This photograph from the Burt Goldblatt collection was recently for sale on eBay. Sidney Catlett, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Buddy Rich . . . and presumably members of Lionel’s big band, (guitarist Billy Mackel over Sid’s shoulder) — the scene is apparently the middle-to-late Forties. Louis is taking a breath between phrases or getting ready to play . . . half paying attention to something offstage?
A keen observer pointed out to me that Lionel is wearing raised heels . . . Tall was always good.
The photograph doesn’t come from the January 1944 Metropolitan Opera House concert (the more famous photographs from that occasion show a different stage and dark suits) but the soundtrack — for those who have the recordings — must have resembled the DRUM DUET that came late in the concert.
I’m happy to report that this photograph is now owned by someone who not only knows how to hear the music but how to play it as well.
Anyone want to begin manufacturing Catlett – Hampton – Rich – Armstrong t-shirts?
May your happiness increase!