A recent meander through eBay turned up two stunning autographed photographs — photographs taken by the much-missed Duncan Schiedt. I am short on wall space, so I contented myself with watching the bidding race (Lips beat Red, which would have pleased Lips). The Lips photograph sold for over $150; Red brought much less. It’s not the way I would choose to celebrate Red’s birthday, today.
However, they are beautiful photographs from the late 1940s or very early 1950s, when Duncan was a regular at Stuyvesant Casino and Central Plaza on the weekends.
and the signature, which says it all:
Among the great unsolved mysteries of my adulthood: when did Lips begin signing his name this way?
Henry Red, standing in front of the recognizable venetian blinds of Central Plaza:
and a closer look:
If Duncan Schiedt had never held a camera, he would still have a very warm spot in my heart as a sterling person and an accomplished old-fashioned melodic pianist. He moved on in 2014 — with the most splendid easy grace, which I describe here. I urge you to read his farewell letter: it moves me still.
But we can move from grief to more exultant matters.
Red, Pee Wee Russell, Joe Sullivan, Eddie Condon, Jack Bland, Al Morgan, Gene Krupa, 1932:
and more of the same, with Red, Pee Wee, Happy Caldwell, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Froeba, Condon, Bland, Pops Foster, Zutty Singleton:
and Lips, Pee Wee, Lou McGarity, Sullivan, George Wettling, 1952:
Lips, Peanuts Hucko, Cutty Cutshall, Ralph Sutton, Charlie Treager, Eddie Phyfe, 1950:
Red and Lips are two of my most serious heroes. Delve into their music: joy will greet you. And Duncan: a superb person and wonderful artist.
May your happiness increase!