1949

Wardell Gray Chronology

 

 

 

Created by Leif Bo Petersen

 

Last updated: January 23, 2016.

 

 

Date

 

Event

References/Further Details

January early

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra and Show.

Benny Goodman (cl, dir); Howard Reich, Doug Mettome, Al Stewart, Nick Travis (tp); Milt Bernhart, Eddie Bert, George Monte (tb); Mitch Goldberg, Angelo Cicalese (as); Wardell Gray, Eddie Wasserman (ts); Larry Molinelli (bar); Buddy Greco (p, voc); Francis Beecher (g); Clyde Lombardi (b); Sonny Igoe (d); Terry Swope (voc).

The Clarinaders (5 vocals including Buddy Greco and Terry Swope)

Peiro Brothers (jugglers)

Buddy Lester (comedian)

Paramount Theater, Manhattan, New York, NY.

Closing January 11, 1949.

The press reported that Goodman suffered from severe illness at the end of the Paramount gig. Gene Krupa was called in to lead the band the last days.

 

“Vaudeville Reviews: Paramount, New York,” Billboard, December 25, 1948, 42: Review on opening night, December 15.

Ad in New York Times, January 11, 1949, 35: Has new show opening at Paramount on January 12.

“Fever Hits Goodman; Doctor Orders Rest,” Billboard, January 29, 1949, 36.

 

January early

Benny Goodman Sextet

Benny Goodman (cl); Wardell Gray (ts); Buddy Greco (p); Francis Beecher (g); Clyde Lombardi (b); Sonny Igoe (d).

Stork Club, New York, NY.

Goodman doubles here with his sextet during his Paramount engagement.

January 7, 1949: WINS Broadcast at 11:00 p.m.: Bop Goes to the Stork Club. Jack Lacy (mc).

Recorded fragment exists.

 

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 194.

“Today’s Radio Best, Bets” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 7, 1949, 21.

See discography for details.

 

January 20

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

National Guard Armory, Washington, DC.

Inauguration Ball

NBC broadcast. Recording exists.

Goodman played the Inaugural Ball against his doctor’s advice. He had to leave the bandstand during performance and let Lionel Hampton take over the band. Goodman returned to California on January 21 in order to rest. A Capitol recording date in January was cancelled.

“Orks, Stars Lined Up for Inaugural Ball,” Billboard, January 15, 1949, 38.

“Radio and TV Throw Curves at Inaugural,” Billboard, January 29, 1949, 3 and 5.

“Fever Hits Goodman; Doctor Orders Rest,” Billboard, January 29, 1949, 36.

“Illness Forces Goodman to Leave Inaugural Ball,” “Niagara Falls Gazette, January 21, 1949, 6.

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 194.

See discography for details.

 

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Buddy Greco leads the band as it goes to the West Coast doing one-niters.

 

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 194.

January 25

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Coconut Groove, Salt Lake City, UT.

Cancelled.

 

Ad in Salt Lake Tribune, January 22, 1949, 12: Cancelled because of Benny Goodman’s from the band.

January 27

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Flamingo Club, Las Vegas, NV.

Opening January 27.

Goodman fires Wardell Gray during this engagement, but it cannot be effectuated because of the contract’s clause of six-months notice. Gray continues.

 

“Fever Hits Goodman; Doctor Orders Rest,” Billboard, January 29, 1949, 36.

Milt Bernhart in G. Lees, Friends Along the Way (2003) 30.

February 10

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA.

Commercial recordings for Capitol.

 

See discography for details.

 

February

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Touring California and Pacific Northwest

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 195.

 

February 11

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Urbita Ballroom, San Bernardino, CA.

 

“Benny Goodman Coming S. B.,” San Bernardino Daily Sun, February 7, 1949, 4.

February 12

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Pacific Square Ballroom, San Diego, CA.

“Benny Goodman Plays Saturday,” San Diego Union, February 9, 1949, 11.

 

March 1

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Including Sabu Martinez.

Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA.

March 1–April 4.

