The family of the late photographer and jazz historian Duncan Schiedt (1921-2014) has donated a body of his work to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American history in Washington, DC. There are more than 12,000 images, both photos that Duncan took himself and others that he collected. 
     I was privileged to oversee an exhibit of Duncan’s work at Chicago Public Library and host a talk which he gave in the Library’s auditorium. 
     Besides his photos, Duncan authored several books, including Twelve Lives in Jazz (Parma, Italy: Delta Publishing, 1996) and Jazz in Black and White: The Photographs of Duncan Schiedt (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004). 
     I am delighted that his interests and talents will be treasured always.

Murray Wald, 93, d.Dec 4, 2015.  Saxophonist with Miller AAF '43-'45.
Isham Russell Jones II, 73, d.Dec 9, 2015.  Drummer (as "Rusty" Jones) and great
   nephew of bandleader / songwriter Isham Jones.

Don Sebesky, b.Dec. 10, 1937. Trombonist with Covington '56; Ferguson '58-'59; 
   Kenton '59. Arranger for DeFranco-Miller Orch '67 [ In the Mod, Shangri-La, Gone
   with the Wind, A Stranger in Town, Release Me, 'Round Midnight ].   
Abbe Lane, b.Dec. 16, 1932. Singer with Cugat '50s and actress. Married to Cugat
Ernie Andrews, b.Dec 25, 1927. Vocalist with James '65-'67.
Chuck Cecil, b. Dec. 26, 1922. Host / producer of the radio show "The Swingin' Years"
   since 1956.

