Five For Friday: Radical Gipsy

After my most recent Battle of the Bands, Birgit commented that she’d like to hear more of Radical Gipsy, who were shut out in the battle and (in my opinion, anyway) deserved to be featured, because they were also very good.

According to their YouTube page (and thanks to Google Translate),

The Radical Gipsy, or Gabriele Giovannini and Daniele Gai on guitars with Giulio Ciani on double bass, formed in Rome in 2012, with a precise orientation towards the sounds of traditional Manouche jazz inaugurated by Django Reinhardt. Their path has developed between Roman clubs and festivals, with important collaborations among which the one with the French accordionist Ludovic Beier and participation in the XXVI edition of Paolo Fresu’s Time in Jazz festival stands out. Along with original compositions and traditional pieces, the trio also brings to the stage some modern pieces rigorously arranged in a gipsy jazz key

  1. "Minor Swing": Django Reinhardt’s signature piece.

  2. "Jingles": A Wes Montgomery tune, given the Manouche touch.

  3. "Bossa Dorado": With Ludovic Beier on accordion. Written by Dorado Schmitt (another artist in the gipsy jazz genre).

  4. "Swing Gitan": A traditional song given a swing treatment.

  5. "For Sephora": A song by Stochelo Rosenberg of the Rosenberg Trio (another gipsy jazz artist).

You can find more Radical Gipsy on YouTube and Spotify.

That’s Five For Friday for November 26, 2021.

Five For Friday: Gene Krupa

Shelley Krupa, who writes the excellent blog Quaint Revival (which, if you haven’t read it, you should. She pretty much only writes on Sunday), left me this as part of a comment today:

On a side note, have you ever written a post about Gene Krupa? Via marriage, I’m supposedly related to him.

Since I really had nothing else planned, and since Gene Krupa was a pretty remarkable drummer, I decided to go with her idea…

  1. Benny Goodman Orchestra, "Sing, Sing, Sing": Maybe his best known solo was the one he did with the Benny Goodman Orchestra on this 1937 recording of Louis Prima’s "Sing, Sing, Sing."

  2. Gene Krupa Orchestra, "Drum Boogie": One of my all-time favorite movies is the 1941 screwball comedy Ball of Fire starring Gary Cooper and Miss Barbara Stanwyck as Katherine "Sugarpuss" O’Shea, a nightclub singer. She makes her first appearance in a club where the Gene Krupa Orchestra is playing. While her voice is dubbed by Martha Tilton, she turns in a fantastic performance. Gene does an encore by playing "Drum Boogie" on a matchbox.

  3. Benny Goodman Quartet, "Avalon": Both Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa are from Chicago, Goodman from the Maxwell Street area, Krupa from the South Chicago neighborhood. At a time when segregation and Jim Crow were the law of the land in many areas, the Goodman quartet had two white members (Goodman and Krupa) and two Black members (pianist Teddy Wilson and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton). "Avalon" was written by Al Jolson and Vincent Rose and was recorded by the quartet in 1937. Gene mostly stays in the background as the timekeeper for the quartet, but he does some interesting playing especially toward the end.

  4. Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, "Drum Battle": From a 1966 episode of The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. Krupa and Rich did a couple of albums together and would stage drum battles on many of their shared gigs. Here is one such battle, with Sammy giving each drummer one of his shoes as a prize at the end.

  5. Gene Krupa Quartet, "Big Noise From Winnetka": Two members of Bob Crosby’s band, bassist Bob Haggart and drummer Bauduc, made this up on a gig at the Blackhawk restaurant in Chicago’s Loop. (Winnetka is a suburb about 20 miles north of downtown Chicago, where several of my high school friends lived; Northfield, where I lived in my high school days, is "next door" and both share the same ZIP code.) As with the original, Krupa plays part of this on the bass player’s strings.

Thanks again to Shelley for this week’s theme. That’s Five For Friday for November 19, 2021.

Five For Friday: Hermine Deurloo

Almost exactly two years ago for an edition of Monday’s Music Moves Me, I featured harmonica players. One of the artists I featured was Dutch harmonicist Hermine Deurloo, a young woman from Amsterdam who’s played all over the world with jazz bands and symphonies. She has her own quartet and has recorded six albums. Her bio tells us she taught herself to play the harmonica while at the Amsterdam Conservatory studying saxophone. Her virtuosity rivals that of fellow Low Countryman Toots Thielemans. Here are five songs for your listening pleasure.

