the big bands are back
in a new and exciting way
compiled by Music Librarian Christopher Popa

    The International Association of Jazz Record Collectors is holding its annual convention in the Chicago area this month, and the theme is "Chicago and All That Jazz."  Naturally, a large portion of the activities has to do with Chicago's famous jazz heritage.
    The Radisson Hotel in Northbrook, IL (just northwest of the city), serves as headquarters during the convention, which runs August 9-11.  There are also a couple of IAJRC-sponsored events taking place in Chicago proper during those days.
    Next is "Curios From the Jazz Photo Archives," a slide talk by jazz photographer-author Duncan Schiedt.
    "It consists of a cross-section of photos from my historical jazz photo archive collected over some fifty-five years, along with my own personal camera work in the field," Schiedt reported to me.  "These are pictures which have rarely, if ever, seen print, and may be strange, humorous, or socially revealing.  Or they may simply be showing half-forgotten aspects of the jazz and dance band world which younger enthusiasts need to know about and see for themselves."
    Born in 1921, Schiedt saw that glorious era develop first-hand while a teenager and quickly becoming interested in swing music.  As another passion, he took up photography, so it came naturally that he took his Argus camera along and snapped many pictures attending stage shows (which then always included big bands) at movie theaters around Times Square in New York City.
    Interesting programs continue at the Hotel each afternoon, given by IAJRC members Bob Koester (Delmark Records), Geoff Wheeler (the Solo Art label), and Dick Raichelson (discographical forum).  Also, jazz records will be offered for sale daily in a vendor room with Jim Prohaska in charge.
    Chicagoans listened and danced their way through much of the early 20th century, and another presentation at the IAJRC convention will, in part, trace the start of the dance band craze as it swept the city.
    But, rather than focus on the familiar names, Charles A. "Chuck" Sengstock, Jr., author of That Toddlin' Town: Chicago's White Dance Bands and Orchestras 1900-1950 (University of Illinois Press, 2004), will review some of the "Lesser-Known White Chicago Recording Bands of the 1920s."
    "While Isham Jones and the Benson Orchestra of Chicago became popular nationally through their early recordings," Sengstock observed to me, "many other Chicago bands of the twenties made several recorded sides for various labels and then faded from sight."
    In the course of his presentation, he will explain why this occured, and also will outline the development of the commercial dance band business.
    On Saturday, a well-researched presentation at the IAJRC convention will be titled "The Two Caesars - Jules Stein and James C. Petrillo, The Dawn of the Big Band Era," by historian Michael P. "Mike" Zirpolo, Jr.
    "Both men shared the middle name Caesar," Zirpolo noted to me.  "The talk will focus on the creation by Stein of Music Corporation of America, and its subsequent pivotal role in the development of the big band era.  Inextricably intertwined in this story is the story of the rise to power of Petrillo, first as president of the Chicago Federation of Musicians, later as president of the American Federation of Musicians."
    Since 1998, Zirpolo, a swing band aficionado, has submitted scholarly articles about Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Gene Krupa, and Tommy Dorsey to the IAJRC Journal.   His "Shavian Matters: The Confessions of a Record Collector, or.... how I answered some vexing questions about the jazz music I love even though it may have taken 40 years," is in this month's issue (Vol. 40 No.3) of the Journal.
    Zirpolo also has used his sensitivity and skill to remaster on computer vintage sound recordings from the 1930s and '40s, achieving impressive results.    
    "The Many Faces of Helen Ward," by collector Sonny McGown, will bring the IAJRC presentations to a close. 
