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Entries in Rhythm & Blues (18)


DL Digest *** I M N A R - Announcement Volume 1* 


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Our research staff have been collecting many news releases from various parts of the country. It is our intentions to fulfill the numerous requests from our global website visitors from National and International locations.

        >Informative   Music        > News       > Articles        > Releases

The collection of articles will highlight various topics of interest - past and present relating to the "Ladies and Gentlemen of Jazz" plus interesting pages of our published book


 "Jazz Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”

 * * *

<>  A Bonus addition will also be listed of video links to YouTube & Vimeo that were posted by other visitors and friends from the world of entertainment. 


FAVORITE RECORDINGS - Sil Austin - "Slow Walk" & "Danny Boy"

Many of the radio stations during 1955-1956 were featuring Rhythm & Blues music along with various popular commercial artists that were on the Hit Parade of listings standard songs.

I discovered one of the instrumental favorites recorded by saxophonist Sil Austin. It was an original composition named “Slow Walk." This instrumental was my introduction to the playing talent of Sil Austin, early in my career.  It was many years later when my colleague; Lew Entin of Lew Entin Theatrical Agency in New York, Las Vegas, and Florida brought this interesting fact to my attention.  

Sil Austin was a native of Florida and won the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in 1945. Lew also had the opportunity to schedule him to perform at various clubs and musical productions throughout many auditoriums & Jazz clubs in the South and the East Coast. Sil Austin’s recording of the standard song “Danny Boy” was his signature style of playing a ballad along with his rendition of “Slow Walk” for Mercury Records. During his career, he recorded more than 30 albums and singles. Lew Entin also mentioned that Sil Austin was influenced by Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and Sonny Stitt. A brief list of the names of my favorite albums recorded by Sil Austin.



Johnny Saint - "The Joyriders" - Part I - *A Country Walk Back Home* Instrumental


The inspiration to compose this original melody came about one evening while I was  having a casual meeting with longtime friend and musician, drummer Johnny Saint. We casually reflected about the many cities and nightclubs & musical lounges that we worked through the years. Traveling the east and west coasts of the United States plus the many appearances across the border into various sections of Canada.

“The Joyriders”

“The Joyriders” consisted of a swinging 5-piece combo from thes Philadelphia with a large fan club throughout the Delaware Valley on the East Coast. This group was headed by Johnny Saint,(drums) and close friends from the surrounding area of the city of Philadelphia . . . which included Tony Dell,(keyboards)-Joe Mallace,(guitar)- Rocky Angelo,(bass) , that paved the way for various Sax-men from Philly. These excellent reedmen included Nick Carr, Don Russell, Armand Saviano, Bobby Borda, and Dom Albano. The vocal expertise and musicianship was featured in all of their material from the current Top 10 Hits of the day to various Jazz arrangements that gave each member a solo spotlight at each and every performance.

I was fortunate to join the group in the mid-1960s after I departed “The Frank Virtue & the Virtues Revue.” Most of the members of “The Joyriders” were from the same Philadelphia neighborhood and enjoyed the same type of music from Rhythm & Blues, Classic Rock & Roll and JAZZ.  With this in mind, the experimental boundaries and musical input from each member at every performance was enjoyed by the audiences throughout the country.

While we spoke about the many cities we had traveled in the past. -  I played a demo tape of my instrumental composition “A Country Walk Back Home” that was dedicated to miles of travel through the years. As a drummer . . . I needed his input for a recording session, his creativity and spontaneous rhythm was shared by all during the session.

*** (Produced and composed at IEA Recording Studios in the mid-70s - I was able to secure the talents of my friends that have recorded for major labels in the past. Even though, the saxophone is featured as the solo instrument.

<*> The rhythm section is tightly led by my friend Johnny Saint who devised a swinging touch of a two-beat rhythm tempo - which many people enjoyed dancing too at every performance.)

 In the following Chapters:

I also would like to recap some of

Johnny Saint’s memorable moments of his career in music.

Chapter 1

Looking back over more than 35 years in the music business . . .I realize what a blessing it was to be able to play an instrument as a drummer. - To be able to make a living at it is even sweeter. It is the only job that you would do for no pay, just to have the chance to play.

Johnny SaintFORT PITT- Atlantic CityMy group was called “The Joyriders” and from 1959 to 1963 I would play at Atlantic City’s “Fort Pitt” musical lounge located on New York Avenue & the Boardwalk from 10:00 pm to 3:00am.  After we completed our work schedule, our band and some friends all visited the famous Club Harlem located on what was known as “Kentucky & the Curb” where Chris Colombo & his band alternated with saxophonist Willis “Gator Tail” Jackson’s band until 5:00am. Then it was off to Rocky Castillani’s club at Missouri & Atlantic Avenues to play more music.

That point reminds me of the mornings I spent listening to some of the best music I ever heard at “Rocky’s” Bar that was owned by former middleweight boxer Rocky Castellani in Atlantic City.  The house band was an organ trio but by 4:00am . . . it became a Jazz Open House that featured visiting musicians from the surrounding seashore areas of Somers Point & Wildwood, New Jersey. During this time it would be possible to see, hear and enjoy as many as 10 or more musicians on the bandstand taking part of a swinging Jam Session that would last until the early morning hours of daylight.