  1. "The Summer Knows": Michel Legrand’s theme for the 1971 movie Summer Of ’42 starring Jennifer O’Neill and Gary Grimes. Hermine is accompanied by Mike Boddé on piano, Sven Schuster on bass, and Pim Dros on drums.

  2. "Samba de um Breque": A song by Brazilian guitarist Guinga. Hermine is accompanied by Rembrandy Frerichs on piano, Jörg Brinkmann on cello (and I’ve never seen the cello played like a guitar before), and Julian Sartorius on drums.

  3. "Man With A Harmonica": Ennio Morricone’s theme for the 1968 Sergio Leone "spaghetti Western" Once Upon A Time In The West. She’s accompanied by Metropole Orkest under the direction of Vincent de Kort. Peter Tiehuis plays the guitar solo.

  4. "Hoop And Pole": Steve Gadd, who plays drums here, accompanied Hermine on her 2019 album Riverbeast. "Hoop and Pole" was written by Luca Benedetti, who also plays guitar. Jon Cowherd plays the Fender Rhodes piano and Tony Scherr plays bass.

  5. "Riverbeast": Title track from her most recent album, written by Hermine herself. Personnel are the same as on the previous track, plus Eilidh Martin and Annie Tangberg on cellos.

Hermine has a number of videos on YouTube and her music is on Spotify. She’s on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Enjoy!

That’s Five For Friday for November 12, 2021.

Five For Friday: John Barry

We celebrated the birtday of British film composer John Barry this past week, so I thought it might be nice to cover some of the music he composed today. Also, I wanted to do a shout-out to Birgit, who’s having some medical issues. I know this is her kind of music…

  1. The Lion In Winter Theme: From the 1968 movie starring Kathryn Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. Barry won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Original Score and the 1968 Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music from BAFTA for this.

  2. Danish National Symphony Orchestra, "James Bond Theme": Monty Norman actually wrote the theme, which was first used in the 1962 film Dr. No, but Barry’s arrangement made it the enduring hit it is now. The Danish National Symphony Orchestra did a concert in April 2020 called "Agents Are Forever," in which they did music from a number of spy-oriented films and TV shows. I’ll try to play more in the coming weeks.

  3. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, "Out Of Africa Theme": Barry took home the 1985 Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Score for this score.

  4. Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, "John Dunbar Theme (Dances With Wolves)": Barry went home with the 1990 Academy Award for the score for the movie Dances With Wolves starring Kevin Costner. You might remember the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards from their pipes and drums’ rendition of "Amazing Grace" in 1972.

  5. Born Free (Main Title): Barry won the 1966 Academy Awards for both the Original Score and Original song, which we played the other day.

  6. Chaplin Main Theme/"Smile": In 1992, Barry was nominated for both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Score, but Alan Menken took home both trophies for the score of Aladdin. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

John Barry, your Five For Friday, November 5, 2021.

Five For Friday: Neal Hefti

I got today’s idea from Bernard Greenberg’s comment on my Song of the Day post, honoring Neal Hefti: "This is just a blues in G. All that seems original is the lead riff and the fitting of the word ‘Batman’. Don’t know much about Hefti’s work, but this was an easy meal. Sure, I remember the program." I hadn’t come up with anything yet, so I was on it like a shot.

As I mentioned in my post from earlier, from about 1950 to his death in 2008, Hefti concentrated on writing and arranging music, mostly for The Count Basie Orchestra. He also wrote theme songs and incidental music for movies and TV. For today, I’ve chosen five examples, three from films and two from Count Basie, as more of an introduction to his music.

  1. The Odd Couple: Used in both the 1968 movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and the 1970 TV series starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. Couldn’t avoid the vocal on this…

  2. Girl Talk: From the 1965 biopic Harlow starring Carroll Baker. On the YouTube site someone commented that this song was used briefly in the movie, but that it has since become a standard.

  3. Virna: From another 1965 movie, How To Murder Your Wife, starring Jack Lemmon and Virna Lisi.

  4. Li’l Darlin’: A popular song for high school and college jazz bands, written in 1957 and appeared on Basie’s 1958 album The Atomic Mr. Basie. Jazz writer Donald Clarke says that this song is "an object lesson in how to swing at a slow tempo."

  5. Teddy The Toad: Also from The Atomic Mr. Basie. The album won two Grammys, Best Jazz Performance, Group and Best Performance by a Dance Band, at the first Grammy Awards in May, 1959.

Just about any album by Count Basie will have at least one Hefti composition on it, and in some cases all the songs were written by him. Lots of his songs are available on YouTube, if you feel up to playing a few.

Neal Hefti, your Five For Friday, October 29, 2021.