Thursday, 30 April 2009

Return to Lonely Street

Following my recent post on the Charlie Barnet album Lonely Street, I have been in correspondence with Desne Villepigue, daughter of composer Paul.

Desne kindly supplied the sequence of tunes from the original vinyl album. I am delighted to add the details here:

SIDE 1:I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues; The Moon Is Yellow(sic); Serenade In Blue; You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Isn't This A Lovely Day; Lonely Street

SIDE 2:Myna; Phylisse; Lumby; Blue Rose; Hear Me Talking To You; Lemon Twist

I have amended the play list in my iPod accordingly and am enjoying this album now as it was meant to be heard.

A significant player in the album’s creation was overlooked entirely by me in my original post, too. I think I believed the mournful brass work accompanying Barnet’s solos on the soprano saxophone was a trombone. The wrong idea. It was, in fact, a bass trumpet played by Dave Wells. Desne writes:

Dave Wells told me this story about the idea for the album: Dave was playing bass trumpet with Charlie on sop sax leading a small combo out on Catalina Island the summer of 1956. Charlie wanted to do an album featuring what he called "the two bastard instruments" with full band plus strings. Dave, who was then on the faculty of Westlake College of Music along with Russ Garcia, recommended Russ as the arranger.

I am pleased to add this fascinating information, helping to ensure Dave Wells gets due credit for his part in creating this magnificent album, his own tender obligato emphasising the bruised nature of these ballads on love and loss. Thank you, Desne.

With regard to her father’s part in the music, Desne writes additionally:

The original score for "Lonely Street," handwritten in pencil, is presently held by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers. Until recently, it was misidentified as being Paul's original score (from 1948-49). But I sent a photocopy to Russ and he confirmed that it was indeed his, noting: "I remember the mistake in the last four bars. The Vibra and Celeste were written a whole step too high. I corrected it at the session but I see that I never changed the score."

Several original Paul Villepigue charts are included, however, as additional material, from the album Dancing Party. We shall look at those and Charlie Barnet’s original recording of Lonely Street in future posts.

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