New York Evening Post - July 21, 1946
During the first months of their existence, the Ramblers were led by banjoist Ray Kitchingham and their personnel changed constantly. By April 1922, it already included some outstanding musicians, above all, multiinstrumentalist Adrian Rollini, who was the core and nucleus of the band for several years.
Recently, Bix Beiderbecke specialist Albert Haim discovered an ad in the Jan 8, 1922 edition of the New York Times for their performance in the New Amsterdam Theatre and published it on Facebook.
December 17, 1921 – Billboard
“It was Al Roth and The California Ramblers who were the outstanding hit of the Eva Shirley act, and rightfully so. Young Roth is an exceptional talented eccentric stepper, and the California Ramblers as fine a musical combination as one would want to listen to”
The Sheik Of Araby never sounded so crowded.
Here's the track list (piano solos unless otherwise indicated):
1. Yesterday (John Lennon – Paul McCartney) 4:15
2. Where Are You? (Harold Adamson – Jimmy McHugh) 5:00
3. Sweetie Dear (Joe Jordan) 4:20
4. Snowy Morning Blues (James P. Johnson) 5:14
5. When Sunny Gets Blue (Jack Segal – Marvin Fisher) 4:46
6. Blue Room (Richard Rodgers – Lorenz Hart ) 3:37
7. It Takes a Little More to Score (Mike Lipskin) 2:29.
8. Lover (Richard Rodgers – Lorenz Hart) 3:36
9. Isn't It a Lovely Day (Irving Berlin) 3:37
10. Keep Smoking That Cigar (Mike Lipskin) 3:20
11. Willow Weep for Me (Ann Ronell) 3:07
with Ruby Braff, cornet; George Barnes, Wayne Wright, guitars:
12. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (Ted Koehler – Billy Moll) 2:50
13. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight (Johnson – Creamer) 4:17
14. S’Wonderful (George and Ira Gershwin ) 3:39
From the concert summary at Wolfgang's Vault:
"After chatting for a while, Smith opens this Hampton Jazz Festival performance with his infectious theme song, "Relaxin'". Next up is the autobiographical vocal number "Music on My Mind", which also happens to be the title of his memoirs published in 1964. The Lion then leaps into the tongue-twisting swing-era vocal number, "Nagasaki", and closes out his set with a medley of instrumentals, beginning with James P. Johnson's "Charleston" and continuing with Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'", Luckey Roberts' "Moonlight Cocktail", Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll" and "Sophisticated Lady", and culminating with his own show-stopping number, "Finger Buster"."
The event met with success and this is the proof (thanks to Maspeth on www.findagrave.com):
* Spike Hughes And His Negro Orchestra – 1933: The Complete Set (Retrieval RTR79005)
* Allan Vaché & Antti Sarpila – Swing Is Here (Nagel-Heyer CD-026)
* Dick Hyman - Plays Duke Ellington (Reference Recordings RR-50CD)
* Scott Robinson - Plays C-Melody Saxophone: Melody From The Sky (Arbors ARCD 19212)
* Olivier Lancelot - Lancelot Et Ses Chevaliers (DJAZ DJ 715-2)
* Jon-Erik Kellso - Blue Roof: A Love Letter To New Orleans (Arbors ARCD 19346)
* Stephanie Trick - Hear That Rhythm! (self-produced)
* Wild Bill Davison - Lady Of The Evening (Jazzology JCD-143)
* The Gene Harris/Scott Hamilton Quintet – At Last (Concord CCD-4434)
Youtube offers us the opportunity to watch the complete show, which included "Carolina Shout", "Morning Air", "St. Louis Blues", "Dardanella", "Nagasaki" and "Relaxin'".
The Lion obviously enjoys being in the spotlight, facing the audience, smoking his cigar, mopping his brow, talking, joking, vocalizing and improvising over these classical jazz piano chesnuts.
As always, thanks a lot, Mr. Albertson!
Buddy Petit's Jazz Band. Covington, Louisiana. 1920
From left to right: unknown, Eddie "Face-O" Woods (drums), George Washington (trombone), Buddy Petit (cornet), Buddy Manaday (banjo), Edmond Hall (clarinet) and Chester Zardis (bass).
Anyone cares to identify the man on the left? Could it be Pill Coycault, Sadie Goodson or "Chinee" Foster, all of whom were part of Petit's band in those years?
Arthur Gibbs' Orchestra: Savoy Ballroom, NY (June 1927 to January 1928) and Arcadia Ballroom, NY (February 1928 to June 1928)
From left to right, back row: Sam Hodges (drums), George Washington (trombone), Leonard Davis (trumpet), Billy Taylor (tuba). Front row: Edgar Sampson (alto sax), Happy Caldwell (tenor sax), Gene Michael (alto sax), Arthur Gibbs (piano) and Paul Bernet (banjo).
Baltimore AfroAmerican, September 20, 1947
Milwaukee Sentinel, October 10, 1952
Norwalk Hour, November 1, 1957
Here's how Ellington's specialist Eddie Lambert describes this session in his wonderful book Duke Ellington: A Listener's Guide (Scarecrow Press, 1999): "This session was the first of two for the Gennett label, each of which produced two titles. With Miley absent again, the band was that of the preceeding session, augmented by trombonist Jimmy Harrison, and by Prince Robinson and George Thomas, both doubling clarinet and tenor sax. Thus say the discographers, but aurally the band sounds smaller, and it seems probable that Harrison and Thomas were used solely as vocalists. "'Wanna Go Back Again' Blues" (with a vocal by Thomas) includes the first instance on record of imaginative scoring by Ellington, albeit briefly and in a novelty mold. After the band introduction, Hardwick's playing of the theme on baritone is skillfuly offset by two clarinets and the trumpets. This is a considerable contrast to the conventional saxes-against-brass scoring in the eight-bar verse and in the bridge of Irvis's chorus. "If You Can't Hold The Man You Love" (vocal by Jimmy Harrison) has a passage for plunger-muted trumpets which is a distant precursor of what Ellington called his "pep section" in later years. The style, however, looks back to the King Oliver manner and is reminiscent of Oliver's two-cornet breaks with Louis Armstrong on the Creole Jazz Band recordings of three years earlier. Irvis has a terse eight bars but otherwise the performance is dull, despite an attempt to ginger up the last chorus by having Robinson play a piping clarinet improvisation against a written ensemble. This foreshadows a device used regularly and successfully in later years, but in this instance it fails to counteract the prevailing medriocrity".
It should be noted that Lasker's recent statement agrees with Luciano Massagli's and Giovanni M. Volonté's The New Desor (Milano, 1999) (thanks to David Palmquist and Ken Steiner for pointing this out to me) and with the current on-line edition of Tom Lord's discography.
This book has 120 pages and includes extensive photographs from the Frank Driggs and Duncan Schiedt collections, Chicago Defender advert art and several historic Noone documents. A long overdue tribute!