Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dexter Payne Quartet + 1 - Pra Você

Dexter Payne
Since the bossa nova wave hit the music scene in the U.S.during the 1960s there has been a growing interest in Brazilian music traditions among non-Brazilians, some of this interest naturally generated inspiration in musicians to further explore the vast musical landscape of Brazil. Clarinetist Dexter Payne is an example of a musician who has seriously devoted his interest and skill to explore and incorporate Brazilian music in his own musical repertoire with success. According to his website, Dexter Payne went on a walk-about playing with bands and artists from Tijuana to Buenos Aires, during this odyssey he stayed in Brazil for ten months where he recorded with samba vocalist Beth Carvalho and met composer and percussionist Thiago de Mello with whom he collaborated and recorded four acclaimed CDs (- more info on Dexter Payne's CDs, here ). Back in the U.S. he founded his own quintet that has specialized in Brazilian instrumental music from samba and choro to baião and other traditions from the Northeast of Brazil. Earlier this year this ensemble released a CD titled Pra Você (- in English meaning 'for you') that is in focus here.
CD front: Pra Você, DEXOFON 1401
The shown CD was recorded in 2012 and Dexter Payne (clarinet) is accompanied by Bill Kopper (guitar and 7-string guitar), Dave Willey (accordion), Raoul Rossiter (drums, pandeiro) and Victor Mestas Pérez (piano), all very competent musicians with a deep understanding of various Brazilian instrumental music genres. There are nine tracks on the CD and the over-all impression of the performed music is an uplifting experience. The music clearly reflects the gafiera repertoire and atmosphere, the genuine Brazilian ball-room tradition of danceable instrumental music with roots in samba and choro - a well known example of this music style is the gafieira jazz project initiated by pianist Cliff Korman in collaboration with Brazilian clarinetist Paulo Mouro a.o., read more here.
Clarinetist Dexter Payne
Dexter Payne and his musicians pay tribute to one of the originators of the gafieira tradition on the CD, Severino Araújorecording their version of Araújo's 'Chorinho pra você'. Zeca Freitas' 'Alma Brasileira' introduces the CD and the lighthearted atmosphere of the disc, and there are further two famous choros by Jacob do Bandolim, 'Doce de coco' and 'Assanhado', the last mentioned in a new arrangenment, 'Conversa de botequim' by samba composer Noel Rosa, three modern pieces: 'Sampa' by Caetano Veloso, 'Playground' by renowned guitarist Nelson Faria, 'Lembrei do Ceará' by composer, accordionist Marcelo Caldi and finally an example of the collaboration between Dexter Payne and Thiago de Mello, 'No Wolf at the Door'. - Below I'll insert some examples of the recorded music that has been uploaded on YouTube. The CD is available for purchase here, and you have the opportunity to listen to all tracks in streaming audio here 
Dexter Payne (cl), Victor Mestas Pérez (p), Bill Kopper (g), Dave Willey (acc)
As mentioned above, the CD takes off with Zeca Freitas' 'Alma Brasileira', here recorded live in a concert last year featuring guest performer Mitchell Long on electric guitar

The tune 'Playground' by Nelson Faria was recorded live in an intimate video-performance

Finally, from the same intimate session here is Dexter Payne Quartet + 1 performing Caeteno Veloso's 'Sampa'

The music presented here are great examples of the Brazilian influence on skilled musician like Dexter Payne and his quintet, and the CD is well worth lending your attention for listening and dancing celebrating the new year in a couple of days ahead.

A Happy New Year 2015 to all readers of the blog - and thanks for your support so far!

Retrospect Keep Swinging (old) Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

After You've Gone

Sheet music front
'After You've Gone' is a 1918 popular song composed by Turner Layton, with lyrics written by Henry Creamer. It was recorded by Marion Harris on July 22, 1918 and released on Victor 18509. 'After You’ve Gone,' joins 'St. Louis Blues' (1914) and 'Indiana' (1917) as the top three pre-1920s jazz standards. Few compositions of the early 20th century endured the transition to the smooth swing sound of the 1930s and beyond. - Al Jolson introduced 'After You’ve Gone' to the vaudeville audience in 1918. Within a year several other artists had recorded the song, but it was Marion Harris’s rendition that became the most popular.


In the early 1920s Harris was a popular singer in vaudeville and Broadway shows. One of the first white women to sing blues and jazz songs, she favored songs by African-American writers.

Marion Harris
Marion Harris explained her preference by saying, “You usually do best what comes naturally, so I just naturally started singing Southern dialect songs and the modern blues songs.” Harris recorded 'After You’ve Gone' for the Victor Record label, but in 1920 when that label refused to allow her to record W.C. Handy’s 'St. Louis Blues,' she left the label and moved over to Columbia Records, where she did record 'St. Louis Blues,' which became a hit.

Bessie Smith
Another female singer, Bessie Smith - The Empress of The Blues - recorded 'After You've Gone' in 1927, and this version adds the true blues feeling to the tune, a magnificent example of how a natural talent transforms the lyrics of the song to a personal statement - the core experience of blues as well as jazz, I think

Benny Goodman Trio
As mentioned above, 'After You've Gone' was one of the pre-1920s tunes that endured the transition to the swing sound of the 1930s. Many jazz artists and bands recorded the tune in the 1930s and made it a part of the standard repertoire. One of the recordings since hailed as a classic was made by the Benny Goodman Trio in July 1935. Enjoy this swinging version featuring Benny Goodman (clarinet), Teddy Wilson (piano) and Gene Krupa (drums)

Freddy Taylor
One of the famous European recordings of 'After You've Gone' was made on May 4th 1936 by Django Reinhardt and the Quintette du Hot Club de France featuring Freddy Taylor as vocalist. Personnel featured are: Stéphane Grappelli (v); Django Reinhardt (g solo); Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre "Baro" Ferret (g); Lucien Simoens (b); Freddy Taylor (vo)

Despues de haberte ido ( =After You've Gone)
Oscar Alemán y su Conjunto de Jazz recorded 'After You've Gone' for Odeon on October 29th 1955, and only Alemán's great guitar solo in this recording rescues the tune from the syrupy strings in the accompaniment, - an example of a jazz standard almost being spoiled by the usual expectations of record producers and a public only interested in pop ditties. However, mind Alemán's excellent playing and timing that exposes the tune on the edge of swing jazz and pop



Retrospect Keep Swinging (old) Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions