First, the soundtrack to get you in the mood for jazz speculation, even though the subject of this wonderful performance is romance, not authenticity of paper ephemera (anything that gives me an excuse to listen to and share Louis is always welcome):
Now, two pieces of evidence, just spotted today on eBay. The first one comes from a Detroit newspaper, with no other details, advertising something I would have liked to participate in: a personal appearance and autograph signing by an artist I admire, Tommy Dorsey:
My questions are perhaps reasonable but at this distance, I think unanswerable. What was the name of the record? Should we assume that the Dorsey band was playing a gig at the State Fair? When was this? And (most poignantly) when can I expect the R.C.A. VICTOR DANCE CARAVAN show up to my town?
I hear some of you hissing, “Never, Michael, never!” to which I say, “I’ll bet you think Toto is dead, too.” The link is here — should you want this mysterious sentimental artifact for your own.
The second item also raises questions: advertised as an autographed glossy photograph of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, each member signing his name in fountain pen, a glorious photograph that I had not seen before:
And here is the Ellington link. I was a little skeptical at first, because real on-the-spot autographs tend to be less careful, and I wondered that everyone in the band either had the same fountain pen or they passed it from one to another. I would guess that the photograph lay flat on a table for it to be signed by all those heroes ever so neatly. But I stopped worrying when I saw that Sonny Greer had signed “Luck always,” which is the way he signed a Jazz Panorama lp for me in the Seventies. Perhaps someone can say why the bassist — Wellman Braud, I assume — didn’t sign. Now there‘s a mystery.
I can’t afford the Ellington photograph, but it’s lovely to see.
If you look for me, I’ll be scanning the street for Tommy Dorsey. And I have my own fountain pen, thank you.
May your happiness increase!