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didn't want to be known for that part of my career at all. Now looking back, the
stuff is much better than I gave it credit for and I'm proud of it."
nine vintage tracks that balance out the CD open like a time machine, with announcer
Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman introducing the Lucky Milliner Orchestra playing
live at the Los Angeles' Orpheum Theater on January 16, 1945. The vintage version
of "I'll Get By" is slower and almost plodding compared to the modern-day
take earlier in the CD. The common denominator is Love's swinging lead alto sax.
That's followed by Love on lead alto
with Count Basie and his Orchestra belting out "One O'Clock Jump" "Jimmy's
Idea" and "Take Me Back, Baby" during a live radio broadcast from
L.A.'s Avadon Ballroom in December 1946. The Basie segment is capped off by a
performance of "Jumpin' at the Woodside" recorded with the orchestra
on Aug. 8, 1945.
wanted to include some Basie stuff, so I took some radio broadcasts that I've
collected over the years," Foster said. "I'm nuts about old radio broadcasts.
A band playing in front on an audience is 10 times hotter than something recorded
in a studio. You can hear Preston, sitting right up front of the stage."
CD's final five tracks present a taste of Love's R&B and funk work from the
late 1960s, including three tracks from Preston Love's Omaha Bar BQ that
featured R&B and rock pioneer Johnny Otis and his 15-year-old son, Shuggie
(who would go on to write the Brothers Johnson hit "Strawberry Letter 23").
these tracks that may be the most surprising to longtime Love fans who have never
heard the funk and soul side of the big band legend. The CD closes with the singles
"Cissy Popcorn" and "Funky Chicken" that sound like choice
cuts used in a Quentin Tarantino film.
are huge underground funk recordings in Europe, so we decided to make them available
to everyone," Foster said. "In Europe, Preston is known for his funk,
R&B and rock and roll work, including sessions with Big Mamma Thornton, among
he had little respect for R&B at the time he recorded the tracks. "I
was such a Basie fanatic, I treated this new rhythm and blues stuff kind of lightly,"
he said. "I didn't want to be known for that part of my career at all. Now
looking back, the stuff is much better than I gave it credit for and I'm proud
he's making the final touches to the CD, which will be available by the end of
November and will be distributed throughout the United States and Europe.
not trying to promote this as a jazz album," Foster said. "This is just
the music that Preston grew up with and adored creating. I thought it would be
nice to be able to let him do what he wants to do -- the swing, jazz, blues and
ballads that he loved to play. We've included all of it to show the diversity
of what he can do. I think it's the best so-called jazz CD put out in Omaha."
said the CD also is proof of a career that many people locally either don't know
about or don't understand.
history is renowned well beyond the Omaha city limits. He's played on stage and
in the studio with just about every important jazz, swing and R&B legend from
the past 50 years. A partial list includes Count Basie, Fats Waller, Lucky Millinder,
Dizzy Gillespie, Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Dickie Wells, Snooky
Young, Buddy Tate, Jimmy Rushing, Buddy Rich, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Marvin
Gaye, Tammi Terrell, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles,
T-Bone Walker, Little Esther Phillips, Frank Zappa, Sonny and Cher, Janis Joplin,
Buddy Miles, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, and that's just the beginning.
saying 'Look, you've got a treasure here,'" said Foster. "Look at Preston
and give him his props now, not later. He's the real deal."
contribution to American music isn't going completely unnoticed in the Omaha scene.
The 82-year-old will be recognized by the Omaha Press Club Oct. 16 as part of
their 'Face on the Barroom Floor' series that honors notable newsmakers. Unfortunately,
Love says he won't be able to attend the ceremony because of his physical limitations
as the result of his battle with cancer. "I'm wasting away but trying to
build myself back up," he said. "I'm usually the life of the party.
I'm flattered that they think that much of me. It's beautiful."
his current condition, Love says he has no intention of giving up his saxophone.
would hope that I could play again," he said. "I haven't touched a horn
since the Fourth of July, so I'm getting out of practice."
in The Omaha Weekly October 2003. Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.