Archive for jazz

Two Nights at The Crown Propeller Lounge

Posted in 78 rpm, Chicago Tenor Sax, documents, jazz, King Kolax, Photographs, R'n'B, Sax Mallard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by crownpropeller

cp 4Mildred “Mitzi” Schlossberg and Oett “Sax” Mallard
at the Crown Propeller Lounge in Chicago, exact date unknown.
Courtesy of the Schlossberg family

Already more than a half a year ago I was informed that Mildred “Mitzi” Schlossberg, co-owner of Chicago’s Crown Propeller Lounge (after which this blog here is named) passed at the proud age of 100. What an interesting life she must have had! I wanted to put up something here at that time, but I have been extremely busy otherwise during the last months.

But all the while I have been on the lookout for souvenirs from the Crown Propeller Lounge and I managed to acquire two very nice items.

The first is a photograph showing Mitzi Schlossberg’s husband Norman Schlossberg with a woman and three men. It comes from Mitzi Schlossberg’s estate, and I found it on ebay. The three men are holding trophies in their hand, but unfortunately the writing on the cups is out of focus.

schlossbergtrophyCrown Propeller owner Norman Schlossberg (2nd from
left) with unidentified others on October 15, 1953.
From the Crown Propeller Collection

The backside of the photograph is stamped Oct. 15, 1953. (Photographer was H.S. Rhoden, 7037 Indiana Ave – if you care). October 15, 1953 was a thursday and I found an ad in the “Chicago Defender” for that day.

UntitledFrom Chicago Defender, Defender, Oct. 10  1953.
Taken from Franz Hoffmann’s “Jazz Advertised”

But unfortunately the ad does not give out a hint what the trophies were for. There is a small possibility that the photo was taken during the night between the 14th and the 15th and come from Wednesday night’s regular talent contest at the Lounge – but the prices for winning the “Talent Nite” are given as $25 (1st) and $10 (2nd). Would they be handing out trophies as well?

Anyway here’s some music you might have heard played at the Crown Propeller Lounge on the night the photo above was taken:

In a recording from October 14, 1949 (for Decca), it is trumpeter Tiny Davis’ All Girl Band with Tiny herself (tp,vcl), Birdie Davis (as), Helen Cole (p) and unknown ts, p and b playing “Race Horse”, a nice Boogie Shuffle.

And here is guitarist Rudy Greene playing “Meet Me Baby”, recorded with King Kolax’ band for Chance Records in 1953.

The other nice item I could lay my hands on is one of the typical souvenir pictures made by house photographers in different clubs in Chicago. I imagine they were quickly developed in some small dark room in the club and then sold to the photographed customers. Here we have a couple of people at a table – apparently not all of them enjoying the proceedings.

scan-cp-picA Night At The Crown Propeller Lounge, probably
September 1951. from the Crown Propeller Collection

scan-sleeveFrom the Crown Propeller Collection

A pointer to the date this photo was taken is the Crown Propeller sleeve in which it came (above). Sax Mallard as well as violinist Leon Abbey were part of the Crown Propeller’s program together only in September 1951.


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


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

It is strange though, that they printed an extra sleeve just for these few weeks.

How about some music to this photograph? I can not offer you anything by Leon Abbey or by the Ding Bell Trio, but here is a video that lets you listen to Sax Mallard’s “Teen Town Strut!”, recorded for Checker on May 12, 1952. With Sax Mallard (ts); unidentified (tp); unidentified (ts, bars); William “Lefty” Bates (eg); probably Jimmy Bowman (p); probably LeRoy Jackson (b); probably Sleepy Nelson (d).


The Mario Schneeberger Discography

Posted in Benny Bailey, Mario Schneeberger with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2016 by crownpropeller

mario_ds81_bailey KopieMario Schneeberger and Benny Bailey, 1976.
Photo: Foto Hug

Swiss alto saxophonist and dear fellow jazz researcher Mario Schneeberger has send me a pdf containing a discography of his own recordings. This discography is basically extracted from Arild Widerøe’s Swiss Jazz Disko, but Mario has added a few things. You can find the discography here.

