Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Cave

This week, both a Halloween-themed post and an iteration of a familiar Office Naps theme: Namely, the ways in which certain phenomena – natural, geographical, supernatural, technological, etc. – get played out in entertaining, cinematic ways in pre-Beatles rock ‘n’ roll and pop.  (See also: The Desert, The Sea, The Desert Island, Space, etc.)

So The Cave, then.  Not only is there something very evocative about this week’s selections, but they intersect gracefully with what was then going on in ’50s Hollywood B-movies.  Everything from Eegah (1962) and Night of the Blood Beast (1958) to Beast of Haunted Cave (1959) and Invisible Invaders (1959) – naming just a few – situated the cave as some locus of action.  The cave was the lair, the labyrinth, opaque darkness, the den of horrors.

Beast of Haunted Cave

The cave as another rock 'n' roll archetype this week. Image from Monte Hellman's 1959 movie Beast From Haunted Cave. Image courtesy of the indispensible Bad Movies.

A discussion of the psychological symbolism of the cave I leave to others.  If it made for a good filming location or dramatic cinematic motif then, somewhere, somehow, there was a 45 that appropriated it, and, suffice it to say, the cave was no different.  The concept of the haunted cave or underground alien hideout was, in fact, not only peculiarly well-suited to post-War paranoia but also to rock ‘n’ roll in general, the instrumental form then a proven chart commodity, the crucial, heavy use of echo redolent of subterranean acoustics.

As the teenaged market for rock ‘n’ roll novelties expanded to include various odd – and, in the case of these selections, spooky – themes and concepts, the cave would receive some fascinating, strangely effective treatments in turn.

Gary “Spider” Webb, The Cave (Part I) (Bamboo 504)1.  Gary “Spider” Webb, The Cave (Part I) (Bamboo 504)
Drummer Gary Webb is perhaps best known to rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts for his participation in the Hollywood Argyles; Webb was part of the hastily assembled crew of musicians that toured on the chart strength of the 1960 R&B-ish novelty hit “Alley-Oop.”  (The “real” Hollywood Argyles were a handful Los Angeles R&B and pop session musicians studio put together by Hollywood producer and character Gary Paxton for what was an informal studio lark.)

Prior to his involvement with the Argyles, Webb was enlisted overseas in the Navy for several years, where he’d played drums in the Jumpin’ Jacks, a service group.  After his return to the states, and just prior to his involvement with Hollywood Argyles, Webb was signed to the Los Angeles-based independent Donna Records in early 1960, cutting “Drum City” (a swinging instrumental somewhat in the style of Sandy Nelson) for the label a few months later.

Gary “Spider” Webb, The Cave (Part II) (Bamboo 504)2.  Gary “Spider” Webb, The Cave (Part II) (Bamboo 504)
“The Cave,” released in April of 1961, was the second, and last, of Gary Webb’s releases as a group leader.  Certainly “The Cave” is much headier, atmospheric stuff than the average novelty churned by the Los Angeles independent labels of the era.  “The Cave” also borrows much from the murky, menacing production and strange character voices of Bobby Christian and the Allen Sisters’ 1958 horror opus “The Spider & the Fly,” adding tremolo guitar, lunatic jungle drums and heaps of teen psychosexual drama in the process.

During much of the ‘60s, Gary Webb played in the supporting band for flamboyant Los Angeles club fixture, singer Troy Walker, but, after that, there’s unfortunately little else to be found about him.

Chuck Holden, The Cave (Unique 358)3.  Chuck Holden, The Cave (Unique 358)
The Charles Holden Orchestra was a supper-club affair with a long residency as the house orchestra at Manhattan’s chic El Morocco nightclub in the 1950s and ‘60s.   Holden’s sole album, 1957’s Dancing at the El Morocco, consisted of stolid arrangements of numbers like “Darktown Strutters’ Ball,” “Putting on the Ritz,” and “That Old Black Magic” – about as polite as it got.

Likewise, Unique Records, a New York City-based record label that operated in the ‘50s, had a discography essentially dedicated to releases by hotel orchestras, cabaret singers and aging entertainers.  Few concessions were made at Unique Records to rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, jazz or contemporary music of any kind; it was a strange, staid relic of a bygone era.

Charles Holden & His Orchestra, Dancing at the El Morocco

Charles Holden’s 1957 LP, Dancing at the El Morocco. Nothing could be further from “The Cave.” Image courtesy of bsnpubs.

