Daily Archives: July 24, 2011

CHARLES AND WILLIAM, December 1957, New York City

Yes, Charles Ellsworth Russell (clarinet) and William Basie (piano) in the CBS television studio, December 1957, probably for the rehearsal for THE SOUND OF JAZZ. 

There is only one other photograph I’ve ever seen of the two great individualists together — at the Leadbelly Memorial Concert.  Here’s the reverse of the 1957 candid portrait:

It makes me wonder how many other previously unseen photographs (this one isn’t by Milt Hinton but by a CBS staff phogorapher) exist.

But I don’t have to wonder about the composition Pee Wee Russell and Count Basie are embarking on — no, I’d bet my 2012 salary that it’s a Bb blues.  And I wish I’d been able to hear it . . .


More from the bottomless treasure-chest of eBay.  A British seller is offering a copy of Billie Holiday’s lyrics for a song called THIS IS IT.  Her handwriting is distinctive, but I know nothing about the possible melody (and I’ve never heard a recording of her performing this song).  It seems in parts a collage of conversational phrases from a wounded soul and includes YOU CAN’T BE MINE AND SOMEONE ELSE’S TOO, which she did record in 1937.

Did she write these lyrics with the most sought-after Louis McKay in mind?  Do any JAZZ LIVES readers know more about this particular opus?


Another highlight of the 2011 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee was this tribute — lively and touching — to the recently departed “jazz greats” who had played the Jubilee many times in the past: Jake Hanna, drums; Eddie Higgins, piano; Tommy Saunders, trumpet; Chuck Hedges, clarinet. 

The band was led by the affable and funny Bill Allred (who also happens to be a superb trombonist), with Bob Schulz, cornet, vocals; Kim Cusack, clarinet; Johnny Varro, piano; Darrell Fernandez, bass; Vince Bartels, drums.  And two New York visitors!

They began with a Condonite ROSETTA:

Then a lovely I REMEMBER YOU by the rhythm section:

AS LONG AS I LIVE was good reason to invite Jon-Erik Kellso and John Allred (The Ear Inn’s superheroes) up to the stand to play some:

A touching rendition of OLD FOLKS, highlighted by Bob’s heartfelt singing:

 And the set ended with a leisurely SINGIN’ THE BLUES, for Bix and Tommy and all the dear departed:

Remembering the dead through living music and stories makes them seem to be with us still . . . .