Mario, though he could never live from making music alone, is surely Switzerland’s finest bop altoist and has been that for more than fifty years now. Besides leading his own quintet for about twenty years and being part of several swiss band projects  he also often had the chance to jam with luminaries from the US scene like Benny Bailey, Bross Townsend, Richard Williams, Milt Buckner … All of these and more mentioned in the discography.

And here is some music to go along wit the dry data:

First here’s the Mario Schneeberger Quintett featuring Benny Bailey playing Horace Silver’s “Strollin'” live at the Schützenhaus in Glarus on November 27, 1976. Besides Schneeberger and trumpeter Bailey the band consists of Tutilo Odermatt at the piano, bassist Peter Frei and drummer Kurt Schaufelberger. Bailey has the first solo, Mario comes after that.

“Strollin'” comes from Mario’s rare self produced LP DS 81, “Chasin The Bird”, which was released in 1981 – thus it’s number.

mario_ds81From the Crown Propeller collection

As a second example of Mario Schneeberger’s art, here is a wonderful rendition of “Body and Soul” in a trio recording with Mario Schneeberger on alto sax, pianist Joachim Stein and bassist Charles Sammons.  This was recorded at the Restaurant Nerly in Erfurt Germany on June 20, 2008.

This beautiful track was released in 2015 on “Cheer Ears” as DS 15, a “Very Limited Edition” 2CD set, that Mario burned on CD-Rs to give away to his relatives and friends.

In Erfurt, where Mario can often be seen these days, he is regularly invited as guest soloist by the Nerly Bigband which since its formation is the resident band of the club. In 2015 the Nerly Bigband released “That’s Earl, Brother”, a CD that features Mario in front of the band on all tracks. Unfortunately you can only get this CD at different places in Erfurt, you might want to try the band’s homepage though.  What you are looking for looks like this:


And it’s definitely worth looking out for!


R.I.P., Bobby Hutcherson

Posted in Bobby Hutcherson, clips, Dizzy Gillespie, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2016 by crownpropeller

This morning I received the sad news of vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson’s passing on monday at the age of 75. Here is an obituary from the New York Times.

I never had the chance to see any of the great vibraphone players of the 20th century (Hampton, Jackson, Hutcherson, Dickerson) play live. But for youtube’s sake, we have the chance to see them all in action (not that it’s a comparable experience).

In 1989 Bobby Hutcherson was runnnig the european festival circuit with the band that was either announced as “The Phil Woods / Dizzy Gillespie All Stars” or as “The Dizzy Gillespie / Phil Woods  All Stars”, depending on whatever. It seems this band played every major and minor european festival that year, and fortunately most of the times some TV station was broadcasting at least parts of the proceedings.

In the VHS collection of my friend, the late swiss jazz researcher Otto Flückiger, I found a nearly 13 minute clip of the All Stars playing Gillespie’s composition “Tour De Force” at the Jazz Festival in Wiesen, Austria on Saturday, July 8, 1989 – which has never been on youtube before.

So here’s my tribute to the late great Bobby Hutcherson. The band consists of Dizzy Gillespie (tp), Phil Woods (as), Bobby Hutcherson (vib), Steve Turre (tb), Cedar Walton (p), Rufus Reid (b) and Mickey Roker (dr). And Hutcherson has a nice solo in there.



… and please excuse the TV noise in the background, I could not do anything against this.

Milt Buckner: KAKE acetate (195?)

Posted in 33 rpm, acetates, Milt Buckner with tags , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2016 by crownpropeller

Milt Buckner in the mid-sixties. Photographer, date and location unidentified.
From the Otto Flückiger collection.

Already a while ago I had uploaded “Milt’s Boogie” as well as “Flying Home” from the mysterious Milt Buckner acetate from Wichita KS Station KAKE. This 12” / 33rpm acetate is one of a series of five KAKE acetates. The other four contain a concert by Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra at the Forum in Wichita, dated 1953. The fifth  has five solo piano tracks by Buckner (four on one side, one on the other) and ends with two tracks from the Hampton concert again.

It’s unclear when these were recorded. I can not find a Wichita date in Milt Buckner’s agendas and he was not a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra in 1953. I relistened to this music again today in the hope of coming somewhat closer to solving this riddle, but to no avail.

