February 2006
compiled by Christopher Popa

Del Courtney [ r. ], around the height of his fame
    Singer Lena Prima presented a high-energy, 90-minute show, "Louis Prima: That's My Dad," on February 22nd at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans' famous French Quarter. 
    Lena, born November 14, 1963, had recently been performing her tribute at the Sands Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas, including such Prima favorites as That Old Black Magic, Angelina, Pennies From Heaven, Buona Sera, and Jump, Jive and Wail
    A 7-piece band accompanied her in New Orleans, and TV footage of her father on "The Ed Sullivan Show" was featured. 
    "I'm so excited to go back home and be a part of reminding people what's unique about New Orleans and bringing my dad's music back to the city he loved," Lena said, quoted on the official Prima website,  "I hope that people who come out will get the same great feeling I do when I hear his songs and maybe even learn something new about my dad."

    Each Saturday in February, a different presentation was offered at the Louis Armstrong House in Corona, Queens, NY, followed by a guided tour of the House.  Topics included "At Home in Corona: A Conversation with Armstrong's Long-Time Friend and Neighbor, Ms. Selma Heraldo" (Feb. 4); "Louis Armstrong: Fountainhead" with Armstrong enthusiast Francis Lunzer (Feb. 11); "Armstrong and the Roots of Jazz in New Orleans" with staff member Michael Heller (Feb. 18); and "Louis Armstrong: Collage Artist, Amateur Archivist" with Asst. Director Deslyn Dyer (Feb. 25).
    The Armstrong House was named "Cultural Organization of the Month" for February 2006 by NYC & Company, New York City's official tourism marketing office.

    Music promoter and historian Gary "Scott" Law is spearheading the organization of what's called "The Wayne King Entertainment Network," with non-profit, IRS 501c3 status.  Law hopes to contract bands and present dances, along with other family-oriented events, in various Illinois and Iowa towns, especially along the Mississippi River and palisades. 
    "By acting to create a unified 1900-1960 live entertainment theme from Dubuque to Davenport, we can create investment that will help our towns survive the global economy of the 21st century," Law asserts.  "Our towns possess a remarkable history of musicians, town bands, society bands, American Legion bands, dance bands, dancehalls, ballrooms, and theatres where live plays and vaudeville acts kept orchestras busy from 1900 to 1960."
Count Basie Orchestra directed by Bill Hughes: Feb. 3, Historic Fox Theatre,
    Hutchinson, KS; Feb. 4, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS; Feb. 10, Carnegie Hall,
    New York, NY; Feb. 25, Hudson High School, Hudson, OH; Feb. 26, Lourdes College
    Franciscan Center, Sylvania, OH; Feb. 27, Eisenhower High School, New Berlin, WI;
    Feb. 28, Mason City High School, Mason City, IA
Cab Calloway Orchestra directed by Calloway Brooks: Feb. 10, fundraiser for "Kids
    Escaping Drugs," Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY; Feb. 11, Bradford Creative and
    Performing Arts Center, Bradford, PA
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole: Feb. 4, Springfield, IL
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Buddy Morrow: Feb. 28, Jefferson Davis Community
    College, Brewton, AL
Larry Elgart: Feb. 20, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Jupiter, FL
Les Elgart Orchestra directed by Russ Dorsey: Feb. 15, Genti's Restaurant, Corinth, TX
Lionel Hampton New York Big Band: Feb. 25, "Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival,"
    Moscow, ID
Horace Heidt Orchestra directed by Horace Heidt, Jr.: Feb. 21, McCallum Theatre, Palm
    Desert, CA [ "Television's Favorite Variety Stars" starring Shirley Jones and Dom
    DeLuise, with special guests Bill Hayes and Willie Tyler & Lester ]
Sammy Kaye Orchestra directed by Roger Thorpe: Feb. 7, Pensacola Air Museum,
    Pensacola, FL
Gene Krupa Orchestra directed by Michael Berkowitz: Feb. 18, Symphony Hall,
    Allentown, PA [ with Lynn Roberts ]
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Feb. 3, Oak Ridge Mall,
    Oak Ridge, TN; Feb. 4, Grand Theatre, Cartersville, GA; Feb. 6-8, Erie H. Meyer Civic
    Center, Gulf Shores, AL; Feb. 9, Bama Theatre, Tuscaloosa, AL; Feb. 11, Willett Hall,
    Portsmouth, VA; Feb. 13, Niswonger Performing Arts Center, Greeneville, TN; Feb. 14,
    Milton High School, Alpharetta, GA; Feb. 16, Crystal Coast Civic Center, Morehead
    City, NC; Feb. 17, Paramount Theatre, Burlington, NC; Feb. 18, Isothermal Community
    College, Spindale, NC; Feb. 19, The McCelvery Center, York, SC; Feb. 20, Cross Creek
    County Country Club, Mt. Airy, NC; Feb. 21, Marlboro Civic Center, Bennettsville, SC;
    Feb. 23, Schwartz Center for the Arts, Dover, DE; Feb. 24, State Theater, Easton, PA;
    Feb. 25, West Chester University, West Chester, PA; Feb. 26, Grand Opera House,
    Wilmington, DE; Feb. 27, Whitaker Center, Harrisburg, PA; Feb. 28, Phi Beta Kappa
    Memorial Hall, Williamsburg, VA
Russ Morgan Orchestra directed by Jack Morgan: Feb. 11, Holiday Inn, Rutland, VT
Artie Shaw Orchestra directed by Dick Johnson: Feb. 1, Doubletree Hotel, Boston, MA;
    Feb. 9-12, Busch Gardens, Tampa, FL; Feb. 17, Timberland Performing Arts Center,
    Plaistow, NH; Feb. 18, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, NY

