Nicca, Hank and Jimmy


In The Wall Street Journal last week,
I interviewed Nicca Ray for my „House Call“ column in the Mansion section (go here). Nicca is the youngest daughter of Nicholas Ray, who directed Rebel Without a Cause, They Live By Night, King of Kings and other films from 1949 to 1980. Nicca talked about her dysfunctional childhood after her parents‘ divorce and her father’s obvious drug habit. Addiction was hereditary. The underside of Hollywood. Her memoir, Ray on Ray, is here. [Photo above courtesy of Nicca Ray]

Here’s a terrific documentary on Nicholas Ray…

Lennie Niehaus (c) Hank O'Neal

Lennie Niehaus.
Following my post last week featuring my 2009 interview of Lennie Niehaus, I received the following email from Hank O’Neal along with his terrific photograph of Lennie, above, in 2000 [Photo above of Lennie Niehaus courtesy of Hank O’Neal]…

Hi Marc. My goodness Lennie had a good run. And he was such a nice guy. I got to know him a little because of all the Clint Eastwood projects. One of the good days was in Boston, recording the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing the music for the Mystic River soundtrack. Clint had put the basic melodies together. Then Lennie created the orchestrations. I have some good pictures of him conducting the BSO. There also are pictures of Clint doing the same thing but that was something we did just for fun.

Some of the BSO players have stopped playing and have their cameras out taking pictures of Clint.

The picture above was shot while we were shooting interviews of many of Clint’s close associates and collaborators for the documentary, Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows. About half of the interviews were done at the Chateau Marmount in Los Angeles. They were done in a standard hotel room there. To make room for the camera and equipment, we’d moved a couch into the

hallway. There was a firm schedule, but someone was going over their allotted time. Lennie was calmly waiting his turn on the couch. I thought it would make a nifty picture. He didn’t play that day, but I’m glad he brought his horn.

Fred Augerman sent along the following clip of Lennie conducting a tribute to Stan Kenton (move the time bar to 1:19)…

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Birth of the Cool.
Following my post last weekend on a photo of 14 W. 55th Street that Raymond De Felitta sent along where arranger Gil Evans lived in the late 1940s, I received the following from Tom Fine:

Hi Marc. The Birth of the Cool sessions were held in WMGM’s studios at 711 5th Avenue [between 55th and 56th streets] in New York. The two big two-story studios were the original NBC Network studios, before the company moved to Rockefeller Center. After NBC vacated, World Broadcasting used the studios through World War II. Columbia Records engineer Frank Laico told me he cut transcription discs there.

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In 1953, after Loews-MGM bought 51% of my father’s first company, Fine Sound, in order to acquire the PerspectaSound steered-stereo system for movies, they moved his studio operations into most of WMGM’s space. Fine Sound thrived at 711 5th Avenue (above) for a few years, but then Loews sold the building to Columbia Pictures. They wanted to take over Studio A and turn it into a screening room. Lawsuits ensued and my father lost his business and rights to his PerspectaSound invention. He had to start over from scratch, in the old Great Northern Hotel building, with Fine Recording.

Today, 711 5th Ave is known as the Coca-Cola Building. Coke acquired the building when it bought Columbia Pictures (the movie studio was later sold to Sony). The old Fine Sound studio space is now a Screenwriters Guild storage space.

Numerous Norgran/Verve and Emarcy jazz albums were recorded at Fine Sound, including the recently reissued debut album from Helen Merrill. Also, Clark Terry’s first album for Emarcy, as well as a Clifford Brown and Max Roach session and albums by Stan Getz, Dinah Washington and many others. In the mid-1950’s, Fine Sound was one of the highest volume independent disc-mastering facilities in the country.


More Birth of the Cool
. Peter Levin sent along the following:

Marc, based on the bio excerpted here, Gil Evans’s apartment was at the back of the building, behind the laundry, looking onto a courtyard. So No. 14 still works for the address. Thanks, as always, for your continuing stream of interesting reportage, which is a bright light during very troubling times.


Jimmy Rowles.
Last week, I received the following from jazz pianist Joe Alterman:

Hi Marc. I’m not sure if you heard about an unpublished memoir by Jimmy Rowles. I came across the following site, which somehow has an uploaded PDF of that memoir. I don’t know what to make of it being online (go here).

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Bill McCann.
Last week, I heard from John Herr:

Hi Marc. Bill McCann offered a strong encomium for your efforts (in the WSJ and as a blogger) to start his four-hour show of mainstream jazz on (Albany) this morning. You can access the podcast by going here


Charlie Parker.
How cringe-worthy were interviewers back in the early 1950s when talking to jazz greats? Here’s one recently unearthed with Charlie Parker in 1954. Try not to grow uneasy…


Ian Carey’s
timing couldn’t be better. His new album, Fire in My Head: The Anxiety Suite (Slow & Steady) is a fitting soundtrack for what we’ve been watched on TV this past week. The album features Ian Carey, on trumpet; Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone; Sheldon Brown on bass clarinet; Adam Shulman, on piano; Fred Randolph on bass; and Jon Arkin on drums. Originals are taut and fiery, mirroring the maddening isolation of the virus lockdown and the anxiety of the protest curfew. I listened to the album last week with the sound down on the TV news. I was struck by how well the two work hand in hand. Carey, of course, couldn’t possibly have envisioned what lay ahead when the album was recorded, but somehow the little ball in the album roulette wheel has stopped on his number. Music for now. You’ll find the album here.


Green Tangerines
. Last week, I received an email from Sarah Sands of Liverpool’s Green Tangerines. The email included a link to a track, featuring Sands on saxophone, Sam Taylor on trumpet, Jack Hanlon on guitar, Fran Mills on bass and Tom Hudson on drums. (Photo above by Jacob Barrow)

Here’s their EP…

Tangerines by Green Tangerines

Gene Krupa. Here’s the drummer in 1949, with trumpeter Don Fagerquist in the first trumpet box and Frank Rosolino on the trombone solo. For more Krupa videos, go here)…

Rene Thomas. Here’s a guy running down Rene Thomas’s song, Meeting

And here’s Thomas playing his song with Eddie Louiss on organ and Kenny Clarke on drums…

Zoot Sims. Here’s Sims playing a bossa nova with Filipino-American singer Vi Velasco…

Beach Boys. Here’s Brian Wilson on Stephen Colbert last week singing and playing his Pet Sounds composition God Only Knows

And finally, Miss Julie London. Here’s London singing Night Life

And here’s London singing The Man I Love...


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