I belabor this not because “The Cave” is just an extraordinary record, but because the psychic distance between everything about its conservative pedigree on one hand and its effect in reality on the other is quite jarring.

Released in 1956, there is, even today, nothing conservative about “The Cave.”  Its indecipherable moans, its unearthly piano string runs, its peculiar zither chords: the effect is somewhere between haunted house and Avant-Garde theater piece.  Nothing, really, could prepare one for this record.   It might have been marketed as a sort of novelty, I suppose, but no trace of humor or fun lightens “The Cave”’s dreary atmosphere.  Not a particularly easy record to listen to, but certainly effective.

Richie Allen, Cave Man (Imperial 5872)4.  Richie Allen, Cave Man (Imperial 5872)
A solo-and-session-guitarist-turned-producer with a strong trademark sound, Richie Allen’s is a somewhat old-school profile, and a very Southern Californian one at that, especially in the context of the post-War pop music business.  A future Office Naps post will be dedicated entirely to some of his early recordings but, in the meantime, here’s “Cave Man,” an instrumental he released in 1962.

Born Richard Allen Podolor (and best known as Richie Podolor) in 1940 in California, Allen showed prodigious musical talents as well as a knack – starting with his instrumental support for singer Bonnie Guitar on her haunting “Dark Moon,” a 1957 hit – for negotiating the music industry.

Allen also recorded early on as a leader, including 1958’s “I Love You Girl (And I Need You So),” a good Buddy Holly-influenced rocker.  But it’s Allen’s very first 45 as a solo artist, 1958’s “Samoa,” that’s particularly significant.  An atmospheric instrumental with elegant, minor-key riffs, “Samoa” would, in a moment, not only anticipate the moodier instrumental surf music spectrum, but would also anticipate the aesthetic of Allen’s ‘60s oeuvre as both a solo guitarist and producer.  (Allen would also re-record “Samoa” several times in these early years.)

Allen stayed busy in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, composing songs, playing live (as part of the Pets), forging further connections with Los Angeles studios and cutting many sessions, including, mostly famously, a series of Sandy Nelson’s hit rock ‘n’ roll instrumentals like “Teen Beat” and “Let There Be Drums.”  With demand for his talents as a session guitarist, solo recording opportunities arose, culminating in three instrumental guitar LPs – Stranger from Durango, The Rising Surf and the early compilation Surfer’s Slide – all released by Imperial Records between 1961 and 1963.

Like many of the era’s studio-created guitar instrumental albums, these tended to be a bit generic – the surf-themed LPs only nominally sounded like surf music – but the best moments – like “The Rising Surf,” “Haunted Guitar” and “Stranger from Durango” – nonetheless demonstrated Allen’s stately, booming guitar riffs to great effect.   Among these moments is also “Cave Man,” released in September of 1962.   Moody, if not spooky, and with a great Spagetti Western flavor, it is the logical extension of Allen’s “Samoa” sound.

Allen continued to avail himself of studio opportunities, forming a fruitful relationship with producer Gary Usher, then doing much to capitalize on the surf craze, with notable session contributions for various Usher vehicles like the Devons, the Hondells and the Super Stocks in 1963 and 1964.

There were other exciting recordings made as a guitarist, among them the Ghoul’s surf-monster exploitation LP Dracula’s Deuce and 1966’s epic 45 version of “Stranger from Durango.”  But Allen’s engineering handiwork for groups like the Monkees and Electric Prunes began to supersede his role as an instrumentalist as the ‘60s wore on.  Even so, Allen’s tastes occasionally surfaced in fascinating ways – a clear line can be drawn, for instance, between Allen’s majestic psychedelic instrumentals for the Chocolate Watchband (“Expo 2000″ and “Dark Side of the Mushroom”) and his “Samoa.”

In the late ‘60s, Allen found still greater success working as a producer, most famously for Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf, with big hits (including “Joy to the World” and “Born to be Wild”) for both.   Work with other heavyweights – including Iron Butterfuly, Black Oak Arkansas, Phil Seymour and Dillards – would follow in the coming decades, an entirely different chapter better documented elsewhere.

Thanks to Black Cat Rockabilly for some of the Richie Allen/Podolor information.

Posted in Exotica/Space-Age, Instrumentals/Surf | 4 Comments

La misère

This week’s three selections represent one particular dimension of the ’60s garage band phenomenon, one that doesn’t get much attention from collectors.

