I visit eBay intermittently, to see what marvels are there. Some of the artifacts simply make me wonder. A fairly constant stream of obvious forgeries of Louis’ very distinctive signature. Autographed pictures of voluptuous women tenor saxophonists.
Even more autographs from Dave Brubeck and Les Paul — I wonder how much time, in their final years, these aging giants spent signing every and anything pushed in front of them.
But here are some extraordinary sightings.
A first edition of Eddie Condon’s WE CALLED IT MUSIC (1947) inscribed to Kid Ory:
The inscription reads: “Dear Ory, This copy is somewhat battered from being dragged about the country in a flannel banjo case, kicked under tables of basement dinners, and spotted with licorice gin and cigarette burns. (You know how rowdy the crowds in Zibart’s are, especially when it comes to their last copy). See you at Eddie’s. Your’n, Satcho”.
Here are a few people I celebrate, but whose autographs I rarely see.
The wondrous clarinetist Omer Simeon.
The underrated trumpeter Charlie Teagarden, Jack’s younger brother.
Woody Herman’s Decca-period drummer, Frank Carlson, promising to return.
Drummer Herbert “Kat” Cowans and his little band — hot felines, no doubt. Does anyone recognize the Kittens, one by one?
The 1962 recording, MIS’RY AND THE BLUES, signed by Jack Teagarden, Don Goldie, and Stan Puls.
Here’s Mister Tea in 1950-1, surrounded by giants: Louis, Earl Hines, Barney Bigard, Arvell Shaw, Cozy Cole. Usually only Louis signed in green ink; did he pass his fountain pen around for everyone to use?
And here’s another real Louis signature (as a public service, so that you can recognize the banal forgeries when they appear):
I saved the best for last.
One hundred dollars was a great deal of money in 1936. But Fats had it backwards. We owe him, and still do.
May your happiness increase!