Archive for the unidentified photographs Category

Eddie Chamblee and some unidentified people

Posted in documents, Eddie Chamblee, Lionel Hampton, unidentified photographs with tags , , , , , , , on January 6, 2013 by crownpropeller

I love to look on ebay for jazz or early r’n’b related memorabilia from time to time. A few weeks ago, being a little bored, I started to browse to see if any interesting photographs would come up. Then suddenly I recognized tenor saxophonist Eddie Chamblee (1920–1999) one one of the stamp sized pictures you see in an ebay listing. The seller was offering the photo under the heading “photo of unidentified black musicians” and I had the luck to get it for the pricely sum of $5.


Eddie Chamblee (left) and two unidentified persons, circa mid 50s.
Photographer unknown

Comparing with other photos of Chamblee I would say it is from the mid 1950s. The other two men look very familiar to me. Does anyone know, who these two might be? Maybe they are members of Lionel Hampton’s band, Chamblee played with Hampton around 1955/1956. They look familiar, but I am not able to place them.

You might as well have some music while thinking about who these men may be. Here is Eddie Chamblee and his band playing Julian Priester’s composition “Swing A Little Taste”.

This was recorded January 20, 1958 in Chicago for Mercury and the band members are:  Fortunatus “Fip” Ricard (tp) Julian Priester (tb) Eddie Chamblee (ts,vcl) Charles Davis (bar) Jack Wilson (p) Robert Wilson (b) James Slaughter (d). And it was released on this LP:


“Swing A Little Taste” had been recorded 18 months earlier on one of the first recording sessions of the Sun Ra Arkestra , of which Priester was a member at that time. This version was originally released on the sampler “Jazz In Transition” on the Transition label (go to Robert L. Campbell’s page about Sun Ra’s early years for more information about that session).


While the label on the Transition LP gives Julian Priester as the sole composer of this tune, the Mercury LP “Doodlin” adds one “Washington” to the composer’s credit. This “Washington” is obviously the person to the right of Chamblee on the cover of  the “Doodlin” LP (no prizes for giving her full name).

I also acquired another photo from the same seller, also for $5 (it said “photo of unidentified black musicians” again). Now does anyone have an idea who this lady could be? (And no: Just the fact she is holding a trumpet does not make her Valaida Snow!) Or where and when this photograph was taken?



Frank Foster Big Band at the Village Vanguard 1980

Posted in Frank Foster, jazz, unidentified photographs with tags , , , , , on June 3, 2012 by crownpropeller

Update (June 9, 2012): I found a tape from this concert. I will add a track or two later and reblog this post.

Update (June 8, 2012): The Big Band has been identified as being Frank Foster’s band. Still help is needed in identifying the members of the band.


Continuing the digitizing of the material my friend Otto gathered on his trips to New York in 1978, 1980 and 1981 I find it sometimes hard to match the tapes in his collection to the photos in his files from these years. Of course it is possible that from some concerts only photos survived.

Here are seven photos of a big band playing (most probably) at the Village Vanguard either in probably spring 1980 or – also possible – spring 1981. Although some of these people look familiar to me, I cannot really place anyone.  All I can say that the tenor saxophonist in the middle of the first photo (in the background) also seems to appear on a photo of Jabbo Ware’s Me, We and Them Orchestra at the Black Bean Music Studio on May 11, 1980. But the band on these photos here is definitely not Jabbo’s.

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Who are these people? (2)

Posted in unidentified photographs with tags , on December 23, 2010 by crownpropeller

REVISION: I found another photograph of the “Wilson” session (photo b-2)

I managed to scan some more photos from the Otto Flückiger collection that carry no caption. If anyone knows or would have an idea who these musicians are, I’d be glad to hear from you.

So here we go with installment No 2.

Photo a) features an unknown band:

An unidentified Quintet

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This photo might have been taken in Detroit, else I do not know anything about his band.

Next up are seven photogaphs taken at a jam session at an unidentified location, probably in the seventies or early eighties. I am a little embarassed, since I have the feeling I should know more than one of these people. But up to now I could not come up with any names.

Photo b):

Unidentified Jam Session

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Loren Schonberg says that the guitarist on this photo looks very much like Lawrence Lucie. Comparing to (admittedly a lot older) photos of Lucie, I think Loren is right. The bass player (what exactly is he playing there?) does look very familiar. Note the writing on the bass drum, I guess Mr. Wilson’s first name must be rather short to make the typography on the drum look good.

