Every jazz fan who’s’ ever owned a record, a CD, or even a download has a mental list of recorded music he or she has never heard but yearns to hear. I’m not talking about the Bolden cylinder or the Louis Hot Choruses, but here are some new and old fantasies. Readers are invited to add to this list (my imagined delights are in no particular order).
The 1929 OKeh recording of I’M GONNA STOMP MISTER HENRY LEE — what would have been the other side of KNOCKIN’ A JUG, with Louis, Jack Teagarden, Eddie Lang, Joe Sullivan, Happy Caldwell, and Kaiser Marshall. Did Jack sing or did Louis help him out? Was the take rejected because everyone was giggling?
The “little silver record” of Lester Young, circa 1934, probably one of those discs recorded in an amusement park booth, that Jo Jones spoke of as his earliest introduction to Pres. When I asked Jo about it (more than thirty-five years later), he stared at me and then said it had disappeared a long time ago.
On the subject of Lester, the 1942 (?) jam session supervised by Ralph Berton, who broadcast some of the results on WNYC — the participants were Shad Collins, Lester Young, J.C. Higginbotham, Red Allen, Lou McGarity, Art Hodes, Joe Sullivan, Doc West . . .
UNDER PLUNDER BLUES by Vic Dickenson, Buck Clayton, Hal Singer and Herb Hall: from the session released on Atlantic as MAINSTREAM. We know that the tapes from this and other sessions were destroyed in a fire, but the fire seems to have happened almost eighteen years after the recording. Hmmm.
The 78 album Ernest Anderson said he created — one copy only — for the jazz-fan son of a wealthy friend, a trio of Harry “the Hipster” Gibson, Bobby Hackett, and Sidney Catlett.
The 1928 duets of Red McKenzie and Earl Hines.
SINGIN’ THE BLUES, by Rod Cless, Frank Teschemacher, and Mezz Mezzrow.
DADDY, YOU’VE BEEN A MOTHER TO ME — by Lee Wiley, Frank Chace, Clancy Hayes, and Art Hodes, recorded at Squirrel Ashcraft’s house. (I’ve actually heard this, but the cassette copy has eluded me.)
Frank Newton’s controbution to the 1944 Fats Waller Memorial Concert.
The VOA transcriptions from the 1954-55 Newport Jazz Festivals — Ruby Braff, Lester Young, Count Basie, Jimmy Rushing, Jo Jones; Lee Wiley, Eddie Condon, Bobby Hackett, Vic Dickenson; Billie Holiday, Lester, Buck, and Teddy Wilson. (I have hopes of Wolfgang’s Vault here.)
Some of these are bound to remain out of our reach forever; some are tantalizingly close. But the Savory discs show us that miracles of a jazz sort DO happen. As do the acetates Scott Black rescued from a dumpster in New Orleans.
What discs do you dream about? This post, incidentally, has been taking shape in my mind for weeks, but what nudged it towards the light was our visit to a wonderful Berkeley, CA flea market / second-hand store called BAZAAR GILMAN, where there were records. No revelations, but a splendid mix of oddities, including a few RCA Victor vinyl home recording discs and a few Recordio-Gay ones. All full, with dispiriting titles such as WEDDING MARCH, BERCEUSE, and PIPE ORGAN. But one never knows!
While you’re up, would you put on those airshots from the Reno Club, 1935? (There was a radio wire: how else could John Hammond have heard the nine-piece Basie band in his car?)