UNMISTAKABLY BUNNY

Mister Berigan, if you please.  “The Miracle Man of Swing.” With neat handwriting, too.  The photograph went for $178.00 on eBay today.  (I wasn’t bidding.)  But you can admire it here for a small fraction of that sum.

BUNNY verso

and back:

BUNNY recto

Bunny Berigan, much missed.

May your happiness increase!

2 responses to “UNMISTAKABLY BUNNY

  1. Christopher Tyle

    Do you suppose the buyer will return it to MCA…no, I guess not.

    For those that are horn geeks, Bunny is playing a Conn trumpet. It may be either a 12B (which he was known to have played), or a 22B (which he was also known to have played). The difference between the two was the 12B had a copper bell, and sadly, no way for us to know with a black and white photo!

  2. Michael, you are the number one sleuth when it comes to tracking down interesting mementos from the golden age of jazz. I am very glad: 1) that you were able to locate and post this photo; 2) to learn that someone somewhere obviously values this photo and has an affinity for Berigan; and 3) that you are sensitive when it comes to describing what we are seeing. Bunny’s handwriting was indeed very neat and clear. That was a part of what he learned as a conscientious and good student in school in his home town of Fox Lake, Wisconsin. But like most giants of jazz, the pull of music was too great for him to resist, and he left school in his junior year of high school. He then began learning his trade of jazz musician, and plying it. The distorted picture we have received of Berigan from various casual recollections and reports is that he was a happy-go-lucky person who cared little for the discipline that is needed to be a virtuoso instrumentalist and successful bandleader. In fact, Bunny was a very serious-minded person who was highly disciplined. He was very serious about his craft, and facilitated disciplined (yet always swinging) performances by his bands by leading his musicians by example. Of course, he was also a basically happy person who loved to make music, and very much enjoyed the stimulation he got from playing in front of an inspired band.

    I am assuming, based on the printing on the MCA sticker on the back of this photo that it was handed out to promote a Berigan appearance, with the request (perhaps) that any unused photos be returned to MCA after the band’s appearance. MCA always had its eye on reducing expenses.

    Michael P. Zirpolo,
    Author
    “Mr. Trumpet…the Trials, Tribulations
    and Triumph of Bunny Berigan”

    P.S. This photo (pose) and a dozen others showing Berigan in a beige double-breasted suit with a striped tie, was taken at a photo shoot that took place in early June 1937 in New York City at the studio of Bruno of Hollywood. MCA had just taken on Bunny as a client, and set up this photo session to get publicity photos of him.

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