Thursday, February 25, 2010

One O'Clock Jump (1950)

By Count Basie & his Sextet. Filmed by Universal-International and released in 1951 as "Sugar Chile' Robinson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and His Sextet".

That, friends, is the legendary Wardell Gray on the tenor saxophone taking 2 nice choruses of the blues. Savor it. This film is the only surviving footage of Gray performing live. I have seen a few precious seconds of a home movie in which you can see Gray for a few frames, but this is pretty much it. For further interesting reading on Wardell, check out this blog entry from a while back.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fire In The Evening (1929)

Oil on cardboard. 13-3/8" x 13-1/4"
Mr. and Mrs. Joachim Jean Aberbach Fund, © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Heartwood House (1949)

There is a GREAT entry over at JazzWax combining 2 of my favorite topics: modern architecture and modern jazz. Jump over here to read all about the Oakland, California house Beverley Thorne designed for pianist Dave Brubeck.

For further reading, here is an excerpt from Pierluigi Serraino's NorCal Mod. An excellent book that I would highly recommend for any appreciator of mid-century modern architecture, particularly those of you with an affinity for the San Francisco-Bay Area.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jimmy Wyble (1922-2010)

Guitarist Jimmy Wyble passed away last week. His is a pretty remarkable story. Not only was he a Western Playboy but he was a member of Red Norvo's trio/quartet/quintet for a good long stretch at the end of the 1950s. In fact, he is featured in glorious technicolor in Ocean's Eleven (1960).

As a memorial, I've posted a couple of clips that are very close to my heart. Both are from "Screaming Mimi" a 1958 Gerd Oswald film that definitely falls into the exploitation/"B" category. I've seen the film - watchable mostly for the scenery. This not includes a pre-La Dolce Vita Anita Ekberg, but also several exterior shots of the International Settlement neighborhood in San Francisco. More on that another time. For now, dig on Red Norvo and his quartet and savor the brief glimpses of Jimmy's playing.