Archive for 78 rpm

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.


Chicago Tenor Sax (first installment)

Posted in 78 rpm, Chicago Tenor Sax, Gene Ammons, Leon Washington, R'n'B, Schoolboy Porter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by crownpropeller

jug_1950Gene Ammons around 1950. Photographer unknown.

Up to the late 1950s you could usually tell where a tenor saxophone player may come from geographically. This goes especially for tenorists from Chicago, where the dominant way of playing was very relaxed and way behind the beat. The most famous exponent of this school  who was also widely known outside of Chicago was of course Gene Ammons. But in the 1940s and 1950s this town had a whole lot of great or at least  very interesting tenor saxophonists – some of which are well known, some more or less obscure. Not all of them are members of the Lester Young school though: Von Freeman, Dick Davis, Sax Mallard, Claude McLin, Eddie Johnson, John Neely, Johnny Griffin, Clifford Jordan, Tom Archia – and the list goes on.

If I start to listen to tenor players from Chicago,I might end up  doing so for days. So I decided to let my readers in on the fun and present in a loose series some of the best jazz and r’n’b tenor saxophonists that played in the clubs of the Windy City in the 1940s and 1950s. I will try to use original 78 rpms for this purpose, but this probably will not work in very case, as there are some things of which I only have bad tape copies or the like.

The first installment of this series has to start of with Gene Ammons, of course. “Hey Mr. Freddy”on Aristocrat 8001 was recorded in February 1949 by group that included Ammons, singer and pianist Christine Chatman, Leo Blevins on guitar, bassist Lowell pointer and legendary drummer Ike Day. It was for the first time reissued in 2003 on a CD by the french company Classics, all the previous compilers of Ammon’s output for Aristocrat/Chess had overlooked this track.

Not really from Chicago, but from close enough Gary Indiana comes John “Schoolboy” Porter (born in 1926). Porter recorded for Chicago based Chance Records from 1950 to 1952. Then he appeared – as guitarist! – on a Roosevelt Sykes session for United, also in 1952. After that he opted for a career in the military. Porter has an interesting sound, most of his records pair jukebox groovers with sentimental ballads as was usual during these days. “Kayron”, recorded in 1950, was a fine piece of bop from Chicago with – I think – a really great solo by Schoolboy (search for it on youtube, someone has put it up). On the shuffling “Schoolboy’s Boogie” which was recorded in September 1950, Porter is accompanied by pianist Jesse Hart (who also sang, but not on this track), bassist Walter Broyle and drummer Carl Scott.

If you want to know more about John “Schoolboy” Porter, you should check the Chance Records page at the Red Saunders Research Foundation. On the other hand if you know anything about what Porter is doing nowadays, it would be nice if you would let me know.

Now for today’s third featured Chicago tenor man. After having recorded with Earl Hines in the mid 1930s saxophonist Leon Washington joined drummer Red Saunders’ house band at Chicago’s famed Club De Lisa in 1937, staying with Red until the late 1950s.

delisaSmiling Ladies at the Club DeLisa, unknown date.
From the Crown Propeller Archive (click to enlarge)

Leon Washington isa  totally overlooked saxophonist. Red Saunder’s band is mostly interesting not for Washington’s solos but for the fact that Sun Ra wrote arrangements for it. Understandably so, since the Saunders orchestra was essentially a show band and Leon rarely had an opportunity to shine. Elaborate boppish playing was not asked for in between singer’s verses.

In 1954 and 1955 Washington and McKinley Easton, Saunders’ baritone man, did some work for the very small Theron label. You can read all about Theron on the Theron page of the Red Saunders Research Foundation. On “Forward Blow” which was recorded in 1954, Easton and Washington show what they could do if let loose

Watch this space for further installments of this series!

A quick blindfold test: Night In Tunisia

Posted in 78 rpm, jazz with tags , , on October 6, 2012 by crownpropeller

Here is a little blindfold test for all the Boppers out there (certain people who might guess that they are meant are not allowed to take part). So who might be playing the cute little arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie’s Night In Tunisia on this 78 rpm record?

Continue reading

Unknown (well, almost) Don Byas

Posted in 78 rpm, jazz with tags , , , , , , on August 6, 2011 by crownpropeller

Hi, everybody

I have been away for some time and now as I am back – I am also back to work. So I am sorry if now I only add something to this blog that is also on my website. But since I guess no-one ever found it there, I decided to put his beautiful (and very rare) record up on my blog as well. Continue reading

Cecil Payne on Decca: Angel Child

Posted in 78 rpm, Cecil Payne, documents, jazz, R'n'B with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by crownpropeller

After reading my entry on Cecil Payne’s Hippy Dippy, Dani Gugolz has sent me this ultra rare photo of  Brownie McGhee (left) and Cecil Payne at the club Jazzland in Vienna, Austria:

Brownie McGhee and Cecil Payne at "Jazzland", Vienna 197X

(click to enlarge)

Thanks, Dani! The photographer of this shot from an unknown date in the mid-seventies is not identified. Brownie McGhee recorded with Cecil Payne on Payne’s second session for Decca on November 25, 1949. Here McGhee was named “Henry Johnson”, a pseudonym he used at different times in his career. The full band:

Leonard Hawkins (tp), Cecil Payne (as, bar, ldr), Ray Abrams (ts), Billy Taylor (p), John Simmons (b), Joe Harris (dr), Brownie McGhee (“Henry Johnson”) (voc).

McGhee sang on two tracks, the mock sermon The Worst Is Yet To Come and the slow blues Angel Child, on which Cecil Payne plays alto sax. You can hear Angel Child here:

Cecil Payne / Brownie McGhee: Angel Child (1949)

The music is taken from an original 78 rpm copy of Decca 48127 from the Otto Flückiger Collection. Dani has also send me a better version, but it’s on my other computer right now. But this one sounds fine enough, i think. Enjoy!

High Speed Harris

Posted in 78 rpm, documents, R'n'B with tags , , , , , , on January 22, 2011 by crownpropeller

Today I went through a batch of old “Jet” magazines from the collection of Otto Flückiger. Here’s a nice photo of singer Wynonie Harris from the september 4, 1958 issue, when his days of glory were long over.

To go with it, I have some music for you from Wynonie’s younger days:

This is Wynonie Harris on a rare Bullet 78 pm from my collection playing “Dig this Boogie”, recorded 1946 in Nashville. Featured on the piano is none other than Herman “Sonny” Blount, later known as extraterrestrial big band leader Sun Ra! The drummer is most probably Wynonie himself. Enjoy!

To find out more about this session, go to:


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