LEE ARLANO TRIO

Pueblo and Denver, Colorado

Records with Sonobeat in 1967
Two commercial 45 RPM releases (1967 & 1969) and one commercial album release (1968) on Sonobeat Records
Digital reissues on and Amazon Digital Music (2014 & 2015)
Listen! to more below
Sonobeat's first jazz single, released in 1967
Cash Box Magazine's October 7, 1967, issue names Sonobeat's Lee Arlano single a Best Bet
Sonobeat's first album release, with cover sketch by Austin artist Jim Franklin (it's Jim's first album art)
From left, Lee Arlano (standing), Sam Poni, Andy Arlano, in an enhanced version of the publicity photo provided by the trio for use on the back of the Sonobeat album jacket; Austin artist Jim Franklin uses this photo as the reference model for his album cover sketch

The Lee Arlano Trio's second Sonobeat single, featuring the original song School Daze, with music by Trio pianist Sam Poni and lyrics by prolific Sonosong composer Herman Helson (who graciously gifts us the only copy of this single we have in the Sonobeat archives)

From Boulder and Denver, Colorado, the Lee Arlano Trio works the Western half of the U.S. throughout the '60 and into the early '70s, circulating through the jazz club circuit with regular stops in Minneapolis, Jackson Hole, Anaheim, Las Vegas, and... Austin. And, when they're in Austin, the Trio calls Club Seville at the Sheraton Crest Inn home. It's KAZZ-FM's live remote broadcasts from Club Seville, hosted by future Sonobeat Records co-founder Bill Josey Sr., that introduces him to the group in 1966. Bill Sr., an avid jazz fan, loves the group's versatility, technical craftsmanship, and imaginative interpretations of jazz classics such as Big Noise from Winnetka and new hits such as Ramsey Lewis' jazz-rock crossover The In Crowd. Bill Sr., who plays big band-style coronet, knows, even as Sonobeat is merely a germinating idea, that he wants to do something more with the Trio.

The first Arlano session is held at Club Seville on July 12, 1967, during Club's off-hours, and produces two tracks for a 45 RPM single. The Arlano sessions resume on July 19th, again at Club Seville, with instrumental backing tracks for potential Don Dean and Fran Nelson pop vocal singles, and wrap on July 26th and 27th, when the Trio records a baker's dozen slickly performed tracks from which ten will be selected for a Sonobeat album release in 1968. Importantly, since the recordings are all of unamplified acoustic instruments, it's easier for inexperienced recording engineers Rim Kelley (Bill Josey Jr.) and KAZZ-FM chief engineer Bill Curtis, who has designed and built Sonobeat's portable 6-input mixer, to create a real-time mix of each tune with just one pass to a quarter-inch 2-track Ampex 354 recorder. All that's required are two mikes on the piano, three on the drums, and one on the upright double bass. Although the mixer and recorder are situated only a few feet from the stage where Lee Arlano (drums), Andy Arlano (bass), and Sam Poni (piano) perform, because the instruments are unamplified, Kelley and Curtis can clearly hear the mix through their headphones. In addition, acoustic instruments don't overload the Curtis-built mixer, creating relatively clean recordings. Since the session tapes also are the master tapes, the lacquer masters for the record pressing plates are made with first generation recordings.

The musicianship is tight, and the sound jumps off the grooves of the 45rpm record, transporting the listener back to the Austin, Texas of the 1960s.
Ricky Stein in his 2014 book Sonobeat Records: Pioneering the Austin Sound in the '60s

The Lee Arlano Trio's first Sonobeat single, There Will Never Be Another You backed with Meditation (PJ-s 501), released September 11, 1967, picks up accolades in a Cash Box Magazine review in October 1967. Sonobeat's first album release, by the Arlano Trio, follows in 1968. The Trio's diverse Jazz to the Third Power (PJ-S 1001) is one of only three albums that Sonobeat commercially releases and markets on its own label (The David Flack Quorum's Mindbender and Helmer Dahl's Toe-Tapping Tunes: Organ Solos are the others). Bill Sr. engages celebrated Austin artist Jim Franklin (a co-founder and artist-in-residence of fabled Vulcan Gas Company in downtown Austin) to create the cover art from a band publicity photo; notably, it's Jim's first album cover, which he creates as a detailed pencil sketch. Austin commercial photographer Jack Storey provides the liner photo, and Austin American-Statesman amusements editor John Bustin writes the liner notes. The June 29, 1968, edition of music trade journal Billboard awards the album a 4-star rating in its jazz album reviews for the week.

