Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

"Document 1000 Series "

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Bunk Johnson Vol 1

Bunk Johnson Vol 1: “New York” The Complete Decca, Victor and V Disc recordings, Plus Alternate Takes (November 1945 – January 1946)

Bunk Johnson and his New Orleans Band

With; Bunk Johnson, trumpet; Jim Robinson, trombone; George Lewis, clarinet; Alton Purnell, piano; Lawrence Marrero, banjo; Alcide “Slow Drag” Pavageau double bass,; Warren “Baby” Dodds, drums and “Red” Jones, drums.

Genre: New Orleans Jazz

Informative booklet notes by Howard Rye.

Detailed discography.

The recordings made by Bunk Johnson and the musicians associated with him have been the subject of controversy since they were made. It could hardly have been otherwise. Born in New Orleans, on 27th December 1879 according to his own account, but almost certainly ten years later in reality, Willie Geary Johnson undoubtedly played a part in the early history of jazz, though not as crucial an innovative part as he and his backers would have liked. However, after being in the forefront of developments in New Orleans, probably around 1907-1914, he worked thereafter mainly in travelling circuses and in upstate Louisiana. He eventually settled in New Iberia, where he worked with the local Banner Band and the Black Eagle Band from nearby Crowley. He did not record during the vintage-jazz area.

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Kid Ory: The Complete Sunshine, Exner, Decca Recordings 1922-45 &

Kid Ory And His Creole Jazz Band
Spike’s Pod’s Of Pepper
Ory’s Sunshine orchestra

Featuring: Kid Ory, trombone; Mutt Carey, trumpet Fred Washington, piano; Roberta Dudley, vocal, Ruth Lee, vocal; Cecile Ory (Kid Ory’s wife), vocal; Ed Garland stand-up bass; Zutty Singleton, drums, and others…

Genre: New Orleans Jazz.
Descriptive booklet notes by Howard Rye.
Detailed discography.

Edward "Kid" Ory (1886-1973) has the distinction of having led the first African-American band from New Orleans to make it on to record, surprisingly enough on the West Coast, where he had moved in 1919. All six recordings are included here, two band sides and four accompaniments to vaudeville-blues singers. The discs appeared on two labels, Nordskog and Sunshine.

Ory's band, then playing at the Wayside Park Cafe, included two important figures in cornetist Mutt Carey (1891-1948), and clarinettist Dink Johnson (1892-1954), later better known as a pianist and as Jelly Roll Morton's brother-in-law. Discographies list Montudi "Ed" Garland on bass, but he appears to be present only in spirit. Some profess to hear an attempt to copy the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, but I would guess that those who hold this view have not heard the Blues sides. Incidentally, nothing much seems to be known about either singer beyond what can be deduced from the records, viz that Roberta Dudley was a Blues singer as then understood, and Ruth Lee was a cabaret artiste. Continued...

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Rare Live Cuts - Cafe Society 1939 & Milwaukee 1943

Rare Live Cuts
Cafe Society (1939 Airchecks) & Milwaukee (1943)

Billie Holiday with Frankie Newton Orchestra
Albert Ammons
Meade "Lux" Lewis
Joe Turner
Pete Johnson
Joe Williams
Red Feather Trio

Genres: Boogie-woogie, swing, jazz, blues.
Informative booklet notes by Axel Zwingenberger
Detailed discography.

In recent years, the ever growing community of jazz and blues lovers has been fortunate to profit from a real work of love - tracing the rarest material from the pioneers of the genre, putting it into a context with their better known recordings and thus allowing the enthusiast (or musician) to get a more complete picture of their oevre than could ever have been hoped for. Some treasures from the past times of 78 rpm shellack recordings have been known to just a few insiders, but their musical and historical value deserves to be discovered by today's audience.

This CD contains such a treasury - live recordings from the mecca of boogie woogie, New York's famous Café Society, when the Boogie Woogie Trio had just hit the road to fame, along with Billie Holiday, Frankie Newton and the other luminaries from the club's roster. Moreover, we have the opportunity to witness a celebrated performance of Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson at Milwaukee's jazz club "Frenchy's" during their travelling period as piano twins after their Café Society years. Continued... 

