Corrections and additions to
Stuff Smith: Desert Sands
[DS] / Up Jumped the Devil [UD]
Eddie South: Black Gypsy
Fable Bulletin: Violin Improvisation Studies

Corrections and additions before 2001 appear in printed vols of FB:VIS

Important Notice
Many of the entries on these update pages cannot be understood without reference to the printed books and bulletin
For details of how to buy the books and bulletin please visit the AB Fable link above or email ab below

Copyright © AB FB:VIS 2001–2017

Access to this site is free
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of ARSC towards the publication of FB:VIS/iv/11-13
Contact us if you would like to contribute financial assistance to our research and book and CD program
Single users are permitted to store or print out single copies for non-profit personal use
but not otherwise to store, transmit or publish in whole or in part without our written permission
Non-profit fair use of small portions of this research is permitted
provided acknowledgement is made to our name and web address as follows
We would appreciate a copy or notice of such non-profit fair use
Remember that this site is periodically updated in the light of new research

Garbled information, the recycling of avoidable old errors and the introduction of new ones unfortunately appear in many entries
on many online sites including,,, (which should know better), wikipedia
We do not know everything but if you are concerned with best efforts towards accuracy in our field please check with us first
If you cannot find what you would like to know in our publications and online updates you are welcome to contact us
We shall try to respond to all enquiries though it is important to use a recognizable subject heading in your message
Online articles at are in breach of copyright and uncredited
The Jazz and Blues Violin article by AB/AS is appropriated from Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

email ab

AB Fable Bulletin: Violin Improvisation Studies
14 Mount Street, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1HL England

this site is periodically updated; it was first posted
October 2001 and last updated September 2017

Grateful acknowledgement for assistance to
Peter Adamson; Desne Villepigue Ahlers; Paul & Claudia Anastasio; Alain Antonietto; Rani Arbo;
Jerome Butch Baldassari; Anthony Baldwin; Jean Banks, BMI; Brent Banulis, NEJA;
Jean-Pierre Battestini; Heinz Baumeister; Roger Beardsley; Dave Bennett; Ben Bierman; Mark Berresford;
Willy Bischof; Bus Boyk; Tim Brooks; Tom Buhmann; Frank Büchmann-MŅller;
Armin Büttner; Robert Campbell; Mark Cantor;
Samuel Carner; Piers Clark; Kevin Coffey; Derek Coller; Alan Cooperman;
D. Russell Connor; Julius Csóka; John R. T. Davis; Ate Van Delden;
Alain Délot; David Diehl; Roberta DiRamio; Michael Dregni; Raymond Durieux;
Björn Englund; Jan Evensmo; Pete Fallico; Sylvie Fefer; Suzanne Flandreau;
Michael Friend; James Gallert; Leonard Gaskin; Maddy Goettsch;
National Library Netherlands; Joe and Lillian Giordano;
Vince Giordano; Jeffrey P. Green; James Harrod; Eddie Higgins; Steven Jambot;
Richard Johnson; Theo. C. Kiffers, AVRO Library; Larry Kirkendall;
Karl Emil Knudsen; Ann Kuebler; Oliver Lake; Steven Lasker;
David Lennick; John Levy & Devra Hall; Steven Jambot;
David N. Lewis; Gerald Lindquist; Jim Lyons; Jim Loeffler; Gérard Lüll;
Chris Macdonald; Harry Mackensie; Sarah McLawler; Terrie McPherson;
Richard Markow; David G. Martin; Francesco Martinelli;
Adriano Mazzoletti; Bob Mohr; Mwalim; Daniel Nevers; Konrad Nowakowski;
Phil Oldham; John Oliver, BFI; Russ Otvos; Tom Otvos; Jack Peaker;
Karl Pearson; Hans Pehl; Peter Pfister; Jean-Luc Ponty; Lewis Porter;
Phil Pospychala; Franklin Powers; Jim Prohaska; Richard Reicheg; K.-B. Rau; Ove Rex;
Laura Risk; Graham Roe; Brian Rust; Howard Rye; Bill Sabis; Norman Saks; Dieter Salemann; Louie Sayegh;
Joseph Scott; Eddie Shaw; Chris Sheridan; Jay Shulman; Lauren Slepsky; Richard Spottswood; Kjell Svahn;
Hollis Taylor; Klaus Teubig; Helge Thygesen; Alfred Ticoalu, Marion Mazzola Topper;
Jack Towers; Chandler Travis; Dave Usher; Stu Vandermark; Tommy Vig;
Joe Vito; Bob Weir; Raymond P. Welch-Bartram; Lars Westin; Jameson Wetmore;
Geoffry Wharton; Geoffrey Wheeler; Ray Whitehouse; Bert Whyatt;
Arild WiderŅe; Val Wilmer; Laurie Wright; Nicole Yarling; Art Zimmerman;
and members in general of ARSC; IAJRC

kindly notify further corrections and additions at
email ab

Update highlights include

New unreleased sessions by Stuff Smith; Eddie South; Elek Bacsik; Jean-Luc Ponty; Ginger Smock
Discovery of sessions by Stuff Smith; Eddie South previously thought lost
Identification of a 1938 Eddie South broadcast title on the cassette accompanying Black Gypsy
Stéphane Grappelli on film in England during the 1940s









Draft Discography of RICHARD OTTO with Sarah McLawler




new feature


Many African-American violinists pursued classical studies in the early years of the twentieth century but few embarked on solo concert careers. Some, incl. Henrietta Johnson, Louia Vaughn Jones, Kemper Harreld, became educators.

Others, such as Leon Abbey, Clarence Black, Caroll Dickerson, Charles Elgar, Ralph Shrimp Jones, Clarence Lee, Clarence Moore, George Morrison, Angelina Rivera, Atwell Rose [not Attwell Rose]; Allie Ross, George Smith, Leroy Smith; Eddie South, Erskine Tate, Will Tyler, Juice Wilson, are remembered for their recorded contributions to jazz, blues, vaudeville, theatre, dance and syncopated and light concert music. Angelina Rivera [not Angelina Riviera] is the sole African-American, possibly Puerto Rican, woman violinist to be identified as recording before the 1940s—with Josephine Baker and Spencer Williams in Paris in 1926. Other women, like orchestra leader Mae Brady, an early employer of Eddie South, and Sophia Rubinoff, “The Sepia Rubinoff”, went unrecorded.

Joseph H. Douglass, Kemper Harreld, who directed the music department at Morehouse College for many years, and composer Clarence Cameron White are those who are identified as recording as violin soloists. Douglas’s recordings were unissued, as were some of Harreld’s, and are unlikely to be extant. Will Marion Cook and F. Hall Johnson were involved in recordings but not as instrumentalists, or was Cook? – see fol.

Recitalist, in the late 1910s and early 1920s, Louia Jones [not Louis Jones] (1895–1965), travelled to Paris in 1928 with Noble Sissle, with whom he was photographed but not recorded. He had previously worked in Paris, from 1924 at least to 1925, where he played at Chez Florence. Poets Langston Hughes and Gwedolyn Bennett, who dated Jones, both wrote of him, referring to him as Louis. He was the first African-American to play with the National Symphony Orchestra. He gave command performances for the King and Queen of Spain and was head of the violin department at Howard University in 1930 where he formed a string orchestra the Symphonette.

Society violinist Harrison Emanuel was advertised as conducting an orchestra at the Prairie Theater, Chicago, from 11 November 1928 (CD, 10 Nov 28). His first professional violin engagement was as a feature with Dave Peyton’s Grand Symphony Orchestra of thirty musicians at the Grand Theater, 17 November ?1914.

Exceptionally, Cordy Williams, as a house violinist for Black Swan, left a recorded legacy in both fields—on some Black Swan recordings the violinist is unidentified and may not always be Williams. This exploratory feature highlights some black violinists active in concert music and cites identified or possible recordings. Recordings by these artists in non-instrumental capacities, e.g., as director of a choir, are not included – research assistance courtesy Tim Brooks; Helge Thygesen; Brian Rust; Terrie McPherson.


There is controversy whether Cook is the unidentified violinist on two takes of “I’m Coming Virginia” recorded by Ethel Waters with Will Marion Cook’s Singing Orchestra, New York, 18 September 1926, both released on 78 Columbia 14170-D. He is usually considered to be only musical director on the session but he was co-composer with Donald Heywood of this composition. Dan Morgenstern is on the side, with AB, of those who believe it is logical that Cook would be the violinist. However, Waters and violinist and orchestra leader Will Tyler were appearing together in a New York theatre at the time and there is a marked similarity on this recording to Tyler’s known presence on recordings with Waters a year later.

Will Marion Cook was first violinist of the Boston Symphony. It is said that when the solo violinist chair became vacant he was offered the chair itself but refused solos on account of his color at which time he broke his instrument, walked out and reputedly never played the violin again. An alternative story tells that he was once described as the greatest Negro violinist to which he replied that he was the greatest violinist, broke his instrument and never played the violin again. Research has not uncovered any contemporary report substantiating either of these stories of the broken violin and they are believed to be apocryphal. In 1919 he took the Southern Syncopated Orchestra to Europe. The orchestra included violinists George Smith, who had recorded with James Reece Europe Society Orchestra, and Angelina Rivera, who recorded with Josephine Baker and Spencer Williams in Paris in 1926. Other members of the orchestra, about which Ernst Ansermet wrote, included Sidney Bechet, Arthur Briggs, Louis Mitchell.



acc. Helen Y. Dammond (pn), New York, 28 August 1914
Auld Lang Syne – 78 Victor test – unissued – ?–not extant
Old Folks at Home – 78 Victor test – unissued – ?–not extant


No recordings on violin



acc. Fletcher Henderson (pn), Long Island, NY, summer 1922
Souvenir (Drdla) – 78 Black Swan 60005 [later scheduled 7105 not released]
Swanee River (Foster) – 78 Black Swan 60005 [later scheduled 7105 not released]
Other unknown recordings at Black Swan session broken in transit before pressing

acc. ?–Eddie Heywood Sr (pn), Atlanta, early June 1923
unknown title – 78 Okeh ?test – ?unissued – ?–not extant
A report in Chicago Defender (23 June 1923) is specific about this untraced Harreld solo violin recording and a Heywood piano recording during an Okeh field trip that month that produced released recordings by Morehouse College Choir, of which Harreld was director, and blues vocalists acc. Heywood supervised by R. S. Peer but no such recording, released or otherwise, has been traced in Okeh’s incomplete files for which some contemporary matrices are unaccounted for


Still played oboe, not violin, recording with Fletcher Henderson early in his career. The following Still compositions were recorded by violinist Louis Kaufman. As well as his concert career Kaufman recorded as soloist or concertmaster on more than four hundred Hollywood uncredited soundtracks incl. Casablanca, Diary of Anne Frank, Gone with the Wind, and Intermezzo—it is Kaufman’s fingers in close ups of Leslie Howard in the 1939 remake of the 1936 Swedish original in which the credited soundtrack violinist is Charles Barkel (1989–1973) with pianist Stina Sundall. Kaufman’s memoirs A Fiddler’s Tale, How Hollywood and Vivaldi Found Me is published by Wesleyan Un. Press, 2003
Lennox Avenue Suite: Blues [twice]; Here’s One [twice]
Quartet (Danzas de Panema): Cumbia y Congo; Majorana y Socavon
Suite (1943) [twice]
(3) Visions: No. 2. Summerland



acc. William Leonard King (pn), ?1919
Lament (White) 78 Broome 52 – coupling not White
Cradle Song (White) 78 Broome 53 – coupling not White

Composition-arrangements by White Recorded by Other Violinists
Bandana Sketches, op. 12, no. 1, Nobody Knows de Trouble I See (1918) recorded by Barinova; Kreisler (twice); Lass; Lynch; Morrell; Pratz; Spalding – Eddie South recorded his own arrangement as Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen
Levee Dance (based on Go Down Moses), op. 27, no. 2 (1927) recorded by Heifetz; Kloss

Publications by White

System of Scale Studies (NY, Gamble Hinge Music, n.d.); Violinist’s Daily Dozen (NY, Gamble Hinge Music, n.d)
Co-publisher of periodical Negro Musician (Washington, incl. 1919–1920)


José White (?1839 [or 1835]–1918) was a greatly admired Cuban violinist, father French, mother African-Cuban, who perforrmed in Europe, Latin-America and USA. He owned the “Swan Song” Strad.

Composition Recorded by Another Violinist
Violin Concerto in F sharp minor (1864) recorded by Rosand


J. Cordie Williams Jr, as well as acc. Ethel Waters with his orchestra on Black Swan, is known from label credits to accompany baritone vocalist Carroll Clark on two Black Swan titles. He is likely to be the uncredited violinist on most other Black Swan recordings incl. violin although Charlie Johnson is credited as a possible violinist on some other Ethel Waters Black Swan recordings.




Our survey mentioned Clarence Lee but failed to cite what appears to be his sole recording: as a member of a three-violin section with Joe McCutchin and Bobby Wall with Fess Williams and His Joy Boys on “Dixie Stomp” and “Drifting and Dreaming” for Vocalion, Chicago, 3 April 1928. There are no improvised violin solos, only arranged section work with one violin, assumed to be Lee, taking the lead over the others on the second title. Both titles are released on CD Frog [EN] DGF28 Hot Stuff, Black Chicago Big Bands 1922–1929 and CD Timeless [NL] CBC1039 Ruben Reeves, The Complete Vocalions 1928–1933.

Preston Jackson in Laurie Wright, Trombone Man (Chigwell, Essex, 2005) asserts that the violinist in the oft-reproduced photo of King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band on the West Coast in 1921 or 1922 is not Jimmy Palao as usually given, but Herbert Fiddle-Up Lindsay, brother of bassist John Lindsay. Saxophonist and violinist Palao did play with this band but was let go by Oliver. Pops Foster in Tom Stoddard, The Autobiography of Pops Foster (new ed. San Francisco, 2005) says Lindsay played like Stuff Smith. See also Lawrence Gushee, Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band (New York, 2005) for research on Palao, and also Lindsay.

Our survey failed to mention Chicago violinist Clarence “Cosperous” or “Cospus” Moore (not to be confused with Chicago violinists Clarence Black and Clarence Lee): “Clarence was the last word on the fiddle; he was just as good as any of them, Eddie South, Venuti, or anyone.” – Ikey Robinson, who played with Moore in a quartet, in Peter Carr. “The Ikey Robinson Story”, Storyville 2002–3 (Chigwell, Essex, 2003). Moore recorded three sessions with Sammy Stewart and His Orchestra for Vocalion, Chicago, 6 September 1928, 20 September 1928, 3 October 1928 . His improvising abilities are inhibited on the heavily arranged violin feature “Ol’ Man River”, but he is featured freely on two differently titled recordings of the same composition: “Scadatin Dee” and “Wob-a-ly Walk”. All three are released, “Scadatin Dee” for the first time, on CD Frog [EN] DGF9 Get Easy Blues, Chicago 1928–1930. The hyphen in this latter title on Frog is presumably in error as it is absent on the unique test.

One of the two on-screen orchestra violinists in the 1940 movie Broken Strings is Atwell Rose who recorded with Curtis Mosby in 1927, and possibly 1928. Marshal Royal described Rose as the best LA violinist; the West Coast’s Eddie South. It is assumed that Rose is the featured off-screen violinist for both the Clarence Muse character and his son in both classics and jazz. Rose was born Missouri 14 July 1903 and died Los Angeles 11 May 1945.The 1930 census reveals that his profession was musician in a dance academy. He lived at 1324 1/2 East 20th Street, LA and was married to a Norwegian–American woman Carolyn. His mother was Pearl Anna Horn Rose. Research assistance courtesy Mark Cantor, Joseph Scott.

