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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lee Wiley, Bobby Hackett & Joe Bushkin - A Night in Manhattan (1950) - For Europeans Only #1

This is the first of a series of uploads focussing on earlier styles of jazz. The idea is to share single sessions, usually nowhere near the lenght of a CD, that I like a lot and that I think deserve more attention. CDs may have several advantages, but sometimes they're just not right, either... they run too long if I want to have 20 minutes of music, they store away short dates with other material and often sort of hide it... so the focus in this series shall be pre-LP dates, mostly (not much plans yet... I'll be surprised myself!) of pre-bop styled music, such as Lee Wiley, Bunny Berigan or Mildred Bailey (that's the two artists I know what to share of, right away...) 

The tag For Europeans Only (after our favourite Tadd Dameron's composition of the same title) means that this will all be music that's older than 50 years and hence in public domain over here in Europe. If you're an American and disagree with the 50 year limit, please just stay away!

Lee Wiley singing with Max Kaminsky's band

Lee Wiley started out in the early thirties (check out my compilation of early material here) and sang with the Dorsey Brothers, Max Kaminsky, Joe Bushkin and others, mostly working with Condon-related musician by the late 30s. She never quite made it big, maybe because she disappeared or had low visibility at various points of her career. However, this 1950 album matching her with the most sympathetic pianist Joe Bushkin, and trumpeter/cornetist Bobby Hackett, brought her back to attention and has to be considered one of the highlights of her career.

A remembrance by Singer Carol Sloane (from AAJ):
I was singing in the Big Room of an elegant club in New York City called The Blue Angel. One night after the show, I joined some friends in the Art Deco lounge and saw a sight I'll never forget: a woman, draped in sable, seated at one of the black leather upholstered banquettes, surrounded by five or six gentlemen in black tie. The men were clearly enchanted with this glamourous creature, lighting her cigarettes, pouring her champagne, laughing ever so delicately at her witticisms, and not a one paying the slightest attention to darling Bobby Short, singing Cole Porter tunes on a little upright over in the corner with all the persuasion and enthusiasm he possesses to this day. "WHO is that?", I asked. "THAT" is Lee Wiley!"

I was dazzled and thrilled to see the great Lee Wiley, and determined I'd be the center of attention at a similar party one day... Best I've done so far is that night backstage at the Newport Jazz Festival when some guy offered me a joint, a bottle of beer and a ride home.

A short review from AAJ:
Lee Wiley: Night in Manhattan (1950)
This is the quintessential album from the woman widely regarded as the first great cult singer in vocal jazz. Unlike her wonderful and groundbreaking series of songbook 78s of a decade earlier, this 10” EP was carefully recorded to capture Wiley's unique vocal timbre in clear sound. Unlike the sublime, Ralph Burns orchestrated West of the Moon that was still to come, this album features Wiley singing her signature songs in the company of some of her favorite jazz musicians. The latest CD incarnation preserves the original EP's 8-song line up and then adds some Irving Berlin and Vincent Youmans material Wiley recorded for Columbia. These additional tracks feature good songs and terrific singing smothered by awful dual piano accompaniment. However, the first 8 tracks, the original Night in Manhattan EP, are reason enough to buy this CD.

I couldn't find a large scan of the original cover (didn't see it on Gokudo - the two other Columbia 10" albums are there, however), but here's the cover of a CD pairing all three albums:

Just for the record: the two other albums are worthwhile enough, if just for Lee's singing!
But Night in Manhattan is the finest part of the three, for sure! One of her career highlights! And here finally it is:

**s h a r e d * b y * u b u**
* for europeans only #1 *

Lee Wiley / Bobby Hackett / Joe Bushkin - A Night in Manhattan
Columbia CL 6169 (10" LP)

1. A Woman's Intuition (N. Washington-V. Young) 3:28
2. Sugar (Pinkard-Mitchell-Alexander) 3:05
3. Any Time, Any Day, Anywhere (Washington-Young-Wiley) 2:24
4. (I Don't Stand) A Ghost Of A Chance (Crosby-Washington-Young) 3:13
5. Oh! Look At Me Now (J. DeVries-J. Bushkin) 3:05
6. Street Of Dreams (S. Lewis-V. Young) 3:11
7. Manhattan (R. Rodgers-L. Hart) 3:21
8. I've Got A Crush On You (G. Gershwin-I. Gershwin) 3:22


LEE WILEY AND BOBBY HACKETT WITH JOE BUSHKIN AND HIS SWINGING STRINGS: Bobby Hackett (cor), Artie Manners, Jimmy Lytell (cl), Herb Baumel, Alex Pearce, Gabriel Banat (vln), Dick Dickler (vla), George Koutzem (clo), Joe Bushkin (p, cel), Robert Chauvigny (second p), Marcel Bonniface (acc), Bill Goodall (b), Charlie Smith (d), Lee Wiley (vcl).
NYC, December 12, 1950

CO 44721-1 A Woman's Intuition Col 39204, CL 6169
CO 44722-1 Sugar Col 39201, -
CO 44723-1 Any Time, Any Day, Anywhere Col 39204, -
CO 44724-1 (I Don't Stand) A Ghost Of A Chance Col 39202, -

LEE WILEY AND BOBBY HACKETT WITH JOE BUSHKIN AND HIS SWINGING STRINGS: Bobby Hackett (cor), Herb Baumel, Gabriel Banat (vln), Dick Dickler (vla), George Koutzem (clo), Joe Bushkin (p, cel), Bill Goodall (b), Charlie Smith (d), Lee Wiley (vcl).
NYC, December 14, 1950

CO 44732-1 Oh! Look At Me Now Col 39203, CL 6169
CO 44733-1 Street Of Dreams Col 39201, -
CO 44734-1 Manhattan Col 39202, -
CO 44735-1 I've Got A Crush On You Col 39203, -

MP3 @ 320 kbs from:
MD8-206 Classic Columbia Condon Mob Sessions - CD8 #3-10, Sessions (HH) & (II)

**s h a r e d * b y * u b u**
* for europeans only #1 *


ubu said...

Here's the download link:

cvllos said...

Mr UBU, you may not believe but right now - October 2008 - I found this recording from the great Hackett, still live! Here we go dlding! Thanks once more!