Recordings exist.

March 8, 1949: AFRS One Night Stand # 1901.

March 11, 1949: AFRS One Night Stand # 1911.

March 15, 1949: AFRS One Night Stand # 1931.

March 19, 1949: CBS broadcast.

March 22, 1949: AFRS One Night Stand # 1946.

March 26, 1949: CBS broadcast.

March 29, 1949: AFRS One Night Stand # 1957.

March 30, 1949: AFRS One Night Stand # 1974.

Prob. April 1, 1949: AFRS One Night Stand # 1994.

April 2, 1949: CBS broadcast.

 

“Chatter,” Variety (Daily), February 19, 1949, 2: Opening March 1 for four weeks.

“Music–As Written,” Billboard, April 2, 1949, 50: Gene Krupa follows Goodman at the Palladium on Tuesday (5).

See discography for details.

 

March 24

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA.

Commercial recordings for Capitol.

“Los Angeles band Briefs,” Down Beat, May 6, 1949, 9: Nick Travis leaves (his chair was taken by Irving Goodman during recent Capitol recordings). No replacement for Travis at press time.

See discography for details.

 

March 31

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Benny Goodman (cl, dir); Howard Reich, Doug Mettome, Al Stewart, Irving Goodman (tp); Bill Byers, Eddie Bert, George Monte (tb); Mitch Goldberg, Angelo Cicalese (as); Wardell Gray, Eddie Wasserman (ts); Larry Molinelli (bar); Buddy Greco (p, voc); Bud Herman (p); Francis Beecher (g); Clyde Lombardi (b); Sonny Igoe (d); Terry Swope, The Clarinaders (voc).

Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA.

Commercial recordings for Capitol.

 

“Sidemen Switches,” Down Beat, July 29, 1949, 4.

Bill Byers replaces Milt Bernhardt (tb). and Bob Dawes replaces Larry Molinelli (bars).

Ziggy Schatz replaces Nick Travis (tp). See discography for details.

 

April

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Pacific Square Ballroom, San Diego, CA.

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 197.

 

April 12

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Benny Goodman (cl, dir); Howard Reich, Doug Mettome, Al Stewart, Sigmund “Ziggy” Schatz (tp); Bill Byers, Eddie Bert, George Monte (tb); Mitch Goldberg, Angelo Cicalese (as); Wardell Gray, Eddie Wasserman (ts); Bob Dawes (bar); Buddy Greco (p, voc); Bud Herman (p); Francis Beecher (g); Clyde Lombardi (b); Sonny Igoe (d); Terry Swope (voc).

Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA.

Commercial recordings for Capitol.

 

“Sidemen Switches,” Down Beat, July 29, 1949, 4.

Bob Dawes replaces Larry Molinelli (bars). Ziggy Schatz replaces Nick Travis (tp).

See discography for details.

April 14

Benny Goodman Septet

Doug Mettome (tp); Benny Goodman (cl); Wardell Gray (ts); Buddy Greco (p, voc); Francis Beecher (g); Clyde Lombardi (b); Sonny Igoe (d).

Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA.

Commercial recordings for Capitol.

 

See discography for details.

 

April 18

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Tony’s El Patio, Reno, NV.

 

Ad in Reno Evening Gazette, April 18, 1949, 2.

April 20

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

The King’s Jester

Nicks and Taylor (Dunham Dancers)

Herkie Styles (comedy)

The singers

Rainbow Rendezvous, Salt Lake City, UT.

April 20–23.

 

Ad in Salt Lake Tribune, April 17, 1949, B13.

“Name bands Back to Lush Pay of the Wardays,” Variety (Daily), March 22, 1948, 11.

“Goodman Preps 1-night Vauder,” Billboard, April 9, 1949, 19.

 

April 24

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Colorado University, Boulder, CO.

 

“Goodman Preps 1-night Vauder,” Billboard, April 9, 1949, 19.

 

April 25

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Russell Shrine Club, Russell, KS.

