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Joseph Campbell: Jazz Musician
A Tribute to the Mythologist's Musical Side

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Joseph Campbell: Jazz Musician


The idea for this CD was born over breakfast in Monterey, California in March 2007. Jimmy Maxwell and I had a couple leisurely hours to enjoy our omelettes and coffee before heading to the airport-- he to catch a flight back to New Orleans, and me to catch a flight back to New York City. We had spent the preceding week at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, participating in the week-long Mythological ToolBoxTM workshop which is put on every year by the Joseph Campbell Foundation (JCF).

Jimmy, president of the Louis Armstrong Society, has been a major presence in the New Orleans jazz scene for many years and I, for myself, had just started trying to get Roomful of Sky Records, my fledgling record label, off the ground. Naturally, our conversation ranged from mythology to music, and then to Joseph Campbell's early (and little-known) career as a jazz saxophonist in the 1920's. Somewhere between the toast and the home-fries, we both became excited about the possibility of creating some kind of tribute performance-- a performance which would strive to re-create the lineup, style and repertoire of Campbell's jazz band-- which would take that aspect of Joe's life and make it come alive for everyone who's familiar with Campbell only through his works on mythology.

We pitched the idea to JCF president Robert Walter... and he loved it! The JCF immediately granted us its full support and cooperation, and Stephen Gerringer, columnist for the JCF, undertook the historical research that guided the whole undertaking (he also contributed the liner notes). Additional allies sprung up: Leo Ursini, saxophonist par excellence, known for his work with Frank Sinatra and in 'When Harry Met Sally...', volunteered to 'play' the crucial part of Campbell the saxophonist during the performance itself. Finally, Columbia University, whose cultural life in the 1920's had provided the milieu in which Campbell had developed his musical side as a young student, opened up both its performance spaces as well as its archives to us.

We're grateful for the opportunity to bring this idea to fruition in the form of this CD. Thanks to the Joseph Campbell Foundation for making this one of those "Wouldn't it be cool if..." conversations that has actually come true. It just goes to show, when you 'follow your bliss'...!

- Phil Robinson  

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Joseph Campbell, Jazzman
by Stephen Gerringer, Joseph Campbell Foundation

[ This well-researched 1,600-word essay is available exclusively as part of the physical CD packaging--
You may purchase a copy at Amazon, CD Baby or the Roomful of Sky Store. ]

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The Louis Armstrong Society Jazz Band:
Leo Ursini*   - Alto Sax
Vinnie Riccitelli   - Alto Sax
John Ruta   - Tenor Sax
James Miller   - Baritone Sax
Mike Carubia*   - Trumpet
Johnny Amoroso   - Trumpet
Steve Barbieri*   - Trombone
Jimmy Maxwell*   - Piano
Lee Hudson*   - Bass
Robert Maxwell*   - Drums
Bill Ciaramelli*   - Guitar
Frank Vento*   - Banjo
Susan Lorensten   - Violin 1
Elizabeth Linn-Dutton   - Violin 2
Sally Shumway   - Viola
Caryl Paisner   - Cello
Denny Leroux*   - Male vocals
Julie Jules   - Female vocals

*Featured player in small band tracks (3, 5, 9, 10)

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Produced by Phil Robinson
Music Direction by Jimmy Maxwell
All Instruments Recorded by Erik-Peter Mortensen, Papagena Productions
Female Vocals Recorded by John Autin, Rabadash Records L.L.C.
Male Vocals Recorded by Denny Leroux, Storm of the Century Music
Recording Session Assistance by Bronwen Konecky and Chuck Heery
Equipment Rental & Delivery by Vinny's Music
Edited and Mixed by Erik-Peter Mortensen, Papagena Productions
Mastered by Robert L. Smith, Defy Recordings
Principal Band Recorded at Dodge Hall, Columbia University, New York, NY
Strings and Banjo Recorded at Papagena Studios, Bronx, NY
Female Vocals Recorded at Chez Autin Studio, New Orleans, LA
Male Vocals Recorded at Storm of the Century Music Recording, Jacksonville, FL
Historical Research and Essay by Stephen Gerringer
Columbia University Archives Research Assistance by Emily Paul and Jorge Cabrales
Song-Licensing Research Assistance by Mark Roberts
Graphic Design by Carisa Swenson
1925 Columbia Yearbook Photo; with permission of the University Archives,
     Columbia University in the City of New York.
All other photos courtesy of the Joseph Campbell Foundation.

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1. The Early Twenties Medley
(Medley Orchestration by Ivan E. Gray - Francis Day and Hunter):
     A. Yes Sir, That's My Baby
         (G. Kahn, W. Donaldson - Gilbert Keyes Music Co, Donaldson Publishing Co);

     B. Bye Bye Blackbird
         (R. Henderson, M. Dixon - Ray Henderson Music Co, Olde Clover Leaf Music);

     C. You're Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do)
         (W. Donaldson - Donaldson Publishing Co, Tobago Music Co, Larry Spier Music);

     D. Red Red Robin
         (H. Woods - Callicoon Music);

     E. My Blue Heaven
         (W. Donaldson, G. Whiting - Donaldson Publishing Co, George Whiting Publishing)

2. Alabamy Bound
(B. DeSylva, B. Green, R. Henderson - Shapiro Bernstein & Co);

3. It Had to Be You
(G. Kahn, I. Jones - Bantam Music Pub Co, Gilbert Keyes Music Co);

4. Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye
(E. Erdman, G. Kahn, T. Fiorito - Public Domain in USA);

5. Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue (Has Anybody Seen My Gal)
(S. Lewis, J. Young, R. Henderson - Ray Henderson Music Co, Warock Corp, EMI Feist Catalog);

6. Tell Me, Little Gypsy
(I. Berlin - Public Domain in USA);

7. A Pretty Girl Medley
(Medley Orchestration by James K. Campbell - Roomful of Sky Music Publishing):
     A. A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody
         (I. Berlin - Public Domain in USA);

     B. You'd Be Surprised
         (I. Berlin - Public Domain in USA);

     C. Some Sunny Day
         (I. Berlin - Public Domain in USA)

8. Swingin' Down the Lane Medley
(Medley Orchestration by James K. Campbell - Roomful of Sky Music Publishing):
     A. Swingin' Down the Lane
         (G. Kahn, I. Jones - Bantam Music Pub Co, Gilbert Keyes Music Co);

     B. Stumbling
         (Z. Confrey - Public Domain in USA);

     C. Ain't We Got Fun
         (G. Kahn, R. Egan, R. Whiting - Public Domain in USA)

9. When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)
(L. Shay, M. Fisher, J. Goodwin - Mills Music, Music by Shay);

10. Avalon
(V. Rose, A. Jolson, B. DeSylva - Public Domain in USA);

11. Linger Awhile
(V. Rose, H. Owens - Edwin H Morris & Co, EMI Feist Catalog);

12. I'll See You in My Dreams
(I. Jones, G. Kahn - Bantam Music Pub Co, Gilbert Keyes Music Co)

Songs not in the Public Domain, licensed for release in the USA only.

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