Monday, January 25, 2010

Teddy Wilson - Piano Moods (1950)

In so many ways, the piano trio is really one of the most perfect combinations in jazz. In the right hands, the impression of a much larger group is possible and various combinations of each instrument allow for freshness and variety. Knowing a good thing when they heard one, the magic of the piano trio was not lost on Columbia Records when they decided to launch a series of “Piano Moods” back in 1948. It was really a combination of ideas and technology, however. First of all, these records would be among the earliest examples of the long-playing 33 1/3-rpm format. Secondly, the 20 albums eventually issued would ultimately take in some of the more popular styles in addition to obvious jazz sensibilities. As an added source of inimitability, many of the original records were produced with no pauses between tracks, giving the side of a record album the feel of having someone performing for you right there in your own living room. This 10" LP documents Columbia Records' first attempt at niche marketing with the Piano Moods series. Born out an impromptu marketing plan by a small Columbia Records staff in 1950, the Piano Moods series was hatched from the marketing discovery that there were more pianos than phonographs (that's record players for all you kids who don't remember vinyl LPs) in the homes of postwar America. The 12" LP had been launched a scant two years before and few titles were available. The Piano Moods series linked 20 albums of the same general type, all of them produced and sequenced by George Avakian, who had created the jazz and pop catalog on LP for Columbia beginning in 1948 -- though they were originally released 33 rpm 10" discs to keep the folks with all those 10" 78 rpm discs happy when it came to storage. The sides were cut -- usually -- with no spirals (spaces) between tunes, giving the side a longer feel than its 17 minutes because the music was continuous. Most pianists preset their sequences and prepared introductions of the key of the preceding tune that modulated into the key of the next one. Some would cut the modes later and have Avakian splice them or, in the case of Teddy Wilson, he would play it straight through (as can clearly be heard on this LP), and if he felt he flubbed anything, would re-record a tune and have Avakian work the tape magic. The series was wildly successful as a whole, and most homes had at least a few of these sides and some had many or all. The interesting comment here is that many of these pianists had little or nothing in common with one another. They ranged from the jazzers like Wilson, Art Tatum, Errol Garner, and Ahmad Jamal (whose album was released as a 12" LP) to stride cats like Ralph Sutton and Joe Sullivan -- who plays Fats Waller here -- to swingers like Earl "Fatha" Hines, Joe Bushkin (of Tommy Dorsey fame), and Jess Stacy. There are more than a few unknown jazzers as well, like Buddy Weed, Max Miller, Eddie Heywood, and Bill Clifton. Last but not least is the man who could -- and did -- play everything, concert virtuoso Stan Freeman.

Track listing
A1 Just One Of Those Things
A2 Just Like A Butterfly
A3 Runnin' Wild
A4 I've Got The World On A String
A5 Fine & Dandy
A6 I Don't A Stand A Ghost Of A Chance
A7 Honeysuckle Rose
B1 Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea
B2 Bess, You Is My Woman
B3 I Can't Give You Anything But Love Baby
B4 After You've Gone

Teddy Wilson, piano with:

Orville Shaw bass
J. C. Heard drums on side A

Carl Fields bass
Al McKibbon drums on side B

N.B. Sides A and B are left intact to preserve the original feeling, attentive listeners will notice that in essence this LP consists of two long tracks.

10" LPRip @ 24bit-96khz | FLAC | 257 MB (3% recov) | 25:06 | Full Artwork
Classic Jazz / Philips Minigroove B07625R / Original 1950s 10" LP pressing made in Holland (mono)


d3lta said...

pass: see older posts

mel said...

Thank you! I'd love to get some of the others in Columbia's Piano Moods series too. All I have is the one by Buddy Weed; unfortunately it was a used and very beat-up copy that I found...

Melanchthon said...

Thanks, wonderful share.

d3lta said...

Melanchthon, glad you liked it. Very sorry to see your blog go under, it was a major blow to the web jazz-sharing community, thanks again for your great effort and hope to see you soon...

cvllos said...

D3lta, thanks for your choice & effort; lets have great Teddy's piano.

iggy said...

Thanks so much for sharing this great Teddy Wilson music. Hard to believe there was ever any better jazz piano than this. Your generous consideration means a lot to me and many others.

All the best,


William T. said...

Otherwise fantastic, but could you kindly add the recording dates of the two takes? Apparently it's sometime in 1950. Thanks!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
woland said...

Thank you for this. I do not know that Piano Moods was a series.

It would be SO nice to have this disc again ...