1951

Wardell Gray Chronology

 

 

 

Created by Leif Bo Petersen

 

Last updated: May 28, 2014.

 

 

Date

 

Event

References/Further Details

January/February

Count Basie Septet

7 pieces, incl. Marshall Royal (as); Jimmy Lewis (b).

Also on the bill: Madcaps (2); Claire Hogan (voc); Len Howard Orchestra (7); the Appletons (3); Neil Stanley (impressionist).

Seville, Montreal, Canada.

 

“House Reviews: Seville, Montreal,” Variety, February 7, 1951, 54: Reviewed on February 2.

February

Club Juana, Detroit, MI.

2 weeks.

 

C. Sheridan, Count Basie –A Bio-Discography (1986), 1127.

March 5

Colonial Theatre, Toronto Ontario, Canada.

March 5–18.

 

C. Sheridan, Count Basie–A Bio-Discography (1986), 1127.

March 30

Count Basie Orchestra

16 pieces: 5 reeds; 7 brasses; 4 in the rhythm.

Also on the bill: Herman Chittison Trio; Bill Bailey (tap dance); Joe Turner (voc); Irene Williams (voc); Rose Hardaway (dance); Norma Miller Dancers (10 girls, 5 males); Pigmeat Markham & Co.

Apollo, New York, NY.

March 30–April 6.

 

Ad in New York Age, March 31, 1951, 17.

“House Reviews: Apollo. N.Y.,” Variety, February 7, 1951, 47: Reviewed on opening night, March 30.

April

A couple of one-niters.

 

“Rhythm and Blues Notes,” Billboard, April 7, 1951, 36.

April early?

Count Basie Septet

April 20, 1951:

WNEW broadcast. New York, NY: Stars on Parade.

Recordings exist.

This broadcast was probably pre-recorded.

 

See discography for details.

April 10

Unidentified studio, New York, NY.

Commercial recordings for Columbia.

 

See discography for details.

April 12?

Jam session

Probably: Charlie Parker (as); Bill Wellington (ts); Wardell Gray (ts); Nat Pierce (p); Jack Lawlor (b); Joe MacDonald (d).

Christy's, Framingham, MA.

Probably April 12, 1951, early morning (April 11 after midnight).

Recordings exist.

 

B. Blumenthal, Liner notes in booklet to the CD: Charlie Parker in Boston, 1952, Uptown UPCD 27.42 (1996), 24: Drummer Joe McDonald has told of this jam session.

Jam Sessions at Christy's - c. Winter—Spring 1950. ZIM Records: This sheet describes the ZIM Records holdings of tapes from Christy’s. The date given for the Parker tracks is April 12, 1950. Art Zimmerman has recently (2013) informed me that this tape came in a cassette with the written date 4/12/51 and the personnel: McGhee, Parker, Wellington, Pierce, Tommy Potter, and Jim Clark. Listening to the bass solo on Scrapple From the Apple, I hear "Go Jack" yelled 2 times. This is not consistent with the Tommy Potter on the reel label, but points to Jack Lawlor, who played with Nat Pierce in this period,

See discography for further details.

 

April mid

Jam session

Christie’s Restaurant, Framingham, MA.

Incl. Howard McGhee, Clark Terry, Dick Wetmore, Bill Harris, Wardell Gray, Nat Pierce and others.

Recordings exist

 

See discography for details.

April 15

Count Basie Septet

Hi-Hat, Boston.

April 15–21.

 

“Count Basie Band Plays at Hi-Hat,” Boston Traveler, April 18, 1951, 7.

April 26

Birdland, New York, NY.

April 26–May 2.

“On the Upbeat,” Variety, April 25, 1951, 50: Opening on April 26. “Rhythm and Blues Notes,” Billboard, May 5, 1951, 34: Closing May 2.

 

April 28

Birdland, New York, NY.

Broadcast. WJZ. Symphony Sid (mc).

Recordings exist.

 

See discography for details.

May 3

Count Basie Orchestra

13 pieces, incl. Wardell Gray, Lucky Thompson, Clark Terry, and Freddie Green.

Also on the bill: Bill Bailey (tap dance); Thelma Carpenter (voc); George Kirby (impressionist); and the Orioles (5 vocals, incl. g, and b).

Strand Theater, New York, NY.

May 3–15.

 

Ad in New York Age, May 5, 1951, 19. “Rhythm and Blues Notes,” Billboard, May 5, 1951, 34: Has opening May 4.

“Orioles Set for Broadway Stand,” Afro-American, May 5, 1951, 8: has opening May 4.

“New York Swing Revival,” Billboard, May 12, 1951, 35: mentions Wardell Gray and Lucky Thompson as members.

 “House Reviews: Strand, New York,” Billboard, May 12, 1951, 37: Reviewed on Thursday, May 3.

“House Reviews: Strand, N. Y.,” Variety, May 9, 1951, 55: Has Basie Orchestra of 14 pieces.

“Broadway Spotty…” Variety, May 16, 1951, 9: the engagement was for 2 weeks closing on May 15.

 

May 6

 

WNEW Broadcast, New York, NY: Make Believe Ballroom.

Recordings exist.

 

See discography for details.

 

May 17?