    "I will be tracing the on-again, off-again career of Ms. Ward from 1933 to 1980.  I will be displaying many rare photos from her," McGown told me, "as well as presenting recordings (some rare, some not so rare) that showcase her work in each decade.  The glamorous photos reflect the many lovely faces that Helen had over the years yet her voice was a glorious constant.  I will also play some interview segments with Helen including one that I did with her regarding the Gene Krupa Swing Band session in Chicago."
    McGown started collecting records in 1960 and joined the IAJRC in 1967.  He also became a friend of Ward and her husband, Bill Savory, the former renowned Columbia recording engineer, around that time. 
    "I first met Bill in 1966 thanks to guitarist Steve Jordan," McGown recalled.  "I personally knew Helen from 1970 until her death in 1998." 
    Sonny's own favorite is "BG," for whom Ward sang from 1934-36.  
"Berkowitz & Krupa Orch in Concert Series at Beechman, 9/5,",
  August 28, 2007.   [ The Gene Krupa Orchestra directed by Mike Berkowitz begins an open-run Wednesday nights at the Laurie
   Beechman Theater on W. 42nd St. in New York City, starting September 5th ]
Chase, Russ.  "The Review Corner: 'The Missourians / Cotton Club Orchestra / Andy Preer
  Cotton Club Orchestra (1925-1930)," IAJRC Journal, August 2007 (Vol.40 No.3), pp.86-87.
  [ review of Vintage Music Productions VMP 0212 ]
Clooney, Nick.  "Miller band turned out hit after hit," Cincinnati [ OH ] Post /, August 13, 2007.  [ a 25-year-old asks Clooney about Miller ]
DeLuke, R.J.  "Orrin Keepnews: Classic Producer of Classics,",
  August 13, 2007.   [ interview of Keepnews ]
Durham, Mike.  "The Review Corner: 'A Tribute to Paul Whiteman' - Keith Nichols' Jazz
  Artists & Northern Sinfonia," IAJRC Journal, August 2007 (Vol.40 No.3), pp.66-67.  [ review of
   Lake LACD245, recorded at a concert in England in July 2006 ]
Feldman, Peter.  "Basie's orchestra comes to SA," [ Johannesburg, South Africa ] Mail &
  Guardian, August 24, 2007.   [ The Basie Orchestra will appear in Newtown, Johannesburg, the first American big band to
   play there in about 30 years ]
Freeney, Mark.  "Movie Review: Singing the praises of Anita O'Day," Boston Globe /, August 3, 2007.   [ " . . . a good, solid account of a good, solid jazz singer . . . " ]
Hilgart, Art.  "The Review Corner: 'Classic Chu Berry Columbia and Victor Sessions - Chu
  Berry,' IAJRC Journal, August 2007 (Vol.40 No.3), pp.73-74.   [ review of Mosaic MD7-236 ]
---.  "The Review Corner: 'The Essential Benny Goodman' - Benny Goodman," IAJRC Journal,
  August 2007 (Vol.40 No.3), p.71.   [ review of Sony/BMG 94912 ]
Huntoon, Perry.  "The Review Corner: '1933-1935 - Ben Pollack and His Orchestra,' IAJRC
  Journal, August 2007 (Vol.40 No.3), p.76-77.   [ review of Sterling STCD 2-27-07 ]
---.  "The Review Corner: 'Live At the Hickory House 1937 - Frankie Trumbauer and His
  Band,' IAJRC Journal, August 2007 (Vol.40 No.3), p.76.   [ review of Sterling STCD 1-15-07 ]
"Jazz Knights to perform with bassist Lynn Seaton,", August 3, 2007.  
   [ Seaton (Herman "50th Anniversary Tour" '86; Basie Orch. "Long Live the Chief" '86 and "Diane Schuur and The Count Basie Orchestra" '87)
   will play with the U.S. Military Academy Band's Jazz Knights on the grounds of the Military Academy at West Point ]
Moore, S. Derrickson.  "What's up, Doc?  Severinsen not ready to ride into sunset just yet,"
  Las Cruces [ NM ] Sun-News, August 24, 2007.   [ Severinsen performs with the Las Cruces Symphony and plans
   to return with his new group, El Ritmo de la Vida (which means the Rhythm of Life) ]
Reny, Bob.  "The Review Corner: 'The Kenton Era' - Stan Kenton," IAJRC Journal, August
  2007 (Vol.40 No.3), pp.69-70.   [ review of Sounds of Yester Year ( UK ) DSOD723 ]
Schiedt, Duncan.  "Jazz Books Reviewed: Swing Era Scrapbook: The Teenage Diaries and
  Radio Logs of Bob Inman1936-1938," IAJRC Journal, August 2007 (Vol.40 No.3), p.111. 
Souther, Jan.  "Famed trumpet player Harry James and his vocalist, Jeannie Thomas
  Dennis," [ Wilkes-Barre, PA ] Citizens Voice, August 26, 2007.  [ various letters from readers ]