“Benny Goodman Plans for Russell Shrine,” Hutchinson News Herald, April 13, 1948, 3.

 

April 26

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Rainbow Ballroom, Denver, CO.

 

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy  (1988), 197.

April 27

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

25 people featuring Doug Mettome (tp); Wardell Gray (ts); Buddy Greco (p); Sonny Igoe (d); Terry Swope (voc).

The Singers

Nicks and Taylor (dance)

Herkie Styles (comedy).

Pla-Mor Ballroom, Kansas City, KS.

 

Ad in Kansas City Star, April 27, 1949, 27.

April 28

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

 

“Goodman Preps 1-night Vauder,” Billboard, April 9, 1949, 19.

 

April 30

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

University of Minnesota, Rochester, MN.

“Goodman Preps 1-night Vauder,” Billboard, April 9, 1949, 19.

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy  (1988), 197.

May 1

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Devine’s Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI.

D. Russell Connor. Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 197.

 

May 2

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Capitol Theater, Madison, WI.

 

“Play this Week,” Wisconsin State Journal, May 1, 1949, 45.

 

May 5

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

St. Louis Theater, St. Louis, MO.

May 5–11.

“Where the band Are Playing, Down Beat, May 20, 1949, 17.

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 197.

 

May

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

One-nighters in Reno, NV; Boulder City, NV; Salt Lake City, UT; Rochester, MN.

 

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy  (1988), 197.

May 14

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Shryock Auditorium, Southern Illinois University, Murphysboro, IL.

8:00 p.m.: Concert. 9:30 p.m.: Dance.

Ad in Murphysboro Daily Independent, May 13, 1949, 2.

“King of Swing Swinging,” Murphysboro Daily Independent, May 13, 1949, 2.

 

May 15

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Coliseum, Evansville, IN.

7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

 

Benny Goodman to Give Two Concerts Here Tomorrow Night,” Sunday Courier and Press, May 14, 1949, 20-A.

May 19

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Circle Theater, Indianapolis. IN.

May 19–25.

“Where the band Are Playing, Down Beat, May 20, 1949, 17.

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 197.

 

May 26

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, WI

May 26–June 2.

“Where the band Are Playing, Down Beat, June 3, 1949, 17.

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 197.

 

June 3

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Ocean Beach Ballroom, New London, CT.

 

“Capacity for BG in Conn.,” Billboard, July 16, 1949 41.

June 9

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Ches-a-Rena, Cheswick, PA.

9–1.

 

Ad in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 8, 1949 12.

June 10

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Hecla Park, Mingoville, PA.

 

Ad in Express (Lock Haven, PA.), June 4, 1949, 2.

June 11

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Sunnybrook, Pottstown, PA.

 

Ad in Pottstown Mercury, June 9, 1949, 21.

June 18

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Hershey Park Ballroom, Hershey, PA.

CBS Broadcast. Recordings exist.

“Benny Goodman Revue Coming to Hershey,” Lebanon Daily News, June 16, 1949.

Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy 

(1988), 197.

 

June 25?

Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Revue

Armory, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

D. Russell Connor, Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 197.

 

June 26

 

Benny Goodman Orchestra and Show

Mancuso Theatre, Batavia, NY.

 

Ad in Perry Herald, June 16, 1949, 3.

July 2

Sun Valley, Shrewsbury, MA.

 

Ad in Fitchburg Sentinel (MA.), June 30, 1949, 10.

July 3

Ocean Beach Park Ballroom, New London, CT.

 

“Capacity for BG in Conn.,” Billboard, July 16, 1949, 41.

July 4

Armory North Adams, MA.

8:30–1 a.m.

Ad in North Adams Transcript, Jun 28, 1949, 3.

July 5

Capitol Studios, New York, NY.

Commercial recordings for Capitol.

 

See discography for details.

July/August

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Planned European tour starting July 18 with Goodman and Buddy Greco and local musicians at the Palladium, London.

The full orchestra had a six-weeks vacation and was planned to join Goodman in Europe later for continental tour.

