Al Hazan is Ali Hassan HEAR
After the success of "Nut Rocker," I was anxious to produce a rock piano record of my own. Consequently, I teamed up with Lester Sill who agreed to finance me on the production of two more piano recordings.
Returning from London, I composed some rock and roll arrangements on a couple of piano pieces, "Malaguena" and "Chopsticks." I went to see Stan Ross at Gold Star and asked him if he thought we could duplicate the piano sound from "Nut Rocker." I left him a copy of the record and asked him to listen to it at home. I thought this necessary because I felt sure the sound we got at Rendezvous was an important reason for B. Bumble's success. Stan said he felt confident he could duplicate the sound, so I scheduled the session for the following week.
On the day of the session, Stan and I welcomed Sharky Hall on drums, Ray Pohlman on guitar and Carol Kaye on Fender bass and, without much fooling around, we all quickly got set up. Stan was kind enough to accommodate me by putting the same metal thumbtacks on the studio upright as Rod Pierce had done months before at Rendezvous Records. Now we were ready to begin the session.
After a few takes of "Malaguena," I realized something important was missing. The piano did not record with the same dynamic sound I heard on "Nut Rocker." Stan couldn't seem to figure it out. Maybe it was the control board in the engineer's booth or maybe there was something special about the ambience in the Rendezvous office that couldn't be duplicated. It just wasn't happening and we never did get the sound to my satisfaction.
In spite of that, "Malaguena" turned out to be a very exciting recording I was proud of after all. In fact, Lester Sill liked "Malaguena" so much he put my arrangement of "Chopsticks" on the b-side and released it on Philles, the label he owned with Phil Spector.
I asked Lester to put the name Ali Hassan on the label, in place of my real name, which ended up causing some confusion later on. Because of that decision, a rumor started that the person who played on "Nut Rocker" in 1962 was someone named Ali Hassan. The truth is, there is and never was an Ali Hassan. Obviously, the name I used as the performer on "Malaguena" and "Chopsticks" somehow got mixed up with the B. Bumble recording through the years. Of course, it's of no great consequence but I hope it can now be known Al Hazan and Ali Hassan are one and the same and it is no longer a source of confusion.
The thing I remember most about the release of "Malaguena" was that Dick Clark really liked it and was convinced it would be a hit. Because of this, he played it almost every day on his TV show, American Bandstand. I would watch the show each day to hear the record and watch the kids dance to it. But, in spite of the great exposure he gave it, he couldn't really get it off the ground. I don't remember how well it sold, but it didn't do what I had hoped for and that was very disappointing for me.