Thanks to jgautographs for putting these and other bits of sacred ephemera up on eBay, where I found them. This seller has a wide range — from Mae West and Rudy Vallee to Stephen Sondheim, Playbills, actors and actresses both famous and obscure. But I thought the JAZZ LIVES audience would especially warm to these signatures (some, late-career, but all authentic-looking, many inscribed to Al or Albert) from bandleaders and famous musicians. In no particular order of reverence.
This is not common at all:
Artie Shaw, 1984:
The Kid From Red Bank, undated (but its casualness makes it feel all the more authentic, with rust, mildew, or food embellishments):
Pioneering trumpeter Billie Rogers:
Glorious lead trumpeter Jimmie Maxwell (always listed as “Jimmy”); I regret that he died two years before I moved into his Long Island town:
Yes, Sammy Kaye, included here because of a Ruby Braff story, memorable and paraphrased: an interviewer tried to get Ruby to say something harsh about this sweet band, and Ruby retorted that if he saw Sammy he would kiss him, because “You had to be a MUSICIAN to play in those bands!” True:
The front of a card, signed by the insufficiently-celebrated Miff Mole:
and the back, which tells the story, although the handwriting is mysterious and the stains might require a good chemical laboratory to identify — circa 1944:
and two signatures from people who spent their lives signing autographs, the Sentimental Gentleman:
and That Drummer Man, 1967:
Once again, it brings up the question of what we leave behind us when we depart, and how are we remembered. Did Basie or Gene think, when they were signing a fan’s autograph book, that their signatures would be for sale decades later? I don’t know what to hope.
May your happiness increase!