Friday, 11 September 2009

Stan Hope - Stan Hope

Stan Hope
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Mainstream MRL 327

They All Say You're The Biggest Fool


Great little one-off by Stan Hope, who for years had been an on-stage accompanist to a multitude of jazz giants yet never seemed to catch a break that would get him studio work - until Bobby Shad came along, that is. This was his first (credited) recording session and at the time it was taped he was playing primarily in lounges and jazz clubs. Although Stan has a great feel on the black & whites, he's pretty far from avant garde in both his choice of material and his arrangements, sticking with standards and safety for the run of the set. His self-taught style includes bits of boogie-woogie, stride, swing, gospel, some bop and a whole lotta experience at keepin' folks happy and giving the people what they want. Happy people = drinky people = happy club owner.

This would probably just be an OK record if it weren't for the simpatico between Hope and his seasoned super-session men Peck Morrison and Walter Perkins. Or maybe it's simply the fact they could see him comin' from a mile away. Regardless, what results is a nice little trio set that keeps the toes tappin' while capturing a classic cocktail party atmosphere without getting too corny. By ensuring there's enough present to please a wide variety of palates so everyone will find at least something they like, it's not an album that will likely make anyone's list of essentials but the repeat listening factor is high due to its versatility and it's an enjoyable listen in a wide range of settings, both in time and place.

Stan Hope - Piano

AMG bio
by Dave Nathan
As a youngster growing up in Atlantic City, Stan Hope and his friends would climb the roof of the building across from the club where the Count Basie Orchestra. was playing. Listening to Basie's band which boasted, among others, Lester Young, Buck Clayton and Freddie Green, Hope begin thinking that this was what he wanted to do. He was pushed over the line when his aunt gave him records of Erroll Garner playing "Be Anything" and Garner's composition "Pastels," for his birthday. Both these tunes appear on Hope's album Pastels, made for Savant Records in 1998.

Hope has little formal piano education, teaching himself on a piano his mother bought when he was 10 years old. He played professionally for 10 years before taking some lessons in order to learn to read. With a career starting in1949 (on his first gig, he played guitar), and spanning 50 years, Mr. Hope has played with many of the giants who habituated East Coast jazz venues. Coleman Hawkins, Hank Mobley, Lorez Alexandria, Johnny Hartman and Hank Crawford were just few of the performers Hope shared the stage with. Hope has played and continues to play at major jazz venues in New York City, including Birdland, the Village Vanguard and the Blue Note.

Stan performing with Houston in June 2009

Image: Fran Kaufmann/WBGO Photoblog

For the last 15 years, Hope has occupied the piano chair for vocalist Etta Jones and tenor saxophonist Houston Person and frequently records with them. His album Pastels is his second as leader, having cut an album for Mainstream Records in 1972. With a solid, reliable style shaped by Erroll Garner and Bud Powell as well as by the many variegated jazz performers he has worked with, Stan Hope is about to enter his 7th decade as a working jazz pianist.

Stan Hope Discography

1972 Stan Hope
(Mainstream MRL 327)

1996 Stepping Into Beauty
(WestSide 2002)
1999 Pastels
(Savant 2020)

2005 Put on a Happy Face
(Savant 2063)

Stan Hope appearances on Houston Person LPs
special thanks to Doug Payne's definitive HP discography

1987 The Talk of the Town (Muse) at Nine Sisters
1987 Basics (Muse)
1990 The Tenors of Buddy Tate, Nat Simkins & Houston Person (Muse)
1990 A Night In Roppongi w/ Etta Jones (All Art)
1994 Christmas with Houston Person and Friends (Muse)
1996 Close Encounters w/ Teddy Edwards (HighNote)
2000 In A Sentimental Mood (HighNote)
2000 Together at Christmas w/ Etta Jones (HighNote)
2003 Social Call (HighNote)
2004 To Etta With Love (HighNote)
2005 All Soul (HighNote)

Walter Perkins - Drums

by Scott Yanow
Best-known as the leader of the short-lived MJT + 3 during 1959-62, Walter Perkins was a longtime fixture in the Chicago jazz scene. He gained some recognition for playing with Ahmad Jamal's Trio during 1956-57 (right before Jamal really caught on). A 1957 set for Argo led by Perkins (and also featuring trumpeter Paul Serrano, tenor-saxophonist Nicky Hill, the young pianist Richard Abrams and bassist Bob Cranshaw) used the name of MJT Plus 3. The better-known version of the band (with trumpeter Willie Thomas, altoist Frank Strozier, pianist Harold Mabern and bassist Cranshaw) recorded three albums for Vee-Jay during 1959-60 and was popular for a time locally before breaking up in 1962.

