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Jazz / Pop

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Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong

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Original 9" x 12" Program Signed
Louis Armstrong and His All Stars 1964

"The Dove"
"La Paloma"
Original Poster Finnish Rock N' Roll Movie

Biography for
Louis Armstrong

Nickname
Satchmo (diminutive of 'Satchel Mouth')
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Mini biography
Louis Armstrong grew up poor in a single parent household. He was 13 when he celebrated the New Year by running out on the street and firing a pistol that belonged to the current man in his mother's life. At the Colored Waifs Home for Boys, he learned to play the bugle and the clarinet and joined the home's brass band. They played at socials, picnics and funerals for a small fee. At 18 he got a job in the Kid Ory Band in New Orleans. Four years later, 1922, he went to Chicago, where he played second coronet in the Creole Jazz Band. He made his first recordings with that band in 1923. In 1929, Armstrong appeared on Broadway in "Hot Chocolates", in which he introduced Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin', his first popular song hit. He made a tour of Europe in 1932. During a command performance for George V, he forgot he had been told that performers were not to refer to members of the Royal Family while playing for them. Just before picking up his trumpet for a really hot number, he announced: "This one's for you, Rex."
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Spouse
'Lillian Hardin' (1924 - 1932) (divorced)
'Daisy Parker' (19 March 1918 - 18 December 1923) (divorced)
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Trade mark

He had a distinctively gravelly singing voice.
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Trivia

Satchmo became Armstrong's nickname after his 1932 Grand Tour of Europe. A London music magazine editor wrote "Satchmo" in an article -- probably because he couldn't read his garbled notes. Up until that time Armstrong's nickname was Satchelmouth.
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Personal quotes

"I never tried to prove nothing, just wanted to give a good show. My life has always been my music, it's always come first, but the music ain't worth nothing if you can't lay it on the public. The main thing is to live for that audience, 'cause what you're there for is to please the people."

"All music is folk music. I ain't never heard no horse sing a song."

What is jazz? Man, if you have to ask you'll never know.

Dexter Gordon

Grammy Nomination 1978 Plaque
Best Jazz Performance for a Big Band

Original Award from Grammy

  Biography for Dexter Gordon
Mini biography
Dexter Gordon was considered one of the greatest jazz saxophonists ever, During his heyday, namely `45-`80, he played tenor sax with many of the all-time jazz greats, including Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Billy Eckstine and many others. In the 60s, he left his vices behind and created some wonderful music. He played in Europe extensively where he was very popular and lived there for the most part during the 60s and the early to mid 70s. Around 1977, he returned to America and made some well-received records. Round Midnight was his only feature role, playing a character not unlike himself, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. He has influenced subsequent generations of musicians with his artful approach to jazz. His feel and subtle nuances are sorely missed in the world of jazz.
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Trivia

Jazz saxophonist. Died of kidney failure in Philadelphia at age 67.

Not long after 'Round Midnight (1986), Coca-Cola approached Dexter Gordon about appearing in some television commercials. They changed their mind however, as they felt his skin color was "too white" and not dark enough.

Dexter Gordon When ever and wherever Dexter Gordon appeared it was an event, a celebration of life by the music that coursed through his tenor saxophone which sometimes looked (but never sounded) like a toy in the hands of the handsome, 6'5" man whose frame were symbolic of his stature as an artist.

Acknowledged as the musician who, in the 1940's, synthesized the influence of Lester Young, the Colman Hawkins School (via Herschel Evans) and Charlie Parker in translating Parker's message from alto sax to the tenor, Dexter became the idol of a host of tenor players. Allen Eager's first Savoy recordings showed a Gordonian stamp and even Stan Getz was persuaded for a while. In Philadelphia it seemed as if Gordon was the model as witness Bill Barron, Jimmy Heath and John Coltrane. In New York Jackie McLean, although an altoist, was taken with Dex before even hearing Parker. And another Manhattanite, Sonny Rollins, learned important early lessons listening to Gordon.

