One of the early signs of recognition was the opportunity to make his first recordings under his own name. Altogether there were a couple dozen takes, including several incomplete ones, of four selections. See the discography for the details. They reveal a fully developed and well polished musician who had mastered the intricacies of the bop idiom while remaining well grounded in the traditions of swing.
It was indeed an impressive early statement of his commanding musical powers. Here live jazz could be heard nightly. A common feature of many of these performances was an informal jam session in which musicians do battle in a mainly friendly yet still competitive setting. Seeing that there was money to be made, promoters, Gene Norman in particular, began to organize these performances under the banner of "Just Jazz Concert", "Gene Norman's All Stars" or similar names, and successfully toured up and down the West Coast.
These concerts did not require extensive rehearsals or imaginative arrangements. The highlight of most of the concerts was a battle between two or more leading players, and in the case of the Gene Norman concerts it was usually Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray.
They could drive the audience to a frenzy of excitement, but they relied mainly on inventive musical ideas rather that the more base "honking and squealing" of some of the JATP concerts of the period. In characterizing Gray's style during this period, Dexter Gordon recalled in a conversation with Ira Gitler that: Wardell was a very good saxophonist who knew his instrument very well.
His playing was very fluid, very clean. Although his sound wasn't overwhelming he always managed to make everything very interesting, very musical. I always enjoyed playing with him. He had a lot of drive and profusion of ideas. He was stimulating to me. This was released as a "battle of the tenors" affair over the two sides of a 78 rpm record and received much attention among jazz fans at the time.
They both exhibited great technical prowess on their instruments, but were stylistically quite different with Gray's lighter touch complementing Gordon's more forceful attack. But perhaps Gray's most significant recording session of his west coast period was his first and only studio encounter with the great Charlie Parker. Parker had recently been released from Camarillo State Hospital following a serious breakdown six months earlier.
Parker was now fresh and rejuvenated. The session produced four classic titles, including "Relaxin' At Camarillo", an up-tempo blues with an intriguing melody line. Gray's consistently fine solos were yet another affirmation that he had indeed reached the top level of jazz artists of the period.
Parker was not yet at the peak of his powers, but in coming months he would return to New York City and form his definitive quintet that would produce performances that are unsurpassed in the history of jazz. Boppin' With Benny During the late s, the musical activity along Central Avenue began to decline, in part due to the reduction of local military personnel following World War II.
Fewer and shorter gigs made it more difficult for musicians to remain continually employed. At the same time, many big bands were pared down to smaller units or were disbanded altogether. Moreover, the American Federation of Musicians stuck the record companies for most of The group photo featured all members of the Charles group:.
Florette Bihari used another photo from the recording session for the cover, showing Wardell having a good time between takes. The version used in the liner notes splits the photo above in half, with Frank Morgan not visible, but his saxophone on the left side of the edited photo. This liner note version of the photo would continue to be used on subsequent releases of Way Out Wardell with the same edited photo replacing the candid photo of Wardell on the front cover on later reissues of the LP.
The labels for this second release featured the Crown Records logo, but the matrix numbers were identical to the first Modern Records release. The photo panel was in black and white. The text below the title which had appeared on the back liner was now highlighted on the front:.
Any idea why this was retained? Apart from the arbitrary programming and crediting on a lot of Crowns. I have the Just Jazz tracks on a 70s UK Vogue double LP featuring the Just Jazz recordings, but apart from the various Way out Wardell" and "Shades of Gray" Bihari-related releases, have there been any other vinyl reissues of those recordings where the vinyls were credited specifically to Wardell Gray? Customer reviews. Way Out Wardell.
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Filter by. So Long Broadway. Paul's Cause. The Man I Love. Twisted Wardell Gray. Southside Wardell Gray. Sadly, both Gray and the Moulin Rouge would be gone before the end of the year. Segregation was widespread and enforced by laws that cut blacks out of any reasonable representation. Interracial marriage licenses were not granted, and any black citizen requesting such a license with the intention of marrying a white was arrested. The first marriage license granted to an interracial couple in Las Vegas was not issued until The same was true of the downtown casinos and the Strip.
Blacks were not allowed in the casinos to gamble and were usually not allowed to stay at the hotels and establishments on the Strip where they performed.
Bugsy Siegel was the first to hire black performers to entertain at his establishment, the Flamingo, because he wanted the best performers regardless of their race. Lena Horne performed there shortly after the Flamingo opened, but she was not allowed to enter the casino. While she was able to stay at the Flamingo during her tenure there, many performers were not so lucky. The casino had a clear policy of serving any and all patrons, regardless of race. Because of its open policy, it was able to draw many of the top black entertainers in the country.
Black entertainers who performed on the Strip would stay at the Moulin Rouge, and many white entertainers came there to relax and have a good time after their shows.
Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr.Apr 03, · Category People & Blogs; Song Sweet Georgia Brown; Artist Wardell Gray; Album Way Out Wardell; Licensed to YouTube by [Merlin] PIAS (on behalf of Ace Records); Warner Chappell, SOLAR Music Rights.