Hi folks —

I always wanted to post this rare gem, an original autograph of the wonderful, of the inimitable, the one and only Oran ‘Hot Lips’ Page!

‘Hot Lips’ was an eager, and very busy after-hours jam session-ite. He played in various settings, with today mostly unknown cats (except the ones on the golden cover, of course!) at Minton’s Playhouse, at Monroe’s Uptown Hall, or at Jerry Newman’s apartment, and other joints, just for his and everybody’s fun.

‘Hot Lips’ was a joyful trumpeter with a big tone, directly influenced by Louis Armstrong. Most commercial studio dates don’t reflect his daring trumpet excursions; they rarely let you hear adequately how he really sounded. — He sometimes went to the extreme, as the following great interpretation of I Got Rhythm from 1940 shows.

This music can be already labeled “free jazz”, but on chord changes. Very interesting is ‘Hot Lips’ Page’s unexpected use of a well known bebop phrase of which I always thought it had been invented by Dizzy Gillespie, or Fats Navarro.

Be warned in advance, ’cause this is a very mad chase on Gershwin’s old warhorse! — Herbie Fields plays the crazy tenorsax, and Donald Lambert can be heard with a rather wild stride piano. — As it is stated in Dan Morgenstern’s very informative LP liners, ‘Hot Lips’ plays with the soft trumpet leather case pulled over the bell of the trumpet throughout the session; he did that for avoiding complaints of the neighbors.

The track was recorded during a party in Jerry Newman’s apartment. He had a portable disc recorder, a rare thing in the early 1940’s. Have a closer listening to Oran’s very last sound of the 1st solo: He blew it only on the mouthpiece!

Some chicks in the audience are responding with orgiastic cheers:

I GOT RHYTM. (Note: File will be substituted soon).

The next number is one of the most lyrical versions of Joe Primrose’s ST. JAMES INFIRMARY BLUES.

It features Artie Shaw’s super smooth, but nevertheless very bluesy clarinet, and ‘Hot Lips’ is not only playing a splendid trumpet solo during the last third of the piece, he also sings the requiem in his own, grief-stricken rough way, backed by trumpeter Max Kaminsky. Listen to the orchestra too, how groovy they’re responding to the powerful bugle calls.

Georgie Auld, Johnny Guarnieri, and Ray Conniff can be heard with brief solos on tenorsax, piano, and trombone. — The very famous, two-part chart, penned by an unknown arranger in two different tempos, was recorded for Victor Bluebird in New York, on November 12, 1941.

Blog owner’s note:

This post was a work in progress, and so, you may have found the promised links, and other alterations.

Stay tuned anyway!

Very Blowingly Hot Lips Page

For framing also the bottom of the picture with yet more music (it has been sent to me as a gift by a very good Canadian friend from a still very swinging big band forum), here’s one of meanwhile numerous YouTube videos, which are playing original shellacks of justifiably very proud owners. — Well, this can be quite a painful experience sometimes, but not in this case.

Go, get some gin, and enjoy!

Blog owner’s 2nd note: As I said above, this article was a – now completed – work in progress 🙂


“As for the photo: I really believe it is a portion of a larger photograph of a jam session at Jimmy Ryan’s (circa 1942 or so) and I would bet money that the complete photograph is by Charles Peterson and is in either SWING ERA NEW YORK or EDDIE CONDON’S SCRAPBOOK OF JAZZ.


Drum roll.

I believe the guitarist is Jack Bland. The tenorist is probably Kenneth Hollon. The altoist is definitely Pete Brown, and I am fairly sure it is Kaminsky.

Does that help?”


It surely did, Mr. Ess! — Thanks a bunch!

‘Hot Lips’ at the Reno Club, Kansas City

Addendum —

St. James Infirmary Blues – The lines, as sung by ‘Hot Lips’:

Went down to the St. James Infirmary
I saw my baby there,

Stretched out on a long white table,
So cold, so sweet, so fair.

