Alan Hartwell has been producing recording sessions with some of the worlds' finest Jazz Musicians since 1958. His career in the music business, which has now spanned four decades, began when he put together a recording band, tapping the best talent from what was previously the Arthur Godfrey Ochestra on CBS Television, to produce a session featuring drummer Cozy Cole from New Yorks' famous Metroploe Cafe, which became a worldwide #1 hit on the Pop Music Charts.
Alan had pared down the larger orchestra to a recording ensemble of twelve, which consisted of Dick Hyman (Organ and Arrangements),Bert Farber (Piano), Al Caiola (Guitar), Wendall Marshall ((Bass), Peanuts Hucko (Clarinet), Pepper Adams and Barney Bigard (Saxaphones), Bernie Pevin and Joe Wilder (Trumpets), Urbie Green and Frank Rehak (Trombones), and of course featuring COZY COLE on Drums.
(With several albums released in his own name, Alan has also produced hundreds of sessions which are heard within other albums and compilations.)
COZY COLE - the swinging-est Drummer ever!
When our epoch of Jazz is chronicled among the arts, the outstanding percussionist of both, the current era and the entire Twentieth Century, will be Cozy Cole, an individual star-drummer (Exclusively on Love Records 1958 - 1965), whose heart of rhythm, warmth and good nature carried him into prominence from the swinging spots of Harlem and of 52nd Street, to the finest hotels and the most important music halls in the nation.
Cozy was about five years old, when his parents decided that there was only one way to solve the problem concerning knives, forks, spoons, pencils and nicked furniture. When Christmas morning rolled around, Cozy was probably the happiest and most wide-eyed boy in East Orange, New Jersey (where he was born in 1909), for under the tree was his first set of drums. Although this solved one problem, it created four more. Soon Mom and Dad Cole found that the other three sons and daughters also had musical aspirations. Two of Cozy's brothers became accomplished pianists, and his sister a concert pianist, and third brother is also a drummer.
Of course, Cozy's heart was with percussion from the very beginning, as most youngsters do now; he used to bang away on anything solid. As he began to mature, he learned to create melody and warmth, rather than rhythmic noise, and this in time led him to his studies at Julliard Conservatory with private teachers.
Cozy began playing around New York City with different small hands to gain experience. His first recording was made in 1930 with Jelly Roll Morton. Thereafter he played in groups led by Blanche Calloway, Benny Goodman, Willie Bryant, Cab Calloway (who was the first maestro to realize that Cozy had the making of a fine first class percussionist) and has, as an individual, been featured with such musical greats as Raymond Scott, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Louis Armstrong. He is one the favored accompanists for vocalists as Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Mildred Balley, Savina and scores of others to numerous to mention in this limited space.
With Stuff Smith and Jonah Jones, he contributed enormously to the animation of New York's 62nd Street, which became known as "Swing Street", in the late 1930's.
In 1957, he toured Europe with Earl "Fatha" Hines and Jack Teagarden, scoring a tremendous success everywhere with a solo version of "Caravan" intrinsically as recorded here. While always much in demand for recording purposes, he was also one of the major attractions at New York's celebrated Metropole. It was here that a long-term exclusive recording contract with Love Records was negotiated; and thus began not only a business relationship, but an enduring friendship between Cozy Cole and Alan Hartwell of Love Records, who saw in Cozy, a potential talent, musical knowledge and vast experience which he felt could be combined, with fresh ideas, proper exposure and his own dedicated promotion to produce natural hits.
Cozy is recognized as a truly great percussionist and has been in the limelight for many years, and his crowning achievements prior to "TOPSY Part Two", were his work in the pit of "Carmen Jones" on Broadway (and of course his stellar performance on stage of that same great show) and his sensational appearance in "The Seven Lively Arts."
"TOPSY Part Two" (a multi-millions seller worldwide) represented an achievement more outstanding that his Broadway stage work in Carmen Jones, because this recording mode Cozy the first drummer to ever have an international hit featuring the drum solo. Also of note is the fact that this was one of the longest records (three minutes and thirty seconds) to make national lists, when the average recording was about two minutes. As it happened, this was the first single that Cozy had made for Love Records.
This hit allowed Cozy to develop his own groups: Cozy's Big Seven, Cozy Cole's Quartet, and The Cozy Cole Drum School (which he formed after spending more than four years with the Louis Armstrong aggregation) and his work with the CBS Orchestra, his great enthusiasm is directed to work for Love Records Inc. which this album exemplifies well.
Cozy Cole, more than most drummers, is to be seen as well as heard, but for quite the reverse of the expected reason; he is NOT an exhibitionist!
