Harlan Leonard & His Rockets - Bluebird 10883 (1940)

Growing up in Kansas City, clarinetist Harlan Leonard cut his teeth in the local bands of George E. Lee and Bennie Moten.

Although he recorded many tracks as a sideman, over 80 with Moten, his own group only waxed a handful on four occasions...all in 1940.

The web says that he fired a teenaged Charlie Parker after a 5 month stint in his band for lack of discipline.

Harlan leonard cl, as, bar, dir / Edward Johnson, Williams H. Smith t / James Ross t, v / Fred Beckett, Richmond Henderson tb / Darwin Jones as / Henry Bridges cl, ts / Jimmy Keith ts / William Smith p / Effergee Ware (Side B) Stan Morgan (Side A) g / Winston Williams (Side B), Bill Hadnott (Side A) sb / Jesse Price d / Jesse Stone, Tad Dameron a.

Recorded in Chicago on January 11 (Side B) & July 15 (Side A), 1940.


Blind Lemon Jefferson - Paramount 12739 (1929)

From Wikipedia…

It was largely due to the popularity of artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and contemporaries such as Blind Blake and Ma Rainey that Paramount became the leading recording company for the blues in the 1920s.

Jefferson's earnings reputedly enabled him to buy a car and employ chauffeurs (although there is debate over the reliability of this as well); he was given a Ford car "worth over $700" by Mayo Williams, Paramount's connection with the black community. This was a frequently seen compensation for recording rights in that market. Jefferson is known to have done an unusual amount of traveling for the time in the American South, which is reflected in the difficulty of pigeonholing his music into one regional category. It was Jefferson's “old-fashioned sound and confident musicianship that made him easy to market. His skillful guitar playing and impressive vocal ranges opened the door for a new generation of male solo blues performers such as Furry Lewis, Charlie Patton, and Barbecue Bob. He sticks to no musical conventions, varying his riffs and rhythm and singing complex and expressive lyrics in a manner exceptional at the time for a "simple country blues singer." According to North Carolina musician Walter Davis, Jefferson played on the streets in Johnson City, Tennessee, during the early 1920s at which time Davis and fellow entertainer Clarence Greene learned the art of blues guitar.

Jefferson was reputedly unhappy with his royalties (although Williams said that Jefferson had a bank account containing as much as $1500). In 1927, when Williams moved to OKeh Records, he took Jefferson with him, and OKeh quickly recorded and released Jefferson's "Matchbox Blues" backed with "Black Snake Moan," which was to be his only OKeh recording, probably because of contractual obligations with Paramount. Jefferson's two songs released on Okeh have considerably better sound quality than on his Paramount records at the time. When he had returned to Paramount a few months later, "Matchbox Blues" had already become such a hit that Paramount re-recorded and released two new versions, under producer Arthur Laibly.

In 1927, Jefferson recorded another of his now classic songs, the haunting "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" (once again using the pseudonym Deacon L. J. Bates) along with two other uncharacteristically spiritual songs, "He Arose from the Dead" and "Where Shall I Be." Of the three, "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" became such a big hit that it was re-recorded and re-released in 1928.




Recorded in January 1929.


Louisiana Sugar Babes - Victor 21348 (1928)

Can't believe that I don't have any Fats Waller represented on the blog until now. Seems like sacrilege.

Jabbo Smith c / Garvin Bushell cl, as, bsn / James P. Johnson p / Thomas Fats Waller or.

Recorded in the Church Studio in Camden, NJ on March 27, 1928.


Madame 'Ma' Rainey Acc. By Lovie Austin & Her Blues Serenaders - Paramount 12083 (1923)

Here are 2 sides from Ma Rainey's second recording session.

From Wikipedia…

Thomas J. "Tommy" Ladnier (May 28, 1900 – June 4, 1939) was an American jazz trumpeter. Clarinetist/writer Mezz Mezzrow rated him second only to Louis Armstrong.

Ladnier moved to New Orleans in his youth. He was influenced by early New Orleans trumpet/cornet players Bunk Johnson and Joe "King" Oliver. About 1919 he moved to Chicago, where he started making records in 1924. In 1926 he moved to New York City to join the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. Two years later Ladnier toured Europe with Sam Wooding's band, then returned to the States to rejoin Fletcher Henderson, and then played in Noble Sissle's Orchestra, with whom he again toured Europe. In the 1930s Ladnier co-led a band with Sidney Bechet called The New Orleans Feetwarmers, with whom Ladnier made some of his best recordings.

Tommy Ladnier died of a heart attack in New York City at the age of 39.

