Ragtime · Blues · Hot Piano
 WWI Draft Registration Cards and Essays
 Jelly Roll Morton · Relatives · Associates · Musicians
 Ragtime Composers · Bandleaders · Authors · Broadcasters

Introduction  ·  Jelly Roll Morton  ·  Relatives  ·  Associates
Musicians  ·  Ragtime Composers  ·  Bandleaders
Authors  ·  Broadcasters  ·  References  ·  Kudos



Click to enlarge front of WWI Draft Registration Card                             Click to enlarge back of WWI Draft Registration Card

Benjamin Anzelevitz

WWI Draft Registration Card
4th June 1917

Ben Bernie, “The Old Maestro,” bandleader, composer (“Sweet Georgia Brown”), and radio personality, was born Benjamin Anzelevitz on May 30, 1891, probably in New York City. His parents, Julius and Anna, born in Russia, had eleven children. The family lived in Bayonne, NJ from 1897 to 1904. The 1900 U.S. Census for Bayonne, NJ, reports that Benjamin (last name spelled Anzeloert) was born in New Jersey. According to the 1910 U.S. Census for New York, Benjamin (last name, Anzelovitz) was born in Pennsylvania. His obituary in The New York Times tells us that he was born on Attorney Street, on the lower east side of New York City. [NYT]  Ben Bernie, in his draft registration card with his last name spelled Anzelovitz, gives New York, New York as his place of birth. In addition he states that he provides partial support for relatives, full support for his wife, and that he suffers of “spinal trouble.”

Little Ben was a prodigy on violin. He appeared at Carnegie Hall when he was 14 years old. At 15, he was teaching violin at the Mozart School of Music. He studied engineering for three years in local colleges. From 1910 to 1914 he toured in the vaudeville circuit, first as a single, “The Eccentric Violinist,” then as a violin-accordion team, “The Fiddle-Up Boys” with Charles Krass. Back in New York, Ben Bernie teamed up with Phil Baker: they appeared in 1914-1918 as “Bernie and Baker.”

In 1922 Ben organized his first band and was given a six-week contract at the opening of the Hotel Roosevelt on September 22, 1924. The band stayed for several years, and was replaced in 1929 by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians. Some of the musicians in Bernie’s band were saxophonist Jack Pettis, trumpeter Bill Moore, and pianist Oscar Levant. In early 1925, Oscar Levant was playing in a six-piece Society Orchestra at Ciro’s. The orchestra leader was Dave Bernie, one of Ben Bernie’s brothers. Ben appeared as guest conductor and liked Levant’s musical abilities. He offered him a job and Levant joined the Ben Bernie Orchestra at the Roosevelt Hotel in the spring of 1925.
[ATG]  Levant can be seen with Ben Bernie and All The Lads in the 1925 De Forest Phonofilm “Sweet Georgia Brown” where Jack Pettis plays what may be the first jazz solo on film. [AJB]  Pettis recorded five sides for Gennett with Jelly Roll Morton and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings on 17th and 18th July 1923.

In 1929, Ben Bernie went to Europe with his band. He appeared in the Kit-Cat Club and returned to New York on November 28, 1929. The headline in one of the columns in the March 10, 1930 issue of The New York Times proclaimed, “NIGHT CLUB ON LINER TO BE MODERNISTIC — Gayly
[sic] Colored Decorations to Set Cabaret on Leviathan apart from Rest of Ship — SPECIAL ORCHESTRA HIRED.” The USS Leviathan was completely renovated for its voyage of April 22, 1930. One of the major improvements was the addition of the Club Leviathan where “A special orchestra led by Ben Bernie will play for the club alone and other orchestras will play for the regular dancing program on the ship.”

Ben Bernie lost most of his fortune in the stock market crash. With his gift for chatter, his smooth delivery, and his engaging personality, Ben Bernie was a natural for radio: his most successful years were in the 1930s and 1940s in programs sponsored by Mennen’s Shaving Cream, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Half and Half Tobacco, Bromo-Seltzer, and Wrigley’s Gum.

During the war years, Bernie made appearances in airplane and bomb factories throughout the USA. He caught pleurisy in Chicago in early 1943 and never fully recovered. He died in Beverly Hills, California on October 20, 1943. His body was flown to New York. Funeral services were held on October 28, 1943 at the Temple Rodeph Sholom and were attended by 1,200 people. He was buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery, Queens, New York. Among the honorary pallbearers were Milton Berle, Abel Green, Damon Runyon, Walter Winchell, Billy Rose, George S. Kaufman, Phil Baker, Al Jolson and Moss Hart. Ben Bernie ended his radio broadcasts with “So yowsah yowsah yowsah . . . au revoir chil’en, this is Ben Bernie and all the lads . . . God bless you and pleasant dreams . . .”
 [AH 3]

© May 2007 Prof. Albert Haim

Note: The Hollywood Walk of Fame, conceived in 1958, built beginning in 1960, and designated by the city of Los Angeles in 1978 as a “Historic-Cultural Monument,” consists of more than two thousand pink-terrazzo, five-pointed stars embedded on both sides of the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard between Gower and La Brea Avenues, and of Vine Street between Yucca Street and Sunset Boulevard.

Each star, rimmed with bronze and inlaid onto a charcoal square, honors real persons as well as fictional characters for their contributions to the entertainment industry. The names of the honorees are inlaid in bronze inside the star. Under the names, there is a symbol that identifies the category for which the star was granted. There are five such symbols:

·   Motion picture camera: contribution to the film industry
·   Television set: contribution to the broadcast television industry
·   Phonograph record: contribution to the recording industry
·   Radio microphone: contribution to the broadcast radio industry
·   Twin comedy/tragedy masks: contribution to live theater

The criteria for the granting of a star have been established by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce:

·   Professional achievement
·   Longevity of five years in the field of entertainment
·   Contributions to the community

Within sixteen months from groundbreaking ceremonies on February 9, 1960, construction of 1,558 stars was completed. Since then, two have been added every month.

Ben Bernie was honored with a “star”, located at 6280 Hollywood Boulevard, for his accomplishments in radio broadcasting. He was among the first 1,558 to be honored. (Photograph courtesy of Brian Goggin)

© October 2008 Prof. Albert Haim


Click to enlarge front of WWI Draft Registration Card                             Click to enlarge back of WWI Draft Registration Card

Charles Lee Cooke

WWI Draft Registration Card
5th June 1917

Charles Lee Cooke was born 3rd September 1887, as indicated on the WWI draft registration card, and while most reference works agree with his birthday, they give the year as 1891. The 1920 U.S. Census entry indicates a birth year of 1888, while the 1930 entry supports the 1891 year of birth. In addition, his WWII draft registration card also gives the date of 3rd September 1891 and notes his middle name as “Leonidas”.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky; Charlie Cooke was educated at public schools in Louisville and Detroit, Michigan. He received early music tuition from his mother, a music teacher and later learned piano and theory with other teachers. Working as a staff composer at Detroit publishing houses for a time, he moved on to Chicago later and organised his own band there. An obviously learned man where music was concerned, Cooke pursued advanced music studies while he worked as a bandleader, earning a Bachelor degree from Chicago Musical College, and subsequently achieving the qualifications of Master and Doctor (1926) from Chicago College of Music. He studied under composer Louis Victor Saar and Chicago Symphony Orchestra programme annotator Felix Borowski for the latter two qualifications.
[ABD 95-96]

Even though Cooke had been a published ragtime composer for several years, it was as leader of his own orchestra that was featured regularly at Paddy Harmon’s Dreamland Café in Chicago from 1922 until 1927 that he is best remembered in the jazz world. The Dreamland catered for high class patrons who enjoyed the good food and alcohol served there in addition to the music. Generally billed as “Doc” Cook [sic], his Dreamland Orchestra was a large one for the time, with up to sixteen or more musicians and was very popular, one newspaper headlining, “Doc Cook’s Dreamland Ballroom’s Orchestra Breaks Records at the Dreamland”. [DCJ 20] Although he was a pianist, Cooke apparently didn’t feature himself on that instrument, choosing instead to conduct, take care of musical direction duties and play the organ.

Jazz greats such as Freddie Keppard, Jimmie Noone, Johnny St. Cyr, Andrew Hilaire and George Mitchell all played with Cooke’s orchestra during the time he was associated with the Dreamland, and Mitchell, St. Cyr and Hilaire were members around the same time that they worked on the first series of Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers records for Victor in the latter quarter of 1926.
[RHP] Cooke’s orchestra also recorded Morton’s Sidewalk Blues in December 1926, some months after the famous Morton version. The orchestra first recorded in 1924, but apart from the ensemble playing moving up a gear in the final moments of some of the tunes, and some good solos from Keppard and Noone, these sides are for the most part dull and over-arranged. By 1926 though, Cooke’s records had much more swing to them, with Noone sounding great on clarinet and Keppard’s powerful playing on Messin’ Around with the small group Cookie’s Gingersnaps and the full orchestra’s Here Comes the Hot Tamale Man being particularly notable.

After the Dreamland association ended, Doc Cooke led his orchestra at other Chicago establishments until he moved to New York in 1930. From this time, he worked as staff arranger at the famous film corporation R.K.O. and at Radio City Music Hall, doing similar work up into the early 1940s, at which time had his own company “New Day — Music Arranging Bureau” located at 1674 Broadway, New York. Cooke’s arranging work at Radio City was respected and appreciated, particularly at the 1939 World’s Fair, as reported in The Chicago Defender article titled, “Charlie Cook Is The Man At Radio City”.
[CD 17439]

Cooke composed many ragtime tunes, including the famous Blame it on the Blues (1914). He was also a member of ASCAP and over the years worked on arrangements and compositions for many shows. Doc Cooke retired and moved to New Jersey in the 1940s. He died in Wurtsboro, New York on 25th December 1958. [WWJ 79-80]  [BG 3]

© May 2007 Brian Goggin


Click to enlarge front of WWI Draft Registration Card                             Click to enlarge back of WWI Draft Registration Card

Charles C. Creath

WWI Draft Registration Card
2nd June 1917

Charles Cyril Creath was born in Ironton, Missouri on 30th December 1895. The date on Charles C. Creath’s draft card is in line with the 1900 U.S. Census, which notes he was born December 1895, and also with the 1910 and 1920 U.S. Censuses, which give his age as 14 and 24 years old respectively. Incidentally, his occupation is given as a musician in the 1920 entry. His death certificate erroneously gives his birth date as 31st December 1897.

He started out on alto sax, but switched to trumpet in his early ‘teens and it was as a bandleader and on this instrument that he made his mark. His sister Marge, a pianist, was married to jazz drummer Arthur “Zutty” Singleton. As a youngster, Creath played with circus bands, touring troupes and in theatres before settling in St. Louis about 1918, and from then on, as was regular practice with bandleaders at the time, he had several bands working under his own name around St. Louis, in the south Illinois area and on the riverboats.
[WWJ 82]

A serious illness, which according to drummer Harry Dial was tuberculosis, prevented musical activities for Creath between 1928 and 1930. [AJJ 17] When he recovered, he resumed band leading in 1930 and thereafter, restricted his playing to saxophone and accordion. For the rest of the 1930s, he led bands both on his own and jointly with Fate Marable. Harry Dial said that Charlie didn’t drink excessively or smoke, but that he was a serious gambler. Bassist Pops Foster, who made his first records with “Chas. Creath’s Jazz-O-Maniacs” on tuba in 1924, also noted this. Foster said that Creath was regularly broke from gambling and this, along with other problems, led to the break up of his marriage and deterioration in his circumstances in later years. [PF 126-127] In the 1940s Creath drifted out of the music business and moved to Chicago. He ran a nightclub and worked as a bouncer. He was also an inspector in an aircraft factory in 1944. [WWJ 82] Trumpeter Lee Collins visited Creath shortly before his death and notes that he suffered from heart trouble at this time. [ODR 92]  Charlie Creath committed suicide on 23rd October 1951. His death certificate gives the cause of death as: “Shock & hemorrhage following gun shot wound of chest — shot self while temporarily insane due to ill health.” [CCDI]

Charlie Creath’s recorded output consists of twelve sides as leader of his “Jazz-O-Maniacs” for the Okeh label in 1924, 1925 and 1927. [JR 359]  Amongst these records are Jelly Roll Morton’s King Porter Stomp and Grandpa’s Spells — the latter being the first “cover version” of that tune. Most of these records confirm his abilities as a fine soulful trumpeter, as recalled by his contemporaries, and several have a great swing or blues tinge to them. “When Charlie used to hit certain notes, the whores would just fall out and throw up their legs” was New Orleanian trumpeter Tommy Ladnier’s recollection of the most famous St. Louis bandleader of the 1920s and 1930s. [JFB vii]

Adept with mutes and in possession of a powerful lead and great blues feeling, his playing style was clearly influenced by King Oliver. Dewey Jackson played in a similar style, but with a rougher edge. Reedman Garvin Bushell remembered Charlie having “a Joe Smith-like tone, but with much feeling and drive” and Harry Dial remembers his “beautiful tone and great soul” and “beautiful melody horn and he applied it well”. The best examples of this are heard on the 1927 sides, on which Dewey Jackson is the other trumpet. Comparing the sides where Creath is the only trumpet and the “Dewey Jackson’s Peacock Orchestra” sides, it is apparent that Creath plays the first part of the first solo chorus and the last solo on Butter Finger Blues and the longer solo on the swinging Crazy Quilt. [BG 1]

© February 2007 Brian Goggin


Click to enlarge front of WWI Draft Registration Card                             Click to enlarge back of WWI Draft Registration Card

John Henry Dunn

WWI Draft Registration Card
5th June 1918

According to his World War I draft card, John Henry Dunn was born 19th February 1897 in Memphis, Tennessee. The 1900 U.S. Census states that he was born in February 1896 and this is supported by his 1910 U.S. Census entry. The 1920 and 1930 U.S. Census entries are consistent with the 1897 and 1896 birth dates respectively and Dunn supplied both dates to authorities at different times on his transatlantic trips. As his birthday was toward the start of the year, a year/age miscalculation seems highly unlikely, making 1896 an equally, or even more probable year of birth. Dunn’s eye colour was noted as maroon by the Memphis draft card registrar who took his details on 5th June 1918. Until conflicting evidence surfaces we will have to take this to be true!

Johnny Dunn began playing the cornet at an early age and studied with Professor Hamilton at Play Street High School.
[HNYS 87-88]  He later attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and developed his skills in W. C. Handy’s orchestra from 1916 until around 1920. [WWJ 100]  Dunn was a busy man with shows from the early 1920s, and he was also one of the pioneers in making commercially marketed blues records. He worked with “Mamie Smith and Her Jazz Hounds” and played on their famous record Crazy Blues in 1920. He later formed his own band, “Johnny Dunn’s Original Jazz Hounds” with which he regularly backed singers and recorded under his own name. From 1923 until 1927, he worked in “The Plantation Revue” which featured the popular, but tragically short-lived entertainer Florence Mills. The revue toured Europe as the “Blackbirds of 1926” in that year and the troupe’s band, “The Plantation Orchestra” recorded for Columbia in London. This outfit included Bill Benford on tuba, who, along with his brother Tommy, worked and recorded with Jelly Roll Morton.

Dunn was one of the biggest names in the New York entertainment industry in the early and mid-1920s. This was in addition to being the “King” of the New York horn men prior to Louis Armstrong deposing him in late 1924. While Johnny Dunn was not a particularly jazzy player in the early 1920s, he was an accomplished brass technician. His syncopated style displayed both military and blues influences and he engaged in “freak” playing also, using the rubber plunger and other mutes. A photograph exists of him seated amongst his accoutrements, which included a novelty straight long-bell trumpet. At least one person remembers him blowing this horn, but strangely, according to legend he never played it!
[TJH 8]

By the time of his penultimate recording session on 13th March 1928, Dunn had developed as a jazzman and ironically, had not escaped Armstrong’s influence. This session produced four excellent sides for Columbia. They were issued under the name of “Johnny Dunn and His Band” and the personnel included Garvin Bushell on reeds and Jelly Roll Morton on piano. Two of the tunes, Ham and Eggs and Buffalo Blues were Morton’s, and clearly the charts, which were probably for the most part “head” rather than written arrangements, were primarily his work. Dunn’s contributions, open and with plunger and Derby hat mutes, are arguably his best on record and he plays with great volume, drive and swing.

Dunn moved to Europe on a permanent basis in the early 1930s and remained there for the rest of his life. While he was based primarily in Holland, he also worked elsewhere, including France and Denmark. Surinamese saxophonist Lex van Spall led one of the groups he worked with. This orchestra, “Lex van Spall and his Chocolate Kiddies” appeared in a film short in 1933, during which Dunn comes out front to play a plunger-muted trumpet solo and display some of his dance steps. Unfortunately, by the mid-1930s, overwork, a lung ailment, thought to be tuberculosis and consequent heavy drinking led to a considerable weakening in Johnny Dunn’s health. He continued playing, but his condition deteriorated seriously in the summer of 1937 and he died in Paris on 20th August of that year.
[BG 8]

© January 2008 Brian Goggin


Click to enlarge front of WWI Draft Registration Card                             Click to enlarge back of WWI Draft Registration Card

Antoine Charles Elgar

WWI Draft Registration Card
12th September 1918

Charles Elgar (1879-1973) was for some 60 years a pillar of what has sometimes been called “Chicago’s Black Musical Establishment” as violinist, music teacher, bandleader and musicians’ union executive. Accordingly, he crossed paths with many ragtime and jazz musicians, although his personal taste and teaching inclined to the “classical”.

Antoine Charles Elgar — to give him his full name — was born in New Orleans, the son of Charles Elgar (d. 1922), who in the 1870 census was listed as a policeman, a not unusual occupation for persons of color in Reconstruction days. He had served in the Union army during the civil war and applied for a pension as an invalid in 1874. In any event, although the Elgars were not one of the well-known “old” (i.e. pre-war) families of “Creoles of color” and the name is uncommon in New Orleans, Charles, like many children of the better-off Creole families received some degree of schooling along with formal music instruction. His violin teacher was Frank (or Francois) Kerkel, a French immigrant who was associated with the French Opera orchestra. Young Elgar performed in the Lyre club orchestra, a symphonic ensemble led by T.V. Baquet around 1897-98, and a few years later in a similar group organized by flutist Joseph Blum (or Bloom). Elgar recalled having received some clarinet instruction from Luis Tio and also played one or another of the brass instruments. Like many New Orleans musicians, Elgar also followed on occasion the trade of cigar maker.

About 1899, young Charles went on the road with the Melroy-Chandler minstrels, then for two seasons joined as orchestra director the far more prestigious band of P.G. Lowry traveling with the Forepaugh-Sells circus. Arriving in Chicago at the end of 1902, Elgar went to work briefly as violinist in a trio playing in the notorious bordello of Pony Moore but was persuaded by his wife and his compatriot George Filhe — who had arrived in Chicago a few years earlier — that such work was beneath him. For a few years, Elgar followed the varied path of the jobbing musician in addition to working in a cigar factory alongside Filhe. He returned to New Orleans for a few years, but was firmly established in Chicago by 1910 as performer and teacher. His star violin pupil then was the young Darnell Howard — and a few years later, Eddie South.

In 1915, Elgar played in the orchestra accompanying dancers Mr. and Mrs. Carl Heisen not only appearing with them in vaudeville, but also for over a year at the Stratford Hotel. This probably was the first time an orchestra of African-Americans held down a steady engagement at a Loop venue. Probably in 1916 or 1917, “Elgar’s Creole Orchestra” held forth ca. 1916 at the Fountain Inn on the South Side. Once the craze for jazz hit Chicago in 1916 or 1917 Elgar “tackled” (to use his own term) entrepreneur “Paddy” Harmon, proprietor of the Dreamland ballroom on the West Side to alternate an African-American jazz band with a more staid orchestra of Caucasian musicians. Elgar’s band met with popular approval and bit-by-bit he increased its size. During the slow summer season, the Elgar group moved to the Municipal Pier, which was also managed by Harmon, then back to the Dreamland in the fall. This schedule continued through 1922, at which point Charles (“Doc”) Cooke took over both jobs.

Elgar claimed credit for placing a five piece jazz band of New Orleans musicians in Mike Fritzel’s Arsonia café on West Madison St. The musicians were among the best the Crescent City had to offer: Manuel Perez, cornet; Lorenzo Tio Jr., clarinet; Ed Atkins, trombone; Louis Cottrell, drums, and Frank Ahaynou, piano — to which may have been added bassist Ed Garland. This engagement doesn’t appear to have lasted long, and by 1918, Perez was holding forth with a large orchestra at the Pekin on the South Side.

Meanwhile, Elgar found time in his busy schedule to help organize and participate in two ambitious choral and orchestral extravaganzas given in Orchestra Hall, “A Night with the Negro” (1917) and another in 1919. As a footnote, Orchestra Hall has been for over a century Chicago’s most prestigious venue for classical music and the long-time home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

In the fall of 1922, the Elgar orchestra moved to the Green Mill Gardens as accompaniment to “Plantation Days”, adapted in part from “Shuffle Along.” It then moved to the south side Avenue Theater, went on tour, then returned to Chicago. The chronology now becomes difficult: Elgar moved to Milwaukee for perhaps as long as two years, working at the Wisconsin Roof ballroom and Riverview Park. Remarkably enough perhaps considering that he had been a professional for two decades, he took music courses at Marquette University: harmony, arranging, instrumental techniques and the methodology of music teaching. (Was he competing with Doc Cooke?).

By 1926 Elgar had taken up a residency at the Arcadia ballroom on the north side, another enterprise of Paddy Harmon. After the summer season, the Elgar organization was back at the Arcadia and in September, “Elgar’s Creole Orchestra” recorded four tunes (two with alternate takes) for the Vocalion label. For these he used many of the same musicians he’d been working with for years but not — as many have hoped — Manuel Perez, who had briefly joined Elgar in Milwaukee in September 1927. Finally, in December, the band played for the “inaugural ball” of the Savoy ballroom, remaining there until June, when Carroll Dickerson and his star, Louis Armstrong, took over. A series of one-nighters took Elgar to the end of the year, when he worked briefly at the Sunset. In 1929 and 1930, if not longer, Elgar lived in New York City, joining with his old associate, Charles Matson, in a booking agency, Colored Artists Productions.