The [Lee Arlano Trio] jazz record demonstrated Sonobeat's (and Austin's) eclecticism early on. To this day, the music scene in Austin is known for its wide variety of musical styles, and this was a key element of the scene from its earliest stages.
Ricky Stein in his 2014 book Sonobeat Records: Pioneering the Austin Sound in the '60s

As its last release of 1969, Sonobeat issues the Arlano Trio's second and final single, School Daze (P-J 117), the only Arlano original recorded by Sonobeat, with music by pianist Sam Poni and lyrics by prolific Sonosong composer Herman Nelson. Meditation, the "B" side of the first Arlano single, makes its second appearance, this time as the "B" side of School Daze. Although the Arlano Trio backs early recordings intended for Sonobeat artists Fran Nelson and Don Dean, which end up unused, School Daze is the only vocal released by the group and credits "Cindy" as the singer. Her last name isn't mentioned on the single's label, but "Cindy" is Cindy Reynolds, who also sings on the Bill Wilson song demo album recorded by Sonobeat in the same general time frame as the Arlano sessions. From 1976 to 2009, the Sonobeat archives contain no copy of the School Daze 45 RPM single; however, as a holiday present in December 2009, Herman Nelson graciously gifts the Archives with a copy from his personal collection, a rare and prized treasure.

Club Seville is a dinner cabaret occupying the entire top floor of the Sheraton Crest Inn. Near the center of the large dining room, which is set up cabaret style, is a small raised stage for musical acts and a wood planked dance floor. The Club is lined on three sides with floor to ceiling windows that reflect not just light but sound. To dampen what might otherwise be too "lively" a room for dinner guests, the windows are thickly draped – the drapes are closed when musical acts are on stage – and the floor coverings are equally thick and luxurious. The drapes and carpet completely deaden the room on Sonobeat's Arlano recordings, so when the Trio's singles and album are mastered and pressed, producer Bill Josey Sr. asks Houston Records to "add a slight, almost unnoticeable amount of reverb -- but only if that reverb is chamber or steel sheet -- no springs, please!"

By the time Sonobeat releases Jazz to the Third Power in '68, Lee's brother, Andy, is replaced on bass by Jack Dujo, also from Pueblo, Colorado. Pianist Sam Poni and Jack have worked as a duo before joining up with Lee, but Jack doesn't perform on any of Sonobeat's Lee Arlano Trio releases. In fact, the Lee Arlano Trio changes personnel many times in a relatively short period of time; when Bill Sr. first meets the Trio, the pianist is Les James. The Trio records another album, in 1969, this time for Denver label Premiere, with Les Arellano stepping in on piano, causing us some confusion when we come across this in newspaper ads. Adding to the confusion, "Arlano" is one of two names used interchangeably by the Trio; in fact, the first four tracks Sonobeat records with the trio are under the name "The Lee Arellano Trio". The family name appears to be "Arellano", not "Arlano", and the trio frequently performs in Colorado and in the western U.S. under the "Arellano" name. Newspaper ads variously refer to the Trio by both "Arellano" and "Arlano" (but the unit's bookings in Austin are under the name "The Lee Arlano Trio"). Even "Sam Poni" appears to be a stage name for Sam Pannunzio, who today remains an active performer based in Pueblo, Colorado. By 1976, Lee has joined big band The Denver Affair. Lee dies on October 1, 1982, at age 48.

Bill Josey Sr. hosts many live broadcasts of the Lee Arlano Trio over KAZZ-FM, originating from Club Seville, before and after the combo's first Sonobeat single is released. After KAZZ-FM shuts down in January 1968, Sonobeat continues its relationship with the talented group – a relationship that ultimately generates the most number of tracks commercially released by any artist on the label.

In March 2014, Sonobeat Historical Archives reissues restored and remastered digital versions of There Will Never Be Another You and Meditation, and in October 2015, the album Jazz To The Third Power including two previously unreleased bonus tracks. All are available on iTunes, Amazon Digital Music, eMusic, Rhapsody, and XBox.