Through tenor titans such as Coltrane and rollins, Gordon exerted an indirect influence on the
music of the next generation. In the mid-1950's, after having gone unrecorded for several years, Gordon taped some sessions that revealed he had been listening to Rollins; in 1960 an album entitled "The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon" showed an awareness of Coltrane. I later remarked that it was like receiving interest on something he had banked a long time before. In neither case had he changed his basic aproach but he had kept his ears open. In 1961, when he began a series of classic recordings for the Blue Note label, he reiterated his mastery with that combination of awareness and strong allegiance to his personal muse.

To be sure there is tender strength, sophisticated subtlety, puckish punning and tidal drive blended with the engaging, disarming off-horn personality that gave Dex the marvelous capability of making people feel good. He was born Dexter Keith Gordon in Los Angeles, California on february 27, 1923. His father was a doctor who counted Duke Ellington and Lionel hampton among his patients. Young Dexter took up the clarinet at age 13, along with the study of harmony and theory under the much respected teacher, Lloyd Reese. At 15 he switched to alto sax and two years later, in 1940, he made the move to tenor, left school and began gigging around with a local band called the Harlem Collegians. In December he was asked to join Lionel Hampton's orchestra and went on the road with the vibist, visiting New York in 1941 where he heard Charlie Parker in the Jay McShann band.

After leaving Hampton in 1943, Gordon returned to Los Angeles where he worked with Lee Young (Lester's drumming brother) and Jesse Price. Then, in 1944, he was a member of Louis Armstrong's big band for six months. it wasn't, however, until he joined the fabled Billy eckstine band later in the year that he began to become a factor with both the jazz public and his fellow musicians. During his 18 months with the pioneering powerhouse of bop, sitting alongside (at various times) Gene Ammons, Sonny Sitt, Leo Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro, he was featured prominently on record in "Blowin' The Blues Away" (a tenor duet with Ammons) and "Lonesome Lover Blues".

In 1945 Gordon located in New York and became a fixture along 52nd Street whose numerous
clubs were alive with the music of Charlie "Yardbird" Parker and Gillespie. He played there with "Bird" and with his own combos, recorded separately with Diz and Bird as well as cutting a series of 78s for Savoy as a leader. In the summer of 1946 he returned to California and before he came back to New York in late 1947 he played two months in Honolulu with Cee Pee Johnson. "The Chase", a Los Angeles tenor battle with Wardell Gray made a lively dent in the jazz record market. After working and recording with Tadd Dameron's band in New York he once again went home to California in 1949 where he and Gray often teamed for club and concert jam session-type performances.

The 1950's were not an easy time for Gordon as first he wrestled with personal demons and secondly was confronted by the advent of "cool" jazz -- then vogue in L.A.-- which left his gutsy, hard-driving brand of playing in short demand. By 1960, however, he began to gather momentum again, surfacing in the West Coast company of Jack Gelber's "The Connection" as composer, small group leader and actor. Cannonball Adderly produced the "Resurgence" Lp and after his first Blue Note albums, he moved to New York in 1962, playing there and also using it as a base of operations for club appearances in the East.

In September of that year he journeyed to London to play at Ronnie Scott's club and continued with engagements on the Continent. Eventually he found a home in Copenhagen where he became the chief attraction at Club Montmartre. He received great respect and appreciation in the European milieu and made periodic trips back to the United States for club work and recording which helped maintain his international reputation. But it soon became aparent that his arena was Europe. He played at the major capitals and such festival as Berlin, Molde, Malmo, Ossiach, San Remo, Lugano, Montreux, etc. He appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1970; Tangier Jazz Festival, 1972; Newport-New York, 1973; and toured Japan in 1975.

As a teacher Gordon was active with the Worker's Cultural Foundation in Malmo, Sweden and with the Jazz and Youth Society, Vallekilde, Denmark.

He repeated his roles in "The Connection" in Denmark and also made a Danish film. His television and radio appearances in Europe are too numerous to list. In the U.S. he did a "Just Jazz" segment for PBS in 1971.

