Dizzy Gillespie & Johnny Richards – The “lost” JEROME KERN MEMORIAL ALBUM – Hollywood 1945 or 1946

Hi there, Autumnal folks —

It’s about time to post something “new”, err, or rather something old, borrowed, but not too blue?

I always wanted to post this obscure album, which in fact consisted only of two discs à 78 r/pm.

Here’s what I’ve found on the internet about it …

Ira Gitler — All The Things He Was

Jerome Kern (1885-1945)

… and on my favorite jazz forum:

„(…) A new company, Paramount Records, set up a date with Dizzy and string section to record some Jerome Kern music for a memorial album dedicated to the recently deceased composer. … after the records are made, Kern´s publishers refuse to grant a license for their release on the grounds that Dizzy has departed from the orthodox Kern melodies.“

And here are the liner notes by mark gardner (OFFICIAL Lp 3032): „…date from Dizzy´s trailblazing trip to california in 1945/ 1946. His presence on the coast promoted the Paramount Label to set up a date with some of the Hollywood session musicians – strings, woodwinds, brass and even a harp.

Dizzy brought along his own pianist Al Haig, bassist Ray Brown and a drummer who was probably Roy Porter and not Roy Haynes (despite what the discographies say).

The idea was to perform some of Jerome Kern´s most attractive melodies which were already in favour with the boppers and allow the trumpeter to improvise over a lush backing.

It was a bold experiment in 1946. Although the recording sound was not great, the pioneering session turned out very well with magical moments supplied by Dizzy who did a wonderful job of elaborating on the Kern tunes. The four tracks were duly issued by Paramount but were rapidly withdrawn in the face of vehement objections by the Kern estate.

They felt the performances were disrespectful to the original music! … the Paramount titles became among the rarest in Dizzy´s discography until their eventual reissue in the 1970s.“ (on PHOENIX Lp 4).

—>Blog owner’s note: They’ve issued them tracks unfortunately in totally wrong pitches which made ’em sound like Mickey-Mouse music!

„… had the Kern estate realized it, Dizzy and Bird had already recorded All The Things You Are *) (Click on it!) for Guild the previous year in a far more daring version than this cut with strings which is done with great melodic feeling and respect. So much for cloth-eared executors!“

*) Dizzy Gillespie (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Clyde Hart (p) Remo Palmieri (g) Slam Stewart (b) Cozy Cole (d) — NYC, February 28, 1945

The date giving by Jepsen is obviously wrong (April 1946). — Dizzy and the rest of the band, excluding Charlie parker, fly back to New York City on Saturday 9, February 1946. So it must be between December 1945 and February 1946.

—BTW: The arrangements are by Johnny Richards!”

And here it is, the complete little album, with corrected pitches.


Dizzy Gillespie & Johnny Richards – The Jerome Kern Memorial Album – Hollywood, 1945/46

1. Who
2. The Way You Look Tonight
3. Why Do I Love You?
4. All The Things You Are

Composed by Jerome Kern, arranged by Johnny Richards.

Dizzy Gillespie, tp; unknown woodwinds, strings, F-hn; Al Haig, p; Ray Brown, b; prob. Roy Porter, d; Los Angeles; Jan.-Feb. 1946 (…or in late 1945);

Here are two e-mails, regarding those tracks, e-mails which are adding a little personal note to the above album:

I’m glad you like them! All boom-booms are complimentary! The Kern/ Dizzy/ Richards stuff was found in a trash can in Hollywood, and rescued just before they went to the dump.

Thank God someone knew what they were.


…said one of my favorite record sellers; the boom-booms remark was referring to a pressing flaw on the PHOENIX-Lp he’d sold me.

I took the tracks eventually from this very LP I’d purchased some years later. No booms on that one, but still all four tracks in wrong pitch:


Hi Bruno,

thanks a lot for that track — much more lively the string arrangements Charlie Parker played on. It’s a shame that those have been so little distributed & with faulty quality. The sound comes across much better than I expected.

Sometimes I wonder if the issuers even listen before they slap in on a disc. About 7 or 8 years ago they put out a supposedly definitive set of Parker’s Savoy & Dial sides — only one of the discs (it had “Donna Lee” on it) was at the wrong pitch & the label had to mail customers a corrected cd after they purchased it.

I agree about Dizzy’s total confidence & control — there are lots of times where it seems like the rhythm section lights up as soon as he starts soloing.

Hope your Easter is excellent as well!


…wrote a very good friend from Down Under.

—> Blog owner’s note:

Feel free to click on it for listening to Dizzy’s tune with the same title. He composed & arranged it for Woody Herman in 1942. — But only if you’re feeling low-down 🙂

This entry was posted in 1946, Avantgarde, Jazz And Strings, Jazz Stories & Tales and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.