Atwell Rose rehearsed with Jelly Roll Morton’s band for several weeks in 1941 for a recording session that never took place.

There is the strongest suspicion that the violinist on the following session is Atwell Rose:
Betty Treadville with Ceelle [aka Ceele] Burke and His Orchestra incl. almost certainly Johnny Hodges (cl, as), probably Atwell Rose (vn), Ceelle Burke (st gt), ? (gt), ? (sb), ? (dm), Betty Treadville (vc)
Los Angeles, ?20 December 1936
L0379-1 Baby Ain’tcha Satisfied (Stuart, Culbreth, Mills)
78 Variety VA600
NOTE Violin is not present on coupling L0382 “I Never Had a Dream”.  Violin is present on unreleased extant L0380, L0381,  two compositions by Burke with Burke (vc). Research assistance courtesy Steven Lasker.



FB:VIS/iv/13/8; 1949; ?1952; Miracle; Parrot
The personnel of Abbey’s accompaniment for Browley Guy on the unissued extant 1949 Miracle session was his regular working trio from 1947 with Barrington Perry (pn), Rail Wilson (sb), augmented for the recording by John Goodloe (gt). Perry and Wilson are believed to have remained with Abbey throughout the 1950s into the early 1960s. They surely are the personnel on the fugitive ?1952 Al Benson–Abbey 78 Parrot of which only two copies are known. An example does not seem even to have been known among Abbey’s personal effects – see Ralph Gulliver, “Leon Abbey”, Storyville, 73 (Oct–Nov 77), 5–28, incl. trio photo. Perry and Wilson also play on Al Benson’s All Star Orchestra session for Old Swing-Master recorded between mid 1948 and early 1949.

Parrot 7000 is another fugitive 78 by Al Benson with Abbey and unidentified female (vc) singing “Fool that I Am” in two parts.

An inset photo of Leon Abbey’s Savoy Bearcats appears on some printings of sheet music “In the Middle of the Night” (Rose, Donaldson) publ. Irving Berlin, Inc

new feature

Sven Asmussen w/ Ellen Bick Meier, June Nights: Svend Asmussens liv in musik (Gyldendal, Copenhagen, 2005) – autobiography in Danish, incl. numerous photos, CD



Reference to Bacsik’s numerous guitar recordings is no longer included here. Only new information about his work on violin is included here. Steven Jambot in France is preparing an extensive website about Bacsik’s life and career, in which errors that appear on current Bacsik web postings will be corrected.

new sessions

Paris – ?December 1959 – released ?1970s
Eric Dixon (fl), Elek Bacsik [as Al Back] (vn), Art Simmons (pn), Pierre Michelot (sb), Kenny Clarke (dm), Humberto [Canto Morales] (bongos and/or conga), Andy [Bey] and the Bey Sisters (vc)
a Caravan, Part 1 – Bacsik also overdubs pizzicato on Part 1
b Caravan, Part 2
. [Begin the Beguine, Parts 1, 2] – Bacsik [as Alexis Backsix] plays (gt) only
Métropole [FR] 46001 (a,b+.) Kenny Clarke, His Drums and His Orchestra, with Andy and the Bey Sisters
There is no more than a glimpse of orientalist violin.

Paris – 1960s ?telecast
Elek Bacsik (vn)
a Mozart fragment

Paris – ORTF telecast – Age tendre et tźte de bois – 22 April 1964
Elek Bacsik (vn, solo gt, rhythm gt, sb, dm) – overdubbed incl. on screen
a Take Five
INA webarchive (a)

Paris – 1965
Elek Bacsik (overdubbed vn, gt), ? (sb), Jacques Higelin (vc)
a ň Django (Mac Ormor, Higelin)
? (a) Jacques Higelin
Jacques Canetti [FR] JC48846 (a) Brigitte Fontaine; Jacques Higelin: Douze Chansons d’avant le déluge
Universal [FR] 5897022 (a) Collection Jacques Canetti: Brigitte Fontaine; Jacques Higelin: Douze Chansons d’avant le déluge
Wagram [FR] [2] 311807 [disc 2] (a) Jazz Manouche, Vol. 2
Bacsik plays only (gt) on two other Higelin tracks.

New York – ?1966 [or late 1965] – Produced by Nora Kovach and Istvan Rabovsky
Elek Bacsik (first vn), Joseph Axin (second vn), ? (vl), Louis Kallao (ce), Zoltan Zorandy (pn), Károly Szórádi (cimbalom), Géza Lakatos (sb), Georgina Fodor (soprano vc), Tibor Herdán (baritone vc), dance troupe members (vc, tambourine) incl. Nora Kovach, Istvan Rabovsky (featured dancers)
a Zigani Concert Csardas / Szatmar C. Csardas [medley]
b The Old Gypsy
c Darv Madar fenn Az Egen (Swallows Flying from the Sea)
d Csardas Medley
e Csipd Meg Bogar (Pinch Me, Bug)
f Aria from Csardas Princess
g Kisperes Falu Vegen (At the End of the Village)
h Hungarian Medley
i Cimbalom Medley
j Verbunkos (The Dance)
Audio Fidelity ?AF6158 Nora Kovach and Istvan Rabovsky’s Zigani Ballet, The Hungarian Gypsy Orchestra
Audio Fidelity AFSD6158 Nora Kovach and Istvan Rabovsky’s Zigani Ballet, The Hungarian Gypsy Orchestra
Uncredited personnel courtesy Zoltan Zorandy. The orchestra is depicted on the LP cover. ¶ “The instrumentation was a version of a Hungarian gypsy band: Elek as lead violinist, second violin, viola, cello, bass, cimbalom, piano. Also two singers, a baritone and a soprano and some members of the dance troupe (one with a tambourine) who supplied some shouting etc. Nora Kovacs and Istvan Rab were the featured dancers (both previous stars at the Hungarian State Opera House ballet corps) appearing at a night club in Manhattan (similar to the Lido on Champs Elysees). I was working at that time in a Hungarian night club called Chardas in New York. I played there with Elek when he substituted quite a few times for the lead violinist. On some of those occasions he picked up the bass and we had a little jam session late at night when few guests remained. He had fantastic technique on all string instruments bowing jazz on the bass also on cello. He also plaid the cimbalom quite well.” – Zoltan Zorandy email to Steven Jambot (10 June 2005). ¶ “Arrangements: No! We did not even know what he’s [Bacsik’s] going to start to play or do next in the live recording. He just started and everybody followed. The Chardas Restaurant was at 307 E 79th Street in the Yorkville (Hungarian–German) section of Manhattan. Its heyday was in the years 1954–1959 when it was one of the “in” places in New York. As a Hungarian refugee of 1956 (age 24) I started to play there in September 1957 until 1962 with lead violinists Rudi Surányi, Kálmán Banyák (a phenomenal violinist) and Elemér Horváth and returned there in 1965–1967 with Béla Babai, another very fine musician (made recordings with him too and played with him as a duo at Jacqueline Kennedy's apartment on 3 occasions in 1966–67, the first of which was an occasion of the birthday of Mathias ?, New York correspondent of Paris Match and frequent companion of the widow, he sang some Hungarian songs for the party)” – Zoltan Zorandy email to Steven Jambot (11 June 2005).

Unreleased VOA tapes are deposited at LC of Radio City Music Hall 29 June 1974 Jam Session “Jam for Duke” incl. Bacsik (vn), vitarist (electric violinist) John Blair, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Owens, Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, among many others on “Take the ‘A’ Train”. ¶The 3 July 1972 Newport in New York ’72 at the same location, incl. Gillespie, Blair, Mary Lou Williams, found first release on LP Cobblestone.

Las Vegas, Paradise Road – Duke’s [Proprietor Horst Duke] – Recorded by Bob Morgan – 1974
Charlie McLean on (c-g) only (as), Elek Bacsik (vn), Gus Mancuso on (a,b,e-g), (pn), Bob Morgan on (c,d) only (gt), Chuck Kovacs (sb), Tommy Vig (dm)
a Stella by Starlight
b What Is This Thing Called Love?
c Walkin’
d I’ll Remember April
e Mr P. C. (Coltrane)
f I Remember You
g Indian Summer
The auditioned mono copy was edited, partly for reasons of space, for violinist Bus Boyk by Bob Morgan who recorded the four-track master stereo tape whose current whereabouts is unknown and which may be irretrievable lost. Parts of titles and possibly a complete title or two are missing. There is occasional voice-over commentary by Morgan whose introduction reveals that he had previously taken part in a commercial recording session with Bacsik, both playing guitar, apparently with Andy Williams. ¶Morgan announces the musicians but the pianist’s name is unclear. ¶Morgan plays Bacsik’s guitar and expresses dissatisfaction with his contribution.

Las Vegas – ?Duke’s – Recorded by Bob Morgan – 1974
Rick Davis (ts), Elek Bacsik (vn), John Palmer on (a) only, Don Overberg on (b,c) only (gt), Mo Scarazzo (sb), Santo Savino (dm)
a It Could Happen to You
b Dearly Beloved
c Unidentified [?untitled] blues riff (?Bacsik) – beginning only – auditioned copy cuts off
Location is not stated but dispensing with piano may suggest Duke’s because the piano there on the previous session is quite out of tune. ¶Morgan announces the musicians but the bassist’s name is unclear. ¶It is unclear whether the auditioned copy made by Bob Morgan for Bus Boyk represents the complete stereo recording. The current wherabouts of the master tape is unknown and it may be irrretrievably lost.

Las Vegas – Four Queens Casino and Hotel Lounge – Recorded by Bob Morgan – Bacsik talks – 1974
Elek Bacsik (vn), ? on (a,b,e-g) only (pn), ? on (a,b,e-g only) only (sb), ? on (a-c,e-g) only (dm)
a A Foggy Day in London Town
b Oh, Lady, Be Good!
c Unidentified [?untitled] uptempo free improvisation (Bacsik)
d Bacsik’s Bull’s-Eyes (Bacsik) – unacc. classical style composition with bow wrapped round the violin ą la Venuti
e Unidentified [?untitled] classical style ballad improvisation (?Bacsik)
f Tricotism (Pettiford) – incl. Take the ‘A’ Train quote
g Unidentified familiar ballad
It is unclear whether the auditioned copy made by Bob Morgan for Bus Boyk represents the complete part-mono part-stereo (faulty) recording. The current wherabouts of the master tape is unknown and it may be irretrievably lost.

Las Vegas – Paradise Park – March 1976 – Recorded by Bob Morgan – considerable close audience talk over the music
Blue Mitchell (tp), Harold Land (ts), Elek Bacsik (vn), Hampton Hawes (el pn), Leroy Vinnegar (sb), Santo Savino (dm)
a Autumn Leaves
b Unidentified title (?Hawes) – incl. Groovin’ High and Willow Weep for Me quotes by Bacsik
. [Some Day My Prince Will Come] – Hawes, Vinnegar, Savino only
c Bag’s Groove
(a-c,+. )
This is the complete stereo tape courtesy Bob Morgan’s stepson Michael Measure.

Bacsik is present in the string section on an Elvis Presley session and plays guitar on another.

Las Vegas and/or Los Angeles – 1970s–1980s
Bacsik was first violin and concertmaster with Wayne Newton for more than a decade in Las Vegas and on tour. He surely plays violin on some unidentified Newton recordings.

Las Vegas – Oakdale Studios – 1987
Elek Bacsik [as Mr Elbak] (overdubbed vn, gt), Jerome Butch Baldassari (mandolin), Rudy Aikels (sb)
a Angel Eyes
b Nuages
Cactus CT103 (a,b) Butch Baldassari, What’s Doin’ – also released on MC
Bacsik and Aikels do not play on other titles, which variously include other musicians. ¶Private tapes are extant of Bacsik giving Baldassari tuition in improvisation.

Las Vegas – ?1980s
? (tb), Elek Bacsik (vn), ? (pn), ? (sb), ? (dm)
a unkown itles
The tape is in the possession of Butch Baldassari although currently it cannot be located.

Québec – Pub St Alexandre – 1 August 1989
Elek Bacsik (vn), Gérard Hebert (pn), ? (sb), ? (dm)
a Unidentified bop improvisation (?Bacsik) – incl. many quotes
. [Milestones] – Bacsik out
b Summertime
c You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To
. [A Night in Tunisia] – Bacsik out
[Some Day My Prince Will Come – incl. Louise quote] – Bacsik out
(all titles) courtesy Jack Peaker

Elek Bacsik (vn), ? (el pn), ? (sb)
Québec – Bar l’ň Propos – June 1991
set 1:
a Pennies from Heaven
b Fly Me to the Moon
c Misty
d There Will Never Be Another You
e The Theme [sign-off fragment]
set 2:
f It’s Only a Paper Moon
g Autumn Leaves
h You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To
i Somebody Loves Me
j How High the Moon
(all titles) courtesy Jack Peaker

General Notes

Bacsik played violin with a cellist in a New York Hungarian restaurant early 1966. Later that year he played bouzouki on the West Coast with Armenian violinist Hrach Yacoubian. Bacsik did not play violin with Yacoubian. A 2 December 1966 live recording was released with souvenir program on LP A New World of Sound R2241 A Night with Yacoubian in Fresno

Contrary to previous printed refs., although booked to play the 1984 LA Games Olympic Jazz Festival produced by Tommy Vig in an orchestral duet, composed by Vig, with studio swing violinist Bobby Bruce, Bacsik cancelled and was replaced by Don Palmer on violectra.

Nat Hentoff, “Elek Bacsik: Gypsy/Jazz Soul”, Special Information Bulletin (New York, Flying Dutchman Productions, [c.spring 1974]), press release incl. career profile – not the same as Hentoff’s liner note

László Halper, Zenészlegendák: Legendás történetek, legendás romanazenészekroýl ([Budapest, 2003 or 2004]), incl. chapter “Bacsik Elek” – incl. chapters on other Hungarian violinists

For a summary of Bacsik’s life, with newly discovered information, see the 96-page booklet accompanying AB Fable’s 2005 2CD I Like Be I Like Bop

Research assistance courtesy Butch Baldassari; Bus Boyk; Steven Jambot; Michael Measure; Jack Peaker; Louie Sayegh; Hollis Taylor; Tommy Vig.

see FILM CLIPS fol.


LP Fortune personnel: Julio Bella (vn), Billy Marr (pn) or Marty Kallao (gt) Andy Hallup (sb), Billy Kallao (dm)

Julio Bella’s real name was Julius Margitza, as was his father Bela Ziggy’s. He was born Pittsburgh, 18 July 1934 and died Dearborn, Michigan, 16 April 1988. A cousin is tenor saxophonist Rick Margitza, whose grandfather was a cellist and whose father was a violinist with the Detroit Symphony. A Richard Margitza plays violin on a Rick Margitza Blue Note album – research assistance courtesy Bella’s cousin, Lauren Slepsky; Kevin Coffey.

