Archive for the Photographs Category

Impressions of the ICP Orchestra, Zürich 2015

Posted in Free Jazz, Han Bennink, jazz, Photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2015 by crownpropeller

DSC_4339(Click to enlarge) The ICP Orchestra at Rote Fabrik, Zurich,
Switzerland, October 17, 2015. Mary Oliver, Tristan
Honsinger, Ernst Glerum, Han Beninnk, Michael Moore,
Ab Baars, Wolter Wierbos (hidden), Tobias Delius (hidden) and
Thomas Heberer.  Photo by Armin Büttner

The ICP Orchestra, that famous european jazz institution founded in 1967 by drummer Han Bennink and pianist Misha Mengelberg, played in Zurich yesterday. Since I have a bad cold, I was not in the mood to fumble around with a video cam, but I took quite a few photos which turned out so nice, that I thought I’d present them here.

In it’s current incarnation – Misha Mengelberg is not able to appear on stage anymore – the ICP Orchestra consists of Han Bennink, trumpeter Thomas Heberer, trombonist Wolter Wierbos, Michael Moore (as, cl), Ab Baars (ts, cl), Tobias Delius (ts, cl), Mary Oliver (violin, viola), cellist Tristan Honsinger and bassist Ernst Glerum. The piano chair was manned by Misha Mengelbergs good friend Guss Janssen. They played a lot of  Mengelbergs compositions as well as his arrangements of pieces by Monk, Herbie Nichols and Duke Ellington, as well as pieces by band members. To make it short, it was a great evening and I was glad I went – I even had the feeling my cold had gotten better afterwards.

So here are some photos (you can always click to enlarge, they are quite big!):

DSC_4308Han Bennink at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4321Han Bennink, Michael Moore, Ab Baars, Tobias Delius at
Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4301Mary Oliver, Tristan Honsinger, Ernst Glerum at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4324Michael Moore and Ab Baars at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4348Mary Oliver at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

After a twenty minute intermission the second part of the evening started with about twenty minutes with a special quartet. ICP-members Bennink, Glerum and Moore were joined by Zurich based pianist Irène Schweizer (they know each other for years and years, swiss label Intakt has just released a new Cd of Schweizer/Bennink duets).

Here are some photos from that part of the evening:

DSC_4373Irène Schweizer, Ernst Glerum, Han Bennink and Michael
Moore at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4386Han Bennink and Michael
Moore at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4384Han Bennink at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4407Irène Schweizer at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

Then it was back to the ICP Orchestra again:

DSC_4428Michael Moore, Ab Baars, Tobias Delius, Wolter Wierbos and
Thomas Heberer at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4430Ernst Glerum, Mary Oliver, Han Bennink and Michael Moore
at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4453“And without further ado I present to you: absolutely nothing!”:
Tristan Honsinger at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4467Going down low: Tristan Honsinger and Wolter Wierbos at
Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4471And up: Tristan Honsinger in the air at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4476Guss Janssen and Mary Oliver at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4485Han Bennink and Ab Baars at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4490Han Bennink, Ab Baars, Michael Moore and Tobias Delius
at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4502A quite hum for Misha Mengelberg: Han Bennink at Rote
Fabrik, Zurich, October 17, 2015.

Enjoy!

David Murray Infinity Quartet feat. Saul Williams, Zürich 2015

Posted in clips, David Murray, jazz, Photographs on October 14, 2015 by crownpropeller

DSC_4144(click to enlarge) David Murray, Jaribu Shahid (hidden), Saul
Willliams and Nasheet Waits at Rote Fabrik, Zürich,
October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

Last sunday one of my old favourites was in town. Tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist David Murray was appearing at the Rote Fabrik with his Infinity Quartet featuring Spoken Word artist Saul Williams.

Since I am not following the HipHop and Spoken Word scene that much, I was not acquainted with Williams’ work at all. Shame on me for it was a great evening.

I made a video featuring two tracks. Unfortunately from where I stood the view was not too good. As I did not want to appear to be filming, I put the camera on the table besides me for most of the time. Not wanting to cut the people’s heads, I had to zoom out quite a bit since the table was too low. But the video gets more interesting after a while when I finally picked the camera up to zoom in a little more. But there are still some bad shakes. Add to that that my camera passed out. So there are three seconds without footage in between – and just some photos with worse sound from another source at the end of “Children Of The Night”.

So this video is just to give you an idea.

The clip starts with the fourth track of the evening, a quartet rendition of Thelonious Monk’s “Wee See”. You won’t recognize it at first, the theme only comes up around 13:13 (It took me hours to find out which Monk tune that is). After that (starting at 16:00) comes “Children Of The Night”, a poem by Saul Williams, with Murray playing bass clarinet.

I also took quite a few photographs, here are some:

DSC_4123(click to enlarge) David Murray at Rote Fabrik, Zürich,
October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

DSC_4162(click to enlarge) David Murray and Saul Willliams at Rote
Fabrik, Zürich, October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

DSC_4173(click to enlarge) Nasheet Waits at Rote Fabrik,
Zürich, October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

DSC_4202(click to enlarge) Jaribu Shahid at Rote Fabrik,
Zürich, October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

DSC_4201(click to enlarge) Saul Williams at Rote Fabrik,
Zürich, October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

DSC_4227(click to enlarge) David Murray and Saul Williams at
Rote Fabrik, Zürich, October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

DSC_4249(click to enlarge) Orrin Evans and David Murray at
Rote Fabrik, Zürich, October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

DSC_4170(click to enlarge) Saul Williams and Jaribu Shahid at
Rote Fabrik, Zürich, October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

DSC_4226(click to enlarge) Saul Williams  at Rote Fabrik,
Zürich, October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

DSC_4258(click to enlarge) David Murray and Saul Williams at
Rote Fabrik, Zürich, October 11, 2015. Photo by Armin Büttner.

If you have a chance to see this band – they are touring through Europe right now – go for it!

Enjoy!

The ominous Rashied Ali at the Boltax LP

Posted in documents, Photographs, Rashied Ali with tags , , , , , , , on June 28, 2014 by crownpropeller

In this post, I presented documents of a concert by the Rashied Ali Quartet 1979  in N.Y.C. The gig was taped and photographed by my friend, the late jazz researcher Otto Flückiger. Among the things I presented is a 27 minute audio excerpt in so and so quality.

A few days ago, I noticed a sudden increase in people interested in that blog post, and wondered why this would be so. So while googling for “Rashied Ali” and “Boltax”, I found, that some *[&**!! has loaded down that mp3, as well as some of the photos from my blog post and made a “limited edition LP” of supposedly 45 pieces out of it. Some “nightshift” pressing maybe?

Now one of these found a buyer who was willing to pay over hundred dollars for it.

boot jpg

I have to say that I find this a bit shabby. Of course one can argue that this blog here might be acting immoral as well. After all I have been presenting music here which I do not really have the rights to present. But I am never offering any music that is legally vailable, nor would I ever try to earn any money on a musician’s back. Up to now I only had positive responses from musicians or from relatives of deceased musicians to what I do.

SO THIS IS TO LET YOU ALL KNOW THAT NEITHER  I NOR THIS BLOG NOR LITTLE ROCKET RECORDS HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS RECORD!

I know how attractive things like this are (limited! only 45 copies!), but I encourage anyone to think twice before bidding on this thing. You can have the music here for free. Of course: Rashied Ali’s estate does not profit from the music presented here. But if it does not, I think no-one should.

I am 99  percent sure that the mp3 from my old blog post is the source for this LP, but I have not yet seen a copy of the record. Does anyone own it and can confirm that it’s about 27 minutes long?

 

Thanks!

 

Milt Buckner Jam Session feat. Mario Schneeberger

Posted in jazz, Mario Schneeberger, Milt Buckner, Photographs with tags , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2014 by crownpropeller

Crown Propeller’s blog is proud to present rare memories of a jam session featuring Milt Buckner.

Pianist, organist and vibraphonist Milt Buckner (1915–1977) spent a large part of his later years in Europe, touring throughout the continent, often playing with local rhythm sections and happily allowing local players to sit in.

On one of his concerts which took place on January 4, 1977 at the Jazztone in Lörrach on the german side of the swiss-german border not far away from Basel, Buckner was joined by pianist Jules Plattner, bassist Rolf Winiger and drummer Georges Bernasconi– the last named having recorded with Buckner before. Joining the band for part of the evening was swiss alto saxophonist Mario Schneeberger.

milt-und-mario-5Rolf Winiger, Georges Bernasconi, Milt Buckner and Mario Schneeberger
at the Jazztone in Lörrach, January 4, 1977.
Otto Flückiger is sitting in the front row, turning his head.
Photographer unknown

Being a friend of Mario and a fan of Milt Buckner, the late swiss jazz researcher Otto Flückiger was at the Jazztone that night and recorded the event. Otto can be seen in the audience on some of the shots that were taken by an unidentified photographer. I am thankful to Mario for allowing me to publish tracks from that evening on which he himself is heard (excepting those which are of a not too good quality).
If you know who took the photographs in this post, please let me know, as I prefer to give proper credit. To enlarge the photographs, please click on them.