John Wilson (tp), Gene Steinman (tb), and Bob Carter (b) replace Howard Reich, Eddie Bert, and Clyde Lombardi.

The tour is cancelled after Goodman’s Palladium appearance.

Mario Daone (tb) replaces Gene Steinman.

 

“Goodman Europe Tour Schedule Settled,” Down Beat, July 15, 1949, 1.

“Benny Goodman Unit Clicks at Palladium,” Variety, July 20, 1949, 44. 

“Sidemen Switches,” Down Beat, August 12, 1949, 11.

“BG Drops Europe Tour,” Down Beat, September 9, 1949, 1.

“Sidemen Switches,” Down Beat, August 26, 1949, 17.

July/August

Phil Hill Band

Wardell Gray (ts); Phil Hill (p); James “Beans” Richardson (b); Art Mardigan (d); Jack Tiant (bgo).

Blue Bird Inn, Detroit

Wardell Gray stays in Detroit and gigs with Phil Hill at the Blue Bird.

July 20, 1949: Private recording exists.

 

Michigan Chronicle August 6, 1949, acc. To L. Bjorn and J. Gallart, Before Motown (2001), 101.

August 26

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Canada.

August 26–27, 1951.

Two shows daily: 3–5 p.m. and 9_–1 a.m.

This seem to have been cancelled or shortened to August 26.

 

 “Benny Goodman to Play at Exposition on C-E Day,” Buffalo Courier-Express, August 14, 1949, 6B

August 28

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Benny Goodman (cl, dir); Al Stewart, Doug Mettome, John Wilson, Ziggy Schatz (tp); George Monte, Bill Byers, Mario Daone (tb); Mitch Goldberg, Angelo Cicalese (as); Wardell Gray, Eddie Wasserman (ts); Larry Molinelli or Joe Casalaro (bar); Buddy Greco (p, voc); Francis Beecher (g); Bob Carter (b); Sonny Igoe (d); Emily Long, The Clarinaders (voc).

Surf Beach Club, Virginia Beach, VA.

August 27–September 5.

Recordings exist.

August 27: 1949: NBC broadcasts.

September 3, 1949: NBC broadcasts.

 

“Where the Bands Are Playing,” Down Beat, September 9, 1949, 17.

D. Russell Connor. Benny Goodman – Listen to His Legacy (1988), 197–98.

See discography for details.

 

September 7

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Recreation Building, Beckley, WV.

9 p.m.–1 a.m.

Junior Chamber of Commerce (prod).

 

“Benny Goodman to Appear in Beckley September 7,” Raleigh Register, August 25, 3.

September 9

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Armory Auditorium, Charlotte, NC.

9:00-

 

“Goodman Plays Charlotte Thursday,” Gastonia Gazette, September 6, 1949, 1.

September 14

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Raleigh, NC.

 

“Benny Goodman and Wardell Gray,” Carolina Times, September 24, 1949, 2.

September 16

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Including Sonny Igoe, Wardell Gray, Dolly Houston, Buddy Greco, and Doug Mettome.

Marcy Lutes

Sports Arena, Greensboro, NC.

“Goodman to Play Here,” Greensboro Daily News, September 15, 1949, sec. 2-14.

September 17

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Grand View Ballroom, Chesapeake Bay, Hampton, VA.

Festival Ball.

 

“Gregg Sherwood Is Chosen Queen of Hampton Festival,” Richmond Times Dispatch, September 11, 38.

September 18

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Unidentified studio, NYC.

Commercial recordings for Capitol,

 

D. Russell Connor, Bennie Goodman: Wrappin’ It Up, (1996), 74: gives September 18 dating.

September 19

The Benny Goodman, His Orchestra and Big Vaudeville Show.

26 pieces incl. Doug Mettome (tp); Wardell Gray (ts); Buddy Greco (p & voc); Sonny Igoe (d); Dolly Houston (voc).

