Monday, November 28, 2005

Kamasutra/Street Scene--Buddy De Franco and Richard Maltby

The fascinating 78 I'm about to share with you is one of interesting contrasts: Jazz heavyweight Buddy De Franco paired with mood maestro Richard Maltby; and lively exotica (side A) coupled with the mellowest and most sophisticated easy listening (flip).

Also, I find the Kamasutra/Street Scene combination kind of odd, as you hopefully wouldn't be practicing the former on the street. Unless it were very late (and very dark).

"NOT FOR SALE!" appears on both sides, suggesting that MGM had such high regard for the music, it was loathe to place mere monetary value on it. Or that it was trying to scare DJs into not selling the record. Obviously, that tactic worked, as evidenced by the zillions of "Not for sale" 78s that still exist.

Anyhow, 1953's Kamasutra is a De Franco-Maltby composition, arranged and conducted by Maltby (though it was his orchestra, Buddy was busy with his clarinet solo). The modal portion features a Misirlou-ish flattened 2nd, and the relative-Major section is nicely jazz-chromatic. And I can't believe I just typed "nicely jazz-chromatic."

By gosh, I did. It's too late for me, but you can avoid falling into the hyphenated-adjective trap. Don't become like-me.

Where were we? Oh, and there's lots of percussion. Or maybe, in its loudness, it only seems like lots. It works, which is all that matters--though I wonder how many 20-lb. weights were required to keep the mike grounded.

Click on the photo for the music (aren't we fancy?).

And here's the flip, ten times more mellow but just as potent. Alfred Newman's Street Scene was written for the 1931 King Vidor film of the same name, and I love it to death even if it's more than a little indebted to Gershwin. Not that the latter composer invented the blues scale or Vb9 chords, but his sound is all over this--according to my ears, anyway. On the other hand, if only Gershwin could have produced something as smoothly Gershwinesque as Street Scene .

More lounge and exotica to come (and shortly, this time)!



Anonymous David Federman said...


The "Kamasutra"/"Street Scene" coupling is one of your most glorious postings and provides an inspired link between Artie Shaw's adventuresomeness in the 1940s and Jimmy Giuffre's a decade later. At first, I looked for the name of Norman Granz somewhere on the label. This record is just so indicative of the outreach between Tin Pan Alley and 52nd Street at the time. Plus: it is early Third Stream. Thank you.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Byron Los Angeles said...

Excuse me Lee, I could not find the link to hear 'street scene' is it me or just my eyes n ears?
Thanks, Byron Los Angeles

12:22 PM  
Blogger Lee Hartsfeld said...


Early Third Stream? Cool. I know little about TS. I've heard the phrase used in regard to the late, great Gunther Schuller. Far out. Eager to hear your thoughts about Rosa Linda and Ben Light (who are definitely NOT Third Stream!).


It's working for me. Are you clicking on the label image? That should take you to, where you can open or save the file, or play it at (which is what I do, usually, unless I'm checking to see if a file is downloading properly or not). Let me know.


1:03 PM  
Anonymous Byron Los Angeles said...

Oh! No I did not click on the label, I usually click the highlighted items, thanks Lee, Yup, it's been defragmenting for 2 days now, maybe it's worth it, I'll let you know, the music's great wish I could listen at home, I'm on (music) break right now, thanks for the deer reply!
Byron Los Angeles

2:41 PM  
Blogger Chap said...

The story behind the "Not For Sale" discs, still out there, is that DJ records are therefore tax deductible for the company.

Which does not stop DJs from going to the local used store and getting a little $$ on the side, mind you....

6:06 PM  

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