Mardi Soir Sessions volume II - Midnights at Moody's

Midnight at Moody's - Los Hermanos Brothers:

here's a link to download: http://www.mediafire.com/file/rfcv3538i6vlo75/Midnight%20at%20Moody%27s.mp3

TRACKLIST: Mardi Soir Sessions (Vol.2):
“Midnight at Moody's”

1. Cootie William / Duke Ellington – Concerto for Cootie
2. Gene Krupa – How high the moon
3. Fats Waller – I'm gonna sit right down
4. Coleman Hawkins – Body & Soul
5. Billie Holiday – That ole devil called love
6. Ben Webster – Making whoopee
7. Ella Fitzgerald / The Mills brothers – Dedicated to you
8. Jimmie Lunceford – Organ grinder swing
9. Louis Armstrong – I can't give you anything but love
10. Bix Beiderbecke / Frank Trumbauer – Singin' the blues
11. Benny Goodman & his orchestra – A smooth one
12. Artie Shaw – Summit ridge drive
13. Jimmie Lunceford & his orchestra – Margie
14. Benny Goodman & his orchestra – Love me or leave me
15. Lena Horne – You do something to me
16. Benny Goodman – After you've gone
17. Artie Shaw – Scuttlebutt
18. Duke Ellington & his orchestra – Sump'n 'bout rythm

« Moody's » would be the very last late-night hang-out with a bar still selling in one or the other anonymous north-american metropolis struck by economic crisis and prohibition. The kind of place musicians would meet at after their gigs. The way we imagine it, some of the greatest jazz figures of that era would meet there in the most casual of manners, and if the mood was right, they would end up playing their tunes to one another.

We like to imagine how things could have happened if the mood got all blue and sentimental one drafty autumn night, just how it might have sounded if all of them played and sang their most beautifull ballad, straight from the heart, and suddenly, everything became deeply meaningful, down there, at that particular place, at that particular time, 'round midnight.
Cootie williams would probably be among the musicians one would be most likely to meet at such a late-night session. If only because he was the very first to record Monk’s famous composition ‘Round Midnight', and, as we imagine things to take place at Moody's, he would rarely miss a chance to relay how the song was brought to him by Monk himself. Evidently because Cootie is one of the key protagonists in the history of big band jazz, but most importantly, because the sound comming from his trumpet, is exactly how we imagine Moody's melancholic midnight jam to sound like.  

After working briefly in the bands of Chick Webb and Fletcher Henderson, Cootie Williams became an integral part of Duke Ellington's orchestra, where he replaced the departing Bubber Miley. Former co-musicians such as Ellington, Nanton or Hardwick spoke fondly of Bubber Miley's carefree character and « joie de vivre ». On the other hand, they also mention his notorious unreliability, and problems with alchohol abuse. Miley's lifestyle eventually led to his breaking up with Ellington's band in 1929, but his influence on the Duke Ellington Orchestra lasted far longer. His legacy lived on in trumpeters such as Cootie himself, and later, Ray Nance, who both were able to adopt Miley's style in their own way when needed.

