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2008 Convention - Louisville, Kentucky
Report by Andy Simon
The 2008 Convention went very well, due to the variety of presentations, entertainments and of course the management. No, I don't mean the Holiday Inn, which was ever helpful, but the organizer, Shelley Wruk Finke.
She was tireless, unflappable, always on top of things, and wise enough to allow breezy blocks of time between the presentations, so members could wag their chins, buy records from the vendors, and wag their chins while they browsed the bins. Alfred Ticoalu tied up all the loose IT ends and pretty much ensured the success of the presentations. The Louisville Jazz Society (www.louisvillejazz.com) had a presence there and the vendors offered surprising finds as well. Perhaps the first prize goes to Michael B0ving, who flew back to Copenhagen with a carry-on rucksack filled with 100 78s!
On Thursday, the Board held their usual marathon annual meeting all morning, during which your loyal editor was escorted to the dock for a brief interrogation. Dear reader, he lived to write this admittedly incomplete report.
The proceedings were jump-started by Duncan Scheldt, who presented a trove of rare photographs taken by Danish immigrant Tirame Rosenkrantz. Known as 'The Baron', Timme was born in 1911 and well-placed to catch the exciting ODJB on record, thanks to a hip Copenhagen record shop that stocked imported jazz 78s. Not content to stick to record collecting, Timme played violin and drums, and made it his business to catch whatever talent came his way. Just out of his teens, the young Mr Rosenkrantz caught the touring Sam Wooding's Ork in 1931, Louis Armstrong's Denmark show in 1932, Duke Ellington's London gigs in 1933, and in 1934 he made the pilgrimage to New York City, where he DJ'd on WNEW, managed the Cafe Bohemia's gigs, and took a lot of intimate, relaxed photographs of his musician pals, who were many. He also published the short-lived magazines Jazz Ready and Swing Music. This devotion extended to the writing of a couple of autographical books in Danish, one of them, if it had been translated into English (not yet!), would be titled Jump out of the Window and Turn Left. His partner was the Harlem entertainer Inez Cavanaugh, but he probably wasn't the breadwinner, for, aside from a failed record shop Uptown, he basically worked as a clerk in various Big Apple record shops. He died in 1969, unburdened by any wealth. I asked Duncan if he'd ever met Timme: "Yes, but only once - in an elevator."
Duncan acquired the Rosenkrantz treasures through a working partnership with Frank Driggs. While the latter was compiling swing-jazz re-issues at Columbia, he was naturally in a position to borrow artists' photos, from which Duncan made negatives and prints. The images displayed were collateral for a loan from Frank to Timme. Duncan made his slides from the first generation prints made from Timme's negatives. And we were all treated to these surprising snapshots, many revealing the multi-class nature of Harlem neighborhoods of the late 1930s.
Johnny Hodges, true to character, didn't smile, but mostly everyone else did. These included Alex Hill, Joe Thomas, Sid Weiss, Freddie Jenkins, composer Sidney Arodin, Al Sears, Chauncey Morehouse, Commodore Record Shop ace Jack Crystal, Teddy Hill.. .even Juan Tizol in a dinner jacket, eating a hot dog. No matter how visually obscure, Duncan identified them all.
Memphis man Dick Raichelson gave a talk about Jimmie Joy (d. 1953), whose band was popular at Louisville's Brown Hotel. The city grew due to the river traffic and commerce encouraged more commerce, so music venues thrived. The Seel-bach and the Brown Hotels are still in existence, all clustered around 4th and Walnut (now Muhammad Ali) Streets. The Texas clarinetist Jimmie Malone, aka Joy, started out as a Dixieland-style player, but Dick unpacked his career for us.
With pianist Lynn Harrell and saxophonist Gib O'Shaughnessy, Malone became 'Jimmie Joy' and the band was billed as Jimmie's Joys - Exterminators of Gloom! After success on tours and on discs, Mr Malone legally changed his name to Jimmie Joy in 1927. A big attraction along the Texas Gulf Coast, these kids in their early 20s found themselves booked almost a full year for the Keith vaudeville circuit, playing from New York City to New Orleans to Los Angeles, including Louisville. Their drum head read: IF YOU CAN'T DANCE - GET ON AND RIDE. A highlight of Jimmie's show was him playing two clarinets at the same time on St. Louis Blues.