John Bunch, b.Dec. 1, 1921. Pianist with Herman ’56-’57; Goodman ’57-’58; 
  Ferguson ’58.
Dick Johnson, b.Dec. 1, 1925. Clarinetist – alto saxophonist with Morrow ’55.  
  Leader of Shaw Orch ’83-’06.
Eddie Sauter, b.Dec. 2, 1914. Arranger – composer for Norvo ’35-’39; Goodman 
  ’39-’42 (including Benny Rides AgainClarinet a La KingSuperman); Shaw ’45 
  (including The Maid with the Flaccid AirSummertime); McKinley ’46-’47 (including
   BorderlineHangover SquareTumblebug). Co-leader of Sauter-Finegan Orch 
  ’52-’58 / ’60 / ’61.
Charlie Ventura, b.Dec. 2, 1916. Tenor saxophonist with Krupa ’42-’43 / ’44-’46; 
  Powell ’43-’44. Leader of own band.
Gene Allen, b.Dec. 5, 1928. Saxophonist with Prima ’44-’47; Thornhill ’48-’50; 
  Beneke ’51-’53; Sauter-Finegan ’53-’55; T Dorsey ’56; Goodman ’58.
Kay Davis, b.Dec. 5, 1920. Vocalist with Ellington ’44-’50.
Marshall Royal, b.Dec. 5, 1912. Alto saxophonist with Hampton ’40-’42; Basie ’51-70.
Bob Cooper, b.Dec. 6, 1925. Tenor saxophonist with Kenton ’45-’51; J Gray ’53.
Teddy Hill, b.Dec. 7, 1909. Tenor saxophonist with Russell ’29-’31. Leader of own band.
Louis Prima, b.Dec. 7, 1912. Leader of own band.
Irving Fazola, b.Dec. 10, 1912. Clarinetist with Pollack ’35; Arnheim ’36; Miller ’37-’38;
  Crosby ’38-’40; Spanier ’41-’42.
Matty Malneck, b.Dec. 10, 1904. Violinist – composer with Whiteman '26-'37.  
  Songwriter (including Goody GoodyI’ll Never Be the SameI’m Through with Love).
Ray Nance, b.Dec. 10, 1913. Trumpeter with Hines ’38; H Henderson ’39; Ellington 
  ’40-’44 / ’44-63.
Eddie Barefield, b.Dec. 12, 1909. Clarinetist - saxophonist – arranger with Moten ’33;
  Calloway ’33-'36 / ‘39 / ’51 / ‘58; F Henderson ’38; Redman ’38; Carter ’41; Oliver ’50;
  Eldridge ‘56.
Dodo Marmarosa, b.Dec. 12, 1925. Pianist with Barnet ’43-’44; Shaw ’44-’45 / ’49.
Frank Sinatra, b.Dec. 12, 1915. Vocalist with James ’39; T Dorsey ’40-’42; Basie ’66 
  (“Live At the Sands”).
Joe Williams, b.Dec. 12, 1918. Vocalist with C Hawkins ’41; Hampton ’43; Basie ’50 /
Sonny Greer, b.Dec. 13, 1903. Drummer with Ellington ’20-’51.
Chuck Gentry, b.Dec. 14, 1911. Saxophonist with James ’40-’41; Goodman ’41-’42; 
  J Dorsey ’42-’43; Miller AAF ’43-’44; Shaw ’44-’45; Savitt ’45-’46.
Budd Johnson, b.Dec. 14, 1910. Tenor saxophonist with Armstrong ’33; Hines ’34-’42 /
  ’65; Goodman ’56-’57.
Jimmy Nottingham, b.Dec. 15, 1925. Trumpeter with Hampton ’45-’47; Barnet ’47 / ’58
  (Everest); Millinder ’47 / ‘50; Basie ’48-’50.
Gene Quill, b.Dec. 15, 1927. Alto saxophonist – clarinetist with Thornhill ’53?.
Cub Teagarden, b.Dec. 16, 1915. Brother of Jack Teagarden. Drummer with 
  Teagarden ’39-’40.
Sy Oliver, b.Dec. 17, 1910. Trumpeter - singer- arranger – composer with Lunceford
  ’33-’39 (including Ain’t She SweetAnnie LaurieBy the River Ste. MarieCheatin’
  On MeDream of YouFor Dancers OnlyFour Or Five TimesLe Jazz HotLinger 
  AwhileMargieMe and the MoonMy Blue HeavenMy Last AffairOn the Beach
  At Bali BaliOrgan Grinder’s SwingPosin’Raggin’ the Scale; Stomp It OffSwanee
  RiverSweet Sue; ‘Tain’t Whatcha Do); T Dorsey ’39-’43 / ’45-46 (Easy Does It
   Opus 1Opus TwoSwanee RiverSwing HighWell, Git It). Leader of own band.
Barry Galbraith, b.Dec. 18, 1919. Guitarist with Thornhill ’42-’42 / ’46-‘47’ McIntyre ’42;
  Beneke ’56 (Camden).
Fletcher Henderson, b.Dec. 18, 1898. Pianist – arranger – composer with Goodman
  ’35-’39 (including Blue SkiesDown South Camp MeetingKing Porter Stomp
   Sometimes I’m HappyWhen Buddha SmilesWrappin’ It Up) / ’46-’47. Leader
  of own band.
Anita O’Day, b.Dec. 18, 1919. Vocalist with Krupa ’41-’44 / ’45-'46; Kenton ’44-’45;
  Goodman ’59.
Bob Brookmeyer, b.Dec. 19, 1929. Pianist with O Tucker '49; Beneke ’51-’52?.
Panama Francis, b.Dec. 21, 1918. Drummer with Eldridge ’39; Millinder ’40; 
  Calloway ’47-’52.
Henry Cuesta, b.Dec. 23, 1931. Clarinetist with Teagarden ’59-63; Welk ’72-’82.  
  Leader of J Dorsey Orch (1991 Columbia Artists tour).
Cab Calloway, b.Dec. 24, 1907. Leader of own band.
Ralph Marterie, b.Dec. 24, 1914. Leader of own band.
Pete Rugolo, b.Dec. 25, 1915. Arranger – composer for Grier ’41; Kenton ’45-’49.
Eddie Safranski, b.Dec. 25, 1918. Bassist with McIntyre ’41-’45; Kenton ’45-’48;
  Barnet ’48-’49; J Gray ’51 / '54.
John Frigo, b.Nov. 27, 1916. Bassist with Marx ’43-’45; J Dorsey ’45-’47.
Earl Hines, b.Dec. 28, 1905. Pianist with Armstrong ’27 / ’48-’51. Leader of own
Al Klink, b.Dec. 28, 1915. Tenor saxophonist with Miller ’39-’42; Goodman '42-'44; 
  T Dorsey '43 / '44-’45; Sauter-Finegan '52-'53.
Ed Thigpen, b.Dec. 28, 1930. Drummer with C Williams ’51-’52.
Irving Ashby, b.Dec. 29, 1920. Guitarist with Hampton ’40-’42.
Cutty Cutshall, b.Dec. 29, 1911. Trombonist with Savitt ’39; Goodman ’40 / ’46; 
  Butterfield ’47.
Jack Montrose, b.Dec. 30, 1928. Tenor saxophonist with J Gray ’53; Norvo.
Jonah Jones, b.Dec.31, 1909. Trumpeter with H Henderson ’29; Lunceford ’31; 
  F Henderson ’40; Carter ’40-’41; Calloway ’41-’52; Hines ’52-’53.
John Kirby, b.Dec. 31, 1908. Bassist with F Henderson ’30-’33 / ’35-’36; Webb
  ’33-’35; Millinder ’36. Leader of own band.

