Donald Lambert transcriptions

Paul Marcorelles has just published a book with transcriptions of 15 original piano solos by Donald Lambert. It is available from Blue Black Jack, both on paper and as a pdf file.

It includes the four sides recorded in 1941 for Bluebird ("Anitra's Dance", "Pilgrim's Chorus", "Elegie" and "Sextette") and some other classic performances, such as his arrangements of "Tea For Two" or "Russian Lullaby".

Paul Marcorelles had previously published four books with transcriptions of Fats Waller (two books), Willie The Lion Smith and James P. Johnson piano solos, to be found here, here, here and here.


James P. Johnson in the U.S. Census, 1930

In 1930, James P. Johnson (36 at the time) was living in Queens on 108th Avenue (house number 17108), with his wife Lillie Mae (39) and their son James P. Jr. (4) and daughter Arceola (1). As declared, his home was owned, with a value of $ 9,000.

Fifteenth Census of the United States: 1930

Population Schedule

State: New York

Incorporated Place: New York City

County: Queens

Township or Other Division of County: Jamaica

Enumeration District Number: 41-1161

Supervisor's District Number: 34

Sheet: 11 A

Enumerated on April 21, 1930


Satchmo and ebay craziness...

Do you have some spare money to share? Check this ebay auction, prepare some 1,350 dollars and enjoy this poster from a 1957 gig of the Louis Armstrong All Stars with Billy Kyle, Trummy Young, Edmond Hall... at the Pershing Municipal Auditorium. The closest experience to having been there... really?


Bunk Johnson on Buddy Bolden's band

"Now here is the list about that Jazz Playing. King Bolden and myself were the first men that began playing Jazz in the city of dear old New Orleans and his band had the whole of New Orleans Real Crazy and Running Wild behind it. Now that was all you could hear in New Orleans, that King Bolden's Band, and I was with him and that was between 1895 and 1896 and they did not have any dixie land Jazz Band in those days. Now here are the Bands that were in their prime in them days: Adam Olivier Band, John Robichaux, old Golden Rule, Bob Russell Band. Now that was all. And here is the thing that make King Bolden Band be the First Band that played Jazz. It was because it did not Read at all. I could fake like 500 myself; so you tell them that Bunk and King Bolden's Band was the first ones that started Jazz in the City or any place else. And now you are able to go now ahead with your Book."

Preface to Jazzmen (1939), edited by Frederic Ramsey Jr. and Charles Edward Smith, from a letter to the editors by Bunk Johnson


"Aquí está la lista de esa música de jazz. King Bolden y yo fuimos los primeros que empezamos a tocar jazz en la vieja y querida ciudad de Nueva Orleans y su banda volvía loca y salvaje de verdad a toda Nueva Orleans. Esa banda de King Bolden es todo lo que se podía oír en Nueva Orleans y yo estuve con él entre 1895 y 1896 y no había ninguna banda de dixie land en aquellos días. Éstas son las bandas que estaban en la cumbre: la banda de Adam Olivier, John Robichaux, la Golden Rule y la banda de Bob Russell. Eso es todo. Y aquí está la causa por la que la de King Bolden fue la primera banda que tocó jazz: porque no éramos capaces en absoluto de leer. Yo podía improvisar unas 500; así que díganles que Bunk y la banda de King Bolden fueron los primeros que empezaron con el jazz en la Ciudad o en cualquier otro sitio. Y ahora ya pueden seguir con el libro."

Prólogo a Jazzmen (1939), editado por Frederic Ramsey Jr. y Charles Edward Smith, de una carta enviada por Bunk Johnson a los editores.


"Hitler hates jazz... and that suits us fine" - Duke Ellington at the Hotel Sherman, 1942

From July 17, 1942 to August 13, 1942, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra held a residency at the Hotel Sherman (Panther Room and Bamboo Room). From the Panther Room, the orchestra was broadcast every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday over NBC Blue (WNER) or NBC Red (WMAQ) in the 11 or 11:15 p.m. time slot. Many of these programs are circulating among collectors, and a few tracks have been issued on LP (Jazz Archives JA 15 & Black Jack LP-3004) and CD (Natasha Imports 4016 & Archives of Jazz 3801152).

This curious ad for that engagement, reading "HITLER HATES JAZZ... and that suits us fine", was published in Music & Rhythm (August 1942).


Joe Turner from INA's vaults [&4] - James P. Johnson tribute

And finally, to end this series of Joe Turner gems to be found at INA's website, here's his daring and virtuoso tribute to the great James P. Johnson, broadcast on February 28, 1969:

After the 8-bar introduction, Joe Turner plays a very uptempo rendition of the A strain from James P. Johnson's "Fascination" (check the more relaxed version by the composer from his June 14, 1939 Columbia session). Then he turns to the first strain of "Keep Off the Grass", inserts the last strain of "Over The Bars" ("Steeplechase Rag"), and finally gets back to "Keep Off The Grass" again.

Thanks to Bernard Creton for his help identifying the different sections of this medley.


Joe Turner from INA's vaults [3]

The third installment of this "Joe Turner from INA's vaults" series brings two videos from the 1958 Cannes Jazz Festival, held at the Palais des Festivals:

-Besides Joe Turner, the first one presents Albert Nicholas on clarinet, Arvell Shaw on bass and J.C. Heard on drums, playing a vivid version of "Rouse Rouge".

-On the second video, regrettably not complete, Joe Turner plays James P. Johnson's "Harlem Strut" at an amazingly fast tempo, accompanied by J.C. Heard and Arvell Shaw (both are not seen on screen, and the second one is barely audible).

Two Joe Turner tracks from this 1958 Cannes Jazz Festival have been released on CD a few weeks ago, as part of Jazz sur la Croisette: Cannes 1958 (INA IMV 082): "Blues En Si Bemol" (with Albert Nicholas) and "Viper's Drag".

According to most reliable sources from RTF, in the mamooth jam session that took place in the last day of the festival, six pianists (Yvonne Blanc, Claude Bolling, Tete Montoliu, Sammy Price, Henri Renaud & Joe Turner) played "Boogie Woogie Blues" on three four-handed pianos. This performance was also recorded by RTF and the tape was not destroyed, so there's still hope that this footage may see the light of day sometime.