Wednesday, 01 December 2010 14:22 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

waltIt's my guess that only the most venerable jazz anoraks will have heard of WALTER WANDERLEY... that's despite his huge sales figures in the 60s (most successful instrumentalist of the bossa nova era) and his initiating a whole new musical sub genre – lounge jazz.

First a little background. WALTER JOSE WANDERLEY MENDOCA was born in 1932 in Recife, Brazil and by his early teens he was a skilled piano and organ player. He won local acclaim and went on to work with JOAO GILBERTO and other Brazilian bossa nova luminaries. WANDERLEY was brought to the USA by TONY BENNETT who'd heard him playing in Rio and, recommended by the singer, CREED TAYLOR signed WALTER to the Verve label.

By 1966 WANDERLEY was enjoying huge success with instrumentals like 'Summer Samba' and 'Rain Forest' and his Verve LPs were all steady sellers. Then he entered into a potentially lucrative deal with the Holiday Inn Hotel chain which was to have him play their hotel lounges throughout the States. The company execs believed his easy-on-the-ear, mildly exotic tunes would pack their cabaret lounges and for the first show they were proved right. Sadly though during WALTER'S second set at the packed San Francisco Holiday Inn, our man collapsed over his organ... drunk. Holiday Inn duly terminated his contract, but a musical style had been born.

You can catch up with much of WANDERLEY'S pre-US work on a new 30 tracker from Cherry Red's El imprint. 'The World of Walter Wanderley' features music recorded in 1958 and 1959 and it's packed with gentle sambas and stately bossas – there's even a bizarre version of NEIL SEDAKA'S hit 'Oh Carol!'. It's a great tribute to a one-off artist who died in 1986 – at just the time when the genre he'd help create was enjoying a huge revival.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 December 2010 14:25



Wednesday, 01 December 2010 14:21 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

londonAce Records continue their tribute to the fab old London American label with a new compilation based around the label's output from 1959. London, of course, was a subsidiary of Decca Records who used the imprint to issue American records from a variety of licensees. Soul and (real) R&B–wise, this new 28 trackers has cuts from FATS DOMINO, DELLA REESE, CLYDE McPHATTER, CHUCK BERRY, RUTH BROWN, DEE CLARK, CHUCK WILLIS, LaVERN BAKER, BO DIDDLEY, LARRY WILLIAMS and RAY CHARLES. There's also a generous helping of vintage American pop including DUANE EDDY'S 'Some Kind-A Earthquake', JERRY KELLER'S 'Here Comes Summer' and BOBBY DARIN'S swinging take on 'Mack The Knife'.

Also a must for collectors is Ace's 'C'Est Chic'. On their new Ace International imprint, it's an enticing look at the work of France's very best 60s female vocalists – the so called 'ye-ye girls'. Not soul, of course, but lots of great authentic 60s atmosphere... c'est chic, c'est fab!



Wednesday, 01 December 2010 14:19 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

nevillesNew Orleans wonderful NEVILLE BROTHERS officially came together in the 70s. Before then AARON was a solo performer (remember his classic 'Tell It Like It Is'?), ART and CYRIL were at the core of the METERS and CHARLES was an in-demand sax man. They eventually got round to recording as a unit in 1978, but didn't really break through till 1989's 'Yellow Moon'.

Just prior to that release the foursome played San Francisco's Warfield Theatre and, remarkably, the show was recorded to be issued years later as a bootleg. Hip-O Select – through a deal with A&M – have just released the set (officially) and it's a perfect little time capsule. The double CD offers a generous helping of New Orleans classics – and, of course, 'Yellow Moon', along with a mighty Rock N Roll medley which the boys performed as an encore. The album is out now but in a limited edition.



Monday, 29 November 2010 22:13 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

JB_XmasJust out is a funky festive collection from the late Godfather of Soul himself, JAMES BROWN. Entitled 'The Complete James Brown Christmas Collection' and released by reissue experts,, the 37-track 2-CD two set features three complete yuletide albums by Mr Dynamite: namely 1966's 'Christmas Songs,'1968's 'A Soulful Christmas' - featuring the funk classic 'Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto' and a long version of the non-festive, militant Black Power anthem, 'Say It Loud - I'm Black And That I'm Proud' - and 1970's 'Hey America,' which was JB's final Christmas long player until a yuletide album he released in 1999. As well as three complete albums, the double set features seven bonus tracks including a couple of previously unreleased songs. The music is accompanied by fascinating liner notes provided by ex-Brown staffer, Alan Leeds, in a photograph packed booklet. We at SJF firmly believe that the album is a sure-fire stocking filler.

Talking of Christmas albums, American jazz singer LEA DELARIA has just released a festive collection entitled 'Be A Santa,' which is available through Warner Jazz. Produced by acclaimed UK jazz pianist, Janette Mason, the set features sassy, swinging versions of Christmas classics like 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,' 'Winter Wonderland,' and 'White Christmas.' Interestingly the album also contains an original tune called 'A Modern Christmas Tale.' Says DeLaria: "It's our Trojan Horse of a track. You listen to it and you think you've heard it before. You ask, 'who wrote that one?' Well, we did. We just snuck it in."



Thursday, 25 November 2010 19:23 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

take6With Christmas still a month away the record racks are starting to croak with the weight of Christmas albums – some new, but many simply re-hashed compilations. If you're to buy just one this year, the SJF vote would go to a pretty little effort from premier vocal group TAKE 6. Simply entitled 'The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year', the album is released on the outfit's own label via a deal with Heads Up.

The LP's title cut is one of the standouts along with great a cappella versions of 'White Christmas', 'Sleigh Ride' and 'I'll Be Home For Christmas'. One track, though, marks a little departure for TAKE 6. On the famous 'Charlie Brown Christmas song' – 'Christmas Time Is Here' - the lead vocal is taken by SHELEA FRAZIER who also adds a subtle piano into the mix. The LP's other oddity is a version of DR SEUSS' 'You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch'... you don't hear that one too often these days!


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