Louis Armstrong: "You Rascal You (1939-1941), Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120.816
Gus Arnheim: "In Hollywood," Renovation 7006 [ 2-CD set ]
Count Basie: "This and That," Sounds of Yesteryear (UK) SOY 697
Ralph Burns: "Free Forms and Winter Sequence," Fresh Sounds Jazz City Series
    FSR 2215; "Perpetual Motion," Fresh Sounds Jazz City Series FSR 2216
June Christy: "Cool School / Do Re Mi," EMI (UK) 51017
Ella Fitzgerald: "Ella," Collectables 7772; "Things Ain't What They Used to Be (And You
    Better Believe It)," Collectables 7773
Bud Freeman: "Bud Freeman All Stars," Sounds of Yesteryear (UK) SOY 696
Woody Herman: "One Night Stand: Live At the Hollywood Palladium," Choice 71053
Peanuts Hucko: "Jam with Peanuts," Sounds of Yesteryear (UK) SOY 698
Stan Kenton: "One Night Stand: Live At the Hollywood Palladium," Choice 71051
Wingy Manone: "The Chronological 1944-1946," Classics (France) 1412
Glenn Miller: "Stardust," Sounds of Yesteryear (UK) SOY 695
Artie Shaw: "The Chronological 1951-1954," Classics (France) 1413
Jo Stafford, "Love, Mystery & Adventure," Jasmine (UK) 431
Kay Starr, "Just Plain Country / Tears," EMI (UK) 52930
Lawrence Welk: "Bubbling Over," ASV Living Era 5552
various artists: "The Giants of Jazz" [ incl. Dizzy Gillespie ], Collectables 7730 [ 2-CD set ]

Ray Anthony: "Daddy Long Legs" (with Fred Astaire, Leslie Caron), 20th Fox
    Marquee Musicals
Charlie Spivak: "Pin-Up Girl" (with Betty Grable), 20th Fox Marquee Musicals
Lena Prima [ r. ], daughter of bandleader Louis Prima
photo courtesy of Onesti Entertainment
    From Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu came word that Del Courtney passed away February 11th, at the age of 95, following a week long bout with pneumonia.  Angela Hill, a Staff Writer for the Oakland [ CA ] Tribune, a newspaper in Courtney's hometown, wrote an obituary, "Big-band leader Del Courtney dies: Oakland-based 'Old Smoothie' treated couples with sweet dance music," which appeared in the February 14th paper.  I was contacted by Ms. Hill for some facts and comments to use in her writing.
    According to Mr. Courtney's caregiver, Donna Johnson, the last time he led a band was at his 94th birthday party, in 2004.  