    In California, the 100th anniversary of the birth of alto saxophonist - bandleader Benny Carter will be observed by his friends and colleagues on August 8th at the Hollywood Bowl, in a program titled "Benny Carter's 100 Years of Music."  Included will be some of Carter's original arrangements, rare film clips, and musical tributes.  Quincy Jones is to host.   Among the performers is saxophonist Mel Martin, who recently formed a "Benny Carter Centennial Tribute Band" and has a new CD, "The Mel Martin-Benny Carter Quintet: Just Friends," released last month on Jazzed Media (JM 1027).
    National Public Radio's "Riverwalk Jazz" recalls Carter's long career with "Symphony in Riffs," a 1-hour segment this month, including some of his recordings and an interview with Ed Berger, who was Carter's road manager and biographer, and is presently Associate Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University.

Herb Ellis, guitarist (G. Gray '44, J. Dorsey '45-'47; Carter '54), b.August 4, 1921
Jack Morgan, trombonist (Morgan '58-'69; Morgan Orch. '69- ), b.August 4, 1940
Buddy Collette, saxophonist - clarinetist (Les Hite '42; Hayes '47; Carter '48-'49), b.August 6, 1921
Urbie Green, trombonist - leader (Savitt; Carle '45; Krupa '47 / '50; T. Dorsey Orchestra '66-'67), b.August 8, 1926
Frank Capp, drummer (Kenton '51; Hefti '52), b.August 20, 1931
Peter Appleyard, vibraphonist (Goodman '71-'77), b.August 26, 1928
Med Flory, saxophonist (Thornhill '50; Mooney; Herman '53 / '59), b.August 27, 1926
Jerry Dodgion, alto saxophonist (Carter '55; Goodman '59-'60 / '61 / '62), b.August 29, 1932

Herb Pomeroy, 77, trumpeter (Hampton '53-'54; Kenton '54), d.August 11, 2007
Merv Griffin, 82, vocalist (Martin '48-'52), d.August 12, 2007, prostate cancer
Leon Marian, 83, trumpet (Millinder '46), d.August 15, 2007, "complications from diabetes"
Max Roach, 83, drummer (C. Hawkins 12/18/43, 2/16/44 and 2/22/44 recordings; Gillespie "Bands for Bonds" WOR broadcast '47 /
   Birdland '52 / Birdland '53 / Norgan "Diz and Getz" LP '53; Ellington "Paris Blues" soundtrack '61 / United Artists "Money Jungle" LP '62),
  d.August 16, 2007, "died in his sleep"

Louis Armstrong: "Live At the 1958 Monterey Jazz Festival," MJF Records 30311  
   [ previously unreleased ]
Count Basie: "Basie At Birdland," Capitol / EMI 97449   [ = 1961 Roulette LP SR-52065 + "bonus" cuts from
   Mosaic MD8-135 ]
Frankie Carle: "Silver & Gold," Jasmine ( UK ) JASCD 462   [ various 1950s RCA Victor singles and album
   cuts, incl. six songs from the 1957 RCA Victor album "Around the World" LPM / LSP-1499 ]
Tommy Dorsey: "Rare Instrumentals," Montpellier ( UK ) 32   [ Thesaurus transcriptions and Decca recordings,
   1950-53 ]
Maynard Ferguson: "A Message From Birdland," Capitol / EMI 97447   [ = 1959 Roulette LP SR-52027
   + "bonus" cuts from Mosaic MD10-156 ]
Dizzy Gillespie: "Live At the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival," MJF Records 30337  
  [ previously unreleased ]
Peanuts Hucko: "With a Little Bit of Swing," BMG (Japan ) BVCJ-38150  [ with Helen Ward, vocals;
   = 1957 RCA Victor album LPM-1464 ]
Stan Kenton: "The Jazz Compositions of Dee Barton," Capitol / EMI 96732   [ = Capitol LP ST-2932 ]
Chick Webb: "Ella Fitzgerald and Her Famous Orchestra: Live at The Savoy - 1939-40,"
  Hep ( UK ) 82  [ broadcast performances from both the Savoy and the Roseland Ballrooms in New York City, as Fitzgerald took over
   Webb's band following his death in June 1939 ]
Ted Weems: "The Complete Volume 2," Renovation 7008  [ material from 1926-28, including two unissued takes ]
Paul Whiteman: "Volume 1: 'If I Had a Talking Picture of You,'" Vocalion ( UK ) 6129   [ 1925-38 ]
various artists: "Saluting the Stars," Jasmine ( UK ) JASCD 665  [ 2-CD set incl. Sauter-Finegan, Carle,
  Eckstine, James, Flanagan, Monroe, others - not just big bands ]

