Tag Archives: autograph

“BEST WISHES” FROM THE DUKE

The appropriate sentiments, three ways:

and a photograph of the label:

But wait!  There’s more!  The sounds:

In Mark Tucker’s THE DUKE ELLINGTON READER (89), we find these words about the 1932 composition.  When Ellington visited England in 1933, he said, “Since I have been in England I have composed a new number entitled Best Wishes, which was played and broadcast on June 14 (1933) for the first time.” Ellington also stated that he had dedicated the song “the title not the lyrics,” to Britain, that the tune would give British listeners “a better insight into the Negro mind.”

That would be enough well-wishing for any post, but no . . . here is more evidence, this time of a visual sort:

an autographed news photograph from Ellington’s visit to England and his broadcast for the British Broadcasting Company, with Cootie Williams, Arthur Whetsol, Juan Tizol, and Tricky Sam Nanton:

a close-up of the Maestro’s signature:

As I write this, the photograph is still up for bids; here is the link,

The seller’s copy, too intriguing to edit:

Up for bidding: Duke Ellington is a legend -the man who raised Jazz from niche entertainment to a worldwide phenomenon, and a real art form. This photograph was taken in the London BBC studios during a broadcast in 1933. Times were hard in the United States, but the Ellington orchestra toured England and Scotland to great fanfare and success; they would follow it up next year with a tour of the European mainland, popularizing jazz (or as Ellington refered to it “American music”) to a much larger worldwide audience. The photograph is autographed by the man himself, signed “Best Wishes, Duke Ellington”. What an opportunity, if you are a fan of Jazz in any of its forms!

Postscript: the bidding ended a few minutes ago, and the photograph sold for $67.00, which to me is not an exorbitant price.  I didn’t bid, if you need that detail.  Best wishes to all!

May your happiness increase! 

YOU CAN’T BUY THIS AT THE MALL

At $950. 00 on Ebay, it’s well out of my price range, but we are allowed to gawk at such marvels.  Here is the link, for any prosperous readers.

louis-brunswick

That signature is authentic, for certain.  As opposed to the one below, which is on the level of a middle-school student’s forgery of Mom’s signature:

louis-fake

May your happiness increase!

I KNOW THIS ONE’S AUTHENTIC: G.W., APRIL 2, 1945

A long time ago, my friend (and expert collector) David Weiner and I had a discussion about autographs and the proliferation of forgeries.  I remember him saying, “If something is too neat, there’s always the possibility that the bandleader’s secretary signed it.  Real autographs, done when the star is leaning against a building, are always messy.”

(This is especially true for artists whose calligraphy wasn’t Palmer-perfect, such as Louis Armstrong.  If the signature is all graceful loops and swirls, it’s fake.)

Here’s a lovely example: one of my heroes, drummer (and painter) George Wettling, signing a fan’s autograph book on April 2, 1945:

GW 1945 auto

Without the identifying picture, I wouldn’t have recognized this as a Wettling autograph.  But it’s clearly authentic because it is so unclear.  And it’s valuable because of that.  Here is the eBay link — in case you want something genuine to remember one of the greatest (and least celebrated) jazz percussionists ever.

And here’s some sonic evidence:  

The other heroes are Eddie Condon, Wild Bill Davison, Bob Wilber, Gene Schroeder, Leonard Gaskin — supervised for Columbia Records by George Avakian.

George Wettling continues to uplift and propel my imagination.

May your happiness increase!

“HERETIZ”

Lucky Dean.  To be tops always with Fats Waller meant something then and it means more now.

FATS to DEAN

May your happiness increase!

“MATTRESS TO YOU”

Cyberspace continues to be an ever-expanding playground.  An hour ago, idly, I Googled “Sidney Catlett” to see if anything new to me had emerged, and found this — a photograph of Sidney, inscribed to Ben Webster, which the consignor said had come from the Webster estate.  (Bidding on this item ended in 2012, which means, perhaps, that some fortunate collector has it on his / her wall.)

