2016/12/22

The David Angel Big Band - Camshafts and Butterflies (1973, 1975)


Genre: Jazz | Total Time: 1:12:19 | Size: 164.79 MB | MP3 320 kbps
 
Tracklist:
1. Early Morning Fog Bank/Early Morning Sunrise 5:44
2. Camshafts and Butterflies 2:01
3. For B and D 7:47
4. Perk's Tune 8:32
5. Lady Puttering 8:24
6. Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me 6:33
7. Easy Jive 9:25
8. Saturday Night At the Casa Tropical 8:28
9. One O'Clock Dump 9:59
10. Canadian Sunburst 5:19

September 1973 Session (Tracks 1-3, 5, 6, 10):
avid Angel (Alto, Leader), Bill Perkins (Alto, Flute), Jackie Kelso (Tenor Clarinet), Bob Cooper (Tenor, Oboe, English Horn), Steve Kravitz (Baritone, Bass Clarinet), Hal Espinoza (Trumpet, Flugelhorn), Jack Coan (Trumpet, Flugelhorn), Gray Rains (Trumpet, Flugelhorn), Bob Payne (Trombone), David Dahlsten (Trombone), Don Waldrop (Bass Trombone, Tuba), Michel Mention (Piano), Monty Budwig (Bass), Charlie Meyerson (Guitar), Chuck Flores (Drums)


February 1975 Session (Tracks 4, 7-9):
David Angel (Alto, Leader), Bill Perkins (Alto, Flute), Jackie Kelso (Tenor, Clarinet), Bob Cooper (Tenor, Oboe, English Horn), Steve Kravitz (Baritone, Bass Clarinet), Jack Coan (Trumpet, Flugelhorn), Stuart Aptekar (Trumpet, Flugelhorn), Ron Gorow (Trumpet, Flugelhorn), Bob Enevoldsen (Trombone), David Dahlsten (Trombone), Morris Repass (Bass Trombone), John Banister (Piano), Bob Saravia (Bass), Charlie Meyerson (Guitar), Carl Rigoli (Drums), Munyoungo Jackson (Percussion)
 
David Angel (born c.1940) is an American musician, arranger, composer, and teacher.

This unique CD of the best of two sessions from 1973 and 1975, recorded at Sage & Sound in Hollywood are composer, arranger, and band leader David Angel's only published recordings. :

