A swinging salute to the great bands and tunes featured at New York's legendary Savoy Ballroom.
In 1959, when “Savoy Stomp” was recorded, bandleader Van Alexander was a top TV and recording studio arranger in Hollywood. Despite that professional recognition at the top of the West Coast music business, some of his warmest recollections went back to his early days at the Savoy Ballroom in New York’s Harlem where, barely out of his teens, he got his start as an arranger for the great Chick Webb and his band. Recalling those days, Alexander assembled a band of some of the finest Hollywood musicians to record a collection of driving arrangements which really capture the flavor of the swinging “Savoy years.” Nat King Cole was in no doubt about the quality of the results. “It’s one of the finest albums of big-band swing ever recorded!”
The last eight tracks of this set are also closely related to the Swing Era, but were recorded in 1947 under the guidance of Van Alexander, who put together two Hollywood all-star bands to revive the famous Mills Blue Rhythm Band of the 30s.
[1-12]VAN ALEXANDER AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Conrad Gozzo, Shorty Sherock, Uan Rasey, Manny Klein (tp), Joe Howard (tb, vcl on #7,12),
Tommy Pederson, Ed Kusby, Milt Bernhart (tb), Kenny Shroyer (b-tb), Paul Horn, Abe Most,
Ronny Lang (as), Plas Johnson, Jules Jacob (ts), Butch Stone, Chuck Gentry (bs), Paul Smith,
Ray Sherman (p), Geoff Clarkson (p, celeste), Barney Kessel (g), Joe Comfort or Joe Mondragon (b),
Irving Cottler or Shelly Manne (d).
Recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California, on March 18 (1,2,9 & 12),
rest of tracks on March 19, 1959.
[13-20] VAN ALEXANDER’S BLUE RHYTHM BAND
Charlie Shavers, Chuck Peterson, Frank Beach, Ray Linn, Jimmy Zito (tp),
Si Zentner, Chuck Maxon, Sid Harris, Juan Tizol (tb), Ed Rosa (cl, as),
Clint Neagley, Willie Smith (as), Lucky Thompson, Stan Getz, Herbie Haymer (ts),
Butch Stone (bs), Jimmy Rowles, Wally Weschler (p), Charles Gable (vib),
Tony Rizzi, Barney Kessel (g), Arnold Fishkin (b), Don Lamond or Irving Cottler (d).
Recorded in Hollywood, on May 20 (13-16), November 15 (17-20), 1947.
[1-12] originally issued on the album The Home of Happy Feet (Capitol ST-1243).
[13-20] originally issued on four 78rpm records from the American Recording Artists (A.R.A.) label.
01. Let’s Get Together
02. Chant of the Weed
03. Until the Real Thing Comes Along
04. Uptown Rhapsody
05. Stompin’ at the Savoy
07. I Would Do Anything for You
08. A-Tisket A-Tasket
09. East St. Louis Toodle-oo
10. Organ Grinder’s Swing
11. Christopher Columbus
12. Ride, Red, Ride
13. Blue Rhythm Jam
14. Blue Rhythm Blues
15. Blue Rhythm Swing
16. Blue Rhythm Be-Bop
17. Blue Rhythm Ramble
18. Blue Rhythm Bounce
19. Blue Rhythm Serenade
20. Blue Rhythm Chant
Total time: 56:00 min.