12595783_1

I have no problem with “my boy” as a term of affection.  “Blow on King,” even though I note the missing comma, is very clear to me as both affectionate urging and reverent salutation in one.  But “mattress to you” is new to me, and I suspect to many of my readers. Might I guess that it is a slang expression — from the Forties or earlier — hinting at “May everything be very comfortable for you”? “May you always sleep blissfully.”

If anyone knows more from digging into their own Jive Dictionaries, I would appreciate elucidation.  Until then, “mattress” to all of you. Until I learn otherwise, I am going to assume that this new expression and this blog’s sign-off mean much the same thing, whether they come from JAZZ LIVES or from Sidney Catlett.

May your happiness increase!

ADRIAN SENDS BEST WISHES

A precious artifact.

ROLLINI and RUSSELL 001

Thanks to generous David J. Weiner!  And to Adrian, and to Gloria.

May your happiness increase!

“TO MY LIFE LONG BUDDY”

HORN OF PLENTY by Robert Goffin is more enthusiastic than accurate or correct — not on the same level as Louis’ own autobiography or contemporary works (Max Jones, Terry Teachout, Ricky Riccardi).  But here‘s a memorable copy I found on eBay, autographed by its subject to his pal Wild Bill Davison:

TO MY LIFE LONG BUDDY WILD BILL DAVIDSON

The handwriting is authentic, as are the sentiments.

May your happiness increase!

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!

“BEST WISHES,” 1934

It had to happen — that while in the UK I would find myself browsing on www.ebay.co.uk.  And browsing led me to this:

Would you mind having that on the wall to look at in odd moments, to think, however whimsically, “Hey, Louis sends me his best wishes”?  I wouldn’t mind, myself.

ART TATUM TRIO, CHICAGO

A good deal of energetic call-and-response was stirred up on this site by my posting what was proposed as an authentic Art Tatum signature.  Reader Gary Pajer has generously shared with us his father’s postcard from the London House in Chicago, signed by the three members of a notable trio:

Gary’s father didn’t remember an exact date for this (he’s 89 now) but recalled that Tatum was very friendly and personable, his fingers “very fast.”  And he did recall having a wonderful time in Chicago!

Let’s add this one to the sometimes heated discussion of what Art’s signature looked like . . . with thanks to both Mr. Pajers — and to the Art Tatum Trio of yore!

HOLY RELICS (of LOUIS)

A Selmer trumpet in the collection of the Smithsonian, dating from the mid-Thirties or later:

And a characteristic autograph, circa 1950, courtesy of Bill Gallagher’s father, Jim.  Bill recalls, ” The Gallagher clan was on vacation in SouthernCalifornia and we were staying a night in Los Angeles.   We had just returned to our motel from dinner and, after getting settled in, dad left to go to the Roosevelt Hotel to listen to a set or two of the Armstrong All Stars.   The next day he showed us autographs from Louis, Jack, and Arvell.”

I hope my title doesn’t strike my readers as impious, but if these aren’t holy relics, I don’t know what might be.

“RECORD TREASURES (2) MARTY GROSZ”

The syntax is sometimes baffling (thanks to Google translation from the Japanese) but the intent is clear, and it’s one I share — to celebrate and honor Martin Oliver Grosz, as well as his wonderful (and extremely rare) 1951 records with Dick Wellstood, Frank Chace, Pops Foster, Tommy Benford, Ephie Resnick, and Hugh McKay:

Record treasures (2) Marty Grosz
September 3, 2000 (Sun), Marty Gross charity concert was held in Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Art.
Why, you might reasonably be thought to concerts at the museum. Actually, the father of gross, but was born in Germany, continued to criticize the German caricaturist George Grosz’s largest Century 20 (real name: George Gross 1898-1959) is the.From August 6 to September to the 24th, the exhibition has been held by George Grosz, Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Art, Sept. 3, the concert is not held as one of the event Marty Gross.
Gross, now ages 20, 30 in the leading jazz and classical repertoire’s primary, has been active on the world stage as an arch-top guitar virtuoso.On the day, the Tsukuba depart 8:40 minutes, if all goes well I will get to Utsunomiya sometimes 12. Joban Line in injury Tsuchiura But straight out of a whopping three hours late! Start of the concert arrived 10 minutes before the museum was 2:50 minutes.So I became a part of stand. Year 1929 made by Gibson L-5 (16inch gold hardware in the body) have appeared in gloss, CD follows a familiar song and we sang and played. Still raw L-5 was a really good sound.The second part, and to return to families with young children could sit in the front. 2 meters before the closely watched technique was a good shout. No.1 song in the popular vote in the ability of power, now 70 years old and is unbelievably great, energetic two hours.After the concert, I went to see the gloss. People who bought the CD only, beating restrained by staff that差Shi出Shimashita two copies of the records SP Gross. Was surprised when I can not forget that face. Records this SP, June 6, 1951, which was recorded in New York, Gross was the first session will be 21 years old. In this session, and view photos Gross tenor (4 string), seems to play the guitar.