Let her go, let her go, God bless her;
Wherever she may be
She can look this wide world over
She’ll never find another sweet man like me.

Though she treated me mean and low-down
Somehow I didn’t care
Well the Lord knows she was a good girl
And I’ll see her again up there.

Now, when I die, I want you to bury me in Edwin Clapp shoes
A box-back suit and a Stetson hat;
Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain
So the boys know I died standin’ pat.

Blog owner’s note: The correct brand name of the shoes has been kindly provided by Mr. S 😉 — Thanks a bunch!

Blog owner’s 2nd note: Edited on Corpus Christi, May 31, 2018, and belatedly dedicated to my student bass player Miss H. who loves to play St. James’ Infirmary.

Posted in CD review, Dedication, Etymology, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Jive, Oran 'Hot Lips' Page, Portrait, Swing Era, Trumpet | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

30 YEARS AGO (Friday the 13th, 1988): CHET BAKER DIES IN AMSTERDAM — Memories Of A Trumpet Colleague (Update)

user2259_pic148100_1276206427In Düsseldorf’s commons (Uni Mensa in German), in 1986, Chet arrived one hour delayed. He was announced there with his fine trio, featuring guitarist Philip Catherine and bassist Jean Louis Rassinfosse who played a half-acoustic bass.

The George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet – which was supposed to do its set after Chet – did the first half of the concert. This was power jazz with the wonderful Danny Richmond on drums and Cameron Brown on bass. I only remember their energy.

Then came Chet … in sandals, looking like a monk, to put it nicely. He blew a few notes into the mike, stopped abruptly, put the mike to his mouth and then he yelled, in a sudden outburst: “It’s too loud!” — I don’t know what the engineer behind the desk did, but it was obviously okay then and the concert began.

It was great! What a sound, what an inspiring evening. The forceful, almost violent jazz of George Adams was soon forgotten, it just had squibbed into the air. Do I remember particular tunes? Yes, only one: Chet’s interesting, kinda funky version of Cole Porter’s Love For Sale. But what I clearly remember was an all in all good mood when I left the place of the event.

One year later, in Cologne’s now demolished jazz club Subway: Chet was supposed to do two evenings there. This time with a quartet, he only performed on the second, the Saturday night gig.

I don’t know exactly who was in there but I guess it were those guys: Harold Danko on piano, Rocky Knauer on bass, and John Engels was behind the drums.

The band seemed to be stoned which didn’t seem to bother Chet. He was more worried about his horn which apparently didn’t work properly. There he sat, helplessly pushing the jammed valves, then he eventually grabbed the mike and asked something like:

“Some trumpet player around?” I was seated right in front of him and said: “Yes!” Since the great Chet Baker intended to play on my trumpet, I fetched it from the checkroom and handed it over to him.

He took it, looked at it, and counted: “One, two, three, four!” into a very fast and boppish Conception, George Shearing’s masterpiece, a tune as closely connected to Miles Davis as it was to Chet Baker.

He played it in the key of C, that’s what I remember. After the last note, Chet waved my trumpet over his head, smiled at me in a sardonic way while he was pretending to bung the horn in some corner. I was quite shocked, but of course got the joke in the same second. This was my first real instrument, a Getzen Capri but with a little hole in the middle tube.

What do I remember yet? He played the rest of the concert on his own horn and … kept my valve oil. When I arrived later at home I found it gone. Chet Baker, a thief!

During the break, I talked to him a little bit, a short chat with Chet so to speak, and asked him if he had time for giving me a mornings lesson. He only said: “That would be kinda lesson!” …I was satisfied.

Then I talked to pianist Harold Danko. I had brought sheet music to the concert, one of my own compositions in the style of Chet, unaware of the fact that he was a lousy sight reader. Mr. Danko understood my request for plugging an own tune; but then he told me that Chet hardly even played new tunes of his own band members because he was simply too lazy for doing rehearsals. And so I took my sheet and just enjoyed the second set.

