This remarkable photograph of Paul Barbarin, New Orleans drummer, when he was driving the Louis Armstrong Orchestra (1935-39) is autographed to Midge Williams, who sang with Louis at the time (as did Sonny Woods, to handle the sweet numbers and to give Louis a rest). It’s no longer possible to call up Joe Glaser and offer to hire Paul Barbarin, but this photograph — with all those lovely cymbals on hangers, temple blocks and a gong (take that, Sonny Greer!) — makes us recall that such a thing was once possible.
More from Mr. Strong, the top picture particularly meaningful to me: from one of the Decca sessions that paired Louis with Gordon Jenkins — and someone I never noticed before, half-hidden behind Louis, the Blessed Milton Gabler. The lower photo depicts Louis in front of what resembles a smaller late-Forties big band, but it’s all mysterious now.
Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra: I’ll rely on one of my scholarly Bixian readers to identify this one: time of day, place, and personnel, please!
I can’t tell whether this rather odd cover collage (was it an art director or someone with a pair of scissors and no supervision?) comes from the same session as the Louis-Jenkins shot above, but this cover is especially dear to me, since it’s one I stared at often through my childhood while listening to the music contained inside. (And I still have my copy from a half-century ago, which pleases me immensely — considering the way objects evanesce and disappear.)