lunes, 19 de junio de 2017

Dick Hyman& Mary Mayo • Moon Gas



En mi opinión, este album debe escucharse haciendo el ensayo de ubicarse en la época en que fue grabado, de esta manera creo puede apreciarse en su total plenitud.

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In my opinion, this album must be heard by the trial located at the time it was recorded, so I think can be seen in its fullness.


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Richard "Dick" Hyman (born March 8, 1927, New York City) is an American jazz pianist/keyboardist and composer, best known for his versatility with jazz piano styles. Over a 50-year career, he has functioned as a pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and, increasingly, as a composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in well over 100 albums recorded under his own name and many more in support of other artists.

Hyman's career is pretty intimidating in its achievements and scope. He has scored, arranged and/or performend for roadway, movies, television and live radio, and he's recorded in every format, from 78s to CD-ROMs. He's got a whole gamut of music genres covered, from Jazz and Blues to Classical to Pop and Electronic Psychedelia. Hyman is exceptionally renowned as a professional musician, and was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1995. His articulate and wry anecdotes, commentary on the business, and techniques of making music have been published along with sheet music in a series of books.


Beginning in the mid-1950s he started recording with his own name for MGM. His cover of "Moritat", on harpsichord with his trio, sold over a million copies in 1956 and was the most successful recording of the tune until Bobby Darin did it as "Mack the Knife". He was the musical director of The Arthur Godfrey Show from 1958 to 1961. He was an early staple of Enoch Light's Command label, for which he recorded light classical, swinging harpsichord, funky organ, and "now sound" combo albums. He also demonstrated his continuing interest in new keyboard instruments, releasing two of the earliest Moog albums.

The aforementioned albums, "Moog - The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman" and "The Age of Electronicus", will be the subject of other posts in the future here on Stereo Candies... For the time being let's take care about "Moon Gas", which is a great, Great, GREAT record from the Space Age era also due to the otherwordly vocals provided by Mary Mayo.

Born 20 July 1924 in Statesville, North Carolina, Mary Mayo first got started as a singer appearing on broadcasts from radio station WBT in Charlotte, just after the end of World War Two. Gifted with a four-octave range, she was soon spotted by talent scouts and wound up working for Tex Beneke, who was leading the post-war version of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. While singing with Beneke, she married Al Ham, an arranger and bass player in the band. Like that of other session singers, Mayo's work is largely uncredited outside her Musicians Union logs. She ghosted on the "original cast" albums of numerous Broadway musicals, and sang alongside Don Elliott in a short-lived vocal jazz combo known as the Manhattanaires. She released a couple of singles for Columbia in the 1950s and she earned a cover billing on one of Leroy Holmes' releases for MGM. Aside from "Moon Gas", her one noteworthy credited appearance of the '60s was at Duke Ellington's legendary 1969 jazz concert at the White House for President Nixon.




Dubbed "a glimpse at the possible sounds of the 22nd century" in the liner notes, "Moon Gas" was by far Mayo's most notable effort and remains much-prized by collectors of Exotica and early electronic recordings, although she enjoyed her greatest commercial success thanks to Coca-Cola: when the advertising agency McCann Erickson hired Ham to assemble a wholesome folk group to record their jingle "I'd Like To Give the World a Coke", he tapped Mayo and their daughter Lorri to lead the studio chorus, and when the commercial proved a cultural phenomenon, the song was re-recorded under the title "I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing", credited to the Hillside Singers. The Metromedia label subsequently released two full-length Hillside Singers LPs, including a Christmas recording, both featuring Mayo. In 1986 the label also issued "Time Remembered", a collection of songs she cut for the NPR radio series American Popular Song nine years earlier. Unfortunately, Mayo did not live to see the album's release, she died of cancer in December of 1985.

The following liner notes printed on the back cover of "Moon Gas" were written by Leonard Feather, a British-born jazz pianist, composer, and producer who was best known for his music journalism and other writing. Among his music releases we remember "Hi Fi Suite", recorded in 1957 with the Dick Hyman Orchestra; this is the album which contains the original version of "Space Reflex (Blues In 5/4)"...




«This is an album of amazing contrasts.

For Dick Hyman, brilliant 36-year-old pianist/organist, the album is a glimpse at the possible sounds of the 22nd century. For vocalist Mary Mayo, the setting is antithetical to almost everything she has ever known.

