Saturday, June 30, 2012

Winners and Losers

Here's Georgie Auld at a session in Los Angeles in 1958, a few years before the ones offered here. He was the senior member of the group even then – a veteran of the swing era messing around with the jazz kids of a new era. Those kids are Don Fagerquist, left, and Arno Marsh. Photo from the Arno Marsh collection

OK, back to business. Here are two gems, one I've had for many years, the other I've only just acquired. A yard sale find, as so many of my favorite items are. And because these are a matched pair – little did I know the LP I've had for so long had a counterpart – I've decided to put them up as a two-fer.

Tenor sax player Georgie Auld was something of a superstar in his day. As the hot tenor man in the Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman orchestras, Auld could write his own ticket. And he could really blow. 

Georgie Auld blowing with Artie
Shaw circa 1939.
Born in Canada in 1919, he moved to the USA in his first decade and took up alto in his teen years. After hearing Coleman Hawkins, he switched to tenor and developed a big, boxy sound reminiscent of the Hawk's. With Goodman he became a real star, playing in various versions of the leader's sextet. If you've checked out Gems before, you know that down the list of posts there's an offering of airchecks by BG that feature Georgie. Highly recommended if you haven't sampled it already.

In the mid-'50s, Auld made money recording yackety-sax stuff on rock 'n' roll records. But by the early '60s, he was back on the jazz track. These two records both come from 1963 and are excellent examples of Auld's mature style in a small-group setting with fine younger players.

While Georgie Auld falls somewhere in between Coleman Hawkins and Dexter Gordon stylistically, to my mind he doesn't get much credit for having evolved with the music. The guy who started out playing Bix's "Davenport Blues" with Bunny Berigan is the same guy who evokes Sonny Rollins here with "For Losers and Boozers." If you've never really heard him – or only heard him in a big band setting – these sides should be a revelation.

As always, the tunes were ripped from the original vinyl with only a very minor cleaning of occasional pops and clicks.

Georgie Auld Plays the Winners
Auld, ts; Frank Rosolino, tbn; Lou Levy, p; Leroy Vinnegar, b; Mel Lewis, d.
Hollywood, CA; April 2, 1963; Philips PHM 200-096

1. It's a Good Day
2. You're Faded (Auld)
3. Taking a Chance on LOve
4. I'm Shooting High
5. Seven Come Eleven
6. You Are My Lucky Star
7. Taps Miller
8. What's New
9. Out of Nowhere
10. I Found a Million Dollar Baby

Georgie Auld Here's to the Losers
Auld, ts; Frank Larry Bunker, vbs; Johnny Gray, g; Leroy Vinnegar, b; Mel Lewis, d.
Hollywood, CA; July 1963; Philips PHM 600-116

1. Here's to the Losers
2. In the Wee Small Hours
3. That Old Feeling
4. Everything Happens to Me
5. Drinking Again
6. Blue and Sentimental
7. Learnin' the Blues
8. For Losers and Boozers (Auld-Vinnegar)
9. One for My Baby

Find "Losers" here:


  1. A very underrated saxman. Thank you for these two gems David!

  2. Always loved Auld's sound and Play The Winners is one lp I've longed for - cheers David

  3. With Larry Bunker and Johnny Gray there's two fav players of mine here. Gotta give this a try, many thanks!

  4. Thank you for this. I try to collect everything with Johnny Gray.

  5. Thank you very much for the two fine albums by Georgie Auld. Best wishes..aroonie