The time to migrate to the LP era, this record is the end of SP Gross and I have only two copies.
Historically, the record was one of my treasures, treasures risen in the ranks of the sign of the day.(2000.9.4)


Mart Gross & the Cellar Boys
(Jolly Roger 2003)

Mart Gross & the Cellar Boys
(Jolly Roger 2004)

Gross said during performance
Marty Grosz with Gibson L-5
(Photo: Dr. Yanagisawa)

(From left) After the concert, around the Gross
Seya Yanagisawa Mr. Hasegawa said Mr. Yamada, Mr. Gross’s exit
(Photo: Dr. Yanagisawa)

The original site, for those fluent in Japanese, is http://www.sakura.cc.tsukuba.ac.jp/~jazzsp/topic/rare2.htm.

“OH, MISS HOLIDAY . . . ?”

The signature, although hurried, looks authentic — especially the final flourish.  Perhaps someone who’s studied Billie Holiday’s performances, tours, and isolated club dates can tell us when she was in Marion, Ohio? 

This goes back to the idyllic days when hotels provided stationery for their guests — it was, as you notice A NEW HOTEL WITH A COMPLETE SERVICE — and people used fountain pens. 

I imagine that some fan thrust a blank envelope under Billie’s nose and said, “Could I have your autograph, Miss Holiday?” and she signed it standing up . . . at least the calligraphy suggests this.  I’d entertain alternate scenarios from any Holiday-fanciers.  eBay, of course!

“BILLIE HOLIDAY” (IN WHITE INK)

Did you get money for Christmas?  If you’re a Billie Holiday fancier, and your loved ones have been particularly generous, perhaps you might care to bid on this precious item — a copy of the red-label Columbia 78 rpm reissue of WHEN YOU’RE SMILING signed by Miss Holiday in white ink.  The starting bid is one thousand dollars (but the shipping is less than five dollars). 

The eBay link is http://cgi.ebay.com/Signed-Billie-Holiday-Record-Authentic-w-Teddy-Wilson_W0QQitemZ160389314156QQcmdZViewItemQQptZMusic_on_Vinyl?hash=item2557f2b66c.

Happy bidding, happy admiring, happy gazing to one and all!

COPYRIGHT, MICHAEL STEINMAN AND JAZZ LIVES, 2009
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael Steinman and Jazz Lives with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

PEE WEE SIGNS!

An extraordinary jazz artifact — available on eBay for $145 from Louie’s Juke Joint:

 http://cgi.ebay.com/PEE-WEE-RUSSELL-1939-Hot-Record-Society-SIGNED-78-RPM_W0QQitemZ360187120890QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item53dcd34cfa

PeeWee 78

I can’t afford it, but I think it’s beautiful, as close to sacred as objects get.

ARS GRATIA ARTIS, or PLAY NICE!

Some time ago, I found a document for sale on eBay that was presented as being signed by Art Tatum.  I wrote a brief post about it, which sparked a heated comment-controversy between the seller and a relative of Art’s.  Today, in the spirit of fairness, I allowed the most recent and perhaps most vehement comments (you could look them up, if you care to) to be posted, but decided to shut the metaphorical door.  Enough!  Genug!  Basta!

I’d rather watch and hear Mr. Tatum play the piano . . . which, after all, is what we will remember him for.  There’s quite enough acrimony in the world for me already. 

RAY BAUDUC PREACHES THE GOSPEL

Aspiring novelists in Creative Writing classes are told, “Write what you know.”  In jazz, musicians play what they know; they live what they know. 

