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.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
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.
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
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:
Thursday, July 23, 2009
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.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
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:
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
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 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!)
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.
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:
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:
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
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:
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.
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.
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
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.