Well, of course a very moving and tearfully sung My Funny Valentine, Chet’s silent announcement that this would be his last concert in Cologne, and again a very fast number in the key of C, Charlie Parker’s Cool Blues. This time with Chet’s complete solo and not the edited version from the concert with Bird’s quintet in the University of Oregon, on November 5, 1953, where a moron had just chopped off Chet’s solo; and so we can only hear brief glimpses with Chet during a couple of chase chorusses with Shelly Manne.

Now, the title of my tune which would have fit perfectly to Chet’s style: Out Of The Window …I called it that way because I was leaning out of the window when that very line came into my prophetic mind.

I’m a bit sad that Chet Baker never got to know any of my compositions. But you can believe me: I’m very relieved at the very same time that he never played that one!

CB_Berlin_47_1P.S. #1 — Influences on Chet Baker – A superficial overview

I’m not completely sure about Chet’s musical roots, but I’m certain that he had listened a lot to the big bands, to the “Great American Songbook” as delivered by Tommy Dorsey, or Glenn Miller.

Harry James was one of his influences too. One can hear that on his early recordings with Gerry Mulligan’s quartet. He still had quite a vibrato there.

His main influence was of course Miles Davis, but technically and rhythmically he was definitely inspired by Charlie Parker whose harmonic and melodic language he had quasi eaten up.

Many folks claim that Chet lacked technique. The same fellows, mostly critics, also say that about Miles. But I, as an enthused trumpet colleague, can tell you: Both guys had chops and knew how to handle their horns! — Miles and Chet reflected the new style, a certain coolness which stemmed directly from Lester Young who was another big influence.

P.S. #2 — Chet has the last word with a complete concert video. That’s how I remember him: Strong, direct & humorous.


ⓒ Bruno Leicht

Cologne, May 13, 2008
(Edited & updated by the author on May 14, 2013; and on December 23, 2014)


Posted in 1988, Celebration, Chet Baker, coolness, Dedication, Hollywood, Jazz History Lecture, Loneliness, Mystery, Portrait, Sadness, Spring, Trumpet | Tagged , , , , , , , ,


redmano2Quote: “On 30 June 1932, Don Redman and His Orchestra made the first wholly instrumental recording of “I Got Rhythm” – an early example of many black musicians’ tendency to omit Ira Gershwin’s lyrics.”

… but not only was it the initial instrumental jazz version of George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm, it was the very first big band chart at all, sporting three trombones instead of the then common two.

The brilliant, super-modern trombone solo is blown by Benny Morton, it’s either Rupert Cole or Red Inge on clarinet (who said that only Artie Shaw was able to play glissandi?), Robert Carroll can be heard on tenorsax, and the forgotten Bob Ysaguirre does the slap-happy & utterly virtuoso bass pluckin’, in exchange with the three trombones of Benny Morton, Claude Jones and Fred Robinson who got prominently featured.

Although he does not solo, it should be mentioned that Fletcher’s brother Horace Henderson plays piano, alongside Manzie Johnson on drums.

By the way, Don Redman’s exquisite chart was played during the same broadcast as Ivie Anderson’s & Duke Ellington’s “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm” from my recent article.

Since I’ve lost the cassette tape with the broadcast from 1979, I can only wildly presume here, but I guess that Mr. Burkhardt filled the 30 minutes from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with various early renditions of “I Got Rhythm”.

Now, before I play the track for you, dear readers, it’s Mr. Gershwin himself who has the very first word: I GOT RHYTHM (with explanations by the composer).


And here comes Don Redman & His Orchestra with I GOT RHYTHM, as recorded in NYC, on June 30, 1932.

P.S. — More, but actual footage with George Gershwin, playing “I Got Rhythm” in August 1931:

Posted in Etymology, George Gershwin, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Jive, Saxophone, Swing Era | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


While some folks think that all has been said about this significant event in jazz history, here are some things you might not know.

