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A List of Things We Lost is the rare vinyl blog of the sometimes corporeal, always ephemeral Unbreakable Records.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

DUKE FUNK SLAM DUNK

Aw hell yeah, here's one just hows I likes em: super funky, super rare, not a whit of info to be found.

To judge by the cover (come on, we all do it) Harold Dumont Sings Duke Ellington (Cleemo CL-1001) stirs minor intrigue with its low-budg look, though what the music promises is less clear. Dumont dresses the definitive, cheesed-out mid-70s crooner, with huge lapels & a mohair vest. But one glance at the back cover liners indicates otherwise.

Accolades from Nipsy Russell portend. . . something different, if not necessarily good.

And then you hit it: "The disc was put down in three sessions and can really be said to fall in three categories; Jazz: [sic] R & B; and Easy Listening. The first session consisted of a small rock group with strong jazz overvibes: Grady Tate - Drums ; Bob Crenshaw - Bass ; Garnet Brown - Trombone; Mel Davis - Trumpet."

Grady Tate always signals goodness. Add to that the use of "jazz," "R&B," "easy listening" and "rock" in the same paragraph. How could I not rush it to the tt?


Further personnel for the sessions include Bobby Mann - Guitar; Derek Smith - Keyboard ; Mel Lewis - Drums ; Marvin Stam & Thad Jones - Trumpets ; Bill Watrous - Trombone ; Margaret Ross - Harp ; Richard Davis - bass.

Rare-groove fusion at its finest, with solid jazz cred. Dumont's style is over the top, a borderline-silly baritone that sometimes gallops where the tight arrangements try to rein it in. Grit slinks off of every track. The uptemo tunes are all burners, with lower-key ones set to a steamy simmer ("Mood Indigo" is a wah-wah jaw dropper).

Cursory web searches reveal absolutely nothing about the label, the singer, the producer... nada. The album was produced by Harold Dumont and Harry Hirsch, who also wrote the liners & engineers the record. Nothing indicates the year; I'm going with the latter end of the 74-77 spectrum, but listen & comment & tell us what you think. Maybe Hirsch also created Cleemo Records just for this album (or else it folded shortly thereafter), it being catalog # 1001. The only two verifiable things I can tell you about Harold Dumont Sings Duke Ellington: it has in the past fetched upwards of $40, and "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" seems to be a Euro DJ club fave.

3 comments:

Coco Giancana said...

New York City singer Harold Dumont, who made this Duke Ellington album, was a great personal friend of mine,in the late 1970's. The album you discuss is autographed to me and sitting on my stereo shelf, one of my treasures. Harold owned a famously chic jazz restaurant called "Cleo's" which was across the street from Lincoln Center, in the ASCAP building. Named after his friend, Cleo Lane (the famous female singer married to John Dankworth.) Hence, his publishing company named "Cleemo" records. The stars that visited Harold at his club were too numerous to mention, what FUN we all had there! He was a true gentleman, a wonderful singer and the greatest friend I could ever ask for.
Coco Giancana, President
The Professional's Concierge
Las Vegas, Nevada

Aleph.Mem.Shin said...

Hello, Coco - thanks for your comment, & for shedding some light on Harold's life. If you have any more info or links to share, please do. All best, a.m.s.

Johnmo365 said...

Harold Moore, aka Harold Dumont, was my grandfather. I love studying to his music. He was a great man. Thank you for sharing this.