Jimmy O'Bryant (c. 1896, Arkansas or KentuckyJune 24, 1928, Chicago) was an American jazz clarinetist, often compared to Johnny Dodds.

O'Bryant played with the Tennessee Ten in 1920-21, then in a group with Jelly Roll Morton and W.C. Handy in 1923. In 1924 he played with King Oliver. From 1923 to 1926 he recorded extensively with Lovie Austin's Blues Serenaders, and also did sessions with his own Washboard Band. He died in 1928 at the peak of his career.

Gertrude Rainey v / Tommy Ladnier c / Jimmy O'Bryant cl / Lovie Austin p.

Recorded in Chicago on December 12, 1923.


Ink Spots - Decca 3258 (1940)

I'm posting this track because, over the weekend, my sister asked if I knew the song in the new Dow train commercial. I hadn't seen it until she mentioned how she liked it.

This one's for you, Sis.


Joe Venuti - Eddie Lang & Their All Star Orchestra - Brunswick 80078 (Originally Vocalion 15864 / 58) (1931)

Another fine lineup led by Giuseppe Venuti & Salvatore Massaro.

Charlie Teagarden t / Jack Teagarden tb, v / Benny Goodman cl / Joe Venuti vn / Frank Signorelli p / Eddie Lang g / Ward Lay sb / Neil Marshall d.

Recorded in New York on October 22, 1931.


Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra - Brunswick 80024 (Originally Vocalion 1184) (1928)

Here are Jimmie Noone's first recordings as a leader...yeah...wish I had the original.

Jimmie Noone cl / Joe Paxton as / Earl Hines p / Buddy Scott bj / Johnny Wells d.

Recorded in Chicago on May 16, 1928.


Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra - Victor 25334 (1936)

Fletcher Henderson p, a, dir / Dick Vance, Joe Thomas, Roy Eldridge t / Fernando Arbello, Ed Cuffee tb / Buster Bailey as, ss / Jerome Pasquall cl, as / Elmer Williams, Chu Berry ts / Horace Henderson p / Bob Lessey g / John Kirby sb / Sidney Catlett d / Teddy Lewis v / Spud Murphy a.

Recorded in Chicago on May 23, 1936.


Earl Fuller's Famous Jazz Band - Victor 18321 (1917)

Keeping with the Ted Lewis theme...I do believe that this is Lewis' first recording. These were waxed less than 4 months after the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded what is regarded as the very first jazz record.

According to Victor ledgers, these recordings were originally listed as a Victor "trial" (audition). Ledgers also list the band name as "Earl Fuller's Famous Jass Band" and note, "featuring Ted Lewis, clarinet."


An excerpt from Victor's September 1917 supplement states, "A terrific wail from the trombone starts 'Slippery Hank' (F.H. Losey) on his glide, and the rest of the Jazz Band noises are in kind. And if you think these are all the noises available for a Jazz Band, turn the record over and listen to 'Yah-De-Dah' (Mel. B. Kaufman). The sounds as of a dog in his dying anguish are from Ted Lewis' clarinet. Notice the two little chords at the end of each number. This is how you know for certain that a Jazz Band is playing."

Earl Fuller p, dir / Walter Kahn c / Harry Raderman tb / Ted Lewis cl / John Lucas d.

Recorded in New York on June 4, 1917.


Ted Lewis & His Band - Columbia 1709 (1928)

From Wikipeida…

Don Murray (June 7, 1904 - June 2, 1929) was an early jazz clarinet and saxophone player.

Don Murray was born in Joliet, Illinois, and attended high school in Chicago. In his teens he made a name for himself as one of the best young jazz clarinetists and saxophonists in the city. In 1923 he recorded with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings; according to Rhythm Kings leader Paul Mares, Murray was not a regular member of the band, but was a friend who sometimes sat in with them. Murray also made early recordings with Muggsy Spanier. He then joined the Detroit, Michigan based band of Jean Goldkette, with whom he remained until 1927. It was here that he mentored the young Jimmy Dorsey.

After a brief stint with Adrian Rollini's band Murray was hired by Ted Lewis. Ted Lewis said that Murray was the greatest clarinetist he ever had in his band—high praise indeed since Jimmy Dorsey and Benny Goodman had also been in Lewis's band. Murray can be heard in the Ted Lewis film Is Everybody Happy? (1929), which is considered a "lost film," although Vitaphone disks are available.

Don Murray died in 1929 at a Los Angeles hospital after injuries sustained in a freak automobile accident. Apparently, he was standing on the running board of a moving roadster and fell; he struck the back of his head on the pavement and was then hospitalized with serious head injury.