Get Lee Arlano Trio on digital now

There Will Never Be Another You and Meditation

Jazz To The Third Power with bonus tracks

Lee Arlano Trio personnel

Lee Arlano: drums
Andy Arlano: double-bass
Cindy Reynolds: vocal on School Daze
Sam Poni: piano

Sonobeat stereo 45 RPM release PJ-s501 (1967)

"A" side: There Will Never Be Another You (N. Warren-M. Gordon) • 3:44
"B" side: Meditation (Mendonco-Jobim) • 2:46

Released week of September 11, 1967* • PJ-s501
Produced by Bill Josey
Engineered by Rim Kelley and Bill Curtis
Generic sleeve
Recorded at Club Seville at the Sheraton Crest Inn, Austin, Texas, on July 12, 1967
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, Ampex 354 quarter-inch 2-track tape deck, custom 6-channel portable FET stereo mixer, Ampex 150 and 3M (Scotch) 201 tape stock
Vinyl collector information for PJ-s501

Approximately 1,000 copies pressed; approximately 50-75 copies marked "PROMO" and "NOT FOR SALE"
Lacquers mastered and vinyl copies pressed by Houston Records, Inc., Houston, Texas
Generic sleeve
Label blanks printed by Powell Offset Services, Austin, Texas
In the dead wax:
   There Will Never Be Another You: LH-3508
   Meditation: LH-3509
   "LH" in the matrix number means "Location Houston", which identifies Houston Records, Inc.

There Will Never Be Another You digital reissue (2014)

On July 15, 2014, Sonobeat Historical Archives reissued the first Lee Arlano Trio single, consisting of There Will Never Be Another You and Meditation, on iTunes, Amazon Digital Music, eMusic, Rhapsody, and XBox. Available as individual tracks or together as There Will Never Be Another You. The single has been out of print since early 1968. For the 2014 reissue, Sonobeat Historical Archives digitally restored and remastered all tracks from the original analog session master tapes. The Lee Arlano Trio reissue was the second of many scheduled digital reissues from the Sonobeat vaults. Each track just 69¢ on iTunes this summer.

Sonobeat stereo album release PJ-s1001 (1968)

Jazz to the Third Power
Side 1:
   Satin Doll (Ellington-Strayhorn-Mercer) • 5:15
   The Continental (Conrad-Magidson) • 3:01
   Straight, No Chaser (Monk) • 3:30
   Tenderly (Gross-Lawrence) • 3:27
   Undecided (Robin-Shavers) • 3:46
Side 2:
   In Crowd (Page) • 6:15
   I Remember April (DePaul-Raye-Johnston) • 3:53
   The Girl From Ipanema (Gimbel-Jobim-DeMoraes) • 2:18
   Big Noise From Winnetka (Crosby-Bauduc-Haggart-Rodin) • 5:20
   Milestones (Davis) • 3:00

Released week of May 27, 1968* • PJ-s1001
Producer: Bill Josey
Associate Producer: Bill Gainer
Director: Rim Kelley
Associate Director: John Earley
Engineers: Rim Kelley and Bill Curtis
Cover sketch: Jim Franklin
Liner photo: Jack Storey
Liner notes: John Bustin
Recorded at Club Seville at the Sheraton Crest Inn, Austin, Texas, on July 26, and 27, 1967
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, Ampex 354 quarter-inch 2-track tape deck, custom 6-channel portable FET stereo mixer, 3M (Scotch) 201 and Ampex 150 tape stock

Vinyl collector information for PJ-s1001

Approximately 500 copies pressed
Lacquers mastered and vinyl copies pressed by Houston Records, Inc., Houston, Texas
Four-color (front) and black & white (back) jacket
Label blanks and jackets printed by Powell Offset Services, Austin, Texas
In the dead wax:
   Side 1: LH-4108
   Side 2: LH-4109
   "LH" in the matrix number means "Location Houston", which identifies Houston Records, Inc.

Jazz To The Third Power digital reissue (2015)

On October 2, 2015, Sonobeat Historical Archives reissued the Lee Arlano Trio album Jazz To The Third Power consisting of all tracks from the original 1968 vinyl album plus two previously unreleased bonus tracks, A Foggy Day and Laura. The album has been out of print since early 1968, but now is available as a digital download on iTunes, Amazon Digital Music, eMusic, Rhapsody, and XBox. For the 2015 reissue, Sonobeat Historical Archives digitally restored and remastered all tracks from the original analog session master tapes.

