Benny Goodman swing star Louise Tobin dies at 104

Louise Tobin who has died in Texas aged 104 was first married to trumpeter and big band leader Harry James and later clarinettist Peanuts Hucko and in the singer's considerable heyday sang with Benny Goodman. She first alerted James to the voice of …

Published: 27 Nov 2022. Updated: 2 months.

Louise Tobin who has died in Texas aged 104 was first married to trumpeter and big band leader Harry James and later clarinettist Peanuts Hucko and in the singer's considerable heyday sang with Benny Goodman. She first alerted James to the voice of Frank Sinatra who then went to find him and hired ol' blue eyes for his band beginning the then waiter's career.

Tobin later co-owned the Navarre club in Denver with Hucko who died 19 years ago.

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Nicholas Payton, The Couch Sessions, Smoke Sessions ****1/2

Often very tender material - Buster Williams' 'Christina' that goes back to the 1983 Timeless All-Stars album Timeless Heart and covered beautifully by Sphere in Pumpkin's Delight a decade later - is most gorgeous of all in that regard. Nicholas …

Published: 26 Nov 2022. Updated: 2 months.

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Often very tender material - Buster Williams' 'Christina' that goes back to the 1983 Timeless All-Stars album Timeless Heart and covered beautifully by Sphere in Pumpkin's Delight a decade later - is most gorgeous of all in that regard.

Nicholas Payton does not disappoint in his overall approach that just goes deeper and deeper both in terms of choice of repertoire but also a certain framing of his prodigious imagination to curate a dreamworld of his own, comfortable and luxuriant within the idiom.

Material includes Wayne Shorter's 'Fall' led off by excellent drums. Benny Golson's 'Along Came Betty' also has a good Lenny White groove established deftly at the beginning with the main narrative then taken up by Payton on Rhodes.

The rendering of Herbie's tune 'Watch It' - the opening track of 1977's Herbie Hancock Trio - has a crisp confidence to it that again lifts us higher, the piano here instead of Rhodes. With bassist Buster Williams and drummer Lenny White alongside Payton on a July 2022 recording made in New York's Sear Sound the late Geri Allen's spoken word contribution on 'Feed the Fire' is some of the most eloquent spoken word inputs. Payton is an excellent pianist as well as a world class trumpeter and The Couch Sessions at heart is textbook hard bop. Just pick up where the Second Great Miles Davis Quintet left off and grow to what Payton feeds in. The funkier 'Bust-a-Move' I could take or leave and while the spoken word elements distract a bit they still transmit a siren call given the always compelling voices of Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock among others who speak to us here. Patently priority listening this weekend. SG