Archive for 1947

Earliest Donald Byrd

Posted in 78 rpm, Donald Byrd, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2013 by crownpropeller

Yesterday the jazz world heard of the passing of trumpet legend Donald Byrd. But until now the only source for this sad news is Byrd’s nephew, confirmation from other relatives is still missing.

If  it’s true that Donald Byrd passed, he would have reached the age of 80. Not widely known – although mentioned in standard discographies – is the fact that Byrd started his career at a very early age. Byrd can first be heard on two 78rpm records by the tenor saxophonist Robert Barnes for Fortune Records, a company based in Detroit. Although some discographies note 1947 for these recordings (Byrd would have been 15 then), it was probably recorded in 1949. judging from the date on which one of the resulting records was mentioned in Billboard.

Of the four sides with “Sahib Byrd” apparently released I can offer you two here. Unfortunately the record this was dubbed from broke some dozen years ago and was glued. When played now it skips and jumps at several points, although  I really tried my very best to fix the problem (if someone has a better sound file, please let me know)

Although “Bobbin’ At Barbee’s” is designated as the b-side of Fortune 113, it’s the side with a solo by Byrd, so I put it in first place. Billboard (June 18, 1949) did not like it very much: “Just noise – hardly any music”, is all they had to say.

Robert-Barnes_Fortune_bobbin_at_barbies

At least Billboard had more words for the a-side, “Black Eyed Peas”,which features Barnes exclusively: “Good opening riff dissipates into another loud honking tenor sax solo of little quality or distinction.”

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Documenting Don Redman’s 1946 European Tour

Posted in documents, Don Redman, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2012 by crownpropeller

Page 2 of Don Redman concert review in swiss  “Film, Radio Jazz” magazine No 1, 1947.
From the Otto Flückiger Collection

Ever since the day i wrote this post about the 1946 european tour by Don Redman and his orchestra, I had the pleasure to work with the very fine jazz researchers such as Leif Bo Petersen, Anthony Barnett, Howard Rye, Mario Schneeberger and Dieter Salemann to make the story complete. With the help of jazz fans and researchers from different european countries and the USA we tried to gather all the known information about this tour in one place. In doing so we were able to correct a lot of misinformation  – discographical and otherwise – that has been around for some years now. Private as well as institutional collections allowed us to use their material including many rare photographs, newspaper ads, concert reviews and other related articles.

Tyree Glenn in Geneva, Switzerland,  photo probably by Freddy Bertrand.
From the Otto Flückiger Collection

You can see the results of our work (and hear some very interesting music!) if you go to the Don Redman’s 1946 European Tour page. Of course this is a work in progress, If you feel that you have something to add to the story, it would be nice if you would use the comment section over there.

Ad for the Bern concert, unidentified newspaper.
From the Otto Flückiger Collection

Beautiful Django Reinhardt LP

Posted in 33 rpm, Django Reinhardt with tags , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by crownpropeller

As already mentioned I love those french 10 inch records from the fifties on the Vogue and Swing labels. Now two weeks ago I discovered this beauty in a local record store:

Swing M 33.330 was released sometime in the early fifties. Although I already have all the music on this LP (on a CD as well as on really badly stereofied LP on the Period label), i could not resist the beautiful design so I had to buy it. I wonder if Charles Delaunay designed this one? The owner of the Swing label was the son of artists, and some of the covers of Vogue and Swing 10 inch LPs were designed by him.

So here’s some some music to go with the art, taken directly from the above copy of M 33.330: “September Song” (yes, I know it’s May right now). And please excuse the rough start!

According to Tom Lord’s Jazz Discography, this was recorded at a”Surprise-Partie” at the Studio Montparnasse of the Radio Diffusion Francais in Paris, France, on November 8 or 13, 1947 with the following people involved:

Gerard Leveque (cl), Eugene Vees (g), Django Reinhardt (g) Emmanuel Soudieux (b) Andre Jourdan (d).

Enjoy!

Dick Davis Combo on Gateway: John Young sings!

Posted in 78 rpm, clips, John Young with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2011 by crownpropeller

When you think of the Chicago style of playing the tenor saxophone in the 1940s and 1950s  – strongly influenced by Lester Young – you will surely think of Gene Ammons. Others that come to the mind of those in the know are Tom Archia, Claude McLin and Von Freeman.

An almost forgotten figure from that school of  blowing way behind the beat is Dick Davis (April 15, 1917 – January 19, 1954) about whom you may learn a lot from the Miracle page of the Red Saunders Research Foundation.

Dick Davis at an unknown date.
From Galen Gart’s First Pressings

Before we reach the small sensation announced in the title of this post, I offer you a clip of the Dick Davis Combo playing “Memphis Train” from Miracle 109, recorded around January 1947. The personnel: Dick Davis: ts; Sonny Thompson: p, Eddie Calhoun: b; Jimmie Hoskins: dr. The voices to be heard on this special train are by the band members.

Richard “Dick” Davis was born in Jackson, Mississippi, his family moved to Chicago in 1924.  On graduating in 1938 – he was schooled by legendary Capt. Walter Dyett – Davis went to work as a professional musician. His first engagement with a  name band  was with Doc Wheeler’s Sunset Royals from 1938 on:

Doc Wheeler and his Sunset Royals in 1941: Joe Murphy: dr, Cat Anderson: tp, Jesse Brown: tp, Jimmy Harris: tp; Al Lucas: b, Dick Davis (ts), Cornelius Ringi: as, Bobbie Smith: as, Sam “The Man” Taylor: ts,
Nat Allen: tb, Doc Moran: tb. Originally published in New York
Amsterdam News, May 2, 1942. 
Taken from Franz Hoffmans Jazz Advertised

After World War II Davis was soon leading his own band , which was first billed as “Richard E. Davis & His Gold Coast Swingsters” or “Richard Davis & His Westcoast Swingsters”.

