Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra

WCJO_Best Of_Vol 03

WCJO_Best Of_Vol 01
WCJO_Best Of_Vol 02
WCJO_Best Of_Vol 03

WCJO Best Of Vol 03





01.  Lush Life

The WCJO Partnership Band had a gig at McGuire’s Supper Club.  Aside from our regular repertoire, we were to do a 1 hour-10 minute Show at the beginning.  I took this opportunity to score two Big Band arrangements; this was one of them.  Our Special Guest was Shirley Witherspoon and I thought she could/would sing it, but she said it was not in a good key for her, so… I sang it.

I chose this tune because it was composed by Billy Strayhorn, the only other composer Duke Ellington ever allowed to write for his orchestra (“Take The ‘A’ Train” is the most famous.)


02.  Goin’ To Chicago

Performed at the McGuire’s gig.  I sang the Intro, then Shirley took it from there.


03.  Goin’ To Chicago

WCJO gig at the Chicago Jazz Festival.  Special Guest 72-year-old Doc Cheatham (legendary trumpeter; played with Cab Calloway, etc.) sang the Lead.  Before the gig, I called Doc and asked if he would sing this number.  He said:

“In all my years of playing, no one ever asked me to sing.  Sure, I’ll do it.”

Prudence Johnson and I sang the backups.


04.  Dancin’ In The Street

Also at the McGuire’s gig.  This is the second special arrangement I did for Big Band configuration.  I referenced two commercial-release recordings:

--One by the Kinks; and

--The other by Martha & The Vandellas.  This version was the main inspiration and the context is: When Martha was asked “Why this tune?”  She said it was to calm people down—the Watts Riots were happening then.

I even ‘snuck-in’ some phrases from the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra’s “Flaming Reeds, Screaming Brass”.



In 1980, a Twin Cities gal called me out of the blue and asked if the WCJO (Partnership band) would want to do the Chicago Jazz Festival--she had connections there.  Yes!  And would I consider having 72-year-old Doc Cheatham, legendary trumpet ace as Special Guest? Really? Doc Cheaham?  I knew his name from old recordings, especially playing with Cab Calloway.  Yes, how do we go about that?  "Call him."  I did; explained the situation and I asked him, apart from playing the trumpet, would he be willing to sing "Goin' To Chicago"?  ... He said this:
"Ted, you're the first person to invite me to play as a trumpet soloist.  I've always been an ensemble player.  I'd love to do that.  And singing?  No one ever asked me to do that either.  Yes, I'd love to do it."
The Chicago Jazz Festival gig was special for me.  I was born in Chicago and the crowd in Grant Park was 2,000 or so. The gig went well and it felt good; enthusiastic crowd!  

01_Lush Life_MP3

02_Goin' To Chicago_A_MP3

03_Goin' To Chicago_B_MP3

04_Dancin' In The Street_MP3