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Friday, 29 May 2020

The Changing Face Of Harlem (The Savoy Sessions)

Side 1:
01) Twilight In Teheran - Buck Ram All-Stars
02) Morning Mist - Buck Ram All-Stars
03) Swing Street - Buck Ram All-Stars
04) Ram Session - Buck Ram All-Stars
05) Ooh-Wee - Pete Brown Quintette
06) Bellevue For You - Pete Brown Quintette
07) Pete Brown's Boogie - Pete Brown Quintette
08) Moppin' The Blues - Pete Brown Quintette

Side 2:
01) Dance Of The Tambourine - Hot Lips Page & His Hot Seven
02) Uncle Sam's Blues - Hot Lips Page & His Hot Seven
03) Pagin' Mr Page - Hot Lips Page & His Hot Seven
04) I Keep Rollin' On - Hot Lips Page & His Hot Seven
05) I Got What It Takes - Hot Lips Page Band
06) Good For Stompin' - Hot Lips Page Band
07) Lip's Blues - Hot Lips Page Band
08) Blooey - Hot Lips Page Band

Side 3:
01) Honeysuckle Rose - Ben Webster
02) I Surrender Dear - Ben Webster
03) Blue Skies - Ben Webster
04) Run Down - Herbie Fields
05) Nuts To Notes - Herbie Fields
06) Groovin' With Grimes - Tiny Grimes
07) I'll Always Love You Just The Same - Tiny Grimes
08) Romance Without Finance - Tiny Grimes

Side 4:
01) Bye Bye - Miss Rhapsody
02) My Lucky Day - Miss Rhapsody
03) Hey Lawdy Mama - Miss Rhapsody
04) Groovin' The Blues - Miss Rhapsody
05) Smack That Mess - Joe Gregory
06) Dee Dee's Dance - Clyde Hart
07) Little Benny - Clyde Hart
08) Shoot The Arrow To Me Cupid - Joe Gregory

Founded by local entrepreneur Herman Lubinsky in Newark, New Jersey, in 1942, Savoy Records went on to become one of the USA's most important labels in jazz and R&B. The label didn't really take off until mid 1944 when it started recording musicians from the vibrant club scene in NYC, both from Harlem and 52nd Street. Savoy was one of a number of small labels in the New York area which picked up on the changes taking place in jazz at that time with other examples being Keynote, Blue Note, Beacon, Manor and National.

This two LP set compiles sides mostly recorded in 1944 with the exception of some Herbie Fields sides from May 1945. The dominant style is small group swing with only the faintest hint of the be bop to come with Charlie Parker's appearance on a couple of the Tiny Grimes tracks.

The full line ups on these tracks can be found in the session details on the back cover of this set and fans of R&B or to be more precise, the area where jazz and R&B intersect will be familiar with quite a few of the names including Tiny Grimes, Earl Bostic, Ike Quebec, Ben Webster, Slam Stewart, Hot Lips Page, Don Byas, Jack "The Bear" Parker, heck just read it for yourselves.

Dan Morgenstern's terrific notes both set the scene and provide a running commentary on the tracks and are a model for what such an essay should be. He calls the music here "Harlem jump" which sums it up admirably. These tracks are contemporaneous with the rise to immense popularity of Louis Jordan's brand of jump blues and while they differ slightly from Jordan's style they encapsulate the music scene which would soon give rise to be bop, dynamic small group swing based jazz, and eventually to rhythm and blues.

I've been fascinated for many years by the Savoy Record label, ever since I acquired the cassette "Jumpin' at The Savoy" from the New Musical Express back in the early 1980s. Indeed that cassette was the first music I posted on Be Bop Wino back in September 2007. Follow the trail - there's a working Megaupload link on the post!

Over the years Savoy has featured on numerous posts on the blog, with the most recent example perhaps being a cross-blog collaboration on posting the complete "Savoy Roots Of Rock'n Roll" series. I have a few sets from the "Savoy Sessions" series which concentrates on the jazz side of the label, so you can expect more of these to appear on the blog along with other material from the New York scene of the 1940s.

Billboard, 19th August 1944

Original Issues:

Buck Ram's All Stars:

Swing Street / Twilight In Teheran - Buck Ram's All Stars - Savoy 572 - February 1946

Morning Mist first released on this LP. 

