In The Wall Street Journal this week, I interviewed Jewel on her journey from rock bottom to rock star (go here). It's a harrowing tale of survival after being rejected by her mother as a child, dealing with a gruff father trying to raise three children, learning to play guitar on the fly, busking to eat, living in a closet in a cramped home, living in a car and finally being discovered in San Diego singing at a coffeehouse. Jewel's memoir, Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story, is now in paperback here.
Also in the WSJ this week, I interviewed Mike Pereira, former vice president of officiating for the NFL and now the football-rules analyst for Fox Sports (go here). He talked about his love for Johnny Horton's North to Alaska, a 1960 pop hit, and the health crisis he had to deal with in the state.
Book news. What songs will I be featuring in my book, Anatomy of a Song, out on Nov. 1? You not only can see the list here but you also can listen to all 45 of the songs for free on an embedded Spotify jukebox at the site here. This will come in handy when the book arrives, since you'll be able to listen while you read. That's how I read the galleys and it was seriously cool. Lots of news about interviews and appearances coming next week. Please support JazzWax by pre-ordering the book, which will be published in the U.S. and the U.K. simultaneously (Canada, too). To pre-order, go here (U.S.), here (U.K.) or here (Canada). All three sites have audio and Kindle editions.
Earl and Rob Swope. Following my post on Earl and Rob Swope, ill-fated fraternal trombonists, I received the following email from Jack Bowers [Photo above, from left, Rob Swope, Earl Swope and Doug Goss]...
"Thanks so much for the interesting piece on the Swope brothers. Growing up in Washington, D.C., I was quite familiar with Joe Timer and the Orchestra and the Swopes' roles in it. Freddy Merkle's Jazz Under the Dome was recorded on my 22nd birthday, May 10, 1957. I've known saxophonist Ted Efantis for many years, as he was dating my sister Bette in the mid-'50s. I forwarded your post to my brother, Tom, who now lives in Florida, and received this response:
I also was a friend of Doug Goss, whom I met when he was with The Orchestra. We used to hang out at the California Kitchens. Doug was six feet, five inches tall. The Swopes also had a sister who played trombone. We played together on the Palace Saturday Morning Band at the Palace Theater on F street. I don't remember her name, but I do recall she had real curly brown hair and was very nice. She also played pretty well. Earl once confided to a friend that in one year on Woody's band, he made $25,000. He said every penny of it went into his arm. Tragic.
"My obituary of arranger Bill Potts, published in 2005, is among my most-read columns at All About Jazz. In it, I quote from my brother Tom along with Chuck Redd, Jim Riley and others, about Potts and his stellar yet largely unknown contributions to big-band jazz. His composition Big Swing Face, written for the Buddy Rich band in the mid-'60s, is one of my all-time favorite big-band compositions and arrangements.Thanks again for the article, Marc! As for Jazz Wax, keep it comin'!"
I-Roy. Reggae historian Steve Barrow sent along this video interview that he conducted in the mid-1990s with I-Roy, a recording artist and producer, and one of Jamaica's most influential disc jockeys. Born Roy Samuel Reid, I-Roy who played a big role in the 1970s paving the way for rap. Even though I-Roy is difficult to understand given his thick Jamaican accent, his articulation is fascinating once you catch the rhythm of it.
What the heck. Here's the tasty guitarist Joe Pass playing Satin Doll...
Oddball album cover of the week.
This 1956 album was recorded for the Caloric Corporation, a maker of stove-top gas ovens, on the Capitol Custom label. The 7-inch, four track EP featured Harry Fields (p,arr), Johnny White (vib), Sue Evans (harp), Al McKibbon (b) and Walt Sage (d). While I couldn't find a clip from this album for you, I did find Fields's entire Bach to Rock, a 1966 album recorded for the Industrial Gas Company. It seems Fields was something of a jazzer for West Coast utility clients expanding into the California suburbs. The quartet this time, when rock was beginning to choke off the jazz scne, featured Harry Fields (p), Shelly Manne (d), Barney Kessel (g), Bobby Haynes (b) and Gene Estes (v). It's a gas (sorry). Here it is...