And sometimes they sign autograph books with what they know and wish to convey to us.  Hence this page inscribed by the inspiring percussionist Ray Bauduc (an artifact now up for bid on eBay). 

Ignore its message at your peril!

RAY BAUDUC

TOO MARVELOUS FOR WORDS!

As a characteristically generous response to my post on the trumpeter Joe Thomas, my longtime friend Rob Rothberg sent me pictures of these two records from his collection.  It isn’t exaggeration to say that they made me catch my breath.

 GWet

That would be enough — that it happens to be a magnificent record is not at all incidental.  But here’s something much more remarkable:

BigSid

The whole notion of “getting an autograph” is reasonably strange but I’ve always found it irresistible.  Why should we stand in line or wait shyly, reverently for One of Our Heroes to write his or her name on something — be it an index card, a menu, a record label or jacket, even now a CD’s liner notes? 

Comes the day everything exists only in cyber-space without any tangible reality, what will we ask someone to sign?  “Oh, Mr. Jazzman!  Would you autograph my mp3 download, which neither of us can see?”  But I digress.

I waited for Joe Thomas, Louis, Bobby Hackett, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Teddy Wilson, Buck Clayton,  Ruby Braff, Jo Jones, Zoot Sims, Bob Wilber, and a half-dozen others to sign their names for me, and I recall each instance.  From this distance, it seems as if I was asking the musician to acknowledge me and take notice of me, a worshipful hearer holding out a rare record, some treasured music.  That signing his name for a stranger was an odd ritual that did not mean a great deal to the musician didn’t matter at the moment. 

Acquiring an autograph has a great deal to do with the urge we all have to give our memories physical shape; an autograph gave me something I could pretend was unique to take home as well as the sounds captured in my memory and my cassette recorder.  Occasionally, my hero would say, “What’s your name?” and inscribe the record jacket to me — a small sweet polite moment which made me feel seen.

For the musicians, the act of signing autographs had long since become a task to be performed between sets when they would much rather have been left in peace to chat with their peers, a responsibility they had to take care of before going home.  Cultivating their audience, perhaps.    

But to have something that Sidney Catlett or George Wettling touched!  To me, these two record labels are miraculous relics of our own saints.

SEASONS GREETINGS, EARLY

I know it’s only March.  And Christmas cards are not in my tradition or genetics.  But this one — advertised on Ebay (I learned about it by way of a kindly nudge from a much more experienced collector) — made me grin.

ebay-red-allen-xmas-cardSince the exuberantly gifted trumpeter and singer Henry “Red” Allen died in 1967, it hasn’t been possible to get a holiday card from him for a long time.  This is the closest most of us will get.  What truly caught my attention was the Ebay description that the card is signed in blue and red ink.  Did Red sign “Red” in the appropriate color while reserving a more conservative pen for Henry and Allen?  That would be something to see.

Treasures, wherever you look!  And if this card — only a piece of paper that one of my heroes touched for a moment or two — is important, it is so because it reminds us of a great person who is now physically dead yet still artistically alive.  If you don’t believe that, reach into your CD collection for almost any Red Allen solo or vocal over a forty-year period.  Listen and marvel, once again.

DAVE TOUGH: TWO ICONS

dave-tough-signature1I include these artifacts here for their iconic value.  Religious people used to marvel over the bone that was reputedly the thighbone of a saint.  I please myself by contemplating more secular items: the only Dave Tough signature I’ve ever seen, the angular calligraphy of someone who knows what he is doing and what effect it might create, and (below) the record label from the only session he ever led.  I think that Tough would have regarded bandleading with much the same disdain that he afforded drum solos, but at least this group was a fine quintet, especially for the presence of the luminous trumpeter Joe Thomas and the underrated pianist Bernie Leighton. dave-tough-78

P.S.  The Jamboree session has the look of a Harry Lim endeavor for Keynote; is this the case or was it simply that the A&R man at Jamboree had liked the Joe Thomas – Ted Nash combination and wanted some for his own label?  Jamboree didn’t last long, but they also recorded Don Byas and Buck Clayton, so the label’s good taste was evident.