Just Too Much + The RCA Victor Jazz Workshop (2 LP on 1 CD)
  • RCA Victor LPM-1106
    RCA Victor LPM-1106
  • RCA Victor LPM-1199
    RCA Victor LPM-1199
  • Hal Schaefer
    Hal Schaefer

Hal Schaefer

Just Too Much + The RCA Victor Jazz Workshop (2 LP on 1 CD)

Rare and Obscure Jazz Albums

Hal Schaefer (p), Hal McKusick, Sam Marowitz, Phil Woods (as), Jimmy Nottingham, Nick Travis (tp), Billy Byers, Urbie Green, Freddie Ohms, Chauncey Welsh (tb), Tommy Mitchell (b-tb), Joe Mondragon, Milt Hinton (b), Alvin Stoller, Osie Johnson, Don Lamond, Ed Shaughnessy (d)

Reference: FSRCD 1071

Bar code: 8427328610711

Fresh Sound Records presents:
Rare and Obscure Jazz Albums
A CD series created for the most discerning jazz collectors

· Hard to find albums in Collector's Edition
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art, Liner Notes
· Complete Personnel Details
· Hi Fi Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit

Hal Schaefer (1925-2012) was an extremely talented, thoughtful, and polished New York pianist who, by the age of 30, had already immersed himself in many musical circles. From an inauspicious start as a teenager playing with Lee Castle, he went on to join Ina Ray Hutton’s band for two years before settling in Los Angeles in 1943. There, he played with the bands of Benny Carter, Harry James, and Boyd Raeburn, with whom he gained notable recognition.

From the late 1940s onwards he accompanied Peggy Lee and Billy Eckstine before breaking into the world of film as an arranger and rehearsal pianist. His studio work would include the lucrative role of vocal coach to some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Marilyn Monroe.

In 1954, affected by personal problems, Hal decided to leave the movieland scene behind to start a jazz recording career. His debut album as a leader, "Just Too Much," came out in 1955 on the RCA Victor label, on which Hal performed in a trio with Joe Mondragon and Alvin Stoller and attracted considerable attention from jazz fans and critics alike.

Hal returned to New York City in 1955, the same year that RCA Victor inaugurated a new series of recordings titled "The Jazz Workshop," which was specifically intended to showcase new ideas in jazz orchestration, composition, and instrumentation. His producer Jack Lewis asked Hal to record his second album as part of the series. With the simple title of Hal Schaefer, the music featured Hal’s creative writing as well as his skilled andmindful approach as a soloist. For this project he used piano, bass, and drums, adding different instrumentation in each of the three recording sessions: one with three reeds, one with five trombones, and the last with two trumpets, himself on harpsichord and an extra drummer. There are several stimulating as well as humorous moments in the writing, largely involving the freshly changing textures with especially charming ballads and sparkling new ideas in jazz.

—Jordi Pujol

01. All the Things You Are (Kern-Hammerstein II) 2:03
02. I’ll Remember April (Ray-DePaul-Johnson) 2:53
03. You Are Too Beautiful (Rodgers-Hart) 3:34
04. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Arlen-Koehler) 2:56
05. I’m Glad There Is You (Madeira-Dorsey) 2:59
06. The Song Is You (Kern-Hammerstein II) 2:35
07. Thou Swell (Rodgers-Hart) 2:47
08. St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy) 2:51
09. Yes (Hal Schaefer) 2:19
10. Have you Met Miss Jones? (Rodgers-Hart) 2:09
11. You Stepped Out of A Dream (Brown-Kahn) 2:35
12. Montevideo (Hal Schaefer) 2:40
13. Dancing In The Dark (Dietz-Schwartz) 2:16
14. Imagination (Van Heusen-Burke) 2:46
15. This One's For Jack (Hal Schaefer) 2:20
16. A Song of Love (Hal Schaefer) 2:20
17. Isn't It Romantic (Rodgers-Hart) 2:47
18. A New Sound For the Blue (Hal Schaefer) 2:46
19. Let’s Have a Celebration (Hal Schaefer) 2:40
20. Of Things Gone By (Hal Schaefer) 2:52
21. Blue Skies (Irving Berlin) 2:27
22. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter (Young-Ahlert) 2:35
23. Spring is Here (Rodgers-Hart) 3:02
24. Real Lee (Hal Schaefer) 2:50

Album details

Tracks #1-12, from the Hal Schaefer album
“Just Too Much: The Progressive Piano of Hal Schaefer” (RCA Victor LPM-1106)
Track #13-24, from the Hal Schaefer album
“The RCA Victor Jazz Workshop” (RCA Victor LPM-1199)

Personnel on "Just too Much":
Hal Schaefer, piano; Joe Mondragon, bass; Alvin Stoller, drums.
Recorded in Los Angeles, December 27, 1954 (#5,6,7,12), January 4, 1955 (#2,4,8,10),
and January 10, 1955 (#1,3,9,11)

Personnel on "The RCA Victor Jazz Workshop":
Tracks #13,14,19 & 20: Hal McKusick, Sam Marowitz, Phil Woods, alto saxes;
Hal Schaefer, piano; Milt Hinton, bass; Osie Johnson, drums.
Recorded in New York City, November 28, 1955
Tracks #15,16,21 & 22: Billy Byers, Urbie Green, Freddie Ohms, Chauncey Welsh, trombones; Tommy Mitchell, bass trombone; Hal Schaefer, piano; Milt Hinton, bass;
Osie Johnson, drums.
Recorded in New York City, November 9, 1955
Tracks #17,18,23 & 24: Jimmy Nottingham, Nick Travis, trumpets; Hal Schaefer, harpsichord; Milt Hinton, bass; Don Lamond & Ed Shaughnessy, drums.
Recorded in New York City, October 17, 1955

Liner notes by Bill Simon & Leonard Feather
New liner notes: Jordi Pujol

Original recordings produced by Jack Lewis
This compilation produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
© 2022 by Fresh Sound Records

Hi Fi · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas, S.L.

Press reviews

"It is simply staggering to consider how much fantastic jazz was recorded in the 1950s and early 60s. It makes you wonder why certain albums gained fame and popularity, while others, like this reissued gem from the vaults of Blue Moon Records, wallowed in undeserved obscurity. Well, at least we have it now, and it's worth appreciating and re-assessing.

The NYC-to-LA based Hal Schaefer (1925-2012) was pianist for the likes of Benny Carter, Harry James, Peggy Lee and Billy Eckstine while trying to carve out his own niche as a leader. These two LA sessions from the mid 50ss have him in trio and small band format. Of the latter, Schaefer joins together with Joe Modragon/b and Alvin Stoller/dr for a bopping session that is reminiscent of vintage Hampton Hawes or Phinehas Newborn, graceful on an uptempo “All The Things  You Are”, and evocative on “You Are Too Beautiful” and “Have You Met Miss Jones”. He’s got a great sense of swing as on “St Louis Blues” and “Thou Swell” and he never overplays his solos. The second session includes all stars like  Phil Woods/as, Milt Hinton/b, Ed Shaughessy/dr and Urbie Green/tb for some classy and concise charts of “Dancing In The Dark”, “Isn’t It Romantic” and “Spring Is Here”. Green is rich and warm on “This On’s For Jack” and Woods shines on “Imagination”, but the focus here is on velvety arrangements, melding swing era danceability with cleverly devised and modern harmonies. Studio studs at play.

The set includes great liner notes, listing of musicians and informative background detective work. How did we miss this first time around?"

—George W. Harris (February 16, 2023)


10,95 €  (tax incl.)

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