These are laments.  And they tended to take shape – in the form’s most effective examples, at least – in a discrete set of aural motifs.  That sound is one of the reasons I love this type of plaint so much: Tempos are slow, almost glacial, vocals are doleful, resolute in their despair, extra instrumentation (e.g., guitar solos)  is minimal and the levels of echo, as if to compensate, are cavernous.   The sound can be quite striking.

Moreover, in their unsparing detail of emotional vicissitude – related, always, to girl troubles – these selections dig beyond the mere pathos of the average minor-key ballad into something more desperate and anti-social.

There was little chart precedent for this sort of very raw emotion.  And these – not only is there something almost defiantly non-commercial about them, but, because this stuff was produced on such a limited, local basis, they’re sort of like using your high school yearbook profile to detail your various romantic travails.   And that is the other reason I love this odd corner of teenage rock ‘n’ roll so much.  There is great poignancy in the real, if over-the-top, vulnerability here.

Fantastic Dee-Jays, This Love of Ours (Sherry TR-Series Teen Sound 196)1.  Fantastic Dee-Jays, This Love of Ours (Sherry TR-Series Teen Sound 196)
An excellent mid-‘60s rock ‘n’ roll group popular in the Pittsburgh area, the Fantastic Dee-Jays recorded prolifically in their time before evolving into that rawest of all ‘60s garage bands, the Swamp Rats.

Formed in 1964 in McKeesport, south of Pittsburgh, the Fantastic Dee-Jays consisted at the start of teenagers Dick Newton (guitar and vocals), Tom Junecko (drums) and Denny Nicholson (guitar and vocals).  Discovered early on by popular local WMCK DJ (and producer, promoter and club and label operator) Terry Lee, the Fantastic Dee-Jays would, with Lee as manager, establish themselves as a major attraction in Pittsburgh’s vibrant teen dance circuit.

“This Love of Ours,” recorded in 1965 and released on Terry Lee’s own Sherry Records imprint, was the group’s first release.  An original composition, it digs deep on all fronts, pushing into stark emotional territory with a dramatic vocal, its effect increased – even as the words become somewhat difficult to understand – by its slow tempo and the extraordinary echo.  “This Love of Ours” is the absolute archetype for this type of sound.    (Its flipside, sadly, is a fairly dry reading of the guitar instrumental classic “Apache.” )

At this point it must be noted out that the Fantastic Dee-Jays were driven by two electric guitars and drums but no bass, an almost unheard-of configuration in its time.   While “This Love of Ours” didn’t neatly fit into the logic of the group’s discography – which was similarly original but Merseybeat-oriented – all of their recorded output had an aesthetic that was instantly identifiable, a sound driven by almost experimental masses of jangle – best heard on their roaring 1966 version of the Golliwogs’ “Fight Fire.”  Nor was it just the Dee-Jays pushing sonic boundaries.  Terry Lee’s penchant for echo – which he applied liberally to his own broadcasts – worked its way into the Dee-Jays’ recordings, which, in turn, he helped produce in the WMCK studios.

Still, if would-be impresario Lee made for a somewhat unorthodox match, it all somehow worked, at least for a year or two.  The Fantastic Dee-Jays proved popular, charting locally with their “Love Is Tuff” 45, opening for the Rolling Stones in 1966 as well as releasing a rare full-length LP, a costly investment, even with Lee’s patronage, in the era’s singles-driven marketplace for rock ‘n’ roll.

After five terrific 45s and one album, the Fantastic Dee-Jays disbanded in 1966.  Drummer Bob Hocko, who had replaced Junecko as drummer that same year, would continue with Dick Newton – again, under Terry Lee’s aegis – in the Swamp Rats, a volatile group who recorded some intense punk 45s in next year-and-a-half before they too dissolved.

The Stairway to the Stars, Cry (Brite-Star 17910)2.  The Stairway to the Stars, Cry (Brite-Star 17910)
From 1966, and likely from eastern Ohio, little can be stated conclusively about the Stairway to the Stars or Messrs. Sollosi and Benard, except that this 45’s origins lie along some of the more fascinating margins of the commercial record industry.