Says Hyman of the far-future sounds devised for Mary's environment: "A lot of electronic music has been created by making marks or cuts on the actual recording tape - the 'musique concrete' technique - as well as by using machines that make syntethic tones, or by recording various sounds and then changing them by tricks such as altering the tape speeds, playing tape backwards, adding echo and so forth. By the time you got the final product this way, it was the result of a great deal of editing and splicing of small lenghts of tape.

"We used a different approach here. The same results, we decided, can be produced by playing electronic instruments. So this is electronic music by live musicians, plus Mary's voice and a swinging rhythm section."

"The Lowrey organ has a built-in reverberation, plus a 'glide pedal' with which you can actually bend the notes. Then there's the AOC - the Accompaniment Orchestra Control - which is a feature of a smaller home model Lowrey organ that enables you to play a full chord by just hitting a single note, so that very rapid block-chord passages can be produced with just a single-finger technique."

"Then there's the Martinot, which in addition to a keyboard, has an adjustable ribbon with which theremin-like sounds can be made. And the Ondioline, a keyboard instrument with a wide variety of tones. ln addition, we used a pure-tone oscillator with a dial operated by a telegraph key."

"On top of all this, I was lucky enough to have the help of Vinnie Bell, who has some complicated home-made equipment attached to his guitar, operated by four foot-pedals; this enabled him to make a lot of the rustles, squeaks, rumbles and other inexplicable noises."

The album is a marked contrast to everything Mary Mayo has known right from birth - in a conservative Colonial-style house in Statesville, N.C. - through her upbringing, as a daughter of a concert soprano and an operatic tenor. Her own life in music, too, developed on a very different level. Irish songs, part of the family tradition, were her specialty, and a record of Molly Malone was her first big popular hit.


There is nothing illogical, though, in the radical new departure on these sides. Juilliard trained in voice, piano and theory, Mary has had every kind of experience in popular singing, from dance band work (with Tex Beneke) to theatres, supper clubs, television (with Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Jackie Gleason, Jack Paar and the late Ernie Kovacs) and recordings with Ray Conniff, Kirby Stone and innumerable others.

Married to the talented arranger-conductor Al Ham, who doubles as manager of Oscar Brown Jr., Mary is the mother of a six-year-old daughter and in recent years has confined her activity chiefly to work in and around New York.

"I've done singing commercials ad infinitum", she reports, "and enjoy doing them; you get to work with the finest studio musicians around. But making this album with Dick Hyman was a ball - and an exciting challenge. We'd worked together on a lot of other people's records and it was great to be working on our own.

"I've been so thrilled about the whole album idea - the girl from outer space, or love music two hundred years from now. And it was a special kick, after being associated lately with so many dates on which I just sang oohs and aahs and obligatos, to know that this time I was going to be able to use real words too!"

The basic personnel comprises Dick Hyman on Lowrey organ, AOC and piano; Nick Tagg on Lowrey organ, Hammond organ, AOC and piano; Vinnie Bell on -what shall we call it?- super-electric guitar; Bob (Rosie) Rosengarden on bongos, tambourine, Martinot, oscillator, door buzzer, etc.; Osie Johnson on regular drums; and Joe Benjamin on bass (replaced on the first, third and fourth tracks on Side 2 by Milt Hilton).»



"Moon Gas" contains the following tracks:

01. Moon Gas (2:17)
02. Maid of the Moon (2:48)
03. Isn't It Odd (3:13)
04. Stella By Starlight (2:57)
05. Imagination (2:35)
06. Space Reflex (Blues In 5/4) (3:16)
07. Bye, Bye Blues (2:31)
08. They Can't Take That Away From Me (3:36)
09. For All We Know (3:13)
10. Desafinado (Slightly Out of Tune) (2:43)
11. I'm Glad There Is You (3:35)
12. Star Eyes (2:40)



Personnel:
Mary Mayo: vocals
Dick Hyman: Lowrey organ, Ondioline, AOC and piano
Nick Tagg: Lowrey organ, Hammond organ, Martinot, AOC and piano
Vincent (Vinnie) Bell: guitars and sound effects
Bob (Rosie) Rosengarden: bongos, tambourine, cymbal, Martinot, oscillator, door buzzer
Osie Johnson: drums
Joe Benjamin: bass
Milton Krause: Ondioline (on "I'm Glad There Is You")
George Barnes: guitar (on "I'm Glad There Is You")
Milt Hinton: bass (on "Bye, Bye Blues", "For All We Know" and "Desafinado")

Director of engineering: Val Valentin
Cover photograph: Murray Laden

Produced by Creed Taylor.



"Moon Gas" was released by MGM Records sometimes in early 1963 with catalogue number SE-4119 for the Stereo version and E-4119 for the Mono version. According to this book, some of the session for the album were recorded in November 1962.

The following track-by-track commentary is a just slightly adapted version of the original liner notes by Leonard Feather.



"Moon Gas", with a wordless vocal by Mary, is a futuristic blues, opening with sound effects (pah!) by Vinnie, proceeding to buzzer and oscillator by Rosie, Nick's pecking on AOC and Dick working the glide pedal on his Lowrey solo. This track, though organized by Dick, was largely improvised.

"Maid of the Moon", composed by Dick, is a minor-mode waltz, with tape echo effects during Dick's piano solo, Nick gliding away the Lowrey and Mary recalling memories of Kay Davis with the Ellington band of the 1940s.

"Isn't It Odd" is a rare example of Dick Hyman as both lyricist and composer. Notice the bell sounds and quasi-Hawaiian-guitar effects by Dick on Lowrey, and Nick's theremin-like mood on the Hammond. In spite of all the effects, this remains a love song, and a waltz at that, providing a remarkable showcase for Mary's lovely sound and expressive interpretation of the unusually-constructed words.

"Stella By Starlight" should perhaps have been retitled Stella By Moongaslight. Opening and closing with that charming 22nd century couple, Mary and the oscillator, it includes in the second chorus a wild solo - sweeps, chimes and reed-like answers - all by Dick on Lowrey.

"Imagination", played as a waltz and with Mary returning to the land of words, has Nick on Lowrey and a solo by Dick in which the use of AOC for rapid-chord sequences in strikingly shown.

"Space Reflex (Blues in 5/4)", originally called Bass Reflex was the first blues in 5/4 time ever written and recorded - in a 1956 LP Dick and I made called "Hi Fi Suite" on MGM E3494. I wrote the main theme (played here by Nick on piano with strings blocked to sound an octave higher); Dick added the minor passage, to which he plays a bass-clarinet-like obligato while Mary sings it wordlessly. The various whoops and clangs are Vinnie on guitar; the funky blues solo is Dick in some wild, rocking Lowrey work.




Side B opens with "Bye, Bye Blues", again showing Mary's grace and purity of tone. It has Nick on Hammond, Rosie on oscillator and Dick on AOC; again there are strange rustles and comments by spaceman Vinnie.

Mary's wordless statement teams with Dick's Lowrey effects - glide pedal, chimes and clarinet sounds - on "They Can't Take That Away From Me".

The not-quite-human sounds that introduce "For All We Know" are invoked by Nick on the Martinot. One indescribable sound on this tune, Dick points out, was achieved by Rosie and consists of a cymbal being slowly lowered into a pail of water. Mary says 'Tomorrow may never come', but from the evidence it would seem that tomorrow is very much with us.

"Desafinado" is totally unexpected in the context of this album. "Another enjoyable challenge", says Mary. "I had to learn both the music and the Portuguese lyrics from the Joao Gilberto record. I like all Dick's arrangements -they're all so imaginative- but this is my favourite." The bossanova rhythm is played by Nick on Hammond and the solo on AOC by Dick.

"I'm Glad There Is You" was recorded with a different personnel: Hyman on Lowrey and Tagg on Hammond with Milton Krause on Ondioline and George Barnes on electric guitar. Mary's lyrical, sensitive style is well suited to the words of both verse and chorus. This song, incidentally, was written by Paul Madeira, who as Paul Mertz played piano on many Bix Beiderbecke records in the 1920s.

"Star Eyes", with fine walking bass by Benjamin, swings from the start, with words by Mary, Martinot trills by Rosie, guitar pings by Vinnie, plus Nick and Dick in a Lowrey-and-AOC duet. The two-octave upsweep at the end is one of the wildest finales I have ever heard.

Though the above comments should give you a few helpful pointers in your trip through outer space with Mary and Dick, the journey should prove thoroughly stimulating with or without guideposts. But please watch out for flying saucers!







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