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May 2004


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C. Bolling wrote:

My husband is trying to find an artist named Kenny Wagner. He used to be on the Sunnyside label. He was doing a song called East Meets West. He is having a heck of a time finding him or anything about him. Can you help? Thank you very much in advance for your help.

C. Bolling:

The artist your husband is looking for is pianist Kenny Werner, not Wagner. The Sunnyside CD he is seeking is called 'Uncovered Heart' and it is available through a number of major CD websites, including Barnes & Noble (www.bn.com), among others. Werener also has a great new live CD out on Half Note called 'Live at the Blue Note.'

George from C\'ville, VA wrote:

I remember a Les McCann LP from the late fifties, early sixties, all ballads. It may have been called 'On Green Dolphin Street.' I know the tune by that name was on it. Any ideas? Thanks.


The only album I've turned up with Les McCann playing "On Green Dolphin Street" is 'Pretty Lady,' a 1961 session for Pacific Jazz that features bassist Herbie Lewis and drummer Ron Jefferson. It has not been reissued on CD and will likely be difficult to find.

Al wrote:

I have the entire Maybeck Recital Hall Series except Denny Zeitlin Vol. 27 & Sir Roland Hanna Vol. 32. I keep searching the web to no avail. Any ideas as to where I might find those two?


I have been stymied in my attempts to track down the Denny Zeitlin CD, but Jazz Record Mart in Chicago has a few copies of the 'Sir Roland Hanna At Maybeck' CD you're seeking for $7.99 each. Go to www.jazzrecordmart.com.

Tom from Atlanta, GA wrote:

I’ve been searching for an old Shelly Manne LP called ‘My Son the Jazz Drummer’ and haven’t had any luck. Do you have any ideas about where to look?


This is a bizarre coincidence! I just traded for a copy of this LP, then received a CD reissue of this Contemporary album a few days later, though it is now called ‘Steps to the Desert.’ The CD is available through Fantasy Records, and my LP is available for sale or trade if you want the original version.

Ken Schellenberg wrote:

Years ago, at a program held at the Library of Congress in DC, they played exerpts from Voice of America recordings from the Newport Jazz Festival in the late 50s where Monk sat in with Ellington's band. It was an amazing piece, the blending of Monk's distinctive style with Ellington's band was awesome. I'd love to hear the whole set (they only played one number). As far as I know, it's never been released.

It occurred to me that Rob Bamberger (he hosts a local show "Hot Jazz Saturday Night" that's also broadcast on Armed Forces Radio Network overseas and by NPR in a few cities if I'm not mistaken) was involved in the event. He e-mailed Larry Appelbaum, who works at the Library of Congress.

For what it's worth, here's the answer!

Larry Appelbaum wrote:

These were VOA audio tapes of Monk sitting in with Duke's Orchestra for two numbers (“Monk's Dream” and “Frere Monk”). I don't think these live recordings have ever been issued, but Valburn put out these two songs from the studio session on one of his Ellington collector sets. I can't remember if it was Monk or Ellington or Strayhorn playing piano on the studio dates. I'm pretty sure Strayhorn wrote the arrangements.

Ken and Larry:

Larry's information is correct. The entire Ellington set at Newport was recorded on July 8, 1962, with Monk taking over on the two songs mentioned. Only three numbers from the earlier part of the set have ever been issued, by Toshiba-EMI in Japan. Monk's guest spots remain unjustly in the can.

The two songs were recorded by Ellington on September 13, 1962. Jerry Valburn issued both tracks on Up-to-Date LP 2008. They also appear on the LMR CD ‘The Private Collection Volume III: Studio Sessions, New York 1962,’ though “Monk's Dream” was mislabeled “Blue Monk’ on this release. Strayhorn is credited as the arranger. The piano solo is brief in “Monk's Dream” and I'm unclear as to who it is for sure though it seems like Ellington to me; there is no piano in “Frere Monk.”

I hope the added information helps since you were well on your way to the answer before I could get home to use my Lord Jazz Discography and listen to the CD!

Jack McCray of Charleston, SC wrote:

My name is Jack McCray and I am a co-principal in an effort called the Charleston Jazz Initiative in Charleston, S.C., home of the Jenkins Orpahange, a 100-year-old institution described as a jazz nursery by jazz historian John Chilton. The institution and its residents is one of the great, untold American stories.

I am also the jazz editor at the Post and Courier, a daily newspaper in Charleston. I am trying to find information, artifacts and records by players from Charleston such as St. Julian Dash, Freddie Green, Jabbo Smith, Tommy Benford, Clifton Smalls, et. al.

I found this e-mail address on your column Web-site and thought I'd give you a hit with my request. I would appreciate any help or guidance you would be willing to share.


You sound like you have a very worthwhile project. The first thing you can do is check each artist's biography at www.allmusic.com. It will give you an idea (though it isn't complete) about what each artist had done as a leader and a sideman.

Freddie Green is primarily known for his 50 years with the Basie band, though he did a recording for RCA called ‘Mr. Rhythm.’ It was reissued as a CD by Bluebird as ‘Natural Seven’ and later by Koch, though I think both versions are currently out of print. You might find them at half.com, euclidrecords.com, dustygroove.com, etc. He debuted with Teddy Wilson. He last recorded in 1987.

Jabbo Smith has a pair of CDs that should still be available on the Biograph label. After 1938, he only recorded on an erratic basis, though he did some sessions in Europe in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. He appears as a sideman on discs by Thomas Morris, Eva Taylor, Charlie Johnson, Georgia Strutters, Duke Ellington, the Louisiana Sugar Babies (with James P. Johnson and Fats Waller), and Ikey Robinson. I am unclear as to the availability of any of these recordings on CD, though some have been reissued, they may be out of print.

Tommy Benford played drums with Charlie Skeete, Jelly Roll Morton, Bubber Miley, Coleman Hawkins, Eddie South, Bill Coleman, pianist Joe Turner, Pops Foster, Bob Wilber and Sidney Bechet, among others. The Morton sides will be the easiest to find on CD, but some of the others have been reissued as well. He was active until 1983.

Clifton Smalls seems to have primarily been a sideman, first on trombone with Earl Hines and later switching to piano. He played piano with Lucky Thompson, Earl Bostic, Al Sears, Bennie Green, Sy Oliver, Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald, Paul Gonsalves & Roy Eldridge, Milt Hinton. He appears on the 1965 concert in Pittsburgh called ‘The Jazz Piano,’ and four solo tracks recorded for Master Jazz appear in the Mosaic boxed set ‘The Complete Master Jazz Piano Series.’ Smalls made his last recording in 1979. I hope that this information gives you a starting point.

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