Perkins then worked with Sonny Rollins (1962), as an accompanist to Carmen McRae (1962-63), gigged with Art Farmer and Teddy Wilson in 1964 and remained based in Chicago for decades. Walter Perkins has recorded with a who's who of jazz including Ahmad Jamal [Count 'em: 88, Poinciana], George Shearing [George Shearing And The Montgomery Brothers], Gene Ammons, Carmen McRae, Charles Mingus [Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus], Billy Taylor [Impromptu], Booker Ervin, Art Farmer, Jaki Byard, Lucky Thompson [Happy Days, Happy Days Are Here Again and Lucky Meets Tommy & Friends], Pat Martino [Strings!], Harold Mabern [A Few Miles From Memphis] and Charles Earland [Mama Roots and Smokin'] (1977) among many others [including Donald Byrd's Groovin' For Nat and Johnny Cole's Little Johnny C].

Just as the title sez, folks

Jazzhouse obit
by Todd S. Jenkins

Drummer Walter Perkins, whose long career included work with Ahmad Jamal, Art Farmer, Carmen McRae and Charles Mingus, died of lung cancer on February 14, 2004 at age 72.

A Chicago native, Perkins was one of beloved Captain Walter Dyett's music students at DuSable High School in the late 1940s. In the mid-50s he gigged with Ahmal Jamal, and in 1957 Perkins formed his MJT+3 (Modern Jazz Two Plus 3), which included trumpeter Willie Thomas, altoist Frank Strozier, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and young pianist Muhal Richard Abrams (later replaced by Harold Mabern). Perkins appeared at the 1959 Playboy Jazz Festival in support of Coleman Hawkins, and recorded with Sonny Criss that same year [Sonny Criss At The Crossroads]. The MJT+3 moved en masse to New York around 1960 and recorded a self-titled album for Vee-Jay (reissued on CD in 1994), but broke up in '62.

In the 1960s Perkins' profile increased dramatically. He performed and/or recorded with the Art Farmer Quartet (Live at the Half Note, 1963, Atlantic) [also Interaction], Dave Pike (Pike's Peak, 1961, Epic/Portrait) [also Dave Pike Plays The Jazz Version of "Oliver"], Gigi Gryce [Reminiscin'], Carmen McRae (Sings Lover Man, 1961, Columbia), Gene Ammons (Twistin' the Jug, 1961, Prestige) [also Soul Summit Vol. 2 and Late Hour Special] , Sonny Rollins, Jaki Byard (Out Front!, 1961, Prestige), Booker Ervin (Exultation!, 1963, Prestige), Teddy Wilson, Roland Kirk (I Talk With the Spirits, 1964, Verve), Billy Taylor, Clark Terry [Happy Horns of Clark Terry], George Shearing, Ray Bryant [Soul], and Charles Mingus.

In the 1970s Perkins slowed down a bit, drumming for Erroll Garner, then became an educator in the 1980s. In 1985 he helped found the Music for Young Adolescents program in New York City. An enthusiast of drum corps, he instructed programs at Girls and Boys High School in Brooklyn and started a drum corps program at his church in Jamaica, N.Y. He gigged occasionally at clubs around New York, and made a welcome return to recording on Bob's Pink Cadillac (Eremite), a 2002 free-jazz trio date with bassist/leader William Parker and clarinetist Perry Robinson.

Walter Perkins is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughters Rochelle Mask of Baldwin, N.Y., Denise Perkins of Brooklyn, and Marilyn Turns of Queens; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Aside from the MJT+3 material, his only other release as leader ("co-" or otherwise), was in 2002. He played a pair of sessions in duo with German avant-garde sax/clarinet player Peter Brötzmann that were released the following year by Brötzmann's own BRÖ label under the title The Ink Is Gone. It's distributed by Eremite records, the same imprint responsible for releasing the William Parker Clarinet Trio's Bob's Pink Cadillac.

