One of the most pleasures of JAZZ LIVES is that some people find it to offer information or to ask for help in solving mysteries. A few weeks ago I received a most pleasant email from a woman in the Middle West. Margaret had found JAZZ LIVES and hoped I could answer a few questions.

I’m writing to you because I think you may like jazz as much as my dad did. He loved jazz, had a huge record collection (now gone, sadly) and large library of jazz related books. One of them, Jazzmen, by Frederic Ramsey, Jr. and Charles Edward Smith, he took with him when he went to hear his favorite players, and got autographs.
It’s a very special book, with autographs from: Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Gene Krupa, Wild Bill Davison, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Marshall Brown, Pee Wee Russell, Herman Autrey (trumpet), George Wettling, Ruby Braff, Joe Sullivan (they were friends; Joe came to our house and he and dad exchanged Christmas cards) Jimmy MacPartland, Henry “Red” Allen, George Brunis, Meade “Lux” Lewis, Joe Venuti, Al Kipp, Muggsy Spanier, Eddie Condon, Bud Freeman.   
There’s also a  Jim? P…? or Dueguis?, and possibly Gene Gifford. Also interesting, under Pew Wee Russell’s name is “e e mudder”. Please can you help me fill in the blanks?
My time in the English Department was helpful, and I told Margaret that I thought “e e mudder” was Pee Wee’s take on the poet e e cummings, someone he might have met or read or certainly heard of in all those years playing south of Fourteenth Street in Greenwich Village. But although I’ve done a good amount of handwriting-deciphering for book projects (as well as trying to figure out what my students might be writing in their untrained calligraphy) I couldn’t solve the mysteries. Perhaps JAZZ LIVES’ readers can?
Here are several pages from the writer’s father’s copy of JAZZMEN.
Left, Marshall Brown, Pee Wee Russell and his alter ego, e e mudder, Herman Autrey, George Wettling, Ruby Braff.
Right, Joe Sullivan, Jimmy McPartland, Eddie Condon, Henry “Red” Allen.
Left, Louis Armstrong in green, Earl Fatha Hines in red, and . . . Jim Deeguis?
News flash: my friend Kris Bauwens says the mysterious signature isn’t so mysterious: it’s Dizzy Gillespie.
Right, Bud Freeman, Jack Teagarden, Gene Krupa, Wild Bill Davison.

Left, possibly Zutty Singleton, certainly Georg Brunis, Meade Lux Lewis, Joe Venuti.
Right, Al Kipp, Muggsy Spanier.
Any suggestions about “Jim Deeguis”? and perhaps-Zutty Singleton?  And some biography on Al Kipp? Thanks to Margaret for searching me out, and thanks for the devoted Phil, who had such friends . . .
May your happiness increase!


  1. Thank you Margaret for sending your autograph book to Michael!
    I can 99% concur with you re Pee Wee Russell’s alter signature was e.e mudder. My grandfather’s autograph book as same signature. Years ago, had my grandfather identify and tell us about the famous friends and their autographs. I am inspired to share our autograph of famous and lesser known. Great post! Thanks a zillion!

  2. Used to see Zutty on drums at Stuyvesant Casino in early 50s think he was Armstrong’s long time associate and a favorite drummer.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. That’s indeed an artifact of jazz-historical importance: Those signatures alone make that book swing. — And I think you gonna dig THIS 🙂

  4. Readers, click on that link to see something truly special! (And, no, this is not a spam solicitation.)

  5. I was thrilled to see my late grandfather, Al Kipp in these signatures. I hope this thread is still being monitored, here is some background:
    Al Kipp was a true musician at heart. He was one of those people who was just born with music in his soul. He loved almost every kind of music. He started playing many different instruments when he was a youngster and played in small clubs & bars as a one-man band by the time he was in his late teens. He then started his own band that played ‘Swing music’ in the 1940’s and even played in the Company Orchestra at Graphite Bronze in Cleveland. He primarily played the Upright Bass, but also played organ, piano, Sax, and guitar. He had a band for over 50 years that played standards and typical wedding reception dance. He also played in a Jazz/Dixieland band. He was very busy both Friday & Saturday nights every week of the year, playing up until just 3yrs before his death in 1996. He had an extensive collection of music recordings and met most of the music greats of his time, as he managed a radio station and was a disc jockey – his daytime job. He lived most of his life in Willoughby, OH, married to his late wife Julia Kipp (2015) and had 7 children, all still living.

  6. Dear Ian, such information is priceless. And to have it hand-delivered by a loving grandson is very precious. Thank you so much! Michael

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