They were cut in California for the Golden label, and their major influences were the ODJB and the NORK. By the time of their OK deal in the mid-1920s they'd moved on in with the times, with a bit of Wolverines influence. In fact, they tried to record with Bix in Chicago, but he was apparently too hung over to make the session!
An astounding nineteen-month gig at the St Anthony Hotel 4, in Dallas got them the notice of the mighty MCA booking agency. In 1927, MCA got them lodged at the Brown Hotel, which then had as its neighbor the Union Station, a convenient starting point for further tours. By this time they played through stovepipes and achieved a calliope effect by blowing into variously-filled and perfectly-tuned Coke bottles. This novelty was important to their broadcasts from the Hotel. From being a huge success in the Southwest, they became champions of Churchill Downs; from 1927 to 1932 they were the resident band at the Brown as well as the official entertainers at the Kentucky Derby. Dick played the dual-clarinet St Louis Blues (OKeh 40539) and Yale Blues (Brunswick 3905), which showed a larger, eleven-piece ork playing in a more sophisticated, dance band style. This band held it together well into the late 1940s, when Patti Page was their vocalist. In 1999, 'DR' produced a double-LP of The Joys (Arcadia 2017) and I, for one, look forward to finding it.
I then gave a talk on Middle Eastern and Asian Jazz, which was rather a challenge, for I've realized that I'm not capable of reading a paper in a way that sounds as if I'm not, while juggling sounds and projected images at the same time. But again I was lucky, for this larger audience also let me live.
The talk ranged from the 1950s to the present day, counting off with Monk's bassist and oud player Ahmed Abdul-Malik's sessions with Johnny Griffin, who, for once, was totally lost in the desert as he hadn't a clue about Middle Eastern music, as illustrated on the track Ya Anna. Yusef Lateef and Herbie Mann knew better and did better, as did Dave Brubeck - they all were keen to travel to parts of the world that were indeed 'exotic' to Americans then. Mann's Dance of the Semites stood in for the leg-up that Jewish New York players and today's progressive Israeli musicians had in approaching the Arabic region. Today's Palestinian players occasionally record in Tel-Aviv studios.
Salah Ragab's Cairo Jazz Band were unpacked for a bit of their Egypt Strut, from 1970 and featuring a trio of mozmars, they being double-reed instruments, overlaying quarter-tones on top of a funky modal canvas. The modern fusion outfit, Eftekasat, the sort of house band of the Cairo Jazz Club, were also exhibited, specifically their original number Nekris Necrosis, recorded live at their home venue. The large Muslim immigrant communities in Western Europe were represented by Stephan Anthas' Contem-pArabic Ensemble in Les nuits sans dormer, from their 2002 album Souk.
The narrative then caravanned eastward, stopping in Azerbai-jan, the jazz capital of the Soviet Union, due to it being rich from oil, far away from Kremlin bureaucrats, and within reach of the, Voice of America. The pianist-genius Vagif Mustafa Zadeh was played from one of his many Baku radio broadcasts with Mughtm Bayati-Shiraz, blending Western jazz with Mughal scales and a the Sevil Vocal Quartet. He was highly touted by Dizzy Gillespie but died in 1979, aged 39, before he could get gigs in the West.
From London in the 1960s, alto master Joe Harriott was mentioned, for his acclaimed partnership with Calcutta-expat John Mayer's 'Jazz Fusions'. But Harriott and his band were never ideal for the concept so the violinist-composer Mayer kick started it for real about ten years ago, using top younger British players who knew jazz but had a better feeling for the multicultural, Asian-infused music, as we can know it more easily today. The example spun was Khamaj, a melding of Indian classical music with Latin jazz, and done in 5/4!
From San Francisco, tenor saxophonist George Brooks has been doing some wonderful fusion and we heard Taj Express, from his CD Lasting Impression, with the killer-diller tabla. groover Zakir Hussain, whose father was Alia Rakha, an earlier tabla master who once recorded with the equally adventurous Buddy Rich. More familiar to IAJRC folk is Charlie Mariano who took his alto to the Karnataka School of Percussion, recording there with R.A. Ramamani, whose chops enable her to resemble a tap dancer who's had a lot of coffee. From the album Bangalore we heard Aathma.