From the Chicago Defender, February 23, 1946.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s Jazz Advertised

From the Chicago Defender, July 13, 1946.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s Jazz Advertised

In summer 1946 Davis, with a combo that also featured fellow tenor saxophonists Eddie Chamblee and Tommy Jones, recorded a track called  Tenor-Mental Moods which was released on two different copies of Miracle 101 (One had Sorry We Said Goodbye as the flip, the other Blues In My HeartBenson Jump/Memphis Train from January 1947 then was the next record under Davis’ name.

In 1948, Davis’ group was the house band of  the New Savoy for a while:

From the Chicago Defender, March 6, 1948.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s Jazz Advertised

From the Chicago Defender, May 8, 1948.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s Jazz Advertised

In late spring or summer 1949 Davis recorded for Ivin Ballen’s Gotham label with a band consisting of himself, pianist John Young, who had started his career in Andy Kirk’s orchestra, Eddie Calhoun and Buddy Smith. The signing of Dick Davis was announced in Billboard, April 16, 1949. The session resulted in Gotham 182 (You Tell Me/Double Talk). Unfortunately I never heard this record (if you have a copy, please let me know!). All I could manage is to steal a screenshot from an ebay auction – notice Davis singing on this side:

The Dick Davis Combo on Gotham 182. Does anyone have a copy?

Up to now the two (and a half) Miracle Records and Gotham 182 were the only known records under Davis’ name. But two weeks ago I spotted a mysterious Dick Davis record on ebay that has not been documented in any of the standard blues, r’n’b and jazz discographies before – and I managed to acquire it. Wandering Blues/Down Home which might well have been originally recorded on the Gotham session was released on Carl Burkhardts Gateway Records apparently sometime in 1952. Up to now only two issues were known on the Gateway R’nB series: Gateway 5005 by Chuck Huguely with Johnny Smith’s Orchestra and Gateway 5002 by Chicago drummer Jump Jackson (if you have one of these two, again please let me know!).

So here is one side of the elusive Gateway 5001.

Apparently what makes this record a small sensation besides it’s rarity is, that it carries the only example of pianist John Young singing – which apparently he did not like to do, as he told ted Panken in this double interview (with Von Freeman):

John Young: The Quality Lounge was on 43rd Street. So if you know anything about 43rd Street, you know it wasn’t on the uppity-uppity-uppity-up. The Quality Lounge, I was in there with a fellow named Dick Davis who played tenor saxophone. I was the piano player, the drummer’s name was Buddy Smith, Eddie Calhoun was on bass. And I was singing.

Ted Panken: Singing, too.

John Young: But at that time I had laryngitis. When (?) asked me to sing, I suddenly developed a case of laryngitis. All three of them called it “lyingitis” — because it was a gitis that never left. But the Q was cool . . . Like I say, it was a relaxed joint. You could come in there with tennis shoes on if you wanted to. It wasn’t nothin’ uppity, you know. And it was on 43rd Street. We had a good time in there for a number of years …

From September 1951 on until his passing from lobar pneumonia in January 1954 Davis played with King Kolax’ band, accompanying Joe Williams, Johnny Sellers, Danny Overbea, the Flamingos and other Chicago singers for labels like Checker and Chance (look at the Red Saunders Research Foundation about Kolax for more information about Davis’ doings in Kolax’ band.

Some of these days I will maybe put the flipside of Gateway 5001 up on this blog well – Down Home is a slow instrumental blues featuring solos by Davis and Young as well as Calhouns prominent bass work. Until then!

Milt Buckner News!

Posted in 33 rpm, jazz, Milt Buckner with tags , , , , , , , on June 18, 2011 by crownpropeller

I have added some information to all three parts of my Milt Buckner discography. There are some new photos, some old photos in better copies than before, as well as information about some previously known and some previously unknown recordings from broadcasts as well as from records or notes in Milt Buckner’s diaries. For example, there is this entry:

which led to this LP (details are in the discography):

I have also added an unreleased 1947 session for Don Gabor’s Continental Records, featuring a Lionel Hampton small group with Arnett Cobb and others, but without Hampton.

Does anyone have an idea who might have the masters for these Continental tracks– if any do still exist?

I have also made discographical – and photographical – additions to part 2 and part 3. So it’s worth having a look there. I have noted the last changes on top of each part.

Tommy Dean: Rock Easy (1947)

Posted in 78 rpm, R'n'B with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2010 by crownpropeller

To give you something to enjoy while I am waiting to find the time to scan some more photos of unknown r’n’b and jazz bands, I present to you a 78rpm from my collection, so you can have a little dance around your computer.

The musicians on this one are: Tommy Dean (p); Gene Easton (as); Chris Woods (cl); James Taylor (ts); Buck Underwood (b); Nathaniel “Pee Wee” Jernigan (d). It was recorded in St. Louis in 1947. For more information about Tommy Dean’s band (and also this record), go to The Tommy Dean Discography at the Red Saunders Research Foundation.

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