Daily Archives: January 7, 2010


David Weiner, Swing Era scholar and friend from ‘way back, sent along these pictures of Mildred Bailey — looking more sunny — and news that she did appear in a 1933 Universal Pictures musical short subject (not yet transferred from the negative) in which she sings IS THAT RELIGION in “full go-to-meeting garb,” happily.  Waiting eagerly . . .

Until that surfaces on DVD, here are three photographs of Mildred — I’ve only seen the middle portrait study:

In the first, she’s in a CBS television studio.  The pianist is Ellis Larkins.  Can anyone identify the bassist?

I see Mildred’s Native American heritage in her facial structure here.

Here’s the more cheerful portrait, date unknown:

Finally, a publicity shot of Mildred and Benny Goodman — possibly 1939-40, when she recorded with the band for Columbia.  Mildred is pointing at Benny’s tiepin.  Readers are free to add their own subtexts.

Sometimes she’s happy . . . .


Dan Vernhettes has been celebrated in these pages as the author of the thoroughly illuminating study of trumpeter Tommy Ladnier, TRAVELING BLUES.  So I knew and admired him as a diligent and original jazz scholar, someone devoted to doing more than repeating the same facts and assertions printed elsewhere. 

But I had almost forgotten that Dan is a fine jazz trumpeter himself.

Here’s his nine-piece band, SWING FEELING, doing a lovely job on DICKIE’S DREAM (homage to the 1957 version from THE SOUND OF JAZZ) — recorded in August 2007:

Dan takes the second (open) trumpet solo.

And, going perhaps sixty years in conception — from Basie to Bolden — here are the VINTAGE JAZZMEN playing DON’T GO ‘WAY NOBODY (which surfaces later as HOW’M I DOIN’ and other variants):

Here, Dan’s colleagues are Tommy Sancton (cl, ts), Olivier Beuffe (tb), Siphan Upravan (bj), Enzo Mucci (b, g, bj), Guillaume Nouaux (dm). Filmed at Jazzclub Mülheim (Germany) in May 2006.  Visit http://d-vernhettes.club.fr

It’s always inspiring to see someone who puts his love of a subject into action!


 I first heard Colin Bowden on a session the late Humphrey Lyttelton and Kenny Davern did for the Calligraph label — THAT OLD GANG OF OURS — so long ago that I had a vinyl copy.  And I admired Colin’s wonderful beat and the sounds he got out of his drums.  I haven’t changed my mind.  Too many times, when the drummer in a jazz group begins an extended solo, the other members of the ensemble leave the stand — not to give him more room, but because they know that six or seven minutes of pounding all around the drumset awaits the unwary.  A half-dozen drummers are exceptions to this, and Colin is one of them.  Here’s his feature on THAT’S A PLENTY recorded on September 20, 2009, with the Delta Jazz Band — comprised of the UK veteran Pat Halcox (tp), Terry Giles (cl), Mike Pointon (tb), Andy Maynard (bj), John Sirett (b).  It was recorded (expertly) at HundertMeister Duisburg (Germany), and posted on YouTube by “ulivids.”  

To some this style of drumming may seem archaic — too much Baby Dodds and Zutty Singleton.  But if you can free your mind from the neat boxes of Styles and Categories, perhaps you can better appreciate and enjoy Colin’s enthusiastic way of making those pieces of wood and calfskin (or plastic) sing.  And I despair of the person who could watch this clip without jiggling around in the chair.


The extra-special singer and guitarist Melissa Collard sent this video of “the Tuttle Kids,” ages 10 (Michael) , 12 (Sullivan) , and 15 (Molly), sitting on the couch, their faces revealing the joy of being deep into the music, wailing away on LADY BE GOOD.  Obviously someone out there loves to play and knows what it is to practice a musical instrument . . .


Video reporter George Whipple took a camera crew down to Sofia’s last Monday — that’s where Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks tear it up for three hours of hot jazz, sweet romance, and expert dancing every Monday night.  Whipple captured a bit of the ambiance: that’s Sol Yaged at the start, nimble Heidi Rosenau in the rust-colored dress, Jon-Erik Kellso working his plunger mute, Dan Levinson, Mark Lopeman, and Dan Block on reeds, Harvey Tibbs on trombone, and the usual glittering suspects: Alex Norris on trumpet, Arnie Kinsella on drums, Andy Stein on violin, Ken Salvo on banjo/guitar, and Peter Yarin on piano.


It’s a pleasure to watch this clip . . . but a greater pleasure to be there!