Definitively back in Chicago by 1932, Elgar appears not to have attempted to reorganize a dance band, and for the rest of his career accepted occasional conducting engagements in addition to his activities with Local 208, of which he was perennial vice-president. The assumption is that he continued his private teaching as long as he was able. He died in July 1973, at the age of 94.

[Elgar was available to interviewers (Bill Russell, John Steiner, Jean-Christophe Averty) at the end of the 1950s and these sources have been extensively used in the preparation of this essay, along with the digital images of The Chicago Defender. They are, in the main, accurate, with from time to time startling anachronisms, not surprising given that Elgar was 80 years old.[LG 2]

© March 2007 Prof. Lawrence Gushee


Click to enlarge front of WWI Draft Registration Card                             Click to enlarge back of WWI Draft Registration Card

Edward Kennedy Ellington

WWI Draft Registration Card
12th September 1918

Duke Ellington came from a stable background with middle-class aspirations, so researching his birth date and residences has presented researchers with few problems. His draft card was unlikely to supply any new information and essentially it doesn’t. He had married Edna Thompson on 2nd July 1918 and left the family home for 1955 3rd Street, Washington, D.C. at that time. He gives his profession as a messenger at the War Department. He claimed to have held this job to the end of the war. Possibly this was an insurance against actually being drafted, in which case it was effective, though of course the registration is only two months before Armistice Day anyway. He had already embarked on his career as a musician and was listed as a musician in the telephone directory.

As a younger man than Morton, Ellington took what he wanted from Morton’s approach and then kicked the ladder away. Young men tend to do this! As Stanley Crouch has pointed out
(program notes for a concert in the Classical Jazz series, 10th August 1988), “Compositions such as Morton’s Black Bottom Stomp taught Ellington tension and release lessons about thematic variety, changes of rhythm and pulse that at first inspired progressively profound short pieces with fanfares, interludes and so on.” [DER 443]

Morton for his part believed that his inability to get a band together quickly to go to Hollywood gave Duke his big break.
[MJR 227] Most would say that came rather earlier. Down Beat for 1st August 1941 notes the conspicuous absence of Ellington, who was appearing at the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles, from Morton’s funeral. [DB]  [HR 1]

© November 2006 Howard Rye


Click to enlarge front of WWI Draft Registration Card                             Click to enlarge back of WWI Draft Registration Card

Fletcher Hamilton Henderson Jr.

WWI Draft Registration Card
10th September 1918

Fletcher Hamilton Henderson Jr. enlisted as a private in the Georgia Student Army Training Corp (GSATC) and reportedly served as its bandmaster. [HMF 6] His draft card details tally with most jazz literature, but are at odds with the 1900 U.S. Census, which give his name as James Henderson and a birth date of April 1898. Despite being listed as James in the 1910 and 1920 U.S. Censuses, his sister Irma insisted that he was always called “Fletcher”. [HMF 2] To confuse matters further, reedman Garvin Bushell, who first met him in 1920, knew him as “James” or “Jimmy” and adds that when he first heard people referring to Fletcher Henderson, he didn’t know who they were talking about! [JFB 15] Perhaps the most likely scenario is that his family called him “Fletcher” while associates knew him as “James” and he just adopted “Fletcher” in all company by the early 1920s.

Henderson was born in Cuthbert, Georgia to Fletcher Hamilton Henderson (1857-1943) and Ozie Lena Henderson (1865-1937). Henderson Sr. was a highly respected teacher who was the principal of the Howard Normal School (the Randolph Training School from 1919) in Cuthbert. He also held local and state positions in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
[UKS 14-16]

Young Fletcher started piano tuition at age six, learning some organ as well. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Atlanta University, he moved to New York intending to pursue postgraduate studies in 1920, but was redirected into music when he substituted in a riverboat orchestra for a sick roommate. [HMF 3-7] Subsequently working in music regularly, he assumed leadership of his first working orchestra in early 1924. [WWJ 143]  With the addition of Don Redman and Louis Armstrong in 1924, this saw the beginning of one of the great big bands of the 1920s. In simple terms, Armstrong showed them how to “swing”, while Redman’s arrangements allowed the musicians to develop and excel. Henderson was very successful and hired many famous musicians during subsequent years. Despite serious injuries from an automobile accident in 1928 and personnel problems he led the band until 1939, after which he reformed bands intermittently. The orchestra recorded Jelly Roll Morton’s King Porter Stomp several times, along with Milenberg Joys and Mel Stitzel’s The Chant, which is associated with Morton. Henderson also arranged Wolverine Blues for Benny Goodman.

It was only some time after Redman’s departure in 1927 that Henderson himself began regularly creating charts. From 1935 he supplied hundreds of arrangements to Benny Goodman and also to other bandleaders. Henderson’s arrangement of Jelly Roll Morton’s King Porter Stomp provided Goodman with huge success, which sadly was of little benefit to Jelly Roll who was down on his luck at this time. To many critics Henderson was the genuine “King of Swing” rather than Goodman.

Known affectionately as “Smack”, Fletcher Henderson was a tall man, standing approximately 6ft 2in, with a light complexion. Rex Stewart described him as a “pleasant man, gentle and thoughtful. He could be frivolous or serious, according to his mood”. Stewart also notes that he didn’t lose his temper with people who were difficult or aggressive either, even when trumpeter Bobby Stark put a brick through his window while under the influence!
[JMT 21-22]

Guitarist Danny Barker also recalled Henderson’s unflappability. Shortly after Barker arrived in New York in 1930, his uncle, Paul Barbarin, and his friend, Henry “Red” Allen, brought him to the Rhythm Club. As jam sessions and cutting contests were in full swing there, his uncle introduced him to King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton. He noticed Henderson playing pool, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, and completely immune to Jelly Roll’s constant ribbing:

Paul tells King and Jelly, “Here’s my nephew, he just came from New Orleans.”

King Oliver says, “How you doing, Gizzard Mouf?” I laughed, and Jelly says, “How you Home Town?” I said, “Fine,” and from then on he always called me “Home Town.”

Jelly, who was a fine pool and billiard player, had been watching and commenting to Oliver on Fletcher’s pool shots. King could play a fair game also.

Jelly says (and he doesn’t whisper), “That Fletcher plays pool just like he plays piano — assbackwards. Just like a crawfish,” and Oliver laughs and laughs until he starts coughing.

The session goes on and on, and I notice that nothing, the ovations, comments, solos, or anybody or anything, moves Henderson in the least.
[TJRV 13]

In December 1950, Fletcher Henderson was leading his own sextet, which made seven broadcasts under the name “Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra” between 9th and 28th of that month. The broadcasts, which were recorded, were made from Café Society Downtown, New York over the Mutual network. The penultimate broadcast on 21st December contains the pianist’s last recordings; as hours later, his playing career came to an abrupt end. In the early hours of 22nd December, Henderson suffered a stroke, which left him incapacitated and partially paralysed. The stricken bandleader was replaced by Norman Lester for the seventh broadcast on 28th December 1950. [HMF 470-472]

Henderson continued arranging, but subsequent strokes followed, and his last two years were spent in poor health. He died on 29th December 1952 following a heart attack. [BG 2]

© March 2007 Brian Goggin


Click to enlarge front of WWI Draft Registration Card                             Click to enlarge back of WWI Draft Registration Card

George Dewey Jackson

WWI Draft Registration Card
12th September 1918

George Dewey Jackson registered for the draft on 12th September 1918 in his home city of St. Louis. The date of birth of 22nd June 1900 that was noted on his draft card is incorrect because the 1900 U.S. Census lists him on 2nd June that year as George W. Jackson, born June 1899. This is supported by the ages given for him in the 1910 and 1920 U.S. Censuses and by his Social Security Death Index entry, which states that he was born on 22nd June 1899. The 1930 U.S. Census erroneously gives his age as 28. Major jazz reference books give his birthday as 21st June, rather than 22nd, but it is debatable whether this information originated from Jackson himself. However, the draft card and Social Security details were definitely supplied by him, which means that the 22nd June is almost certainly correct. Jackson’s U.S. Census entries list him as “Dewey” in 1910, “George” in 1920 and “Dewey” again in 1930. According to the St. Louis drummer Harry Dial, Jackson preferred “Dewey” and didn’t like the name “George” because many white men addressed black men unknown to them by that name. [AJJ 28-29]

Jackson spent nearly all of his life based around St. Louis. He began playing and receiving musical instruction on the cornet with “The Odd Fellows Band” at the age of about twelve. He progressed to professional work around 1916-1917 and worked with pianist George Reynolds at “The Keystone Café” in 1918. Subsequently, he played with bandleader Charlie Creath on the riverboat “J.S.” in 1919, which began a long association between the two trumpeters. Jackson kept both of those jobs until he led his own group during the early 1920s at “Jazzland”, which was a venue run by the famous ragtime composer Tom Turpin. [TJR 8]

In 1924, Jackson went back to steamboat work again, first under the famous bandleader Fate Marable and then under his own name again, when he led “Dewey Jackson’s Peacock Orchestra” aboard the “S.S. Capitol”. This unit recorded for Vocalion in 1926. Later that year, Jackson went to New York for four months where he worked with “The Missourians” under the leadership of violinist Andy Preer. Subsequently, he worked both on steamers and in the Gateway City, under his own leadership and that of Marable and Creath. He left full time music during World War II to work as a hotel commissionaire. [WWJ 162] Jackson resumed his playing in 1950, initially with brass and string bass player Singleton Palmer and then under pianist Don Ewell, who was a Jelly Roll Morton disciple. He recorded with Palmer’s band in 1950 and appeared with Ewell on the concert album “Live At The Barrel” in 1952. Dewey Jackson led his own band again during the 1950s. In later years, he was involved with the Sanctified Church and during this time, he did not play much jazz. [PF 134] According to his Social Security Death Index entry, Dewey Jackson died in St. Louis in March 1966.

Harry Dial described Dewey Jackson as standing about 5ft 10in, with an Indian-red complexion. Many black people referred to white people as “red”, so Dial may have been using the term “Indian-red” here to make the distinction. He remembered Jackson as a ladies man and rated him as a trumpeter, but regarded him as “vain and egotistical.”
[AJJ 28-29] This side of his character seems to have been toned down in an article titled, “St. Louis Jazzman” from the February 1946 issue of The Jazz Record magazine, where the most egotistical statement Jackson makes is that that he never suffered from lip trouble.

He was indeed known for his stamina. Bassist Pops Foster recalled him as a “rough baby” saying he was fast at fingering and, “whenever a rough new trumpet player would come to St. Louis on a travelling show and wanted to cut the guys, we’d send for Dewey.”
[PF 123] Jackson, whose nickname was “Squirrel”, was also said to be a very loud player. [COG 38] The sides with his Peacock Orchestra in 1926 and with “Charles Creath’s Jazz-O-Maniacs” in 1927 display Jackson’s ability. His attack betrays the influence of King Oliver, Charlie Creath and Louis Armstrong, and the rubber plunger muted solo on She’s Crying For Me from the former session is a fine example of his playing. [BG 10]

© March 2008 Brian Goggin


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Harvey McKinley Lankford

WWI Draft Registration Card
12th September 1918

Harvey McKinley Lankford registered for the WWI draft in his home city of St. Louis, Missouri. His draft card states that he was born on 5th August 1900, but this is definitely incorrect. Lankford was recorded in the 1900 U.S. Census two months earlier than that date, on 1st June, where his month of birth is given as January 1899. This is supported by his Social Security Death Index entry, which states that he was born on 5th January 1899, so this date is almost certainly correct. The ages given for Lankford in his 1910 and 1930 U.S. Census entries do not agree with this or the erroneous date of birth on the draft card, but suggest a birth date somewhere between the two.

Harvey Lankford was born in Kimmswick, Missouri, which is located in Jefferson County, and lies within the St. Louis metropolitan area. His parents were the respected St. Louis music teacher Philip Benjamin “P.B.” Lankford (c.1858-1930) and his wife, Martha DeClue Lankford. P.B. Lankford gave instruction on several instruments and ran the “Odd Fellows’ Band”, which saw a lot of musicians pass through its ranks and gain valuable tuition from him. Many famous St. Louis jazzmen, both black and white, studied under P.B. Lankford, including trumpeters Dewey Jackson, Shirley Clay, Louis Metcalf and Harold “Shorty” Baker; reedmen Gene Sedric and Jerome Don Pasquall; and bassist Singleton Palmer.
[AJJ 10] and [COG 39, 57] Harvey Lankford was taught music from a young age by his father and became a professional trombonist. By 1919 he was leading his first ensemble, “The Oriental Jazz Band” and he subsequently worked for Fate Marable aboard the Streckfus riverboats from 1920 until 1924. During the 1920s, other leaders who he worked for included Dewey Jackson, Ed Allen and Jelly Roll Morton.

The trombonist joined drummer “Floyd Campbell’s Singing Syncopators” in autumn 1929.
[SV21 184] He took over the band in 1930, renaming it to “Harvey Lankford’s Synco High Hatters”, and he successfully led this group for five years. He withdrew from the music scene in 1935, because the local black musician’s union refused to guarantee a minimum salary of at least $30 per member. Lankford resumed his music career the following year and worked in circus and minstrel shows from the late 1930s through to the late 1950s. Two of the more famous troupes that he played with were “P.G. Lowery’s Band and Minstrels” (1940) and the “Barnam & Bailey Circus” (27th May 1946 – November 1948). In 1946, he also played with the “St. Louis Negro Symphony Orchestra”.

After spending most of his life in and around St. Louis, the trombonist relocated to New York in 1956 and retired from full-time music a few years later. After this time, he ran a business with his wife and played at the Metropole Cafe into the early 1960s. Harvey Lankford passed away after a long battle with cancer, at St. Rose’s Home, in southeast Manhattan, on 14th January 1969.
[DDC 2]

Like his father, Harvey Lankford was a major operator in the St. Louis music scene, and left a true impact on jazz in the Gateway City. He is remembered as a pioneer in the early decades of jazz, especially among those in-the-know, and who, in terms of his style of music, was described by dummer and bandleader Elijah “Lige” Shaw (1900-1981) and Vivian Oswals as “a gorgeous musician.” [DDC 2] Also, in conjunction with Dewey Jackson, Charlie Creath and others, he was instrumental in reforming the musicians’ union in the city in the early 1930s. Despite his local reputation, the trombonist only played on three known jazz recording sessions. The first session he appeared on was the March 1924 “Fate Marable’s Society Syncopators” coupling of Frankie and Johnny, on which he is prominent and plays a break, backed by Roy Bargy’s Pianoflage. He later appeared on Compton Ave. Blues with “Bennie Washington’s Six Aces” in November 1925, a slow blues on which he solos. Also, in November 1926, he was a member of “Lovie Austin’s Serenaders” when they accompanied singer and actress Hattie McDaniel (1892-1952) on one coupling.

In addition to his meagre recorded output, the trombonist also appeared on radio broadcasts. The following item from the St. Louis Argus, dated 27th March 1931, mentions Lankford and the St. Louis pianist and bandleader Walter Farrington in connection with one such broadcast:

Musician’s Chatterbox

Marcellus Sherrod and Walter Farrington, WIL Radio Artists, will augment the program of dance music offered by Harvey Lankford and his Synco High Hatters at the People’s Finance Ballroom Saturday Night, April 4. ‘The Royal Beau Brummels’, a popular social club, is sponsoring the affair. [SLA]

Special thanks to Harvey Lankford’s second cousin, David de Clue, who has provided much of the information on his career included above. [BG 20]

© February 2009 Brian Goggin


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Fate C. Marable

WWI Draft Registration Card
5th June 1917

Fate C. Marable was born 2nd December 1890 in Paducah, Kentucky, where he registered for the draft on 5th June 1917. The 1900 U.S. Census supports the birth date on the draft card. His mother, Lizzie, was half Irish according to the 1900 U.S. Census and the 1920 U.S. Census, which also states that she was a music teacher who worked at home. Paducah is located in western Kentucky where the Tennessee River flows into the Ohio River, near the border with Illinois.

Young Fate received piano and sight-reading tuition from his mother. He later studied at Straight University in New Orleans. In 1907, the 16-year-old casually approached one of the Streckfus brothers, while eating a potato pie, to inquire about a vacancy as a pianist. Streckfus employed him immediately and initially he worked in a duo with violinist Emil Flindt. Later, the group expanded, eventually into a full orchestra. Standing 5ft 10˝in tall, Fate Marable had red hair, light skin and could pass for white. Some people even thought he was Streckfus’s son.
[BDS 23]  Like his lineage and appearance, his job placed him somewhere between the black and white cultures. Originally, Fate Marable led a white band, but segregation was enforced on the riverboats during World War I, and from this time onwards he fronted black bands. One duty that Marable did not appreciate was playing the calliope, which was a steam piano situated on the top of the boat. The “calliopist” wore earplugs, along with gloves to avoid burning his fingers on the metal keys, which were stiff and did not always work. Showers of debris including boiler compound, oil and hot ash rained down on the operator. [JOTR 37-41]

The Streckfus riverboats traversed thousands of miles of inland waterways, allowing Marable to scout for musicians in cities like New Orleans, St. Louis, Memphis and Pittsburgh. He had a particular affinity for Crescent City musicians and this was reflected in the personnel of his bands. Trumpeter Bill Coleman recalled that even Jelly Roll Morton worked for Marable briefly in Cincinnati. [JOTR 147]  Henry “Red” Allen also recalled their association and when he left Marable to join Luis Russell in New York, the pianist asked him to pass his good wishes onto Morton. When Allen mentioned Morton’s stint with Marable to him: ‘He gave me a big disbelieving stare and said nonchalantly, “Oh, that Fate Marable! He had this big old band that wasn’t doing anything, so at one time I let him use my name to help him out.”’ [HRA 36]

Fate Marable was a stern taskmaster, who instilled discipline and sight-reading in his musicians. Not everybody bowed to him though and drummer Harry Dial recalled that when he advised New Orleans trumpeter Tommy Ladnier about reading music, Ladnier replied, “Nobody can hear you reading.” [AJJ 20] Fate Marable drank to excess, but he was always sharp at work. He was sarcastic and humiliated musicians who erred in mid tune by laughing audibly or throwing objects on the floor from a collection he kept on the piano specifically for that purpose. When a musician offended too often, he fired him, sometimes delivering the message by placing a fire axe in his bunk! [JOTR 37-41] Despite his cantankerous streak, the bandleader selflessly and actively encouraged many musicians to further their careers by setting them up with better paying jobs with a higher profile than his orchestra could provide. One famous example was when he wrote to Duke Ellington to inform him of his virtuoso bassist Jimmy Blanton.

Illness forced Fate Marable to give up his riverboat job in late 1940 and the respect he had from musicians was evident in a benefit held for him shortly afterwards. He subsequently worked as a single in St. Louis until his death from pneumonia in the Homer G. Phillips Hospital, St. Louis on Thursday, 16th January 1947.
[CD 25147]

On 16th March 1924, “Fate Marable’s Society Syncopators” recorded Frankie And Johnny and Roy Bargy’s Pianoflage for OKeh in New Orleans. This coupling represents the pianist’s complete recorded testament. While the tunes do swing, they are arranged dance band music. This, coupled with the fact that the leader is practically inaudible on both sides, has rendered them something of a disappointment to jazz critics, given Marable’s legendary status. According to an article titled, Story of Fate Marable by Beulah Schacht, plans were afoot to record him in the mid 1940s, but sadly, this did not come to fruition as he died shortly afterwards. Barrel House Rag (courtesy of Luigi Ranalli) was Fate Marable’s only copyrighted composition, dating from 1916. This tune and the sheet music provide the only insight that we have into his solo piano playing. [BG 9]

© February 2008 Brian Goggin


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Hartzell Robert Parham

WWI Draft Registration Card
12th September 1918

Hartzell Parham was born on 25th December 1897, as indicated on his World War I draft card. This birth date is most probably correct, being supported by the 1900 U.S. Census, which recorded him in St. Joseph, Missouri as Hartzell Parn, born December 1897 and the 1910 U.S. Census, which noted him as being 12 years of age on 13th April that year. It is not until he was enumerated as 30-year old Hartzell S. Parham in the 1930 U.S. Census that the age given for him agrees with a birth date of 25th February 1900 given in most reference books. According to jazz literature, and some articles in The Chicago Defender, the “S” stood for “Strathdene”, but his middle name on the draft card is “Robert”, which was his father’s given name. Parham’s obituary in The Chicago Defender, dated 24th April 1943, states that he was born in Winnipeg, Canada and moved to Kansas City, Missouri as a young child. However, this is at variance with all three of the census entries noted above, which give his birthplace as Missouri.

Known by the soubriquet “Tiny” due to his enormous 300+lb frame, the pianist and organist was raised in Kansas City, Missouri. With his mother’s encouragement, he studied music. After his education and some work in other areas, he finally settled on a musical career. Like many of his contemporary musicians at that time, he initially toured theatre circuits in the early 1920s, and was leading his own band by 1925, moving to Chicago shortly afterwards.

During 1926-1927, Parham co-led a band with violinist Leroy Pickett, which recorded a coupling for the Paramount label, for whom he also performed organisational duties. He led his own name band after this, recording nearly forty sides, under the name “Tiny Parham and his Musicians”. All of the tunes were composed and arranged by him, some sounding quite original and some swinging well, while some may even remind the listener of Jelly Roll Morton’s music in a few places. He also played in small groups and accompanied several blues singers on record. Tiny employed some well-known jazz musicians, including Punch Miller and Milt Hinton. As part of his writing work, he made arrangements for the Melrose Brothers, and these included Morton’s Billy Goat Stomp, Boogaboo, Shoe Shiner’s Drag and Wild Man Blues.

Tiny Parham led bands until 1936, after which he focused mainly on playing the organ in cinemas, theatres and for a two-year stint at the Savoy roller skating rink in Chicago. He was a favourite with the skaters at this venue and one long-time local skater recalled this nearly sixty years later, saying, “Tiny was a boogie-woogie organist, and we got used to him”. However, he had to abandon this engagement due to illness and was replaced by Chicago jazz musician Sterling Todd, whose playing was nowhere near as popular at the venue.