Walter Perkins' MJT+3 Discography

1958 Daddy-O Presents MJT+3
(Argo 621)

1959 Walter Perkins' MJT+III
(Vee-Jay 1013)
at The KingCake Crypt (w/ Make Everybody Happy)
1960 Make Everybody Happy
(Vee-Jay 3008)
at Sun Ship

1960 MJT+3
(Vee-Jay 3014)
Flac pt 1/pt2 c/o Grumpy

2000 Message From Walton Street
(Koch 8558, previously unissued takes)

Original pressings are scarce and command $50 or more but all of the above MJT albums have been re-issued in the past decade and are readily available, although a few (such as the Argo) are Japanese imports and fairly expensive.

Peck Morrison - Bass

AMG bio
by Scott Yanow

A fine accompanist whose occasional solos were fairly basic, Peck Morrison was a valuable player on countless sessions throughout his career. He was classically trained, played bass in a military band while overseas in Italy and then really began his professional career while in New York in the mid-1940s.

Among his more notable associations were Lucky Thompson, Tiny Bradshaw, King Pleasure [King Pleasure Sings/Annie Ross Sings and Original Moody's Mood], Zoot Sims, Eddie Jefferson [There I Go Again and Jazz Singer], the J.J. Johnson-Kai Winding Quintet [Afternoon at Birdland and Kai Winding, Jay Jay Johnson and Bennie Green with Strings] (1954), Duke Ellington (for a short time in 1955 and in 1964), Lou Donaldson [Swing and Soul, Wailing With Lou, Blues Walk and Light Foot], Gerry Mulligan [Presenting The Gerry Mulligan Sextet], Johnny Smith, Mal Waldron, Randy Weston [Piano a la Mode], Babs Gonzales [Tales of Manhattan], the Newport Rebels (1960), Shirley Scott [Workin' and Stompin'], Red Garland [Soul Burnin', Red's Blues and The Quota], Charles McPherson [From This Moment On!], Sy Oliver and the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band (1986).

Peck in his later years

No matter where he was heard, Morrison was an important (if underrated) part of the ensemble. Unfortunately he never had an opportunity to lead his own record date.
Well, if that ain't a case of "damned with faint praise" then I don't know what is. Of course Yanow doesn't consider "notable" smokin' soul-jazz sets with Ivan 'Boogaloo' Joe Jones' (My Fire!), Willis Jackson (Gentle Gator, In My Solitude, At Large and Really Groovin') or Charlie Rouse (Unsung Hero or Yeah!). I know Scott's a favourite whipping-boy in the jazz blogosphere (yet we so copiously quote him) but sometimes I just shake my head and wonder just what that cat's criteria really is. seems to me that
Morrison, who passed away Feb. 25, 1988 at the age of 68, deserves a much more emphatic epitaph for his major contributions to the genre.

1 Georgia On Mind
2 They All Say You're The Biggest Fool
3 Stanley Stealer
4 All Blues
5 You're Gonna Hear From Me
6 Wave
7 Honey
8 Ill Wind You're Blowing Me No Good

Hope springs eternal at Soundological HERE or HERE.


Bhowani said...

Stan Hope

As usual, (and here with Soundological, the "usual" is always extra-ordinary) the presentation is amazing. Each one is a complete educational file with high quality.

(As we say "Chapeau bas !)

Thank you Cheeba for your efforts... Bravo!

cheeba said...

You're very welcome Bhowani.

I'm especially happy you enjoy the informational aspect of the posts and I appreciate your encouragement!

cheeba said...

For those that read the comments, giant of generosity grumpy has shared the 1960 Vee-Jay MJT+# set in the contributions at Sic Vos Non Vobis

d3lta said...

many thanks for this rarity cheeba, caught Stan Hope live yesterday accompanying the great Houston Person, really great jazz moments.

cheeba said...

Colour me jealous, d3lta, I'd love to see those guys live! Caught a couple YouTube clips of them from the past couple of years when writing this and they still had it.

You're more than welcome for the Hope LP!

d3lta said...

I feel for you cheeba, they still have it in spades, any jazz lover should check them out given the chance -- here's a (very) small taste from that great night.

dolphydays said...

Please post share links for DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 on Argo! A VERY pivotal and important session date in Chicago Jazz development in the fifties. Thanks for this blog!