Reflecting back to the age of five years old, my first interest in music was when I would listen to a Fat’s Waller radio show as I ate my lunch every day.

I liked the melodies being played, but I was more interested in the tempos and how it all meshed together with the other instruments. At an early age, when I began taking drum lessons at Wurlitzer’s Music store located at 10th and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia, PA . . . I honestly believed I was destined to be a musician. At the age of 14, I played my first job in a neighborhood bar, with a trio consisting of accordion, banjo and myself on the drums. I made $10.00 each night for Friday and Saturday weekend. I was hooked.

I also remember that on the second floor of Wurlitzer’s Music Store there was a free open space that was available for Jam Sessions every Tuesday Night to visiting musicians working within the Philadelphia area with other traveling Big Bands. Whoever was in town would stop by and play for this Jazz Open House.

One night there was Horace Silver, Chet Baker, and Zoot Sims all on the bandstand at once. One night a 15year old young man sat in and played his trumpet and blew everyone away . . . his name was Lee Morgan who later became a leading Jazz trumpeter and composer with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. 

  *<> * (More interesting material in upcoming future Chapters)



STAN ROSS - Special Comment For Joe Fortunato

 My friend Stan Ross forwarded this photo from his archives -

Ray Fern - Joe Fortunato and Stan (himself-circ. 1974)

"I had the privilege of sharing the bandstand with Joe; he was "HOT." 

 "When the smoke cleared, you knew it was from him.  That is why I called him "Smokin' Joe Fortunato."

                                                  "We miss ya Big Guy!"

                                    Stan Ross



Listening to the various music radio broadcasts back in 1956 that featured Rhythm & Blues, I first heard this recording Jam-Up recorded by Tommy Ridgley and his band. After hearing this, many times it became one of my favorite recordings featuring the sound of a swinging rhythm section and wailing saxophones. As a young music student-studying saxophone and music theory, I wanted to pursue this style of playing Jazz and rhythm and blues. 
The local record shop owner saved a copy for me, knowing that this type of music was a favorite of mine. I remember at that time the recording was only available as large12 inch 78-rpm discs with a red label from Atlantic Records. Even though with the repeated playing on a vintage turntable and a dull phonograph needle, the vinyl –shellacked grooves became scratched and worn with no damage to the enjoyable sounds. During that time, I discovered some information regarding this instrumental recording plus the studio musicians and artist Tommy Ridgley. 
<> Tommy Ridgley (October 30, 1925 – August 11, 1999) was an American Rhythm & Blues singer and bandleader from New Orleans, Louisiana <>
It was in October of 1953, when music producer Jerry Wexler signed Tommy Ridgley to Atlantic Records. In early 1954, Tommy's first release for Atlantic is "Ooh Lawdy My Baby.” 
This recording by Tommy Ridgley immediately sold well in New Orleans. By the late spring of the year Tommy, recorded a blues number "Wish I Had Never" backed with a B-side jump instrumental called "Jam Up" for Atlantic records. The instrumental side took some time in reaching popularity. Early in 1955, it is a top R & B seller. The swinging tune featured saxophone solos by Lee Allen, Alvin "Red" Tyler, and other mainstays of New Orleans sessions at J & M studios is one of the driving, solid tunes ever recorded.

 Cosimo Matassa located on the corner of Rampart & Dumaine Streets in the famous French Quarter owned New Orleans’ J & M Recording Studio. 

This was the home of Rhythm & Blues, Rock & Roll, Soul, and Jazz. Many recording artists recorded their Billboard Chart hit songs from the late 1940’s through to the 1950’s.  The long list musicians such as Lloyd Price, Dave Bartholomew, Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino, Little Richard and many others became popular recording artist during the early years of Rock & Roll. 
They were all backed-up by the studio musicians known as “The Clique” this was the house-band for all productions. The rhythm section included Earl Palmer, drums, Guitarists Ernest McLean, Edgar Blanchard, Pianists Salvador Doucette, Huey’Piano’Smith, James Booker, bassist Frank Fields plus the Saxes of Lee Allen, Alvin ‘Red’ Tyler and Herb Hardesty. Dave Bartholomew trumpet player, bandleader and producer often led this razor-sharp crew of musicians at J&M Studio.
The space in the studio was very small barely to set-up a grand piano and a few microphones. A new drum style was credited to drummer Earl Palmer unleashing his version of the backbeat. “The Clique” house band recorded many Billboard Chart hit songs At least 20 years before Stax Records had Booker T and the MGs, Muscle Shoals had the Swampers and Motown had the Funk Brothers.
During the late 1980’s to the mid-90’s I had the opportunity to spend some time in New Orleans. I did some research and spoke to various musicians asking about the studio musicians that were part of J&M Studios in the early years.  Many of the players relocated to the west coast and some have passed away.  The original building of J&M Recording Studios located across from Louis Armstrong Park at 840 Rampart Street & Dumaine Streets became a Laundromat. There is a historical marker outside the front entrance, unfortunately to some visitors, aspiring young musicians will only have readers’ knowledge of the legacy, and history of what took place at J & M Recording Studio.