Ram Session first released on LP Savoy MG 9030 "Jam Session At Savoy" in 1953.

Pete Brown Quintette:

Pete Brown's Boogie / Bellevue For You - Pete Brown Quintette - Savoy 522 - August 1944

Ooh-Wee / Moppin' The Blues - Pete Brown Quintette - Savoy 523 - November 1944

Hot Lips Page: 

Uncle Sam Blues / Paging Mr. Page - "Hot Lips" Page's Swing Seven - Savoy 520 - August 1944

Dance Of The Tambourine / I Keep Rollin' On - "Hot Lips" Page's Hot Seven - Savoy 521 - August 1944

Lips Blues / I Got What It Takes - Hot Lips Page and Orchestra (?) - Savoy 529 - (?) 1944 (?)

"Lips Blues" rereleased as "Double-Trouble Blues" on Savoy 700

"Blooey"; "Good For Stompin'" - first released on this LP.

Ben Webster

"Honeysuckle Rose"; "I Surrender Dear"; "Blues Skies" are unissued alternate takes.

I Surrender Dear / Blues Skies - Ben Webster Quartet - Savoy 505 - (?) 1944.

Honeysuckle Rose / Kat's Fur - Ben Webster Quartet - Savoy 506 - (?) 1944

The released versions are on the Savoy 2LP set "The Tenor Sax Album" which will be posted on the blog.

Herbie Fields

Run Down / Camp Meeting - Herbie Fields Hot Seven - Savoy 591 - February 1946

Nuts To Notes first issued on this LP.

Tiny Grimes

Groovin' With Grimes first released on this LP

I'll Always Love You Just The Same; Romance Without Finance are alternate takes of sides released on Savoy 526 (b/w Tiny's Tempo) and Savoy 532 (b/w Red Cross) respectively.

Miss Rhapsody

Bye Bye Baby / My Lucky Day - Rhapsody with June Cole's Orchestra - Savoy 5510 - August 1944

Hey Lawdy Mama / Groovin The Blues - Rhapsody with June Cole's Orchestra - Savoy 5511 - November 1944

Clyde Hart

Smack That Mess / Shoot The Arrow To Me Cupid - Joe Gregory - Savoy 542 - possibly unreleased?

Dee Dee's Dance / Little Benny - Clyde Hart's Hot Seven - Savoy 598 -  May 1946

Elsewhere On The Web

Small Independent Rockin' 45rpm Labels by Apesville has recently completed a project to compile a complete collection of Savoy singles. Start here and work your way through an absolutely gobsmacking series of posts. Sheer heaven for fans of Savoy.


Apesville said...

thanks for the plug Dean

Anonymous said...

Thanks, BW! I have owned this LP set for 40+ years and always loved it. Great to get the digital version, along with your usual high-quality curation. Keep it up!


P.s. I found the Savoy singles on Indie Labels a while back, and have been working my way through the trove ever since. You are right -- an amazing find.

boogiewoody said...

Hi Dean - as I said on comments on previous post there's been a delay in getting your comments up as for some unknown reason they ended up in my spam folder. However, they're up now!

I had a quick look through some of the Savoy collections that I'll be posting but I didn't spot anything that isn't already in your blog project. If you come across anything that's not in your project then please add it. Every little helps!


Bob Mac said...

Many thanks BW, certainly lots of great tracks to listen to on this collection.

boogiewoody said...

I forgot to mention - I used the entire Hot Lips Page side to make up a little "pretend" LP back in the blog somewhere.


Jonathan F. King said...

I bought this double LP when it came out, at the very beginning of my vague interest in "jazz." I was still a rock'n'rolling sucker for fast tempi and raucous playing though, which is why I just about wore out the grooves on Side One -- because that's where Buck Ram's "Ram Session" was located. Still thrills me to my toes. So happy to have this package back in hand.

And yes, the Savoy project is mindblowing. I think I've grabbed every last posting, b/c otherwise why would I have ordered a new external drive? [g]

boogiewoody said...

Cheers Jonathan

I've downloaded everything from the Savoy project except the hillbilly and gospel. It's so huge I don't know where to start my listening! I don't have time to listen just now anyway as I'm working on the next Savoy 2LP set for the blog.


Brush&Stick said...

Many thanks for these classics!