Sonobeat stereo 45 RPM release P-J 117 (1969)

"A" side: School Daze with vocalist Cindy Reynolds (Poni-Nelson) • 3:25
"B" side: Meditation (Mendonco-Jobim) • 2:46

Released week of December 8, 1969* • P-J 117
Produced by Bill Josey
Engineered by Rim Kelley and Bill Curtis
Generic sleeve
Recorded at Club Seville at the Sheraton Crest Inn, Austin, Texas, on July 12 and 27, 1967
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, Ampex 354 quarter-inch 2-track tape deck, custom 6-channel portable FET stereo mixer, 3M (Scotch) 201 tape stock with vocal overdub mixed to Ampex 681 tape stock
Vinyl collector information for P-J 117

Approximately 1,000 copies pressed
Lacquers mastered and vinyl copies pressed Sidney J. Wakefield & Co., Phoeniz, Arizona
Generic sleeve
Label blanks printed by Powell Offset Services, Austin, Texas
In the dead wax:
   School Daze: 12707
   Meditation: 12707

Unreleased Sonobeat recordings
Tennessee Waltz
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Jazz to the Third Power Liner Notes

At a time when jazz is spinning off in so many directions, when musicians are either frantically reaching toward new horizons in jazz or laboriously digging up relics of the past, it's really refreshing to run across somebody like The Lee Arlano Trio.

Built around the standard piano-bass-drum instrumentation, this versatile threesome has a wholesome, healthy, and best of all, perhaps — entertaining approach to jazz. To the Arlano group, obviously, music is neither mystical, sacred, nor somber. It's supposed to be appealing, and, ideally, enjoyable.

The delightful Arlano style is deftly demonstrated on this new collection of songs which also serves to point up the trio's wide-ranging abilities and the individual talents of its members.

Leader Lee Arlano is the drummer, a steady timekeeper with some neat rhythmike tricks. Sam Poni, a Pueblo, Colorado, lad, is the pianist with a swinging straight-ahead style somewhat suggesting a cross between Oscar Peterson and Ramsey Lewis. The bassist is Andy Arlano, Lee's brother and an uncommonly solid cornerstone for the trio as a whole.

During the course of ten nicely assorted tunes each of the trio has opportunity to showcase his skills — Andy, for instance, on a bright-tempoed I Remember April, where he employs some double-stop techniques in a novel bass solo — Lee with his brushes and sticks on Thelonious Monk's Straight, No Chaser — Pianist Poni on the Duke's shiny Satin Doll.

Highlights abound, though, and everyone who has heard the Arlano Trio during its successful engagements at Club Seville of Austin's Sheraton Crest Inn (where, incidentally, this album was recorded) or in Las Vegas or Denver or Anaheim, or anywhere it appears, will have their own favorites. A couple of major moments, however, are In Crowd, the Ramsey Lewis romp which, in this treatment, seems to get more going for it than even the original, and Big Noise From Winnetka, an old Bob Crosby Bobcat thriller, which proves to be a nostalgic virtuoso piece for the brothers Arlano.

But Arlano's music is not to be analyzed nor explained. It's be be played and listened to. Its enjoyment, after all, is its own message.

John Bustin, Amusement Editor, Austin American-Statesman

Lee Arlano Trio National Review

In its October 7, 1967, issue, Cash Box Magazine reviews the Lee Arlano Trio's first Sonobeat single, There Will Never Be Another You, saying: "The quality of this stereo recording gives exposure impetus with particular appeal to FM-stereo outlets. Soft jazz rendering of the Seekers hit. Flip: Meditation. More delightful interpretations."

Similar to its better known competitor Billboard, Cash Box is a weekly music trade publication aimed at radio station program directors, deejays, record labels, record wholesalers and retailers, and coin-operated juke box operators. Cash Box ceases publishing in 1996.

Sonobeat Historical Archives' cover art for 2014 digital reissue of the first Arlano Trio single
Most of the Arlano sessions, such as these that yield two singles and an album, are recorded in July 1967 at Club Seville in the Sheraton Crest Hotel on Austin's Town Lake
Master tape for the second Lee Arlano Trio single, featuring vocalist Cindy Reynolds

Sonobeat Historical Archives cover art for the 2015 digital reissue of the Lee Arlano Trio album