PE0235. ISHAM JONES: Sahara Rose; Dance-O-Mania; Waiting for the Sun to Come Out ; La Veeda; So Long, Oo Long; When Shadows Fall I Hear You Calling, California; Wait’ll You See; Alice Blue Gown; Jean; A Young Man’s Fancy; Idle Dreams; Scandal Walk; Happy; Kismet; Koolemoff; Sweet Woman; Dreamy Paradise; Japanese Sandman; Wishing; Rose of Araby; Lovin’ Lady; Jing-Bula-Jing-Jing; I Love You, Sunday; Avalon; Fair One 7. Sultan; Look for the Silver Lining; Rose; Whip-Poor-Will; Do You Ever Think of Me?; All She’d Say Was 'Umh Hum'; My Mammy; I Never Realized. (Canada) 2-Archeophone 6008. - 778632906754
“Jones' reputation quickly became established. By 1918 he was directing an orchestra at the Green Mill Gardens on the north side of Chicago, and in 1919, The Gumps, for which Jones wrote the music, became a national hit show. Jones was now lured by impresario Fred Mann to headline at his new Rainbo Gardens, and the rest, as they say, was history. The bandleader, songwriter, and arranger would begin a period of musical dominance that would last for nearly two decades, starting with his first recordings, made in 1920.
Taking the band to New York in June 1920, Isham Jones and His Rainbo Orchestra set up at the Brunswick studios and recorded their first 14 sides, issued on the new label's "celebrity series," which bore the distinctively attractive purple labels so beloved today. The band consisted of Jones (C-melody and tenor sax), Carroll Martin (trombone), Leo Murphy (violin), Alfred Eldridge (piano), Charles McNeill (banjo), John Kuhn (tuba), and Joe Frank (drums). Fellow midwesterner and Brunswick executive, Gus Haenschen (aka 'Carl Fenton') sat in on a couple of numbers playing a second piano, as on "Jean." Standouts include 'Sahara Rose' and its bold minor verse; the jaunty pairing of 'Wait'll You See' and 'When Shadows Fall I Hear You Calling, California'; 'Scandal Walk', with its chord-shifting 'blue' effect; 'Kisme't, featuring Martin's trombone pyrotechnics; 'La Veeda', sounding more beautiful than you've ever heard it; and, of course, 'Happy', which speaks for itself.
The initial releases were received very well, and Brunswick invited Jones back for more sessions. Adding R. N. Putnam (alto and soprano sax), the band went back to New York in October 1920 to do another nine sides. "Japanese Sandman" conveys more zip and energy than the hit versions by the orchestras of Paul Whiteman and Art Hickman. Two Jones numbers, 'Sweet Woman' and 'Wishing', appear, demonstrating his ability to produce simple, 'Jing-Bula-Jing-Jing' - capitalize on the fading Hawaiian craze, the former up-to-date with a prominent ostinato figure (à the smash hit 'Dardanella').
Another three sides—'Avalon', 'Fair One' and 'Sultan' - seem to have been made in late October 1920, when the band added a second (unidentified) violin to the mix. They would return to New York for final work under the current lineup in December 1920. The Brunswick labels for these final 11 sides simply say 'Isham Jones Orchestra', but it's the same personnel as on the Rainbo sides. An unknown trumpet (or cornet) is added, but this is not a lead trumpet, as would be the case when Louis Panico would join the band in 1921 and take it in a different direction. Instrumental versions of popular songs get treatment in this set, including 'Look for the Silver Lining', 'Make Believe', 'All She'd Say Was 'Umh -hum'' and 'My Mammy'. Toward the end of the set you'll notice the Jones outfit conceding to some of the trends (or parodies) in jazz, the avoidance of which hitherto had marked Jones as unique. For instance, the trumpet starts to lead on 'Underneath Hawaiian Skies', and the trombone smears all over the place on 'Siren of a Southern Sea'. By the way, 'Siren', the final number, is the only selection on the set that was not paired with another Jones performance on its original Brunswick release (#5059).
With one foot in the past of polite social dancing, and one foot in the new world of jazz, Isham Jones' Rainbo sides have long puzzled connoisseurs of early, hot dance-band recordings. This is why the recordings have been overlooked: the experts haven't known what to do with them. Our essayist, trombonist and jazz historian David Sager, fixes that; he has a keen appreciation for the development of musical styles, and in 32 pages he lays out a very convincing case for the historical importance of the Jones Rainbo outfit. Full of lively and tuneful melodies played by virtuosic performers, and arranged in a style that invited dancers rather than estranged or confused them, Jones' first 37 sides demonstrate his deep, blue-collar work ethic and his commitment to precision and excellence. You'll think you were back in Chicago in 1920. And you will be happy!”