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    JazzSnap: Herb Ellis (mid-'40s)


    AaBetty's-Jazz-Ellis-Herb-NYC-Bettys-PhotoHere's guitarist Herb Ellis in the mid-1940s, probably in New York while he was with Jimmy Dorsey's band. It's another one of  Betty's fabulous snapshots taken of famous jazz musicians and sent along by her friend Chris. Betty has donated all of her photos, including this one, to Rutgers University's Institute of Jazz Studies. But since she and Chris also are JazzWax readers, they wanted you to see them, too.

    Want more JazzSnaps? Go to the right-hand column of JazzWax and scroll down to "JazzSnaps" for links.

    Tubby Hayes: Tubby the Tenor


    Images-1Few English saxophonists could out-swing Tubby Hayes. In fact, many American jazz reed players of the '50s and '60s struggled to keep up. Listening to Hayes' recordings today without knowing who was playing would likely leave you guessing for hours. One of his most exciting albums (and there are many) is Tubby the Tenor, which was recorded on October 4th and 5th in 1961 in New York for Epic, Columbia's jazz and pop subsidiary.

    Gene Ammons: Up Tight!


    Gene Ammons' Boss Tenor is arguably the tenor saxophonist's  best known and most critically acclaimed album. With songs like Canadian Sunset, Close Your Eyes and Blue Ammons, the June 1960 album has enormous cohesion and creative aggression. But as rich as Boss Tenor is, I've always been more partial to Ammons' Up Tight! and its sister album, Boss Soul.

    Shorty Rogers: Portrait of Shorty

    Images-2ImageAs modern as Stan Kenton was in 1950, he wasn't modern enough for Shorty Rogers. Rogers, like many members of Kenton's band at the time, was a big fan of Count Basie and his orchestra's dynamic ability to swing hard. While Kenton was obsessed with modern classical music in 1950, Rogers and others like Bud Shank, Art Pepper, Shelly Manne and Bob Cooper wanted a hipper sound that merged the blues feel and swing of the East Coast with the cool, linear harmony of the West Coast.

    Clarence Johnson: Low Down Papa

    51I2zKLBiqL._SL500_AA300_Before radio, before the phonograph and before the jukebox,  there was the piano roll. An ingenious invention dating back to the 1890s, the piano roll was the first way in which the public could hear recorded music. Many of the major piano roll companies were in Chicago, and by the early 1920s, some of these companies were recording black musicians who had relocated to the city from the South to play in speakeasies. One of these musicians was Clarence "Jelly" Johnson, whose piano rolls from the mid-to-late 1920s appear on a new release from Delmark Records.

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