Doug Payne: Sound Insights

Jazz historian and archivist Douglas Payne has written for All About Jazz, All Music Guide and dougpayne.com. He has contributed liner notes to albums by Lalo Schifrin, Freddie Hubbard, Oscar Peterson, Claus Ogerman, Cal Tjader, Gary McFarland, Gabor Szabo and others. For posts before 2024, please click here.

Latest posts:

  • Tamiko Jones – “I’ll Be Anything For You” (1968)
    Today, CTProduced‘s Mark Cathcart marks singer Tamiko Jones’ birthday with an unprecedented deep dive into the fascinating life and career of this one-time A&M/CTI recording artist. In collaboration with Mark’s incredible reporting, the following is my own review of Tamiko Jones’ sole Creed Taylor production, I’ll Be Anything for You (1968), taken from “Early CTI,”…
  • Billy Vaughn – “‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’” (1971)
    I. While the American bandleader Billy Vaughn (1919-91) is pretty much forgotten these days, he charted a whopping 42 singles on the Billboard charts, often focused on the sound of two alto saxophones leading the charge. Vaughn also charted an incredible thirty six albums on the Billboard 200, beginning with 1958’s Sail Along Silv’ry Moon and…
  • David Friedman – “Winter Love, April Joy” (1975)
    Vibraphonists and marimba players David Friedman (b. 1944) and Dave Samuels (1948-2019) first combined forces in 1974, as “The Mallet Duo.” The two practiced, performed and recorded together – despite their incredibly differing professional trajectories – as “Double Image,” or under their own names, for nearly a half century thereafter. Friedman, a percussion major at…
  • The Adventurers (1970)
    The three-hour The Adventurers (1970) is a bizarre, overly long. dialogue-heavy oddity. Part action/adventure, part soap opera and a strange mash-up of war epic and non-spy playboy travelogue, it’s a film that makes one wonder “what’s the point here?” Think of mixing the battle scenes from Ben Hur (1965) – or some Western – with…
  • Bill Frisell “Orchestras” (2024)
    Orchestras is a welcome, though not entirely satisfying, addition to guitarist Bill Frisell’s eye-popping and wonderfully wide-ranging discography. This double-disc set pairs the guitarist and composer with two distinctly different “orchestras,” both mostly arranged by veteran composer and orchestrator Michael Gibbs. The first “orchestral” disc released under Frisell’s own name, Orchestras would seem to be…
  • Ray Anthony – “Today’s Trumpet” (1967)
    Plunging down several rabbit holes in recent days has brought me to Ray Anthony’s 1967 release Today’s Trumpet – not once but twice. The last of several dozen Anthony albums the Capitol label had issued since 1950, Today’s Trumpet is, however, more like “yesterday’s 45s,” a compilation of previously-issued singles, than a full-fledged album release.…
  • Claus Ogerman – “Zorba” (1968)
    “Life is what you do while you’re waiting to die/ Life is how the time goes by,” – “Life Is” from Zorba. After a brief – and remarkably unsuccessful – stint on RCA Records, running the gamut of pop genres during the mid-sixties, the German arranger, composer and bandleader Claus Ogerman (1930-2016) was mysteriously recruited…
  • Claus Ogerman on RCA
    The German arranger and bandleader Claus Ogerman (1930-2016) first worked with producer Andy Wiswell (1905-94) at Capitol Records on zither player Ruth Welcome’s Carnival album and on The Manhattans’ single “Sing All the Day” (which Ogerman co-wrote) – both in 1962. When Wiswell moved over to RCA the following year, the two also worked together…
  • “Rock Dem Bells” – Claus Ogerman
    “Rock Dem Bells” comes from the soundtrack to the film Looking for Love, starring Connie Francis and Jim Hutton. Also in the film are quite a number of actors who appeared with Francis and Hutton in the 1960 hit Where the Boys Are. Looking for Love is a slightly more grown-up version of the earlier…
  • Claus Ogerman on Verve
    Some two decades ago, I worked on the four-disc boxset Claus Ogerman: The Man Behind the Music. The esteemed Gene Lees (1928-2010) contributed a typically lovely and well-informed text to the CD while Ogerman (1930-2016) himself chose much of the material and, remarkably, commented on each of the set’s individual tracks. I worked on what…
  • Kai Winding – Modern Country (1964)
    I. Universal Music partnered with the Detroit-based Third Man Records in October 2023 to reissue bebop jazz legend Kai Winding’s 1964 Verve album Modern Country in Universal’s “By Request” series. Third Man pressed both the original Verve black-vinyl version of the album as well as a yellow-vinyl version that features a slightly modified cover. Of…
  • More Bert Kaempfert on Decca, Pt. 1: Traces Of Love (1969)
    The Bert Kaempfert Decca Collection brings together 23 of the German bandleader’s albums issued in America between 1958 and 1970 plus Pete Fountain Plays Bert Kaempfert (recorded in Germany with Kaempfert’s orchestra). But while the box set adds a whopping 45 “bonus” tracks, it omits six of Kaempfert’s Decca records issued between 1969 and 1972.…
  • More Bert Kaempfert on Decca, Pt. 2: Free And Easy (1970)
    Hal Fein – president of Bert Kaempfert’s American music publisher, Roosevelt Music – had been the one responsible for placing Kaempfert songs with popular singers, such as “Danke Schoen” with Wayne Newton, “Spanish Eyes” with Al Martino and, most famously of all, “Strangers In The Night” with Frank Sinatra. By 1969, Fein had sold his…
  • More Bert Kaempfert on Decca, Pt. 3: Orange Colored Sky (1970)
    In this world of changing musical fashions, sweeping popular styles, and shifting song patterns, there is one thing you can depend on – Bert Kaempfert makes great music. The Kaempfert magic has been working for a great many years and a great many hits. He has sustained, even prevailed, while all others have shifted and…
  • More Bert Kaempfert on Decca, Pt. 4: Bert Kaempfert Now! (1971)
    In writing about Bert Kaempfert, I am often impressed by his American albums’ liner notes. Sure, this sort of thing reeks of record-company p.r.-speak. But the notes written for Kaempfert’s Decca albums are as much puffery as poetry. Indeed, this listener usually agrees with whatever that machine churned out. The notes to Bert Kaempfert Now!…
  • More Bert Kaempfert on Decca, Pt. 5: 6 Plus 6 (1972)
    It’s not unfair to say that America’s love affair with Bert Kaempfert was pretty much over by 1972. But, more to the point, “easy listening” and its musical purveyors were all passé in this country by the early seventies. Record buyers had either moved on to rock or M.O.R. (“middle of the road,” the easy-listening…
  • Out Now: The Bert Kaempfert Decca Collection
    I’m excited to launch my all-new blog by announcing the release of The Bert Kaempfert Decca Collection, a massive 24-disc box set, featuring tons of music the German bandleader issued on the legendary Decca Records label between 1958 and 1970. Bert Kaempfert, who was only 56 when he died in 1980, became an international sensation…

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