At the age of six, Bubber and his family moved to New York City where, as a child, he occasionally sang for money on the streets, and later, at the age of fourteen, studied to play the trombone and cornet. While touring in Chicago, he heard King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band playing and was captivated by Oliver's use of mutes. Soon Miley found his own voice by combining the straight and plunger mute with a growling sound. According to saxophonist Otto Hardwick, Ellington's band members had to « shanghai » Miley - « shanghaiing » refers to the practice of conscripting men as sailors by coercive techniques such as trickery, intimidation or violence - into joining them for his first performance, at the Hollywood on Broadway in 1923. At the time, Ellington's Washingtonians were formally led by Elmer Snosden, but Ellington, who factually had already been running the formation, also took over its official leadership a few months later.
Miley's collaboration with Ellington has secured his place in jazz history. Early Ellington hits, such as Black and Tan Fantasy, Doin' the Voom Voom, East Saint Louis Toodle-oo and Creole Love Call prominently feature Miley's solo work and were thematically inspired by his melodic ideas. He and fellow band member, trombonist Joe « Tricky Sam » Nanton, created the « wah-wah » sound that characterized Ellington's early Jungle Music style, which is why many jazz critics consider Miley's musical contributions to be integral to Ellington's early success during the time they performed in the Kentucky Club and most notably, the Cotton Club.
Another Cotton Club regular singing her heart out that night at « Moody's » was Lena Horne. Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was a singer, actress, civil rights activist and dancer. Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of sixteen and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, where she had small parts in numerous movies, and more substantial parts in the films Cabin in the Sky and stormy Weather. Due to the « Red Scare » and her left-leaning political views, Horne found herself blacklisted. Unable to get work in Hollywood, she returned to her roots as a nightclub performer.
Much in the same way « Ellington's Cotton Club » offered Horne the chance to break through as an artist, « Chick Webb's Savoy Ballroom » was the first to stage the later to become « First Lady of Song ». One could never guess from her singing that Ella Fitsgerald's early days were as grim as Billie Holliday's. Growing up in poverty, Ella was literally homeless for the years before she got her big break. In January 1935, she won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw Band at the Harlem Opera House, where she met drummer and bandleader Chick Webb. Webb had already hired singer Charlie Linton to work with the band and was, The New york Times later wrote, « reluctant to sign her....because she was gawky and unkempt, a diamond in the rough. » Webb offered her the opportunity to test with his band when they played a dance at Yale University. Ella began singing regularly with Webb's Orchestra through 1935 at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. She recorded several hit songs with them, including Dedicated to you. Chick Webb died on June 16, 1939, and his band was renamed "Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra" with Ella taking on the role of bandleader.

"I know I'm no glamour girl, and it's not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot, but now I've got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing." - Ella Fitzgerald 

Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the finest female jazz singer of all time. Blessed with a beautiful voice and a wide range, she could outswing anyone, was a brilliant scat singer, and had near-perfect elocution; one could always understand the words she sang. The one fault was that, since she always sounded so happy to be singing, Ella did not always dig below the surface of the lyrics she interpreted and she even made a downbeat song such as "Love for Sale" sound joyous, a quality for which she is sometimes considered to be the antithesis of that other equaly legendary jazz vocalist, Billie Holliday.

There were three phases in Billie Holiday’s career that were so distinct as to give the impression that we were listening to different singers. The first was the carefree swinging Billie who recorded some 120 sides on equal terms with some of the best soloists and improvisers of the 1930, using a natural and relaxed sense of swing. The “second Billie” emerged after she recorded the protest song Strange Fruit, a deeply depressing song of lynching and death sung with much feeling and emotion. This event immediately altered the course of her career by 180 degrees. She now became a dramatic, serious singer and cut her most famous recordings of heavy, non-swinging material like Gloomy Sunday, God Bless the Child, Am I Blue, I Cover the Waterfront and I got a Right to Sing the Blues. These songs were sung with profound artistry and are considered by many to be her best work. Finally, in the last sad years of her life in the 1950’s Lady Day’s voice lacked the glow and intonation of former. She sang in a rough, dark style but all the while maintaining her artistry.
 The “first” Lady Day of the 1930’s, when swing and Billie were both young, is by far the most important in terms of jazz history. In the midst of the Great Depression, the jazz recording industry was reduced to only five percent of its 1927 peak. New Orleans/Chicago style was no longer in favor and all the public wanted was to waltz to sweet music. A few Jazz leaders like Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson and Benny Goodman were trying to make a go of big band swing but things were not going well.

Against this dismal background, John Hammond, the aristocrat who backed up his conviction of the value of Jazz with his own hard cash during the difficult 1930’s, and who was the discoverer of Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Christian, Count Basie and Lester Young as well as a friend and advisor to Benny Goodman. In July, 1935 he organized the first “sing-swing” session during which Lady Day sang with a group that included Teddy Wilson as leader, and sidemen Benny Goodman (using the name Shoeless John Jackson for contractual reasons), Ben Webster and Roy Eldridge. This and subsequent sessions over a four year period, all organized by John Hammond, helped preserve the small combo tradition in jazz at a time when the big band was starting to dominate the scene. Billie’s accompaniment reads like a Swing Hall of Fame and included at various times, in addition to those mentioned above, Buck Clayton, Lester Young, Chu Berry, Harry Carney, Buster Bailey, Benny Morton, Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, Cozy Cole, Jo Jones, Gene Krupa and many others.