Note: It had been assumed that Biondi used the name Ray up to the end of the 1940s and Remo thereafter as such appears to be the case in print. However, an autograph signature reading Remo has come to light dated 1938.

new session
A Chicago 1951 four title session by Lee Monti’s Tu Tones (usually a polka band) includes one title with Biondi guesting: his composition “Runaway Fiddle” released on 78 Sharp S34 featuring rockabilly boogie-style violin. Personnel: Remo Biondi (vn), Lee Monti, ? (ac), ? (stgt), ? (sb)

new session
78 Chance 3016, Chicago, 1950s, B-side is Biondi Orchestra “Pizza-Cat-Oh”, a very commercial offering. A-side is Jerry Tyfer (vc) acc. Biondi “Tennessee Whistlin’ Man”.

FB:VIS/iii/10/92; 16 April 1951; Jane Turzy
78 Decca 27622 = 45 Decca 9-27622

FB:VIS/iii/10/88–98; FB:VIS/iv/11,13/updates; New Mostly Non-Violin Sessions
Biondi (gt, md, pc) on 1950s–1960s pop: Ricky Hale w/ Biondi Orchestra 78 Dana; LP Shorty Tunes ST1033 Remo Biondi Stylists; LP Decora Amphora The Velvet Swing of Remo Biondi, with Lavaliers Quintet (1962); w/ Shay Torrent 45 Hearbeat H30;; w/ Earl Backus LP Dot DLP3026 Haunted Guitar; jazz: w/ Russell Procope LP Dot DLP3010 Persuasive Sax of Russ Procope; two w/ Chubby Jackson LP Argo. Further Biondi (non-vn) discoveries generally may not be posted. Biondi also arranged for Larry Paige orchestra, with strings, recordings.

FB:VIS/iii/10/95–96; 21 August 1952; Roosevelt Sykes
CD Delmark DE642 (a–d) Roosevelt Sykes, Raining in My Heart – includes prev. unissued take of (a) on which Biondi is out – (d) take identification differs from prev. discographies sharing same master no. as (c) rather than another title: 1131-9, not 1133-9

FB:VIS/iii/10/64–70; 112–113

International Musician (October 1940) names Clarence Black Sr (vn) with the other members of The Variety Boys transferring from local 208 to Peoria, Illinois local 26. Aural evidence does indeed persuade that Black, not Sanford, plays (vn) on the 15 March 1941 Decca Chicago session. Revised personnel suggested as follows: Bill Sanford (tp, ?vb, pn, sb), George Oldham (cl, ts), Clarence Black (vn, ?vb, ?sb), Kenneth Henderson (gt). Research assistance courtesy Kevin Coffey.

Apparently The Variety Boys 78 Decca 8549 was also released on 78 Decca [?] 93601.

“At the Du Sable there is one of the most even- and biggest-toned violinists around, one Clarence Black, who has been leading bands and gigging around Chicago for years. Raymond Waters, a capable modern pianist who used to play for Lionel Hampton [and for Stuff Smith just before Jimmy Jones], is with Clarence, as is a nondescript bass player.” – Barry Ulanov, “Chicago from Top to Higginbotham”, Metronome (July 1944).

When Clarence Black played with The Sepia Tones during their Chicago engagement he was subbing for Ginger Smock who could not make the trip because of illness.

new feature
there are occcasional items on him in various issues of FB:VIS
Harry Bluestone (vn) recorded four duets with Bobby Sherwood (gt) for Decca, Los Angeles, 16 August 1938 of which only two were released. Three of the titles plus a new title appear for broadcast use on ET Standard Program Library Y-128. They are different recordings by the same duo:
DLA1412–1415: “Am I Blue?”, “Kiddin’ on the Strings” released 78 Decca 2063 by Blue Stone / Bobby Sherwood (note: Blue Stone, not Harry Bluestone), released CD IAJRC CD1017 Guitar Rarities, Vol. One; “Gymnastics”, “I Never Knew” unreleased. “Kiddin’ on the Strings”, “Exactly Like You”, “Am I Blue?”, “I Never Knew” released ET Standard Program Library Y-128.

new feature

Information is sought about hot violinist Bill Brown featured with Robert Maxwell (hp) on “The Man I Love” on AFRS broadcast Jubilee, no. 171, Hollywood, c.January 1945, released CD Jubilee [Storyville] [DK] 5010001 The Jubilee Shows, nos 96, 171. Maxwell recorded with Joe Venuti for Tempo in 1949 as did Jimmy Briggs (fl) also featured on this title. Personnel in Lotz/Neuert, repeated on the CD, is in error.


FB:VIS/4/13/6; 1965 ; Nashville Hermitage Session
Brown is not believed to play (vn) on one title issued only on Hit Sound 14 nor on three unissued titles. In which case of the fiftteen titles, of which one in two takes, recorded for, but mostly originally unissued by, Hermitage, Brown plays (vn) only on “Gate’s Salty Blues” and “A Long Way Home”, both on LP Chess [JP] PLP6012, the latter first released on Hermitage ?869 [?689].


Please visit the Cáceres Discography pdf link above.

“Jig in G” also recorded by Swift Jewel Cowboys with Lefty Ingram (solo vn), Alfredo Cásares (ensemble vn) – aircheck – Memphis, 1938.


new feature

ref. also
FB:VIS/iii/10/63; Creasy and Smock to Jenoure and Cooke: Women Who Improvise on the Violin;
FB:VIS/iv/13/1; Rivera
During the 1930s two women bearing similar names established reputations as violinists relevant to our studies

“She began her musical education at the age of three and appeared as a prodigy from her eighth year into her early teens. She gained national acclaim in 1926 after winning two major violin competitions. The following year she went to the Paris Conservatoire. She married Marcelli in 1937 and continues her musical career today as violinist, composer, and teacher at her private studio in Sunland, California.” – “Ulderico “Rico” Marcelli (Orchestra Leader)” in Charles Stumpf and Tom Price, Heavenly Days! The Story of Fibber McGee and Molly (Waynesville, NC, 1987), 208,274, incl. photo of Call sitting at Don Quinn’s typewriter while he tries his hand with her violin. ¶Call is heard as soloist on The House by the Side of the Road and Fibber McGee and Molly Chicago broadcasts, 1935–1936, when Marcelli led the programs’ house orchestras. She plays popular tunes, incl. Emery Deutsch’s “When a Gypsy Makes His Violin Cry”, and occasional Venuti-esque offerings, though probably from arrangements, not improvised. ¶Creighton, Discopaedia of the Violin, 2nd ed., ref. solo concert violinists, shows one Call recording (vn) acc. Maurice Krombein [not M. Crumbein as given in error by Creighton; both disc and Columbia files give Maurice Krumbein] (pn) recorded New York, 9 April 1937, released on 78 Master MA129 matrices M-377-1/M-378-1: (3) Canterbury Tales (Call): No. 1. To A Lady From Baltimore; No.2. The Bishop Checkmates; No. 3: The Duke Takes A Train. We were thinking the latter must include a reference to Duke Ellington until the discovery of Call’s recording date. Strayhorn’s “Take the ‘A’-Train” was first recorded 1941. Now that we have auditioned the disc we also hear no Ellingtonia, though Call plays “Solitude” on a broadcast. However, Peter Adamson suggests that Strayhorn may been inspired in his title by Call. ¶Metronome (Oct 37), 6, carried a Carl Fischer advertisement for sheet music incl. by Call with her photo: “Novelty Violin Solos / Three New Solos for the Violin / With Piano Accompaniment / By Audrey Call / Concert Violinist, Radio Star, Composer / Serenade to a Cornstalk Fiddle. Violinists who are looking for new and interesting novelty program material will be delighted with this new publication $.50 / Streamline. This medium difficult solo is presented in the truly modern idiom. An interesting and “catchy” program number that includes many double stops $.50 / Witch of Harlem. A very modern solo of medium difficulty, somewhat “tricky” in style. The piano accompaniment is comparatively simple. Numerous shadings and unusual dynamics $.50.” ¶Fischer also published Call’s Canterbury Tales. ¶Further identified sheet music with words and music by Call is “I Just Telephone Upstairs” (NY, Lion, 1952) from the radio program Halls of Ivy. Call was first violinist with the show’s orchestra directed by Henry Russell. “I Just Telephone Upstairs” was broadcast in the episode Minister’s Son, 21 November 1951. ¶“Boomer the Bass Drum” is a children’s story record written by Call featuring Two Ton Baker, The Merry Music Maker released on 78 Mercury Miniature Playhouse [12”] MMP-11 7022. ¶Compositions by Call registered with ASCAP ACE online database are: “The Bishop Checkmates”, “Indiana Lullaby”, Purple Mood”, “Quick Sands”, “Serenade to a Cornstalk Fiddle”, Witch of Harlem”, i.e. incl. some but not all of those known to be recorded or printed. ¶Audrey Call Marcelli’s Gagliano violin is now owned and played by Geoffry Wharton, leader of Cologne Philharmonic – research assistance courtesy Karl Pearson, Jim Prohaska, Geoffry Wharton.

see FILM CLIPS fol.

[. . .] some time in the mid forties you had an all-girl string section.” / “I had twelve girls. I wanted to try something different because all the big bands were trying something different. I had a band already: four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, so I wanted to add something else. So I talked to, I forgot this guy’s name now, in New York, and he said, Well, I’ve got a bunch of girls that I’m rehearsing all the time. I said, Fine. So what have you got? He said, Well, I can get you three violins, a viola, a cello, a harp, a guitar . . . let me see, no, there were four violins, two violas, that’s what it was, and cello, bass, about twelve, twelve girls. The number we used was [scats the melody] ‘Holiday for Strings’ and all that. So we started it out and people said, Oh, man, what is this? You know, people didn’t know, didn’t realize we had a girl, a terrific harpist. She was great! And a girl played cello. And I had a girl played first violin named Angel [Creasy]. And she was like, sounded like Eddie South. Very good. So it went along for a while but it was just too much to carry on the road. Too much. Too many people. We had some baggage with the harp, the bass fiddle, the tympany, the drums, the cello. And everytime the train was starting, Oh, no, I can’t take all these, you know, it was just too much. And I had to give it up.” – Earl Hines interviewed by Anthony Baldwin (Tokyo, Grand Palace Hotel, 7 September 1978) – reseach assistance courtesy Anthony Baldwin – see also Dance, The World of Earl Hines, incl. photo.

Audrey Hall [Petroff] played violin and reeds. She studied in Illinois and Chicago. She is interviewed and her career profiled in depth in Sally Placksin, American Women in Jazz, 1900 to the Present (NY, 1982), 78–82, et al. She recorded on (rd) with Ina Ray Hutton in 1934. No recordings by her on (vn) are known. Hall broadcast on (vn) in a duet with unknown (gt) as “The Tabasco Twins” in a Venuti–Lang vein on LA station KMTR, c.1933. No airchecks are known. She was invited by Venuti to tour Europe with him as lead reed player but had already committed herself to the Hutton band – research assistance courtesy Jim Loeffler.

Maud Jones was violinist in the orchestra of pianist Fred Tunstall, incl. Herb Fleming (tb), acc. blues singer Lucille Hegamin at Shuffle Inn, NY (NYA, 26 Nov 21).

See name entry fol.

Sophia Rubinoff, also known as The Sepia Rubinoff, was violinist resident at the Silver Dollar, NY (NYA, 24 Nov; 8 Dec 34).

Trumpetist and vocalist Valaida Snow performed as a violinist in the 1910s.



FB:VIS/ii/9/83–97; Strings
A year after Sam Caplan wrote his Down Beat beef about big band string sections he formed a quintet with sometime Stuff Smith pianist Deryck Sampson (pn), Chuck Wayne (gt), Frenchy Cauette (sb), Jimmy Dee (dm) – Mix, “The Sam Caplan Quintet, Reviewed at the Three Deuces, NYC” in “Small Combo Jazz Progresses” (DB, 18 Jun 47), 17, incl. Gottlieb photo, and a reply by Caplan

new feature

Mac Ceppos was a commercial violinist who sometimes crops up in a jazz context. He recorded with Al Lentz in 1926; with Bert Lown’s Hotel Biltmore Orchestra 1930–1933; with Chick Bullock’s orchestra, replacing Joe Venuti, in 1935; and with Phil Napoleon in a string section in 1937. During the late 1930s and the 1940s he was the featured violinist in Merle Pitt’s Five Shades of Blue, in which Pitt himself played ensemble violin, which broadcast on WNEW and recorded transcriptions for Associated, Lang–Worth, World and Thesaurus and soundtracks for Soundies. Ceppos led a recording orchestra, in which he plays obbligatos, on numerous sessions for RCA Victor accompanying country singers, other than those similar contemporary sessions which include Eddie South. Ceppos also led commercial recording orchestras incl. strings accompanying vocalists for De Lux, Gala, and Philadelphia’s 20th Century Records for whom he also recorded under his own name (“Guitar Polka”/“Charlie the Bear”). In the late 1940s Ceppos and Pitt were members of Axel Stordahl’s orchestra backing Frank Sinatra. During the 1950s he occasionally crops up in orchestral string sections on jazz-tinged recordings, incl. Wild Bill Davison’s 1957 Columbia album With Strings Attached; and, with Harry Lookofsky, Gene Orloff, Sylvan Shulman, on one of Erroll Garner’s 1957 Columbia sessions. His claims to consideration as a swing improviser are two extant airchecks. The first, ?WNEW, apparently ?c.December 1938 on the basis of a Make Believe Ballroom Ellington fragment of known date on the same acetate, finds him sitting in with an unidentified group incl. (tb), (cl) on “St Louis Blues”. The second, WNEW, 15 January 1944, finds him sitting in, together with the rhythm section from the Five Shades of Blue, also the rhythm section in Pitt’s WNEW house orchestra, with Roy Eldridge, Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard and Coleman Hawkins in a pre-Esquire concert jam session hosted by Leonard Feather. Timme Rosenkrantz is also in the studio. Part of the broadcast was released on LP, giving unidentified (vn), but almost all of the broadcast is extant with Ceppos announced. He is revealed as a frenetic improvisor with phrasing and tone somewhat reminiscent of Emilio Cáceres but with an uncomfortable end of phrase vibrato shake and without Cáceres’ control. It is regrettable that, for example, Stuff Smith, who was in Chicago at the time, or Eddie South, was not on hand for this jam session instead. In fact, the session is pretty well wrecked by a leaden tub-thumping rhythm section and both Ceppos and Terry Snyder (dm), perhaps over-excited at the company they are keeping, lose the tempo on more than one occasion.

The Charmer was the professional name of 1950s Bostonian calypso singer and violinist Louis Eugene Walcott, who became Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The Charmer’s recordings on 78 Monogram with the Virgin Islands Johnny McCleverty’s Calypso Boys are collected on CD Bostrox 9908 The Charmer is Louis Farrakhan, Calypso Favorites, 1953–1954, including an unusual, accomplished violin instrumental “Trinidad Road March”. An aircheck of Walcott’s telecast classical violin performance with interview on Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour at the age of sixteen is released on VIDEO Final Call Documentary & Concert Performances – see

see FILM CLIPS fol.


FB:VIS/iv/13/6; Dootone
Read Dootone 301: Danny Boy/It’s You In My Heart, not just It’s You . . .
[Dootone 302 not by or with Creach]
Read: Dootone 303 . . . 1952, not 393 . . . 1956
Read Dootone 310: Neither You Nor I Are to Blame, not . . . Am to Blame


new session
Al Duffy (vn), Adrian Rollini (vb), Frank Victor (gt), ?–Nat Levine (dm)
New York, December 1937
a Nagaski
ET Associated Recorded Program Service 60,510-B [matrix AA-1752-A-3] – three other titles by Rollini without Duffy – coupling unassociated

new session
Al Duffy (vn), Adrian Rollini (vb), Frank Victor (gt), ?–Nat Levine (dm)
New York, ?c.December 1937
a Dark Eyes
b Sweet Sue
c Violin Interlude
ET Associated Transcription 537 – three other titles by Rollini without Duffy

new session
Charlie Teagarden (tp), Jack Teagarden (tb), Sal Franzella (cl), Art Drelinger (ts), Al Duffy (vn), Irving Brodsky (pn), Art Ryerson (gt), Art Miller (sb), Rollo Laylan (dm), Paul Whiteman (md)
Sudio – WNEW – broadcast – Saturday Night Swing Club
New York – 7 May 1938
a Jazz Me Blues
b ’S Wonderful
LP Fanfare 7-107 (a,b) Jack Teagarden with Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, 1936–1937–1938 – a December 1938 broadcast “I Got Rhythm” on this LP features the swinging strings quartet probably arranged by Duffy (no violin solo) with the orchestra

new session
Al Duffy (vn), Adrian Rollini (vb), Frank Victor (gt), Harry Clark (sb), ? (dm)
New York – ?–late 1939
a Alexander’s Ragtime Band
b Crazy Rhythm
c China Town
ET World Transcription Service V-21 (a)
ET World Program Service WM-1121 (b)
ET World Program Service 391 (c)
CD Vintage Music Productions (a-c) Adrian Rollini, Trio, Quartet and Quintet, 1936–1947 – Duffy does not play on other titles contrary to the liner notes

new session
Duffy is featured on “Two Guitars” – AFRS Georgia Gibbs–Paul Whiteman Show, No. 3 – 20 May 1945.

new session
Duffy is featured on “Kiddin’ on the Fiddle”, the only known extant performance of his 1927 self-published composition – ABC broadcast The Paul Whiteman Hour – 29 September 1946

new session
Al Duffy (vn), Adrian Rollini (vb), (gt, elgt), (sb), (dm)
New York – between 1944 and 1948 [the date 03/26/48 etched into the disc may denote a processing but not recording date]
a Take It Easy
b That’s a Plenty
ET World Program Service WM-1987 (a)
ET World Program Service WM-1988 (b)
NOTE WM numbers are on same disc. Other titles on this disc side by Rollini without Duffy.The disc is coupled with Eddie Stone Orchestra.

FB/VIS/i/7/2; 31 January 1938; Decca
78 Decca [CN] 1683 = Decca 1683

FB/VIS/i/7/2; 15 November 1938; 5 March 1939; 25 March 1939; Whiteman Swingin Strings
78 Brunswick [DR] A82047 (a,b from 15 November)
CD IAJRC CD1018 (all titles) Guitar Rarities, Vol. 2, 1933–1947 – this release establishes correct personnels given erroneously in FB:VIS – however, the title given, apparently correctly, in FB:VIS as matrix 65274-A, 5 March 1939, derived from Ruppli Decca Discography, is given, incorrectly but understandably, by IAJRC as 65294-A, 25 March 1939, which matrix was used for an unrelated session on 28 March 1938 – Tony Gattuso (gt) is apparently more correct orthography than Gottuso, although he used both forms.

FB:VIS/i/7/3; 5 May 1944; Musicraft
LP Allegro Elite [10] 4026 (all eight titles) Al Duffy’s Hot Fiddle Classics and His Rhthymakers = LP Sparton [?] ? (all eight titles)
LP Royale [10] 18133 (all eight titles) Hot Jazz Fiddlin’ Around by the Rhythmasters – Duffy’s name nowhere to be found

LP Royale [10] 18123 (c,f,g,j) Sunny Gale and Jazz Orchestra – Duffy on side B – his name nowhere to be found
EP Royale EP366 (c,e,f,i) Hot Jazz Fiddling by the Rhythmasters – Duffy’s name nowhere to be found

Duffy is a member of the string section on 1950s LP Decca Leon Merian Orchestra, The Magic Horn

FB:VIS/iii/111–112; update iv/11/110

The pianist, and composer of some titles, is Allan Nurse who also wrote arrangements for Count Basie and Noble Sissle, among others. The violinist and other members remain unidentified. Research assistance courtesy Nurse’s grandson Mwalim. Mabel Robinson also recorded with Nurse for Ebony in 1945.

The late pianist–vocalist Mabel Robinson of Boston revealed that she was not the singer of that name who recorded with the 4 Blackamoors. Nor are the other members of Eddie Bryant and His Dukes of Rhythm who played with Robinson of Boston present, contrary to our suggestion. Research assistance courtesy Brent Banulis, New England Jazz Alliance.

new feature
In 1940 Varsity released three discs by the Antone–Gibbs Quartet, comprising violin, guitar, rhythm guitar, string bass. Five titles are by the Quartet, of which three include Don Coster (vc). The sixth title is by Anthony Antone (born Antonelli) alone. In 1949 New York guitarist Antone published his Encyclopedia of Guitar Chords. The rather mediocre violinis, presumably, is Gibbs, first name unknown. The discs are an uneasy mix of swing and pop.


GEORGE BARNES ACETATES [full details will be posted in due course]
Benny Gill (vn), George Barnes (gt), others on some titles

Chicago – 1941
a – several titles
AT Barnes [78 double-sided] [10] (a) – issued 2013 as mp3 downloads
NOTE Gill was a member of Vaughn Monroe’s string section under concertmaster Harry Bluestone on Camel Caravan broadcasts in 1949. In 1956 he recorded half an album in a string quartet accompanying Bud Shank and Bob Cooper. In 1957 he was a member of the string section on Phineas Newborn’s album While My Lady Sleeps. In 1958 he recorded in a twenty-piece string section, also incl. Lou Raderman, Murray Kellner, and Marshall Sosson – see SOSSON fol., with Stan Kenton. Other recordings include with Henry Mancini and with Percy Faith Strings. Gill is an identified or unidentified soloist on numerous LA soundtracks and commercial recordings. ¶Henry Roth, Violin Virtuosos, From Paganini to the 21st Century (LA, 1997), p.254, includes Benny Gill, in a cursory survey of jazz and popular violinists under the rubrick “Lou Raderman”, as a violinist in the commercial field deserving mention.


new feature

Paul Balmer, Stéphane Grappelli, With and Without Django (London, Sanctuary, 2003), 428pp, effusive, wistful, overblown, lost-opportunity hagiography, derived from conversations with Grappelli and associates, masquerading as truth; heavy on latter-day UK anecdote, instrusive author photos, peculiar selected discography/bibliography; numerous elementary errors, e.g., name forms incl. Grappelli’s Italian first name and Reinhardt’s first name, and more complex errors, e.g., George Shearing did not compose “Lullaby of Broadway” but “Lullaby of Birdland”; Waclaw Niemczyk was not the classical recording nom-de-musique of Michel Warlop (a canard presumably picked up from Grove Jazz, 2nd ed.) but an entirely different violinist who recorded in Paris for the same company as Warlop and who lived and taught in England long after Warlop had died. His recordings are indexed in Creighton—no Warlop Namechange he. The author is the director of DVD Stéphane Grappelli, A Life in the Jazz Century – see FILM CLIPS fol.



Howard was almost certainly mistaken in his recollection that he played violin with Morton on 16 December 1926. Both Omer Simeon and Clarence Black, the other violinist, independently confirmed that it was indeed J. Wright Smith.

Although credited to Hines, arranger Mundy was the true composer of “Cavernism”.

“Cavernism” was reprised by the Billy May Orchestra with Marshall Sosson (vn) c.1969/1970 for Time/Life The Swing Era – see SOSSON fol.

“Cavernism” was recorded as “Cavernismo” by Chilean violinist Hernan Oliva w/ Santa Maria Jazz Band, Buenas Aires, c.1977 on LP Redondel [AR] SL10518 Hernan Oliva, El mundo espera la solida del sol [The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise]

”Another veteran, Darnell Howard, who played that famous fiddle solo on Earl Hines’ ‘Cavernism’, leads a trio at the Pershing Lounge, the grooviest bar in Chicago. Darnell plays more clarinet than fiddle, which is a shame, because his bowing and fingering are outstanding; his blowing is just old-fashioned.” – Barry Ulanov, “Chicago from Top to Higginbotham”, Metronome (July 1944).


– see also silver page Jenkins link

FB:VIS/iii/10/34; Bibliography
Carl E. Baugher, Turning Corners, The Life and Music of Leroy Jenkins (Redwood, NY, Cadence Jazz Books, 2000), 150pp, essential biography and musical analysis – an unreleased recording by the Revolutionary Ensemble of a Jenkins’ composition “Black Gypsy” may be related to South’s composition of that title
Robert Hicks, “Stagings, Steps to an Ecology of Dance”, Jazziz, vol. 10, no. 4 (Gainsville, FL, July 1993), 68–71,80, survey of jazz ballet incl. consideration of Jenkin’s opera The Mother of Three Sons in collaboration with choreographer Bill T. Jones and librettist Ann T. Greene


FB:VIS/ii/9; & updates

The sixteen-piece youth orchestra of which Lookofsky was a member in St Louis was led by pianist and arranger Ted Straeter.

CD Collectables COL-CD-7792 Harry Lookofsky, Stringsville

Of curiosity interest, Harry Lookofsky is heard sparingly in a background septet led by Herbie Mann on LP Atlantic SD1367 This Is My Beloved, Spoken by Laurence Harvey, from the Book by Walter Benton recorded/edited 1960/1961.

FB:VIS/ii/9/5; 1954; Harry Lookofsky Strings
CD Columbia 4811330 (a) Jazz Bass

Down Beat
(1 Jun 55) reported Lookofsky “set to do another album of multi-tracking jazz violining for Epic” but no second Epic album materialized.

Dick Cary told Floyd Levin that he wrote a twelve minute “concerto” for Lookofsky to play with Paul Whiteman. If this was realized—there is no information from Lookofsky that it was—it is likely to have been a c.1953 ABC broadcast.


FB:VIS/ii/9/68–70; Ray Nance and Ben Webster
Further Webster lacquers, without Nance, on which Webster plays tenor and piano are extant, seemingly recorded around the same time as those with Nance. On one side Webster is heard talking about the recording of the lacquers in Hollywood. Webster biographer, and new custodian of the Webster archive, Frank Büchmann-MŅller, and Webster discographer Heinz Baumeister, believe the strong bassist heard on some Webster–Nance lacquers is Jimmy Blanton, not Junior Raglin. We are inclined to agree. This would place the recordings before Blanton’s hospitalization on 3 November 1941, not in December 1941 as suggested by the proximity of the Roosevelt Pearl Harbour airchecks.


new session
Paul Nero (vn), Harry Volpe (gt), Richard von Holberg (sb)
New York – NBC Blue Network – Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street – Gino Hamilton mc – 7 July 1940
a Bachie-Wachie (Bach, ar. Nero) – boogie-woogie treatment incorporating first four bars of first movement (Preludio) of Bach’s “Partita No. 3 in E-major” from Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin
b Take Off (Nero) – from Solo Flight suite recorded for Decca, 6 August 1940
ET – NBC tape copy deposited at LC.
NOTE Program also features Gino Hamilton; Paul Lavelle; Henry Levine; Dinah Shore. ¶There must be a strong possibility that Volpe and Holberg are the musicians on Nero’s 78 Decca album Solo Flight recorded the following month – research assistance courtesy David G. Martin

new session
Paul Nero (vn), Alexander D. Richardson (pn), Joel Stone (sb)
New York – WNYC broadcast – annual American Music Festival – produced by Al Andersen ?February 1946
a JF7003-A Concerto for Hot Fiddle [second, slow movement] (Nero) – truncated at least on 78 – recapitulation and coda probably edited out
b JF7004-A A Bird in the Hand [aka The Hot Canary] (Nero) – first identified recording of The Hot Canary
ET State Department Cultural Affairs Division for rebroadcast in South America – release details unknown
78 Stinson album 777 – disc 777-2 (a); disc 777-3 (b) Albert Black and Al Andersen Present American Jazz Festival Album Number One – disc 777-1 by Kaye Bros Orchestra coupled Vin Roddie (pn); 772-2 and 777-3 coupled Kay Bros Orchestra – album notes by Al Andersen – research assistance courtesy LC; David G. Martin
NOTE Liner reads: “ ‘Bird in the Hand’ is based on one of the sections from Paul Nero’s Animal Jam Suite

new sessions

Paul Nero orchestra incl. string section, Buddy Stewart (vc), Paul Villepigue (ar)
New York – c.late 1946
a ? Time Out for Love (Villepigue, ?–Ralph Bess) – Stewart (vc) – unreleased test
b ? Summertime – currently unplayable – instrumentation status unknown – probably the same session as (a) – unreleased test
c ? Gliding Dance of the Maidens from Polovtsian Dances (Borodin) [later, 1953, aka Stranger in Paradise] – instrumental – (cl) feature – status unclear – possibly a Nero orchestra but possibly later and LA – unreleased test
78 test (a) – scheduled on unreleased Nero 69002 coupled with title from session fol.
78 tests (b,c) – unreleased
NOTE Possibly the same orchestra as that on Nero’s V-Disc session, with the addition of string section.

Harold Gomberg (ob), Paul Nero, Eric Siday (vn), Dave Schwartz (vl), Isadore Izzy Gusikoff (ce), Doc Goldberg (sb), Paul Villepigue (ar), Buddy Stewart (vc)
New York – December 1946
a 1 Was It Infatuation? (Ulanov, Nero) – Stewart (vc) – released – sheet music published by Nero Music
b 2 Kilroy Really Was Here! (Murray Kilroy Kane) – Stewart (vc) – released
c III Prelude [and Allegro] (Nero) – Gomberg (ob) feature – unreleased test of Prelude – note matrix in Roman numerals
d 4 Has Anyone Told You? (Ralph Bess, Villepigue) – Stewart (vc) – unreleased test
?e ?V [Prelude and] Allegro (Nero) – Gomberg (ob) feature – unlocated unreleased test of Allegro – ?–unrecorded
78 Nero 69001 / 69001-X (a,b) – released
78 test (d) – scheduled on unreleased Nero 69002 coupled with title from session prec.
78 tests (c,?e) – scheduled on unreleased Nero 69003
NOTE Session photo and report in Down Beat (29 January 1947) and review of (a,b) in Down Beat (12 February 1947). ¶To speculate: studio time was short and in order to ensure recording “Has Anyone Told You?”, “Prelude and Allegro” was interrupted, with Allegro ending up not being recorded either at this session or later, thus explaining the curious matrix sequence and extant test of III coupled with 4

Information about unreleased scheduled Nero release nos from both sessions from cover of “Was It Infatuation?” sheet music. Scheduled sheet music of other compositions unpublished – research assistance courtesy Desne Villepigue Ahlers, Dieter Salemann

new session
Paul Nero (vn), ? (gt)
McCormack General Hospital, Pasadena – AFRS Broadcast – Jubilee, No. 277 – Gene Norman mc – ?March 1948 [first broadcast or released 11 June 1948]
a Take Off [as Taking Off in error] (Nero)
b The Hot Canary (Nero)
ET AFRS Jubilee 277 (a,b) Jubilee, No. 277
NOTE Sprited rendering of “Take Off”, the opening composition of Nero’s 1940 78 Decca album Solo Flight (Suite for Hot Fiddle). ¶Carpenter orchestra is not present on “Take Off” despite mc intro to the contrary. ¶The two titles are performed in different parts of the show. ¶Other show performers include Ike Carpenter Orchestra; Sir Lancelot; Jane Thompson.

