Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bye Bye Blues - A Popular Standard

Sheet music of Bye Bye Blues
Bye Bye Blues is a popular standard tune performed by numerous artists and bands. It was  written by Fred Hamm, Dave Bennett, Bert Lown, and Chauncey Gray and published in 1925. Fred Hamm and his orchestra recorded the initial version of the song for Victor in May 1925 as one of the label's first electrically processed recordings

Fred Hamm and his orchestra c. 1925 (YouTube still)
Fred Hamm and his Orchestra were a dance band from Chicago that was managed by Edgar Benson of Benson Orchestra fame. Hamm's Orchestra performed at the Marigold Garden in Chicago from 1923 to 1925. In 1925 Fred Hamm took over the leadership of the Benson Orchestra and recorded some sides for Victor that year. Fred Hamm recorded again in 1929 under the name of Fred Hamm and his Collegians (info from Red Hot Jazz Archive).
Sheet music front feat. Bert Lown
In July 1930 Bert Lown (co-writer of the song) recorded Bye Bye Blues for both Columbia and Hit of the Week as Bert Lown & His Hotel Biltmore Orchestra, below is inserted the Columbia 2258-D version recorded July 21 1930 in NYC

Frankie Trumbauer
Frankie Trumbauer and his orchestra recorded their version of Bye Bye Blues for Okeh September 8, 1930 in New York, vocal refrain by Smith Ballew

Cab Calloway
Cab Calloway and his orchestra recorded a great big band swing version of Bye Bye Blues in 1940 featuring solos by Chu Berry (ts), Dizzy Gillespie (tp) and Tyree Glenn (vib)

Benny Carter
In April 1946 Benny Carter (as) recorded a swinging version of Bye Bye Blues with Arnold Ross (p), Allan Reuss (g), Artie Bernstein (b) and Nick Fatool (d) for Keynote in Los Angeles

Stan Getz
The last version of Bye Bye Blues to be presented here was recorded by the Stan Getz Quartet in 1957 for the HMV album titled The Soft Swing. Personnel include Stan Getz (ts), Mose Allison (p), Addison Farmer (b) and Jerry Segal (d)


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Swing Ukulele By Gerald Ross Revisited

Gerald Ross (photo by Peggy Brisbane, 2015)
Gerald Ross is a multi-instrumentalist mastering various string instruments like guitar, lap steel guitar, bass, mandolin - and ukulele. With a musical background as selftaught he has had a career playing professionally since 1970. In later years, he has successfully focused on the ukulele as a solo voice applying excellent fingerstyle technique in his playing the small instrument and by adding a repertoire of popular music, jazz and swing in his own well elaborated arrangements. Mr. Ross has released six self produced CDs on his own Uke Tone label devoted to the ukulele (- more info, here).  I was thrilled to find and explore his appropriately titled Swing Ukulele CD some years ago and I wrote a small review, here. Just recently I found Gerald Ross' latest release on Spotify and like to point you to this CD here
Gerald Ross, Absolute Uke (UT-2306, 2015)
The CD has fourteen tracks and the repertoire is a mixed bag of Swing, Jazz, Pop, a.o. including Gerald Ross' arrangements of Ellington & Strayhorn's Take The 'A' Train, Gershwin's Sweet And Lowdown and the Swing-Era standard Rose Room. Further there are Latin pieces like You Belong To My Heart/Solamente Una Vez and Wave by Jobim, and you also have great arrangements and performance of popular tunes like Under Paris Skies, September Song, Sugar, All Of Me a.o.. About the repertoire Gerald Ross writes in the sleeve notes, quote: "It's all music to me. Whether it's labeled Swing, Jazz, Pop, Latin, or Folk ... the styles all feature a memorable melody and a strong rhythmic pulse that have filled the airwaves and dance floors for years. Yes, there are distinct differences between them which are well-documented by music historians and theorists. But to me, their similarities far outweigh their differences." - This attitude to the chosen tunes at the disc makes it a homogeneous product of a creative mind and a very skilled musician, who knows his sources and how to present the music in an appealing form which meets the listener immediately. I highly recommend the CD to anyone with an open ear for great music performance and enjoable tunes evoking good vibrations and bright memories of a time when a musical theme was immediately recognizable and easily digestible. The CD is available for purchase at Gerald Ross' website, here. - Below some examples of music featured at the CD from uploaded videos at YouTube. Here is first Gerald Ross' version of Take The 'A' Train 

Next, a great version of You Belong To My Heart/Solamente Una Vez 

Finally to end this small review, here's Gerald Ross' rendition of All Of Me 

More videos featuring Gerald Ross at his You Tube Channel, here

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