Tag Archives: paper ephemera

O.P., IRVING, LOUIS

Last night, while in an eBay reverie, I was grazing through the meadow of Entertainment Memorabilia, sub-section Jazz, sub-sub section Original Autographs, when I found these three artifacts.  To some, they may seem irreplaceable treasures; to others, just weird debris.  The first seller had purchased a huge collection of Danish paper ephemera and added it to his already expansive holdings, the latter laid out for your pleasure here.

I’d never seen an Oscar Pettiford autograph before, and this one is from the last years of his too-short life.  The red diagonals suggest that this is, rather than an autograph for a fan, the return address — upper left corner — taken from an air-mail envelope.  Whether that increases or decreases value, I don’t know.  I haven’t identified the Copenhagen hotel, but since the autograph would be, at latest, from 1960, it is possible the hotel no longer exists:

And here is a very touching and brief remembrance of Oscar with guitarist Attila Zoller — performing Oscar’s THE GENTLE ART OF LOVE in Denmark, perhaps not that far away in time from the envelope above:

Then, something more odd: a photograph of Irving Mills and two men I don’t recognize, inscribed lovingly to film star Dorothea Summers, from whose collection this came:

and a magnified inscription:

Here is a promotional short film (or most of it) from 1931, where Irving Mills introduces three of his bands: Baron Lee and the Blue Rhythm Orchestra; Duke Ellington (with pleasing closeups of Arthur Whetsol), and Cab Calloway, with Al Morgan stealing the scene.  I thought that glimpses of Mills, reading from the script on his desk, would be easier on the nerves than his singing:

Finally, something I found exciting, even though it isn’t inscribed.  Louis Armstrong had a heart attack in June 1959, and I now assume that he received get-well cards from everyone who loved him . . . that’s a-plenty.  I had never seen his singularly Louis thank-you card, and a collector possessed not only the card but a publicity photograph that may have come with it:

I would like you to commit Louis’ poem to memory, please:

Here’s Louis in 1960 on the Bell Telephone Hour — magnificent readings of SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET, LAZY RIVER, and a heartbreaking SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A MOTHERLESS CHILD, before a MUSKRAT RAMBLE that puts Louis with a modern version of the Mills Brothers who sing a version of the lyrics from BING AND SATCHMO:

May your happiness increase!

JOYOUS PAPER EPHEMERA, 1941

I’d never seen this before — a program for Duke Ellington’s JUMP FOR JOY as presented in 1941 at the Mayan Theatre.  Had it been a different world, we would have color sound footage of this production.  At least we have this program and the few recordings.

J4J one

and

J4J two

and

J4J three

and

J4J four

and finally

J4J five

A piece of history — cultural as well as musical.

May your happiness increase!

“THE GREATEST LIVING HOT MUSICIANS”

I’ve been very fortunate to meet generous people through JAZZ LIVES — and a new one is archivist / jazz trombonist Rob Hudson, who works for the Carnegie Hall Archives. 

He found me because of a posting I did on Fats Waller’s rather uneven 1942 concert at the hall, and we chatted about the event, the music, and what recorded evidence remains.  (To my knowledge, only a BLUES in Bb — a duet for Fats and Hot Lips Page, and a HONEYSUCKLE ROSE featuring Max Kaminsky, Bud Freeman, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Condon, John Kirby, and Gene Krupa have come to light, although I am sure that the concert was recorded in full.)

But back to the Carnegia Hall Archives: I asked Rob what materials were in the vaults relating to my hero (and yours, too) Eddie Condon, and this magical document appeared.  It’s not in the best shape, but it is the poster for the October 14, 1944, Condon concert (Rob told me that this had been used as the backing for another poster in someone’s collection, which strikes me as incredible). 

What’s even more incredible is the collection of signatures.  Some of them have to have been from the Forties and perhaps from a visit to Condon’s club — but since trumpeter Johnny Letman signed and dated his signature “1959,” I imagine a jazz fan bringing this around with him to the clubs (Condon’s, Ryan’s, the Metropole) and asking the musicians, the Mighty, to sign it.

Everyone’s here — from Don Frye to Maxine Sullivan to Frank Newton and Pee Wee Russell: a collection to cherish.  There;s Ralph Sutton, Ellington copyist Tom Whaley, Lee Blair, Harry Carney, Jimmy Crawford, James P. Johnson, Zutty Singleton, Art Tatum (via his rubber stamp), Don Kirkpatrick, Omer Simeon (from the Fifties Wilbur DeParis band) and more.

Thanks to Rob, to the Carnegie Hall Archives, and to Maggie Condon — for permission to share this wonderful piece of paper with you:

Courtesy of the Carnegie Hall Archives

 I’m looking forward to visiting the Archives to see their other treasures — and possibly reporting back to my loyal readers.  The strains of a Condon-organized OLE MISS are in my head . . .

“FOR YOUR PRIVATE COLLECTION”

From the national attic / museum / antique store / informal auction room, eBay:

When bandleaders looked like movie stars!  I’d never seen a picture of Mr. Kahn before, and even if his secretary autographed it, this photograph is a rarity.

In a recent posting, I showed off one of my latest treasured purchases — a Pee Wee Russell 78 of JELLY ROLL and INDIANA on the short-lived Manhattan label.  Here’s the advertising brochure for three 78 sets to be sold at Nick’s — with autographs of the principal players!

Hurry, this is a limited edition.

Mr. Spanier, if you please.

Mr. Mole (born in “the country,” Freeport, Long Island).

Charles Ellsworth Russell, irreplaceable.

Jimmy Rushing didn’t look like he could move around easily (although a film clip with the Basie band shows him to be a very nimble dancer) but this document seems to say otherwise.  Entering Kansas City, Missouri, in 1930 — the beginning of great things for Jimmy and for us.

I never joined a fraternity, so all of this is somewhat mysterious . . . but I would guess that this is St. Louis, circa 1936-7?  I am sure that the college men and women danced to some fine music for $1.75 apiece.

MOODY, MAXINE, MUGGSY, J.D., ERROLL, SLIM

It has its own rhythm, doesn’t it?  Here are the latest delicacies up for bid on eBay.

James Moody, who just left us, with his whimsical signature:

Dear Maxine Sullivan, giving someone her home address, once upon a time:

Kid Muggsy, faithful to the spirit of Joe Oliver to the end:

Jimmy Dorsey, his coiffure gleaming:

Very unusual — an Erroll Garner inscription:

And finally, the uncontrolled and perhaps uncontrollable Bulee “Slim” Gaillard, posing with a more serious young couple, circumstances unknown:

Now . . . shut your eyes and imagine the sound of this collective ensemble.  I hear Maxine carrying the melody line, Moody and Slim improvising vocal counterpoint behind her; Muggsy, Erroll, and Slim keep the rhythm going. 

That should take your mind off of holiday shopping!

PAPER, NOT EPHEMERAL

This piece of paper comes from the collection of Boston jazz aficionado Samuel Prescott, and it’s an absolute Who’s Who of jazz stars who came through that city in the Forties.  The Prescott papers (and discs) are now held by the University of New Hampshire Library, and they took good care of this piece of paper, crowded with signatures of great men and women:

On the back (invisible at the moment) is the autograph of one Duke Ellington.  And here are the names that the librarians found: a good pastime for a rainy day with a magnifying glass: 

Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines (twice).  Al Morgan.  Pete Brown.  Joe Battaglia (piano).  Shirley Mhore (vocal).  Gene Sedric.  Art Hodes.  Vic Dickenson.  J. C. Higginbotham.  Roy Eldridge.  Erskine Hawkins (twice).  Joe Marsala.  Adele Girard.  Jimmy Shirley.  Jess Stacy.  Ev Schwarz (pian0).  John Kirby.  James P. Johnson.  Edmond Hall.  Louis Armstrong.  Billy Kyle.  Bob Wilber.  Frankie Newton.  Willie ‘Bunk’ Johnson (twice).  Baby Dodds.  Johnny Windhurst.  Johnny Field (bass).  Sparky Tomasetti.  Jack Teagarden.  Dick Wellstood.  Pops Foster.  Sidney Bechet.  Sandy J. Williams.  Jimmy Archey.  Howey ‘Peacoo’ Gadboys.  Sidney de Paris.  Rex Stewart.  ‘Wild’ Bill Davison.  Pleasant Joseph.  Henry ‘Red’ Allen.  Milton ‘Mezz’ Mezzrow.  Pee Wee Russell.  Don Kirkpatrick.  Max Kaminsky.  Paul Watson.  Bob Guy.  Charlie Holmes.

Amazing, no?

WHOLLY WRIT

As I see it, here are the three possibilities.

The best thing that might have happened to one of us would have been to play alongside Adrian Rollini in a band.

The next best thing would have been to have heard that band and gotten Rollini’s autograph.  (Extra points if he wrote your name on the piece of paper.)

The next best thing would be to be able to purchase a Rollini autograph:

Now, here’s another example.  See if you can do this one on your own:

If that signature seems tantalizingly elusive, it’s Glenn Miller.

Those two pieces of paper are both for sale (as I write this) in the same eBay lot — the third is a Les Brown autograph.  Stranger things have happened, but I can’t quite think of them at the moment.

IMMENSELY SAD / WEIRDLY CHEERFUL

You never know what you might find on a casual browse through eBay.  This time, I feel sure I’ve caromed from one emotion to another.  Because of its rarity, I would love to own the first photograph — Chick Webb lying in state — but it would make me far too sad to look at it on the wall:

And for those who need verification, here’s the reverse side:

But I couldn’t, as a responsible blog-guardian, leave my readers with that image burned into their memories.  So here’s the other side of the coin — an autographed picture of clarinetist Tony Parenti, wearing a hat that I can’t quite identify (is it the French Foreign Legion or the Fraternal Order of You-Name-It?  Please advise if you know.) and grinning happily, clarinet over his shoulder.  More mysteries: it’s inscribed to “Martha,” with regards to “Muggsy.”  Is that our Mr. Spanier?  Anyway, it’s a happy man, facing the camera, full of life:

I invite deconstructive analysis from my readers, as always —

NOVEMBER 12, 1943 AND MORE

eBay, so irresistible:

From November 12, 1943: Cab Calloway, Quentin Jackson, Illinois Jacquet, Hilton Jefferson, Jonah Jones, Shad Collins, and two signatures I can’t figure out.  I’d buy it for Shad, Quentin, and Hilton:

And there’s an autograph from that Parker fellow — called “Bird.”  Heard of him?

Finally, the underrated but Hot trumpeter Sidney DeParis — signing his portrait on the cover of Art Hodes’s JAZZ RECORD magazine:

Serious temptation lurks in eBay at the intersection of “Entertainment Memorabilia” and “Jazz.”

JACK, MUGGSY, JO, JAKE, GENE, SONNY

Truth in advertising?  I hope so — and it’s a pleasure to see these artists portrayed in the media as if their playing was meaningful art and their opinions meant something.

Of course, I don’t want to think about how many young men and women were disillusioned when they found out that owning a Gene Krupa drum set didn’t make them Gene Krupa . . . but I admire they for hoping and trying.  And I thank eBay for being our national museum, ever-changing, of such endearingly weird memorabilia.

JAZZ RELICS

A recent eBay search turned up still more paper delights.  Collectors sometimes call these “ephemera,” suggesting, I think, that they were not meant to last.  But the evidence indicates that these treasured items have a reassuring permanence.  See for yourself:

The most famous of the irreplaceable Misses Boswell — apparently before she began signing her name with two E’s.

Perfectly self-explanatory . . . from Roy’s long run on Fifty-Fourth Street.  And the bar opened at 10 AM!

Again, perfectly self-explanatory.  But I want to know the story behind this unused ticket.  Who got sick or couldn’t go?  That tale needs to be told.

Lucky “Pat,” a Swell Fellow indeed!  And lucky us . . .

This blurry Christmas card looks unimportant, even cheaply produced, until you see the signatures and realize its rarity.  Lee Wiley and Jess Stacy weren’t married for a long time (or happily, for that matter) so they can’t have sent out years of Christmas cards.  Immensely rare and perhaps immensely sad.  (For the precise readers out there, I do know that Jess was happily married, later in life, to Pat Peck, but I am taking the eBay seller at his or her word when the card is presented as from Jess and Lee.  It would have been nice to see their signatures, although they may have been printed, too.)

SIGN IN, PLEASE

At the risk of turning JAZZ LIVES into a blog wholly devoted to jazz “paper ephemera,” I have to make sure my readers see this — again on eBay.  The heading is “AMAZING COLLECTION OF JAZZ BAND MUSICIANS AUTOGRAPHS,” and this, for once, is correct — 290 autographs, with pictures and clippings: a Swing Era dream scrapbook with so many famous (and lesser-known) signatures that I was astonished.  How about Irving Fazola, Vic Dickenson, “Joe Jones,” Stan Kenton, members of every band you can think of?  I just hope the purchaser doesn’t lock it away in a dark room forever. 

