Tag Archives: Count Basie

Pan Am Soundtrack Jets You Back To A More Glamorous Era For Air Travel

14 Jan

Pan Am — yes, I have flown on the airline — it’s been a long while though. Pan Am the TV show? Haven’t seen it yet. Pan Am the Soundtrack? It sends me. I admit it is a quirky mix of songs and artists. But that is what the early to mid-sixties were all about. Take a look at the Billboard charts during that time and you’ll see that I am right. So don’t get all uptight. Recline your seat, ask your attendant for a strong cocktail, and enjoy the flight.

Your ears will encounter very little turbulence as your musical journey cruises from Buddy Greco to Grace Potter or from Brenda Lee to Nikki Jean. Some tracks are pretty well-traveled, while others just might be new destinations for you and flying companions. You can’t go wrong with Bobby Darin’s Call Me Irresponsible, Getz and Gilberto’s Girl from Ipanema, or Count Basie’s swinging groove on an instrumental I Can’t Stop Loving You. Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 injects even more Latin spice to the cabin with Mas Que Nada and Nikki Jean turns in an impressive twist on Do You Want To Know A Secret?

My top pick of all is Dinah Washington’s Destination Moon.

Bang! Zoom! It is a complete and total gas.

So get your ticket and take a trip back in time.

Travel was far more classy then – and so was the music.  

***I prefer Engelbert Humperdinck’s version of Quando, Quando, Quando

Pan Am: Music From and Inspired By the Original Series, a collection of music from and inspired by the ABC television drama, slated for January 17, 2012 CD release from Verve Music Group, is a non-stop flight back to the early ’60s. The collection features 14 songs by Buddy Greco, Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz & João Gilberto with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Peggy Lee, Shirley Horn, Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Brenda Lee, Connie Francis and Dinah Washington, plus new artists Grace Potter and Nikki Jean.

According to the Verve Music Group’s SVP of A&R Jay Landers, “The Pan Am series goes to great lengths to capture the dawn of the jet age with accuracy, and music plays a vital role. Many of the artists of the era are found in the classic Verve catalog so it was a great synergistic opportunity.” Also, S-Curve/Universal recording artist Nikki Jean sings the Lennon & McCartney classic “Do You Want To Know a Secret.”

The TV series Pan Am follows the travels of a young flight crew as they set off on international adventures at the dawn of the Jet Age in the 1960s. The show captures a time when only a few could experience a global adventure or gain a front-row seat to history. Those lucky enough flew Pan Am, the largest, most prestigious airline in the world. More than Coca-Cola, Elvis Presley or the transistor radio, Pan Am exported American culture to the world abroad and brought that world back to American shores. The crew travels to intoxicating cities such as Paris, Berlin, Monte Carlo and Rome and bumps into history along the way. Through their eyes, Pan Am revisits an era nearly half a century ago. So, buckle up . . . adventure calls . . . and thank you for choosing Pan Am.

Track List:
1. Buddy Greco – “Around The World”
2. Grace Potter – “Fly Me To The Moon”
3. Bobby Darin – “Call Me Irresponsible”
4. Ella Fitzgerald – “Blue Skies”
5. Stan Getz & João Gilberto w/Astrud Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim – “The Girl From Ipanema”
6. Peggy Lee – “New York City Blues”
7. Shirley Horn – “The Best Is Yet To Come”
8. Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – “Mais Que Nada”
9. Billie Holiday – “Just One More Chance”
10. Count Basie – “I Can’t Stop Loving You”
11. Brenda Lee – “Break It To Me Gently”
12. Nikki Jean – “Do You Want To Know A Secret”
13. Connie Francis – “Quando Quando Quando (Tell Me When)”
14. Dinah Washington – “Destination Moon”

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Maynard Ferguson Early 60’s Cameo Sessions Re-Issued by ABKCO

14 Jan

Maynard Ferguson was one of the great Big Band trumpet blowers. Sure, the heyday of the Big Bands had long passed by the time these sessions were laid down in 1963. But Maynard, a native Canadian, continued to carry the torch — and did so in spectacular fashion. Ferguson was best known for his amazing ability to hit and sustain high notes, yet please do not consider him a “one trick pony.” He could play with the best of them and consistently surrounded himself with talented young musicians. This is certainly the case for these takes, which were recorded during the peak of the Cameo-Parkway label’s financial success. That success was due in great part to Chubby Checker’s mega-hit, “The Twist.”

ABKCO’s upcoming release of the NEW SOUNDS OF MAYNARD FERGUSON and COME BLOW YOUR HORN (both LPs are included on this single CD) do a fine job of displaying Maynard’s versatility and virtuosity. Many songs will be immediately familiar to the casual jazz or pop music fan. These tunes would include Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man, the traditional Oh Danny Boy, Count Basie’s rousing One O’Clock Jump, Ray Allen’s groovy Gravy Waltz, Duke Ellington’s hit Take the A Train, Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town), and Billy May’s Naked City TV theme. Slightly lesser known compositions by Hammerstein-Kern, Oliver Nelson, Benny Golson, Elmer Bernstein, and the prolific team of Cahn-Van Heusen help to round out the collection. Yes, Maynard had great taste as well as great musical chops.