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Vocal Blues & Jazz 1921 - 1930

This, the first of three volumes features the work of four female blues singers. Three are obscure names whilst Alberta Jones whose recordings dominate this collection stands out as the star. As with the vast majority of the CDs featuring female classic blues singers in the Document Catalogue, this collection is given double strength by the inclusion of some excellent accompanists including Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra backing Inez Richardson. Duke Ellington and Otto Hardwicke lend a hand with two of Alberta Jones numbers and Alma Henderson is in the company of DeLoise Searcy on piano and Lonnie Johnson on guitar on her first two recordings followed by Eddie Lang on her two remaining titles. Continued...

Informative booklet notes by Steve Tracy

Detailed discography

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Female Blues 1921 - 1928

This collection casts a wide net to capture two dozen un-reissued recordings by a dozen blues singers whose material has been collected already in this series, but these sides are by no means mere stragglers or stray sides, but in fact feature both well known and obscure vaudeville singers in good excellent form. Lavina Turner provides an energetic performance of When The Rain Turns To Snow and Josie Miles turns in a great bluesy performance on Flora's Weary Blues. Hazel Myers uses an aggressive, strong vocal for The Man Ain't Born Who Can Treat Me Like You Do and Laura Smith feels low down as she moans the blues with her Lake Ponchartrain. Continued...

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Alberta Hunter Vol 5 1921 - 1924

Alberta Hunter was the consummate entertainer: a remarkable singer and song stylist, songwriter, fashion trendsetter, dramatic actress, populariser of contemporary dance steps, diplomat and world traveller, and above all a charismatic communicator through the medium of song.

Like many of her peers in vaudeville who recorded in the first wave of what has come to be known as the "classic" blues, she was not strictly a blues singer, but a cabaret performer whose repertory encompassed a variety of styles. Classic Blues & Vaudeville Singers: the Alternate Takes (DOCD-5573) is scheduled to contain more outtakes by Alberta Hunter, and altogether, these CDs will be able to give an accurate and virtually complete aural portrait of the early recordings of one of the great singers of the twentieth century. Continued...

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The Unissued 1951 Yancey Wire Recordings

Jimmy Yancey, piano vocal.
Mama Yancey, vocal.
Includes Dick Mushlitz, piano (1 track)

 Genres: Blues piano, boogie-woogie piano.

Informative, 24 page, illustrated booklet, with booklet notes written by Dick Mushlitz.
Detailed discography.

We arrived at Yanceys sometime before midnight. It was still June 16. The party had probably been in progress for some time. Jimmy had been feeling ill for the past few weeks, and when we got there he was resting in the small bedroom just off of the living room where the piano was located, but he soon joined the rest of us. After being introduced to those whom we didn't know, Phil set up the wire recorder and, after asking for and getting an extension cord for the machine from Estelle, began recording. This CD contains all of what was captured on the wires that night.

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Albert Ammons 1936 Alternate Takes Radio Performances and Unissued Home Recordings

Albert Ammons, vocal, piano.
Includes; Pete Johnson, piano, Joe Turner, vocal.

Genres; Boogie-woogie piano, Blues piano
Informative booklet notes by Axel Zwingenberger,
Detailed discography.

Albert Ammons seems to be the pianist who attracts the largest number of boogie woogie fans, even today, 90 years after he was born in Chicago on March 1st, 1907. His playing had a special quality in a very personal way: his exuberant joy and endless power were counter pointed by a longing expression which gave it a blue quality all the way through. Albert's sound in general was sweeter than either Pete Johnson's or Meade Lux Lewis', his piano colleagues of the Boogie Woogie Trio. His untimely death on December 3rd, 1949, at the age of just 42, added a tragic aspect, too. By the time he passed, it was still the era of 78-rpm shellacs, and his chances to record were more limited than they would have been had he lived up to the time of Hi-Fi recording.
Items of unissued material by him are especially rare collector's stuff, and this Document Records CD contains a considerable number of such. Continued...

