The Four Freshmen

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dachshundonstilts
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The Four Freshmen

Post by dachshundonstilts » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:49 pm

The Four Freshmen are my favorite vocal jazz group of all time. I've been a fan since high school, and their first album "Voices in Modern" would be on my short list for desert island discs. Here's a track that gets to me every time, just the four guys accompanying themselves on guitar, bass, and trombone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC8WBNCakv4

Needless to say, they were the single biggest influence on Brian Wilson in developing the vocal style of the Beach Boys.
"I feel so low, old chap, that I could get on stilts and walk under a dachshund." - Monty, "It" (1927)

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donnie
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Re: The Four Freshmen

Post by donnie » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:07 pm

Wow, that's some really tight harmony, just beautiful. The trombone break is nice, too.

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dachshundonstilts
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Re: The Four Freshmen

Post by dachshundonstilts » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:29 pm

This is one I would rank as a close second, from the same album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXqXxxEm0qw
"I feel so low, old chap, that I could get on stilts and walk under a dachshund." - Monty, "It" (1927)

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donnie
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Re: The Four Freshmen

Post by donnie » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:04 pm

That's incredible. It's hard to believe human voices could blend together that perfectly. I love everything about this one—the style, the feel, the words, the instruments. The bass and guitar sound good, and I've always loved the elegant sound of muted brass in the background like this. These guys were really something.

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dachshundonstilts
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Re: The Four Freshmen

Post by dachshundonstilts » Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:38 pm

Yeah, I sometimes go back and forth in preference between those two tracks.

The Freshmen were a Stan Kenton "discovery." Here's how they sounded with his orchestra.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuOQ7MC_QAU
"I feel so low, old chap, that I could get on stilts and walk under a dachshund." - Monty, "It" (1927)

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donnie
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Re: The Four Freshmen

Post by donnie » Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:09 pm

Splendid!

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dachshundonstilts
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Re: The Four Freshmen

Post by dachshundonstilts » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:36 am

Kind of a funny story surrounding the first time I ever heard the Four Freshmen...

In early 1985, the Beach Boys appeared on a TV special commemorating President Reagan's birthday, which I was watching with my parents. There had been some controversy a year or two earlier when Interior Secretary James Watt had banned the Beach Boys from performing on the Mall for the Fourth of July, calling them a "hard rock" group that would "attract the wrong element." It turned out Reagan was a big Beach Boys fan, and when they appeared on this show it seemed like a personal rebuttal to Watt when they all wore tuxedoes and sang a beautiful a cappella ballad.

A few months later, my dad bought a new stereo system and got out his old Four Freshmen records. When I heard "We'll Be Together Again," I commented, "This sounds like that thing the Beach Boys did." My mom just scoffed and said, "This is much better than the Beach Boys."

Years later, after much study of the Beach Boys' recorded work, I pieced together that what they had sung could only have been this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-40Xixpr35I

... which just happened to be a copy of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djDm2JVMm9Y

I never doubted my ear after that. :lol:
"I feel so low, old chap, that I could get on stilts and walk under a dachshund." - Monty, "It" (1927)

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donnie
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Re: The Four Freshmen

Post by donnie » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:22 pm

How about that! Your mother should have listened to you. :) Those are both gorgeous performances.
dachshundonstilts wrote:
Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:36 am
There had been some controversy a year or two earlier when Interior Secretary James Watt had banned the Beach Boys from performing on the Mall for the Fourth of July, calling them a "hard rock" group that would "attract the wrong element."
Yeah, you gotta watch out for that surfing crowd! 8-)

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