Brite-Star Records, run by one Tex Clark, was a mysterious, though not atypical, label operation that worked through its “offices” in Newbury, Ohio (east of Cleveland) and Nashville.  Largely in operation during the ‘60s, its discography includes a couple of weird records by fading country stars like Little Jimmy Dickens and Red Simpson, but it otherwise seemed to function as an outlet for aspiring musicians and songwriters who paid the label in exchange for some nominal promotion and distribution and, in some cases, for handling pressing and studio time.  Given both the general obscurity of Brite records (as well as releases on Roy, Brite, Bryte – all labels affiliated with Tex Clark) and some vague sense of unscrupulousness about the labels, it seems unlikely that they ever did much to sell actual 45s.

It makes sense, then, that Rite Record Productions pressed this record.  Based in Cincinnati, Rite Records was one of the better-known post-War custom-pressing plants.  The company would inexpensively produce small batches of 45s and LPs for various artists (who often included school and church groups along with aspiring singers and groups) and entrepreneurial spirits who approached them with tapes and demo recordings.

In both cases, low barriers to entry were assumed.  But, among the dozens of artless country singers and church group warblers, a lot of terrific and incredibly obscure music would see release on Rite-pressed labels such as Brite-Star.

“Cry” was most certainly among those.   Here the tempo is peppier and arrangement a bit more structured, but the booming echo and general levels of despair – the baleful spoken word interlude really enhancing the drama – again have a very strong effect.

This selection’s flipside is “Dry Run,” an excellent surf-style instrumental with hints of early psychedelia and lots of fuzz guitar.  A fantastic record.

Thanks to both Song Poem Music and 45 RPM Records for the information.

The Jades, Till I Die (Ector DAS-101)3.  The Jades, Till I Die (Ector DAS-101)
A popular local draw on the Fort Worth teen music circuit, the Jades – originally vocalist and guitarist Gary Carpenter, bassist Ronnie Brown, keyboardist Jack Henry, guitarist Larry Earp and drummer Alvin McCool – first came together in 1964 as high school students in the surrounding Haltom City and Richland Hills areas.

The Jades’ live reputation – in short time they’d be winning battles-of-the-bands, touring the state and opening locally for the likes of the Byrds and the Hollies – is perhaps more representative than their body of recorded work, which suffers in retrospect only because their three 45s were largely comprised of cover versions.  (Like many popular local rock ‘n’ roll groups in the mid-to-late ‘60s, the Jades focused on a crowd-pleasing live repertoire rather than original compositions.)

Released in 1965, “Till I Die” is the flipside to their first 45, the better-known “I’m All Right,” a raw, energetic reading of the Rolling Stones song that, in the Jades’ hands, performed well on hipper local radio stations like KFJZ.

“Till I Die,” written and sung by guitarist Larry Earp, is wholly uncharacteristic of the Jades’ oeuvre, and I can’t imagine it saw much live performance.  The dirge-like tremolo guitar, Earp’s rough-but-heartfelt vocals and, perhaps most of all, the lyric, with its profoundly macabre final verse, are all teenage lament de rigueur, though.

Two more Jades 45s – spirited versions of British Invasion-style R&B, mainly – would follow over the next year, including their third and perhaps best 45, a tough 1966 version of Them’s “Little Girl.”

Despite their considerable live reputation, the band – like many other groups who formed as teenagers – began to lose members as the ‘60s wore on.  Lead singer Gary Carpenter was the only original member by the time the group split in the early ‘70s, with only Carpenter and Jack Henry remaining involved in the professional music world.

Be sure to check out Norton’s Fort Worth Teen Scene series (which includes several Jades tracks), a brilliant document of the mid-‘60s suburban garage band phenomenon.  Also check Gary Carpenter’s website for some wonderful early photos of the Jades.

Posted in Garage Bands | 6 Comments

Prestige Records and Latin jazz

There were other significant New York City-based independent record labels – Riverside, Savoy, Atlantic, Clef/Norgran/Verve – that recorded modern jazz in the post-War decades, but, Blue Note aside, few would be so closely associated with the music as Prestige Records.

Few would release jazz with such alacrity, for that matter.  I should be clear: The discography at Prestige Records – formed in 1949 by twenty-year-old jazz fan Bob Weinstock – is one of post-War jazz’s most important and essential, with Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and other heavyweights recording unimpeachable masterpieces for the label.