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Pete Johnson Radio Broadcasts, Film Soundtracks, Alternate Takes 1939 - c.1947

Pete Johnson – Radio Broadcasts, Film Soundtracks, Alternate Takes 1939 – c. 1947
Pete Johnson – Boogie-woogie piano
Includes performances by:
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
Big Joe Turner
Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra
Lena Horne
Albert Ammons
And others…
Extensive, 22 page illustrated booklet notes by Axel Zwingenberger.
Detailed discography.
This compilation, gives the overall impression of a player who had good knowledge of harmonic structures, great command of rhythm and plenty of experience of swinging along with high calibre Jazz musicians. Pete Johnson’s influences included Charles "Smash" Johnson, then Louis "Bootie" Johnson, who made Pete change from drumming to playing piano in 1926. Other main inspirations came from Fats Waller and for boogie-woogie, Pinetop Smith's recordings and Jelly Roll Morton. Tracks on the CD include the big band "Roll 'Em" by Benny Goodman's Orchestra, "Buss Robinson Blues" was a favourite of Pete's being a tribute to a friend and fellow pianist. "Goin' Away Blues" was a number from Pete's first commercial recording session, accompanied by the singer Joe Turner, "Boogie Woogie Prayer" is a piano duet with Albert Ammons. Other highlights are several songs featuring the singer Lena Horne, these are "My New Gown" and the excellent "Unlucky Dream". Continued...

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Bunk Johnson Volume 2

Bunk Johnson 1942 - 1945 Recordings

Bunk Johnson's Original Superior Band
Bunk Johnson's Jazz Band
Bunk Johnson And His New Orleans Band
Louis Armstrong And His Foundation Six

8 Page informative booklet written by Alyn Shipton.
Detailed discography.

Although jazz trumpet player, Bunk Johnson, undoubtedly played a part in the early story of Jazz and was at the forefront of its development in New Orleans around 1907-1914 (he taught Louis Armstrong), he never recorded during the vintage-jazz era of the late teens through to the 1930`s. After spending the thirties as a truck driver, he was contacted by a group of enthusiasts, was fitted out with a new set of teeth and set on his second career as a professional musician. He is now regarded internationally as one of the great jazz legends of all time. Continued...

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Lucille Hegamin Vol 4 1920 - 1926

Lucille Hegamin Volume 4: Alternative Takes & Remaining Titles (1920-1926)

Lucille Hegamin with Harris' Blues and Jazz Seven
Lucille Hegamin and Her Blue Flame Syncopators
Lucille Hegamin with Woodling's Society Entertainers
Lucille Hegamin with the Dixie Daises
and others...

Informative booklet notes by Chris Smith
Detailed discography

The life and career of Lucille Hegamin (1894-1970) are dealt with in detail in the notes to Document DOCD-5419/20/21. Her chief claim to fame is as the second African- American blues singer to record, after Mamie Smith; she is also noteworthy for a more bluesy delivery than Smith generally managed, albeit often on songs that are close to the pop end of the blues. In those early days, the interaction that generated recordings took place between stage and vaudeville artists, usually female, the record companies, and Tin Pan Alley composers, both white and black. For many years neglected by comparison with the folk blues singers, and even with the more consistently jazzy stage performers, artists like Lucille Hegamin may perhaps be finally accorded their true place, and their true merits, thanks to the Document series which is now approaching its conclusion. Continued...

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Vocal Blues & Jazz Vol 2 1921 - 1938

Alternative takes & remaining titles

Ethel Waters
Lillian Harris
Lizzie Miles
Rosa Henderson
Viola Bartlette
Sara Martin
Betty Gray
Laura Bryant
Tiny Mayberry
Informative booklet notes by Chris Smith.
Detailed discography.

Volume two of this three volume series features ten female singers who to a greater or lesser degree found the blues in their lives, from the highly successful Ethel Waters, Lizzie Miles and Sara Martin to the more obscure Laura Bryant, Tiny Mayberry and others, including Rosa Henderson of whom the famous blues / jazz record producer John Hammond once said was “an underrated artist”, the sides appearing here add weight to that comment. As with the vast majority of the CDs featuring female classic blues singers in the Document Catalogue, this collection is given double strength by the inclusion of some excellent accompanists including Fletcher Henderson, Lovie Austin, Jimmy Blythe, Clarence Williams, Porter Grainger, Teddy Bunn and Lil Armstrong. Continued...

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