Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra - Commodore 526 (1939)

From wikipedia…

Barney Josephson, the founder of Cafe Society in Greenwich Village, New York's first integrated nightclub, heard the song and introduced it to Billie Holiday. Other reports say that Robert Gordon, who was directing Billie Holiday's show at Cafe Society, heard the song at Madison Square Garden and introduced it to her. Holiday first performed the song at Cafe Society in 1939. She said that singing it made her fearful of retaliation but, because its imagery reminded her of her father, she continued to sing the piece making it a regular part of her live performances. Because of the poignancy of the song, Josephson drew up some rules: Holiday would close with it; the waiters would stop all service in advance; the room would be in darkness except for a spotlight on Holiday's face; and there would be no encore.

Holiday approached her recording label, Columbia, about the song, but the company feared reaction by record retailers in the South, as well as negative reaction from affiliates of its co-owned radio network, CBS. Even John Hammond, Holiday's producer, refused so she turned to friend Milt Gabler, whose Commodore label produced alternative jazz. Holiday sang "Strange Fruit" for him a cappella, and moved him to tears.

Columbia allowed Holiday a one-session release from her contract in order to record it and Frankie Newton's eight-piece Cafe Society Band was used for the session. Because he was worried that the song was too short, Gabler asked pianist Sonny White to improvise an introduction so that Holiday only starts singing after 70 seconds. Gabler worked out a special arrangement with Vocalion Records to record and distribute the song.

She recorded two major sessions at Commodore, one in 1939 and one in 1944. The song was highly regarded and the 1939 record sold a million copies, in time becoming Holiday's biggest-selling record.

Frankie Newton t / Tab Smith ss, as / Kenneth Hollon, Stanley Payne ts / Sonny White p / Jimmy McGlin g / John Williams sb / Eddie Dougherty d / Billie Holiday v.

Recorded in New York on April 20, 1939.

Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc / Bob Crosby & His Orchestra - Decca 25117 (1938)

From wikipedia…

"Big Noise from Winnetka" is a jazz composition co-written by composer and bass player Bob Haggart, and first recorded in 1938, featuring Haggart and drummer Ray Bauduc, both members of a sub-group of the Bob Crosby Orchestra called "The Bobcats". The recording is remarkable for its unusual duet feature: Haggart whistles the melody and plays the bass, while only Bauduc accompanies him on the drums. Halfway through the solo, Bauduc starts drumming on the strings of the double bass, while Haggart continues to play with his left hand, creating a percussive bass solo. The original version was just bass and drums but many other arrangements have been performed including one by the Bob Crosby big band with the band's vocal group.

After the success of the initial recording, Haggart and Bauduc performed this song frequently for the rest of their careers, including in several films, most notably in 1941's Let's Make Music and 1943's Reveille with Beverly. The original recording was featured on the soundtrack of Raging Bull. Nick Nolte and Debra Winger danced to a version credited to Bob Crosby and the Bobcats in the 1982 film Cannery Row.

The song was a spontaneous composition, created at the Blackhawk in Chicago in 1938. When some of the band were late getting back from a break, Haggart and Bauduc started free improvising while they waited and "Big Noise" was the result. It was a joint composition, later formalized by arranger Haggart. Later, lyrics were written.

Bob Haggart sb, whistling / Ray Bauduc d.

Recorded in Chicago on October 14, 19380

Bob Crosby dir / Zeke Zarchy, Sterling Bose, Billy Butterfield t / Ward Silloway, Warren Smith tb / Irving Fazola cl / Matty Matlock cl, as, a / Joe Kearns as / Eddie Miller cl, ts / Gil Rodin ts / Bob Zurke p / Nappy Lamare g / Bob Haggart sb / Ray Bauduc d.

Recorded in Chicago on October 19, 1938.

Gladys Hampton's Quartet - Hamp-Tone 105 (1946)

Here we have Lionel's wife, Gladys (in name only?), fronting a quartet.

Excerpted from wikipedia…

Herbie Fields gravitated toward an R&B conception in the fifties, and was disgruntled about his lack of success.

Vibist Terry Gibbs noted: “We played opposite a nine-piece band led by Herbie Fields at Birdland. He was a good tenor player but not in the bebop style. He was more of a "honker" and played what they called rhythm and blues. He did that very well but he wasn't a Birdland-style attraction.”

Pianist Bill Evans recalled: “In some ways he had been a forerunner of rock & roll. He was wiggling, jerking. Rock n' roll came, brought millions of dollars, but nothing for Herbie Fields.”

Fields died following an overdose of sleeping pills in Miami on September 17, 1958.

Herbie Fields cl / Charlie Harris sb / William Mackel g / Dodo Marmarosa p.

Jack McVea & His All Stars - Black & White 751 (1940s)

From wikipedia…

Jack McVea (November 5, 1914 – December 27, 2000[1]) was an American swing, blues, and rhythm and blues woodwind player; he played clarinet and tenor and baritone saxophone. His father was the noted banjoist Satchel McVea, and banjo was Jack McVea's first instrument.

