Friday, September 11, 2009

Fraser MacPherson documentary

Here's a half-hour documentary on Fraser MacPherson from 1967 called Diary of a Musician. It's basically a day-in-the-life of MacPherson, showing him in the studio with his quintet, featuring Ian McDougall, Doug Parker, Cuddles Johnson and Jimmy Wightman, then playing dance music at the Cave Supper Club, talking about his childhood, travelling to Victoria to take his kids out to the park (that's me singing in the car), rehearsing with comedian Jack Carter, then playing behind Carter that night, and rolling dice in the band room. You'll see Stu Barnett, Frank Mansell, Don Clark and others in the Cave band. It's really well done, I think you'll agree. It's available elsewhere on the internet, but maybe you've never stumbled across it before.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Susan Jacks

Here's another stretch, jazz-wise. But as one regular reader told me, he likes that these clips show the kinds of jobs working musicians had to do. Here the Doug Parker orchestra backs up Susan Jacks on Ode to Billy Joe in 1968. Jacks is backed up by the New Morality Singers. That's some handle! Anyway, the Parker band was filled with serious jazz musicians who had to do this kind of work to get by. Reminds me of an interview Gary Barclay did with Jake Hanna, who was the drummer on the Merv Griffin Show. That band featured such musicians as Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, Plas Johnson, Jack Sheldon and I'm probably missing more. Hanna didn't have much respect for the show. He said that having these world-class musicians playing for the likes of Sonny and Cher was, and I'm paraphrasing, "like having Secretariat, Sea Biscuit and Man o'War, hooking them up and getting them to pull a milk truck around." In this clip, Terry David Mulligan briefly interviews Parker and asks him what he thinks of today's music. Parker claims to love it, but I'm hoping that was just the case of having to say it. I mean, what else could he say?

Incidentally, when this clip was up on YouTube, it received the most hits of any of them. There are a lot of Susan Jacks fans out there. It also received some extremely negative comments, too. Feel free to comment below. Get the discussion going again.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Henry Young with Nina Simone

Got a note from North Vancouver's own Henry Young today, leading me to a link of a fantastic (looking) DVD that came out last September. If you click on the 'watch preview' link, you'll see a young Mr. Young at the tender age of 26 in the song "Ain't Got No" accompanying Nina Simone on guitar. I don't have the video so I'll just put the link here for you:

Steve Garrick

I really like this clip, but then again I'm a sucker for jazz accordion. The graphic up front says The Steve Garrick Septet, but there are eight of 'em. Maybe that's how they roll in Montreal, where the band was based. And damned if I can't find even a hint of a Vancouver connection to this one. But hey, let's not be so provincial. We're all Canadians, afterall. Even Montrealers. The musicians are Garrick on piano, Herbie Spanier on trumpet, Gordie Fleming on accordion, Al Baculis on clarinet and alto sax, Nick Ayoub on tenor sax, Fred Nichols on baritone sax, John Lanza on bass, and Bob Malloy on drums. It's from 1959. If you know of a Vancouver connection, put it in the comments section. Lord knows this blog could use a comment. We've received nary a one to date.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ron Collier

Ron Collier is another Toronto guy who got his start in Vancouver. Specifically the Kitsilano Boys' Band. Here he is with his quintet in 1959 playing the Norman Symonds' composition, Gently. The quintet features Collier on trombone, Bernie Pilch on alto sax, Ed Bickert on guitar, Carne Bray on bass, and Ron Rully on drums.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Patty Surbey

Patty Surbey sings A Sign of the Times on The Ken Colman Show in 1966. Boy, was she ever a cutie. When this was on YouTube, a relative of hers wrote me asking for a hard copy of this to surprise her on her 60th birthday. It's hard to think of that cute little thing being 60! There's not much info on Surbey on-line, but I see she had a bit of a hit with Hey Boy with Patty Surbey and the Canadian VIPs. The Bobby Hales band backs her up.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Pair Extraordinaire

I don't know much about The Pair Extraordinaire, and neither does the interweb. I learned that they once toured with Bill Cosby, opening for him. That's about it. The Pair are Carl Craig on vocals and Marcus Hemphill on bass. Hemphill, if you follow the link, wrote for The Cosby Show and died in the mid-1980s at the age of 56. Don't know anything about Craig. This seems to be the only video of the American duo out there. They're pretty great, judging from this version of the Monkee's I'm a Believer and a couple other audio tracks I heard on-line. Not jazz, but jazzy and soulful. The clip is from the 1968 CBC Vancouver series, Hits A-Poppin', hosted by none other than Mr. Terry David Mulligan. Enjoy.

