Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A jazz playalong avant la lettre

I love the sound of vintage bebop recordings from the 1950s. Sometimes I put one on and just jam along. If only modern play-alongs did sound that way .... Well, here's one that actually does. Why? Because it was recorded in 1955! This must have been one of the first - if not the very first - jazz playalongs ever recorded, decades before the arrival of the Jamey Aebersold series. We have Billy Bauer on guitar, Tony Aless on piano, Arnold Fishkin on bass and Don Lamond on drums. The sound of the recording and playing style is typically 1950s. I find the overall approach of this playalong superb. Very musical. And what a 1950s bop vibe ... Listen here for one of the tracks:

The tunes are:

1. Easy Walkin' Blues (Bauer) 00:00
2. September In The Rain (Dubin, Warren) 2:52
3. These Foolish Things (Maschwitz, Strachey) 5:50
4. Indiana (Hanley) 9:08
5. Somebody Loves Me (Gershwin) 11:31
6. Out Of Nowhere (Heyman, Green) 14:10
7. Ghost Of A Chance (Young)16:53
8. S'Wonderful (Gershwin) 20:00

Here's what Lennie Tristano wrote in the original liner notes:
"The tunes on this record [...] are played in the keys used by most jazz musicians. You can have a session all by yourself or with your friends any time you wish. Most of all, wether you dig hi, low, or no fi, you ought to get plenty of sheer pleasure out of this record and the idea behind it!"
So pick up your horn and blow!           


  1. great stuff, thank you so much for posting this, Dick.

  2. I agree. The Jamey Aebersold, Hal Leonard and other play-alongs don't have the feel of the 1950's recordings. This is a drag because all the music I listen to is pre-1965 stylistically and the modern play-along chord voicings are too modern and the pianists are too busy. Thanks for posting this. If I remember correctly, old Downbeat magazines in the 1960s had ads for play-alongs by Barry Galbraith, or maybe it was his method books. It was the only thing available advertised then.

  3. Thanks for posting. I agree with Robert it has a great feel. We can all sit in with Billy Bauer now!