Chapter 14 UW-Madison

Chapter 14

In and Around UW-Madison

Doc De Haven’s first records were made for the Cuca Records label, which was headquartered in Sauk City.  While, because of instrumentation and some of the repertoire, the band was thought of as a “traditional” jazz band, it was never a Dixieland group per se.  Even on the first album, Dixieland Treasures, the great standard (and favorite of Charlie Parker) “Just Friends” appeared.  When the band recorded On Location at the Pirate Ship, trad-jazz tunes alternated with songs like “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “Yesterdays,” “Get Me to the Church on Time,” and “Summertime.”  Doc Swings (A Little) is in fact a very swingy album, with some clever arrangements for the band including a modern jazz classic, Horace Silver’s “The Preacher.”  The last LP the band cut was The Earl of Madison, despite the spelling, a tribute to the band’s charter member, clarinetist Erle Smith.  In 2000, Cuca put out a CD collection made up of tracks from the original LPs, The Best of Doc DeHaven.  De Haven released a CD in 1991, There Is No Greater Love (Neophonic Productions), with his daughter Kelly (see Chapter 13) and the Misbehaven Band – pianist Vince Fuh, bassist Jeff Eckels, drummer Clyde Stubblefield, saxophonist Bill Grahn and guitarist Roger Brotherhood.  A revolving cast of quite a few Madison veterans appears on De Haven’s 1996 Jazzscapes (Blue Mound Productions).

While you can see in the book that Johnny Shacklett cut at least one album while in Wisconsin, Johnny Shacklett Trio at the Hoffman House, I have never seen a copy of this album or heard it.  Addendum:  Almost three years after the book was published and this page was put up, I got an email from Judi Oldridge, a former Madison resident and part-time pianist who worked in a jazz trio for some time.  She had read this entry, and she let me know that she had a copy of the album and would be glad to give it to me.  Thanks to Judi I do now have the album.  Shacklett was a solid mainstream guitarist, clearly influenced by Wes Montgomery.  Organist Melvin Rhyne (see also Chapter 11) of course sounds right in his element here, as this is the very same format in which he worked and recorded with the great Wes Montgomery in Indianapolis.  Shacklett’s “baraka” can be heard on the standard “Polka Dots and Moonbeams.”

Les Thimmig has recorded considerably, much of that activity through the University of Wisconsin.  Solo (2007) is just what it says, Thimmig playing alone, on flute, alto flute, E-flat, bass and contrabass clarinet, and sopranino, soprano and tenor saxophones, on his own compositions and improvisations.  All the Marbles:  The Jazz Compositions of Les Thimmig (2008) was recorded live with pianist Matan Rubinstein, bassist Nick Moran and drummer Jamie Ryan.  Rooster of Gold (2010) is a set of jazz classics, standards and Thimmig originals in duo with Rubinstein.  Thimmig is also on the Madisalsa albums Del Caribe Al Corazón and Se Permite Bailar (see Chapter 17).

When I spoke with Joan Wildman for this book in 2014, she spoke of only a few recordings; those included ones she had made with Roscoe Mitchell.  She said:   “. . . the first album was . . . a thing, we did NONAAH with, and that’s Roscoe’s favorite version of NONAAH, and it was bassoon, flute and piano.  And it’s a version that he always goes back to. And it was [UW faculty colleagues] Bob Cole, Richard Lottridge and me.  And this was way back, way back there.  And that was put out on Lovely Music.  And then the other one was this thing with Hans [Sturm], that Roscoe wrote for bass and piano.  And that’s just been out for a couple of years.”  She also talked about the recordings she had made in the very recent past with her “Wednesday afternoon group.”  It has put out a couple of CDs that they recorded at Joan’s house.  She refers to this music as “orphan folk music,” saying, “I don’t think it’s really jazz necessarily, because I like to do classical improvisation.  That then turned into a freer improvisation.  So I like to take snippets from different kinds of cultures, and put it together in an improvisatory setting.”

