Judging by the frequency by which their signatures appear on eBay’s “Entertainment Memorabilia,” some famous musicians spent as much time signing autographs as they did playing. Others may have been less well-known or more reticent, so when their autographs appear it’s a pleasant surprise. (And some eBay sellers label items “rare” in inverse proportion to their value.)
Eddie Durham wanted to be paid for his services, and rightly so, considering what marvels he accomplished with his arrangements for Basie, Glenn Miller, Lunceford, and many others. Fifteen dollars for a band arrangement now seems a pittance; was this piece of paper actually from the Thirties or was Eddie simply notating, “Hey, you owe me fifteen dollars”? Research, please:
William “Cat” Anderson, for all his blazing high register in the Ellington bands, might have been somewhat insecure: would anyone have mistaken him for an anonymous saxophonist or bassist?
This rare program from Benny Goodman’s 1962 trip to the USSR is something I hadn’t seen (a souvenir of that unhappy experience, according to the bandsmen); this one sports autographs by Mel Lewis and Jimmy Knepper, jazz stalwarts:
And the expected full-page portrait of the King himself:
And what I assume is a program of songs and performers:
And more of Benny, here in caricature:
Not the usual thing (Mindi Abair, Sonny Rollins, Les Paul, or Don Redman signatures) . . .