Tiny Parham mostly spent his last two years touring. While on a break from playing the organ on 4th April 1943 at the Kilbourn Hotel Lounge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he collapsed, and attempts to save his life by a physician at the scene were unsuccessful. [BG 4]

© June 2007 Brian Goggin


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Paul Whiteman

WWI Draft Registration Card
5th June 1917

Paul Samuel Whiteman (1890-1967), known as the “King of Jazz” and credited as the inventor of symphonic jazz, was the most popular pre-swing orchestra leader. “Whenever Whiteman came into a city with his famous band, the red carpet was rolled out in his honor. Mayors, governors, and even presidents, kings, princes, and other prominent officials welcomed him ceremoniously.” [PW]  Whiteman also was the most maligned musician in the history of jazz. “Paul Whiteman, of the king-size orchestra, held court there. In a couple of years he would crown himself King of Jazz by adding a couple of bored hot men to his elephantine band.” (Alan Lomax)  “With this one concert, Paul Whiteman will become the biggest grave robber in history. Worse. He will steal a living, breathing style from black musicians. And it isn’t out of ignorance. It’s out of a murderous self promotion.” (Jerome Charyn)  “. . . he (Whiteman) had the world’s worst rhythm section, and horrible, screeching strings, playing the most appalling arrangements you could conceive of.” (John Hammond)  “Whiteman never played jazz, not even when his band employed men like Beiderbecke and Teagarden. Beginning in the early 1920s, he has played inferior music which “dates” immediately. He merely added to the confusion of the various decadent, inferior imitations of the Negro music.” (Rudi Blesh)

The virulent criticism is unwarranted. Whiteman did not confer the title of “King of Jazz” upon himself, as commonly stated. In fact, he did not like the sobriquet. The first mention was in 1919, in the Pasadena Evening Post, “. . . the friends of Mr. Whiteman have with much enthusiasm bestowed the title of “king of jazz” upon him.”
[PW] The title, revived in 1923, was in ads for appearances of Whiteman’s orchestra after the legendary February 12, 1924 Aeolian Hall Concert, “An Experiment in Modern American Music”. Moreover, there was slender difference between jazz and dance band music in the parlance of the 1920s, “. . . to the majority of Americans of the time, the arranged music of his and similar bands, playing with a rhythmic bounce, and offering jazz-like solos, was jazz.” [CHT]

In contrast with these vitriolic attacks, Duke Ellington wrote in “Music Is My Mistress”, “Paul Whiteman was known as the King of Jazz, and no one as yet has come near carrying that title with more certainty and dignity.” Whiteman understood and appreciated jazz: The first sentence in his autobiography reads, “Jazz came to America three hundred years ago in chains.” [JAZ]  Many great white jazz musicians, singers, and arrangers — Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Red Nichols, Miff Mole, Jack Teagarden, Bunny Berigan, Steve Brown, Bing Crosby, Mildred Bailey, Bill Challis — were members of his band. William Grant Still, the distinguished black composer and orchestrator, joined Whiteman in 1929-1930 as arranger for the “Old Gold Hour Radio Show”.

According to his draft registration card, Whiteman was a musician in the Neptune Palace in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast in 1917. Earlier, he had been a violist and violonist for several San Francisco symphony orchestras. In 1916 he became fascinated with jazz, and in 1917 he organized his own band to play “arranged jazz”. This was his first foray as leader of a jazz group, and, although this band was short-lived, it foreshadowed his formidable career.

Whiteman was a musician of impeccable taste and high standards, an innovator who had a profound influence in American music. In 1919, his music was billed as “Jazz Classique” at the Alexandria Hotel in Los Angeles.
[PW] Whiteman’s commissioning of George Gershwin to compose “Rhapsody In Blue” represented a milestone in the development of Symphonic Jazz. Composer Darius Milhaud wrote in his autobiography that the perfection of Whiteman’s music was like that of “a well-oiled Rolls Royce.” Musicologist Gunther Schuller described the Whiteman sound “as original and as beautiful as that of Duke Ellington’s orchestra — very different, of course, but no less magical, no less inspired. And let no one forget that the other great jazz orchestra leaders of the late twenties spent a great deal of time learning from the Whiteman “book”, emulating it and marvelling at its instrumental sophistication.” [MMW]   [AH 2]

© February 2007 Prof. Albert Haim



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Rudolph Pickett Blesh

WWI Draft Registration Card
12th September 1918

Rudi (Rudolph Pickett) Blesh was one of a handful of college-educated youths with a literary bent who were bitten by the jazz bug before Swing became king. In fact, he was one of the oldest, born in 1899, along with Robert Goffin, born a year earlier. Possibly this accounts for his predilection for early jazz and ragtime styles. In later years, he recalled having heard the “Original Dixieland Jazz Band” at Reisenweber’s in 1917-18.

His father, Abraham Lincoln Blesh, a physician and surgeon, was born in Pennsylvania and moved with his family to Kansas, finally winding up in the Oklahoma Territory prior to the turn of the century (Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907). From Guthrie where Rudi was born, the Bleshes moved to the explosively growing Oklahoma City by 1910. Rudi was a student at Dartmouth College between 1917 and 1920, but actually graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1924. Various sources are in agreement that after graduation, Blesh earned his living as an interior designer (Bunk Johnson called him a “window dresser”).

In the spring of 1943, Blesh, who was at the time president of the San Francisco Hot Jazz Society, gave a series of lectures under the auspices of the San Francisco Museum of Art. These were the nucleus of the book “Shining Trumpets,” which was published three years later to a mixed reception. Willie “Bunk” Johnson arrived in the city in April in time to be pressed into service as a living illustration of the kind of jazz Blesh believed in. Many commentators found Blesh’s thesis that the only true jazz was that played by Negroes unacceptable. In fact Blesh was not so single-minded in his other projects.

With his move to New York City ca. 1945, he founded Circle Records along with Harriet (Hansi) Janis and Eugene Grossman which envisioned a series of recordings which “would form a complete historical survey of “hot” music from its African origins down to the present day; not omitting the Caribbeans
[sic] and South America.” Some particularly valuable recordings of piano soloists, such as Montana Taylor and Dan Burley, appeared on the label, but surely the best-known issues were the subscription series making publicly available the 1938 Library of Congress recordings by Ferd “Jelly Roll” Morton. The set was transferred to long-playing records under the Circle name, and were transferred to Riverside Records, which purchased Circle.

In early 1947, Blesh organized and was master of ceremonies of a weekly series, “This Is Jazz,” broadcast over the Mutual network every Saturday afternoon, programs which the author of the present lines can recall vividly, if not in detail. These featured some of the most skilled practitioners of traditional jazz then resident in New York City.

In the course of 1949, notices appeared requesting “persons who have information concerning ragtime music, its players and composers” to get in touch with Blesh and Janis. In what seems to us a staggeringly brief time, the book “They All Played Ragtime” appeared in 1950 under the auspices of the prestigious A. A. Knopf (who had also published “Shining Trumpets”). Instead of the special pleading of the earlier work, the ragtime book presented detailed documentation of the life and works of an exceptionally wide variety of ragtime composers, performers, and publishers and is still one of the most frequently cited works on early jazz and ragtime.

Blesh was a painter, as was also Harriet Janis (who operated an important New York gallery in conjunction with her husband, Sidney) and it comes as no surprise that he produced (often with Janis) works on modern painters and sculptors such as Brancusi, Willem de Kooning and Stuart Davis, and the technique of collage. The one work which may surprise is his 1967 book on Buster Keaton.

With this work his impressive record of publication comes to an end, although his expertise was often sought and he contributed a number of prefaces and introductions to collections of piano ragtime. Until about 1974 he also continued to teach at several New York City universities, passing away in 1985.
[LG 1]

© November 2006 Prof. Lawrence Gushee



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Gabriel Heatter

WWI Draft Registration Card
5th June 1917

Gabriel Heatter registered for the draft on 5th June 1917. His draft card states that he was born on 27th September 1890 in New York City, although his Social Security Index Death record and Florida Death Index record both give his birthday as the 17th September. He is recorded in the 1900 U.S. Census as Gabriel Heiter, born September 1891. The 1910 U.S. Census is consistent with the 1890 birth date, while the 1920 U.S. Census entry tallies with Heatter being born in September 1891, and the 1930 U.S. Census enumeration again concurs with the birth date on the draft card. Heatter’s parents were Austrian Jewish immigrants, with his father arriving in the United States in 1882, and his mother a year earlier, in 1881.

From a young age Heatter was interested in writing and speaking, and after his graduation, he went into journalism. He initially wrote for publications such as The Brooklyn Times and the New York Evening Journal and he later entered the world of radio broadcasting. Incidentally, he visited England in 1919 with his wife Sadie and his young daughter Maida, sailing from Liverpool to New York on the “S.S. Caronia” on 22nd February 1919.

As a radio broadcaster and journalist, Gabriel Heatter had a high profile position and was a popular public figure. Regardless of his own mood or condition, Heatter always portrayed a positive attitude when on air and this was very much admired and appreciated by the public, whose morale he helped to boost during the tough times that existed for most people during the great depression and on into World War II.

On Tuesday, 31st October 1939, Jelly Roll Morton appeared as a guest artist on a CBS network radio broadcast, sponsored by “Sanka Coffee”. During the programme “We, The People” Jelly Roll was interviewed by the show host, Gabriel Heatter. He then joined the studio orchestra to perform Tiger Rag.

In 1944, Heatter appeared as himself, uncredited, in the wartime Cary Grant movie “Once Upon a Time”. Heatter was also heard, but not seen, as one of four broadcast journalists portraying themselves in the 1951 movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

Gabriel Heatter died on 30th March 1972 in what was then Dade County (Miami-Dade County from 1997), Florida. [FDI]   [BG 5]

© November 2007 Brian Goggin


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Robert Le Roy Ripley

WWI Draft Registration Card
5th June 1917

Robert Le Roy Ripley’s WWI draft card gives his birth place as Santa Rosa, California, which is correct, and his birth date as 25th February 1892, which is far from certain. The 1900 U.S. Census states that Leroy Ripley was born in December 1890. This is supported by the 1910 U.S. Census, which records him as 19-year-old R. Leroy Ripley on 29th April 1910. However, Robert L. Ripley gave his age as 36 to the 1930 U.S. Census taker and he gave at least ten different birth dates ranging between 1891 and 1896 on his maritime voyages from the 1910s until the 1940s! He seemed to give 25th December 1893 most frequently, but the 1890 birth date seems the most plausible, considering that his job was given as an artist in the 1910 U.S. Census.

As a youngster, Ripley’s biggest interest was baseball and while he was trying to pursue a career in this sport, he worked as a cartoonist at the San Francisco Bulletin and later the San Francisco Chronicle. He moved east to New York in 1912, where he worked for the New York Globe. His baseball ambitions ended in 1913 with an injury, so he continued working as an artist and writer with the newspaper. Ripley originally drew and wrote about sport, and in 1918 he ran a cartoon series entitled “Champs and Chumps” about sports feats and records. This strip was expanded shortly after to feature other material and renamed “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” The rest, as they say, is history. When the “Globe” folded in 1923, the column moved to the New York Evening News. To help gather material, Ripley engaged an assistant researcher, Norbert Pearlroth (1893-1983). Ripley also travelled extensively all over the world and never tired of exploring new places and, of course, discovering and reporting on “the strange, the bizarre, the unexpected”.

