magnificent example of how a natural talent transforms the lyrics of the song to a personal statement - the core experience of blues as well as jazz, I think



Benny Goodman Trio
As mentioned above, 'After You've Gone' was one of the pre-1920s tunes that endured the transition to the swing sound of the 1930s. Many jazz artists and bands recorded the tune in the 1930s and made it a part of the standard repertoire. One of the recordings since hailed as a classic was made by the Benny Goodman Trio in July 1935. Enjoy this swinging version featuring Benny Goodman (clarinet), Teddy Wilson (piano) and Gene Krupa (drums)



Freddy Taylor
One of the famous European recordings of 'After You've Gone' was made on May 4th 1936 by Django Reinhardt and the Quintette du Hot Club de France featuring Freddy Taylor as vocalist. Personnel featured are: Stéphane Grappelli (v); Django Reinhardt (g solo); Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre "Baro" Ferret (g); Lucien Simoens (b); Freddy Taylor (vo)



Despues de haberte ido ( =After You've Gone)
Oscar Alemán y su Conjunto de Jazz recorded 'After You've Gone' for Odeon on October 29th 1955, and only Alemán's great guitar solo in this recording rescues the tune from the syrupy strings in the accompaniment, - an example of a jazz standard almost being spoiled by the usual expectations of record producers and a public only interested in pop ditties. However, mind Alemán's excellent playing and timing that exposes the tune on the edge of swing jazz and pop

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Jo
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