Althought he had played in Chigaco in 1974 and Los Angeles the following year, Gordon's 1976 trip to New York was his first in four years. The media coverage according him was more like an American jazzman visiting Europe or Japan for the first time: articles in the New York Times; New York Post; Village Voice; and television interviews.

He lectured at the University of Hartford and young musicians were magnetized by him wherever he played. In New York the list of his peers who came to hear him read like a Who's Who: Stanley Turrentine, Sadik Hakim, Joe Farrell, Charles Mingus, Tootie Heath, Jimmy Heath, Yusef Lateef, Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Owens, Dizzy Reece, Billy Higgins, John McLaughlin, Horace Silver, Sonny Sitt, Zoots Sims, Al Cohn, Tony Williams, Phoebe Snow, Maurice and Verdine White (of Earth, Wind and Fire) and an assortment of rock stars, to name a few.

Also in attendance was Columbia's president Bruce Lundvall, who was there as a fan as well as an involved executive. So, every night was special, particularly the three on which "Homecoming" was taped with ample support from trumpeter Woody Shaw, pianist Ronnie Mathews, bassist Stafford James and drummer Louis Hayes.

"There was so much love and elation," said Dexter. "Sometimes it was a little eerie at the Vanguard. After the last set they'd turn on the lights and nobody would move."

The excitement, reverence and warm love feeling engendered by his performances at the Village Vanguard are captured in "Homecoming". The release of his double album was greeted with open ears by the buying public. In this age of electronics, the presence of an acoustic album on "the charts" were phenomenal, but so was Dexter Gordon.

When Dexter returned to the U.S. in the spring of 1977 he was again met by adoring fans wherever he played. He was heard on the soprano as well as the tenor saxophone. Joy continued unabated and a new recording, considered a must, was discussed. this time it would be a special studio project. It began as a septet with trumpeter Woody Shaw, a member of Gordon's American quintet and trombonist Slide Hampton, a frequent European associate, as the chief arranger. The band became an 11-piecer through a natural evolution of ideas involving many players who had worked with Dexter at one time or another: trumpeter Benny Bailey, American expatriate, imported from Europe; and vibist Bobby Hutcherson, flown in from San Francisco.

In addition, at opposite ends of the sound spectrum, came flutist Frank Wess and tubaist Howard Johnson. Hampton's arranging skill, able to spread out across such an ensemble, creates a marvelous atmosphere for Gordon and the other soloists. As producer Michael Cuscuna put it: "Dexter is one of those great blowers who is not ihibited by an expanded setting."

The result was "Sophisticated Giant", an album everyone called "a classic." Even Dexter!

Between the time of the recording and its release Gordon won the "down beat" International Critics Poll for the first time since 1971. He was also honored by the Jazzmobile in a special concert at Grant's Tomb in New York. Then he was off to Montreux to take part in that Swiss city's prestigious jazz festival with a host of other Columbia and Epic stars including Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Maynard Ferguson, Bob James and George Duke. All of this can be heard in "Montreux Summit2. He is featured with Shaw, Duke and Slide Hampton in his own "Fried Bananas" and the rest of the stars in "Andromeda," Benny Golson's "Blues March" and the title track.

In 1978 Dexter was voted #1 Jazz Musician of the Year, the most prestigious individual "down beat" Reader's Poll Award, and for the third year in a row, was #1 winner in the tenor saxophone category. He narrowly missed winning the coveted '78 Hall of Fame category and had two albums, "Homecoming" and "Sophisticated Giant" place respectably in the Album of the Year category. Earlier in the year, Dexter was among the honorees at the White House Jazz Festival, hosted by President Carter.

"Manhattan Symphonie" was on the jazz charts "forever". Dexter Gordon, the romantic, had returned to New York and paid tribute with a release of well-mellowed horn combined with the fresh elements in harmony, rhythm and tonality. He hasn't just "kept up" but expanded and deeped as Dexter Gordon.

Grace and power, wit and emotion, harmonic acuity and melodic sweep; dexter Gordon was truly a "Sophisticated Giant".