The release of this CD is a major event. Its exciting and innovative performances are from a legendary but rarely heard big band, featuring the arrangements and compositions of a masterful musician whose work in jazz had barely been documented. Musicians in Los Angeles and students in Europe certainly know of David Angel, and now is the perfect time for his contributions and talents to be recognized and enjoyed by the rest of us.
David Angel was born and grew up in Southern California. His father, an astronomer, played violin in his spare time. “He listened every night from 8-10 to the classical station, so I regularly heard the masters,” remembers David. “The first time that I heard Bach was I was 8 or 9 and I thought ‘That’s it. There is no other way to go. That’s the real stuff.’ It was so powerful that Bach has been with me ever since.” David first ran across jazz by accident when he was six. “My mother and I were shopping downtown and I heard some music coming out of a bar. I wandered in and saw some guys playing Dixieland. I was so excited to see adults improvising and having fun playing music even if the smell of beer and cigarettes was so strong!”
Soon he was listening to big bands on the radio and starting to teach himself to play some things on the piano. David took up the saxophone while in grammar school, added the clarinet in junior high school and flute a little later. “I never really had formal lessons on any instruments. My earliest gigs playing music were with Dixieland groups because I had gotten pretty good on the clarinet. In the late 1950s/early ‘60s I had opportunities to play with Kid Ory, Johnny St. Cyr and Edmond Hall. I was 16 or 17 and they were in their 80s. They lived in California for the climate and they really taught me how to play jazz. With those guys, each solo was an event. Kid Ory would start a song very softly and then build up gradually until he had the whole room screaming with delight by the end of the performance.”
By that time, David Angel was quickly developing skills as a writer. “By some accident I had gotten a Duke Ellington record and I realized that that was the freedom that I was looking for. I’ve been a disciple of his ever since.” Self-taught as a writer (he studied scores in libraries), David was selling arrangements to Latin bands for $10 apiece by the time he graduated high school. He attended the Westlake College of Music for a short time and took weekly private lessons with Dave Robertson. “He was the top jazz teacher on the West Coast and was one of the first to have both classical and jazz excellence which was not common at the time. Rather than show me how to write, he showed me what other writers were doing at the time so I knew what was going on, the best possible lesson.”
After a brief time studying at L.A. City College, the 20-year old reached the turning point in his musical life. A music editor from Paramount who was working on the Bonanza television series called the head of the school’s music department, asking for someone who could tutor him on reading music. David Angel was recommended. While working with the editor, David met film composer David Rose at a recording studio and was soon hired as an orchestrator, dropping out of school to write music for Bonanza. The next spring David began writing for the Red Skelton Show, a long association with the Lassie series began, and the many overlapping assignments that followed filled up his life for the next 30 years. David wrote for Laugh-In, The Streets Of San Francisco, such variety series as Sonny & Cher, the Jerry Lewis Show and the Andy Williams Show, and for movies for a dozen years. And yet, despite all of this work, his name never appeared in the credits for any of the shows or films. By choice he was a ghostwriter, writing music for nearly 25 different composers who received full credit. “I preferred it this way. I didn’t have to go to meetings or parties or have to smooze. All I had to do was write music and that is all I wanted. Nobody told me what to write. They relied on my judgment and I loved the challenge.”
Baritone-saxophonist Steve Kravitz remembers: “David was never into having an agent or hustling for gigs. He made his living as a ghostwriter and a copyist. David wrote and copied music for TV shows every week anonymously. He had his fingers in so many areas because of his talents and abilities but few realize just how much he wrote.”
By the early 1990s, David Angel had become disillusioned with his assignments because he was being pressured to write for synthesizers that started appearing in orchestras and he much preferred real instruments. When he received a letter from the cultural minister of France asking if he would like to come to France and teach film composition, he jumped at the chance. David, who had previously taught composition at the Dick Grove School Of Music in the 1980s, spent 15 years living in Europe. He taught in France for seven years, in Lucerne, Switzerland for the next eight, and also taught in other countries including Norway, Belgium and Russia. While he had gigged as an alto-saxophonist in local clubs during his studio years (including recording with trumpeter Blue Mitchell in 1973), worked with such notables as Art Pepper, Clare Fischer, Cat Anderson, the Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band, Dave Grusin and Bob Brookmeyer, and was on many sessions, David feels that his playing was at its best when he was living in Paris. ”I played every day and was at my peak; I loved it.” Around ten years ago, he returned to Los Angeles but he still visits Europe each year to teach and write music.
Back in the mid-1960s, David Angel formed a big band to play at a Sunday afternoon jam session at a club. It soon became a weekly rehearsal band that performed David’s music every Friday morning at the Union building. “I was in that band for 20 years starting in 1970,” says Steve Kravitz, “I doubt if we played a dozen gigs during that time. David would stay up all night on Thursdays writing a new chart for the band that he could bring in on Fridays. It was all fascinating stuff. Many of the top players in town came to his weekly rehearsals because they loved his writing.” Among the musicians who played at those rehearsals at various times during that era were saxophonists Bill Perkins, Bob Cooper, Art Pepper, Herb Geller, Bud Shank, Pete Christlieb, Ernie Watts, Don Menza, Jack Montrose, Jack Nimitz and Bob Hardaway, trumpeters Pete and Conte Candoli, Uan Rasey, and Clyde Reasinger, trombonists Bob Brookmeyer, Billy Byers, Garnett Brown, George Bohanon, Milt Bernhardt, and Herbie Harper, pianists Michel Mention, Victor Feldman, Clare Fischer and Marty Rosen, guitarists Charlie Myerson, Dave Koonse and Barry Zweig, bassists Monty Budwig and Putter Smith, and drummers Chuck Flores and Carl Rigoli. David Angel also organized his Saxtet, a band consisting of six saxophones (two tenors, two baritones and two altoists who doubled on soprano including David), guitar, bass and drums so he could enjoy writing for a smaller jazz group.
“The big band got to be something very special for everyone,” says David Angel. “Someone once said that if you are not an introvert, you can’t play in David’s band. That isn’t quite true but there were no hot shots in the band who didn’t listen. Sometimes we would have a sub come in and he would play great but too loud or with the wrong attitude. Blending into the ensemble was the whole point. Everyone was wonderful on their instruments but also humble.”
The David Angel Big Band rarely ever performed in public. “I love to rehearse much more than I enjoy playing gigs. Playing in clubs has never been very important to me. Having to deal with owners, managers and sound men can be difficult. My attitude has always been that the music is the main thing.”
Amazingly, in addition to the very few live performances, there were no released recordings by the David Angel Big Band until now. In 1973 and 1975, David took his band to Jim Mooney’s Sage And Sound studio in Hollywood, documenting some of the group’s music, but there were no plans to put out Lps. Each of the musicians was given a reel to reel tape copy of the music while the original master tapes sat in the vaults of the studio. When Sage And Sound closed, Bill Perkins was given the master tapes and he later sent them to Peter Jacobson of V.S.O.P. Records. Since the music was not recorded for any reason other than to document the band, it took some time for Jacobson to convince David that the music was too important not to be made more widely available. As it turned out, it was almost too late.
“It took some time to find a machine that could play the tapes and transfer them to digital,” recalls David. “As the tapes came out of the machine, they crumbled. Luckily they had transferred perfectly but the music was a half an inch away from destruction.” So the David Angel Big Band of the 1970s came dangerously close to never being heard again.
Of course all of this would not matter much if the music were not so special. But as can be heard on this CD, even back in the 1970s David Angel’s writing was quite original and inventive, his all-star orchestra was filled with team players who were also colorful soloists, and the results still sound fresh, exciting and a bit futuristic today, four decades later.
 

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