A few days ago, thanks to my friend Superheidi, I posted this about film documentation of a famous gathering — with music. Thanks to the Ruby Braff scholar Thomas P. Hustad (whose book BORN TO PLAY has everything we’d ever want to know about Ruby’s musical life), here’s the invitation:
Here is Tom’s usual meticulous history of the event:
January brought an exciting opportunity. . . . a party held in the Penthouse of Benny Goodman’s apartment in New York to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the famous Goodman Carnegie Hall Concert. Ruby reports that January 16 was “freezing cold.” Benny Goodman phoned him and asked if he wanted to stop by and play. Ruby asked who would be there, and was told that it would be Jess Stacy, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, and a few other guys. Ruby’s impression was that it was just an informal gathering for fun; however, when he arrived the doorman directed him to the Penthouse. When he left the elevator, Ruby saw many people present and then decided that Goodman had invited him informally in order to avoid paying for his appearance. Ruby repeated much of this story in a radio interview March 2, 1991, with Rob Bamberger.
A copy of the engraved invitation to the party is available, directing people to the Roof Garden at 200 East 66th Street for cocktails and a buffet dinner from 6 p.m. This location is one floor above Goodman’s apartment. There is a photo by John McDonough showing Benny Goodman with Ruby Braff from this occasion. Also visible are George Avakian and John S. Wilson.
January 16, 1968, New York taped by D. Russell Connor and broadcast on WNEW, January 27, 8:05–10 p.m.
Benny Goodman (cl), Ruby Braff (tp), Lionel Hampton (vib), Jess Stacy (p), George Simon (cymbal while Krupa’s drums were being set up)
Unknown blues (warm-up)
Add Gene Krupa midway through “I Want to Be Happy” after the pedal was attached to his bass drum.
I Want to Be Happy
If I Had You
Body and Soul (trio only: Goodman, Stacy, Krupa)
I Would Do Anything for You
Don’t Be That Way
Stompin’ at the Savoy
NOTE: An audio recording of these tunes is available but remains unissued. A video recording of “Avalon” also exists as filmed by CBS on this occasion.
The invitation and text above appear courtesy of Thomas P. Hustad, from BORN TO PLAY: THE RUBY BRAFF DISCOGRAPHY AND DIRECTORY OF PERFORMANCES, published by Scarecrow Press 2012. And here is my review of Tom’s book — soon to be a collector’s item, as only a few copies remain for sale.
I wonder who picks up the phone at 1.212.TE-8-5280 these days.
May your happiness increase!