But the Prestige model, which operated on a dizzyingly prolific schedule, occasionally at the expense of quality and fidelity, would essentially remain the same over its twenty-two-year history.  Product quality was improving by the mid-‘50s, but Weinstock would remain legendarily insistent on using single, unrehearsed takes and for encouraging unstructured (and cost-saving) jams; i.e., “blowing sessions.”

Such variables captured a certain spontaneity, certainly, but Prestige’s mentality was, especially early on, something of a carryover from the pre-LP, singles-market years immediately after World War Two.  Jazz in that decade was an era of 78s, radio and jukebox markets and the occasional crossover hit on the R&B or pop charts.  Prestige Records had an eye attuned to commercial markets from the start, perhaps more than any other jazz-oriented label in its day, with many bop singles issued, a handful of them – including sides by King Pleasure (“Moody’s Mood for Love,” 1952), Stan Getz (“Four and One More,” 1949), Sonny Stitt (“All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm,” 1949) and Annie Ross (“Twisted,” 1952) – achieving some modest chart success.

Which brings us to Latin jazz, or cubop, as it was tagged early on, the hybrid form then coalescing around thrilling, seminal experiments by Dizzy Gillespie, Machito and Chico O’Farrill.  Unlike Norman Granz, another entrepreneur and early champion of both modern and Latin jazz, Weinstock never envisioned a program of Latin jazz for his young Prestige label.   Rather, Latin jazz, which early on found some traction amongst jazz fans, and which also supplied the broader mass demand for the then-ascendant mambo, was just another logical crossover market to accommodate.

Beginning in 1951 with Joe Holiday’s “Mambo Holiday” and Sonny Rollins’s “Mambo Bounce,” many of Prestige’s ‘50s artists – Red Garland, Sonny Stitt, Billy Taylor, James Moody, Shirley Scott, Gene Ammons, to name a few – recorded Afro-Latin-inspired singles and, a few years later, whole albums.  Prestige would continue to release Latin-inspired jazz tracks and albums until the label’s sale to Fantasy Records in the early ‘70s, including some some some crucial releases in the ’60s by Juan Amalbert’s Latin Jazz Quintet, Montego Joe and Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers.

This week, however, we set the clocks back the early ‘50s for some of the earliest, and best, Latin-oriented sides from the Prestige stable.

Juan Tirado’s Mambo Band, Farmer’s Market Mambo (El Baile Del Campesino) (Prestige 912-X45)1.  Juan Tirado’s Mambo Band, Farmer’s Market Mambo (El Baile Del Campesino) (Prestige 912-X45)
Bandleader and timbalero Juan Tirado’s “Farmer’s Market Mambo” is several things.

It is the first Prestige Latin jazz session to be headed by a Latino musician.  Recorded and released in late 1954, the 45 is also the latest, chronologically speaking, of this week’s selections.

Finally, it is among the most obscure of the early Prestige jazz releases.  Despite the historical interest in Prestige’s jazz discography, information about Tirado and his Prestige session is scarce.   What can be gathered comes mostly from contemporary accounts in trade magazines like Billboard and later discographies that compiled Prestige session rosters.

This selection is Tirado’s impeccable version of trumpeter Art Farmer’s “Farmer’s Market” (which, incidentally, Farmer had first recorded with tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray for Prestige Records in 1952).   According to Michael Fitzgerald’s jazzdiscography, the session – which featured Don Elliott on vibraphone, Hector Romero on piano, John Drernak on bass, Frankie Colon on bongos and Eleuterio Frasquera on conga drum – produced one other 45 (“Shake It Easy” b/w “Cha Cheando”) for the label.  (Which, I should note, I would very much like to hear.)

There is one other confirmed Juan Tirado 45 – “Dorothea” b/w “Cha Cha Cha No. 1” – recorded for New York City-based indie label Derby Records, again from late 1954 or early 1955, and presumably in a similar style.  Tirado himself seems to have vanished, at least as a recording artist, from the music world by the early ‘60s.

Billy Taylor, Early Morning Mambo (Prestige PrEP 1327, cover)2.  Billy Taylor, Early Morning Mambo (Prestige PrEP 1327)
The standard line about Billy Taylor is that his importance as a pianist (and composer) was overshadowed by his role as an educator and spokesman for jazz.  Certainly this is true to a extent – Taylor’s radio and television appearances brought him to a whole new audience.  But it would be accurate to say that, well into the late ‘60s, Billy Taylor was one of jazz’s best-selling, if not most visible, pianists, a fact hardly worth sneezing at.