Musicologist & Felsted Producer Stanley Dance observed that "Where the normal concert-hall drum solo disintegrates into a vile, beat-less barrage accompanied by exaggerated gestures indicative of extreme physical exertion, Cozy will sitting almost trance-like, no part of him visibly moving except for his arms, while the drums mutter and roll in meaningful patterns all around him. As he reaches the climax, the famous, noble grin may becomes a little broader, but the beat is still steadily there, and Cozy-like just one or two of the greatest- is still swinging.
Swinging drummers were never common, and they as rare today as ever. Jazz drumming is a precision matter, but not merely in the metronomic sense. To maintain a strong regular beat is essential, but not enough. To adorn it with a multitude of demonstratively decorative accents as many vigorously do, is literally too much, in whatever way the work of the great drummers is analyzed, in terms of tempo, dynamics and technique, there remains a word defying difficulty in this question of swinging.
It is not hard to think of drummers, well- known and technically very gifted, who fail to swing. They know all the tricks and they can maintain a regular beat, but somehow their work almost invariably sounds stiff and poorly related to the rest of the music. Others, with possibly less technique, swing sassily and immediately, and so appear to inspire a band. The secret is surely one of integration in the group. Beyond technical adequacy, it requires self-discipline and an intuitively sympathetic understanding of the idiom. From this is derived that poise, that relaxation, which is personified in Cozy Cole, even when the beat is driving and most urgent. When Cozy begins to play and the melody of the Tom-Toms, the snares and the bass fill the room, you understand why Cozy is held in such high regard.
No note on Cozy would be complete without reference to his personal charm. Beyond his infectious smile, his warmth, tolerance, and consideration for others, there is his soft-spoken congeniality of a kind too rare in the world of jazz. Nor are these qualities by any means irrelevant to a consideration of his music.
"Cozy" may seem an odd name, but like all tags it had a logical beginning. Seems that during his High School days William was never shortened to "Bill", or if it was to it didn't stick. This caused the football team, on which Cole played a fast running end, to adopt the yell "hey, Colesy." When throwing a forward pass to him. So "Colesy" Cole acquired two last names. Eventually though repetition the "LE" was dropped and the nickname "Cozy" did stick.
COZY COLE HITS!
This album is a collection of specially recorded songs for which Cozy Cole has achieved fame; each song in this album has its own story which, if pieced together could highlight the life of Cozy Cole and his successes in the entertainment business.
This was a newly recorded album, in which all of the finest stereo facilities were used to present Cozy at his best.
The co-producers of this album, Alan Hartwell (VP/Marketing Manager) and Lee Scalia (President) truly believe that Cozy's performances on this album make this one of the best records ever made, one that will endure long after we are gone, one that we were proud to be able to produce to preserve these performances of this great artist...
It is with sincere regret that we are unable to list the names of the ten additional talented musicians who supplemented the Alan Hartwell Big Band, and assisted Cozy Cole on this recording. These players, all great performers in their own right, are under contract as featured artists to various other recording companies, and although their musicianship warrants it, their contracts unfortunately forbid us from using their names. To all of them, our appreciative thanks.
Alan Hartwell, Producer
Cozy Cole Quicknotes bio:
A popular performer throughout much of his career, Cozy Cole was one of the top drummers to emerge during the 1930s. He recorded with Jelly Roll Morton in 1930 (including a song titled "Load of Cole") and played with the big bands of Blanche Calloway (1931-1933), Benny Carter (1933-1934), and Willie Bryant (1935-1936). His stint with Stuff Smith at the Onyx Club (1936-1938) gave him some recognition. Cole was well-featured with Cab Calloway's Orchestra (1938-1942), playing in a strong rhythm section with Bennie Payne, Danny Barker, and Milt Hinton; his showcases included "Crescendo in Drums" and "Paradiddle." Cole popped up in many different types of jazz and studio settings throughout the 1940s, and headed several record sessions with swing all-stars. He was with Louis Armstrong's All-Stars (1949-1953), opened a drum school with Gene Krupa, and in 1957 toured Europe with Jack Teagarden and Earl Hines.
The 1958 recording of "Topsy" (produced by Alan Hartwell and released on Hartwell's own Love Records label) became an instrumental million-seller mega hit all over the world, allowing Cole to lead his own band throughout much of the 1960s; he also played with Jonah Jones' quintet later in the decade.
IF YOU WANT TO HEAR 1 MINUTE SAMPLES, you can go to the LOVE RECORDS website at:
"WWW.Angelfire.com/music4/tiltonnh/cozy", also for sound samples and Bio notes for Cozy.