new session
Paul Nero (vn) acc. Ted Dale and His Orchestra incl. string section
Los Angeles – NBC Broadcast – Carnation Contented Hour – [?–mastering or rebroadcast not necessarily recording date] 3 January 1949
a The Hot Canary (Nero)
ET AFRS Melody Hour 276 (a) Melody Hour, No. 276
NOTE Announcer reveals this is a repeat performance of the tune on the program some months previously. ¶Nero appears also to be a member of the Dale orchestra string section. ¶Other show performers incl. Buddy Clark; Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers.

new session
Los Angeles – ?1949
Paul Nero (vn), Carmen Mastren (gt), Doc Goldberg (sb)
a A-UN 69-1 The Hot Canary (Nero)
b A-UN 69-2 Pitzi-Cats (Nero)
c A-UN 69-3 The Hep Hippo (Nero)
d A-UN 69-4 As the Crow Jumps (Nero)
78 Nero [2] A-UN 69 Paul Nero, Animal Jam
NOTE This is a rerecording on Nero’s own label of the 1946 New York 78 Disc album Animal Jam – see fol. for correction to FB:VIS Disc album entry. ¶Mastren replaces Hy White; Goldberg replaces Irv Whitenack. Programming is different in that the Disc album begins with “Pitzi Cats” and follows with “The Hot Canary”. Nero album liner notes, which include session photos, by Barry Ulanov. ¶“Pitzi-Cats” includes double speed part, as on 78 V-Disc and LP Capitol but not on 78 Disc.

new session
Orchestra incl. Neeley Plumb (as, md), Paul Nero (vn), others unknown
Los Angeles – c.1952
a Yours – Nero ensemble – Kathryne Steele (vc)
b Because You’re Mine – Nero obbligato – Bobby Doyle (vc)
c April in Portugal – Nero solo – Larry Roberts (vc)
d Ruby – Nero solo – instrumental
e The Song from Moulin Rouge – Nero solo – Kathryne Steele (vc)
f Say You’re Mine Again – Nero obbligato – Kathryne Steele, Larry Roberts (vc)
78 Ace-Hi 1010 (a,b)
78 Ace-Hi 1022 (c,d)
78 Music Masters 2007 (c–f) – two titles each side
NOTE These titles have been auditioned by AB &/or David G. Martin. Plumb and the vocalists given above also recorded at least on Ace-Hi 78 &/or 45 1003, 1008, 1010, 1019, 1020, 1022, 1024, 1025 and it is assumed that Nero is present on these. ¶Matrices and recording order are not currently known.

new session
Orchestra with string section incl. Paul Nero (solo vn), Lew Raymond (md)
Los Angeles – ?1956
a When the White Lilacs Bloom Again
78 Tops R292 (a) – “4 Hits On Each Record” – two titles each side – Nero’s feature is side B track 1 – other titles feature other artists with the Raymond Orchestra – it is not known whether Nero is a member of the ensemble string section

FB:VIS/iii/10/100; Broadcasts
Among other broadcasts: Nero’s appearance(s) on Chesterfield Supper Club may have been as a member of Paul Weston Orchestra, c.1948 – all shows are believed to be on ET. Lucky Strike Hit Parade is in fact Your Hit Parade – some shows on ET; others as airchecks. Hollywood Music Hall 5 January 1952

FB:VIS/iii/10/100–101; c.autumn 1946
78 Disc [2] 624 – 6033 (a [matrix 451] Pitzi-Cats, b [matrix 452] The Hot Canary); 6034 (c [matrix 453 The Hip [not Hep] Hippo, d [matrix 454] As the Crow Jumps) Paul Nero, Animal Jam – David Stone Martin album cover – matrix nos suggest 1946 recording; individual disc catalogue nos suggest early 1947 release; the discs may have been released individually as well as in the album. ¶Apparently, 78 Baronet [SD] 48506 release of “The Hot Canary” is credited (Zamecnick, Nero).

FB:VIS/iii/10/101–102; c.September 1946 [now ?October 1946]
Arranger of the Ellington Medley is Paul Villepigue, not Nero. ¶According to Metronome (November 1946) Nero recorded seven V-Disc titles “last month”, though this number not borne out by Sears. Apparently it was a ten-piece orchestra of mainly ex-Johnny Bothwell men. Aurally, trombonist is believed to be Dick Kenney and pianist Ike Carpenter. Research assistance courtesy Desne Villepigue Ahlers.

FB:VIS/iii/10/103–104; 19 April 1950
78 Capitol CC236 [3] (a-e,g [not f,h] Nero Fiddles, Conversation Pieces by Paul Nero and His Entourage – boxed set of 3 x 78s =
45 Capitol 236 [3] – boxed set of 3 x 45s – omitting (f,h) but bearing same release no. and album title as LP Capitol [10] H236 (a–h [all titles]) whose cover lists only six instead of all eight titles since it is an affixed repro of the 45 boxed set cover – special effects incl. echo passages and also a passage on (h) “Pitzi-Cats” played back at double recording speed similar to gimmick on some of Nero’s earlier recordings of the title.

FB:VIS/iii/10/104–105; 8 June 1951
45 Capitol F1859 (a,c) – matric suffixes -N1, not -D1 as on 78
Matrices 7640 and 7642 are unreleased

FB:VIS/iii/10/105; Rhythm Records
Rhythm Records read copyright 1945, probably a label design copyright, certainly not a recording date. Gart gives a Rhythm Records distributed by Modern Records, active in Hollywood from at least early 1946 but gives Nero’s own Rhythm Records active, with relevant release numbers 1002 and 1003, in Hollywood in 1952. A July 1952 Metronome article [see bibliography fol.] about the formation of a Nero group with very similar personnel, but which does not mention the recordings, suggests a recording date perhaps slightly later than July 1952. 1002 and 1003 are also known with white labels designated “Exploitation” release. Rhythm Records 1001 is by Four Hits and a Miss with Neeley Plumb “Keep Your Eyes on the Road” coupled Martha Mears with Plumb “Mr Bakaleinikoff”. Nero does not play on this disc though he recorded with Plumb for Ace-Hi – see prev. ¶Composer of “Sittin’ ’Neath the Willow Tree” is given as Anita Nero, though she is understood to have been eight years old at the time. ¶Composers of “The Do-Do Song” are Nero, Allman. ¶Recording date now established as 22 April 1952 – Bud Shank’s activity log courtesy James Harrod

FB:VIS/iii/10/105–106; LP Skylark
Probable date and location, a Tuesday on or after 20 May 1952, The Haig, where Nero held weekly jam sessions – research assistance James Harrod

New Bibliographical Entries
Evelyn Ehrlich, “Strings Are Thing Krupa Fiddler Says”, Down Beat (Chicago, 1 February 1945), 3, biographical sketch of Nero which confirms duration of his 1944–1945 membership of Krupa’s strings incl. tour despite omission from discographies incl. Lord
Barry Ulanov, “Paul Nero, He Fiddles While Snobs Burn”, Metronome (New York, April 1946), ?, positive in-depth review of Nero’s 9 March 1946 Town Hall concert
Francis X. Ryan, “Musical Notes”, Popular Hit Songs Magazine, ii/1 (New York, April 1947), 23, short profile of Nero and reason his forming publishing and recording company Nero Music, Inc, incl. photo
anon., “Nero’s Five Commandments”, Down Beat (Chicago, 14 July 1948), 9, Nero forms twelve-piece “new music” band at Royal Palms Hotel, LA, under sponsorship of Westlake College of Music
anon., “Nero Still Fiddling”, Metronome (New York, July 1952), ?, report of formation of Nero group with very similar personnel to that found on his Rhythm Records releases – issue also includes unassociated photo of Nero seated with others at San Diego station KCBQ
Paul Nero, “Nero Fiddles with Jazz in Chamber Group Format”, Down Beat (Chicago, 2 May 1956), 15,31, autobiographical sketch, brief ruminations on Venuti, Nance, education, and the organizing of Nero’s Hi-Fiddles, incl. photo – photo is that already reproduced in FB:VIS incl. Rolly Bundock (sb)

Further identified Nero studio sessions incl. w/ orchestras acc. Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters; Frankie Laine; as K. P. Nero w/ Spade Cooley, 20 July 1950 RCA Victor, as part of a three-violin section with Cooley and Billy Hill.

In 1951 a piano roll QRS 8723 was released of “The Hot Canary” played by J. Lawrence Cook.

– research assistance courtesy Joe Vito, Alfred Ticoalu, Russ Otvos, John Bajo

Hal Otis born Harold Otvos, February 1922; died October 1973.

new session
Hal Otis (vn, voice intro), ?–Bob Ahern (gt), ?–Max Wayne (sb)
Home recordings, ?Manitowoc, WS, ?–October or November 1946 [or later but no later than 1949 after which Otis used (ac) not (gt) in his trio]
a Sweet Georgia Brown – take A
b Honeysuckle Rose – take A
c Sweet Georgia Brown – take B – flawed cut – three tiny skips
d Honeysuckle Rose – take B
78 DuoDisc lacquer (a,b)
78 DuoDisc lacquer (c,d)
All four sides have different Otis voice intro greetings to Gene. Otis hopes Gene gets out of hospital and back home soon so they can have a session. ¶Possible chronology of the titles/takes is based on the wording of the greetings. ¶The mailing label, which does not show a date, on the box in which the discs were discovered reads from Melvin H. Timmers, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, to Eugene F. Gerbinsky, patient in the Kabat–Kaiser Institute, Vallejo, CA. Kabat–Kaiser Institute was founded in 1946 and specialized in neurology. Eugene Gerbinsky was buried in Manitowoc in 1950. ¶Ahern was a member of the Otis trio at least in 1945 and Wayne at least 1945–1947. ¶Otis was resident at the Gourmet, Racine, WS, second half of October closing 3 November 1946. Surely he played other contemporary engagements in WS. ¶The trio with Ahern and Wayne was featured with the Stan Kenton orchestra June–July 1945. ¶Discs purchased in November 2008 by Alfred Ticoalu from the Phil Nohl, WS, collection of home recordings.

new session
Hal Otis (vn), Joe Vito (ac), Lennie Miller (sb), Nicke Addante (dm)
Chicago – ?–late 1956 [believed released early 1957]
a 45-Z-1303-2 Lover Come Back to Me
b 45-Z-1304-1 Currant Jelly (Pate) – also recorded by Eddie South incl. Pate – label reads “Current Jelly” in error
45 Zale Z1303/1304 (a,b) – DJ not for sale example auditioned
Zale was owned by 1940s World Middleweight Boxing Champion Tony Zale (1913–1997).

full details of FB:VIS/iv/13/8 new titles
Same quintet personnel incl. Johnnie Gray (gt) as LP Westminster Out of Nowhere given in FB:VIS/ii/9/65–66; & subsq. updates
Chicago – late 1957 or very early 1958
a Around the World
b Poinciana
c So In Love
d You Stepped Out of a Dream
e Adios, Marquita Linda
f Snowfall
g Our Waltz
h Dance of the Spanish Onion – TAPE only – no LP release
i Stella by Starlight
j On the Alamo
k Speak Low
l Isn’t It Romantic?
m Lazy Afternoon
n Bess, You Is My Woman Now – TAPE only – no LP release
TAPE – stereo
Westminster/Sonotape SWB7031 (a–e) So In Love; Sonotape SWB7033 (f–j) Snowfall; Sonotape SWB7034 (k–n) Speak Low

Westminster W-PR-6 (a) Previews

Westminster WP6073 (a–g,i–m) Speak Low = stereo WST15035 Music for Hi-Fi Lovers – like Sonotape SWB7034 the LP mono release carries a revealing Jane Mansfield cover while the stereo LP release dispenses with her in favour of a dreamy young couple – no known LP release for (h,n)
Westminster [EP] WPR6 (a) Preview – promo compilation of titles from Westminster LPs by four artists


Marantz STS6111120 (k) Music in the Original Marantz Age

Sonotape SWB7032 Out of Nowhere ex-LP Out of Nowhere
Sonotape SWB7035 The Remarkable Voice of Bea Abbott; 7038 both ex-both-LPs Out of Nowhere; Too, Too Marvelous Bea.
Sonotape SWB7068 Too,Too Marvelous Bea ex-LP Too, Too Marvelous Bea – not all LP Too, Too titles released on tape
Sonotape SWB7071 I Got Rhythm – ex-LP Out of Nowhere
Sonotape SWB7033+SWB7035 also released as 2-direction 4-track tape [release no(s) uncertain] – ?–others too.
Other LP Westminster and Sonotape with Bea Abbott unassociated with Otis.
Joe Vito, not Hal Otis, is the pianist when there is no accordion.

FB:VIS/ii/9/64–65; FB:VIS/iv/13/8; 1951; Dee Gee
United Sound Studios, Detroit, ?October 1951.
Matrix 2002 is Just Squeeze Me (But Please Don’t Tease Me) (Ellington, Gaines) [aka Subtle Slough (Ellington)], not Squeeze Me
(Waller, Williams) as given on the label in error. ¶White Christmas promo disc narration by Jerry Crocker [not Coker] and introduction by Phil McLaine, both djs, overdubbed in Cleveland, November or December 1951 – research assistance courtesy Dave Usher.

new entry

Scroll back near top for link to Sarah McLawler–Richard Otto Draft Discography





AB Fable [EN] ABCD1-006 Ray Perry, The Complete 1944 C. W. French and 1945 Rosenkrantz Apartment Transcriptions, Out of Nowhere – Boston 1944 (a-c); New York 12 May 1945 (a-f) – corrections to liner: read: Wilson Ernest[ine] Myers, not Ernest Wilson Myers; read: “How High the Moon”, not “High High the Moon”; read: Sherman Freeman, not Jeremy Freeman; read: That year [1946], and again in 1947 and 1949–1950, he recorded boppish alto with Illinois Jacquet., i.e. add: and 1949–1950; read: A two-title recording on violin and alto of a trio including Jaki Byard is currently unlocated., not No other recordings are known.

new session
Ray Perry (as, vn), Jaki Byard (pn), ? (?–sb or dm [?–Bazely Bay Perry if (dm)] )
Boston, 1947–1949 – ?–Ace Recording Studios – ?–Produced by Yakus Bros
a Play, Fiddle, Play
b unidentified blues
?–78 &/or 45 ? (a,b) – unlocated
NOTE This recording for a small unidentified Boston label confirmed by Byard has not been located. Dick Wetmore recalls that Byard did some arranging at Ace studios. Research assistance courtesy Diane Byard; Dan Morgenstern; Stu Vandermark; Dick Wetmore


FB:VIS/i/4/12 rev. of FB:VIS/i/2/4; 16 April 1946; Ethel Waters
EP Remington REP36 (a,be,e,f) Ethel Waters
LP Glendale GL9011 (a–e,+.) Ethel Waters, Queen of Song
CD Classics [FR] 1249 (a–e,+.) Ethel Waters, 1946–1947
CD Milan [FR] 873108 = CD Milan [FR] 356262 = CD Definitive [?] 1114
Three of the four 78 Continentals, C10006/7/8, C10009 excluded, were also released in album 78 Continental [3] CON33 Ethel Waters, In Shades of Blue – all eight titles were included in LP Remington [10] RLP1025 bearing the same cover design and title but the two titles on C10009 were also excluded from compilation LP Continental [12] CLP16008 Ethel Waters Sings, Great Jazz Stars

Perry was a member of Illinois Jacquet’s sixteen piece orchestra for a week’s engagement at the Apollo, NY, beginning 10 March 1950: Lamar Wright Jr, Russell Jacquet, Roger Jones, Joe Newman (tp), George Mathews, Ted Donnally, Henry Coker (tb), Earle Warren, Ray Perry (as), Rudy Williams, Illinois Jacquet (ts), Maurice Simon (br), Cedric Heywood (pn), Al Lucas (sb), Shadow Wilson (dm), Joe Bailey (vc). He was also a member of Jacquet’s current nine piece orchestra, billed as a sextet (Cash Box, 18 Feb 50)

Perry’s fellow pupils at school in Boston included Roy Haynes, Alan Dawson, Paul Broadnax.