From April 1930, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” also appeared on radio for many years and he appeared in a few “Believe It or Not” short films in the early 1930s. On 26th March 1938, Ripley’s radio programme mentioned that W.C. Handy (1873-1958) was the originator of Jazz and Blues. Jelly Roll Morton was a big fan of Ripley’s work but his assertion regarding Handy angered the pianist greatly. Morton wasted no time in composing and sending a three thousand word letter of protest to Robert Le Roy Ripley himself, with copies to The Baltimore Afro-American and Down Beat. The letter was dated 31st March 1938 and received at the radio station the next day.
[JRMRR] This letter is the origin of the famous Morton quote: “It is evidently known, beyond contradiction, that New Orleans is the cradle of jazz, and I, myself, happened to be the creator in the year 1902, many years before the Dixieland Band organized.” The correspondence and coverage that followed the letter appeared in several newspaper and magazine articles, notably Down Beat, and generated much publicity for Morton. [DB 81938]

A similar incident on a far smaller scale occurred between the great pioneer jazz bassists Wellman Braud (1891-1966) and George “Pops” Foster (1892-1969). Braud was said to be the World’s fastest bass player in one of Ripley’s columns. This irked Foster, who was less than generous with his comments regarding most musicians: ‘After Braud got written up in Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” column, he was too big for anybody. Ripley said he could pick faster than any bass player. . . . I know Braud couldn’t pick as fast as I could and I never knew anyone else who could.’ [PF 147] The similarity with the Handy/Morton affair ends there though, as Foster did not escalate it at the time. Also, Braud and Foster lived for practically the same life span, during the same period. The enormous contributions to jazz and jazz bass playing that each made was fairly evenly matched, as was the volume of acclaim that they each received.

In spring 1949, Robert Le Roy Ripley presented the first series of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” on television. The venture was short lived for Ripley though, as he died during the series, after suffering a heart attack in New York City on 27th May 1949. Over half a century after its creator’s demise, interest in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” is showing no signs of diminishing though. There are Ripley’s museums all over the world, books are being published regularly and a film about Ripley with Canadian actor Jim Carrey in the starring role is due to be released in 2010.
[BG 19]

© December 2008 Brian Goggin



Mister Jelly Roll — by Alan Lomax, Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950. Page references are to the University of California Press 4th edition 2001, (Soft Cover) 344 pp.


Mr. Jelly Lord — by Laurie Wright, Storyville Publications, Chigwell, Essex, 1980, 256 pp.


The National Archives — Request and Order Reproductions.


Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943 — by Robert M.W. Dixon, John Godrich and Howard Rye, Oxford University Press, 1987.


Oh, Mister Jelly — A Jelly Roll Morton Scrapbook, compiled by William Russell, Jazz Media ApS, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1999, 720 pp.


They All Played Ragtime — by Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, (Hardcover) 1950, 338 pp.


Prof. Lawrence Gushee — A Preliminary Chronology of the Early Career of Ferd “Jelly Roll” Morton, American Music, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1985.


Prof. Lawrence Gushee — A Preliminary Chronology of the Early Career of Ferd “Jelly Roll” Morton, Storyville magazine, Issue No. 127, 1st October 1986.


A Century of Musicals in Black and White — An Encyclopedia of Musical Stage Works By, About, or Involving African Americans by Bernard L. Peterson, Jr., Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 1993, 560 pp.


Reflections and Research on Ragtime — by Edward A. Berlin, Institute for Studies in American Music, Monograph Number 24, published by I.S.A.M., Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY, 1987, 100 pp.


Conversations With James P. Johnson — by Tom Davin, The Jazz Review, June 1959, pp. 14-17; July 1959, pp. 10-13; August 1959, pp. 13-15; September 1959 pp. 26-27; and March-April 1960, pp. 11-13.


Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920s — by Daphne Duval Harrison, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ., June 1990, pp 314.


Clarence Williams — by Tom Lord, Storyville Publications, Chigwell, Essex, 1976, pp 626.


James P. Johnson rollography — by Michael Montgomery, pp. 25-30 in Vol. 1 of “James P. Johnson: Father of The Stride Piano” by Frank H. Trolle, published by Micrography, the Netherlands, 1981.


The Jazz Record — No. 27, December 1944, article titled, “Mama don’t ‘low no music” by Cow Cow Davenport, pp. 6-9


The Jazz Record — No. 41, February 1946, article titled, “St. Louis Jazzman” by Ed Crowther and A.F. Niemoeller, page 8.


The Jazz Record — No. 51, January 1947, article titled “Bud Scott — Rhythm Man” by Cy Shain, pages 13-14.


Jazz Journal — Jazz As I Remember It, by Johnny St. Cyr. Serialised in the Jazz Journal magazine, Part One: Early Days, dated September 1966, Vol. 19, No. 9, pages 6-8 and 10; Part Two: Storyville Days, dated October 1966, Vol. 19, No. 10, pages 22-24; Part Three: The Riverboats, dated November 1966, Vol. 19, No. 11, pages, 6-7 and 9; and Part Four: Chicago Days, dated January 1967, Vol. 20, No. 1, pages 14-16.


The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz — Second edition, edited by Barry Kernfeld, Macmillan Publishers Limited, London; Grove Dictionaries Inc., New York, NY, 2002, Volume 3: Nightclubs-Zwingenberger, 1159 + xv pp.


The Life and Legend of Leadbelly — by Charles K. Wolfe and Kip Lornell, Da Capo Press edition, 1999, 332 pp. Song quoted at page 84. © Huddie Ledbetter, John and Alan Lomax.


Classic Jazz — A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians, by Floyd Levin, forward by Benny Carter, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, University of California Press Ltd., London, 2000, 337 + xxi pp.


Doctor Jazz Magazine — Mortonia and More: 3. Bobby Williams, by Karl Gert zur Heide, Doctor Jazz Magazine, September 2005, No. 190, pages 6-11.


Jazz Information — Little Mitch: A Biography of George Mitchell by Wesley M. Neff, Jazz Information magazine, dated November 1941, Vol. 2, No. 16, pages 32-36.


Jazz Journal — Ragtime, by S. Brunson Campbell, Jazz Journal magazine, dated April 1949, Vol. 2, No. 4.


Jazz Journal — Henry James ‘Hank’ Duncan, by Johnny Simmen, Jazz Journal magazine, dated June 1969, Vol. 22, No. 6, pages 4-5.


Jazz Journal — The Spikes Brothers — A Los Angeles Saga, by Floyd Levin, Jazz Journal magazine, dated December 1951, Vol. 4, No. 12, pages 12-14.


Jazz Report — The Ragtime Kid (An Autobiography), by S. Brunson Campbell, Jazz Report 6, 1968, page 11.


Hank Duncan 1896-1968 — by Frank Owen, Storyville magazine, Issue No. 25, October—November 1968, pages 3-5.


The Wildest One — The Life of Wild Bill Davison, by Hal Willard, Avondale Press, Monkton, Maryland, USA, 1996, 438 + xv pp.


Jazz on the Barbary Coast — by Tom Stoddard, Storyville Publications, Chigwell, Essex, 1982, 192pp.


Storyville 2000-1 — Edited and published by Laurie Wright, Chigwell, Essex, 2001, 262 pp.


Reb Spikes — Music Maker — by Ray MacNic, Storyville magazine, Issue No. 21, February 1969, pp 100-103.


“Mighty Tight Woman” — The Thomas family and classic blues, by Ronald P. Harwood, Storyville magazine, Issue No. 17, June—July 1968, pp 17-23.


Blues Who’s Who — A Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers, by Sheldon Harris, Da Capo Press, New York, 1989.


Down Beat — George Hoefer in Down Beat, 25th January 1956.


Esquire’s Jazz Book: 1946 — Chapter titled: Chicago Jazz History, by Paul Eduard Miller and George Hoefer, A.S. Barnes, New York, 1946, 201 pp.


Jazz on Record — A Critical Guide to the First Fifty Years: 1917-1967, by Albert McCarthy, Alun Morgan, Paul Oliver and Max Harrison, Hanover Books, London 1968.


Conversation With The Blues — by Paul Oliver, Cassell, London, 1965.


The Billings Rollography — by Bob and Ginny Billings, Volume #3: QRS Pianists, 1917-1934, page 194 and Volume #5: QRS Pianists, 1934-1994, pp. 10 and 232.


Bargy Family Scrapbook — Bargy family scrapbook, c. 1885-1940.


Rag Times — The Roy Bargy Story, by Bruce and Tom Arneson, September 1972, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 8-11.


That American Rag — The Story of Ragtime from Coast to Coast, by David A. Jasen and Gene Jones, Schirmer Books, New York, NY, 2000, 433 pp.


Rags and Ragtime — A Musical History, by David A. Jasen and Trebor Jay Tichenor, Dover Publications, New York, 1978.


Ragtime: Its History, Composers, and Music — by John Edward Hasse, Schirmer Books, New York, 1985.


The Art of Ragtime — Form and Meaning of an Original Black American Art, by William J. Schafer and Johannes Riedel, Louisiana State University Press, 1973.


Popular American Recording Pioneers — by Tim Gracyk, Haworth Press, Binghamton, New York, 2000.


Playing Ad Lib — Improvisatory Music in Australia: 1836-1970, by John Whiteoak. Currency Press Ltd., New South Wales, Australia, 1999.


Southeastern Economist — dated 26th September 1940, Vol. 5, No. 3, page 1, Chicago, Illinois. Courtesy of Robert Perry and Mike Meddings.


U.S. Censuses, 1900-1930 — HeritageQuest, Online.


That Toddlin’ Town — Chicago’s White Dance Bands, 1900-1950, by Charles A. Sengstock, Jr., University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, Illinois, 2004.


The New York Times — dated 23rd September 1940.


The New York Times — dated 21st October 1943, page 27.


The New York Times — “Nick’s, the Dixieland Den, Closes”, The New York Times, 10th August 1963, page 9, columns 1-3.


A Talent for Genius: The Life and Times of Oscar Levant — by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, Villard Books, New York, 1994, 512 pp.


At the Jazz Band Ball — Yazoo DVD # 514.


Chicago Rhythm — Al Turk 1924-26, The Complete Recordings: Charley Straight 1923-26: Gene Grene 1912-13, Jazz Oracle CD BDW 8010, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, 1998. Liner notes by Mark Berresford.


Piano Roll Artistry of Charley Straight — Smithsonian Folkways Records: FWRBF44.


This is Ragtime — by Terry Waldo, Hawthorn Books, Inc., New York, New York, 1976, 244 pp.


The American Dance Band Discography, 1917-1942 — by Brian Rust, Arlington House, New Rochelle, New York, 1975.


Bix, Man and Legend — by Richard M. Sudhalter and Philip R. Evans, Arlington House, New Rochelle, New York, 1974.


The Duke Ellington Reader — Edited by Mark Tucker, Oxford University Press, 1993, (Soft Cover) 560 pp.


Jazz: A History of the New York Scene — by Samuel B. Charters & Leonard Kunstadt, Da Capo Press Inc., New York, 1962. 1981 edition with updated forward, 382 + viii pp.


