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Breakin' It Up On Broadway

Dukes of Dixieland

The Dukes of Dixeland - Breakin' It Up On Broadway The Dukes of Dixeland - Breakin' It Up On Broadway
33GDukesCS8528

Columbia...CS 8528...XSM 54875/XSM 54876...1961...33 1/3 LP...Stereo



Side 1
1) Runnin´ Wild - J. Grey/L. Wood/A.H. Gibbs - from "Runnin´ Wild"...NTG
2) Old Fashionrd Love - C. Mark/J. Johnson - from "Runnin´ Wild"...NTG
3) How Are Things In Glocca Mora? - E. Y. Harburg/B. Lane - from "Finian´s Rainbow"...Vocal by Frank Assunto...NTG
4) Oh, Lady By Good - I. Gershwin/G. Gershiwin - from "Lady Be Good"...NTG
5) An´t Misbehavin´ - A. Razaf/T. Waller/H. Brooks - from "Connie´s Hot Cholocates"...NTG
6) Hey, Look Me Over - C. Leigh/C. Coleman - from "Wildcat"...NTG

Side 2
1) The New Ashmolean Marching Society and Students Conservatory Band - F. Loesser - from "Where´s Charley?"...NTG
2) Lida Rose - M. Willsort - from "The Music Man"...NTG
3) If I Were A Bell - F. Loesser - from "Guys and Dolls"...NTG
4) I Can't Give You Anything But Love - D. Fields/J. McHugh - from Lew Leslie´s "Blackbirds 0f 1928"...NTG
5) From This Monment On - Cole Porter - from "Out Of This World"...NTG
6) Adrift On A Star - E. Y. Harburg/J. Offenbach - from "The Happiest Girl In The World"...NTG

The Dukes of Dixeland - Breakin' It Up On Broadway The Dukes of Dixeland - Breakin' It Up On Broadway

ON THE BACK OF THE JACKET

Breakin' It Up On Broadway
The Dukes of Dixieland

Frank Assunto - Trumpet * Fred Assunto - Trumbone * Jac Assunto - Trombone and/or Bango *
Jerry Fuller - Clarinet * Glen Schroeder - Piano * Jim Atlass - Bass *
Jim Hallr - Guitar * Charlie Lodice - Drums *

For a taste of the Twenties - just a taste - listen to Runnin´ Wild. It was written in 1922, about ten years before Frank and Fred Assunto were born. But their dad, Papa Jac Assunto, remembers it. He taught the boys a lot, and they picked up a few things on their own. Check the selections in this album; some date back to Papa Jac´s time, but many were heard on Broadway for the first time a few years ago. As the Dukes of Dixieland play them, you relize why this is one of the most popular instrumental group in the country today.

Recently, trumpeter Bobby Hackett was questioned by a callow youth about Dixieland. The mild-mannered jazz pioneer said, "Please; Dixieland is a dirtyword-it´s so unnecessary."

Says Joe Delaney, who represents the Dukes of Dixieland, "I think Bobby´s statement fights those people who insist on pigeonholing Dixieland, who insist some of it is jazz and some isn´t. There´s a small, stubborn hard core that feels only certain tunes and only the forms in which they were first played are the true forms of Dixieland jazz. But many people who hear the Dukes for the first time say, ´I don´t particularly care for Dixieland, but I sure like what you fellows play.´"

The Dukes cannot be pigeonholed. They´re now appreciated by young people (some of the young hipsters are coming around!) and even by that most critical group fellow jazz musicians. "For the past few years," says Delaney, "the boys have played jazz festivals and they´ve had to make the audience swing whether they came to hear Basie or Miles or Kenton!"

But their most enthusiastic fans are in the older generation, and Delaney thinks that Papa Jac is largely responsible. "Dad was near 50 when he played outside of New Orleans for the first time. The boys were working in Chicago without him. Freddie´s wife, Betty, who had been singing with the band, became pregnant, and so we sent for Papa Jac to replace her temporarily as the special attraction. People love watching him work sitting up there with his two sons."

The performances on this album, the Dukes´ first for Columbia, present the group at the peak of their twelve-year career. Freddie organized the group in 1949; among its early members was Pete Fountain. The Dukes won a Horace Heidt audition, toured for awhile, then returned to New Orleans and replaced Sharkey Bonano´s band at the Famous Door for 44 months. (Santo Pecora, Bonano´s trombonist, was one of Freddie Assunto´s idols.) Meanwhile, Papa Jac Assunto, who holds a degree in business administration from Tulane University, was teaching and directing the band at Redemptorist High School. He joined the group when he received the call for help from Chicago, and he´s been trouping ever since.

Runnin´ Wild, written in 1922, was used as the title song for a 1923 Broadway musical. (Columbia producer John Hammond recalls the original Colonial Theater show at 63rd Street and Broadway with James P. Johnson conducting the band in the pit.) After an ensemble chorus, with Papa Jac on banjo, come two choruses by Jerry Fuller, West Coast clarinetist who spent five years with Jack Teagarden. He is followed by Gene Schroeder, veteran of more than ten Eddie Condon years. After a solo by bassist Jim Atlass (formerly a member of Jimmy Giuffre´s trio), leader-trumpet-er Frankie Assunto asserts himself, followed in turn by brother Fred on trombone. Before they take the tune out, Frank pushes them to repeat the first 16 bars twice, modulating each time. The tension builds until they happily take the tune home.

Frank´s trumpet calls the introduction to Old Fashioned Love (also from Runnin´ Wild), which is distinguished by Schroeder´s piano solo. The vocal in How Are Things in Glocca Morra? (from Finian´s Rainbow, 1946) is by Frank who, says Delaney, has the potential to become a performer in his own right, aside from his work with the Dukes. "He´s gaining greater recognition as a trumpet player all the time." John Hammond says Frank´s trumpet chorus in Glocca Morra sounds "like Armstrong in the old days." "No," says Delaney, "Berigan."

Oh, Lady Be Good (from Lady Be Good, 1924) is kicked off by bassist Atlass and guitarist Jim Hall (another Giuffre alumnus) and Freddie follows with an adagio chorus; the ensemble comes in at the release, supported by Hall, who then takes a hard-swinging chorus that Basie-ite Freddie Green would be proud of. This selection includes a beautifully understated chorus by Frank, using his mute. (Could he have been listening to Miles?)

With Atlass playing bowed bass, Frank plays the verse to Ain´t Misbehavin´ (from Connie´s Hot Chocolates, 1929); Hammond remembers that "Armstrong was in the pit band on this show. It played at the Hudson Theater and Louis sat on a stool right next to Fats Waller." Listen to Fuller playing clarinet on this one. The Scots motif to Hey, Look Me Over (from Wildcat, 1960) closes Side One. Frank is featured on flugelhorn, which he plays, interestingly, with the same kind of boyish innocence he achieves as a singer. After choruses by Fuller and Schroeder, the group takes an uninhibited, swinging last chorus.

The New Ashmolean Marching Society and Students Conservatory Band (from Where´s Charley? 1948) opens with Freddie and Papa Jac on trombone, while drummer Charlie Lodice uses parade sticks. The ensemble sounds like an old marching band at the end of a great parade, playing for all they´re worth. Lida Rose (from The Music Man, 1957) has Frank and Freddie alternating leads, with Papa Jac strumming away behind them.

If I Were a Bell (from Guys and Dolls, 1950) has an appropriately bell-like opening and tag; in between, Frank and Freddie share the honors. After a brief piano introduction, the group then plays I Can´t Give You Anything But Love (from Lew Leslie´s Blackbirds of 1928); a moody, petulant chorus by Fuller follows, but he seems to get happier as he goes along. Then Jim Atlass insists on a chorus, Schroeder makes a strong statement and the ensemble wails, with Jim Hall playing solid rhythm guitar all the way.

From This Moment On (written in 1950 for Out of This World, but used instead in the film version of Kiss Me, Kate) is a virtuoso piece for Jerry Fuller and he plays it with driving intensity. Delaney says, "Jerry´s been with the group a couple of years. He has great tone, great conception, but the Dukes are their own severest critics and Jerry´s a case in point. On the stand he´ll just kill you with something he plays. But in the studio, he becomes conscious of the engineer, the A&R man, me, the other guys—he is like a doctor performing an operation. He becomes clinical. Then it´s a case of relaxing him without sacrificing that intensity."

Jacques Offenbach can now rest in peace. The Barcarolle from his Tales of Hoffman, converted to Adrift on a Star for The Happiest Girl in the World (1961), has been given its final, definitive, due. With Papa Jac on banjo, Freddie Assunto plays the melody in the most plaintive manner imaginable. But the Dukes will have their way, and it has to swing. After an ensemble chorus, Lodice uses sticks on the rim of his snare behind Jerry Fuller.

When this album was recorded, Charlie Lodice had been with the Dukes a scant week. He had been recommended by veteran Dixieland drummer Nick Fatool, who said, "When I can´t work a gig, this kid does; use him."

He joined the Dukes recently for the first time on the opening night of their return engagement at New York´s Roundtable. Says Delaney, "There aren´t many musicians who could walk in cold to the Roundtable opening night with a drummer that they´d just shaken hands with a couple of hours before, knowing they had to play Randall´s Island, then fly to St. Louis, then fly back to New York and record; and all this time, they played the Roundtable every night."

Lodice plays as if he has been with the Dukes for years. Fuller seems to play his chorus sarcastically, with tongue-in-cheek (not easy) and they end with the kind of enthusiasm that led John Hammond to comment at the end of the recording session, "Dixieland sessions aren´t easy-if the guys don´t really feel it, then it just" isn´t worth anything. But this is something else-they really swing-that´s what´s so fantastic!"

BILLY JAMES

Bottom Strip

COVER PHOTO: Columbia Records Studio - Henry Parker



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