by Robert Wilkinson
Today we celebrate the birthdays of two remarkable jazzsters, Cozy Cole and Barney Kessel.
Cozy Cole (October 17, 1909- January 29, 1981) was one of the great jazz drummers of the 30s, 40s, and 50s, and played with some of the legends of jazz, including Jelly Roll Morton, Benny Carter, Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Louie Armstrong, Jonah Jones, Jack Teagarden, and Earl Hines. Yes, he was that good!
Today I found a few pieces for your enjoyment. Unfortunately, "Topsy" Parts 1 and 2, which hit the R&B charts in 1958, cannot be found on you tube at this time. “Topsy Part 2” turned me on as a kid, and the drumming was the coolest thing I had ever heard! I included Sandy Nelson’s version at the end of this CC tribute, in case you wonder what that song was all about.
So for some "pounding skins" by one of the best, here are a baker's dozen of great tunes featuring the swing/bop drumming of the great Cozy Cole.
From 1957, Gene Kruppa and Cozy Cole in a drum duet.
In 1958, with the Roy Eldridge sextet, "Sunday."
The following are set to stills.
Cozy Cole doing a great drum solo in "Stompin' At The Savoy."
From 1962, "Big Noise From Winnetka, Part I."
As a tribute to Mister Cozy Cole, since it's the only legit version to be found this year, here’s Sandy Nelson’s version of “Topsy Part 2.” It's nowhere as good as Cozy's version, but what do you expect? Maybe next year Cozy's version will be somewhere on you tube.
RIP and thanks for the beat, Cozy. You certainly turned my young mind and heart on to some great jazz!
October 17 is also the birthday of legendary “cool bop” jazz guitarist Barney Kessel (October 17, 1923-May 6, 2004). Though their careers overlapped a little, Barney was from a slightly more modern era of jazz than Cozy Cole. He was a top player with Artie Shaw, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Shelly Manne, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, and along with Steve Douglas, was a member of the legendary Wrecking Crew.
Today we have a few tunes from this legend.
A live performance in 1974 with Oscar Peterson of “Watch What Happens”
From the early 60s, here’s a 26 minute “live in the studio” performance featuring Barney Kessel called “Jazz Scene USA”
A live solo performance by Barney of “Barney Kessel Blues”
From the 50s, he’s the guitar on Julie London’s original studio version of “Cry Me A River”
From 1957’s “Poll Winners Three,” the studio version of “Soft Winds”
We’ll close this set with a song from 1958 with Barney and Sonny Rollins doing the studio version of “In The Chapel in the Moonlight”
For our encore, Barney Kessel live in the late 80s on the San Diego PBS television show “Club Date” performing ”Wave,” “I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” “Brazil/Manha De Carnaval medley,” and “Body and Soul”
Smooth jazz AND a member of the Wrecking Crew! Not a bad gig. RIP and thanks for the memories.
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson