Update On Links

March 18, 2013 - I'm now using various file sites with varying success. With over 200 albums listed here, obviously I cannot upload everything at once. So if you're dying to hear something, please post a comment on that particular post and I will move it up in the priority queue. Enjoy!

Any posts taken down as a result of the sniveling coward will be re-upped. Check the link below for where to find them in the event that this site is unable to repost them. Don't forget to bookmark http://whereismrvolstead.blogspot.com/ in the event that the internet terrorists shut this page down.

10 August 2012

Rockin' With The Rockets

Here's one that I found recently. Normally I draw from my own collection of cds, but I know I'm not the only person who collects the Classics Chrono[lo]gical series and this is too good to leave in obscurity. I'm currently listening to the band for the second time around, and the four recording sessions Harlan Leonard made in 1940 are as solid and respectable as any music put out by other bands of the era. Even Myra Taylor sounds a bit like Ella Fitzgerald. From Wiki, "a professional musician from the age of 17, he joined Benny Moten's orchestra in 1923, where he led the reed section until 1931. In 1931 he and Thamon Hayes formed the Kansas City Skyrockets, which included trumpeter Ed Lewis, trombonist Vic Dickenson, and pianist Jesse Stone. After disputes with the Chicago local of the American Federation of Musicians the band broke up. Leonard then formed a new band, Harlan Leonard and his Rockets which featured a young Myra Taylor. Charlie Parker played in this band for five weeks, but was fired by Leonard for lack of discipline. The band's music is considered transitional between swing and bop. The band broke up during the Second World War, and Leonard left professional music."  "One of the top Kansas City bandleaders of the late 1930s and early '40s, Harlan Leonard was fortunate enough to lead four recording sessions in 1940 that resulted in 24 selections and really showed off the strengths of his band. Leonard started playing professional with George E. Lee's group in 1923, and a few months later, he became lead altoist with Bennie Moten. He was with Moten for eight years (up until 1931) and then during 1931-1934, the altoist was with the Kansas City Sky Rockets which was led by trombonist Thamon Hayes. When Hayes departed in 1934, Leonard became its leader. Three years later, the group broke up and he soon formed a new big band, Harlan Leonard's Rockets. The band was most notable for the arrangements of Tadd Dameron (in his prebop days), Eddie Durham, and Buster Smith, and the solos of tenorman Henry Bridges and trombonist Fred Beckett (an early inspiration for J.J. Johnson). Although they appeared in New York during part of 1940, the Rockets were based in Kansas City and mostly played in the Midwest until 1943 when Leonard relocated to Los Angeles and put together a completely different orchestra. After that group broke up in 1945, Harlan Leonard permanently left music to work for the Internal Revenue Service."(Allmusic.com) Scans are included. Enjoy! +


01. Rockin' With The Rockets
02. Hairy Joe Jump (Southern Fried)
03. Contact
04. Snaky Feeling
05. My Gal Sal (They Called Her Frivolous Sal)
06. Skee
07. I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire
08. Ride My Blues Away
09. I'm In A Weary Mood
10. Parade Of The Stompers
11. Rock And Ride
12. 400 Swing
13. My Dream
14. My Pop Gave Me A Nickel
15. Please Don't Squabble
16. A La Bridges
17. Dameron Stomp
18. Society Steps Out (Rachmaninoff Jumps)
19. Mistreated
20. Too Much
21. Keep Rockin'
22. Take 'Um


Ground Rules said...

Thanks for the dedication to the historic aspect of great music and all your great work here. Bravo!

slipry said...

Wonderful! I have been looking for this for so long. Many thanks

RecordRich said...


Any chance this could be reposted? Harlan Leonard had a remarkable futuristic-sounding band at this time.

Record Rich

Chester Proudfoot said...

Ready to enjoy again.

RecordRich said...


Many Thanks for re-upping this. I really appreciate your blog. People need to know the history of jazz and dance bands in the US - thanks for keeping us aware.