Archive for the Discography Category

Nestor Records (early John Coltrane musical content!)

Posted in 78 rpm, Discography, John Coltrane, R'n'B with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2015 by crownpropeller

nestor6aThis 1953 record from Philadelphia contains solos
by John Coltrane. From the Crown Propeller Collection

The John Coltrane Reference by Lewis Porter, Chris DeVito, David Wild, Yasuhiro Fujioka, Wolf Schmaler – a book you should own if you are a Coltrane fanatic – lists a probably 1953 session by Philadelphia drummer James “Coatesville” Harris that features Coltrane, done for the small Philadelphia label Nestor.

In their notes to that session the authors write: “This 78-rpm record was discovered by Swiss reserachers Otto Flückiger and Armin Büttner. (…) Coltrane is identified by aural evidence only, but we consider the evidence overwhelming. He plays throughout and solos on both tracks.”

What they write is not quite the truth though. It was not Otto Flückiger and me who made this discovery. Instead Otto and his friend the swiss jazz researcher and alto saxophonist Mario Schneeberger had thought that the saxophonist on Nestor 06 sounded very much like John Coltrane back in the 1960s when Otto won this record for a dollar or two in an auction. When Otto played the two tracks for me in the early 1990s, I was convinced that it’s Coltrane playing the tenor here from the first notes emanating from that horn, leading me to inform the Coltrane experts. But the claim for the discovery must go to Otto and Mario.

There is really not much known about the Nestor label which was owned by Herman “Piney” Gillespie, who at different points in time also ran the labels G&M, Piney and Teenage. Gillespie had his home base in Philadelphia, but at least Nestor moved to New York later.

The second Edition of Bob McGrath’s The R&B Indies (2006) lists nine issues on Nestor. And although I have been running a permanent ebay search for “Nestor 78rpm” since 2003, I only ever came up with one Nestor record at all (Nestor 10, incidentally not listed in the The R&B Indies).

In the hope of acquiring more information about the Nestor label (and maybe stumbling over even more Coltrane, not that I do have much hope), I decided to gather all the information that I have here, in the hope of delivering a somewhat complete list of its issues. Many thanks to Bob McGrath whose four volume work The R&B Indies is responsible for about 92 percent of this listing. Some composer credits were taken from 45rpm labels appearing on the internet. There is some music inside of this listing, some youtube clips – yes, and some Coltrane to listen to in an atomic age tenor solo!


Nestor Records – a draft

NESTOR 1 to NESTOR 5: No information

Coatesville Harris (dr, ldr), Rodney Smith (voc), John Coltrane (ts), unidentified p, g, b, d

Philadelphia, probably 1953

JG-06A     Ham Hocks And Hominy (H. Gillespie)
JG-06B     Strange Things All The Range (H. Gillespie)

(Information from Fancourt – McGrath: “The Blues Discography 1943–1970” and a copy of Nestor 6 in the Crown Propeller Collection, this record is not mentioned in the 2006 edition of The R&B Indies). Only 78 rpm copies are known.

And here is Coatesville Harris’ band with singer Rodney Smith doing “Strange Things All The Rage”. Watch out for John Coltrane!

NESTOR 7 to NESTOR 9: No information


JG-10A     The Little Black Sheep (Moore)
JG-10B     My Dream (Moore)

(Not listed in The R&B Indies, information from a 78rpm copy in the Crown Propeller Collection), Here is the music (warning: no jazz or r’n’b content!) I cannot find the 78rpm right now, so I might add a picture later.

The Little Black Sheep:

My Dream

NESTOR 11: No information

MICHELLE & HIS ORGAN (v. Jimmy Milner)

N-12A     Love Is Such A Funny Thing
N-12B     Now That You’re Gone

(Information from “The R&B Indies”)

Mae Parrish with unidentified tp, tb, ts, g, p, b, d, vocal ensemble on “Function …”

Philadelphia, probably late 1955 or early 1956

N-13A     Function On Broadway
N-13B     Let’s Make Love Tonight

Information from The R&B Indies, and Fancourt – McGrath: The Blues Discography 1943–1970. Fancourt/McGrath give 1953/1954 as the recording date, but this was probably later. The  New York Age of  February 11, 1956 noted: “Mae Parrish, sensational blues singer, getting good response from her recent recording of “Function On Broadway” on Nester (sic!) label.”