Phil Nimmons

Phil Nimmons is thought of as a Toronto musician, but he was raised in Vancouver, so that's gotta count for something. If any of you can fill in the line-up, please add them to the comments section and I'll get around to amending this write-up with the relevant information. Meanwhile, enjoy three clips from Nimmons 'n' Nine Plus Six (d0n't you hate it when you have to do basic math? But you gotta admit it sounds better than Nimmons 'n' Eight Plus Seven or Nimmons 'n' Nineteen Minus Three). The first tune is called Bird Burger:

Next one that was too long for YouTube. It weighs in at a hefty 11:41 and is named The Silver, the second movement from a suite for the Olympics. Could this be from 1976 or thereabouts? Probably.

And finally a tune called Think Nice Thoughts:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Moe Koffman

Moe Koffman... not a Vancouver musician. Everyone knows that. But here's the connection: ... uh... Ed Bickert, the guitarist in this clip, is from Vernon, which, as everyone knows, is closer to Vancouver than to Toronto. So there you have it. Here we have Koffman playing an original composition written for the show's sponsor, Timex. It's called Time Piece. Koffman plays alto sax and flute, Bickert on guitar, Bill Britto is on bass, and Ron Rully on drums. From 1959.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mike Campbell

I don't know anything about Mike Campbell except that he was a featured singer on the Vancouver edition of the CBC daytime series, Let's Go, in the mid-1960s. That's it! That's the curse of having a common name. It's hard to Google. (One of the other featured singers, by the way, was Joani Taylor... which led me to her website. It's fantastic! Check it out. There are some great old clips of her in the retrospective section.) But back to Campbell. Here he is singing The Rascals' hit, How Can I Be Sure? at the Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC. In a world that's constantly changing, it's still introduced by the ever-present Terry David Mulligan. This is from 1968.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Maynard Ferguson - Great Guns

Maynard Ferguson was always quite the showman. And never more so than in this clip, where he performs first on baritone horn, moves up to valve trombone, and finishes up with a flourish on trumpet. The tune is Great Guns. The band is the Canadian Jazz All-Stars, with a handful of Vancouver musicians. The year is 1959.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Patti Lewis

Patti Lewis was (is?) a Canadian singer who got her start in England before returning home. She co-hosted a radio show on CBC with Peter Appleyard in 1961-2 called... wait for it... Patti & Peter. Here she is performing with the Canadian Jazz All-Stars conducted by Maynard Ferguson in 1959, and featuring several Vancouver musicians (scroll down to the Phyllis Marshall clip for the details). Trombone soloists are Butch Watanabe and Ron Collier.

Kenny Colman with Patty Surbey and Gillian Russell

Ever wanted to hear Old McDonald swung? Here Kenny Colman, Patty Surbey and Gillian Russell sing a medley of kiddie tunes: While We're Young, Three Blind Mice, Kemo Kimo, Old McDonald, On the Good Ship Lollipop, What's New Pussycat?, My Talking Dog Napoleon, and You Make Me Feel So Young. This is from The Ken Colman Show on CBC from 1966:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More Barney Kessel

Here again is the American jazz guitarist, Barney Kessel, with his Vancouver trio, featuring Don Thompson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums (scroll down or perform a search to find more videos of the trio on this site). On this first number, Kessel introduces the late great Vancouver pianist Chris Gage, who joins the trio playing Love For Sale:

Here's the trio with Like Someone in Love:

Make Someone Happy:

Recado Bossa Nova:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Kenny Colman

Here's some more Kenny Colman for you, of a slightly later vintage. This first clip is from the Hits a-Poppin' series hosted by Terry David Mulligan in 1968. He's introduced as Ken Colman. I guess the 'stache gives him extra gravitas. I think he kinda looks like Mr. Brady. He's singing Where Am I Going? from the musical Sweet Charity.

From 1966 backed by the Bobby Hales band, Almost in Your Arms:

Medley (Strike Up the Band, I Got Rhythm, Fascinatin' Rhythm, Crazy Rhythm):

You're Gonna Hear From Me:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kenny Colman

With the success that singers like Michael Bublé are having, and the renaissance that Tony Bennett is experiencing, is there any reason that Kenny Colman shouldn't be included? The guy can flat-out sing. And swing. Here he is in the early days with Chris Gage on piano, Don Thompson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums with Bye Bye Blackbird:

Same personnel, How About You?:

Same personnel, I Got a Lot of Living to Do:

Same personnel, interviewed by Howie Bateman and sung on panel, Stop Crying Little Girl:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Howie Vickers

Howie Vickers was the lead singer for a group called The Collectors, which went on, minus Vickers, to form Chilliwack. There you go. That's the extent of knowledge of the pop singer. Again, I include this because of the backing of the Doug Parker Orchestra. This is from the Hits a-Poppin' series hosted by Terry David Mulligan on CBC. The song is The Snake. Psychedelic, man.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lance Harrison

Lance Harrison was the trad jazz guy here in Vancouver for years and years. When I was a kid in the 1970s, I loved his album Happy Jazz. Played it to death. Here he is with an all-star sextet featuring Toronto-via-Winnipeg's Paul Grosney on trumpet, and the rest Vancouver musicians: Dave Pepper on trombone, Chris Gage on piano, Stan "Cuddles" Johnson on bass and Jimmy Wightman on drums. Harrison plays the licorice stick. (Interesting side note: Pepper retired from the music biz relatively early and became an optometrist in Victoria. In fact, he was my optometrist for years and years!)

Gillian Russell

Another pop singer singing a pop tune. This is Gillian Russell with the Beatles' song, Yesterday. But she's backed up by the Bobby Hales band and the clip comes from The Kenny Colman Show (that's Kenny introducing her). So there's your jazz for you.

Marty Gillan

Another stretch here because this ain't jazz no matter how you slice it. But it is vintage. I include it because the program, Hits a-Poppin', featured the Doug Parker Orchestra. You can see Doug playing the organ in this clip, as well as many mainstays on the Vancouver jazz scene in his band. The pop singer Marty Gillan, who I remember from his mid-70s series Banjo Parlor, does a tune made famous by Tom Jones, Help Yourself:

Chris Gage

More from the late great Chris Gage. This clip is from the 1959 Canadian jazz all-stars program. Here's Chris with his usual trio consisting of Stan "Cuddles" Johnson on bass and Jimmy Wightman on drums. They're playing Almost Like Being in Love:

Ernestine Anderson

Another non-Vancouverite here on Vancouver Vintage! This is a spot American singer Ernestine Anderson did on a 1968 CBC Vancouver pop show hosted by the ubiquitous Terry David Mulligan, the Dick Clark of Canada. Singing For What It's Worth, she's backed up by Stu Barnett on trumpet, Fraser MacPherson on sax, Ian McDougall on trombone as well as two others I can't identify. (THIS JUST IN: The other two were Bobby Herriot on trumpet and Bob Hamper on trombone. Thanks to Fred Stride for the info!) There are obviously others in the band, but those are the only ones shown.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Don Thompson

The Don Thompson Six got some great airtime on this series for the CBC. Ah, the good old days. The group features Thompson on vibes, future Chilliwack band member Claire Lawrence on tenor, alto and flute, Ray Sikora on trombone, Chris Gage on piano, Bob Witmer on bass, and Terry Clarke on drums. First up is Tough Talk:

Little Girl Blue:

Lollipops and Roses:

Lover Man:

Manha de Carnaval:

The More I See You:

I'm Old Fashioned:

Kenny Colman/Barney Kessel

The sweet sounds of Kenny Colman... We'll have lots more of Kenny Colman in the days to come. But for now here the Vancouver crooner sings with American jazz great Barney Kessel the Ellington standard I Got it Bad (and That Ain't Good). Also backing him up are Chris Gage on piano (even though I forgot him on the closing credits), Don Thompson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums.

Cliff McKay

Okay, I'm really cheating here. There's no Vancouver connection that I know of, except that this segment was part of the Canadian jazz all-star show which featured several Vancouverites. But I have it and now you can see it, too. Clarinetist Cliff McKay is featured here with his quartet, and everyone gets a solo, starting with a young Rob McConnell on valve trombone, Buddy Wyshnioski on bass and Bruce Farquhar on drums.

Chris Gage

The late Vancouver pianist Chris Gage was one of the best pianists this country has ever produced. The fact he died in 1964 at the age of 37 only cements his status as a legend. But even when he was alive, he was revered. His only real rival was the cross-country sensation, Oscar Peterson, who admired Gage from afar. Gage recorded lots on CBC radio and television in his career, but it wasn't until 2007 that he was heard commercially when Justin Time released Our Blues by the Fraser MacPherson Quintet. Here's Gage with his trio, featuring Stan "Cuddles" Johnson on bass and Jimmy Wightman on drums, playing A Taste of Honey.

Here announcer Howard Bateman introduces a Gage feature after the pianist's death. It features Don Thompson on vibes, Bob Witmer on bass, and Terry Clarke on drums.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bobby Hales, 1966

Vancouver crooner Kenny Colman had a summer replacement series in 1966 called, not surprisingly, The Kenny Colman Show. Here's Kenny introducing the Bobby Hales Band with Can't Buy Me Love. The thing is badly out of synch because in those days they pre-recorded everything. The band is just fake playing. But if you squint your eyes, you'll never know the difference. I can't name all the musicians, but I recognize PJ Perry, Fraser MacPherson, Wally Snider and possibly Dave Quarin on saxes, Ian McDougall on trombone, Carse Sneddon, Stu Barnett and Don Clark on trumpets. Bobby Hales takes the solo on trumpet. If anyone else can name the others, leave them in the comment section and I'll edit this write-up. (THIS JUST IN: The other trombonist is Dave McMurdo. Thanks to Fred Stride for the info!)

Barney Kessel in Vancouver

I know, I know, Barney Kessel isn't a Vancouver musician. But in these clips (save for one solo piece), the American guitarist is playing with his Vancouver trio made up of now-Toronto musicians Don Thompson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums. This was recorded on a CBC-Vancouver program.

Our Day Will Come:

One Mint Julep:

Kessel being interviewed by Howard Bateman:

Nobody Else But Me:

Kessel solo, Danny Boy:

Maynard Ferguson's Canadian Jazz All-Stars

This clip from 1959 is, admittedly, pretty frustrating to watch. The film was damaged. But I present it because of its historical significance. This clip starts out introducing the band led by Maynard Ferguson before they get into Monk's Rhythm-a-Ning.

The Canadian All-Stars – T-Mex for Timex

This Canadian All-Star band, from 1959, is a cross-country who's who of jazz. This closing number gives the graphics for all the musicians, but I'll recap them here for you anyway. It features Cliff McKay on soprano sax, Moe Koffman on flute, Chris Gage on piano, Lance Harrison on clarinet, Steve Garrick on piano, Ed Bickert on guitar, Norm Amadio on piano, Bill Britto on bass, Ron Rully on drums, Jerry Toth, Roy Smith, Rick Wilkins, Al Baculis and Eddie Karam on saxes, Ron Collier, Butch Watanabe, Dave Pepper, Dave Robbins and Ron Hughes on trombones, and Maynard Ferguson, John Frosk, Erich Traugott, Herb Spanier and Carse Sneddon on trumpets. (Those in bold are Vancouver musicians, just to keep true to the theme of the blog.) The tune, called T-Mex for Timex, was penned by saxophonist Eddie Karam.

Phyllis Marshall - A Lesson in the Blues

I'm going to fire through these in the order they were saved in my hard drive. This one is really stretching the Vancouver angle, but it certainly qualifies on the Vintage front. It's singer Phyllis Marshall, from Ontario, giving us A Lesson in the Blues. She starts out singing with Canadian jazz pioneer Cliff McKay on the soprano sax, then moves over and is accompanied by a Canadian all-star band fronted by Maynard Ferguson, and featuring such Vancouverites as Carse Sneddon on trumpet, Dave Pepper and Dave Robbins on trombone, and Chris Gage on piano. More from this program in upcoming posts, although this is the only clip with Marshall.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tribute to Fraser MacPherson

When YouTube canceled my account for so-called copyright infringement, I thought all the work I had put in uploading videos from the Vancouver jazz scene of the 1960s-80s was for naught. It seems Warner Music took offense to some interpretations of jazz standards on some of the clips, even though the same standards could be found all over YouTube and the rest of the internet. The clips I had posted were getting hits all over the world from jazz fans. The surviving musicians, and relatives of the deceased ones, were happy their early efforts were finally getting a bit of a following. And then everything was gone.

Thankfully, I figured out I could just create a blog. Maybe not as many people will stumble across them, but if you do, and you like what you see, let others know. I'll eventually post all the clips I have, so keep checking back. In the meantime, we'll start with a video tribute to my late father, Fraser MacPherson.