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     I especially enjoyed The Music Business & The Monkey Business: Recollections by Larry Elgart and his wife, Lynn, because it’s a lot of first-hand tales and insights and gossip about the music business, in which two brothers formed and ran an orchestra that found a sound all its own, first going under brother Les Elgart’s name, then as Les and Larry Elgart, and, later, as two separate groups. 
     The 26 chapters of the book offer breezy reading, starting out on a high note with “1953 American Bandstand” but getting downright controversial with Chapter 7, which is titled “Les Elgart Woke Up One Morning To Find He Was Famous And Had Nothing To Do With It: The Columbia Years 1952-1968.” 
    While some would say that the book (Bloomington, IN: Archway Publishing) does an injustice to Les, presenting only Larry’s point of view, it is without question that Larry’s accomplishments in music were formidable, including his appealing saxophone playing, writing Bandstand Boogie (the theme for the “American Bandstand” TV show before Dick Clark inherited it), and creating one of the biggest-selling big band LPs ever, “Hooked On Swing.” 
     Larry Elgart (age 93 at this writing) is one of the very few legendary bandleaders still living – so unless Ray Anthony (also 93) or Elliott Lawrence (age 90) have an autobiography up their sleeves, this book presents what likely will be the last opportunity to get a famous bandleader’s own story in his own words. 
​    Rhythm Is My Beat is the story of Freddie Green (1911-1987), the man whose acoustic rhythm guitar was a tremendous part of the pulse of the Count Basie Orchestra for 50 years, and is told by his son, Alfred (b.1938), a retired social worker and freelance photographer. 
     Published in 2015 in Lanham, MD by Rowman and Littlefield, the book is title no.72 in the Institute of Jazz Studies’ “Studies in Jazz” series. It’s a fine overview of Freddie’s achievements, with 8 chapters about his life and career (based on talks he had with his son, research, interview comments by others, and a collection of memorabilia including photos, contracts, and music manuscripts stored in the closets of Freddie’s New York apartment), plus 14 appendices (several composed by Michael Pettersen, who in 2001 created the website) such as “Did Freddie Green Always Play the Guitar Part ‘As Written’, a list of his compositions, and a select discography. 
     I’m sure that this book would interest any jazz or swing fan, especially for the Basie sound and Freddie Green’s huge contribution to it.  
     Also In-Print: As aviation writer and pilot Steve A. Ruffin, author of Flights of No Return: Aviation History’s Most Infamous One-Way Tickets to Immortality (Minneapolis, MN: Quarto Publishing Group, 2015), writes, “Given the far-reaching effects of his disappearance and the intrigue that still swirls around it, Glenn Miller’s ‘last gig’ remains one of history’s most memorable unsolved mysteries.”  
    Recounting the oft-told details of a flight over the English Channel on December 15, 1944, he states that Miller “needed to arrange for the band’s arrival and upcoming concert” in Paris and “was anxious to get concert preparations underway.”  
    While Ruffin concedes that the official US Army Air Forces explanation “is still probably as reasonable as any other,” he also acknowledges that there is no shortage of “alternative theories for Miller’s mysterious demise” and briefly discusses a number of them.  
    Whatever your beliefs about Miller’s disappearance, I would not spend the money on this book if you only want “The Bandleader’s Last Gig,” as Ruffin titled his chapter about Miller; instead, read it at your local library, alongside other, previous books such as Dale M. Titler’s Wings of Mystery: True Stories of Aviation History (New York: Dodd Mead & Co, 1981) that offer similar content and are just as good or better.  