Continue reading

Welcome to the Crown Propeller Lounge again!

Posted in 78 rpm, documents, jazz, King Kolax, Photographs, R'n'B with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2013 by crownpropeller

crown_propeller_black_silver

(Click to enlarge) Sleeve for souvenir photographs from the Crown Propeller Lounge, unidentified date. From the Crown Propeller collection

The Crown Propeller Lounge – after which this blog is named – was one of Chicago’s most important venues for R’n’B and Jazz during the 1950s. You can read more about it on my old blog entry here. After reading that post, Mike Medina (aka WayoutWardell) contacted me and identified more of the people pictured in this gorgeous photo, donated to the Crown Propeller blog by the Schlossberg family (also check the comments section over there for more interesting information from Mike).

cp 1

(Click to enlarge) Dancer Lupita Peruyero, Joe Louis, Norman Schlossberg, Sarah Vaughan, King Kolax and Mitzi Mars at the Crown Propeller, probably 1952. Courtesy of the Schlossberg family

I had recognized trumpeter King Kolax and boxer Joe Louis with Crown Propeller owner Norman Schlossberg and Mike added the name of dancer Lupita Peruyero (far left) who was a regular at the Crown Propeller and knew that the lady on the far right is singer Mitzi Mars – of which I had presented some music in my old blog entry about the CP.

cd_52_05_31

From Chicago Defender, May 31, 1952.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

Mike also kindly allowed me to use the photo of this bautiful  foursome at the Crown Propeller in 1945 – a time when the main audience of the CP was still white.

8434880768_7eda29c458_oEnjoying an evening at the Crown Propeller Lounge, 1945.
From the collection of Mike Medina.

If you are interested in photographs from Chicago’s South Side, you definitely should check Mike’s Flickr page. It was also Mike who alerted me, that the sign of the Crown Propeller lighting up can be seen in the opening sequence of the old “Crime Stories” TV series. I managed to find that one on youtube. I edited the CP part and let it run backwards and forwards – the way it possibly was. I guess there was something in the middle as well (a crown, maybe?) – I leave it to your imagination.

Ending up our second visit to the famed Crown Propeller Lounge is photo of a young couple at the bar, probably in the 1950s.  This was stuck in the souvenir envelope pictured at the very top of the envelope.

happy couple crown propeller_2
From the Crown Propeller collection

Who might they have listened to on that evening? Rudy Greene maybe, the “King Of The Guitar”?

1139
From the Crown Propeller Collection

cpadChicago Defender, February 13, 1954

Enjoy!

George Braith at New York Jazz Festival 1979

Posted in George Braith, Photographs with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2013 by crownpropeller

When my late friend Otto Flückiger went to New York City in October 1979, he also visited the 1st New York Jazz Festival, a free event organized (mostly, I guess) by trumpeter Dizzy Reece. There is (rather fragmentary) footage from these events (not by Otto) on youtube.

Concerts took place in two locations, an open air space in Damrosch Park – where Otto was located – and Lincoln Center – where apparently the footage above is from (there are also parts II and III of this footage on youtube, go check the channel of MrBebopyo).

All in all Otto recorded around five hours of the proceedings in Damrosch Park on cassette tapes. Among the artists to be heard on this cassettes are trumpeters Dizzy Reece and Tommy Turrentine , saxophonists Charles Davis, Clifford Jordan, Harold Vick, and Harold Ousley as well as a bunch of drummers, bassists and piano players. Otto also made a lot of photos and there are a lot of musicians on them that I could not yet identify. I will try to post them here later.

Unfortunately most of the music on Otto’s tapes from this historic event suffers from very bad sound (open air atmosphere, traffic, audience talk, etc.) so there really is not much sense in offering the music here.

braith_duo_braith

George Braith, NYC Jazz Festival, Oct. 5, 1979. Photo by Otto Flückiger

One really quite listenable portion though is very much worth offering here. So here is straight from the Otto Flückiger files a portion of a duo set by (double-) saxophonist George Braith with a drummer I was not able to identify from the photos Otto made. There are pointers though that this could be Sonny Brown. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

Since Braith is starting this track with motives from “A Night In Tunisia”, never playing it fully though, I decided to call this track Tunisian Jam for the sake of convenience. Sound is very bad at first but gets much better after 40 seconds when the drummer comes in.

Is this Sonny Brown?

Image

Unidentified drummer, NYC Jazz Festival, Oct. 5, 1979. Photo by Otto Flückiger

Here is another view of the drummer:

ImageWho is this man? NYC Jazz Festival, Oct. 5, 1979. Photo by Otto Flückiger

Here is a second excerpt from the proceedings. Braith and the drummer are joined by a trumpeter later in this piece. It’s a classic bop tune I can’t  remember the name of right now.

The trumpeter may or may not be Dizzy Reece who can be seen in the background of the last photo from this session. Otto did not write down the name of the trumpeter, he just wrote “technically good” – which I guess he may not have noted down for an old professional like Dizzy Reece, so this may well be someone else.  On the other hand Reece can be seen on the last photo from this session (I do not know the true chronology of these photos).

Image

Unidentified drummer, Dizzy Reece (in doorway), George Braith,
NYC Jazz Festival, Oct. 5, 1979. Photo by Otto Flückiger

Enjoy!

P.S.: Apparently George Braith is still active, check his website, where you can also buy cool Bop Clothes, hand designed by George. Also check George’s record company, Excellence.

Welcome to the Crown Propeller Lounge!

Posted in 78 rpm, Chicago Tenor Sax, documents, jazz, King Kolax, Photographs, R'n'B, Sax Mallard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2013 by crownpropeller

cpl card

Sleeve for souvenir photographs from the Crown Propeller Lounge, probably 1940s.
Courtesy of the Schlossberg Family

The Crown Propeller Lounge – after which this blog is named – was one of Chicago’s most important venues for R’n’B and Jazz during the 1950s. The town’s larger talent appeared here as well as every other  R’n’B star coming through town (and a lot of jazzers): Tiny Davis, Wynonie Harris, The Moonglows, Stomp Gordon, Jo Jo Adams, Big Maybelle, Ray Charles, The Flamingos, Andy Tibbs, Danny Overbea, Nellie Lutcher, Valaida Snow, Amos Milburn, Johnny Hodges and his Orchestra, Big Joe Turner, Sonny Stitt, Jimmy Rushing, Al Hibbler, T-Bone Walker, Dizzy Gillespie, Arthur  Prysock, Bill Doggett, The Orioles, Illinois Jacquet …  A program quite to my liking, I must say, so that’s why this blog is named Crown Propeller’s blog.

Some weeks ago I was contacted by a lady, who is married to the grandson of Mildred “Mitzi” Schlossberg and Norman Schlossberg, who used to own the Crown Propeller Lounge. The lady asked me, if I had any material she might use for making a birthday collage for Mitzi who turned 97 (!) in January. I could help her just a little, since (other then say for the equally famous Club DeLisa) photographs and memorabilia from the Crown Propeller are rather rare.

cp_outsideOne of only two known photographs showing the Crown Propeller Lounge from outside (the other one is here). Judging from the cars in the picture, this photo was taken after the closing of the Lounge in 1959 (photo taken from Sandor Demlinger’s and John Steiner’s beautiful book “Destination Chicago Jazz”). To the right of the Crown Propeller one can see the entrance to Crown Liquors, another business owned by the Schlossbergs.

I asked her to be on the lookout for memorabilia from the Crown Propeller when she was going to her husband’s grandmother’s house and she promised to do so. Then some weeks later I could not believe my eyes when I got a mail from that lady containing some gorgeous photos, which I am presenting you here, courtesy of the Schlossberg Family. I have added some music typical of the Crown Propeller’s programming to go along with it as well as some advertisements featuring the people in the photographs.

cp 2(Click to enlarge) Norman Schlossberg (2nd from left), Mitzi Schlossberg
(center) and unidentified others at the Crown Propeller, possibly
late 1940s. Courtesy of the Schlossberg family

The  – undated – photo above was contained in the beautiful souvenir cover seen at the top of this post. It is possible that this photograph was taken in the 1940s when the Crown Propeller  ran a  musical policy that was different from what the lounge later became known for.