The link (to see the collection below made visible through generous enlargement of the images) is http://cgi.ebay.com/AMAZING-COLLECTION-of-JAZZ-BAND-MUSICIANS-AUTOGRAPHS_W0QQitemZ180422145256QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2a01ff74e8.  AMAZING it is. 

And its source?  Here’s what the eBay seller says (slightly edited, and with some spelling corrections):

This is by far the largest collection of vintage original Jazz autographs to have been offered on Ebay. The collection has over 290 autographs from various Jazz musicians, singers, actors, actresses etc. The collection came from an estate in Massachusetts. The man (Nick Kirikos) who collected these autographs was a Jazz musician and composer himself. He was a Jazz trumpet player in the 1930’s & 40’s. He obtained all of these autographs himself and can be seen in a photo (included) with Gene Krupa. He put them in a photo album as shown along with some loose signatures as well. Every important artist in Jazz history is in this book. There are some multiple signatures from different artists. The collection also has some actors and actresses signatures along with letters from Joan Valerie & Mari Grey. Here is a list of some of the names we can make out:

Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Marion Hutton, Ella Fitzgerald, Ziggy Elman, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Ray Eberle, Clyde Hurley, Bob Crosby, Dizay Gillespie, Bob Haggart, Eddie Miller, Gil Rodin, John Best, Jimmy Lunceford, Joe Kearns, Joe Sullivan, Irving Fazola, Warren Smith, Jimmy Crawford, Earl Caruthers, Chris Griffin, Bruce Squires, Toots Mondello, Hymie Shertzer, Mickey McMickle, Billy Butterfield, Ted Buckner, Austin Brown, Billie Smith, Russell Boles, Sy Oliver, Eddie Durham, Elmer Crumbley, Paul Webster, Al Norris, Moses Allen, Jimmy Young, Eddie Tompkins, Joe Thomas, Gerald Wilson, Herb Tompkins, Bob Eberly, Helen O’Connell, Jimmy Dorsey, Milt Yaner, Corky Cornelius, Roy Cameron, Al Sherman, Count Basie, Dave Matthews, Al Killian, Jimmy Blake, Mal Hallett, Clark Yocum, Andy Anderson, Midge Williams, Joe Garland, Lee Blair, Sidney Catlett, Gigi Bohn, Teddy Wilson, Pete Clark, Earl Hines, Al Casey, Floyd Brady, Jimmy Campbell, J. C. Heard, Harry Rodgers, Dominick Buono, Rudy Powell, Janet Gilbert, Gus Devito, Monte Green, Cozy Cole, Louis Bellson, Al Sears, Robert Scott, Lynn Gardner, Woody Kessler, Pee Wee Hunt, Richard Gilbert, Ted Toll, Paul Rendarvis, Harry Carr, Charles Atlas, Peggy Mann, Cab Calloway, Chu Berry, Frank Carlson, Woody Herman, Joan Valerie, The Andrew Sisters, The Four Ink Spots, Shady Nelson, Mary Lou Williams, Andy Kirk, Frankie Masters, Sonny Greer, Fletcher Henderson, George Hall, Phyllis Myles, Terry Allen, Ray Nance, Ida James, Teddy Grace, Dolly Dawn, and many many more.  allautographs

PAPER EPHEMERA, CONTINUED

Drummer and jazz scholar Kevin Dorn and I were discussing these historical drum ads at Birdland last week.  Although we delight in them, we share the same skepticism.  A drum company representative came up to George Wettling, say, and asked, “George, would you like a new set of _ _ _ _ _ drums for free?  And we’ll give you a hundred dollars to let us use your picture in an ad?”  Wettling or anyone else always could use another set of drums, as well as the money, so he posed for a photo behind the set of drums that he swore were his favorites.  Perhaps a thousand young men went out and beleaguered their parents to buy just that set because their idol played it. 

Mildly fraudulent or not, full of language we doubt the drummer himself used, these pages are enchanting.  How many times in our lives will we see Dave Tough (not Davey, mind you) advertising something in a magazine — as if people would follow his lead?  It suggests a pre-Fall universe, now vanished.  This ad (like the Ray Bauduc autograph in the previous post) is available for purchase at eBay.  A thrilling oddity, never to come again.

Tough