    Lastly: the Glenn Miller: The Unexplained Disappearance of the Big Band King by Albert Jack was originally published in 2007 and this year became available in a Kindle e-book edition (shown as 1183KB, evidently equivalent to 14 pages) by Money for Old Rope Publishing in Cape Town, South Africa.  
    Amazon’s website calls Mr. Jack “a writer and historian” and “bestselling author” and boasts that “Fascinated by discovering the truth behind the world’s great stories, Albert has become an expert in explaining the unexplained, enriching millions of dinner table conversations and ending bar-room disputes the world over.”  
    The brief preview of his e-book on also says “Not in the mood: The Real Glenn Miller Story . . . Miller wanted to travel a few days early to attend what he called ‘a social engagement.’”  
    But I haven’t read Mr. Jack's complete work, so I can’t offer additional details or an opinion.

       Just in time for the holidays comes “The Count Basie Orchestra Directed By Scott Barnhart: A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas” (Concord Jazz CJA-38450-02), with 11 songs and instrumentals of jazzy joy. It’s claimed that this is the band’s first-ever Christmas album, but they seem to have forgotten “Tony Bennett: Featuring The Count Basie Band: A Swingin’ Christmas” (Columbia 32250 2) which came out in 2004.  
    “Having relentlessly studied this orchestra for 40 years and sat in the trumpet section for 20 years playing that book ever night,” says director Barnhart, “I knew how to frame these holiday classics in a way that has Basie written all over them.”  
    While I suppose he’s sincere and the orchestra certainly plays well, I can’t say that to my ears this particular CD really sounds like Basie. Even on my favorite tracks, It’s the Holiday Season with guest vocalist Johnny Mathis and Good “Swing” Wenceslas arranged by Sammy Nestico, it doesn’t quite make it for me. But this CD has been getting very good reviews elsewhere and that makes me happy.

Ted Heath. Rare Transcription Recordings Of The 1960s Vol 9: Reviewing the
  Situation, Vocalion (E) 6244.
Various artists. “Relaxin’, Jazzin’ and Chillin’: Instrumental Hits: 1957-1962,” Jasmine
  (E) JASMCD2622. 30 tunes including the J Dorsey Orch-Castle, T Dorsey Orch-
  Covington, and Welk.

Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart. Dec 6, Blue Note Nagoya, Nagoya, 
  Japan; Dec 8-10 and Dec 12, Blue Note Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; Dec 14, Hawaii 
  Theatre, Honolulu, Hawaii; Dec 19, Virginia G. Piper Theater, Scottsdale, AZ; Dec
  20, Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg, AZ; Dec 21, Walt
  Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA; Dec 22-23, Toshi’s, Oakland, CA.
Harry James Orchestra directed by Fred Radke. Dec 7, Pensacola, FL.
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Nick Hilscher. Dec 1, Bangor Area High School,
  Bangor, PA; Dec 2, Altoona Area High School, Altoona, PA; Dec 4, Hatfield Hall,
  Terre Haute, IN; Dec 5, Franklin Performing Arts Center, Franklin, IN; Dec 6, James
  F. Dicke Auditorium, New Bremen, OH; Dec 8, Broadway Theatre, Elmsford, NY;
  Dec 10, Aqua Turf Club, Plantsville, CT; Dec 11, Patchogue Theatre, Patchogue,
  NY; Dec 12, Chandler Center for the Arts, Randolph, VT; Dec 13, Troy Savings
  Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY; Dec 14, OMNI Mt. Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, 
  NH; Dec 17, The Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda, NY; Dec 18, State Theatre
  Center, Uniontown, PA; Dec 19, Darke County Center for the Arts, Greenville, OH;
  Dec 20, Oak Glen Little Theatre, New Cumberland, WV.