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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Louis Armstrong Photograph

It's taken me a while (what doesn't?), but I've finally listed on eBay the gem of my jazz photographs for sale. Here's the write-up:

"In the 1930s, black and white musicians were not allowed to play together onstage in some of Harlem's nightclubs, so they would get together backstage and jam. This photograph, by Charles Peterson, shows one such jam session, with Tommy Dorsey on trombone at the right, "Pops" Foster on standing bass, Eddie Condon on guitar, Gene Krupa on drums, and of course a young Louis Armstrong, who is just lowering his trumpet with that wonderful beatific expression on his face. (I'm sorry I don't remember who the sax and trumpet players are--if you know, please tell me!) I was a custom darkroom printer in the 1980s and did some exhibition printing for the photographer's son, and Mr. Peterson allowed me to keep a very few copies of the pictures I printed. I am well known as a darkroom expert and this is an archival print made from the original 4x5-inch Speed Graphic negative on Oriental Seagull paper toned in selenium, in perfect condition. The paper size is 11x14, image size somewhat less. A copy of this picture was exhibited at the Monterey Jazz Festival in the late 1980s and one hangs in the listening room of PS Audio, a high-end stereo equipment manufacturer. This is just a fantastic picture, with jazz interest, race interest, and photographic interest. Sorry about the dusty scan. This is the only one I have to sell. I also have a fabulous picture of Billie Holiday that I will try to list later this week."

I know that the photographer probably asked everybody to scooge together so he could get them all in the picture. I only wish I had kept a copy of a wonderful shot of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway playing at a late-night apartment party, having traded instruments—Duke on Calloway's guitar and Cab on the piano! Sorry again about the dusty scan, but I have too much to do.

I've posted some other photographs for sale too. Hope you'll take a look.



Blogger Will said...

Looks like Red Allen and Mezz Mezzrow to me, but hard to tell. That would place it around 1936 I think

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

probably henry "red " allen on tpt and bud freeman on tenor, the drummer is not krupa. possibly geo wettling are you sure the photo wasn't taken in chicago?

8:16 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Bud and Will,
Thanks for your help--I have made changes in the ID of the players in the auction description. Bud, I'm pretty sure it was NYC. At least that's what the photographer's son thought. Chas. Peterson lived in Harlem above a nightclub and would haunt the clubs & jazzmen's parties after hours. During the day he was a portrait photographer. So he didn't travel to take these pictures and was just doing it for love rather than on assignment.


12:28 AM  
Blogger Will said...

I agree that it is Bud Freeman on tenor. There are some pictures here:

I didn't think it looked like Krupa either. It is George Wettling. See:

They have the same picture.



11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love those Perterson photos. The picture of Duke and Cab you're referring can be found in "Swing era" and there's also a long article (in French but with the pictures) about them on my website :

I'm sure you'll enjoy!

The Hi De Ho Man

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct, that is Bud Freeman (he was my uncle)
What a beautiful time to be alive.
I miss him dearly.
J. Sap DeFily

12:17 PM  

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