Nicks &Taylor (exotic dancers)

The Four Step Bros

Herkie Styles (comedy)

Adeleine Niece (voc)

The Wally Wanger Casino Beautees

The Gauchos

The Madhatters

Gino Bono’s Orchestra

Town Casino, Buffalo, NY.

September 19–25.

Three shows pr. Night 7:30, 10:30, and 1:00 p.m. Lenny Page (mc).

 

“Benny Goodman Coming to Casino,” Buffalo Courier-Express, September 18, 1949, 3C

Ad in Buffalo Courier-Express, September 20, 1949, 6.

 

September 26

The Benny Goodman, His orchestra and Revue

Vogue Terrace, McKeesport, PA.

September 26–October 2.

 

Ad in Evening Standard (Uniontown. PA.), September 24, 1949, 7.

September late

or October early

 

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

Wardell Gray leaves Goodman and is replaced by Zoot Sims. He joins Bud Powell.

“Sidemen Switches,” Down Beat, November 18, 1949, 9.

C. Dahlgreen: Nytt Fran New York. Orkester Journalen, November 1949, 14.

 

October 7

Wardell Gray Band

Sonny Stitt (as), Wardell Gray (ts), Tadd Dameron (p), Gene Ramey (b), Charlie Perry (d).

Orchid Room, NYC.

October 7–13.

 

“Orchid Room Closes After 3 Weeks.” Down Beat, November 18, 1949, 3:  Bud Powell held over heading a group of Miles Davis, Nelson Boyd, Haynes. Alternating with a Wardell Gray Group.

Claes Dahlgreen: Nytt Fran New York. Orkester Journalen, November 1949, 14.

Late in the year?

Freddie Slack Band

Jerri Gray, “Mes Dix Années Avec Wardell Gray,” Jazz Magazine, September 1955, 20.

 

November

Wardell Gray Quartet

Wardell Gray has signed with Associated Booking Corporation (Joe Glaser) leading own band.

 

“Wardell a Leader,” Down Beat, December 2, 1949 18.

November 11

Wardell Gray Quartet

Unidentified studio, NYC.

Commercial recordings for Prestige.

 

See discography for details.

November 24

Wardell Gray Quartet

Corpus Christie Auditorium, Chicago, IL.

McKie Fitzhugh (mc).

 

“Wardell a Leader,” Down Beat, December 2, 1949 18.

December

Phil Hill Band

Blue Bird Inn, Detroit, MI.

Gray replaces Frank Foster temporarily. Works in the band in and out for the next half year.

 

Michigan Chronicle December 24, 1949, acc. to L. Bjorn and J. Gallart. Before Motown (2001), 102, 125.

December 5

Count Basie Orchestra

Blue Note, Chicago, IL.

December 5–11.

16 pieces: Including Wardell Gray. He replaced Paul Gonsalves who had joined Dizzy Gillespie.

 

“Hit the Blue Note,” Chicago Defender, December 12, 1949, 35: Photo and text. Basie in for a week closing December 11.

“Basie Best of What’s Left,” Down Beat, January 13, 1950, 21: Review from the Blue Note with personnel.

December 12

Celebrity Night

Savannah Churchill, Duke Williams, Bill Greaves, Wardell Gray, Jim Breedlove and others.

Turbo Village, Brooklyn, New York, NY.

Larry Douglas (prod).

“Celebrity Nights to Tee off Dec. 12th,” New York Age, December 10, 1949, 8.

December 24

Lavern Baker and Wardell Gray's Sextet

Miramar Ballroom, Gary, IN.

Breakfast dance.

 

Ad in Chicago Defender, according to http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~campber/saunders.html

 

December 24

Claude McLin Orchestra featuring Wardell Gray

Pershing Ballroom, Chicago, IL.

Christmas Evening Ball.

 

“Chicago Band Briefs,” Down Beat, January 27, 1950, 4.

 

December late

Wardell Gray Band

Chicago, IL.

Concert in Christmas week. McKie Fitzhugh (mc).

 

“Chicago Band Briefs,” Down Beat, December 30, 1949, 4.