Donald L. Murray is buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, IL. He was 25 at the time of his death.


Walter Kahn, Dave Klein c / George Brunies, Harry Raderman tb / Ted Lewis cl, as, ldr, v / Don Murray cl, as, ts, bar / Sol Klein vn / Frank Ross p / Tony Gerhardi bj, g / Harry Barth bb / Jack Lucas d.

Recorded in New York on December 12th & 13th, 1928.


Midge Williams & Her Jazz Jesters - Vocalion 3900 (1937)

Midge Williams performed on many radio shows in the '30s including Ben Bernie's, Rudy Vallée's, Al Jolson's and, a few years before her death at 36 years old, Jack Webb's.

Apparently she only recorded as leader between 1936 & 1938.

Also there are at least 5 sides that she recorded in Japan but in notes that I've read, have yet to be found.

Charlie Shavers t / Buster Bailey cl / Pete Brown as / Billy Kyle p / James McLin g / John Kirby sb / O'Neil Spencer d.

Recorded in New York on November 23, 1937.


Erskine Hawkins & His Orchestra - Coral 60313 (1950)

After many years with RCA, Hawkins' contract was not renewed in mid 1950 and he quickly signed with Decca subsidiary Coral Records.

Here is half of his output from his first recording session with the relatively new label.

Erskine Hawkins, Idrees Sulieman, Bobby Johnson, Sam Lowe t / Bob Range, Matthew Gee, Andy Penn tb / Bobby Smith, Jimmy Mitchell as / Julian Dash, Robert green ts / Haywood Henry bar / Ace Harris p, v / Leroy Kirkland g / Lee Stanfield b / Sonny Payne d.

Recorded in New York on September 11, 1950.


Sousa's Band - Victor 20132 (1926)

Went digging for another patriotic tune for Memorial Day and found this one. 

Recorded 86 years ago (Camden, New Jersey in the ‘Church Building’) this very Memorial Day (May 28, 1926). Take #18.

Instrumentation: 2 flutes, oboe, bassoon, 10 clarinets, 2 saxophones, 4 French horns, 8 cornets, 4 trombones, 2 baritone horns, 3 tubas, and 3 traps

Golden Gate Orchestra / Don Parker's Western Melody Boys - Pathé 020886 (1922)

Golden Gate Orchestra (Caifornia Ramblers)

Frank Cush, Bill Moore t / Lloyd 'Ole' Olsen tb / Jimmy Duff cl, as / Freddy Cusick ts / Adrian Rollini bsx / Arthur Hand vn / Sometimes augmented by Ed Sutton, Joe LaFaro, Sid Harris / Irving Brodsky p / Ray Kitchingman bj / Fred Henry d.

Recorded in New York on November 29, 1922.



Don Parker's Western Melody Boys

Don Parker ss, as / Vic d'Ippoloto t / George Crozier tb / as or ts / p, sometimes 2 / bj / bb / ?Tony Sbarbaro (Spargo) d.

Recorded in New York on November 7, 1922.

"Dear Mom" From Boot Camp - Presto Home Recording (1950s ?)

Here is an unmarked home recording of what I am guessing is an enlisted private, who had just left Los Angeles, telling his mom about his first few weeks in boot camp. There is no mention of names except the drill sergeant's and no mention of the date that this was recorded...although I am guessing that it's probably after WWII because of the mention of "helicopter school."

What comes across first and foremost in this audio letter is how young this person sounds...and to think of all the other young men writing home in the same situation.

I have no way of telling who this person was or what his future entailed.

But for all those that we do know the outcome...here is to their honor on this Memorial Day.

Billie Holiday - Okeh 5377 (1939)

Lady Day...'nuff said. Oh yeah...and Prez.

Harry Edison, Buck Clayton t / Earl Warren, Jack Washington as / Lester Young ts / Joe Sullivan p / Freddy Green g / Walter Page sb / Jo Jones d.

Recorded in New York on December 13, 1939.


Tommy Dorsey & His Clambake Seven - Victor 25899 (1938)

Pee Wee Erwin t / Tommy Dorsey tb / Johnny Mince cl / Skeets Herfurt ts / Howard Smith p / Carmen Mastren g / Gene Traxler b / Graham Stevenson d / Edythe Wright v.

Recorded in Los Angeles on July 9, 1938.


Same personnel as above except Moe Purtill replaces Stevenson on drums.

Recorded in Los Angeles on July 15, 1938.