Here is “Function On Broadway”:

Freddie Clark (voc), unknown tp, as, p, b, d

N-14A     Begging Papa Blues
N-13B     Got The Blues

Information from The R&B Indies and Fancourt – McGrath: The Blues Discography 1943–1970 and a 78rpm copy of Nestor 14 in the Otto Flückiger Collection. When I go down to the archive again, I will take  pictures of the label. There were 45rpm copies as well. Here’s one from Youtube user stompingsevens:

And if you’d like to hear the flip side too, here’s “Got The Blues” from Otto’s collection.

MONTEREYS (Dean Barlow)

N-15A     Someone Like You (White-Epps)
N-15B     Train Whistle Blues

Basic information from The R&B Indies. Composer credits from 45rpm label shots found on the internet. Nestor 15 was also released as Teenage 1001.


N-16A     There Goes That Train (R. McGill)
N-16B     I Gotta (B. Smith)

Basic information from The R&B Indies. Composer credits from 78 and 45rpm label shots  found on the internet.

Ray Edwards (voc), Dicky Howard, rest unknown

N-17A     Rolling Down The Highway
N-17B     Going Down The River (H. Gillespie – R. Jefferson)

Information from The R&B Indies and Classic Urban Harmony website.


N-18X45  119    Rosa Lee (M. Childs)
N-18X45 120   No Love (M. Childs)

Basic information from The R&B Indies. Composer credits from  45rpm label shots  found on the internet. Here is a vid of “Rosa Lee” from youtube user jdkays:

NESTOR 19 to NESTOR 25: No information


N-26A     One More Time (Ollie Blanchard)
N-26B     Sugarfoot Sam

Information from The R&B Indies, composer credit for N-26A from a copy on ebay. This is the first known Nestor with a N.Y.C. adress on the label.



N-27A     Remember (G. Payne)
N-17B     That Kiss You Gave Me (G. Payne)

Information from The R&B Indies and label shots from the internet.

NESTOR (number unknown)


unknown titles

Information about singer Lloyd “Fat Man” Smith recording for Nestor can be found in the Billboard of April 13, 1957 (dates in brackets added by me):

“Lloyd, the ‘Fat Man’, r.&b. singer and ork leader who has recorded on Peacock (1951/52), Gotham (1950), Nestor (??), Checker (??) and Epic (really Okeh, 1956), has been signed as a disk jockey on WHAT, Philadelphia.”

Some information about Lloyd “Fat Man” Smith can be found here.


If you have information about the unlisted Nestor records or can provide label scans or audio files of records from the list, please contact me via a comment.

Marl Young: discography and solography by Mario Schneeberger

Posted in 78 rpm, Discography, jazz, Marl Young with tags , , , , on January 17, 2015 by crownpropeller


Sunbeam 103 from the Crown Propeller collection.
Check Gene Ammon’s solo!

Marl Young (1917–2009), “the only man who fired Charlie Parker” (Young), was a very interesting figure. He was a pianist, arranger, composer and for some time in the 1940s owned a small record company in Chicago. If you heard his name before that might be because Young was also pianist and arranger on three sessions by T-Bone Walker.

Swiss alto saxophonist and jazz researcher Mario Schneeberger, has been working on a biography / discography / solography  of Young, which is now published on the jazzdocumentation website. Click here to go directly to Mario’s pages on Marl Young or click here to see all of Mario’s research pages.

There are a few things that Mario could not obtain (marked thusly in the discography), if you have any of those, please contact Mario (his adress can be found on top of the Marl Young pages) or contact me via a comment and I will pass your information on to Mario.

If you would like to hear a bit of what this is about, above and below you find two very rare recordings Young did for his own record company Sunbeam. One featuring Little Miss Cornshucks, the other featuring tenor sax legend Gene Ammons and female impersonator Petite Swanson alias Alphonso Horsley.


