Bob Jones, who played drums with me at Bertha's Restaurant, Baltimore, Maryland, for over eleven years, reminded me of a recording we did at the One Step Down, in Washington, D.C., November 1985. I vaguely remembered the gig, but not that it was recorded. It was the same sextet that played two concerts for Martin Williams's Jazz Composers series at the Smithsonian Institution the following year. We did a tribute to Thelonious Monk, as well as a Tadd Dameron-Horace Silver program.
I first heard the Hard Bop bands of the 1950's and began to try to play their tunes in my teenage bands. The musicians of that era looked elegant, made records for the Blue Note label, and traveled around the country as jazz messengers. A group of us looked forward to each new record release and made it a point to be there when our heroes came to town. To this day, I continue to love and play the repertoire of this period. It was "art"music that was accessible to a larger public, black and white, than jazz enjoys today. I believe that the demise of the black community and, of course, the promotional genius of the rock music industry were two factors which contributed to what's happening now in both jazz and contemporary black popular music. This is my fifth recording, and I feel it is close, in spirit, to the joyful music that captured me some forty-five years ago.
A great deal of credit goes to Bob Jones for his skill and many hours spent re mastering the original cassette recording for this C.D.
Allen Houser: Trumpet & Fluegelhorn
Chris Bacas: Tenor Saxophone
Bob Balthis: Valve Trombone
Steve Bernstein: Bass
Bob Butta: Piano
Bob Willis Jones: Drums
"Things Ain't What They Used To Be"
Leo is a nice guy; however, this is what the independent musician/recording producer is currently up against. Good news: almost anyone can record. Bad news: see Leo's email of 12/6/2002.
British Broadcasting Corporation
June 8, 1979
Thank you very much for the record (Washington Jazz Ensemble ARS 002) and a suggestion to swap the tape for the record. Under a separate cover I'm sending you the tape which was on the air May 6, 1979. It features, among other things, you "Runnin' Wild with Trevor Koehler." In two weeks time I'll broadcast a piece on your NO SAMBA album. If it is not enough you will get the tape in Hunagrian - my coleague Peter Pally was delighted with the Washington Jazz Ensemble and is going to broadcast it shortly.
Now, my condition of a deal: as soon as you release your next album please let me know -- I'll be the first to broadcast it. Thank you for the printed material as well. It is very important and useful.
With best wishes,
Email December 6, 2002
Dear Allen Houser:
I am afraid to tell you that I won't be able to get a review or airplay even...The competition has never been so acute, that there have never been so many musicians and labels.