It’s time for more music for music’s sake, and it’s hard to go wrong with a Columbia Viva-Tonal, they tend to sound decent even when they’re beat to hell!
There were a number of bands to go by the name “The Georgians”. The one in question here was a jazz ensemble made up of members of the Paul Specht Orchestra, and led by trumpet player Frank Guarente. Guarente’s Georgians first recorded for Columbia in 1922, and traveled to Europe later in the decade at least once, making a number of recordings in Switzerland. There seems to be some uncertainty as to when the original Georgians broke up. Some sources indicate that they disbanded in 1924, and that Columbia later used the name for different groups. Other sources indicate that Guarente continued to lead the band until several years later.
Columbia 523-D was recorded November 18 and December 12, 1925 in New York, New York. According to the DAHR, this session was still under the direction of Guarente, and reportedly includes the talents of Charlie Spivak on trumpet, Al Philburn on trombone, Ernie Warren or Frank Kilduff on clarinet, alto sax, and baritone sax, Gilbert Dutton on clarinet and tenor sax, Walker O’Neil on piano, Roy Smeck on banjo and harmonica, and Johnny Morris on drums.
First up is “Clap Hands! Here Comes Charley!” a dandy little tune, featuring a vocal by drummer Johnny Morris. While Rust notes Smeck as doubling on harmonica on this side, the instrument has always struck my ear as sounding like a goofus (aka Couesnophone), a toy saxophone adopted in jazz music by Adrian Rollini in 1924, I’m not sure who’s playing it here. Recorded on the latter of the two dates, the DAHR shows takes “6” and “7” as issued for this side, this is “7”.
“Spanish Shawl” has quite a ding in the label, but on the bright side, it creates a good cross-section of the unique composition of Columbia records; coarse shellac in the middle, surrounded by a paper coating, and topped with a playing surface of smooth laminate in which the grooves are pressed. This side was recorded on the earlier date.
Updated on June 24, 2016.