Usually the time span for the Crown Propeller’s existence is given  as 1951–1959.  This  seems to be based on an ad from Chicago Defender of August 4, 1951 announcing the opening of the Crown Propeller (strangely enough regarding the newspaper’s date) on August 3rd with singer Ethel Duncan and violinist Leon Abbey’s trio.

cd_51_08_4pdf

From Chicago Defender, August 4, 1951.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

But the Crown Propeller Lounge had existed before that. The earliest mention I could find is in Billboard of November 14, 1942, where Everett Hull and Victory Boys are announced to appear at the Crown Propeller for four weeks. Billboard of December 19, 1942 mentions Don Jacks as returning to the Crown Propeller on January 12.  Other acts mentioned in Billboard as playing at the Crown Propeller are in 1942 trumpeter Johnny Gibbs with singer Dolores Janis (December ), and in 1943 The Victory Four (Everett Mull, Leon Shash, George Mitchell, George Michaels), Don Jacks (March 20: “picked up another four month holdover at the Crown Propeller”).

billboard-yearbook43

From the Billboard Yearbook 1943

The Billboard Yearbook 1944 mentions Don Jacks as having had a two-and-a-half-year engagement at the Crown Propeller, so the Crown Propeller may already have existed in 1941.

There are no mentions for the Crown Propeller in Billboard’s regular issues of 1944 and 1945. The issue of December 14, 1946 mentions Little Sans and Lee Trio at the Crown Propeller, in Billboard of January 15, 1947 the same aggregation is mentioned as having extended four weeks at the CP.

I do not know if the changing of musical policy at the CP came with a changing of venues or if it always had been on 868 East 63rd. From the mentions in Billboard during the fourties I can only gather that it had always been on the South Side of Chicago. Anyway after the (re-)opening on August 3rd, 1951, the Crown Propeller was never looking back to the days of accordeon-and-fiddle bands again.

cd_51_08_11pdf

R’n’B and Jazz – the Crown Propeller takes a new direction.
From Chicago Defender, August 11, 1951.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

The next photo the lady married to the Schlossberg’s grandson send me is also undated. It shows The 4 Tunes (also known as The Four Tunes), a very famous vocal group in the early 1950s about which you can find a lot of information in Marv Goldberg’s article.

cp 3

(Click to enlarge) The 4 Tunes (left) and some fans at the Crown Propeller,
date unknown. Courtesy of the Schlossberg family

I can find no reference for a 4 Tunes appearance at the Crown Propeller, so the photo has to remain undated for now.

One of The 4 Tunes’ greates hits was “Marie”, recorded for Jubilee in 1953. It’s one of my favourite uptempo R’n’B vocal group pieces when I am appearing as DJ Crown Propeller at  the Klub Helsinki. Here is a nice clip from youtube user ilbmlb51 showing the original 78 rpm playing:

The next photo that the lady send me is really fantastic:

cp 1

(Click to enlarge) Dancer Lupita Peruyero, Joe Louis, Norman Schlossberg, Sarah
Vaughan, King Kolax and Mitzi Mars at the Crown Propeller, probably 1952.
Courtesy of the Schlossberg family

Second person from left is boxer Joe Louis, World Heavyweight Champion from 1937 to 1949. Behind him is CP owner Norman Schlossberg and the man front right is local trumpeter and bandleader King Kolax (1912–1991) who is known to the wider jazz world for employing John Coltrane for a while in the late 1940s. There is a lot more to know about Kolax though, and you can find it all on the King Kolax page of the Red Saunders Research Foundation. The woman in the middle is Sarah Vaughan (see comments section) and the one on the right also looks familiar to me, she might be a singer or some other celebrity.There are several possibillities regarding the question when the photo above was taken. Judging from the known ads for the Crown Propeller, Vaughan never was part of the program there. But she was in town several times each year, mostly as part of some jazz package tour . As for King Kolax and his Orchestra: He played at the Crown Propeller in January 1952:

cd_52_01_19

   From Chicago Defender, January 19, 1952.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

And then again in March:

cd_52_03_22From Chicago Defender, March 22, 1952.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

In May 1952 Kolax was also at the Crown Propller, when Sax Mallard (about whom more later) was also on the bill.

cd_52_05_31

From Chicago Defender, May 31, 1952.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

cd_52_06_14

From Chicago Defender, June 14, 1952.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

Then Kolax’ band was acting as house band from mid 1954 to January 1955. One of the CP’s main attraction at that time was still the “Aqua-Tease” of sea nymph Atlantis with whom the Croen Propeller had started in 1951. In 1954 Kolax joined Atlantis in the 500 gallon tank for a photo published in Jet magazine in September.

jet_54_09_16jpg

Jet, September 16, 1954.

cp_54_11_13

From Chicago Defender, November 13, 1954.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

Probably his success at the Crown Propeller lead King Kolax to record for Vee Jay in December 1954 (and later in Sepetember 1955). Parts of these sessions are said to having been arranged by Sonny Blount, later known throughout the cosmos as intergalactic band leader Sun Ra. “Vivian” from December 1954 is one of the tracks of which  some people – including me –  think they might be a Ra arrangement. The band consists of  Kolax (tp), Harold Ousley (ts), Prentice McCarey (p), “Cowboy” Martin (b),  and Leon Hooper (d,  perc).

