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Sunday, August 19, 2012




As noted in the previous post covering Calliope CAL 3019 we are continuing our presentation of an interview that Will Thornbury conducted with Ray Avery regarding Ray’s background in photography.  In this last segment of the interview Ray and Will are perusing Ray’s photos that will be included in Ray’s book of photographs that he took on the Stars of Jazz TV series.

             Ray Avery                   Will Thornbury


WT:  He's standing in front of rear projections, is that what that is?

RA: Yes, they often did that on the show and it made it quite interesting. In the next group of pictures, I believe, it's the Dave Brubeck pictures, or of the back projections is Bobby sitting in front of the "Time" magazine cover of Brubeck.

WT:  This is the mid to late '50's television. Is rear projection all that

RA:  It was new to me and it did a lot for the show, so I think it was fairly new, these fellows were very innovative and they had a lot a great ideas about presenting jazz and they came up with all sorts of historical things that they'd 'flash on the screen behind and it made the show a lot better.

WT:  It seems to me that everybody involved must have been a fan because they really went to great lengths for what appears to be little money.

RA: Yes, it was really a labor of love. They kept hoping they would do it well that it would go on the network all the time, but it was such a struggle and then I was speaking to Norman Abbott the other day and he said therwas an executive over them there that just didn't like jazz at all, and hwas the one that erased all the tapes, all but a few so there was hardly anything left of the show.

WT: We must get his name and if he is not with us anymore, desecrate his grave.

RA: Yes.

WT:  Shall we stroll through these?

RA: Yes. Now these, the back projection is used again with fan letters that Dave Brubeck has gotten.  Somewhere later on I have a picture of him, Bobby, the “Time” magazine cover that Brubeck was on.  This is the point where Dave Brubeck was becoming really popular, It was at the end of the Fantasy era and Columbia had just picked them up, and they began doing Jazz Goes To College and making all the college rounds. He was really at this time beginning to be a big star.

WT:  Do you remember them coming on and the banter of the organization or just their arrival on the set?

RA: No. I really don't. It was all very relaxed there, but there wasn't a lot of time. They didn't really have time to rehearse. I think they had limited time in the studio, so, although everyone was loose and friendly there wasn’t much time and I didn't feel much like talking to them because they had to get their cues and various things, and so I didn't talk to them very much.

WT:  With that period, this was before "Take 5" and all that this is around "Take The "A" Train" and some of those, he was a great star during that period, the rehearsal time for the show itself, I would assume because of the executive, because of the budget and all of that, that rehearsal was not a great consideration either?  

RA: No, I think they spent any where from 1/2 hour to one hour prior to the show and just that one evening they just went through the routine more or less and of course the groups all played things they were familiar with so that was all they needed.
WT:  And they’d take that 1/2 hour just to set the camera angles and stuff...

RA: Yes, the camera angles and the cues and when Bobby was going to talk to the artist, that sort of thing.

WT:  During rehearsals, did you get a lot of your pictures at that time?

RA: Yes. You’ll notice in a lot of the shots, the fellows are still in their shirt sleeves with their ties, and so that was really the best time for me to take the pictures, because during the show I was limited in getting very close, because of the TV cameras would always be in front of me.  So I did try to to get as much as I could before the show was being shot.

Calliope Records Production Credits:
Executive Producers: Heyward Collins, Rick Donovan, Lee D. Weisel
Production and Coordination: Jim Pewter
Technical Assistance: Mike Jordan for Krishane Enterprises
Mastering: Jack Skinner for Keyser-Century Corporation
Art Direction and Photography: Jeffrey Weisel

SHOW #73
NOVEMBER 25, 1957
The Sonny Criss Quartet: Sonny Criss, alto sax; Hampton Hawes, piano; Buddy Woodson, acoustic double bass; Chuck Thompson, drums. Bob Dorough, piano; Terry Morrell, vocal.  Johnny Mercer as host.

Production credits for this show:
Host: Johnny Mercer
Executive Producer: Peter Robinson
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Director: Leo G. “Hap” Weyman
Audio: Noel Frame
Cameras: Jack Denton, Ernie Buttleman
Technical Director: Gene Lukowski
Lighting Director: Vince Cilurzo
Video: George Hillas 

SHOW #66
OCTOBER 7, 1957
The Calvin Jackson Quartet: Calvin Jackson, piano; Al Viola, guitar; Buddy Woodson, acoustic double bass; Mel Lewis, drums. Carl Perkins, piano; Rayna Clay, vocal.

Production credits for this show:
Host: Bobby Troup
Executive Producer: Peter Robinson
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Director: Leo G. “Hap” Weyman
Audio: Chuck Lewis
Cameras: Jack Denton, Bob Haley
Technical Director: Gene Lukowski
Lighting Director: Vince Cilurzo
Video: George Hillas


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