various artists: "This Joint Is Jumpin," MPI DVD7830  [ incl. brief interview segments with Artie Shaw, Lionel
   Hampton, and Ray Anthony; = Image Entertainment ID9694CDDVD with new packaging ]

Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole: Aug.16-19, private party, Pittsburgh, PA; Aug. 26, Cerritos
  Performing Arts Center, Cerritos, CA
Duke Ellington Orchestra directed by Barrie Lee Hall, Jr.: Aug. 3-4, Blue Note, New York City; Aug. 6,
  Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Harry James Orchestra directed by Fred Radke: Aug. 28, Bear Creek Farms, Bryant, IN [ two shows ]
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Aug. 1, City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA; Aug. 2, Rhodes Ballroom,
  Cranston, RI; Aug. 3, Meadowbrook Park, Hamden, CT; Aug. 4, Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove, NJ; Aug. 6, Art Park, Lewiston,
  NY; Aug. 7, Municipal Theatre, Wilmington, VT; Aug. 8, Old Westbury Gardens, Old Westbury, NY; Aug. 9, Astoria Park, Astoria,
  NY; Aug. 11, private, Arlington, NJ; Aug. 13, Music Pier, Ocean City, NJ; Aug. 16, Goudy Park, Wayne, MI; Aug. 17-18, Conner
  Prairie, Fishers, IN; Aug. 19, Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI; Aug. 22, Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid, NY; Aug. 24,
  Turf Valley Resort & Conference Center, Ellicott City, MD; Aug. 26, The Paramount Theater, Charlottesville, VA
Artie Shaw Orchestra directed by Dick Johnson: Aug. 24, Stoneham Theatre, Stoneham, MA; Aug. 25, Great
  Waters Jazz Festival, Wolfeboro, NH

    Legendary big band leader Jimmie Lunceford got only 20 votes in the DownBeat 2007 Hall of Fame competition, losing out to jazz pianist Andrew Hill, who received 86 nods. 
    Other possibilities for this years' Hall of Fame included 45 votes for pianist Hank Jones
(Kirk '45; Shaw '53-'54; Goodman '56-'58); 38 for drummer Jo Jones (Basie '33-'34? / '36-'44 / '46-'48); and, tied with Lunceford at 20 votes, arranger - composer Tadd Dameron (Harlan Leonard '40; Lunceford '42; Eckstine '44-'45;
Auld '45-'46; Gillespie '45-'49?; Shaw '49; Goodman '62).

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    I'm proud that I will be giving two presentations for the IAJRC, including the opening session at the Hotel on Thurs., the 9th, "Looking for Mr. Goodman."  I've gone around the Chicago area, in search of addresses and venues that have a connection to Benny Goodman, and it might be surprising that, 20 years after Benny's death, there are still places in existence which date back to his birth.  Of course, speaking before record collectors, I'll play some recordings of original Goodman performances made in Chicago.
    My second session occurs during the IAJRC's bus and walking trip into the Loop on Fri., the 10th.  They'll stop at Chicago Public Library, which holds "The Muggsy Spanier Archives" and where I'll talk about "Muggsy Spanier: Musician in the Major Leagues."  I think that Muggsy would have been just as happy if he had become a baseball player, instead of one of the best-loved dixieland jazz musicians.  Even after he became famous, he still enjoyed grabbing his pitcher's mitt and joining a ball game.
Christopher Popa
photo by Antoaneta Ivanova
Duncan Schiedt
photo used with permission
Charles A. "Chuck" Sengstock, Jr.
photo used with permission
Michael P. "Mike" Zirpolo, Jr.
photo used with permission
Sonny McGown
photo used with permission