One of my fellow bloggers, Mr. Eric Bogart, has detected one of two little details, only known to the folks with big ears who had the time to listen closely to a) the very first LP-release of this concert, and b) who have purchased the official CD-release (produced by Mr. Phil Schaap in 1999), and can so compare it with the before mentioned LP.

But let’s read what Mr. Bogart wrote in 2000:

“(…) Skeptics might believe that my blue labeled set might just be unusually clean, or mastered louder than later issues, but, there is one crucial difference! A whistle! Just before the opening note by the Goodman band is sounded on the concert’s first song, “Don’t Be That Way,” there is a whistle discernible from somewhere in the audience. This whistle has been deleted from all subsequent versions. (…) Learn more HERE.

By the way, the little whistle right before Don’t Be That Way can also be heard on the old Phillips-LP-twofer with the concert.

The other, more crucial detail is that on the official CD-release, claiming to contain “all” recorded music performed that night, are missing 27 seconds of I Got Rhythm which is posted at JazzTube in its complete version, transferred from the LP (see link).

In this very informative blog entry, written five years ago by jazz critic Fernando Ortiz de Urbina will you learn more about the 34 missing bars (which is one full chorus!) of I Got Rhythm. Señor Urbina is also featuring audio comparisons.

There is another little known fact about the concert. If you listen closely to Avalon, performed by the Benny Goodman Quartet, you can hear Lionel Hampton playing the first two notes of Stompin’ At The Savoy right before the applause is faded out.

I guess that this quartet number, which was eventually played during the 2nd half of the concert, was actually listed on the program as the next piece; but since George Gershwin had passed away in 1937, Benny decided spontaneously to perform The Man I Love, followed by the above posted I Got Rhythm, published in 1930.

Before we continue with another highlight, here comes lovely Martha Tilton and her two features: Loch Lomond and Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, featuring Mr.-Fralich-in-Swing, trumpet man Ziggy Elman with his inimitable ride.

Please let me introduce to you yet another fellow with big ears who seems to know – and to have! – everything about that famous concert:  Mr. Jon Hancock (who was the first who has noticed the 34 missing bars of  I Got Rhythm).

He has created a lovely video, or rather a collage, combining the only news reel footage of the concert with photos and the 2nd part of Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing), the last number of the concert, followed by the two encores If Dreams Come True (this track is *not* from that concert!) & Big John’s Special. — (FB-page of Mr. Hancock with great pictures from the concert and an update of his book about the concert, released in 2009).

This is really a labor of love, and it’s great fun to watch, and I guess it’s the best way to say:

Keep on swingin’ on, Benny Goodman, wherever you may blow your horn!

Posted in 1938, All American Rhythm Section, Anniversary, Benny Goodman, Birthday Party, Carnegie Hall, CD review, Clarinet, Dedication, Gene Krupa, George Gershwin, Harry James, It's been a ball!, January, Jazz History Lecture, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Johnny Hodges, Lester Young, Martha Tilton, Ziggy Elman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Update: THE MAIDS OF CADIZ (Les filles de Cadix) – An old French song revisited by Benny Goodman & Miles Davis with Gil Evans

This beautiful melody by French composer Léo Delibes should be the fitting musical preface for the last and late Summer’s versions of “Summertime”.

First comes the Benny Goodman Sextet with an almost forgotten interpretation of the song:

The Maids Of Cadiz (1947).

Benny Goodman (cl), Red Norvo (vib), Jimmie Rowles (p), Al Hendrickson (g), Harry Babasin (b), Don Lamond (d) – Hollywood, June 6, 1947.

Miles Davis & Gil Evans must have loved the pretty tune with that Spanish touch very much; otherwise they wouldn’t have included the song on their highly praised first album which became a classic: Miles Ahead (1957).

Here’s the carefully remastered CD version:

Les filles de Cadix

After listening extensively to the promo-pressing of the album (he was obviously very enthusiastic about it), Dizzy Gillespie ordered a new copy directly from Miles, ’cause he played the album so often that it was kaputt after a few weeks of excessive spinning.

