Monday, April 5, 2010

Kenyon Hopkins' "Rooms" and "The Sound of New York" reissued on CD

Two much sought after vintage jazz-noir albums from composer/conductor/arranger Kenyon Hopkins have just been reissued, on a single CD, by the London-based Righteous label: "Rooms" and "The Sound of New York." Vintage private eye grooves from the man who penned several acclaimed movie ("Baby Doll," "The Strange One," "12 Angry Men," "Mister Buddwing," "The Hustler," "The Fugitive Kind," "The Yellow Canary" and even Elvis Presley's "Wild in the Country") & TV soundtracks ("The FBI Story," "11 Against the Ice," "77 Sunset Strip") and arranged many cult albums by The Creed Taylor Orchestra such as "Panic," "Shock" and "Ping Pang Pong," besides having released on Verve a series of Creed Taylor-produced "Sound Tours" albums under his own name during the '60s.

"Rooms", originally released on the Cadence label in 1959, is defined as "a claustrophobic concept piece based on isolation and self-examination," featuring Teo Macero (tenor sax, clarinet), Bart Wallace (trumpet), Dick Collins (piano), Wendal Marshall (bass) & Clem Da Rosa (drums).
"The Sound Of New York", a concept album produced by Creed Taylor for the ABC-Paramount label, with cover pics by the legendary photographer Pete Turner, mixes standard tunes ("Manhattan," "Take The 'A' Train," "Penthouse Serenade," "Chinatown, My Chinatown" and the Oscar-winning song "Lullaby of Broadway") with seven Hopkins' specially-written mood pieces to create a glorious travelogue in the Big Apple.

It was recorded at Webster Hall (119 East 11th Street, New York City) on November 17, 21 and 27, 1958, with Phil Woods (alto sax), Frank Rehak, Wayne Andre, Jimmy Cleveland, Frank Saracco (trombones), Bill Hixon (bass trombone), Ray Beckenstein (alto sax, baritone sax, bass clarinet, flutes), Harold Feldman (alto sax, oboe), Phil Bodner (English horn, flute), Barry Galbraith & Mundel Lowe (guitars), Wendell Marshall (bass), Osie Johnson (drums), Phil Kraus (vibes & percussion), Joe Venuto (percussion), Rudolph Desco (voice), Keene Crockett (sound effects) and The Geri Beitzel Singers.

Keene Crocket added sounds that he recorded live on the NY streets during the actual recording sessions. Engineers were Bob Simpson and Ed Bagley, who used Telefunken and RCA 77-DX mics that were fed through an RCA custom console to Ampex stereo recorders. The masters were cut at Bell Sound Studios, using a Westrex head on a Grampian lathe.

The original gatefold cover design of "The Sound of New York" was done by the Viceroy company, with front and back cover pictures by Pete Turner, who was starting his collaboration with Creed Taylor. Liner notes by Jack O'Brian. And the late David Drew Zingg (who would later took the photos from the multi-Grammy awarded "Getz/Gilberto" sessions) designed the inside pages and took most of the black & white pics.

Unfortunately, none of these "graphic & photographic artists" nor the musicians who recorded on "The Sound of New York" are credited on the CD issue.

Righteous Records' CDs (PO Box 3175, SN9 5WL) are marketed & distributed by Cherry Red Records Ltd. (, the same company associated with the Él label, which recenly reissued João Gilberto's "Chega de Saudade" both in Europe and Japan. In a few weeks, Righteous will be reissuing, on a single CD, two albums by The Creed Taylor Orchestra - "Shock" and "Panic: Son of Shock" - that were arranged by Kenyon Hopkins.

This is the complete tracklist of the Hopkins CD, re-titled "Rooms in New York" and remastered with new liner notes by MOJO’s Dave Henderson:
1 Overture
2 Alone
3 Dreams
4 Escape
5 Going
6 Desire
7 Panic
8 Daydream
9 The End?
10 Alone
‘The Sound of New York (a Music-Sound Portrait)’
11 The Sound of New York (Arrival)
12 Manhattan
13 Taxi Ride
14 Take the “A” Train (Subway)
15 Waterfront
16 Penthouse Serenade (Cocktail Party)
17 East Side, West Side (Fifth Avenue Parade)
18 Construction
19 Chinatown, My Chinatown (Chinese New Year)
20 Coney Island Visit
(original LP cover of "Rooms")

(original LP cover of "The Sound of New York")

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