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Monday, 7 July 2008

Gene Ammons - Early Visions (Chess Jazz Masters)

Born in Chicago in 1925, tenor sax player Gene Ammons was the son of boogie woogie pianist Albert Ammons. At the age of 18 he joined the band of trumpet player King Kolax and then moved to the bebop influenced band of Billy Eckstine.

When the Eckstine aggregation broke up Ammons started working the clubs in Chicago, among them the Mocambo Lounge owned by Leonard and Phil Chess who had started Aristocrat Records, which soon became Chess Records. Naturally Gene was given the chance to record for the Chess brothers in 1948 (he’d already recorded for Mercury in 1947, succeeding in getting an R&B hit with “Red Top”). The first 4 sides in this collection are from that October 1948 session and include some tenor sax battles with Tom Archia. Sax battles were a feature of Ammons’ career – with Dexter Gordon when they were both in the Eckstine band, and later with Sonny Stitt when they were both recording for Prestige.

There was a further Chess session in 1949 (tracks 5-8 on disc 1) which included a couple of rather forgettable vocal sides by Christine Chatman and Mary Graham (“Do You Really Mean It?” and “Bless You”). From that same session “Once In a While” set the pattern for many of Gene’s subsequent sides – a romantic ballad with added echo. In 1950 Gene had his biggest R&B hit with “My Foolish Heart”. The sides featured here were recorded between 1948 and 1951. In the latter part of this period Gene was also recording for Prestige with whom he had further R&B chart success in 1951 with “Jug”. Gene’s Prestige sides will feature in a future post.

Joan has supplied some label shots from some of Gene’s Chess singles. She is simply indefatigable!

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here (one BIG download as Rapidshare has upped its file size limit):

or from here:

Disc 1

1. Swinging For Xmas
2. The Talk Of The Town
3. The Battle
4. Jam For Boppers
5. Do You Really Mean It?
6. Bless You
7. Stuffy
8. Once In A While
9. Pennies From Heaven
10. Cha Bootie
11. More Moon
12. The Last Mile

Disc 2

1. Goodbye
2. Ten Or Eleven
3. It's You Or No One
4. My Foolish Heart
5. Jug Head Ramble
6. You Go To My Head
7. Baby Won't You Please Say Yes
8. Don't Do Me Wrong
9. Prelude To A Kiss
10. Can Anyone Explain
11. You're Not The Kind
12. Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe


KRENG said...

Thank you so much! This is great stuff! I only know Ammons on behalf of his later work, but this is so much better...

Thanks for your wonderful blog. It's a place of excellent taste, comfortable nostalgia & wild parties to come.

Stay off the main road & keep driving!

Joski said...

I love all this

great great site

Anonymous said...

hey i love your blog, but is it possible to upload to another hosting site like sharebee or xirror or somehting like that? rapidshare is very limited.


Billy K said...

This is tremendous! I love Gene Ammons. Thank you so much!

But let me also just give my thumbs down for Rapidshare. I've always disliked it, but their new protocol now is awful. 51 minutes to download this! Dreadful!

boogiewoody said...

OK guys I'll add a megaupload link tomorrow.

brian said...

Fantastic addition too my Ammons collection. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful player, Gene Ammons. And on ballads, oh man! If Jug doesn't bring a tear to your eye, check your pulse, you might be dead. Love his playing, good to the last note. euclidcreek

Anonymous said...

Thank you for excellent site,
you have many treasures,
thanks a lot you shared them.
a music lover from Hungary

Zsuzsanna said...

Thank you for excellent site,
you have many treasures,
thanks a lot you shared them.

music lover from Hungary

brother jug#02 said...

boss tennor for life jug is my main
man. my father dug jug so much that
he nick name me after him at the moment iam listening to billie
bounce from gene ammons live in
sweden.peace beyond to gene jug
ammons forever and a day.
thank you for this wonderful blog.
brother jug#02 peace love and music.

Anonymous said...

I love this old recordings.It is a treasure to be preserved for ever.Thanks for the opportunity to listen to the rare R&B Zeis-Valencia Spain