Blog owner’s remark: I can only guess what kind of heavy-weight stylus Dizzy must have used then, or how many times he must have played the disc?

This is the cover for the later issue of Miles Ahead. — The original LP from 1957 sported a straw-hatted white woman and a little boy on a sailboat. — Miles never liked that, he actually hated it so very fondly that he forced CBS to use his portrait for the later reissue:

— Blog owner’s note for the lovers of old vinyl:

You either should go for the original LP from the late 1950’s, or for the Japanese mono pressing with the white-girl-on-board-with-kaput-straw-hat cover, or the above pictured reissue (which is in stereo!).

Beware the 1980’s reissue with the blue framed cover which appeared on SONY-CBS. — That one sounds crappy, and it doesn’t feature the tracks from the original album but some alternates without mentioning it in the liners.

As a grande P.S., the original, as sung by one of the most beautiful sopranos of all times: Victoria De Los Angeles. — Exceptional!

Here’s a real girl (les filles = the girls) singing it, Deanna Durbin when she was only 15. — Charming!

AND, probably the purest version: Cecilia Bartoli, accompanied by pianist Myung-Whun Chung in 1996

Get this beautiful CD HERE, @anazoom 😉

Another P.S., sung in German:

Posted in Benny Goodman, Celebration, Dedication, Exoticism, Miles Davis, Poetry, Vielfalt

Update: SONNY ROLLINS’ “AIREGIN” is about “ORIGIN” is about “OXYGEN” is about “NIGERIA”

I guess that headline sums it up what Sonny subconsciously wanted to tell us with “Airegin” which is one of his greatest hits beside “St. Thomas”, “Oleo”, and “Doxy”.

Here it is in its initial performance, as played by the Miles Davis Quintet from 1954, featuring the composer Sonny Rollins on tenorsaxophone, Miles Davis on trumpet, Horace Silver on piano, Percy Heath on bass, and Kenny Clarke on drums; the whole affair can be found on the album “Bags’ Groove”, and it was recorded in Rudy Van Gelder’s Studio in Hackensack, New Jersey on June 29, 1954.

Take a deep breath of fresh & jazzy air, even if you’re not exactly from Nigeria!

The later Miles Davis Quintet with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers & ‘Philly’ Joe Jones speeded it up virtuously in the very same studio on October 26, 1956:

->>—> Learn more about “Oleo”, the song on the famous margarine HERE.

P.S. — See & hear what the other master improvisors Chet Baker & Stan Getz did with “Airegin” – backed by Jim McNeely (p), George Mraz (b) & Victor Lewis (d) – in Stockholm on February 18 1983:

->>—> Here’s their whole concert at JazzTube, the fabulous encore “Line For Lyons” included, as it happened exactly 30 years + 1 day ago:

2nd P.S. — Not to forget the other fantastic treatment of Sonny’s ageless jazz hit:

Blog owner’s addition: Here’s yet another fantastic version of “Doxy”. Guess who?

->>—> AAAND… last but not least *THEE* mother of all vocal versions of “AIREGIN” with the fascinating, the unique, the one & only Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, kindly recommended @ Rifftides by Mr. Mark Stryker:

Posted in Anniversary, Chet Baker, Dedication, Etymology, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Native Americans, Portrait, Saxophone, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Trumpet, Wes Montgomery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Update for my students: “But, Man, That Sh__ Is So Boring!” ∽ Freddie Hubbard


… bis er “Flashes” gesehen hat 🙂 (ist übrigens ein Stück über ‘Oh! Lady Be Good’); Buddy Rich sitzt am Schlagzeug.

Den Cartoon hat mir mein Jazz-Blogger Kollege & Freund Doug via E-Mail geschickt; höchstwahrscheinlich, um mich zu motivieren. Er hat das Bild HIER gefunden 😉

P.S. — Die beiden Herren auf dem Photo sind übrigens Miles Davis & Harry James Anno 1963, backstage @ Monterey Jazz Festival.

Posted in Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings