Fredrik Tersmeden
Fredrik Tersmeden

3:43 PM - Jul 18, 2004 #11

My ears can detect no piano, neither during the reed nor the violin ensemble when it ought to have been audible.

Funny that Merle does not seem to have used his brother on any of these sessions which seem to be by pure studio pick-up groups.

By the way Norman - excellent transfer. You must be lucky to have a copy of that record in a very good condition as well as a fine playback equipment!

Fredrik
Quote
Share

gellerphoto
gellerphoto

3:48 PM - Jul 18, 2004 #12

Nice tune; fine arrangement; impeccable musicianship; beautiful recording quality: what more could anybody possibly want?

Except, maybe, to hear it?

Your wish is our command!

http://mysite.freeserve.com/newsite2/forgetmenot.ram

Rust gives: Leo McConville, Mannie Klein (trumpets); Tommy Dorsey (trombone); Pete Pumiglio, possibly Arnold Brillhart, Merle Johnston (reeds); possibly Al Duffy; Murray Kellner, Lou Raderman (violins); Tony Colucci (guitar); Hank Stern (brass bass); possibly Vic Berton (drums).

H'mm: odd; no piano...?

Have a nice Sunday!

Cheers,

Norman.


"Bix & His Gang."
Quote
Share

Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

4:05 PM - Jul 18, 2004 #13

.... a group called "Merle Johnston's Saxophone Quartet." Merle played tenor sax and there were two alto saxes and one baritone sax. The group recorded 4 sides, two instrumental and two with Smith Ballew on vocal. I have only heard the vocals: "Always in Always" and "It's A Great Life." I love those records, a nice mellow sound with great harmonization by the saxes, and terrific vocals by the talented Smith Ballew.

Almost seventy years later, the Beau Hunks Soctette, inspired by Merle's Saxophone quartet, recorded "Always in Always." You can hear that recreation in WBIX # 95, at the end of the program. I have the Merle Johnston version somewhere. If there is interest, I'll find it and upload it.

Albert
The Merle Johnston's Saxophone Quartet instrumental sides are "Do Something" and "Baby, Oh Where can you be?", which I am lucky enough to have. They are really great - not hot, but rhythmic and impeccably played. The arrangements are superb - they are even better than the vocal sides. All four sides were reissued in 1986 on an LP entitled "Persian Rug", which was produced by VJM Records in London. The transfers are bad, unfortunately - all the top sliced off!


The LP also contains the four sides by the Andrew Aiona Novelty Four, recorded in Los Angeles in January 1929. These hot Hawaiian recordings are truly amazing. The cornet player is VERY Bixian and the alto/baritone sax player's style is certainly Trumbauer-influenced.


The sleeve notes, by Steve Lane, tell us something about these sides:


"....Andrew Aiona is no doubt the Andy Iona whose group The Islanders was well-known for its Hawaiian music later in the thirties. We have no information on the other musicians, but I believe them to be Hawaiian musicians settled on the West Coast of the USA. One day someone will survey the work of such immigrants in the twenties....In spite of the Hawaiian-sounding titles, the music is in the Bix-Trumbauer idiom and is of the highest quality...."


The four titles are "Hula Girl", "Paahana", "Keko" and "That Lovin' Hula".


Does anyone have any information about these musicians, particularly the cornetist and the alto/baritone sax player?


Quote
Share

Fredrik Tersmeden
Fredrik Tersmeden

4:49 PM - Jul 18, 2004 #14

This was discussed three years ago in this forum. The thread, which offers some suggestions as to the identity of the musicians, begins with the following posting:

http://www.network54.com/Forum/message? ... =989324728

Fredrik
Quote
Share

Joined: 12:00 AM - Jan 01, 1970

11:46 PM - Jul 18, 2004 #15

.... a group called "Merle Johnston's Saxophone Quartet." Merle played tenor sax and there were two alto saxes and one baritone sax. The group recorded 4 sides, two instrumental and two with Smith Ballew on vocal. I have only heard the vocals: "Always in Always" and "It's A Great Life." I love those records, a nice mellow sound with great harmonization by the saxes, and terrific vocals by the talented Smith Ballew.

Almost seventy years later, the Beau Hunks Soctette, inspired by Merle's Saxophone quartet, recorded "Always in Always." You can hear that recreation in WBIX # 95, at the end of the program. I have the Merle Johnston version somewhere. If there is interest, I'll find it and upload it.

Albert
Enrico kindly sent an image of the Champion Sparkers. They played in the Champion Spark Plug Hour, a radio program broadcast over WJZ in the early 1930s, I believe. The theme song for the program was "The March of the Champions" by Gustav "Gus" Haenschen who was also the program director. A vocalist with the band was the ubiquitous Irving Kaufman.
There is a fascinating article about Gus Haenschen in
http://www.garlic.com/~tgracyk/fenton.htm
Haenschen used the name Carl Fenton from 1920 to 1927 in the labels of the records he made.

Here is the photo.



Enrico recognizes the following
Sam Lewis (tb)
Earl Oliver (tp with moustache)
Merle Johnston (sax with glasses)
Phil Gleason (behind Johnston)
He wonders if anyone recognizes some of the other musicians.

For another photo of Merle Johnston go to

It is reasonable to guess that Roy Johnston was also born in Canada.

Albert
Quote
Like
Share

Javier Soria Laso
Javier Soria Laso

2:26 PM - Aug 01, 2014 #16

Hi, again!
I believe that the trumpeter behind Sam(my) Lewis & Earl Oliver is possibly Bob Effros.
The alto saxophonist behind the banjoist & Merle Johnston is in my opinion Larry Abbott.
Hope it helps (even i identified or believe to have identified only 2 musicians).

Regards:
Javier Soria Laso
Quote
Share