--Lennie Niehaus
The piece was written before Dexter´s death, and I have rewritten it in the past tense. - Jesper

Erroll Garner

Original Vintage signed photo

Biography for
Erroll Garner

One of the most distinctive of all pianists, Erroll Garner proved that it was possible to be a sophisticated player without knowing how to read music, that a creative jazz musician can be very popular without watering down his music, and that it is possible to remain an enthusiastic player without changing one's style once it is formed. A brilliant virtuoso who sounded unlike anyone else, Erroll Garner on medium-tempo pieces often stated the beat with his left hand like a rhythm guitar while his right played chords slightly behind the beat, creating a memorable effect. His playful free-form introductions (which forced his sidemen to really listen), his ability to play stunning runs without once glancing at the keyboard, his grunting and the pure joy that he displayed while performing were also part of the Erroll Garner magic.

Garner, whose older brother Linton is also a fine pianist, appeared on the radio with the Kan-D-Kids at the age of ten. After working locally in Pittsburgh, he moved to New York in 1944 and worked with Slam Stewart's trio during 1944-45 before going out on his own. By 1946 Garner had his sound together and when he backed Charlie Parker on his famous "Cool Blues" session of 1947, the pianist was already an obvious giant. His unclassifiable style had an orchestral approach straight from the swing era but was open to the innovations of bop. From the early '50s Garner's accessible style became very popular and he never seemed to have an off day up until his forced retirement (due to illness) in early 1975. His composition "Misty" became a standard. Erroll Garner, who had the ability to sit at the piano without prior planning and record three albums in one day (all colorful first takes), made many records throughout his career for such companies as Savoy, Mercury, RCA, Dial, Columbia, EmArcy, ABC-Paramount, MGM, Reprise and his own Octave label.

Sarah Vaughan

Original Check "The Divine One" &
Unsigned Postcard

Lena Horne

Signed Original Book Illustration

Signed Original Photo

Signed Original Photo

Signed Original Photo 3" x 5"

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Lennie Hayton

Click to see larger image
Signed Original Photo 8 x 10 of
Lenny Hayton, Lena Horne's husband

BIOGRAPHY for
LENNY HAYTON

Lennie began playing piano when he was just six years old, and was destined to become a big part of the "Classic" Jazz scene of the 1920s. In 1926, he and Spencer Clark were working in the Little Ramblers. In 1927, he was working in the Cass Hagen Orchestra. From Sept. 1928 to May 1930, he was not only working in Paul Whiteman's great band, but all during this time, Hayton was playing and recording with such other Jazzmen as Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Red Nichols and Miff Mole.

By the 1930's Lennie's musical comprehension and skills had much matured and he turned more and more to musical direction. He very briefly lead a big band in 1928 (one record), and again, in 1939, he lead his own big band in New York City, - this time recording eight selections. His arrangers included Fulton (Fidgey) McGrath; Bill Challis; Deane Kincaide, and Lennie himself, wrote some fine scores for the
band. When that band broke up, Hayton went to Hollywood where he worked as musical director for Bing Crosby. During 1941-'53, Hayton worked on soundtracks for some of MGM's best Pictures. He also served as musical director for his very talented wife, -vocalist Lena Horne. Lennie died in 1970, but his lovely wife is still with us in 2000.

Biography of
Lena Horne

Lena Calhoun Horne was born on June 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. In her biography, she stated that on the day she was born, her father was in the midst of a card game trying to get money to pay the hospital costs. Her parents, ultimately, divorced while she was still a toddler. Her mother left later in order to find work in the acting field and Lena was left in the care of her grandparents. When Lena was seven, her mother returned and the two traveled the state where she was enrolled in numerous schools. For a time, Lena was, also, enrolled in schools in Florida, Georgia, and Ohio. Later she was to return to Brooklyn. She quit school when she was 14 and got her first stage job, dancing and later singing at the famed Cotton Club in Harlem when she was 16. The Cotton Club was a theater in which black performers played before white audiences. (The Cotton Club was immortalized in the film of the same name in 1984.) She was in good hands at the club, especially when people such as Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington took her under their wing and helped her over the rough spots in the world of show business. Before long, Lena's singing was playing before packed houses. If Lena Horne had never made a movie, her music career would have been enough to have left her a legend in the entertainment industry, but films were icing on the cake. After a few appearances on Broadway, Hollywood did come calling. At 21 years of age, Lena played in her first film on the silver screen entitled THE DUKE IS TOPS. It would be four more years before she appeared in another. When she did it was PANAMA HATTIE playing a singer in a nightclub. By now, Lena had signed with MGM, but unfortunately, for her, the movies were filmed so that her scenes could be cut out when they were shown in the South. At that time, the South had ridiculous notions about race. Movie executives feared a loss of revenue if a black performer appeared in them in a role other than a servant or other minor occupation. Lena did not want to appear in any stereotyped role and who could blame her. In 1943, MGM loaned Lena to Fox Studios for the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black musical, STORMY WEATHER. The film did very well at the box-office. Her song by the same name became a big hit on the musical charts. In 1943, Lena appeared in CABIN IN THE SKY, which is regarded as one of the finest performances of her career. She played Georgia Brown opposite Ethel Waters and Eddie Anderson in the all-black production. Rumors have it that Lena and Miss Waters just did not get along well. No one was really sure what the disagreement was all about. That was not the only feud. Other cast members sniped at one another. It was a wonder the film was made at all. Regardless of the hostilities, the movie was released to very good reviews from the ever tough critics. The film went a long way in showing the talent that existed among the black members of the Hollywood establishment, especially Lena. Afterwards, Lena's musical career flourished while her movie career stagnated. Minor roles in films such as BOOGIE-WOOGIE DREAM, WORDS AND MUSIC, and MANTAN MESSES UP did little to advance her in the world of film. This was owed to the idiotic attitudes of the day. Even during her music career, she was denied rooms at the very hotels in which she sang! After MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS in 1956, Lena left films to concentrate on music and the stage. She returned, in 1969, as Claire Quintana in DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER. After an additional nine years, Lena appeared one last time on the big screen in the all-black musical called THE WIZ in 1978 where she played Glinda the Good. That's not to say she left films altogether. She did make two television appearances in 1994 in "A Century of Women" and "That's Entertainment! III". Had it not been for the prevailing racial attitudes of the time, it's fair to say that Lena's career could have been much bigger than what it was, perhaps, the number one entertainer of all time. She is that talented and beautiful ----and still singing!

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"FATS" WALLER

Immortal composer & performer.

Very Rare Ink Signature plus Vintage 8" x 10" Photo

Another Very Rare Ink Signature

Biography for
Fats Waller


Birth name
Thomas Wright Waller
Date of birth (location)
21 May 1904,
New York, New York, USA
Date of death (details)
15 December 1943,
Kansas City, Missouri, USA


Fats Waller was the son of a preacher and learned to play the organ in church with his mother. In 1918 he won a talent contest playing James P. Johnson's Carolina Shout; which he learned from watching a pianola play the song, but would later take piano lessons from Johnson. He started his recording career in 1922 and made a living playing rent parties, as an organist at movie theatres, and as an accompanist for various vaudeville acts. In 1927 he co-wrote a couple of tunes with his old piano teacher James P. Johnson for his show "Keep Shufflin'" Two years later Waller wrote the score for the Broadway hit "Hot Chocolates" with lyrics supplied by his friend Andy Razaf. Fats' most famous song "Ain't Misbehavin'" was introduced in this show which featured Louis Armstrong. Fats Waller's big break occurred at a party given by George Gershwin in 1934, where he delighted the crowd with his piano playing and singing. An executive of Victor Records, who was at the party was so impressed that he arranged for Fats to record with the company. This arrangement would continue until Wallers death in 1943. Most of the records he made where released under the name of Fats Waller and his Rhythm. The group consisted of around half a dozen musicians who worked with him regularly, including Zutty Singleton. Through out the 1930s and early 1940s Fats was a star of radio and nightclubs, and toured Europe. He unexpectantly died on board a train near Kansas City, Missouri of pneumonia in 1943.
 

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