I have managed to track down two recordings of the Wildman trio with Hans Sturm and Dane Richeson.  Under the Silver Globe (1989, which I found on cassette!), as suggested in the book, is not music for listeners who are faint of heart.  It is challenging, modern jazz, even almost 30 years after it was performed.  1992’s Inside Out is somewhat less challenging, with some sounds and styles that will be easier for most jazz listeners to relate to.

I interviewed Richard Davis in 2013.  As noted in the book, we did not talk about music a great deal in our conversation.  I did manage to ask him, however, the following question [edited]:  “I know you played with everybody back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and you’ve made hundreds, [if not] thousands of recordings.  Are there any of those associations, or any of those recordings that particularly stand out for you?”  His immediate response was, “Yeah.  The Eric Dolphy recordings.”  And when I asked which ones, he said, “All of them.”  This would most prominently feature Dolphy’s classic Out to Lunch (Blue Note, 1964) and the Dolphy recordings (with trumpet phenom Booker Little) from the Five Spot (on various Prestige releases, from 1961).

Davis’s next two responses are beyond the scope of this book, but are of course of interest:  “The recording(?s) with Igor Stravinsky.  The recordings with Barbra Streisand, because of her musical director, Peter Matz.”

The next was also a surprise to me:  “And [with] John Lewis, the Modern Jazz Quartet director.”  Among the Lewis recordings that Davis played on was Essence:  John Lewis Plays the Compositions and Arrangements of Gary McFarland (Atlantic, 1961).  He was also on one track of the obscure The Sextet of Orchestra USA:  Mack the Knife and Other Berlin Theatre Songs of Kurt Weill, (RCA, 1964), which included both Lewis and Dolphy.

Being a great fan of Davis’s ground-breaking big band playing with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, I asked him about his work with that ensemble.  His reply was, “That stands out, too.”  Those landmark recordings include:  Presenting Thad Jones/Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra (Solid State, 1966), Live at the Village Vanguard (Solid State, 1967), Monday Night (Solid State, 1968), Central Park North (Solid State, 1969) and Consummation (Solid State/Blue Note, 1970).

Although he didn’t mention them to me, it should be noted that Davis recorded a number of albums as leader.  Prominent among those are: Muses for Richard Davis (MPS, 1969) and, for something different (a lot of electric bass, and all Davis compositions) Dealin’ (Muse, 1974).  A 2000 CD release on 32 Jazz, Forest Flowers, compiled tracks from several of Davis’s other mid-1970s Muse albums.

Chris Washburne.  I wrote about Chris Washburne in my 2005 book Jazz ‘Bones:  The World of Jazz Trombone.  I wrote in that book about a number of the records he made with his band SYOTOS (See You On The Other Side), which is basically a smoking Latin band, but that definitely skirts the edges of the avant garde, as well as using other ethnic musics besides Latin as inspiration.  SYOTOS’s early albums are Nuyorican Nights (1998), The Other Side (2001) and Paradise in Trouble (2003).  (There have been several since.)  In the midst of the pandemic of the spring of 2020 I stumbled on a different album that Chris gave me at some point, The Hunting of the Snark (2009), by the band NYNDK (New York, Norway, Denmark — where the band members were from, or based.)  It features tributes to five classical composers:  Charles Ives, Arne Nordheim, Edvard Grieg, George Perle and Carl Nielsen, as well as reinterpreting works that each wrote.  Fascinating.  All these albums are on Chris’s label Jazzheads.

Hans Sturm appears with Joan Wildman on her trio album described above.  He also is on many of the recordings of his wife, singer Jackie Allen, whose discography is addressed in Chapter 13.  Sturm is particularly prominent, of course, on their duo album Landscapes — Bass Meets Voice (Red Mark, 1999).

Stanley Jordan’s extensive discography is not a part of the Wisconsin story.  I might mention here, however, as in the text, his breakthrough album (and, I feel certain, still his best selling release), 1985’s Magic Touch (Blue Note).