In 1959, Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds made their first trip to Ace Recording Studios in Boston, Massachusetts to cut two original instrumentals: “Banshee,” written by James K. “Hap” Snow, Art Bearon, and Stefano Torossi, and “Bottoms Up,“ written by Bearon and a fellow Williams’ student with the surname D’Angelo.
The sessions featured the four regular Whirlwinds, Bearon on piano, Harry Lewis on saxophone, Snow on lead guitar, and Torossi on drums. In addition, a bass guitar player from Williams was invited to sit in that day–yet to be confirmed is that he was the co-author of “Bottoms Up,” D’Angelo.
Hap Snow recalls, “the sessions took forever and ever, there were more than twenty takes [of “Banshee”] before the engineers were satisfied.” “Bottoms Up,” on the other hand, was written on the spot at the end of the 4-hour recording session. It was used for the B-side while, “Banshee,” originally known as “Macabre” in early versions, was placed on the A-side.
A video made several years ago for Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds’ “Banshee” is on YouTube: