Here are two of William P. Gottlieb’s less known but highly evocative photographs from the collection now held by the Library of Congress.  First, a wonderful trio — three musicians who never found themselves in a recording studio, although the pianist and clarinetist joined forces, however briefly, for a famous and elusive 1936 radio broadcast called “A Demonstration of Swing.”  Here they are, circa 1939, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. — Joe Marsala, Zutty Singleton, and Teddy Wilson:


And this must have been a very sedate night at Jimmy Ryan’s in 1947 — featuring Hot Lips Page, J. C. Higginbotham, Bud Freeman, and Freddie Moore, with — no doubt — other stomping compatriots out of the range of the photograph.  Moore looks atypically somber, but I am sure that he was alone in that regard: 


6 responses to “YEARS GONE BY

  1. Thanks for the fine photos. I’m sure that’s not Freddie Moore on drums though (at Jimmy Ryan’s)…who once described his own large eyes and lips as “flounder-faced” in his famous vocal of “Saint James ‘Infoimery'” on Blue Note. I had the good fortune to see Freddie perform many times in the late 1940s; and once again at Red Blazer Too in NYC in the late 70s or early 80s, when, bloated from emphysema, he was still giving it all he had). But from other photos alone, you can see that’s not him. Maybe Kansas Fields?

  2. Thanks, Dave. You’re quite right. Said tactlessly, that man behind the drums is insufficiently grotesque! But I don’t see a similarity to Kansas Fields (see the pictures of him circa 1944-5 in EDDIE CONDON’S SCRAPBOOK OF JAZZ). Could it be Wilbert Kirk, who played for the Wilbur DeParis? Can any readers with good memories and a police sketch artist’s love of distinctive features help out here?

  3. Michael:

    Based on this photograph

    also by Gottlieb, I don’t thik it’s Wilbert Kirk (who also played harmonica) on that photo at Jimmy Ryan’s in 1947 .

    Best regards,

  4. I admit it was a guess based on no evidence whatsoever — it’s irrelevant but intriguing that the mystery drummer is nattily dressed in a half-casual way! Any suggestions? Cheers, Michael

  5. Sorry to be so “refusalist”. I wish I could bring some suggestions, but I am an awful physiognomist.

    Anyway, I’ve asked at the Organissimo forums to see if anybody (maybe Chris Albertson?) can shed some light.

  6. There’s a page of photos of just drummers in the Esquire Yearbook of Jazz from about 1948. Maybe it would help. (Btw, my Kansas Fields guess was based solely on my very vague recall of his photo on that page, in uniform of the US Navy, which I haven’t looked at in years, and don’t have access to just now. Admittedly, insufficient basis for a good guess. Does anyone have a copy handy?

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