savoy-records

Judyful
  • Judyful
  • Curtis Fuller
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Curtis Fuller - Judyful (1960)

Rainy Fridays call for underappreciated obscurities.

Curtis Fuller is joined on the front line by Yusef Lateef’s husky tenor sax and the forgotten Wilbur Harden on trumpet. Harden is a sad story. Having appeared on a number of sides as a leader for Savoy in the late 50s, as well as a sideman with Coltrane and Lateef, he fell terribly ill in 1958, spending, as Wikipedia states, “four whole years under medical care. His last recording session took place in 1960 with Curtis Fuller’s group, following a brief release from the hospital.”

This is that recording. McCoy Tyner’s eerie chord voicings underpin this exceptional cut alongside bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Bobby Donaldson.

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Charlie Parker All Stars (with Miles Davis), Parker’s Mood . Savoy Records . 1948

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the complete Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald Decca Sessions (1934-1941) anthology:

Drummer Chick Webb’s 1930s’s orchestra terrorized competitors in band battles and sent dancers into orbit at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom. They could similarly explosive on record, but only rarely. Early on they did have some hot Edgar Sampson arrangements that Benny Goodman would soon turn into hits, like “Blue Lou” and “Don’t Be That Way.” But the Webb band also had an old school crooner, Charles Linton, with pre-jazz-age enunciation.

In 1935 Linton helped draw a curtain over mannered singing like his, when he brought scruffy 16-year-old Ella Fitzgerald to Chick Webb’s attention. Her sound was streamlined and modern, about melody and rhythm more than emoting. Ella was unformed, but could read music and learn a song in a second. “This is it,” Webb said. “I have a real singer now. That’s what the public wants.” Music publishers deluged the band with mostly forgettable medium tempo swing tunes, but Ella could make something out of almost anything—such as “Sing Me a Swing Song (And Let Me Dance).” Her articulation was always precise, but as in later years a New York accent might slip out.

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Stardust - Dizzy Gillespie

on The Champ (1956) Savoy

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The first time I heard Nappy Brown, I felt like someone had pour cold water on my brain, and thrown me onto a dance floor to challenge the devil himself.  Anyone could’ve been Nappy Brown, but only Nappy Brown sounds like Nappy Brown.

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 Charlie Parker - Bird The Savoy Recordings full album   .  Olivier C. Delisle