Sam Rivers interviewed by Ted Panken, WKCR-FM, New York, 25 September 1997
“TP: You went to Boston and enrolled in the Boston Conservatory of Music on the G.I. Bill? Is that how it went down?
SR: Yes, I went there. I was planning on going to New York right away. There was no doubt about it. Everything was set. Then I went home and my mother said, "You'd better go to Boston and take care of your brother; you know how wild he is." That's the only reason I went to Boston. Otherwise I'd have gone straight to New York, because I had the connections and everything. So I went to Boston and stayed there. I enrolled in school on the G.I. Bill. Also, all the musicians gravitated together. We rented this house on 13 Rutland Square, and we lived there. ¶TP: Which musicians? ¶SR: Jaki Byard, Gigi Gryce, the Perry Brothers (Ray Perry, a violinist), and a lot of other musicians. It was a 13-room house, and I lived on the top floor. And the only girl that ever got up there was Bea! [LAUGHS] None of the other girls that came to see me got to the top floor. It was that kind of situation, but I didn't mind. I was glad they didn't get up there. I was busy. ¶TP: When did you start writing music? Did that start when you hit Boston? ¶SR: Yeah, I pretty much started writing in Boston. I started writing because I was taking Composition and Theory at the university, and you have to write anyway because that's part of taking composition. It was Classical Composition because there weren't any jazz schools around then. Then only thing close to Jazz would be the Schillinger House, which a lot of musicians went to at that time, which changed to Berklee. It was Schillinger House originally, and then it changed. Jaki Byard and a lot of musicians studied there for a while, with the Schillinger system, and then transferred to the Conservatory. ¶TP: Michael Cuscuna writes that you also played viola professionally. ¶SR: I never really played it professionally. I was in the school symphony orchestra, but that's about as far as it went. ¶TP: It says you worked with Serge Chaloff's string quintet. ¶SR: Oh, that's right, I did that. But that was the only professional thing I really did with it. But I was in the school symphony. I remember that, yeah, but I don't remember the music!” – see

Henry Coker interviewed by Don Lusher, Anglo–American Exchange, 1964
“I was with Illinois Jacquet in ’51. He had about eight pieces—a very good, swinging group. We had a violin and saxophone player in the band named Ray Perry—the greatest. He was something else, man. It was very hard to have to play a solo after him. He had so many tricks on violin. I never wanted that spot. He was one of those guys who could play just as much alto.” – see


1941 Lionel Hampton airchecks, incl. nine tracks with Perry, are extant.


new feature
JEAN-LUC PONTY – see also silver page Ponty link

Jean-Luc Ponty has confirmed the errors on unauthorized CD Stardust [US, mfd. JP] CRCL8855 Jean-Luc Ponty with Kurt Edelhagen and His Orchestra – tracks 1, 4 by Edelhagen orchestra include Ponty; track 3, by Edelhagen orchestra does not include Ponty or any other violinist; track 2 is neither by the orchestra nor Ponty but is a Grappelli solo acc. unidentified pianist. Ponty gives the date of his performance as 1970 or 1971, not 1959 as given in the liner notes. It is not known whether the Grappelli track dates from the same concert. (Both participated in the 1971 Berlin Jazz Festival, from which other titles have been released elsewhere.) This ludicrous confusion of Grappelli for Ponty mirrors the confusion of Ponty for Grappelli on Ponty’s December 1965 concert duet with Stuff Smith on “How High the Moon” on LP Europa Jazz [FR] EJ1014, and equivalents, given as 1957 in the liner notes with completely inaccurate personnel – see DS/218 for the origin of this equally ludicrous error – in our innocence we ask: are the record companies ignorant or do they have ears in which case what do they mean by such obfuscation? – track 1 is also included on unauthorized CD Laserlight Venuti, Grappelli, Ponty.

Two ?1962 (or 1961) Europe 1 Jazz aux Champs Élysées airchecks, possibly from different occasions, of Ponty with Jack [Jacques] Diéval are extant that predate Ponty’s first studio recordings with Jeff Gilson. His bop style is fully formed. The group plays “Soft Winds” and “Almost Like Being in Love”. The latter may be the only extant example of Ponty’s obbligatos behind a vocalist, Paris-resident Jamaican trumpetist Sonny Grey. ¶Also predating Gilson is an unissued unlocated two-title session for U.A.G. with Danny Doriz, Paris, 3 November 1961: “Billie’s Bounce”, “Steeplechase”.



Angelina River’s bassist sister Santos Rivera was born in Puerto Rico on 29 March 1898. Despite being listed in the 12 November 1919 SSO London concert programme, Santos Rivera in fact returned to the US from Le Havre on La Savoie sailing on 13 November and arriving in New York on 22 November. Her address was 824 Davson [sic: ?Dawson] Street, Bronx, NYC. An Angelina C. Rivera was born in Farjado, Puerto Rico on 23 July 1899, but she is probably not our Angelina. Angelina C. is listed in US records as arriving in New York on 8 October 1923 from San Juan, Puerto Rica. On arrival in England with the SSO in 1919 our Angelina was described as eighteen years old, placing her birth c.1901. Our Angelina’s father, Anthony Rivera, born in Puerto Rico on 9 October [age forty-two in 1920] returned to 824 Dawson Street, NYC from Plymouth on the Noordam sailing on 10 June 1920 – research assistance courtesy Howard Rye, Anthony Baldwin.

Angelina Rivera with Southern Syncopated Orchestra
Angelina Rivera was apparently first employed only in the vocal chorus with the SSO in London, 1919. This is born out by the known orchestra personnel at some concerts and a photo of twenty-eight musicians depicting only men, incl. probably three violinists. Clearly a decision was taken, for one or another reason, not to include women members in that photo. However, in later personnels Rivera does also appear as a violinist. Furthermore, other photos do depict her: another 1919 photo of the SSO in staged action, location unidentified, includes Angelina, Santos and Anthony Rivera. Two photos of the later 1921 SSO, taken inside and outside the Dome Theatre in Brighton, England, also include a female violinist who must be assumed to be Angelina Rivera.

Angelina Rivera with Freddy Guy, Fats Waller
“We first knew him [Freddy Guy] when he was leader of a small band that played in a joint on 135th Street [Harlem] owned by Earl Dancer. He had Fats Waller in the band, and a beautiful chick named Angelina Rivera, who was a fine violinist.” – Duke Ellington, Music Is My Mistress (NY & London, 1974), 109. In Down Beat (16 April 1969), 16, Guy himself is quoted: “Fats was in a little band I played banjo with and one night Duke and the boys came to hear us.”

In 2007 Mark Miller found the following report from J. A. Jackson, “Here and There Among the Folks” in Billboard (23 June 1923): “Earl Dancer, onetime member of the team of Dancer and Green, is now operating the Golden Gate Club, performers’ rendevous, on West 135 Street, New York. Freckles and his jazz band provide the music, with Angelito Riviera [sic], violinist, as soloist. Russell Lee is doing the singing.”

It is now established, therefore, that Rivera returned to USA between 1921–1923 before travelling again to Europe in time for her 1926 Paris recordings with Josephine Baker and Spencer Williams.

Angelina Rivera and Heifetz at Bricktops
“Jascha Heifetz would often borrow a violin from one of the musicians and play. I’ll never forget the night he was in the club and I had a new girl violinist named Angelina. / I liked changing the acts around. I hired Angelina because she played the violin very well and it was something a little bit different. She wasn’t exactly right for Bricktop’s, and I made it my business to introduce her myself. / That night she couldn’t help noticing that there was a very distinguished gentleman at a front table who applauded longer and more loudly than anyone else when she played. She finally signaled me to meet her in the ladies’ room. / ‘Who is that man?’ she wanted to know. / ‘Jascha Heifetz,’ I answered. I watched Angelina faint dead away.” – Bricktop w/ James Haskins, Bricktop (New York, 1983), 124.

Angelina Rivera with Johnny Dunbar
Angelina Rivera was active in Paris at least through to summer 1927. Ada Bricktop Smith reports in Bricktop, 134–135, that Bricktop made a deal to bring musicians to Berlin but that the engagement did not materialize because her Berlin partners decided, for unknown reasons, not to take the musicians. Berliner Herold, 28 (Berlin, 17–22 July 1927) named the musicians, scheduled to play Pavillon Erbe, near Berlin Zoo: Glover Compton, Nettie Compton [dance], Jara Hull [?Hall], Angelinia [sic] Revera [sic], Robert Jones, Johnnie [Johnny] Dunbar. In a previous posting we wrote: “In view of this now established Rivera–Dunbar connection the question must be considered whether they were, or became, husband and wife, or at least travelled as such, so that the Mrs Dunbar depicted with violin in their photo with the Jackson Rhythm Kings, Copenhagen, October–December 1927, in Wiedermann, reprinted FB:VIS/iv/13/4, and posted on Blue Page Photos, is in fact Angelina Rivera.” But we now no longer believe that Angelina Rivera is Mrs Dunbar in light of photos that have surfaced of the SSO depicting Angelina Rivera whose likeness is quite unlike that of Mrs Dunbar’s – research assistance courtesy Hans Pehl, Maurice Peress, Howard Rye.

Neither of the p.48 Charlie Johnson photos show Sampson. They date from 1925, at the Nest Club, before Sampson joined. The violinist is unidentified.

The personnel of the p.51 Georgia Strutters is incorrect. The trumpet player is Tommy Ladnier, not Jabbo Smith. The pianist is not Willie the Lion Smith but possibly James P. Johnson.<BR>


FB:VIS/i/3; & updates

new session
Joe Lutcher (br), Ginger Smock [as E. Colbert] (el vn), Willard McDaniels (pn), Red Callender (sb), Lucky Enois (dm), Joe Alexander (vc)
Los Angeles, July or August 1946
OR 172 A I Woke Up with a Teardrop in My Eye – Alexander (vc)
OR 173 B Donkey Serenade – Alexander (vc)
78 Excelsior OR 172/173
NOTE Labels and discographies give E. Colbert and discographies give (cl), even though labels give (el vn), which is why this session was missed. Emma Colbert is Emma Ginger Smock. This, not her 1946 RCA Victor session, now appears to be her first recording – research assistance courtesy Dieter Salemann; Klaus Teubig. ¶A / B do not represent takes, only discs sides each one of which has a different number.


new session


Ginger Smock featured soloist (vn) with probable personnel: Joe Graves (tp), Brad Gowans (v-tb), Johnny Costello (cl), Pud Brown (ts), Jack Peoples (pn), Nappy Lamare (gt), Budd Hatch (sb), Roy Harte (dm)

Dixie Showboat – no. 33 – KTLA TV Channel 5 – Produced by Paramount Television Productions, Inc. – Sponsored by Louis Milani Foods – Dick Lane mc – Smock talks

Los Angeles – c.October 1951

a          What Is This Thing Called Love?

VIDEO – UCLA Film and Television Archive (a) – 30 min program including other guest performers – 5 min dance segment and credits missing – seemingly Smock’s first appearance on the show which later became a 60 min show ­– research assistance courtesy Laura Risk.


new session



Produced by Cecil B. DeMille – Music direction Elmer Bernstein – 1955 – released 1956


Peggy Brashear, Dimples, Beverly Harris, Melba Liston, Ginger Smock, Guelda Williams, others play ancient Egyptian instruments. During an outdoor bathing scene three women musicians are seen playing aulos, small harp (?Liston), lute-type (?Smock). During a court dancing scene six women and one man are seen playing, including aulos (man), large harp (Liston), two lute-types (presumably one Smock). Exact instrument identification has yet to be made but it is known that Liston plays harp. ¶A later dance scene shows an all-male group of musicians, including tabla. ¶Herb Alpert plays drums on Mount Sinai.


FILM available on DVD


Research assistance Laura Risk. The five named musicians are given in a report in Los Angeles Sentinel (23 June 1955)


new session


Suggested personnel: Billy Jackson (ts), Minters Galloway (ts, br) and/or Clyde Clifford Dunn (br), Ginger Smock (vn), Wilfred Jackson (pn), George Harold Hack Jackson (sb), Abraham Mills or Wayne Robinson (dm), Chromatics incl. Hal Jackson, Ben Hughes (vc)

Los Angeles – ?–early 1956 [released March 1956]

a  45-CR-1011-Y         Devil Blues (Hughes) – Smock assumed ensemble – Ben Hughes lead (vc)

b  45-CR-1011-Z        Wild Man Wild (Jackson) – Smock solo – Jackson lead (vc)

45/?78 Crest 1011 (a, b) – there are two label states, one reading for (b) Hal Jackson and The Chromatics with Jackson’s Tornadoes, the other reading Hal Jackson’s Tornadoes vocal by The Chromatics – both (a) label states read The Chromatics with Hal Jackson’s Tornadoes – it is not known which is the first label state – Ben Hughes recorded with the Chromatics, but not Jackson, on the Million label, and also with Ginger Smock on the Cecil Count Carter Federal session.

CD Virtual SPV 306652 The Best of Crest Records, Rockin’ & Rollin’ (a)

CD RockStar [EN] RSR 017 Talk about a Party!, The Crest Records Story (a)

CD T-Bird 14 Stack-A-Records (a)

CD DWR 0014 Doo-Woping the Blues (b)

Research assistance courtesy Laura Risk

amended session(s) with new titles
Ginger Smock is present on John Erby and John Costa, Jr’s 78 label A Natural Hit! 103and 105, as well as 104 which was previously listed with incorrect date. 103 was previously listed as an unidentified “demo”. Note different takes on the release. 105 is a completely new listing. The following discographical detail is mostly contained in Bob Eagle, “Re-Discovered: Arranger, Composer, Teacher and Master Musician John Erby, The Singing Pianist”, Record Research, 121 (New York, March, 1973), 1, 3-5 – research assistance courtesy Derek Coller; Konrad Nowakowski; Howard Rye.

Ginger Smock (vn), Nina Russell (og), John Erby (celesta on (AN-5) only, pn on (AN-6) only, ar), Ray Wheaton (vc)
Los Angeles, released, according to Eagle, September 1949
AN-5-8 This Christmas I Give Love (Costa, Erby)
AN-6-2 I Offer You (Erby)
78 A Natural Hit! 104

Tee Davis (ts), Ginger Smock (vn), Nina Russell (og), Jerome Tyrone Parsons (pn), Addison Farmer (sb), Freddie Baker-Jackson (dm), John Erby (md), James Ross (ar), Monette Moore (vc)
Los Angeles, released, according to Gart, July 1949
AN-7-2 Show Girl Blues (Moore, Costa, Erby)
AN-8-2 That’s My Specialty (Erby)
78 A Natural Hit! 105 – released

Ginger Smock (vn), Jerome Tyrone Parsons (pn, vc, ar), Tee Davis on AN-9-2 only (celesta), Addison Farmer (sb), Freddie Baker-Jackson (dm)
Los Angeles, released ?1949
AN-9-1 I Couldn’t Take It – CD released test
AN-9-2 I Couldn’t Take It (Costa, Erby)
AN-10-1 Guess I’d Better Knock on Wood – CD released test
AN-10-2 Guess I’d Better Knock on Wood (Erby)
78 test (takes 1)
78 A Natural Hit! 103 (takes 2) – released
CD AB Fable ABCD1-010 (takes 1) Ginger Smock – uses Smock’s damaged test takes because 78 release was not known at the time
CD AB Fable ABCD2-019/20 (takes 2) Blows ’n’ Rhythm

full details of FB:VIS/iv/13/8 new session
William Billy Jackson, Clyde Clifford Dunn, Minters Galloway (sx), Emma Ginger Smock on (c) only (vn, vc), Wilfred Jackson (pn, md), George Collier Jr (gt), George Hack Jackson (sb), Abraham Mills (dm), Claude Maxwell (vc), ensemble (vc) – [Don Jackson (brs, vc) absent because of illness]
Los Angeles – D. Kessler a&r – 14.00–17.00, 14 September 1953
a E3-VB-0192-1 [Dynamite (Wilfred Jackson)] – instrumental – 2:22 – Smock out
b E3-VB-0193-1 [Angel (Throughgood, William Jackson, Wilfred Jackson)] – Maxwell (vc) – 2:34 – Smock out
c E3-VB-0194-1 Ginger Boogie (Wilfred Jackson, ?Smock) – 2:25 – Smock, Maxwell, ensemble (vc)
d E3-VB-0195-1 [Please Mr Conductor (Wilfred Jackson)] – Maxwell, another (vc) – 2:27 – Smock out
TAPE RCA Victor (a-d) – unreleased by RCA Victor
CD AB Fable [EN] ABCD1-010 (a-d) Ginger Smock, The Lovely Lady with the Violin, Los Angeles Studio and Demo Recordings, 1946–1958, Strange Blues – first ever release – all titles although Smock plays on one only
NOTE RCA Victor almost certainly dispensed with the band because of LA Times nightclub drug bust headline concerning Billy Henderson, a vocalist with the band, also on an earlier session, substituting for an ill Don Jackson, though no charges were brought. The earlier released Jackson Bros session, 18 July 1952, and later sessions for Lucky and Arrow, do not include Smock. Smock and Hack Jackson were briefly married.

LA – Mike’s Waikiki Inn – “Sweetheart of the Strings” Ginger Smock and Her Trio [“Torrid Trio”] incl. Harvey Brooks (pn) until 20 November 1950 – also Three Bits of Rhythm at least to begin with – Brooks’ composition “What She’s Got Is Mine” featured by Spade Cooley on his TV show [?–in September] to be published by Jewel Publ. Co. (Cash Box, June, October, November 1950)
LA – Signed by Shaw Artists (CB, December 1953)
LA – Hal [?Hack] Jackson’s Tornados featuring Ginger Smock scheduled for Perez Prado Show at Orpheum after being seen on Larry Finley’s Strictly Informal telecast – (CB, February 1956)
LA – Parisian Room – Ginger Smock – late 1950s (J. J. Phillips private communication)

FB:VIS/i/3; 5 September 1946; Vivien Garry Quintet
CD Saga [FR] 0664812 (c) Jazz Women, Great Instrumental Girls

Anthony Barnett, “Ginger Smock: ‘The Gingervating Ginger Is Literally a Fireball in Her Act’ ” The Strad (November 2010), incl. photos – traces her life and career
Herman Hill, “Bright Future Predicted for Ginger Smock”, Pittsburgh Courier (20 September 1947), incl. photo – Smock tells of having recorded for Exclusive but there are no released recordings under her name on that label. She did, however, record for Excelsior – see new session prec.
Opal Louis Nations, “The Story of The Sepia Tones, Ginger Smock and Art Rupe’s Juke Box Label”, Blues & Rhythm, 187 (March 2004), incl. photos, based in part on Sherrie Tucker 1993 interview with Smock – errors incl. dating, discographical, orthography – AB follow up letter, 188 (March, 2004)

new feature
In our efforts to recover the obscure or fugitive we note a passed middle age swing violinist who went by the name of Snatch, living in a single room in Hastings, East Sussex, whom we last saw and heard regularly busking with a little amplifier in the East Sussex towns of Eastbourne and your editor’s Lewes in the early 1990s. We always meant to record him but never came across him when we had the foresight to carry a recorder. However, we did speak, and we even have a letter from him. We were impressed by his other-than-Grappelli style. He revealed a fondness for Stuff Smith and in particular Smith’s recording of “Robins and Roses”. We understand his full surname may have been Snachel, or similar.

new feature

Marshall Sosson enjoyed a solo violin career in classical and popular music on radio during the 1930s–1940s. Following membership of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra he was concert master of CBS in Chicago during the 1930s. During the war he was a member of the Armed Forces Symphony Orchestra in California. From 1947–1959 he was concert master at Columbia Pictures and then through to the 1980s at Walt Disney Studios. His swing style is that of the rich-toned concert violinist. Airchecks in light classical and swing genres are extant incl. those from his own programs with his quartet The Chicagoans and of Ben Bernie with whom he plays a novelty duet combining “Humoresque” with “Old Folks at Home”. Around 1950 he recorded as a member of Harry Bluestone’s string quartet an album of swing classics – see FB:VIS/iv/11/121. Sosson and Bluestone had also recorded with guitarist George Smith for Smith’s Guitar label probably in 1946. He recorded Bach cantatas for Allegro as a member of the Roger Wagner Chorale with vocalists. In 1954 he recorded in a fourteen-piece string section, also incl. Sam Caplan, on the Verve album Buddy DeFranco and Oscar Peterson Play Gershwin under the direction of Russ Garcia. He recorded in a twenty-piece string section, also incl. Lou Raderman, Murray Kellner, and Benny Gill – see GILL prec., in Stan Kenton’s orchestra in 1958. In 1964, with Lou Raderman and James Getzoff, he recorded in a sixteen-piece string section with Frank Sinatra and Count Basie’s orchestra directed by Quincy Jones. Around 1969 or 1970 he participated in Billy May’s fourteen album LP set for Time/Life The Swing Era in recreations of one of the recordings by Earl Hines of Jimmy Mundy’s “Cavernism”, on which Darnell Howard took the original violin solos, and Duke Ellington’s “Bakiff”, originally associated with Ray Nance. He was a member of the overdubbed LA string session on fusion violinist Noel Pointer’s 1977 début album in NY. Thirteen aircheck trio performances, incl. two with George Smith and the Armed Forces Orchestra under Felix Slatkin, are collected on LP Town Hall M26 Marshall Sosson, Virtuoso Jazz Violin Classics. An LA private tape is extant, ?1950s, ?1960s or ?1970s, of Sosson performing a series of classical and swing duet improvisations with Johnny Guarnieri (pn) incl. Paganini’s “Caprice No. 24”. Sosson is present, identified or not, sometimes as soloist, on numerous LA soundtracks and commercial recordings.

new feature

Concert violinist Joseph Szigeti was a guest on Benny Goodman’s Camel Caravan broadcast, New York, 24 January 1939, performing “Clair de Lune” with André Petri, and “Stompin’ at the Savoy” with the Goodman Orchestra, only the latter released, with talk by Goodman and Szigeti, on CD Phontastic [SD] NCD9917. Szigeti recorded Bartók’s Contrasts with Goodman and the composer for Columbia, New York, 14 May 1940 – see “Classic Shots”, FB:VIS/iv/11/124–127 for two 1941 Charles Peterson photos of Szigeti talking with and listening to Joe Sullivan, Eddie Condon, Joe Marsala a.o.

THE TOPPERS [aka The Four Toppers aka The Four Esquires] / THE UNIVERSITY FOUR incl. JOE GIORDANO

Vocalist Danny Mazzola became Danny Mazzola Topper, taking the name of the group he had worked with from the late 1930s–mid 1940s. His obituary in Florida Today (15 November 1998) describes him as a retired entertainer. He was born in New York and moved to Titusville, Brevard County in 1951. He died aged 82 on 13 November 1998. Photos and press cuttings provided by his widow reveal the personnel of The Toppers as: Joe Giordano (vn), Joe Spata (ac), Sam Cocchia [aka Cocchio in error] (gt), Danny Mazzola (sb, vc). The other three were from Philadelphia. They were often known as The Four Toppers and were previously known as The [Four] Esquires. Before Mazzola joined the other three were known as The Esquire Boys. The Toppers broadcast as the Giordano Swing Quartet on Benny Goodman’s Camel Caravan from the Earle Theater, Washington D.C., 21 March 1939, performing “Limehouse Blues”, unissued but extant. Martha Tilton, Billie Holiday and Leo Watson also performed. After The Toppers tour with Goodman they toured with Jan Savitt. They once shared a club engagement with Leo Watson and the Five Spirits of Rhythm. ¶Violinist Joe Giordano was born in 1917 and began playing violin at the age of eight. He lives in New Jersey. He reports that John Hammond was responsible for The Toppers recording session and tour with Goodman. The Toppers broke up because of the war and Giordano served in ETO. He recorded for an as yet unidentified label after the war with The University Four, with instrumentation and vocals similar to The Toppers. Giordano and Stuff Smith became friends when The Toppers shared an engagement in Newark—probably the Merry-Go-Round in November–December 1938—where Smith played the main room and The Toppers played the bar. Smith’s recording of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” used the arrangement by The Toppers; unless Smith gave The Toppers his arrangement before he himself recorded it. ¶“Mister Aristocrat” is a 1939 BMI registered song by Roy Morton, Gene Paul [?dePaul], not a Toppers’ original. ¶There is an as yet uncorroborated report that The Toppers may have made movie shorts but they are not to be confused with other groups of the same name incl. the contemporary black harmony vocal group that appeared in movies incl. Mystery in Swing, Son of Ignano, Toppers Take a Bow. Nor are film appearances by a group The Four Esquires our Esquires/Toppers. Further details pending – research assistance courtesy Marion Mazzola Topper, Joe and Lillian Giordano, Michael Brooks, Kevin Coffey, D. Russell Connor, Mark Cantor, Geoffrey Wheeler, Norman Saks – see blue page photos


new feature

See STUFF SMITH DS/154 prec. for eyewitness account of Smith 1950s broadcast jam with Venuti

This entry has been deleted as it is superseded by more accurate information about ARC Venuti, though not Decca, contained in the CD Mosaic Venuti–Lang set released 2002.


James Baxter, inspired by Robert White, The Blue Violin ([?Philadelphia, 1953]), 167pp, privately issued biography of Joe Venuti and his “Blue Violin” – uncatalogued – spiral bound repro from typescript – internal evidence provides the date and likely place of this fanciful account whose commissioner, White of Philadelphia, and author, Baxter of Los Angeles, were close to their subject and assisted in their research and interviews by Leah Worth and Natalie Cantor – acquired by AB Fable archive in March 2001 from a Philadelphia dealer – it is reported by Mohr—see fol., that this is likely to be the mysterious biography to which Venuti referred in conversation with disapproval – unbound photocopies available from AB Fable on enquiry

Lawrence DiStasi, ed., Dream Streets, The Big Book of Italian American Culture (New York, 1989) incl. chapter “Musicians’ Tales”, incl. section by or about Venuti – not viewed

Raymond F. Mitchell, Feeling My Way, A Discography of the Recordings of Eddie Lang, 1923–1933 (Godalming, Surrey, 2003), incl. photos – thorough documentation essential to Venuti research

Bob Mohr, “Joe Venuti”, estate-authorized biography in preparation


Waclaw Niemczyk
Waclaw Niemczyk was not the classical nom-de-musique of Michel Warlop, as claimed in Grove Jazz, 2nd ed., repeated in a 2002 Grappelli biography, but an entirely different violinist – see Grappelli prec.

Violinist Pierre Darrieux’s version of Warlop’s “Swing Concerto” was recorded for Columbia, 23 February 1943, possibly under Warlop’s supervision. Warlop’s own version was recorded for Swing a year earlier on 17 February 1942 but was not released until 1989. The orchestra and conductor were the same for both recordings. It remains a matter of conjecture why Warlop’s excellent version was unreleased at the time. It is suggested that Charles Delaunay was reluctant to release crossover music – research assistance courtesy Raymond Durieux, Alain Délot, Daniel Nevers.

Pierre Carlu & Jean-Claude Alexandre, “Michel Warlop, Integral”, draft complete discography in circulation



new session
Jimmy Derba (as), Dick Wetmore (vn), Andy Jerome (gt), Frank Gallagher (sb), Arnie Wise (dm)
Boston – WGBH Channel 2 telecast – Jazz with Father O’Connor (Chaplain of Boston University)December 1957 – announcer voice over end (d)
a Soft Winds
b I’ll Remember April
c Blues for Skeeter [as Blues for Kenny] (Kenny Burrell)
d My Old Flame
TAPE (a-d) – audio only aircheck – research assistance courtesy Joel Glassman

new session
Dos Yanquis, Newport – 24 January 1982 – details pending

new session
Asa Bearse House, Hyannis – 7 May 1988 – details pending

new session
Wetmore plays dubbed in (vn) obbligato on one track only “A Child Is Born” with Sissy Smith (vc), Herb Pomeroy (tp), Tony Zano (pn, ar), Dve Clark (sb), Joe Hunt (dm) on HIV/AIDS benefit CD Dimock [no no.] A Child is Born recorded Berklee College of Music, Boston, 24–27 May 1995 with he dubbing likely to have been 30 May–3 June 1995.

new session
Wetmore plays (vn) on “Bewitched” on CD Radio Ball 20 Chandler Travis Philharmonic, You Must Come Over Tonight – He plays cornet on “Skylark” on CD Radio Ball ? Chandler Travis, Ivan in Paris and on other Travis title(s)

Wetmore Bethlehem session
LP Bethlehem/Toshiba–EMI [JP] TOJJ1035 Dick Wetmore – reports of possible a Toshiba-EMI CD are conflicting

Jazz in Transition; Dave Coleman session
CD Toshiba/EMI [JP] TOCJ5889 = CD King [JP] GXF3126 – it has been reported that the unknown unreleased titles were recorded but erased but Wetmore wonders whether they were ever even recorded

Anthony Ortega session
CD Fresh Sound [ES] FSRCD325 (a–e) Anthony Ortega, Earth Dance
CD Bethlehem/Toshiba–EMI [JP] TOCJ62073 (a-e) Anthony Ortega, Jazz for Young Moderns . . .

Jack Nimitz session
CD Fresh Sound [ES] FSR5047 (all titles but which remakes of two yet to be established with certainty) Jack Nimitz and Friends . . . Yesterday and Today – March dates, location and personnel in error in liner note – Bell Sound Studios – three dates in fb:vis are correct – here follow different personnel corrections to liner note and fb:vis:Collective Personnel – not all play on all titles
Bill Harris (tb), Jack Nimitz (br), Dick Wetmore (solo and ensemble vn), Gene Orloff (vn, concert master), Harry Lookofsky (vn), Seymour Barab, George Koutsen, George Ricci, Lucien Schmidt, Harvey Shapiro (ce), Kenny Burrell, Jimmy Raney, Chuck Wayne (gt), Oscar Pettiford, Russ Saunders [aka Savakus] (sb), Dom Lamond, Teddy Sommer (dm), Bob Zieff (ar) – contrary to liner note, Alan Shulman (ce) was booked for the second date but was hospitalized and did not play on any session; he did however play at an initial unrecorded audition rehearsal

Gerry Mulligan session
There were, in fact, nine, not eight, titles recorded by Vinnie Burke with Gerry Mulligan incl. Dick Wetmore, though only eight were originally scheduled for unreleased LP World Pacific WP1252 Stringtime. All nine titles have now been released, five for the first time, on 3CD Mosaic Select MS02 Gerry Mulligan, the first four titles on Disc 1, the remainder on Disc 2:
a May-Reh
b The Preacher
c Good Bait
d Bags' Groove
e Lullaby in Rhythm
f Body and Soul
g Out of Nowhere
h I’ll Remember April
i Can't Get Started

Where’s Harry session
What Wetmore titles “Blues for Esquire” is, in fact, not his composition but Kenny Burrell’s composition “Blues for Skeeter.” Research assistance courtesy Jameson Wetmore

Chandler Travis, “Dick Wetmore, Bop Violinist” Cape Codder, issue number unknown (Cape Cod, c.–1998 or 1999) – AB Fable Archive holds a copy of the original typescript


FB/VIS/i/5; & updates
The Italian Connection: Italian violinist and pianist Romero Alvaro who first met Juice Wilson in the early 1930s, and worked with him in Spain in Harry Flemming’s Black Follies, was influenced by Wilson. Alvaro’s violin is heard on “Anime Gemelle” [aka “I Wish I Were Twins”] from 1935 on CD Riviera Jazz [IT] RJRCD002 Jazz in Italy in the ’30s, Gorni Kramer. Alvaro’s tone is thinner than Wilson’s but elements of Wilson’s melodic and rhythmic phrasing are recognizable in Alvaro. Adriano Mazzoletti’s liner notes discuss their relationship. According to AM, in a communication with AB, another Italian violinist Americo Del Ventura worked in the same Harry Flemming orchestra and, unlike Alvaro and Wilson, later recorded with Flemming in Italy. Yet another violinist, Achille De Grandi, who recorded with Sesto Carlini’s orchestra incl. Herb [not Harry] Flemming, played in Eddie South’s style. How unfortunate that Wilson is not on the recordings by the bands with which he worked in Europe in addition to Sissle’s. Six 1940s–1950s Italian violinists are heard on CD Riviera Jazz [IT] RJRCD007 Jazz in Italy in the ’40s, Quintetto Ritmico di Milano.


new feature

Inclusion in 2002 of the 1948-released film Stéphane Grappelly and His Quintet on DVD Music on Earth [EN] 001 [2 – disc 2] Stéphane Grappelli, A Life in the Jazz Century prompts a reassessment of Grappelli [Grappelly as his name was spelled at the time] on film in England during the 1940s. The Quintet film with George Shearing (pn), Dave Goldberg (gt), Coleridge Goode (sb), Ray Ellington (dm, vc) was recorded “sometime towards the end of 1946” according to Coleridge Goode w/ R. Cotterrell, Bass Lines, A Life in Jazz (London, 2002), 68–69, corroborating Meeker’s 1946. Titles in the film are “The Stéphane Blues”, “Piccadilly Stomp”, “Wendy”, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, Evelyn”. The same film was apparently released later under alternative titles Mirth and Melody and Music Parade. An outtake “Red-O-Ray” (the name of a brand of violin strings) is extant on as yet untransferred nitrate at the British Film Institute National Film and TV Archive. The same title with same personnel recorded for Decca, 25 April 1947. ¶The same quintet, filmed at the time of the Quintet short, was used by the same director, Horace Shepherd, in a nightclub scene, incl. a title from the Quintet short, in the 1948-released feature The Flamingo Affair [aka Blonde for Danger], clips from which are also included on DVD Music on Earth 001 [2 – disc 1]. ¶Grappelli appeared in three other British made 1940s films: as an Elizabethan troubadour in a swing ?sextet [quartet on screen] incl. second violin and clarinet acc. Evelyn Dall, Chorus (vc) on “Ring, Ring, Merry Bells” conducted by William Shakespeare in the wacky 1944-released Tommy Handley time travel comedy Time Flies filmed in 1943 (released in 2000 on VIDEO Englewood Science Fiction Gold, Vol. 26); in a Geneva night club scene (shot in London of course) with George Shearing and leading a gypsy band in the 1944 romantic comedy English Without Tears [aka My Man Godfrey]; in a Paris Cafe Negre wartime setting (shot in London of course) with a quartet of Fella S.owande (og or pn), Allan Hodgkiss (gt), Jerry da [dŹ] Costa (dm) in the 1945-released musical melodrama The Lisbon Story filmed in ?1944 (no video release) – see Meeker (1981) for a zoomed-in still of the quartet in The Lisbon Story in which, despite Grappelli receiving cast credit, there are no more than a couple of brief glimpses of the quartet interspersed with bar conversation and orchestral music over the quartet’s own – research assistance courtesy Piers Clark; John Oliver, BFI; Val Wilmer – see pink page photo

Actress and violinist Betty Compson “The Vagabond of the Violin” plays Frederika Freddie Joyzelle, violinist in a jazz quartet/ quintet, but the few hot breaks and the featured ballad repeated throughout are not played by Compson on the soundtrack. The soundtrack violinist is Russ Columbo who also appears on screen as the trombonist with Gus Arnheim and His Ambassadors. A male violinist is also on screen in the band but finger work (or lack of it) suggests that he does not play and that all soundtrack violin is Columbo. However, two larger Arnheim orchestra 1929 78 titles include Henry Jaworski alongside Columbo (vn). One title includes Roy Fox (tp) who claims in his autobiography to have seen Stuff Smith playing in the LA area with an orchestra (?–with Alphonso Trent) during this period. Did Fox really see Smith or a local because no engagement by Trent in the area is known—though there is tenuous evidence that they may have played Santa Cruz? Music for Street Girl is by Oscar Levant (?–also the pianist) with words by Sidney Clare. Three songs from the film (?–sung by Compson or dubbed) with piano accompaniment were published by Harms (New York, [no date]): “Lovable and Sweet”, “Broken Up Tune”, My Dream Memory”. The film was remade as That Girl from Paris (1937) and Four Jacks and a Jill (1941) in both of which the character is presented as a vocalist not a violinist. A video copy of Street Girl is now in the AB Fable archive. Gus Arheim and His Ambassadors also appear in their c.1929 Vitaphone/Warner short, available in the boxed laserdisc set The Vitaphone Project, in which Columbo sings and plays a hot violin solo – research assistance courtesy David N. Lewis; Mark Cantor – see also

INTERMEZZO (Sweden 1936; remade USA 1939)
See WILLIAM GRANT STILL under EARLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONCERT VIOLINISTS AND COMPOSERS prec. for note about Louis Kaufman, who recorded compositions by Still, violinist on Intermezzo (USA 1939); and Charles Barkel, violinist on Intermezzo (Sweden 1936). Absolutely impossible, we know, but the 1936 Swedish original includes a brief open-air Paris café scene whose waiter looks and speaks in French a little like Eddie South.

Mark Cantor reports that “a black society band (sideline only . . . I am certain that the music was recorded by a Universal studio group) with a couple of violins and cello appear very briefly in Son of Dracula.

The following musicians, on-screen unless noted, are identified in various scenes: Jimmy Briggs (off-screen flute), Hoagy Carmichael (pn, vc), David Robinson (sb), Jesse Price (dm), Cee Pee Johnson (aka Johanson) (tom-toms), Laureen Bacall (not ghosted by Andy Williams as sometimes suggested) (vc). There is also on-screen unidentified (ts), (cl), (penny whistle), (gt), (mandoline) and what interests us in particular (vn). Cee Pee Johanson was friendly with Stuff Smith (not the violinist here) with whom he plays (gt) on c.1960 LA private tapes – see DS. Jimmy Briggs broadcast with Hoagy Carmichael and Joe Venuti (not the violinist here) in 1944 – see blue page photo

Los Angeles based jazz and concert and sometime Nashville session violinist Brenton Banks plays the non-speaking part of black night club pianist Jeremiah in a trio with (gt) and (sb) accompanying actress Conny Van Dyke as vocalist Susan Barrett. Brock Peters plays Sam “without the bo” Perry, the good cop in this undistinguished attempt at a hard-boiled Tennessee-set police and political corruption drama.



Reissue compilations that include only occasional relevant violin titles generally will no longer be posted here or under name entries

Reviews of new improvised violin music, no longer generally posted, appear regularly in Cadence Magazine and Coda – see also siver page links

Old Hat CD1003 “Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow!”, Vintage Fiddle Music, 1927–1935, Blues, Jazz, Stomps, Shuffles & Rags – a second beautifully documented violin compilation by Marshall Wyatt following on from Violin, Sing the Blues for Me – includes new items to add to survey “Early African-American Jazz and Blues Violinists” in FB:VIS/ii/10, and updates

Gale [MCI/Denon] [EN] [2] 451 Violin Jazz = repackaged Frémeaux [FR] [2] FA052; 351518 Violon Jazz – incl. Smith, South, etc – programming and discographical errors not corrected, e.g. Smith’s “Don’t You Think?” instead of listed “Desert Sands” revealing LP Folkways as the source which is where the programming error began

Mastertone [EN] AB3138 Hot Jazz Fiddles – like certain other budget CDs, lifted from previous compilations – incl. Smith, South, etc



anon. [?–Joachim E. Berendt], “Jazz: Geige: Viel Pesos herausstreichen”, Der Spiegel, v/6 (7 February 1951), 33–335 – knowledgeable survey of violin and string sections in jazz, incl. extraordinary cover photo of Ray Nance – Der Spiegel articles were generally unsigned and author information is not held in their archives so the suggestion of Berendt, a friend of jazz violin, is speculative

Anthony Barnett, “In Time: A Not-So-Brief History of the Swing to Recorded Bebop and Progressive Violin”, in four parts, Fiddler Magazine, ix/4 through x/3 (North Sydney, Nova Scotia, winter 2002/2003 through fall 2003; corrections in winter 2003/2004) – in-depth historical survey, incl. discography, bibliography – in four instalments over four issues with corrections in a fifth – superceded by a substantially revised and expanded version “Almost Like Being in Bop” published with numerous photos as a booklet to accompany CD AB Fable ABCD2-011/12 I Like Be I Like Bop

Sören Christensen, “Jazz pĆ Violin”, in two parts, Orkester Journalen (Stockholm, May 1971; June 1971) 8–10; 10–11 – in-depth survey from Venuti to Ponty of special interest because it is written by a Danish jazz violinist who recorded swing and bebop and who collaborated with Stuff Smith – note Sören is Swedish orthography and SŅren Danish

Cary Ginell & Kevin Coffey, Discography of Western Swing and Hot String Bands, 1928–1942 (Westport, CT, 2001) – essential source book of original releases incl. numerous sessions with violinists, or fiddlers, who “contributed amazingly inventive take-offs based on the music played by Joe Venuti, Stéphane Grappelli, Stuff Smith, and Eddie South of the jazz world.”

Lawrence Gushee, Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band (New York, 2005) – incl. in-depth biographical materials and photos about unrecorded New Orleans violinist and saxophonist Jimmy Palao who also toured with King Oliver

Michael H. Hoffheimer, “Playing the Blues”, The Strad, 113/1351 (London, November 2002), 1184–1186,1189 – sketchy historical survey of blues fiddle claiming in error, for example, that Stuff Smith was classically trained before he turned to jazz, and leaving the reader with the distinct impression that [hot not cool] Remo Biondi was African–American

Alan Jabbour, “In Search of the Source of American Syncopation”, Strings, 102 (San Anselm, CA, May–June 2002), 46–56 – in-depth research bearing substantially on early African-American fiddle playing

Theresa [aka Terry] Jenoure, “The Afro-American Fiddler” Contributions in Black Studies, vol. 5, article 6, special joint issue with New England Journal of Black Studies (Mass., 1981), 14pp

Karl Koenig, The String Band: The Ancestor of the Jazz Band (no place or date [?–Running Springs, CA, ?2001]) main focus on New Orleans incl. numerous early press citations

Sonya R. Lawson, “Yes, Virginia, There Really Are Jazz Violists”, American String Teacher, 54/1 (Fairfax, VA, February 2004) – overview 1960s to the present

Sonya Ruth Lawson, “The Origins and Development of the Use of Violins, Violas, and Cellos in Jazz in the United States of America” (PhD dissertation, Un. of Oregon, 2003) – analysis from origins to the present; some citation failures and omissions leading to historical errors

Julie Lyonn Lieberman, “Alternative Strings: The New Curriculum” (Pompton Plains, NJ; & Swavesey, Cambridge, Amadeus, 2004) – “At present, alternative is the catch phrase for close to thirty folk, world, jazz and popular styles that feature strings . . .”, incl. CD insert – anecdotal and identification errors; e.g. Lonnie Johnson not Nap Hayes is the violinist on “Violin Blues”

Julie Lyonn Lieberman, “A Brief History of Jazz Violin”, American String Teacher, 52/4 (Fairfax, VA, November 2002), 78–85 – colorful engaging survey – some errors in dating and chronology – part of a special focus on “Jazz Improvisation” issue also incl. articles by Renata Bratt; Martin Norgaard; Laura Reed

Julie Lyonn Lieberman, The Contemporary Violinist (New York, 1999) – basic instruction in various jazz, popular, folk genres incl. CD – brief AB quote on Smith and bebop from National Public Radio program interview

Julie Lyonn Lieberman, Rockin’ Out with Blues Fiddle (New York, 2000) – new rev. abridged ed. of Blues Fiddle (New York, 1986) – insightful instruction in country and jazz blues styles incl. CD not included with Blues Fiddle two identification errors

Didier Lockwood, Profession Jazzman: La Vie improvisée (Paris, Hachette, 2003) – autobiography

Martin Norgaard, Jazz Fiddle Wizard, A Practical Guide to Jazz Improvising for Strings (Pacific, MO, 2000) – basic swing to bop tuition

Ari Poutiainen, Stringprovisation: A Fingering Strategy for Jazz Violin Improvisation (Helsinki, Acta Musicologica Fennica 28, Finnish Musicological Society, 2009) – advanced, in-depth, innovative study

Sim Simons, et al, [Jazz Violin issue], Jazz’halo, no. 24 (Torhout, Belgium, [no date: June 2003]) – overview of jazz violin history, articles on and interviews with modern violinists, Flemish text

Joan Singleton, Keep It Real: The Life Story of James “Jimmy” Palao “The King of Jazz” (Bloomington, 2011) – alarmingly flawed book in respect of writing, copy editing and opinion about the violinist, saxophonist and leader of the Original Creole Orchestra – useful because of the many photos – the author married into the Palao family – do not overlook Gushee (2005)

Austin Sonnier, Jr, “The Violin in New Orleans Traditional Jazz: A Directory” (Lafayette, LA, unpublished typescript, 2009 [the latest bibliographic citation is 2000]), c.150pp

Eileen Southern & Josephine Wright, Images: Iconography of Music in African–American Culture, 1770s–1920s (New York, 2000) – incl. depiction of many fiddlers



AB Fable Archive is searching for certain rare and unreleased violin recordings, photos, sheet music and other documents
Please contact us if you think you can assist

email ab

Certain items held in the AB Fable Archive may be accessible on enquiry subject to copyright