The Hickory House Trio
Piano Jazz
Originally recorded in 1990
Broadcast date: 2007-07-07

Lineage: fm>SoundBlaster>wav>flac

# Conversation 2:00
# I�m Beginning to See The Light (E.K. Ellington, George, Hodges, James) 4:32
# Conversation 2:57
# Love You Madly (E.K. Ellington) 4:09
# Conversation 3:10 + 4:44
# I Hear Music (Loesser, Lane) 4:44
# Conversation 4:48
# Everything But You (Ellington) 6:42
# Conversation 2:16
# Emily (Mandel, Mercer) 5:31
# Conversation 1:52 + 0:33
# Things Aint What They Used To Be (M. Ellington, Persons) 5:49
# Conversation 0:09

Total Time: 54:04

From the Program Notes:

In the 1950s, New York's 52nd Street was a jazz mecca. The Hickory House was one of the clubs there, known for its sizzling steaks and a swinging jazz trio. Marian McPartland, along with bassist Joe Morello and drummer Bill Crow, held court at the Hickory House for almost 10 years. The trio reunited in 1990 for this special Piano Jazz.

Since the mid-1930s, the living heart of jazz in New York had been two blocks of old brownstones on the West Side -- 52nd Street, between Fifth and Seventh Avenues. Never, not even in New Orleans at the turn of the century or along the brightly lit Chicago Stroll in the 1920s, had so much great jazz been concentrated in so small a space. Seven jazz clubs still flourished there in the early 1940s. The Spotlite, the Yacht Club, and the Three Deuces were on the south side of the block between Fifth and Sixth; Jimmy's Ryan's, the Onyx, and Tondelayo's were right across the street. And there were two more clubs a block further west -- Kelly's Stable and the Hickory House.

McPartland played her first trio engagement at a club called The Embers, and in 1952 began what became an eight-year stint at the Hickory House. By then the trio included drummer Joe Morello and bassist Bill Crow, who are widely known for their work with Dave Brubeck and Gerry Mulligan, respectively. The trio was named "Small Group of the Year" in 1955 by Metronome magazine. McPartland became an established jazz and club pianist; since the Hickory House was located on 52nd Street musicians were always among those in attendance. These often included the likes of Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson and Billy Strayhorn.

Joe Morello

Joe was born on July 17, 1929, in Springfield, Mass. Having impaired vision since birth, he devoted himself to indoor activities. At the age of six, his family's encouragement led him to study violin. Three years later, he was featured with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as soloist in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. At the age of 12, he made a second solo appearance with the orchestra. But upon meeting and hearing his idol, the great Jascha Heifetz, Morello felt he could never achieve "that sound." So, at the age of 15, Morello changed the course of his musical endeavors and began to study drums.

Morello's first drum teacher, Joe Sefcik, was a pit drummer for all the shows in the Springfield area. He was an excellent teacher and gave Morello much encouragement. Morello began sitting in with any group that would allow it. When he was not sitting in, he and his friends, including Teddy Cohen, Chuck Andrus, Hal Sera, Phil Woods and Sal Salvador, would get together and jam in any place they could find. He would play any job for which he was called. As a result, his musical experiences ranged from rudimental military playing to weddings and social occasions. Eventually, Sefcik decided it was time for Morello to move on. He recommended a teacher in Boston, the great George Lawrence Stone.

Stone did many things for Joe Morello. He gave Morello most of the tools for developing technique. He taught Morello to read. But most important of all, Stone made him realize his future was in jazz, not "legitimate" percussion, as Morello had hoped. Through his studies with Stone, he became known as the best drummer in Springfield, and rudimental champion of New England.

Morello's playing activity increased, and he soon found himself on the road with several groups. First, there was Hank Garland and the Grand Ole Opry, and then Whitey Bernard. After much consideration, Morello left Whitey Bernard to go to New York City.

A difficult year followed, but with Morello's determination and the help of friends like Sal Salvador, he began to be noticed. Soon he found himself playing with an impressive cast of musicians that included Gil Melle, Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow, Jimmy Raney, Stan Kenton and Marian McPartland. After leaving Marian McPartland's trio, he turned down offers from the Benny Goodman band and the Tommy Dorsey band. The offer he chose to accept was a two-month temporary tour with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which ended up lasting 12-and-a half years. It was during the period that Morello's technique received its finishing touches from Billy Gladstone of Radio City Music Hall.

Since 1968, when the Dave Brubeck Quartet disbanded, Morello has spread his talents over a variety of areas. He maintains a very active private teaching practice. Through his association with DW Drums, he has made great educational contributions to drumming, as well as the entire field of jazz, by way of his clinics, lectures and guest solo appearances. Joe has recently been performing with his trio of Doreen Gray (piano) and Nate Lienhardt (bass) in the New York metro area.

Morello has appeared on over 120 albums and CDs, of which 60 were with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. He won the Downbeat magazine award for best drummer for five years in a row, the Playboy award seven years in a row, and is the only drummer to win every music poll for five years in a row, including Japan, England, Europe, Australia and South America. Revered by fans and musicians alike, Joe Morello is considered to be one of the finest, and is probably one of the most celebrated, drummers in the history of jazz.

Bill Crow

If diverse talents are something to crow about, then Bill Crow wound up with a nicely descriptive surname, literally much more specific than a nickname such as "Bird," evocative of a flock of different sounds and the image of instrumentalists who soar above any and all technical challenges. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Crow has played a bewildering array of instruments during his career. He is best known as a bassist but is also a trumpeter, saxophonist, trombonist and drummer. He is also one of the few musicians who has bothered trying to write about his craft, beginning with a series of reviews he contributed to Jazz Review in the late '50s and eventually including a full-length book.

Crow's first instrument was the trumpet; he started in fourth grade and continued through baritone horn and valve trombone in various school and military bands. Jazz historians like to align the start of his career with the beginning of the '50s. At that time, Crow transformed himself from a drummer in dance bands entertaining the posh folks to a jazz bassist, but one who was always ready to double or triple on other instruments. He was a trombonist in several Seattle orchestras, one led by a guy nicknamed "Bumpy," the other by Buzzy Bridgford. Crow played both trombone and bass for bandleader Glen Moore in 1952, no relation to the musician of the same name from the Oregon band.

On bass this artist has gigged and recorded with a flock of respectable jazz players, including saxophonists Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan and pianists Al Haig and Marian McPartland. Crow took part in baritone man Mulligan's sextet and quartet projects in 1956 and 1957, replacing the great Henry Grimes, then returned for more collaborations in both 1958 and 1959. Several lengthy European tours were part of the Mulligan stint. Cooperative bands such as Jazz Asylum have welcomed his solid mainstream jazz sensibilities in later years, but jazz fans fascinated by the personal background of the genre may find Crow's volume -- entitled Jazz Anecdotes -- hard to top. Published in 1991 by Oxford University Press, the book is like a transcription of every story ever told backstage, with all the boring ones cut out.