Sunday, 1 September 2013

Fly Mister Fly – Joe Morris & His Orchestra





Side A
1. Fly Mister Fly
2. Wilma's Idea
3. Joe's Boogie
4. Out Of The Night
5. Lowe Groovin'
6. Jump With Me
7. Mad Moon
8. The Spider

Side B
1. Bottletop
2. Wow!
3. Weasel Walk
4. Boogie-Woogie March
5. Chuck-A-Boogie
6. Beans And Cornbread
7. Portia's Boogie
8. Broken Hearted Blues

Although tenor sax man Johnny Griffin is the headliner on the front cover of this 1985 Saxophonograph LP, these sides were recorded by and originally credited to Joe Morris And His Orchestra. Band leader, trumpeter and occasional vocalist Joe Morris and tenor sax legend Johnny Griffin were both former members of the Lionel Hampton big band. Around 1946 or 1947 they formed a small group which showed an inclination to go down the bop path rather than the jump blues / R&B route.

In late 1946 /early 1947 they recorded four boppish sides for Manor. Towards the end of 1947 they started recording for the new Atlantic label, quickly adopting a more R&B oriented approach to their recordings. At this stage of its development, Atlantic’s leading acts were two small groups with deep jazz roots – the Morris outfit and the Tiny Grimes band. Both groups soon started to achieve respectable record sales by recording in a swinging popular style, and both featured big toned abrasive tenor sax players – Johnny Griffin and Red Prysock respectively.

This fine LP of sides recorded between 1946/7 and 1949 shows the process of the move by the Joe Morris band from jazz into solid R&B / jump territory, particularly in the contrast between the Manor sides and pounding instrumentals such as “Wow!” and “Weasel Walk” and the cover version of “Beans And Cornbread.” Missing from this collection is the band’s powerful version of “The Applejack” which is certainly well worth catching.

Griffin left the band around 1950, moving on to a very successful jazz career. The Joe Morris band became the “Joe Morris Blues Cavalcade”, an R&B revue show similar to that of Johnny Otis, which enjoyed a fair amount of success in the R&B field. But I am getting ahead of myself, for the Blues Cavalcade and its vocalists such as Laurie Tate and Faye Adams will be subject of our next post.

In the meantime enjoy an LP which sits squarely in the Be Bop Wino zone, where jazz, jump and R&B meet in a rousing mix.

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Fly Mister Fly – Manor 1136
Wilma's Idea – Manor 1157
Joe's Boogie – Manor 1157
Out Of The Night – Manor 1136
Lowe Groovin' – Atlantic 855
Jump With Me – Atlantic 855
Mad Moon – Atlantic 859
The Spider – Atlantic 859
Bottletop – Atlantic 878
Wow! - Atlantic 870
Weasel Walk - Atlantic 870
Boogie-Woogie March - Atlantic 855
Chuck-A-Boogie - Atlantic 855
Beans And Cornbread - Atlantic 878
Portia's Boogie – Decca 48123
Broken Hearted Blues – Decca 48126

Some highlights from an excellent collection:

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah!

boogiewoody said...

Couldn't have put it better myself ... oh yeah!