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Old 01-19-2019, 04:07 PM
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Default Viviane Greene - The Chronological Viviane Greene 1947-1955 (2006)

Viviane Greene - The Chronological Viviane Greene 1947-1955 (2006)
EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 314 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 197 Mb | Scans included
Early R&B, Boogie-Woogie, Blues, Jazz | Label: Classics | # 5173 | 01:12:21

A capable purveyor of R&B, intimate ballads, or boogie-woogie piano who sang in a high, sweet voice with soul and chutzpah similar to that of Lula Reed, Lil Green or Julia Lee, Viviane Greene made a series of fine little recordings for five different labels in San Francisco and Los Angeles between late 1947 and July 1955. This compilation claims to contain all of her recorded works with the exception of her 1962 Finer Arts material. The most dazzling tracks are without question her instrumentals, for Viviane Greene was a classically trained pianist who developed her chops working steadily at nightclubs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Denver, Colorado. "The Unfinished Boogie," based upon Franz Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, is dynamite. "Jades of Greene" was named for the pianist's eldest daughter who was taken away by Lupus disease at the tender age of twelve. Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune appears to be the closest that this artist ever came (on record anyway) to realizing her dream of being a classical pianist. Most of the songs heard here are good time R&B entertainment or sultry love songs, some of which draw upon the standard jazz repertoire. "Red Light" is played at a surprisingly slow tempo, quite different from Sarah McLawler's riotous electric organ rendition. With the exception of world-renowned bassist Red Callender who shows up on some of the 1948 recordings, most of Greene's band personnel have not been identified. The discography does divulge the names of guitarists Trefoni "Tony" Rizzi and Nick Esposito, bassist Commodore Lark, and drummers Chuck Walker and Christopher Columbus. Her 1950, 1952, and 1955 recordings for Decca and Imperial feature a fuller band sound with reeds and brass providing ample support for her expressive vocals. As a special treat, Greene's husband Allen "Al" Greene is heard singing on a cover version of Buddy Johnson's hit song "Since I Fell for You."

Chronological Classics CDs were a concept of Gilles Pétard of France who set out in 1989 to ambitiously re-release as many of the 78-rpm Jazz/Big Band (Swing) selections as he could, each with detailed and informative inserts. The first volume was Ella Fitzgerald 1935-1937 and, after producing close to 1,000 CDs, the series ceased operations in 2004 after filing for bankruptcy. By that time Pétard had started on some of the earliest 45-rpm/33 1/3-rpm discs, while encompassing many of the top R&B artists of the time. One such is pianist/vocalist Viviane Greene (born Willie Viviane Hoyt in Nacogdoches, Texas on June 19, 1918) who, had she been born 50 years later, would likely be known today as both a genius and a renowned classical pianist. Unfortunately, back in her time, there simply weren't a whole lot a doors open to Black artists in that field.

She not only began taking piano lessons in 1922 when just 4, and was soon performing for her church gatherings and other public venues, but in 1931, at age 13, she graduated high school and was enrolled at Prairie View A&M College. While there, and still very young, she met and married Allen Greene. After graduation they settled in Los Angeles where Viviane went on to earn her master's degree in music at USC. However, the very limited opportunities to play the classics during the Depression would not help pay the rent so, like husband Allen who was also a vocalist, she turned to what was popular, initially at Hollywood's Lucky Spot nightclub where she sang and played, then working as accompanist with Blues vocalists Herb Jeffries and Gladys Bentley.

Towards the end of 1947 she and Allen landed their first recording deals with Rene T. LaMarre's Trilon Records, where Viviane released a song she co-wrote called Honey, Honey, Honey b/w The Unfinished Boogie on Trilon 190. Neither side, billed as Viviane Greene & Her Trio, made any national charts (in fact she would never have the pleasure of such a hit record) but it was well-received regionally, and later the A-side would be covered by the likes of Hadda Brooks and Ray Charles, among others. Another Trilon record, Jades Of Green/Love Me, Love Me, Love Me (Trilon 203) was picked up and released in 1948 as Mercury 8113 by the giant label, after they first released one she recorded there - Bowlegged Boogie/He's The Man (Mercury 8098).

In November 1949, now at Modern and billed as Vivianne Greene, she had Early Morning Stroll/Tonight You're Mine come out as Modern 20-723, and in 1952, at Decca, released (as Viviane Greene), Lover Boy/He's Funny That Way (Decca 28291) and Come On, Let's Face It/Solitude (Decca 28454). In a 1955 release at Imperial she re-recorded Lover Boy as Saugaboy and b/w Thanks For Nothing it came out as Imperial 5385. Allen can be heard doing the vocals on Since I Fell For You, recorded in 1948 as a cover of the 1947 hit by Annie Laurie with Paul Gayten and again a hit in 1963 for Lennie Welch.

It was also in 1955 that the couple relocated to Denver where they performed together at the Rossonian Hotel lounge. In 1962, Viviane cut two sides for Finer Arts Records -a re-make of Tanks For Nothing b/w You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You (Finer Arts 1005) which are not part of this collection. In 2013, Master Classics Records re-released most of the tracks in this volume with the exceptions of Honey, Honey, Honey and Honey, Can't We Steal Away.
Youngest daughter Susaye (born on September 13, 1949) is notable as the last to join the legendary Supremes for their final years as a group in 1976/77. Her older sister Jade passed away at age 12 from lupus and in 1993, the year before her death at age 75 on February 10, 1994, Viviane, a tireless campaigner against racism and sexism in the music world, launched the Jade Greene Lupus Foundation For The Performing Arts in Sacramento.


01. The Unfinished Boogie (2:51)
02. Honey Honey Honey (3:21)
03. He's The Man (3:11)
04. I'm Wise (3:09)
05. Since I Fell For You (2:45)
06. Two Loves Have I (3:02)
07. I Guess My Man Don't Love Me (2:48)
08. Love Me Love Me Love Me Or Leave Me (3:09)
09. Jades Of Green (2:57)
10. Honey Can't We Steal Away Together (2:54)
11. Red Light (2:58)
12. Clair De Lune (2:44)
13. Bowlegged Boogie (3:07)
14. He's The Man (2:56)
15. Tonight You're Mine (2:18)
16. Early Mornin' Stroll (2:54)
17. Picture Of You (3:12)
18. Honey Honey Honey (3:28)
19. Get To Gettin' (2:46)
20. He's Funny That Way (3:07)
21. Solitude (2:56)
22. Come On Let's Face It (2:27)
23. Lover Boy (2:46)
24. Thanks For Nothing (2:24)
25. Saugaboy (2:12)

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