Born John Vivian McVea in Los Angeles, California, and playing jazz in Los Angeles for several years, he joined Lionel Hampton's orchestra in 1940. From 1944 on he mostly worked as a leader. Perhaps his most impressive performance as a sideman in those years was at the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in 1944. From 1966 till his retirement in the 1980s he led a group which played traditional jazz at Disneyland, called "The Royal Street Bachelors" in New Orleans Square. The good looking "bachelors" as they thought, created their bands name after performing for the first time on Royal Street. The trio consists of the following men- Jack McVea, Herb Gordy and Harold Grant.

McVea was leader of the Black & White Records studio band and was responsible for coming up with the musical riff for the words "Open the Door, Richard". Ralph Bass got him to record it in 1946 and it became immensely popular, entering the national charts the following year, and was recorded by many other artists.

He is also known for his playing on T-Bone Walker's "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)." McVea also played on 1945's "Slim's Jam" by Slim Gaillard alongside Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

Auld-Hawkins-Webster Saxtet - Apollo 754 (1944)

From the Coleman Hawkins 1944 Classics CD liner notes:

"...Less familiar but equally thrilling, the "Saxtet" session pairs Hawk with Georgie Auld and Ben Webster for some hot blowing. On Pick-Up Boys, a simple yet effective riff, Charlie Shavers first launches an unusually gruff Ben Webster, then Georgie Auld and Hawkins, into some sizzling solo work."

From wikipedia…

Israel Crosby (January 19, 1919 – August 11, 1962) was an African-American jazz double-bassist born in Chicago, Illinois, best known as member of the Ahmad Jamal trio from 1957 to 1962. A close contemporary of Jimmy Blanton, Crosby is less considered as a pioneer, but his interactive playing in Jamal's trio and that of George Shearing shows how easily and fluently he displayed a modern approach to jazz double bass. He is credited with taking the first recorded bass solo on his 1935 recording of 'Blues for Israel' with drummer Gene Krupa (Prestige PR 7644) when he was only 16. He died of a heart attack two months after joining the Shearing Quintet.

Charlie Shavers t / Georgie Auld as, ts / Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins ts / Bill Rowland p / Hy White g / Israel Crosby sb / Specs Powell d.

Recorded in New York on May 17, 1944.

Red Nichols & His Orchestra - Bluebird 10360 (1939)

Red Nichols t, dir / Don Stevens, J. Douglas Wood t / Martin Croy, Robert Genhart tb / Harry Yolonsky, Ray Schultz cl, as / Bobby Jones, Billy Sheperd cl, ts / Billy Maxted p / Tony Colucci g / Jack Fay sb / Victor Engle d.

Recorded in New York on June 21 & 26, 1939.

Jay McShann's Sextet - Premier 29010 (1945)

Major Evans t / Eddie Gregory as / Cleophus Curtis ts / Jay McShann p / Raymond Taylor sb / Al Wichard d / Charles 'Crown Prince' Waterford v (Garfield Avenue Blues) / Unknown v (Jimmy Witherspoon or Waterford? (Hootie Boogie).

Recorded in Los Angeles in 1945.

The Spirits Of Rhythm - Black & White 23 (1945)

From wikipedia…

Teddy Bunn (1909 - July 20, 1978) was a top-rated American blues and jazz guitarist in the 1930s.

Theodore Bunn was born in Freeport, New York in 1909. Twenty years later in 1929 he began recording with Duke Ellington as a guest performer. From 1929 to 1931, he played with The Washboard Serenaders. He recorded with the Spirits of Rhythm from 1932 to 1937 and again from 1939 to 1941.

Bunn recorded with such musicians as Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone, J.C. Higginbotham and Lionel Hampton. After he recorded four solo numbers for Blue Note, his popularity apparently declined.

By the 1970s Bunn played electric guitar almost exclusively in R&B bands. He died on July 20, 1978 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Ulysses Livingston (January 29, 1912, Bristol, Tennessee - October 7, 1988, Los Angeles) was an American jazz guitarist and bass guitarist.

Livingston's career in music began in the band of Horace Henderson as a roadie (or, as Henderson called them, "valet"). Prior to this he had played in the band of the West Virginia State College. After his period with Henderson he played in carnival bands on traveling road shows. In the middle of the 1930s he began to get jazz gigs with Lil Armstrong, Frankie Newton, Sammy Price, Coleman Hawkins, and Benny Carter.

After moving to New York City, he accompanied Ella Fitzgerald on tour and on record. He served briefly in the military during World War II, but returned to jazz playing on the West Coast in 1943. He played with Cee Pee Johnson in Hawaii in 1947.

Alongside his guitar playing, Livingston also sang with the Spirits of Rhythm, and led a group called the Four Blazes. From the 1950s he did freelance work with West Coast jazz musicians and also became active as a record producer. In the 1970s he took up electric bass alongside the guitar, and recorded with both instruments.

These two sides are from the last recording session by The Spirits Of Rhythm on January 24, 1945 in Los Angeles.

Leonard Feather p / Teddy Bunn, Ulysses Livingston g / Red Callender sb / Georgie Vann v / Leo Watson scat v.

The Herbie Haymer Quintette (With Nat King Cole) - Sunset 10055 (1945)

Here is the other Herbie Haymer recording on Sunset featuring Nat King Cole (as Eddie Laguna) and Charlie Shavers (as Joe Schmaltz).

Herbie Haymer ts / Charlie Shavers t / Nat King Cole p / John Simmons sb / Buddy Rich d.

Recorded in Los Angeles on June 9, 1945.