Anyway I thought Milt’s playing on tis acetate is interesting enough that it would justify to present it here in full. I know a good cleaning would probably help to get a better sound. But I will not try anything that might do any damage to the acetate, so you have to live with what there is.

So here is Milt playing “Old Man River”, “Hamp’s Boogie”, “How High the Moon”, “Laura” and then “Flying Home”.




R.I.P. Sir Charles Thompson

Posted in Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, jazz, Leo Parker, Sir Charles Thompson with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by crownpropeller

Yesterday I received the sad news that pianist Sir Charles Thompson – a very important figure during the transition from Swing to Bop – passsed in Japan on June 16 at the proud age of 98.


As a tribute here are two pieces that Thompson recorded with different all star groups for Apollo records ion the mid-fourties. I took them from – warts and clicks included – this nice Vogue 10 inch LP, released in France in the mid-fifties:

sct-vogueFrom the Crown Propeller collection


First up is Thompson’s “The Street Beat”, originally released on Apollo 759. It was recorded on September 4, 1945, and the band consists of Buck Clayton (tp), Charlie Parker (as), Dexter Gordon (ts), Sir Charles Thompson (p), Danny Barker (g), Jimmy Butts (b) and J.C. Heard (dr).

And here is Thompson’s  “Mad Lad” titled thusly for featured baritone saxophonist Leo Parker. This was originally issued on Apollo 773. It was recorded in late summer 1947 and this the band consists of Joe Newman (tp), Bob Dorsey (ts), Leo Parker (bar), Sir Charles Thompson (p), Freddie Green (g), John Simmons (b) and  Shadow Wilson (dr.)


Anthony Braxton Quartet in Montreux 1975

Posted in Anthony Braxton, clips, jazz with tags , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by crownpropeller

hollandbraxDave Holland and Anthony Braxton in Montreux,
on July 20, 1975

Never before and never again did composer and multiinstrumentalist Anthony Braxton have such a high profile as in the mid-1970s when he was under contract with Arista. One could say that Braxton’s music was much more accessible than it is now, but of course this is only partly true. As you might know his time with Arista came to an end after the release of Braxton’s “For Four Orchestras” in a 4LP Box (Allmusic website gives it 1 1/2 stars today).

What people went for at the time were Braxton’s quartets with which he toured also through Europe at the time. This 2LP (and CD):

220px-The_Montreux_Berlin_Concertsdocuments two concerts. The first is from July 20, 1975 when the Braxton Quartet with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul played at the Jazz Festival Montreux. The other one is from November 4, 1976, when trombonist George Lewis had replaced Kenny Wheeler.

wheelerKenny Wheeler in Montreux, on July 20, 1975

Michael Cuscuna in his original liner notes writes about the two concerts:


Ironically, the fourth tune of each performance was eliminated from possible release by technical difficulties, and that  missing piece in both concerts was the stop time composition that first appeared on “Five Compositions, 1975.”

The stop time composition Cuscuna is talking about is 23G, which is inded on this album:


But at least in Montreux the quartet played yet another piece that did not find it’s way onto the “Montreux/Berlin” album (also from the “Five Pieces, 1975” album): the fast Bebop abstraction Composition 40M.

And that is where an old VHS cassette from the collection of my friend, the late Otto Flückiger comes up and contains just that performance:

As you can see from the band preparing to leave the stage at the end that this must have been the last track (or the encore – if there was one). Personally I enjoy watching drummer Barry Altschul here: he looks like playing this music is a lot of fun.

altschulBarry Altschul in Montreux, on July 20, 1975


Dexter Gordon: As Time Goes By

Posted in clips, Dexter Gordon, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2016 by crownpropeller

dex1Dexter Gordon at Jazzwoche Burghausen 1980.

At the end of one of the VHS cassettes from Otto Flückiger’s vast collection, I found something very nice: About ten minutes of the Dexter Gordon Quartet at the Jazzwoche Burghausen 1980 in Burghausen, Bavaria/Germany. Since I have nothing to say about Dexter Gordon that you would not know, here is “As Time Goes By”:


The personnel is: Dexter Gordon (ts), Kirk Lightsey (p), John Heard (b), Eddie Gladders (dr).