“Pressed for All Time,” Vol. 1 — Creed Taylor on Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross’ Sing a Song of Basie

June 8th, 2019

.

.

 

Drawn from interviews with prominent producers, engineers, and record label executives, Michael Jarrett’s Pressed For All Time:  Producing the Great Jazz Albums is filled with interesting stories behind some of jazz music’s most historic, influential, and popular recordings.  In cooperation with Jarrett and University of North Carolina Press, Jerry Jazz Musician will occasionally publish a noteworthy excerpt from the book. .

In this edition,  Jarrett interviews producer Creed Taylor about how he came to use tape overdubs during the 1957 Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross Sing a Song of Basie recording session

.

.

 

.

 

.

___

 

.

.

.

One of the most successful producers in jazz history, Creed Taylor’s career included creative positions at Bethlehem Records, ABC Paramount, Verve, and A&M Records.  In 1960, he founded Impulse Records, and in 1968, founded CTI (Creed Taylor International) Records.

.

.

CT.  When I was growing up buying and listening to records on Blue Note and Prestige, there were sometimes great moments and sometimes long periods of waning interest:  bass solos too long, unnecessary drum solos, and an improper use of space.  Miles, you recall, always talked about space.  When I got out of school – I went to Duke University – I thought the first place I was going to hit was New York City and Birdland and, somehow, I didn’t know how, jump into recording jazz:  make some records I’d like to listen to.  If I liked what was coming out, I felt other people would also.

…..I started at Bethlehem Records, and after I’d been with them two years, I called Sam Clark, the head of ABC-Paramount, and told him I’d like to come over and make some jazz records.  They’d just formed the record company.  It was as simple as that; they hadn’t done anything.  I moved there in 1956.  Down the hall from me was Don Costa, who was doing Paul Anka, Steve and Eydie, and Ray Charles.  Actually, I borrowed Ray Charles from Don Costa when I started Impulse at ABC in 1960.

MJ .So your career began with magnetic tape already in studios.  How did you learn to work with that medium?

…..I’d say it was intuitive.  I walked into tape.  I never dealt with anything else.  Tape was 15 ips [inches per second] and single-track.  Actually, I produced Sing a Song of Basie with something like thirty overdubs on one track – an Ampex machine with ¼-inch tape – complete with all the hiss I could possibly accumulate.

…..It’s very simple to explain.  Probably, if you talk to Jon [Hendricks], he’d have a different story.  If Dave [Lambert] were still around, he’d have a different story.  But really what happened was Dave Lambert was somewhat of a vocal contractor.  He made a living in the studio with either jingle singers, or doing his scat thing with jazz bands.

…..He brought in a group of singers, and we tried to get them to swing, and they did not swing by any stretch of the imagination.  I talked to Annie [Ross], Jon, and Dave.  I said, “We’ve got this tape here.  You guys have the concept.  You know how to phrase like a trombone section, and Annie knows how to phrase like a trumpet section.  She can do the shakes that the Basie trumpet section did, and all that kind of stuff.”  Jon was the tenor soloist, or whatever instrument happened to be doing the solo that he’d scat.

…..Then it started coming together.  We laid down the basic rhythm track with Basie’s rhythm section at that time, and started adding vocals:  Annie’s lead trumpet, then she would do the second trumpet, third trumpet, and fourth trumpet.  We just built it, and with no regard of any kind to hiss in the audio, because we were creating something that made sense.  The other concept, using studio singers, they might as well have been poor man’s Swingle Singers or something.  It did not work.  With Dave, Jon, and Annie, it developed by itself and sheer determination on our parts.

.

*

.

 

.

.

Listen to “Everyday” from Sing a Song of Basie

 

 

.

.

_____

.

.

Excerpted (with permission from the author and UNC Press) from Pressed For All Time -Producing the Great Jazz Albums, by Michael Jarrett

 

 

.

.

___

.

.

photo by Pamela Jarrett

Most of Michael Jarrett’s writing on jazz production appeared in Pulse!, Tower Records’ magazine. His day job, however, was professor of English at Penn State University (York Campus). In addition to .Pressed for All Time, his book about jazz record production, Jarrett wrote. Drifting on a Read: Jazz as a Model for Writing; .Sound Tracks: A Musical ABC; and .Producing Country: The Inside Story of the Great Recordings. He is now retired. He and his wife live in the village of Ojochal, on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

 

.

.

 

.

Share this:

One comments on ““Pressed for All Time,” Vol. 1 — Creed Taylor on Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross’ Sing a Song of Basie

  1. Very interesting! And I loved the audio. Made me pull out my Lambert, Hendricks and Ross LP which I haven’t listened to in many years. Still wonderful!

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

Art by Russell Dupont
Twenty-eight poets contribute 37 poems to the Jerry Jazz Musician Fall Poetry Collection, living proof that the energy and spirit of jazz is alive — and quite well.

Short Fiction

Photo/CC0 Public Doman
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #52 — “Random Blonde,” by Zandra Renwick

Interview

photo by Michael Lionstar
In a wide-ranging interview, Nate Chinen, former New York Times jazz critic and currently the director of editorial content for WBGO (Jazz) Radio, talks about his book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century,, described by Herbie Hancock as a “fascinating read” that shows Chinen’s “firm support of the music

Great Encounters

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
In this edition, Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, writes about Hodges’ early musical training, and the first meeting he had with Sidney Bechet, the influential and legendary reed player who Hodges called “tops in my book.”

Essay

photo of Esbjorn Svensson Trio/Pkobel/Creative Commons
“The Trio That Should Have Reshaped Jazz” — an essay by Scott Archer Jones

Photography

Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of Mal Waldron, Jackie McLean and Joe Henderson

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

"Jazz Samba"/Verve Records
In this edition, excerpted from Michael Jarrett's Pressed For All Time, legendary producer Creed Taylor remembers the 1962 Stan Getz recording, Jazz Samba

Interview

Photographer Carol Friedman
In an entertaining conversation that also features a large volume of her famous photography, Carol Friedman discusses her lifelong work of distinction in the world of jazz photography

Art

"Dreaming of Bird at Billy Bergs" - by Charles Ingham
“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Every Soul is a Circus," by Dig Wayne

Interview

photo by Francis Wolff, courtesy of Mosaic Records
Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Short Fiction

photo/Creative Commons CC0.
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, contributes a humorous short story, "Father Kniest: Jazz Priest"

In the Previous Issue

photo of Sullivan Fortner by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive