Vintage Music Productions

Paul Specht

Paul Specht and His Orchestra "Retro-Specht" (1925-1931) VMP 0121 [Vintage Music Productions CD] Features the pioneering bandleader of early radio and the roaring twenties. With Sylvester Ahola, Charlie Spivak, Roy Smeck, Artie Shaw, Arthur Schutt, Charlie Butterfield, Johnny Morris and Al Philburn. Digitally restored to compact disc by Bill Hebden. Liner notes by Paul Burgess. Order No. 40487

1. Whoopee! [Oct 29, 1925]
2. Static Strut [Jan 14, 1926]
3. Honey Bunch [Mar 29, 1926]
4. I've Grown So Lonesome [Nov 15, 1926]
5. If All The Stars Were Pretty Babies [Jan 27, 1927]
6. Yankee Rose [Jan 27, 1927]
7. Oriental Moonlight [Feb 17, 1927]
8. I'm Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover [Feb 17, 1927]
9. Roll Up The Carpets [Apr 27, 1927]
10. Hot Feet [Apr 27, 1927]
11. St. Louis Shuffle [Aug 23, 1927]
12. Who's That Pretty Baby? [Aug 24, 1927]
13. Cornfed [Aug 24, 1927]
14. Sweetheart Of All My Dreams [Jan 14, 1929]
15. That's What I Call Sweet Music [Jan 14, 1929]
16. My Annapolis (And You) [Feb 26, 1929]
17. On With The Dance [Feb 26, 1929]
18. You're Just Another Memory [Apr 5, 1929]
19. Hittin' The Ceiling [May 13, 1929]
20. Chant Of The Jungle [Oct 8, 1929]
21. That Wonderful Something Is Love [Oct 8, 1929]
22. (I'll Still Go On) Wanting You [Nov 14, 1929]
23. I'm Sailing On A Sunbeam [Nov 26, 1929]
24. I Wonder How It Feels [Jul 10, 1930]
25. I Found A Million-Dollar Baby [May 28, 1930]

Paul Specht entered the world, in 1895, in a place with the depressed name of Sinking Springs, Pennsylvania. We don't know much about his early years. When he again surfaced, the year was 1915, and he was the violin-playing leader of a small band he had formed to fill an engagement at the Fowler Hotel, in Lafayette, Indiana, home of Purdue University. Here, he was heard by a group of influential writers who helped publicize him and boost his fledgling career.

By 1916, Specht's travels had brought him to Detroit, Michigan, where he formed a six-piece band. Within the year, this group's success had allowed it to grow to twelve players. Throughout his career, he made telling use of his very special skill at finding, hearing and employing the best musicians available. In hiring Frank Guarente, for example, he was employing a man who claimed to have played with and exchanged ideas with King Oliver and Freddy Keppard. You can hear it in his playing!

Specht was a man of "firsts." He claimed -- and it is widely believed -- that his band was the first to broadcast dance music over radio. This event took place on September 14, 1920, over WWJ Detroit. It is thought that the music played was more likely to have been "dance" rather than "jazz." Specht certainly liked jazz and had players with unusual ability and talent for playing this new music -- including, at one time or another, trumpeter Frank Guarente, reedman Johnny O'Donnell, trombonist Russ Morgan, pianist-arranger Arthur Schutt, banjoist Harold Deppe, tubaist Joe Tarto and drummer Chauncey Morehouse. With players like these in the studio (if indeed they had been present), jazz may well have been played on the broadcast. In any event, Specht soon became a regular broadcaster, either leading his own band or sending in contracted units under the Specht monicker.

Paul Specht had seen the success that Art Hickman had achieved in contracting a number of separate bands to play under his name (frequently, ten or more in a given evening), as well as "Art Hickman's Orchestra." Paul Whiteman was quick to follow suit. By 1922, Specht, who himself had had considerable experience doing booking in a number of cities, including Detroit and Philadelphia, met up with show business entrepreneur, Gus Edwards, who brought him to New York. Soon, he was playing in residency in that city's Hotel Almanac, in the ballroom with full orchestra. After hours, he was expected to play the hotel's late-hour "Congo Room." To heighten the room's jungle atmosphere, Specht brought in a small jazz unit under the leadership of Frank Guarente.