In October 1956 King Kolax returned to the Crown Propeller for two weeks (Della Reese was followed by Louis Jordan and then by Charles Brown who brought their own bands):

cd_56_10_20

From Chicago Defender, October 20, 1956.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

Kolax was also engaged by the Crown Propeller in February 1957, but it is not clear how long this gig lasted.

The next photo the lady send me send me shows another local Chicago legend: Saxophonist Oett “Sax” Mallard (1915–1986). This photo also could have been taken on different dates.

cp 4(Click to enlarge) Mitzi Schlossberg and Oett “Sax” Mallard
(with retouched glasses) at the Crown Propeller, exact date unknown.
Courtesy of the Schlossberg family

Sax Mallard, about whom you can find a lot more information on the Sax Mallard page of the Red Saunders Research Foundation, made his name recording blues with people like Roosevelt Sykes, Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy in sessions for RCA-Victor in the 1940s. For a while in 1943 Mallard substituted for Otto Hardwick in Duke Ellington’s orchestra. Starting in 1947 for Aristocrat Mallard had the chance to record some tracks under his own name.

Here is a video of a copy of Checker 750  from my collection. “Slow Caboose”, a typical tenor sax fuelled piece of jukebox fodder, was recorded in January 1951 with Sax Mallard (ts) an unidentified trumpeter, probably Jimmy Bowman piano; probably Ernest “Big” Crawford on bass and Osie Johnson drums (Johnson also does some dramatic baritone singing on another side from this session). This one is so echo-filled that you might imagine yourself being in deep in dub land.

Mallard’s band was the Crown Propeller’s house band at different times, starting with some months in 1951 and 1952.

cd_51_09_01

From Chicago Defender, September 1, 1951.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

cd_51_09_29

From Chicago Defender, September 29, 1951.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

cd_51_11_24

From Chicago Defender, November 24, 1951.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

During the early fifties Sax Mallard backed quite a few singers and r’n’b vocal groups on records.

In March 1953 he went to Chicago’s Universal Recording studios where his group was backing Mitzi Mars in a session for Checker Records:

mitzi_mars2
From the Crown Propeller Collection.

One of Mitzi Mars’ tunes with Sax Mallard’s band backing her – “Roll ‘Em” –  was uploaded on youtube by youtube user Rosenda Moore:

From November 1953 to summer 1954, Mallard’s Combo was the Crown Propeller’s house band again. During this time the Crown Propeller’s main attractions were people like Jimmy Witherspoon, Billy Brooks, Scatman Crothers, Lowell Fulson, Ray Charles, Big Maybelle, Wynonie Harris, Amos Milburn and Valaida Snow.

cd_53_11_19

From Chicago Defender, November 29, 1953.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

cp_54_01_09

From Chicago Defender, January 9, 1954.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

.

Sax Mallard’s last appearances at the CP took place in August 1957 (two weeks) and again from December 1957 on (length of engagement unknown) At that time the Crown Propeller was already in decline. The club closed in 1959 and by early 1960 the Schlossbergs had moved to Florida.

Finally the lady married to the Schlossberg’s grandson send me another nice photo of Mildred “Mitzi” Schlossberg. Obviously this was taken in a year where January 17th was a tuesday which points to 1950 or 1956. Neither an “Amateur Night” nor a “Crazy Auction” is mentioned in the Crown Propeller ads for 1956. So I would say 1950.

cp 5

(Click to enlarge) Mitzi Schlossberg and probably not Cary Grant at the
Crown Propeller Lounge, probably 1950. Courtesy of the Schlossberg Family.

Again I have to thank  the Schlossberg Family for these beautiful photographs that allow a rare glimpse inside the Crown Propeller. The lady married to the Schlossberg’s grandson has promised to look if she can find anymore memorabilia of the Crown Propeller Lounge. If she does, I will keep you all informed.

Enjoy!

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