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History of a “Jazz Standard”: I Surrender Dear.
Bing Crosby first recorded “I Surrender Dear” in January, 1931, with Gus Arnheim’s Cocoanut Grove Orchestra. Written by Harry Barris (not to be confused with Barry Harris) it hit the charts the following month, where it remained for 10 weeks, reaching as high as No. 3. It was the song that caught the attention of the head of CBS radio, who then signed Bing to a nationwide radio show, launching his career.
The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub of the Ambassador Hotel, Wilshire, LA., home to the Hollywood elite in the 1920s Jazz Age, almost a hundred years ago, and well before the age of the Spellchecker. It was spelled Cocoanut, don’t let any helpful auto-correct tell you otherwise! My goodness, a different world, is that Harvey behind the pot plant?
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Nat Adderley, cornet; Paul Gonsalves, tenor sax; Wynton Kelly, piano; Sam Jones, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums. recorded NYC, December 20, 1960 recording engineer Bill Stoddard, Bell Sound, mastered by Jack Mathews, pressed by Abbey Mfg. N.J.
In 1957 Art Pepper had met The (Miles Davis) Rhythm Section. This time around in 1960 Paul Gonsalves met two-thirds of the rhythm section of Davis Quintet, half Cannonball Adderley Quintet, and a quarter of The Remedial Math Symphony Orchestra, all rolled into one. And a bit.
1956 Newport Jazz Festival, and the famed 27 choruses on Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue, put tenorist Paul Gonsalves in the spotlight. A lean edition of Hawkins, Webster and Young rolled into one, Gonsalves jumped ship from HMS Ellingtonia to lead this session for Riverside’s Jazzland label, teamed up the best rhythm section players available. Though a notable hard-driving player, he shows here he can handle a ballad with sensitivity.
Many of the horn-players of the dance-band era sought to establish a place in the small-group combos that emerged from the later ’50s, and Gonsalves led infrequent titles as leader, including three titles for Impulse in 1963, before departing for European shores. The formula is often the same – the Duke Ellington sideman leading from the front, a strong rhythm section, occasionally adding fellow Ellingtonian Ray Nance.
The Stitt/ Gonsalves title is a firm favourite from he Impulse stable.
This was followed by some years in London recording for EMI Lansdowne with British musicians, notably the contrasting tenor voice of Tubby Hayes and others luminaries of the 60’s British jazz scene.
Gravitating to Paris, France in the later ’60s, Gonsalves recorded several titles for the French Barclay label, perpetuating his status as Ellington’s “hard-driving tenor” – over a total 24 years.
These Gonsalves titles offer a small taste of the man liberated from the Duke Ellington orchestra spotlight, still leading the tenor attack, beholden to narcotics, his voice increasingly featured a “drunken slurr”, whether stylistic or chemically-induced, or possibly both.
Gonsalves died in London May 15, 1974 at the age 54. Too soon, though not as soon as our Tubby Hayes, age 38. Both, too soon.
Vinyl: US Jazzland JLP 36, mono, deep groove
Quite a strong, feisty recording with good mono solid presentation, cheered me up after hearing some quite poor later repressing/reissue of Jazzland recordings. The US Jazzland tracks here run to a more conventional groove than some later recordings (see Collector’s Corner below). Mainly standards from the big band songbook, some tracks pared down to just Gonsalves and rhythm section, others opened up with Nat Adderley on cornet, including a spirited rendition of “Walkin’ “. Wynton Kelly’s rhythmic underpinning throughout is impeccable.
Normally I write about a record in my collection, price of entry ticket for a vinyl blog, but this is one of those exceptions. I have been forever looking without success for an affordable copy of the 1964 Gonsalves masterpiece recorded for the Vogue-owned Vocalion label (Decca), Boom Jackie Boom Chick, Gonsalves premium entry into the annals of British Jazz in the ’60s.
The Jackie in part of the title track apparently alludes to Paul Gonsalves friend, club-owner, band leader, and fight-fan Jackie Sharp, though other explanations suggest a connection to Gonsalves’ heroin dealer. Neither story sheds much light on the extraordinary session recorded under that title: American tenor meets British rhythm section (Kenny Napper, bass; Ronnie Stephenson, drums; Pat Smythe, piano), with explosive results, and a groove fifty years ahead of its time.
There was never a US release of this recording, which means the tiny British jazz market quantity sold assured it legendary trophy status. I think of it as our own Mobley 1568. Seems likely the tapes disappeared, and the odd modern reissue (2017) is cd transfer or copy needle-drop, possibly both. An original Vocalion copy is currently available on Discogs and can be yours for only $4,500.
The Youtube is less expensive.
Another Holy Grail, another gap on the LJC shelf. Apparently every British DJ worth his salt has a copy.
Tax deductible, eh? Spit.