Sunday, 9 November 2014

Bongo Blues / Dee's Boogie - Dee Williams Sextette (Savoy 684)





Recorded in Los Angeles, on February 18th, 1949. Released on February 29th, 1949.

Personnel: John Anderson (trumpet); Gene Montgomery (tenor sax); Richard Brown (baritone sax); Devonia "Dee" Williams (piano); Charles "Chuck" Norris (guitar); Morris Edwards (bass); Roy Porter (drums).

Devonia Williams was for many years the pianist in the Johnny Otis band. In 1949 she recorded some sides under her own name - "Bongo Blues" / "Dee's Boogie" was released as by the "Dee Williams Sextette" and "Midnite Creep" / " Double Trouble Hop" (Savoy 716) was released as by "The California Playboys."

"Bongo Blues" sold well. Billboard rated it highly: "Smart amalgam of Cu-bop and Harlem Jump, with the inevitable honk tenor to insure (sic) commercial potential." "Dee's Boogie" wasn't rated so highly: "Formula romper in the loose wig manner: pounding rhythm, one-note tenor solos with answering riffs."

The above line up is a good example of how musicians in 1940s Los Angeles could shuttle back and forth between jazz and R&B gigs. Gene Montgomery and Roy Porter were both members of the Howard McGhee band which in 1946 also featured Charlie Parker and Sonny Criss.


"Blow, Gene, Blow" is an unreleased track from the Dee Williams session which gives us a chance to hear Gene Montgomery  stretching out a bit. He can also be heard on "What Is This Thing Called Love" which was recorded at the same 1947 Elks Hall jam session which gave us "The Hunt" in which Wardell Gray and Dexter Gordon squared off against each other. On "What Is This Thing Called Love" tenor sax duties are carried out by Gene Montgomery and Wild Bill Moore. Yep, the Wild Bill Moore of "We're Gonna Rock" fame.

Anyway, here's the Dee Williams Sextette with "Blow, Gene, Blow":



Coming soon on Be Bop Wino: more NYC rocking R&B sax from Sil Austin, Buddy Lucas and Jesse Powell, a very weird 78 rpm disc by Tadd Dameron's Big Ten, courtesy El Enmascarado, and an all day drinking session with The Clovers, with input from Joan. Also in the pipeline - just what is the truth behind The Twist? And There's Good News Tonight > There's Good Blues Tonight > There's Good Rockin' Tonight. Plus whatever else takes my fancy!

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