Taylor was born in 1921 in Greenville, North Carolina, grew up smitten with music in Washington, D.C. and received a degree in music from Virginia State College in the early ‘40s.   Moving to jazz hub New York City in the mid-‘40s, Taylor’s involvement in the jazz scene was, from his arrival, nothing if not democratic, playing with young modernists like Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie as well as swing-era luminaries like Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge and Jo Jones – without necessarily aligning himself stylistically or philosophically with either particular cohort.

Early gigs with Cuban-born percussionist Candido and Machito’s director Mario Bauza proved significant in engendering Taylor’s interests in Latin music.  An early ‘50s residency at New York City’s legendary Birdland club would follow, as would Taylor’s first recordings as a trio leader, these professional advances culminating in several Latin-oriented sessions for Prestige Records in ’53 and ’54.  These sessions would be issued in turn in various formats over the next few years.

Billy Taylor, Early Morning Mambo (Prestige PrEP 1327)“Early Morning Mambo” was recorded in 1953 – still early in Taylor’s recording career – and features, in addition to a beautiful solo by Taylor, bassist Earl May, drummer Charlie Smith, and Latin percussionists Chico Guerrero, Jose Mangual and Ubaldo Nieto on bongo and conga drums.  (The latter two percussionists were part of Machito’s rhythm section.)

This wouldn’t be the last time Taylor played Latin jazz (see Billy Taylor Trio Featuring Candido and Taylor Made Piano), though, in ensuing decades, the style would never again be as well represented in his oeuvre.

He never stopped performing or composing, but Taylor was, by the late ‘60s, assuming a greater role as a jazz educator and emissary, profiling jazz artists on the CBS series Sunday Morning, earning his doctorate, leading the orchestra on the David Frost Show and directing the Jazz Alive radio program.

After this long, fruitful career in service to music, Billy Taylor passed away in New York City in December, 2010 at age 89.

Joe Holiday, Mambo Holiday (Pt. 1) (Prestige 45-772)3.  Joe Holiday, Mambo Holiday (Pt. 1) (Prestige 45-772)
Cool-toned tenor saxophonist Joe Holiday was born Joseph Befumo into a musically-inclined family in 1925.  Born in Sicily, Italy, but raised in the New York City area from an early age, Holiday was a jazz modernist who, like many of his post-War cohort, made occasional forays into Latin music and R&B-oriented territory.

Holiday was barely out of his teens when he began leading small jazz groups in the Newark area in the mid-‘40s.  He debuted with two jukebox jazz singles on the excellent Federal Records label in 1951, but Holiday’s greatest success as a jazz musician – at least in terms of units sold – came for Prestige Records that same year with “This is Happiness,” a Latin-infused instrumental with solid bop leanings.

Joe Holiday, Mambo Holiday (Pt. 2) (Prestige 45-772)4.  Joe Holiday, Mambo Holiday (Pt. 2) (Prestige 45-772)
Like his label-mate Billy Taylor (with whom he recorded in 1953, incidentally), Holiday recorded both bop and Latin-tinged jazz for Prestige Records.  A dozen excellent singles largely in this vein – a few were in larger-group settings – followed quickly over the next three years.

“Mambo Holiday” was the second of these.  A spare,  laid-back Holiday composition, it was recorded in New York City in late 1951, with accompaniment provided by bassist Clarence Johnson, drummer Milton Hayes (presumably on timbales here), bongo player Nick DeLuca and keyboardist Jordin Fordin.

Holiday was one of many talented jazz musicians about whom it can fairly be said: he didn’t record as much as he should have.  After his spell at Prestige, Holiday’s sole full-length LP, Holiday for Jazz, was released in the 1957 on Decca Records.  Though now fairly obscure, it was a great modern jazz date, an anomaly in the catalog of that normally staid major label.

But Holiday seems to have retired from the world of professional music by the ‘70s.  His last recording date was a session supporting the young jazz organist Larry Young in 1960.

Joe Holiday currently lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and remains active, to this day, as a musician and friend of the arts.

Posted in Jazz Obscura, Latin | 3 Comments

New at the Lonely Beat:


A bit "Lotus Land," a bit "Key Largo," Dizzy Gillespie's "Rumbola" is rarely-heard side, recorded in 1954, and a lovely example of dark jazz noir in an exotic Latin setting.