Who’s Who of Jazz — by John Chilton, Macmillan, London, 1989, 375 pp.


All This Jazz About Jazz — The Autobiography of Harry Dial, Storyville Publications, Chigwell, Essex, 1984, 174 pp.


Hendersonia — The Music of Fletcher Henderson and his Musicians, a Bio-discography, by Walter C. Allen, Highland Park, New Jersey, 1973, 651 pp.


The Uncrowned King of Swing — Fletcher Henderson and Big Band Jazz, by Jeffrey Magee, Oxford University Press, 2005, 322 pp.


Jelly Roll Morton in New York — by Danny Barker, The Jazz Review magazine, dated May 1959, Vol. 2, No. 4, pages 12—14.


A Life In Jazz — by Danny Barker, Edited by Alyn Shipton, 1986, Oxford University Press, paperback edition, New York, 1988, 223 + viii pp.


Jazz Masters of the 30s — by Rex Stewart, Da Capo Press, 1972, 224 pp.


Father of the Blues — An Autobiography, by W.C. Handy, edited by Arna Bontemps, Da Capo Press, New York, reprint of the 1941 edition, 317 pp.


Canoe Errant on the Mississippi — by Major R. Raven-Hart, Methuen Ltd, London, 1938.


Pops Foster — The Autobiography of a New Orleans Jazzman, as told to Tom Stoddard, Introduction by Bertram Turetzky, Interchapters by Ross Russell, Discography by Brian Rust, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1971, First Paperback Edition, 1973, 208 + xxii pp.


Jazz On The River — by William Howland Kennedy, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2005, 229 + xii pp.


City Of Gabriels — The History of Jazz in St. Louis, 1895-1973, by Dennis Owsley, forward by Clark Terry, Reedy Press, St. Louis, 2006, 200 + vii pp.


Ride Red Ride — The Life of Henry ‘Red’ Allen, by John Chilton, Cassell, London, 1999, 216 + viii pp.


Oh, Didn’t He Ramble — The Life Story of Lee Collins as told to Mary Collins, edited by Frank J. Gillis and John W. Miner, Bayou Press, Oxford, 1989.


Jazz Records 1897-1942 — by Brian Rust, Storyville Publications & Co. Ltd., Chigwell, Essex, 1982.


Walter C. Allen & Brian A. L. Rust’s “King” Oliver, Revised by Laurie Wright — Storyville Publications & Co. Ltd., Chigwell, Essex, 1987, 438 + xvii pp.


Jazz From The Beginning — by Garvin Bushell, as told to Mark Tucker, Bayou Press, Oxford, 1988.


Giants Of Jazz — Fats Waller, booklet accompanying Time-Life Records 3-LP box set B00158OIXG, by David Thomson with notes on the music by the editors of Time-Life Records, Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1980, 56pp.


Good Morning Blues — The Autobiography of Count Basie, by Count Basie, as told to Albert Murray, Grafton Books, A Division of the Collins Publishing Group, London & Glasgow, 1985, Paladin books 1987 edition, 493 pp.


Music on My Mind — The Memoirs of an American Pianist, by Willie The Lion Smith with George Hoefer, Doubleday, New York, 1964, 310 pp.


Richard M. Jones — Forgotten Man of Jazz, by Christopher Hillman and Roy Middleton with Hennie van Veelo, Cygnet Productions, Tavistock UK, 1997.


The Baby Dodds Story — by Baby Dodds, as told to Larry Gara, Revised Edition, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London, 1992, 105 + xxi pp.


A Jazz Nursery — The Story of the Jenkins’ Orphanage Bands of Charleston, South Carolina, by John Chilton, Bloomsbury Bookshop, London, 1980, 60 pp.


Telling It Like It Is — by Joe Darensbourg, edited by Peter Vacher, Macmillan, England, 1987, 231 + viii pp.


New Orleans Style — by Bill Russell, compiled and edited by Barry Martyn & Mike Hazeldine, Jazzology Press, New Orleans, 1994, (Soft Cover), 224 pp.


Chicago’s Midway Airport — The First Seventy-Five Years, by Christopher Lynch, Lake Claremont Press, 2002, 199 pp.


Black Beauty, White Heat — A Pictorial History of Classic Jazz 1920-1950, by Frank Driggs and Harris Lewine, Foreward by John Hammond, Introduction by Paul Bacon, 1982, Da Capo Press Edition, New York, 1995, 1996, 360 pp.


Paul Whiteman — Pioneer in American Music, Volume I: 1890-1930, by Don Rayno, The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2003, 840 pp.


The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Music — Edited by Nicholas Cook and Anthony Pople, Cambridge University Press, 2004, 836 pp.


Jazz — by Paul Whiteman and Mary Margaret McBride, J. H. Sears & Company, 1926.


Musings: The Musical Worlds of Gunther Schuller — A Collection of His Writings, by Gunther Schuller, Da Capo Press, 1999, 303 pp.


I Remember Jazz — by Al Rose, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1987, 257 pp.


New Orleans Jazz: A Family Album — by Al Rose and Edmond Souchon, Louisiana State University Press, 1967, 304 pp., at page 300; Second edition, Revised and Enlarged, 1978, 322 pp., at page 300, and Third edition, Revised and Enlarged, 1984, 362 + xi pp., at page 343.


Jazzmen — The Story of Hot Jazz Told in the Lives of the Men Who Created It, by Frederic Ramsey Jr. and Charles Edward Smith, Harcourt Brace and Company, New York, 1939, 360 pp.


American Music — The Enigma of Jimmy Yancey’s Early Years: Notes Toward a Biography, by Jane M. Bowers, Volume 24, Number 2, University of Illinois Press, 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, Illinois, Summer 2006.


The ASCAP Biographical Dictionary of Composers, Authors, and Publishers — Edited by Daniel I. McNamara, Second Edition, Thomas T. Crowell Company; Vail-Ballou Press, Inc., Binghamton, New York, 1952.


Destination Chicago Jazz — by Sandor Demlinger and John Steiner, Arcadia, an Imprint of Tempus Publishing Inc., 2003, 168 pp.


Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band — by Lawrence Gushee, Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, 2005, (Hard Cover) 400 pp.


Chicago Sun-Times — Late Sports Final Edition, article titled, “Jimmy Davis’ skating tradition still on a roll”, by Dave Hoekstra, 28th June 1996, page 6.


The Bee — Danville, Va., obituary notice in the “Deaths Last Night” section, dated Friday, 26th July 1946, page 10, column 5. Courtesy of Brian Goggin.


Clarinet Marmalade: The Life and Music of Tony Parenti — by Derek Coller, Jazzology Press, 2003, 176 pp.


The Diemer Family of Springfield, Missouri — by Howard Rye, Names & Numbers 43, October 2007, pp 2-5.


Sidney Bechet — The Wizard of Jazz, by John Chilton, Da Capo Press, New York, 1987, 1996 ed, 331 + xv pp.


American Musicians II — Seventy-two Portraits in Jazz, by Whitney Balliett, Oxford Paperbacks, New York, 1986, 2nd ed. 1996, Oxford Paperbacks edition 1998, 520 + viii pp.


Treat It Gentle — An Autobiography, by Sidney Bechet, Twayne Publishers Inc. and Cassell & Company, Ltd., 1960, Introduction by Rudi Blesh, 1978. Da Capo Press, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, 2002 ed, 245 + xiv pp.


Really The Blues — by Mezz Mezzrow, with Bernard Wolfe, Flamingo, An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, London, 1946, A Flamingo Modern Classic 1993, 404 + viii pp.


Herb Flemming — A Jazz Pioneer Around The World, by Enio Biagioni, MICROGRAPHY, Holland, Germany, 1977, 90pp.


John G. Heinz — The “World’s Greatest Manipulator” (Recollections of Sam Davis), Storyville magazine, Issue No. 149, 1st March 1992, pp 180-84.


M. W. Stoll — ‘Discology’, Playback Magazine, Vol. II, No. 9, September 1949, page 18.


The Jazz Handbook — by Barry McRae, Longman House, Harlow, Essex, 1987, 272 pp.


“Jazz Casual” TV Series — Presented and produced by Ralph J. Gleason (1917-1975); Jimmy Rushing episode, originally released 26th October, 1962.


Coroner’s Certificate of Death, State of Illinois — State File No. 74154, Death Certificate of Charles Creath Jr. Courtesy of Brian Goggin.


Coroner’s Certificate of Death, State of Illinois — State File No. 614924, Death Certificate of George W. Mitchell. Courtesy of Brian Goggin.


California Death Records — The California Department of Health Services Office of Health Information and Research, vital Statistics Section. Courtesy of Brian Goggin.


Florida Death Index — Florida Death Index, 1877-1998. Courtesy of Brian Goggin.


Kentucky Death Records — Volume 23, Certificate 11380. Courtesy of Brian Goggin.


The Kentucky Post — Friday, 16th April 1937, page 16, column 4. Courtesy of Prof. Alan Wallace.


St. Louis Argos — Friday, 27th March 1931. Courtesy of David de Clue.


Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy — Gennett Studios and the Birth of Recorded Jazz, by Rick Kennedy, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 1994. Page references are to the 1999 edition, (Soft Cover) 233 + xx pp + 17 pp of photographs.

BB 1

Bob Berkman — Letter and Leland Stanford Roberts essay to Mike Meddings, 29th January 2007.

EB 1

Dr. Edward A. Berlin — Letter and Arthur Marshall essay to Mike Meddings, 9th November 2006.

EB 2

Dr. Edward A. Berlin — Letter and Joseph Francis Lamb essay to Mike Meddings, 15th January 2007.


Milton Berlin — Letter and information to Brian Goggin, 26th June 2008.


David de Clue — Letter and copy of Missouri Division of Health, Standard Certificate of Death, State File No. 38084 for Horace Eubanks to Mike Meddings, 12th May 2007.


David de Clue — Letter and information for Harvey McKinley Lankford to Mike Meddings, 10th December 2007.

DC 1

Derek Coller — Letters and Charles Edward Davenport essay to Mike Meddings, 28th November and 6th December 2006.

DC 2

Derek Coller — Letter and Anthony Parenti essay to Mike Meddings, 27th July 2007.

AC 1

Anton Crouch — Letter and Richard Jones essay to Mike Meddings, 15th February 2007.

JF 1

John Farrell — Letter and Jean Lawrence Cook essay to Mike Meddings, 4th March 2002, as an “Afterword” for the ABC Television Show : You Asked For It.

JF 2

John Farrell — Letters and Max Kortlander essay to Mike Meddings, 1st and 27th November 2006.

JF 3

John Farrell — Letter and information from Bill Burkhardt to John Farrell, via Mike Meddings, 4th December 2006.

MG 1

Millie Gaddini — Letter and Zack Williams essay to Mike Meddings, 31st October 2007.

BG 1

Brian Goggin — Letters and Charles C. Creath essay to Mike Meddings, 10th February 2007 and 13th September 2008.

BG 2

Brian Goggin — Letters and Fletcher Hamilton Henderson Jr. essay to Mike Meddings, 11th March 2007 and 17th April 2009.

BG 3

Brian Goggin — Letters and Charles Lee Cooke essay to Mike Meddings, 23rd May 2007 and 17th July 2008.

