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?)

18 responses to “WISHING WILL MAKE IT SO

  1. I searched for the 1940 Boyce Brown – Wild Bill Davison “Collectors Item Cats” sides for years without success. About a year ago I finally got to hear two of the sides:


  2. The Jean Goldkette band doing “The Stampede,” “Tiger Rag” or “Valencia,” all the tunes that cut the Fletcher Henderson band. And yeah, those McKenzie/Hines duets you mentioned!

  3. Rob Rothberg

    I’ll take Trumbauer’s “From Monday On,” thank you.

    A “trio of Harry ‘the Hipster’ Gibson, Bobby Hackett, and Sidney Catlett?” Tell me more!

  4. Wonderful outside-the-box version of “I Surrender Dear.” Thank you Michael, Jim and Jeff. Such an interesting photo of the band as well on that funky little bandstand… meaningful to me anyway. Hines actually backed up Red McKenzie for some vocals? I’d love to hear them. Thanks M. Figg for just hipping me those 2 greats got together. mb

  5. Bill Gallagher

    In my case, ignorance is bliss.

  6. As always, Michael, an intriguing topic. High on my personal list must be the rejected 1923 Gennett recording of Oliver’s Creole Jazz band playing “Someday Sweetheart” of which Baby Dodds said that brother Johnny’s work was exceptional even for him… test pressing, anyone?

  7. Here is my wishlist:

    King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band – unissued recordings of ‘When You Leave Me Alone To Pine’, ‘That Sweet Something Dear’ and ‘If You Want My Heart’.

    Bix Beiderbecke and His Rhythm Jugglers – unissued recordings of ‘Magic Blues’ and ‘No One Knows What It’s All About’.

  8. Bruno Leicht

    Hi there, Michael —

    That’s a wonderful list of jazz mysteries! — Maybe at least two or three of them will be solved in the future?

    Mine is also a tough one: Of all the broadcasts, Lady Day did with Artie Shaw, wouldn’t there be the slightest hope that somebody has recorded it?

    Unfortunately the fabulous Hindsight-LP series with those wonderful broadcasts in almost Hi-Fi quality starts right after she has left the band, and Helen Forrest took over completely.

    Another thing was fortunately recorded, and it was issued on LP: Charlie Parker playing Mario Lanza’s “Be My Love” in an apparently totally empty ball room.

  9. in the unlikely event it eluded your radar, Masters of Jazz CD MJCD 47, Lester Young Vol. 2 has Tickle-Toe & Taxi War Dance, WNYC 15 Feb. ’41 w. LY, Shad Collins, John Collins, Nick Fenton, Doc West

  10. or how about the disc supposedly cut of a live broadcast of Lester with King Oliver at an army base in Georgia, 1930

  11. I have those on the original Everybody’s lp — they are a kind of summit of swing creativity. The MoJ series was stunning and they are now impossible to find unless you have piles of money. But thanks for the reminder!

  12. Speaking of McKenzie, how about the December 28, 1933 session with the odd trumpetless instrumentation and All-Star personnel. Anyone know the provenance of the information in Rust?

  13. And what happened to the recordings of Edmond Hall with Count Basie’s Orchestra?

  14. Ross Firestone

    When I was interviewing Bill Savory for my Benny Goodman bio he told me about the treasure trove he had stashed in his basement, and would occasionally dash downstairs and return with some Goodman gem in his hand to show me. When I asked him what he was going to do with all these incredible recordings, he said that he planned to release some of them on his own starting with broadcasts by Lee Sims, a nonjazz pianist who was said to be a major influence on Art Tatum, and – – and now I’m getting to the point — live recordings of the band Lester Young co-led with his brother Lee in 1941 with Shad Collins on trumpet, which except for one date backing up the singer Savannah Churchill (with Harold West in for Lee) never went into the studios. Savory passed away before getting around to it, and when his archive thankfully ended up with Loren Schoenberg I was hopeful the Lester would finally see the light of day, but unfortunately though there was Lee Sims aplenty, no Lester was to be found. Were those acetates inadvertently destroyed — or are they perhaps now residing in someone else’s collection? I have no idea, but I sure would like to hear them.
    Ross Firestone

  15. There is some new Lester in the Savory collection — new solos with Basie, several new selections from a 1938 Martin Block jam session featuring Roy, BG, Teddy, Jo, Benny Heller, Sid Weiss, and some radio airshots from Lee and Lester’s West Coast band (with Billie) circa 1941-2 have made it to CD, but I lament with you that more of that special band — with or without Clyde Hart on piano — has not yet surfaced. We can only wait and wish and hope!

  16. Ross Firestone

    Another unsatisfied desire: Does anyone know the whereabouts of kinescopes of the Eddie Condon Floorshow TV broadcasts? (Do they even exist?)

  17. Richard Claar

    Oh, man. All of the above, especially what Bruno said, air shots of Billie with Artie from early 1938, a period during which the band would occasionally also take a blues theme and work on it for half an hour. Shaw himself was convinced that some collector, somewhere, was in possession of these air checks and was sitting on them for whatever reasons.

    P.S.: Ross, your Goodman book was the best, that is, after Russ Connor’s bio-discographies.

  18. Ross Firestone

    Thank you, Richard. Your kind words are much appreciated.

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