Paul Specht, next, signed a contract with Columbia Records and, on June 24, 1922, did his first session for that company. A few days later, on June 29, two sides were issued as by "Specht's Jazz Outfit," which was a six-piece band similar to "The Georgians" (minus the banjo player). It marked another first for Specht, the first of its genre to be known as the "band within a band" format, a device much used by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, the California Ramblers and many others, thereafter.

Specht was early to garner band employment aboard posh transatlantic ocean liners, then, upon putting ashore, playing pre-commitments on the continent. In this manner, he took one of his bands to London, in 1923, where it took up residency at Lyon's Corner House. So well received was Specht, in that venue, that he was invited to play at the swank Kit-Cat Club, for the 1925 season.

In 1926, his duties, at home, prevailed over the temptation to return to London, just then. However, a Specht unit did get to go to the Kit-Cat Club, in the leader's stead, for the 1926 season. This unit was billed as "Paul Specht's Canadian Orchestra," under the direction of Orville Johnson.

As 1930 rolled around, Paul Specht found himself more popular than ever. His booking agency, Consolidated Booking, had proven very lucrative. At one time, the agency had in its employment both Harl Smith and Don Redman. By 1930, his output of published phonograph records numbered well over one hundred issues, and since his introduction to radio in 1920, he had kept busy broadcasting on a regular basis. He and his band performed in a Hollywood sound film, "Love At First Sight" (Chesterfield 1930).

During the 1930s, the years of constant and wearisome activity began to take their toll. He slowed down his band business, ceased making records and, eventually, gave up booking as well. Paul Specht died in April 1954.


With Paul Specht (violin, director) * Sylvester Ahola (trumpet) * Charlie Spivak (trumpet) * Leo McConville (trumpet) * Joe Lindwurm (trumpet) * Charlie Butterfield (trombone) * Larry Alpeter (trombone) * Al Philburn (trombone) * Artie Shaw (clarinet, saxophone) * Bob Chester (clarinet, saxophone) * Ernie Warren (clarinet, saxophone) * Foster Morehouse (clarinet, saxophone) * Jack Cressy (clarinet, saxophone) * Larry Abbott (clarinet, saxophone) * Frank Kilduff (clarinet, saxophone) * Henry Wade (clarinet, saxophone) * Roy Smeck (banjo) * Lou Calabrese (banjo) * Phil Wall (piano) * Thurlow Darrow (brass bass) * Billy Wolfe (brass bass) * Johnny Morris (drums, vocals).

Ordering Information

To order this CD, visit Worlds Records at http://www.worldsrecords.com. Or call 1-800-742-6663. When ordering, refer to the order number below (in red). For online orders, this five-digit number can be copied and pasted into the text field for "itemcode" searches.

Order No. 40487

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PAUL SPECHT AND HIS ORCHESTRA * a.k.a. THE SPARTON SYNCOPATORS [sic] * a.k.a. THE SPARTAN SYNCOPATORS * COLUMBIA * OKEH * CD * CDs * COMPACT DISC * COMPACT DISCS * 78 * 78s * 78's * 78 RPM * 78RPM * RECORD * RECORDS * RECORDING * RECORDINGS * TRANSCRIPTION * TRANSCRIPTIONS * EARLY JAZZ * HOT DANCE MUSIC * HOT JAZZ * CLASSIC JAZZ * TRADITIONAL JAZZ * DIXIELAND JAZZ * HISTORIC JAZZ * SWING * TERRITORY BAND * TERRITORY BANDS * VOCALIST * VOCALISTS * CHARLESTON * BLACK BOTTOM * FOX TROT * LINDY HOP * JITTERBUG * HOTEL DANCE BAND * HOTEL DANCE BANDS * POPULAR DANCE BAND * POPULAR DANCE BANDS * SWEET DANCE BAND * SWEET DANCE BANDS * 1920s * 1920's * 1925 * 1926 * 1927 * 1928 * 1929 * 1930s * 1930's * 1930 * 1931