Sunbeam 105 from the
Crown Propeller collection.


The Sam Lazar discography

Posted in 33 rpm, 45 rpm, Cawthron, Discography, Grant Green, Sam Lazar with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2014 by crownpropeller


Sam Lazar

Organist Sam Lazar from St. Louis is a mysterious figure about whom not very much is known. His (very small) fame among jazz fans is based on the fact that guitarist Grant Green’s first recordings were done in groups led by Lazar.

Lazar, who was born around 1933, vanished from the scene at sometime in the early sixties and nobody seems to really know what became of him (and I am 99 percent sure that the – unsourced – stories about his later life in Lazar’s Wikipedia entry are bogus (so I do not link to that entry) – or are they?

Anyway, since I think it’s worth to listen to Lazar also if Green is not part of the proceedings, I decided to make an illustrated discography of Sam Lazar’s recorded works. Some of the entrys are linked to audio files or youtube videos – just in case you want to listen to Lazar while reading about his works.



The first Sun Ra discography

Posted in Discography, Sun Ra with tags , , , on March 30, 2012 by crownpropeller

The up to now last and most complete (it can NEVER be totally complete as the universe has endless possibilities) attempt to write a discography of the recorded works of cosmo-music master Sun Ra, is still “The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra” by Robert L. Campbell. Be sure to get the 2nd edition though, cowritten by Chris Trent. It’s still available through Cadence or at Amazon.

Of course Robert and Chris did not start from scratch. Over the years there have been many Sun Ra discographies written by such knowledgeable people as Julian Vein, Bert Vuijsje, Erik Raben, Vlad Simosko, Tilman Stahl, Jean Buzelin & Alain-René Hardy, Mark Webber, Hartmut Geerken.

But the first person to be as fascinated by Sun Ra’s mixture of the very old and the very tomorrow as to publish a listing of his work seems to have been Otto Flückiger whose Sun Ra discography appeared in the March 1961 issue of “jazz-statistics”.

I once asked Otto how he got to know Ra’s music, he surely must have been the first person who had heard this music in switzerland. Unfortunately I did not write down what he told me, but I seem to remember that in the late fifties a friend of his brought a Sun Ra LP back from a trip to the USA as a present for Otto: “Jazz In Transition” on the Transition label. And the music fascinated him right away. I especially remember Otto mentioning “their enthusiasm” as a reason. Otto then somehow managed to find out the address of Saturn Records. And I guess he send them some money in exchange for records he might get for the amount . That is how he got his “Jazz In Silhouette” LP -it was a true first pressing, he traded it later – as well as some 45rpms and a Saturn Records catalogue.

“jazz-statistics” was a homemade discographical magazine published by Otto himself. Jazz fans interested in discographical data could subscribe to it and  received from 12 to 24 pages of discographical data four times a year.  Kurt Mohr, the father of r’n’b discography, french collector Marvel Chauvard and others also published their listings there. There were comparable magazines all over europe, and they were of great help to the compilers of complete multi-volume jazz discographies like Jorgen Jepsen, Walter Bruyninckx and Tom Lord.

I do not exactly know for how long “jazz-statistics” lasted, I will look that up some time (I do also not know, when this project started, if you do the maths you get around 1956, but this may not be true).

I decided to scan the first few pages of “jazz-statistics” from March 1961 so you can see what the first ever Sun Ra discography looked like. The complete issue has sixteen pages all in all. As you see Otto made a handwritten addition on one of the pages. According to Robert Campbell, “jazz-statistics” no 22 (june) had Sun Ra additions by Michael Vogler. Otto probably wrote this addition into issue no 21. I have to look If I find issue no 22 in the archive

While regarding it, (click to enlarge), you should keep in mind, that this is more than fifty years old.  If you want to get the actual state of science regarding the years in question, go to Robert Campbell’s page “From Sonny Blount to Sun Ra: The Chicago Years”.  But still this discography solved an old riddle: Why Otto’s copy of the booklet that came with the Transition LP is cut up and missing most of the photographs. They ended up in “jazz-statistics”!


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