Middle Eastern countries dig jazz of course; their heavily-rhythmic emphasis, modal structures, and odd time-signatures are all ideal for blending with it. Indian classical music is highly im-provisational, played with great feeling, and this should make for joyful fusions. But it seems that most of the Indo-Jazz emanates, so far, from the UK and the USA. Your reporter-presenter hasn't yet found any Chinese jazz, save for the sort that emulates American styles. It's very good of them to learn the ground rules, but my fingers are crossed that they use their own varied cultures to move jazz into, to use a 1960s phrase, new directions.
Tom Hustad made for a memorable evening with an All-Star show of video. This stellar revue was bursting with big bands and small groups too. The earliest feature was, no, not the Mills Blue Rhythm Band from 1933, although they were on the bill, but a 1932 set by the Small's Paradise regulars, The Elmer Snowden
Band in a seven-tune romp from the film Smash Your Baggage. A great many of the departed greats were summoned to make an appearance: Count Basie, Kenny Davern, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims, and Noble Sissle, to name just one handful. But the still-gigging also did their bit, especially tenor ace Harry Alien. And there was a most unusual turn, with Louis Armstrong helping out Johnny Cash on Blue Yodel, from the latter's exciting 1969-1971 ABC TV series. I was tempted to ask Tom Hustad how he acquires all these gems, but wisely restrained myself. We all know the answer: it takes a lifetime.
On Friday, Sonny McGown presented Jazz on the Air - The 1950s. Basically he played us some 1950s recordings made by himself, his father, and his uncle Don, who was also great Convention company. What made these sounds special? Well, this was an era of live radio fare from notable clubs such as Dr Jazz inNYC from Condon's, Ryan's, Terrasi's, etc. and the Newport Jazz Fest was on-air too. But the really rare documents from that time were of television appearances.
The McGown family home was unusual in that there seemed to be some sort of recording device in every room. The mid-1950s saw the availability of disc cutters, such as the Wilcox Gay Model, used in the living room. There were also Presto, the hardly-portable Recordio, the famous Rek-O-Kut, and also Audiodisc options then on the market.
The McGown's Wilcox had two arms, one for cutting and the other for playback. More plentiful were reel-to-reel tape decks too, like the ever-trustworthy Magnacord, which many remember fondly, if only they had actually had one to hand at home!
Much of what Sonny shared with us was from the jazz-loving Steve Alien's TV programmers’; the long time broadcaster had no time for racist attitudes of the day and gave black players the spotlight too. As Sonny's father was a TV repairman, he was wise enough to wire directly from the unit's receiver - no microphone by the speaker in that house! So we were spared the telephone ringing or the dog barking. Everything audio from the broadcast was captured in remarkable fidelity, including the often-excitable studio spectators and that cheering, stomping, whistling man who must have been hired for every show.
Highlights of Sonny's presentation included acetate disc recordings:
Eddie Condon's All-Stars, an eleven-piece outfit presented by Steve Alien on the Tonight Show, December 1954: Riverboat Shuffle, which was then available on the Columbia CL 547 album, with Wild Bill Davison, Cutty Cutshall, Edmond Hall, and Gene Schroeder.
Jack Teagarden on Alien's Tonight Show, with Steve Alien himself on piano, Feb 1955: Meet Me Where There Play the Blues. From this same period we heard Bobby Hackett, also ace pained by 'Steve-a-rino', playing an easy swing blues, with t band knowing just where to fall out and fall back in.
Popular jazz-loving radio and video presenter Garry (T Haircut') Moore introduced pianist Howard Smith and Ernie eres on clarinet playing a rousing Struttiri with Some Barbeq This was good anyway, but it featured a rare performance by game, if amateurish, Moore on trumpet. Sorry, to be honest, was bloody awful, but those of us with ears like a good laugh
Time moved on in the McGown household and so their ii tant preservation work continued on reel tape:
Sonny shared with us an unusually but wonderfully-impe Wild Bill Davison with cornet backed by Deane Kincaide arrangements on the Steve Alien Show: Blue Again and Sugc WBD was promoting his Columbia 33s at the time, Pretty W and With Strings Attached. The astute Randy Stehle specula that these LPs were the label's marketplace answer to all the bums that their own CBS star Jackie Gleason was selling for tol Records. How did they miss the chance? One must pass that The Honeymooners' lead actor approached his corporate first, saying "I've got this friend Bobby, see..." But, as Sonti minded us, even when jumping onto the bandwagon, Columl didn't have the commitment to the musical format.
On the Steve Al Show, the host right introduced the fabulous Erroll Gamer Trio, It's All Right with Me
Arthur Godfrey's hou band was prominent, his morning show on CBS radio and TV. 1 1956, we heard the pi senter singing, fortun not very Godfrey-ish with a light sense o swing, Indiana, feati Cy Coleman on troni Johnny Mince on clai and Remo Palmieri o tar. The house band i included Dick Hyma
Lou McGarity. Of course, Arthur G was always insisting on tre stage and informed Remo, during the latter's solo, "You'd good with a microphone growing out of your head."
Clarinettist Peanuts Hucko also was featured on the Godf Show, guesting on Stealin' Apples, with trombonist Urbie Gr Dick Hyman on organ, Bert Farber on piano, double-bassist J Lesberg, and Cozy Cole on drums. This particular aircheck a the best of the lot, with Hucko and Palmieri in rapid unison, audience for such programmes were, of course, the squares! c ards in America, but this particular number served as a stop-a go lesson, spoon-feeding the un-hip to the fact that each play gets what is called 'a solo'.
Back to the Steve Alien Show, in 1957, we were treated Benny Goodman in a facile medley ofBidin'My Time and/'1 Got a Crush on You. In the spirit of improvisation, BG didr generally include the latter number in his repertoire. One spe feature saw the have-a-go Mr Alien join in with Goodman on written chart, with tricky clarinet in harmony, on Tijuana. B Steve was no stooge. Back in the day, the clarinet ace Sol y£
tutored Alien on the instrument, which was of course featured by the latter in the bio-pic, The Benny Goodman Story. So the generous Steve had him on his own TV show, playing Stomping at the Savoy and China Boy, with Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa. Apparently the merry old Sol still gigs...weekly.
From 1957, we were serenaded by Buddy DeFranco performing from Cafe Bohemia in Greenwich Village, via an Air Force TV show, with a medley of Like Someone in Love and Fascina-tin' Rhythm.
NEC Monitor, the unsponsored or 'sustaining' fare which filled the network's weekend schedules, was a last hurrah for lots of live radio jazz. The air checked gig selected by Sonny was the more typically assured, iron-ripping playing of Wild Bill Davi-son, from the Roundtable Club in August 1959, assisted by Bob Wilber on tenor. They played what Wild Bill mumbled as 'Jack the Knife', but was obviously a grooving bounce on the popular revival of the then-late Kurt Weill standard. Even the bassist got a double solo, such was NEC's keen attitude toward serving up jazz from actual gigs, more relaxed than if they'd originated from a radio studio.
Stars of Jazz, was hosted by guitarist Bobby Troup out on KABC TV, in Los Angeles. It ran three seasons from 1956. Many of these sessions were issued, but, of course, Sonny handed us an unissued performance ofRiverboat Shuffle by the Rampart Street Paraders, a studio gang assembled on Columbia CL 547, the Jam Session Coast-to-Coast EP. This outfit included clarinettist Matty Matlock, trumpeter John Best, tenors’ Eddie Miller, trombonist Moe Schneider, pianist Stan Wrightsman, bassist Phil Stephens, guitarist George Van Epps, and drummer Nick Fatool.
Not only was Sonny's archive of unpublished performances a sparkling show, it was a priviledge.
The one and only Jamey Aebersold (blowing with The Knowledge, above) presented a session on The Jazz Solo. Your unfaithful reporter is not in a position to critique his session in any way, for several excusable reasons. I am, to the extent a musician, strictly a rhythm player and have no need to know how to construct solos, be they funky as Erroll Garner, romancing as Artie Shaw, exuberant as Hamiet Blewiett, speechified as Clark Terry, architectural as Benny Carter or as spiritually satisfying as Martin Speake. Further, I needed a walk in the Kentucky summer rain. Almost every player I know has found his CDs of jazz minus whatever instrument you fancy, extremely useful. His 'summer camp' jazz clinic in Eouisville is now in its 43rd season, but that surely must pale next to the Aebersold clinics-on-tour, throughout the Western countries at least. Mr Aebersold always takes serious players with him on these road trips and a good mate learned a lot from saxophonist Bobby Watson in Eondon a few years back. Modernist collectors will no doubt have some vintage EPs of something similar on the MMO / Music Minus One label, but the Aebersold CDs are superior. My apologies to him here and Eouisville is dead lucky to have 'im.
Alfred Ticoalu (above, just before presenting his online radio | show) presented a session on the multi-instrumentalist Johnny Frigo - Renaissance Man. Alfred was Johnny's road manager for six years; Chicago was lucky to have Johnny and Johnny was lucky to have Alfred. Giovanni Virgil Frigo was born in the Windy City in 1916. Johnny's father died young, in 1934, which left the adolescent to earn money with his double-bass and tuba. Brass bass was chosen for him due to a vacancy in the school band's chair. And the double-bass was self-taught. But his main instrument was violin and first gig was playing on a horse wagon in 1926.
In 1935, while still in high school, he joined the Al Diehm | Orchestra, which broadcast over KYW. This band played all over | Chicago, from Riverview Amusement Park to the Edgewater | Beach Hotel, to even the Aragon Ballroom. By 1938 he'd made | the leap to joining Vie Abbs and the Four Californians, which al- t so got radio gigs, only better ones on NBC and WON. This band toured a wider territory and, while in Kansas City in 1942, he jumped over to the Chico Marx Ork, (really Ben Pollack's band), and shared a room on tour with the even younger Mel Torme. Back in Chicago, he became friendly with Barney Kessel, fresh from Oklahoma, who moved into the Frigo family home and taught Johnny improvisation techniques.
In 1943, with the war on, Johnny joined the Coast Guard as a musician. He bunked and played with Al Haig and Kai Winding, who were similarly stationed in Ellis Island. They were of course well-placed to catch lots of the New York City jazz action. Soon he recorded on V-Discs with the Coast Guard Training Station Band of Curtis Bay, Maryland, and Mary Lou (V-Disc 186b) featured his first audible bass solo, which Alfred played for us.
With great luck, he was sent overseas just as the war in the Pacific ended, and so returned home quickly. Back into civilian life, he joined the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, playing in The Fabulous Dorseys as well as the band's numerous residencies. A clip of Green Eyes from the film showed Frigo, with Herb Ellis, Bob Eberle and Helen O'Connell. Johnny got more screen time than she did! In 1947 JayDee disbanded his ork for two months, so Johnny got together with Ellis and pianist Eou Carter to form The Soft Winds Trio. They toured the North East, emphasizing the Stuyvesant Room in Buffalo, with special guests sitting in along the way: Oscar Peterson, Eena Home and a teenaged Maynard Ferguson, chaperoned by his parents, who no doubt applauded him wildly.
By 1952 Johnny Frigo returned to Chicago, hooking up with vocalist Lucille 'Lucy' Reed and pianist Dick Marx. They recorded for Fantasy under Reed's name and cut three LPs under Dick Marx' name. The trio made their own acetates at Modern Recording Studio in Chicago and Alfred treated the crowd to one of these tracks, Nothin' at All, with a soulful, torchy vocal by Lucille.
In 1953 Eddie South was in Chicago and the two violinists played together during intermissions, either back stage or in a convenient alley, they were such good friends. When Lucy moved to California, Johnny and Dick switched to the new club, the famous Mister Kelly's, where they backed Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and other stars. The WLS Barn Dance show, a sort of Midwestern version of the Grand OF Opry, which had a radio range over many states, had need of his violin and this re-opened his career on that instrument. With the unison-singing country comedy act Homer & Jethro, on RCA Victor, he recorded several LPs, including one called America's Song Butchers.
The program eventually transferred to WON. Alfred treated us to a color videotape clip, ca. 1965, of WGN's Barn Dance television version, which featured Johnny's cousin on accordion and his son on drums. He got tired of the gig and left the show in 1967, but recorded on Guitarist Extraordinary, with Bobbie Thomas Sr & Jr, a Les Paul 1953-meets-Santo & Johnny 1960 duo. Johnny was called in for his trumpet work on an exotica version of Caravan, which was suitably 'out there'. All this time, Johnny was a first-call bassist for Chicago-based radio jingles and his advertisement for The Super Duper Pooper Scooper became a local hit single.
Alfred displayed a page of Johnny's diary from a fortnight in 1963; within four days his gigs included guesting with Chicago jazz radio DJ Marty 'The Faybird' Faye, supporting Dinah Washington, and doing the WLS Barn Dance. Although reluctant, an LP as leader (violin) emerged: Johnny Frigo - He Swings, with Ray Brown and Herb Ellis (Mercury, 1957), re-issued by Verve in 2004. We were treated to an unreleased track that Alfred had researched, Frigolerro. Alfred stressed the irony of his friend's life, that the violin took a back seat to the first-call bass work. He carefully corrected the Discographical misinformation that Johnny had not played on Dinah's What a Difference a Day Makes. The musician was called in on bass at the last minute and went un-credited.
Other LPs with Frigo emerged: Dave Remington's Dixie Six -Chicago Jazz Reborn (violin and bass, 1955; Jubilee 1017); percussionist Guy Warren's and the Red Saunders Orchestra's LP, Africa Speaks, America Answers (a 'third stream' album, 1955; Decca DL 8446); and Bob Davis' swingy yet 'outside', Jazz in Orbit (1957; Stepheny Records MF4003). We note that Frigo was featured on the February 1960 cover of Down Beat, posing with his friends Lurlean Hunter and Johnny Griffin. But by the 1970s, he returned to violin full-time, in small groups, often with pianist Monty Alexander, playing jazz festivals, appearing on the Tonight Show in his own right, and even becoming a painter and published poet (book: When My Fiddle's in the Case, Lost Coast Press, 2004).
His last studio session was for Jump Records in 2005, which will be released and reviewed in the IAJRC Journal. Alfred is working on a bio-discography, but meanwhile he continues his ; weekly online radio show, Nuansa Jazz via voiceofjakarta.com, so watch this space.
Geoff Wheeler (above) threw down an unusual session on Bootleg Jazz Record Labels, 1948-1950, whose reissue 78s demonstrated the history of what record companies have done to revive material. We take all this for granted today, but Victor started the ball rolling with the Sunrise label in 1933, soon transferring the catalogue to Bluebird. Victor, Decca and the other prominent companies sometimes responded to popular demand in re-issuing 'classic' material, but this further expanded their available catalogue without any new recording costs. The point was stressed to us: the labels appreciated the collector market, but understood we were a minority. Usually, in the USA at least, the majors spoon-fed the occasional re-issue among their releases, rather than maintaining a separate and strong series for them.
Therefore, the rise of collector-run labels started up in the 1930s and continues to this day. Geoff detailed the efforts of the Commodore Record Shop, in New York City, in 1934, and their later associations with the United Hot Clubs of America (UHCA) label. He also discussed the emergence of the Hot Record Society in 1937, the Solo Art label a year later, and many others.
Geoff then raised the question: What is a bootleg, anyway? Often the companies which legally owned masters declined to lease them to a given collector label and so the indies got them out. Bear in mind that the Copyright Act was not amended to include recorded sounds until 1972, so this was legal. But of course the composers' royalties weren't paid and very few artists of the 78 era had ever signed royalty agreements with their original labels anyway.
It was pointed out that, in the shellac era, the majors re-issued historic tracks on 78 albums and these were often too expensive for a collector, who'd prefer to purchase just an individual disc of what he or she wanted. Several examples were helpfully given in the presentation, of those 'special product' releases which were sometimes cheaper than 'real' records on Victor or Decca. Further, the music magazines aimed at collectors reviewed these bootlegs.
Geoff then surveyed the audio quality of various bootleg labels and, for illustration, various 78 examples were played by Randy Stehle on a no-doubt valuable, late 1960s KLH portable, which had a good magnetic cartridge. These ranged from the shellac output of Jazz Panorama (thumbs down) to Jolly Roger (thumbs up - they were done in fact by RCA Victor). Our President offered that one reason for dubbing was the lack or deterioration of available metal masters, a situation we collectors have long lamented. But when legitimate labels such as American Music, Asch, and Folkways re-issued vintage material they were legal, as long as the composers' publishing rights were paid.
Stuart Johnson (above) gave a presentation on the classic Esquire photograph, the subject of the film documentary A Great Day in Harlem. This was about the location for the shoot and why it was chosen. The presentation started out with a visual tour of Harlem, both from the 1930s to the present, including of course 1959, when the picture was commissioned from amateur photographer Art Kane. Many of Stuart's chosen images showed the various musicians showing up for the 10 am posing. Kane took 120 exposures, but only 57 players were within the frame that was chosen. Willie 'The Lion' Smith was one of several who drifted off down the road because he got tired of standing around for so long.
Along with Lester Young, Mary Lou Williams and Roy El-dridge, Stuart also focused on some of the lesser 'stars', such as Hilton 'Round Midnight' Jefferson, showing the crowd a letter from Esquire to the alto saxophonist. His presentation was a welcome overview of jazz history, based on the community of musicians who showed up that morning in 1959.
The Discographical Forum was, as expected, all over the map. Chuck Sweningsen (above) gave what can only be described as a discographic sermon, for he featured a rather spiritual find: Benny Moten's famous jukebox hit, South. Lammar Wright was on the original Okeh release and, when The Missourians later cut it, Lammar was there in the chair as well - but he was then noted as the composer. Chuck's perplexity over this was exceeded by the fact that there exist two utterly different 'take no. 2' recordings of the tune by The Missourians re-named as You'll Cry for Me But I'll Be Gone (Victor 38071). As Dick Raichelson pointed out, this whole situation represents the under-handiness and sloppy documentation for which the record industry is renowned.
Alfred Ticoalu brought up Johnny Frigo's Soft Winds Trio, all at-loose-end players from the suddenly-disbanded Jimmy Dorsey Ork of 1937. Frigo's group was signed to Majestic Records and had a minor hit with Lou Carter's / Told Ya I Love Ya Now Get Out (Majestic 1180). In order to get the band to stick together, Johnny suggested that it be co-operative, so the number 1 was 'co-authored' by all three. The label wanted them in the mode of the King Cole Trio and Page Cavanaugh, but they didn't sell well, mainly due to Majestic's poor distribution and their lack of quality recording facilities to begin with. But by 1949 the label was sold to Mercury and the Soft Winds Trio made the jump too, recording more adventurous displays of technique, such as and a break-tempo, two-part St Louis Blues, the first commercial recording of Frigo's violin. Majestic catalogue was auctioned by Mercury, bought by the record industry's first hustier, Eli Oberstein, who issued them as Cocktail Time on ten-inch microgroove on Royale. Oddly, the blue LP cover contained a disc with high surface noise, while the version with the red cover was fine.
Authorship to Detour Ahead was credited to the whole trio, although Frigo was really the composer. In later years, Herb Ellis was more popular and would claim, on stage, that he was the composer! But he later apologised to Johnny in writing.
Dick Raichelson wondered if any recordings were made of the Mosquito Network from the Soloman Islands during the Second World War. He also made the pitch to assemble IAJRC photographs of past conventions for our website, showing a few from years gone by.
The evening entertainment was a plus. The Members Jam featured Doug Finke on a trombone (above) that was endowed with equally keen lips as well as ears, and Duncan Scheldt (below, with your editor on a special Department of Homeland Security-proof rhythm guitar) on a miracle keyboard that, like Irving Berlin's vintage piano, could play in any key with a simple gear shift. Gotta get me an axe does that.
We were rhythmically carried by Gerry Rourke on brushed snare drum who played with sensitivity and spirit. Bandleader Doug varied the ensemble, sometimes down to three and sometimes down to varying pairs of just two, which gave a degree of texture to the set. Doug was also busy in town with his swingy West Market Street Stompers, their usual gig at Bearno's by the Bridge.
In the spirit of Louisville's history as a major jug band centre in the 1920s, and the conventioners were treated to the Juggernaut Jug Band. The band got together during the 1960s folk revival and, unlike, say, the Boston-based Jim Kweskin Jug Band of that decade, were well placed to have elder jug artists sit in. Fiddler Henry Miles, who played in the WHAS radio jug band years back, was a welcome mentor to the Juggernauts.
The banquet evening also found fabulous jazz. Doug Finke (at right, with Shelley Wruk Finke) was back with his 'bone for a third appearance, this time with his own lively trio with swinging piano and double-bass. They were followed by the Faux Frenchman, a Cincinnati-based band in the Hot Club du France style, an outfit that's not averse to writing original tunes or giving the gypsy-jazz touch to even the Beach Boys' repertoire; with every number, they went over rather well.