I must say I really dig this stuff. Some of you whippersnappers out there may think Big Band music is out of date or even, GASP, uncool. I beg to differ — in fact, I strongly beg to differ. I’d take this over your Gaga and your Bieber any day, Junior. And if you’re an older music fan with a fondness for Big Bands like Basie’s or The Tonight Show’s Doc Severinson, this will surely send you soaring as high as one of Maynard Ferguson’s stupifying trumpet blasts.  This is far out, groovy, Buddy Rich, Jack Sheldon, Old Blue Eyes’ “Koo-Koo” kind of good.

The New Sounds of Maynard Ferguson/Come Blow Your Horn—the Complete Cameo Recordings  

PRE-ORDER-NOW! Available January 31, 2012

Released through Real Gone by arrangement with ABKCO Records, this twofer features two of the most collectible albums in the entire Maynard Ferguson catalog, the two records he recorded in 1963 for the Cameo label in between his stints at the Roulette and Mainstream labels. Maynard still has his great Roulette band of Lanny Morgan, Willie Maiden, Frank Vicari, Mike Abene, Ronnie Cuber and master arranger Don Sebesky et al. with him on these recordings. Sourced from the original master tapes, this marks the first time these rare gems will be legitimately released on CD. Both albums feature driving big band arrangements of both standards and originals, and we have unearthed an unreleased bonus track from the New Sounds sessions, a take on the classic The Song Is You, exclusively for this reissue. Remastered straight from the original tapes with new liner notes—Maynard’s complete Cameo recordings!

The New Sounds Of Maynard Ferguson C1046 (1963)

1. Take The “A” Train; 2. Bossa Nova De Funk; 3. Gravy Waltz; 4. Cherokee (Indian Love Song) 5. I’m Getting Sentimental Over You; 6. One O’Clock Jump; 7. At The Sound Of The Trumpet 8. Maine Bone; 9. Watermelon Man; 10. Danny Boy; 11. The Song Is You (previously unreleased)

Maynard Ferguson – Come Blow Your Horn C1066 (1963)

12. Groove; 13. Country Boy; 14. Blues For A Four String Guitar; 15. Whisper Not 16. We’ve Got A World That Swings; 17. Chicago That Toddling Town; 18. Naked City Theme; 19. New Hope; 20. Antony And Cleopatra Theme; 21. Come Blow Your Horn

Frank Sinatra’s “Best of Vegas” — I’m All In!

31 Jan

A new Sinatra release is always a cause for celebration. That is especially true when you’re talking about LIVE recordings. Better yet if the live material includes performances from the ’50s and ’60s (my favorite era of Frank’s stellar career). The first 9 tracks on this collection fall into that friendly territory. The initial 3 tunes (following the introduction) were recorded at The Sands in 1961 — ring a ding ding! Tracks 5-9 are even better, thanks to the participation of conductor Quincy Jones and the amazing Count Basie Orchestra.

The music swings throughout this 17-track live collection and boasts several 1980’s performances captured at Caesar’s Palace and the Golden Nugget. Nuggets found here include Pennies from Heaven and New York New York. Have the earmuffs ready as Old Blue Eyes employs some salty language during his sometimes lengthy and always engaging between song stage patter. Hey, Frankie had some great pipes … but he wasn’t exactly a choir boy.

In the span of a few years, Las Vegas refueled Frank Sinatra’s career and Sinatra in turn became the lead figure in the city’s ascendance. It was a synergistic relationship that has since become legendary in the annals of 20th century entertainment.

Some of the finest moments in that legendary symbiosis are captured in Frank Sinatra: Best of Vegas, a series of live recordings presented by Concord Records. The 14-song set, under license from Frank Sinatra Enterprises (FSE), captures Sinatra in concert at the Sands, Caesars Palace and the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas between 1961 and 1987. The collection is a distillation of highlights from Sinatra: Vegas, the five-disc boxed set (4 CD/1 DVD) of live recordings released by Reprise Records in 2006.

 

“From his debut at the Desert Inn in September 1951, no entertainer was ever more synonymous with the city of Las Vegas than Frank Sinatra,” says Charles Pignone, author of The Sinatra Treasures, in his comprehensive liner notes to the Best of Vegas CD. “It has been said that next to legalized gambling, nothing has been more beneficial and profitable to Las Vegas than Frank Sinatra.”

All the Sinatra classics are here, performed live before adoring crowds at some of the most prestigious venues in the history of Vegas. “The Lady Is a Tramp” (The Sands, 1961); “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (The Sands, 1966); “All or Nothing at All” (Caesars Palace, 1982); “Pennies From Heaven” (The Golden Nugget, 1987); and of course, the “Theme From New York, New York” (Caesars Palace, 1982) are just some of the gems in the Best of Vegas collection. 

“If you were in Las Vegas at the same time as Sinatra, there was nothing else that could compare,” says Pignone. “Even when the entertainment in town was changing from headliners to magic and production shows, Sinatra was still the ‘main event.'”

Or in the words of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, Sinatra was “the destination’s most enduring icon, an inimitable original who was influential in shaping Las Vegas’ image and entertainment scene.”

Sinatra returned to Vegas in December with the opening of Sinatra Dance With Me, at the Wynn Las Vegas. Conceived, choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp, Sinatra Dance With Me features original recorded masters of Frank Sinatra with a big band and 14 of the world’s finest dancers.

www.sinatrafamily.com