Jack Montrose, 77, tenor saxophonist (w/Norvo '56-'57 "Blues and Vanilla" and "The
  Horn's Full" LPs; Zentner "Alive in Las Vegas" CD), Feb. 7
Harry DiVito, 81, trombonist (Brown '42; Miller AAF '43-'45; Spivak '47; McKinley '66),
  Feb. 12
Jimmy Price, 75, trombonist (Miller-DeFranco), Feb. 15
Sid Feller, 89, trumpeter - arranger (Teagarden '40-'41 and '58 "Shades of Night" LP),
  Feb. 16
Larry "Larry Neill" Orenstein, 87, trumpeter - vocalist (Fields '40-'41; Whiteman '42;
  Armstrong 11/23/51 Decca session), Feb. 22, "complications of pneumonia"
Irv Kluger, 84, drummer (Shaw 4/27/50 Decca session + '53-'54 Gramercy 5), Feb. 28,
  "heart problems"

    One of Guy Lombardo's brothers, Carmen, was posthumously honored for his songwriting talents, by the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame February 5th at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto. 
    Carmen, born in London, Ontario in 1903, played saxophone and sang with his brother's orchestra, the Royal Canadians, until his death in 1971.  A member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) from 1929 on, Carmen wrote Boo Hoo,
Coquette, Get Out Those Old Records, Powder Your Face with Sunshine, Return to Me, A Sailboat in the Moonlight, and Sweethearts On Parade, among others. 
    Performances from the Hall of Fame ceremony, including Sarah Slean, "dolled up like a 1930s movie star," singing Carmen's Powder Your Face with Sunshine, will be broadcast on CBC-TV March 6th.
Beck, Aaron.  "Concert Preview: Gillespie's genius changed direction of jazz,"
    Columbus [ OH ] Dispatch /, Feb. 15, 2006.    [ tribute concert, "Bird & Diz," by the
      Columbus Jazz Orchestra ]
Berkowitz, Karen.  "Jazz great Ferguson at ETHS Saturday," [ Evanston, IL ] Pioneer Press, Feb. 9, 2006.
Breithaupt, George.  "The Pied Pipers thrill audience," Mount Vernon [ OH ] News /, Feb. 15, 2006.
Duckett, Jerry.  "Drumming to the beat of Gene Krupa," [ NJ ] Express-Times /,
    Feb. 3, 2006.   [ Michael Berkowitz, leader of today's Krupa Orchestra, talks about his musical experiences ]
Fessier, Bruce.  "Musical pioneer: Mercury founder instrumental in breaking barriers,"
    The [ Palm Springs, CA ] Desert Sun /, Feb. 6, 2006.   [ Irvin Green, 90,
      recalls his achievements ]
French, David.  "Bradley Collection Displays Satchmo Treasures," DownBeat, Feb. 2006,
Homan, Henry.  "Hershey ballroom a top spot for stars of big band," Lebanon [ PA ]
  Daily News,, Feb. 28, 2006.   [ Hershey Park Ballroom, Hershey, PA ]
LaLonde, Pati.  "Group performs the music that kept couples together during WWII,"
  Bay City [ MI ] Times /, Feb. 9, 2006.   [ today's Pied Pipers featuring Nancy Knorr ]
Miller, Cam.  "Wilder to be honored at jazz bash," North County [ San Diego, CA ] Times /, Feb. 22, 2006.   [ trumpeter Joe Wilder honored as a "living jazz legend" ]
Morente, Christine.  "Trumpeter shows students how to jazz it up: It marks fourth time
    Ferguson has performed and helped local kids," San Mateo County [ CA ] Times /, Feb. 5, 2006.   [ Maynard Ferguson and his band conducted clinics for students at
     Mills High School ]
Prior, Anna.  "Jazz legend to play at festival," The Daily Northwestern [ IL ] /, Feb. 10, 2006.   [ Maynard Ferguson ]
Shapiro, Gary.  "Satchmo in His Prime," New York Daily Sun /, Feb. 23, 2006.
     [ Ricky Riccardi, a 2005 graduate of Rutgers University's master's program in jazz history and research, argues for the re-examination
     of the last 2-1/2 decades of Louis Armstrong's career ]
Tumpak, John.  "Dolores O'Neill: The Big Band Era's Best-Kept Secret," Mississippi Rag,
    Feb. 2006, pp.1+.
Wolfe, Wes.  "Glenn Miller band swings into Bama Theatre," The Crimson White
    [ University of AL ] /, Feb. 9, 2006.

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   Enthusiast Stephen Taylor has written a 368-page book, Fats
Waller On the Air: The Radio Broadcasts & Discography, which meticulously documents performances by the pianist - composer during 1923-43. 
    Historical perspective about Waller's radio performances is given, through descriptions from contemporary newspapers and magazines, accounts from individuals who were in attendance, and remarks by radio announcers from original transcripts.   
    Taylor's book also includes a discography of Waller's recordings, ranging from 78s to present CD and DVD issues, as well as
never-before-published photos.
    Priced at $60 by The Scarecrow Press, this is #50 in their series "Studies in Jazz."