BG 4

Brian Goggin — Letter and Hartzell Robert Parham essay to Mike Meddings, 18th June 2007.

BG 5

Brian Goggin — Letter and Gabriel Heatter essay to Mike Meddings, 4th November 2007.

BG 6

Brian Goggin — Letter and James Andrew Rushing essay to Mike Meddings, 16th November 2007.

BG 7

Brian Goggin — Letters and Walter S. Farrington essay to Mike Meddings, 12th December 2007, 13th January 2008 and 29th July 2009.

BG 8

Brian Goggin — Letter and John Henry Dunn essay to Mike Meddings, 21st January 2008.

BG 9

Brian Goggin — Letter and Fate C. Marable essay to Mike Meddings, 27th February 2008.

BG 10

Brian Goggin — Letter and George Dewey Jackson essay to Mike Meddings, 3rd March 2008.

BG 11

Brian Goggin — Letter and Lee Perry essay to Mike Meddings, 28th March 2008.

BG 12

Brian Goggin — Letter and Anatie Dominique essay to Mike Meddings, 12th April 2008.

BG 13

Brian Goggin — Letter and Thomas James Ladnier essay to Mike Meddings, 6th September 2008.

BG 14

Brian Goggin — Letter and John Dodds essay to Mike Meddings, 2nd and 8th October 2008.

BG 15

Brian Goggin — Letter and John Alexander St. Cyr essay to Mike Meddings, 13th November 2008.

BG 16

Brian Goggin — Letter and Arthur Scott essay to Mike Meddings, 16th November 2008.

BG 17

Brian Goggin — Letter and Benjamin F. Spikes essay to Mike Meddings, 1st December 2008.

BG 18

Brian Goggin — Letter and John Curry Spikes essay to Mike Meddings, 3rd December 2008.

BG 19

Brian Goggin — Letter and Robert Le Roy Ripley essay to Mike Meddings, 16th December 2008.

BG 20

Brian Goggin — Letter and Harvey McKinley Lankford essay to Mike Meddings, 12th February 2009.

BG 21

Brian Goggin — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 27th February 2009.

BG 22

Brian Goggin — Letter and Henry J. Duncan essay to Mike Meddings, 22nd April 2009.

BG 23

Brian Goggin — Letters and George William Mitchell essay to Mike Meddings, 5th May and 8th June 2009.

BG 24

Brian Goggin — Letters and Ezra C. A. Wickemeyer essay to Mike Meddings, 24th July and 2nd September 2009.

BG 25

Brian Goggin — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 1st September 2009.

LG 1

Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and Rudolph Pickett Blesh essay to Mike Meddings, 26th November 2006.

LG 2

Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and Antoine Charles Elgar essay to Mike Meddings, 11th March 2007.

BH 1

Bill Haesler — Letter and Warren Dodds essay to Mike Meddings, 16th February 2007.

AH 1

Prof. Albert Haim — Letters and Charles Theodore Straight essay to Mike Meddings, 2nd and 7th December 2006.

AH 2

Prof. Albert Haim — Letters and Paul Whiteman essay to Mike Meddings, 15th and 20th February 2007.

AH 3

Prof. Albert Haim — Letters and Benjamin Anzelevitz essay to Mike Meddings, 28th May 2007 and 5th October 2008.


Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 20th February 2009.

PH 1

Peter Hanley — Letter and Ferd Joseph Morton essay to Mike Meddings, 9th November 2005.

PH 2

Peter Hanley — Letter and Louis August La Mar essay to Mike Meddings, 6th October 2006.

PH 3

Peter Hanley — Letters and Louis Armstrong essay to Mike Meddings, 21st October 2006 and 7th November 2007.

PH 4

Peter Hanley — Letter and George Reynolds essay to Mike Meddings, 28th November 2006.

PH 5

Peter Hanley — Letter and Sam Davis essay to Mike Meddings, 10th January 2007.

PH 6

Peter Hanley — Letter and James Hubert Blake essay to Mike Meddings, 14th January 2007.

PH 7

Peter Hanley — Letter and Lester Melrose essay to Mike Meddings, 25th January 2007.

PH 8

Peter Hanley — Letter and Martin Blumenthal essay to Mike Meddings, 7th February 2007.

PH 9

Peter Hanley — Letter and Willie Johnson essay to Mike Meddings, 8th February 2007.

PH 10

Peter Hanley — Letter and William Henry Smith essay to Mike Meddings, 14th February 2007.

PH 11

Peter Hanley — Letter and John Francis Ford essay to Mike Meddings, 14th February 2007.

PH 12

Peter Hanley — Letter and Ignace Colas essay to Mike Meddings, 14th February 2007.

PH 13

Peter Hanley — Letter and Frank Duson Jr. essay to Mike Meddings, 22nd February 2007.

PH 14

Peter Hanley — Letter and Joseph Nathan Oliver essay to Mike Meddings, 1st March 2007.

PH 15

Peter Hanley — Letter and Harrison G. Smith essay to Mike Meddings, 12th March 2007.

PH 16

Peter Hanley — Letter and Charles Lucky Roberts essay to Mike Meddings, 24th May 2007.

PH 17

Peter Hanley — Letter and Dink Johnson essay to Mike Meddings, 31st May 2007.

PH 18

Peter Hanley — Letter and William Manuel Johnson essay to Mike Meddings, 7th June 2007.

PH 19

Peter Hanley — Letter and Henry Oswald Monette essay to Mike Meddings, 19th June 2007.

PH 20

Peter Hanley — Letter and Nelusco J. Adams essay to Mike Meddings, 27th June 2007.

PH 21

Peter Hanley — Letter and Auguste Reynolds Monette essay to Mike Meddings, 27th June 2007.

PH 22

Peter Hanley — Letter and Neville Joseph Monette essay to Mike Meddings, 1st July 2007.

PH 23

Peter Hanley — Letter and Emile Domer essay to Mike Meddings, 24th October 2007.

PH 24

Peter Hanley — Letter and Arthur Frank Guichard essay to Mike Meddings, 24th October 2007.

PH 25

Peter Hanley — Letter and Edward Joseph Lamothe Jr. essay to Mike Meddings, 24th October 2007.

PH 26

Peter Hanley — Letter and Isidore Joseph Lamothe essay to Mike Meddings, 24th October 2007.

PH 27

Peter Hanley — Letter and Arthur Joseph Monette essay to Mike Meddings, 24th October 2007.

PH 28

Peter Hanley — Letter and Seymour J. Monette essay to Mike Meddings, 24th October 2007.

PH 29

Peter Hanley — Letter and John Henry Pratts essay to Mike Meddings, 1st November 2007.

PH 30

Peter Hanley — Letter and Ben French essay to Mike Meddings, 6th March 2008.

PH 31

Peter Hanley — Letter and Harry Edward Dunn essay to Mike Meddings, 20th March 2008.

PH 32

Peter Hanley — Letter and Robert Hampton essay to Mike Meddings, 22nd March 2008.

PH 33

Peter Hanley — Letter and William Benbow essay to Mike Meddings, 16th April 2008.

PH 34

Peter Hanley — Letter and Tony Junius Jackson essay to Mike Meddings, 10th November 2008.

PH 35

Peter Hanley — Letter and Joseph Crawford essay to Mike Meddings, 27th January 2009.

PH 36

Peter Hanley — Letter and Sanford Brunson Campbell essay to Mike Meddings, 13th February 2009.

PH 37

Peter Hanley — Letter and George Eugene Peyton essay to Mike Meddings, 27th February 2009.

RK 1

Rick Kennedy — Letter and information to Brian Goggin, 13th July 2009.

RK 2

Rick Kennedy — Letter and information to Brian Goggin, 14th July 2009.

MM 1

Mike MeddingsBenson Foraker Moore essay, 24th October 2007.


Robert Perry — Letter and “Southeastern Economist” newspaper article from Robert Perry to Prof. Albert Haim, via Mike Meddings, 29th November 2006.


Robert Perry — Letters and information to Mike Meddings, 5th and 7th April 2010.

RP 1

Dr. Robert Pinsker — Letter and Roy F. Bargy essay to Mike Meddings, 15th November 2006.

RP 2

Dr. Robert Pinsker — Letters and James P. Johnson essay to Mike Meddings, 16th and 23rd January 2008.

RR 1

Roger Richard — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 23rd March 2003.

WR 1

William Rowland — Letter and Percy Wenrich essay to Mike Meddings, 20th January 2007.

HR 1

Howard Rye — Letter and Edward Kennedy Ellington essay to Mike Meddings, 21st November 2006.

HR 2

Howard Rye — Letter and Emile J. Christian essay to Mike Meddings, 14th March 2007.

HR 3

Howard Rye — Letters and Horace Eubanks essay to Mike Meddings, 14th March and 17th May 2007.

HR 4

Howard Rye — Letter and Hurley William Diemer essay to Mike Meddings, 24th November 2007.

HS 1

Hal Smith — Letter and Bennie B. Borders essay to Mike Meddings, 18th February 2007.

HS 2

Hal Smith — Letter and Paul Adolph Barbarin essay to Mike Meddings, 10th May 2007.

HS 3

Hal Smith — Letter and Andrew Henry Hilaire essay to Mike Meddings, 21st March 2008.

HS 4

Hal Smith — Letter and Jasper Taylor essay to Mike Meddings, 4th September 2008.

HS 5

Hal Smith — Letter and Minor Hall essay to Mike Meddings, 10th October 2008.

BT 1

Butch Thompson — Letters and James Edward Yancey essay to Mike Meddings, 22nd and 26th February 2007.

TT 1

Ted Tjaden — Letter and George Linus Cobb essay to Mike Meddings, 17th November 2006.


Paige van Vorst — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 14th May 2009.


Alex Adan (USA)
Shane Bell (USA)
Bob Berkman (USA)
Dr. Edward A. Berlin (USA)
Bob and Ginny Billings (USA)
Jane M. Bowers (USA)
Bill Burkhardt (USA)
John Chilton (UK)
David de Clue (USA)
Derek Coller (UK)
Anton Crouch (Australia)
Pat Lamb Conn (USA)
John Farrell (UK)
Sue Fischer (USA)
Millie Gaddini (USA)
Brian Goggin (Eire)
Prof. Lawrence Gushee (USA)

Bill Haesler (Australia)
Guy Hall (USA)
Prof. Albert Haim (USA)
Peter Hanley (Australia)
Bruce Harris (USA)
Mel Helmich (USA)
Ryan Hilton (USA)
Rick Kennedy
Annie Kuebler (USA)
Bo Lindström (Sweden)
James J. McSweeney (USA)
Mike Meddings (UK)
Aaron Mountain (USA)
Erik Nordskog (USA)
Mike Nordskog (USA)
Robert Perry (New Zealand)
Dr. Robert Pinsker (USA)

Roger Richard (France)
Luigi Ranalli (Italy)
William Rowland (USA)
Howard Rye (UK)
Kristin Sartore (USA)
Hal Smith (USA)
Henry Smith (USA)
Jordan Smith (USA)
Butch Thompson (USA)
Ted Tjaden (Canada)
Dan Vernhettes (France)
Paige van Vorst (USA)
Prof. Alan Wallace (USA)
Jonathan Widran (USA)
Laurie Wright (UK)

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