Two days after I put the photo above on the blog, I found another photograph with the same people as above. This one was in a different box.

Photo b-2):

Lawrence Lucie and others

In my eyes, photo b-2 does support that it’s Lawrence Lucie playing guitar here.

Photo c):

Guitar Player at unidentified "Wilson" Jam

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While the (cut-off) drummer seems to be the same man as on photo a), we have another guitarist and a new man at the keyboard.

Photo d):

Trumpet Players at unidentified Wilson jam

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Photo d) shows two trumpeters at the same time and location. Loren Schonberg thinks that the left man may be Joe Thomas – which could well be. I could only compare it to photos of Joe Thomas that were taken 20, 30 years earlier. I have the feeling that the trumpeter on the right is also a rather well known man … And yes, even the lady on the right looks familiar to me.

Photo e):

Drummer at unidentified "Wilson" Jam

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Photo e) shows a different drummer.

Photo f):

Unidentified Wilson Jam

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This one introduces a new guitar man, a new piano player and a tenor saxist.


Tenor player at unidentified Wilson Jam

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Bob Porter has identified Willis Jackson on this photo. And he is definitely right, Jackson wears the same jacket on the cover of his 1975 Atlantic LP “The Way We Were”:

Willis Jackson: "The Way We Were"

Photo h):

Trombonist, probably at unidentified Wilson jam

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Photo h) shows an unidentified trombonist, most probably photographed on the same occasion as the six photos above.

Finally here’s photo which is entirely unrelated to the others in this post.


unidentified sextet

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Photo j) has been identified by Loren Schonberg (“I played with these guys”) as showing a configuration of the Al Vollmer Harlem Blues & Jazz Band: George James (as), Gene Rodgers (p), Johnny Williams (b), Bobby Williams (tp) and Tommy Benford (dr). Indeed, the guitar player looks like Al Casey. So can anyone identify the location?

Any hints regarding all these photos are very much welcome.

Who are these people?

Posted in documents, unidentified photographs on December 12, 2010 by crownpropeller

REVISION (OCT 25. 2012) James Carter has identified the tenor sax man on photo number 3: It’s Al Sears as someone had suggested. Sears name can be read on the lips of the sax’s bell!

Here’s my original posting:

In the vast archives of Otto Flückiger I found a box with small photos and reproductions. None of these carry any information about the people pictured. I could identify some of bands and orchestras, but a whole lot wait to be identified. For example here we have an unidentified Lounge band:

Unidentified Trio

It has been suggested that the pianist on the above photo is Elmer Gill. I have to admit he has a slight resemblance, but although Otto Flückiger knew him well, I doubt it’s him. The bass player has been suggested as being Jimmy Butts (“for sure”) on this and the next photo (apparently featuring the same bass player):

unknown five piece band

NOTE (November 6 2011); The people on this photo have been identified. I am leaving the text below for historical reasons.

It has been suggested that the above five are The Harlemaires, a Philadelphia group that recorded for Atlantic in November and December 1947. The bassist would be Percy Joell, the pianist Chester Slater, the drummer Dottie Smith, and the guitarist to the right Billy Butler whereas the left guitar player is unidentified. Vocal group specialist Marv Goldberg very much doubts that these are The Harlemaires though – “The faces really don’t match up too well”. Strangely enough, Goldberg says that the guitarist on the left looks a little like Billy Butler though. As mentioned above, the bass player has been suggested as being Jimmy Butts.

There are several photos of different bands with Dottie Hill on Marvin Goldbergs site, on some she resembles the drummer pictured above, on some she doesn’t!

finally here are eight musicians from an unidentified large band. This photo is most probably not related to the first two:

Unidentified eight musicians

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I received a lot of suggestions for the tenor sax player. Here are my comments:

Hal Singer: There is a resemblance, yes. But comparing this to other old photos of Singer, it does not seem it’s Singer after all.

George Clarke: Resemblance is bigger than with Singer, but not 100%

Big Nick Nicholas: I could not find any vintage Big Nick Nicholas photos to compare with.

Al Sears: Hard to say, because he almost always wore glasses on photos from that time. Al Sears seems to have a rounder face though than the man on the photo above.

Other persons suggested by the person who suggested Al Sears are: Billy Taylor, Rudy Powell, Shad Collins,  and (hidden behind Powell and Collins) Danny Barker. Note though, that the person in the picture seems to be a drummer, not a guitar player.

So, do we have anymore suggestions?