The late Burt Goldblatt was multi-talented: graphic designer, artist, writer, photographer, and collector.  It is in the last two roles that I meet him most often on eBay, as his photographs are being auctioned off to the highest bidders.

Some of his photographs are familiar, because we have seen them on record jackets, in jazz books and magazines.  But surprises always await: here are several!

Billie, presumably in a theatre or concert hall, in front of a big band.  Where? When? With whom?


Lester Young — a potpourri of photographs which seem to come from his 1957 Newport Jazz Festival appearance (with the Basie band) and a Verve record date with Roy Eldridge:


Jack Teagarden with his reading glasses on:


The John Kirby Sextet (possibly in the war years?) with Charlie Shavers, Billy Kyle, Buster Bailey.  The altoist might be George Johnson rather than Russell Procope, but Gary Foster tells me that the drummer is O’Neil Spencer:


And the real surprise (for me and perhaps everyone else): a candid photograph, dated 1927, with Hot Lips Page, Buster Smith, and Ted Manning — Kansas City jazz incarnate, even though the photograph was taken in Ardmore, Oklahoma:


and the back — which makes it, I believe, a photograph from Burt’s collection as opposed to one he took himself:

$_14(1) $_3

May your happiness increase!


  1. Delightful surprises! Thank you!

  2. Todd Bryant Weeks

    Great stuff! Must be earliest extant photo of Hot Lips Page (and possibly Manning and Buster Smith?)

  3. Todd Bryant Weeks

    Also is that not Jimmy Rushing in the middle?

  4. Todd Bryant Weeks
  5. Nigel Jackson

    I’m assuming the picture of Lady was taken around late 1946 when she and her then-husband Joe Guy unsuccessfully managed a big band to tour with Lady on the road. This was also around the time of her mother’s death in October of that same year.

  6. When researching the early personnel of the Oklahoma City Blue Devils, for my book “Luck’s in My Corner,” I boiled it down to the following footnote: (NOTE: The texts referred to are Henry Douglas Daniels, “One O’ clock Jump,” (Beacon, 2006) and Nathan W. Pearson, “Goin’ to Kansas City,” (University of Illinois Press, 1987) and the Jazz Oral History Project (JOHP)–interviews housed at the IJS : “The Dallasite Budd Johnson refers to a Tulsa based band, the Southern Serenaders, and cites the personnel from c. 1927 as including Hot Lips Page, Walter Page, Lem Johnson, Jimmy Rushing, James Simpson, and Bill Owens. Johnson, however, makes errors in dates and personnel in his other reminiscences, and is not an entirely reliable source for this type of data. See Budd Johnson, JOHP, 31. As to the personnel of Blue Devils during this period, Daniels’ list for 1927-1929 is generally supported by newspaper accounts and oral histories. Daniels’ roster for this period is: ‘James Simpson, Jimmy LuGrand, and Lips Page, trumpets; Eddie Durham and Dan Minor trombones; Buster Smith, Reuben Roddy, and Ted Manning, reeds, Turk Thomas piano; Reuben Lynch, guitar; Alvin Burroughs, drums; and [Walter] Page, baritone sax, bass violin, and bass horn.’ See Daniels, 2006, 31. It should be noted, however, that this personnel listing apparently comes from Walter Page’s letter to the editor of the OCBD, dated May 16, 1931 and published May 21, 1931. In Goin’ to Kansas City, Nathan W. Pearson published a rare photo of the band and made an attempt to identify the players. The personnel listed there is: ‘Druie Bess (?), Emir ‘Bucket’ Coleman, trombone; Harry Youngblood (?), Oran ‘Hot Lips’ Page, trumpets; Theodore Ross, reeds; (?) _____Benton, banjo; Walter Page, string bass, reeds and tuba; Buster Smith, reeds; Reuben Roddy, saxophone; Ernie Williams, drums and vocals and Edward ‘Crack’ McNeil (?), drums.’ This same badly damaged photograph accompanies the article ‘About My Life in Music,’ by Walter Page as told to Frank Driggs in Jazz Review 13 (November, 1958), 13, and the personnel (probably identified by Page) listed there is: Leonard Chadwick or Leroy White, James Simpson, Hot Lips Page, trumpets; Druie Bess; trombone; Buster Smith, alto; Doc Ross, tenor; Charlie Washington, piano; Ernest Williams, vocal, with three unidentified members. Neither Eddie Durham, Basie nor Jimmy Rushing appear in the photo, so it probably dates from c. 1929, when all three had left for the Bennie Moten Orchestra. (Pearson wrongly believed this to be the earliest known photo of the Blue Devils c. 1926.) See Pearson, 1987, photo credits.” (LIMC, 233-234). The photo referenced in the Facebook link above (December 2, 2013, 3:36PM) is likely from October 1928 (or at least it was published at that time) and was, as far as I knew it to be in 2008, the earliest known image of Hot Lips Page. I have never encountered childhood photos or any other photos that predate this 1927 snapshot, if it is indeed from that year. Bet there’s more out there somewhere. Again, many thanks to Michael Steinman for posting this.

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