Count Basie Octet

400 Casino, Buffalo, NY.

Closing May 23.

 

“Count Basie Skeds Tour With Revue,” Billboard, May 26, 1951, 14.

May 24

Unidentified TV studio, New York, NY.

May 24, 1951, 4:00–­5:00 p.m.

WNTB TV show: “Kate Smith Hour.”

Count Basie is guest.

Sound-recording parts exists.

 

See discography for details.

May 25

Count Basie Orchestra

Orchestra and revue incl. George Kirby (mimic); Bill Bailey (tap dance); Irene Williams (voc); Norma Miller Dancers.

Howard Theater, Washington, DC.

May 25–31?

 

“Count Basie Skeds Tour With Revue,” Billboard, May 26, 1951, 14.

“Bill Bailey Back on Broadway…” Afro-American, May 19, 1951, 8.

June

Orchestra and revue.

A week of one-niters through the South.

“Count Basie Skeds Tour With Revue,” Billboard, May 26, 1951, 14.

C. Sheridan, Count Basie –A Bio-Discography (1986,) 1128: has an engagement at Strand, Chicago in the period 1–28.

 

June

Orchestra and revue.

One-niters in Ohio and Indiana

Possibly including engagement at Skybar Club, Cleveland, OH.

 

“Count Basie Skeds Tour With Revue,” Billboard, May 26, 1951, 14.

“Cleve’s Skybar Club Goes for Hot Jazzists,” Variety, April 25, 1951, 47.

June 29

Orchestra and revue.

Regal Theater, Chicago, IL.

June 29–July 4.

 

“Count Basie Skeds Tour With Revue,” Billboard, May 26, 1951, 14.

“Variety Bills: Regal,” Variety, June 27, 1951, 54.

July 6

Orchestra and revue.

KMBC TV Concert.

TV Playhouse, Kansas City, MO.

 

“Basie Preems In TV Theater,” Billboard, July 7, 1951, 10.

July 12

Orchestra and revue.

Flamingo, Las Vegas, NV.

July 12–25.

“Count Basie Skeds Tour With Revue,” Billboard, May 26, 1951, 14.

“Bailey Drives to Wrong Home,” Billboard, July 21, 1951, 12.

 

July 27

Orchestra and revue.

18 pieces.

Club Oasis, Hollywood, CA.

July 27–August 2.

“Oasis Owners Drop Eckstine,” Billboard, July 7, 1951, 33.

Ad in Variety, July 27, 1951, 7.

“House Reviews: Oasis, L A.,” Variety, August 16, 1950, 44, 47: review on August 9.

“Night Club – Vaude Reviews: Oasis, Los Angeles,” Billboard, August 11, 1951, 44: Review on July 28.

 

August 6

Primalon, San Francisco, CA.

 

“ABC’s Basie, Hunter Dates,” Billboard, August 4, 1951, 16.

August 7

Auditorium, Stockton, CA.

“ABC’s Basie, Hunter Dates,” Billboard, August 4, 1951, 16.

 

August 8

Young’s Bijou. Lake Tahoe, NV.

“ABC’s Basie, Hunter Dates,” Billboard, August 4, 1951, 16.

 

August 9

Auditorium, Winnemucca, NV.

“ABC’s Basie, Hunter Dates,” Billboard, August 4, 1951, 16.

 

August 10

Lagoon Amusement Park, Salt Lake City, UT.

After this date Basie breaks his band into a six-piece outfit and heads east.

 

“ABC’s Basie, Hunter Dates,” Billboard, August 4, 1951, 16.

August 16?

Count Basie Sextet

Capitol Lounge, Chicago, IL.

August 16?–?

Wardell Gray leaves Basie here.

“Chi Crazy Over Name Jazz Units,” Billboard, September 1, 1951, 14.

 

Wardell Gray letter to Dorothy Gray dated Chicago undated.

http://faculty.hampshire.edu/aravett/ftenor/index.html

 

September 12

Benny Carter Band

Benny Carter (tp & as & dir); Herbie Harper (tb); Wardell Gray (ts); Ernie Freeman (p); Harry Babasin (b); George Jenkins (d). Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, CA.

September 12–October 9.

 

M. Berger, E. Berger, and J. Patrick, Benny Carter - A Life in American Music Volume II  (1982), 19: sources: Down Beat, October 19, 1951, 6. Pittsburgh Courier, October 13, 1951, 17.

October?

Joe Swanson and His Orchestra

Unknown Studio, Los Angeles, CA.

Commercial recordings for “Recorded In Hollywood” label.

 

See discography for details.

November 16

Wardell Gray Quartet

Wardell Gray (ts); Hampton Hawes (p); Henry Babasin (b); Lawrence Marable (d).

Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, CA.

November 16–29, 7 nights a week.

 

Local 767 AFM contract (in Norman Saks Collection).

http://wardellgray.org/contractsp5.html

 

 

November 30

Wardell Gray Quartet, Helen Humes, Ned Tracy

Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, CA.

November 30–December 9.

Ad in Los Angeles Times, November 30, 1951: Wardell Gray, George Jenkins, and Harry Babasin.

“100G Tiffany Talent Budget,” Billboard, December 1, 1951, 58: Closing December 9.