1951

Wardell Gray Chronology

 

 

 

Created by Leif Bo Petersen

 

Last updated February 9, 2020.

 

 

Date

 

Event

References/Further Details

January 1

Count Basie Septet

Clark Terry (tp); Wardell Gray (ts); Rudy Rutherford (cl, bars); Count Basie (p); Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b); Gus Johnson (d).

Brass Rail, Chicago, IL.

December 6–January 16.

 

“Chicago Band Briefs,” Down Beat, December 1, 1950, 4.C.

 “2 Jazz Favorites Return to Chicago,” Chicago Sun-Times, December 7, 1950, sec. 2, 6: Starting Wednesday.

“Marshall Royal Joins the Count,” Down Beat, March 23, 1: Marshall Royal replaced Rutherford.

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

 

January 19

Count Basie Al -Star Sextette

Probably: Clark Terry (tp); Marshall Royal (cl); Wardell Gray (ts); Count Basie (p); Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b); Gus Johnson (d).

Big Joe Turner

Crip Heard

Rose Mitchell

Club Juana, Detroit, MI.

January 19–28.

 

“You Must Be 21,” Detroit Times, January 18, 1951, 21-C: opening tomorrow.

Ad in Detroit Times, January 20, 1951, part 4, 7.

Ad in Detroit Times, January 24, 1951, C-29: Last 5 days.

 

 

February 1

Count Basie

Claire Hogan (voc)

Len Howard Orchestra

(7 pieces)

Madcaps

(2 vocals)

The Appletons

(3 dance)

Neil Stanley

(impressionist).

Seville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

February 1–7.

 

Ad in Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), February 1, 1950, 12.

“House Reviews: Seville, Montreal,” Variety, February 7, 1951, 54: Reviewed on February 2: Mentions Marshall Royal as newcomer (as-solo) and Jimmy Lewis (b-solo).

Ad in Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), February 7, 1950, 11: Last Day.

“Marshall Royal Joins the Count,” Down Beat, March 23, 1: Marshall Royal replaced Rutherford.

 

February 20

Count Basie Septet

Rodney Sturgis

Club Harlem, Philadelphia, PA.

February 20–26.

Ad in Philadelphia Inquirer, February 20, 1950, 20:  Now appearing Basie.

Ad in Philadelphia Inquirer, February 27, 1950, 27: Now appearing Paul Williams.

 

 

 

March 5

Count Basie Septet

Colonial Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

March 5–18.

 

“Toronto Spots Pitch Names,” Billboard, January 13, 1951, 41.

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

March 30

Count Basie and His Orchestra

16 pieces. Probably: Lamar wright, Al Porcino, Clark Terry, Robert Mitchell (tp); Booty Wood, Leon Comegys, Matthew Gee (tb); Marshall Royal, Ruben Philips (as); Wardell Gray, Lucky Thompson (ts); Charlie Fowlkes (bars); Count Basie (p), Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b), Gus Johnson (dr).

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 5.

 

Ad in New York Age, March 31, 1951, 15 (Basie’s orchestra is missing in the ad).

“’1 One O’clock Jump’ Basie at Apollo,” New York Age, March 31, 1951, 17.

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

April

Count Basie and His Orchestra

Probably: Lamar Wright, Al Porcino, Clark Terry, Robert Mitchell (tp); Booty Wood, Leon Comegys, Matthew Gee (tb); Marshall Royal, Ruben Philips (as); Wardell Gray, Lucky Thompson (ts); Charlie Fowlkes (bars); Count Basie (p), Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b), Gus Johnson (dr).

A couple of one-niters.

 

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

April 10

Count Basie and His Orchestra

Lamar Wright, Al Porcino, Clark Terry, Robert Mitchell (tp); Booty Wood, Leon Comegys, Matthew Gee (tb); Marshall Royal, (cl, as) Reuben Philips (as); Wardell Gray, Lucky Thompson (ts); Charlie Fowlkes (bars); Count Basie (p), Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b), Gus Johnson (dr).

Probably CBS 30th Street Studio,, New York, NY.

Commercial recordings for Columbia.

 

For details see: http://www.wardellgray.org/discography.html

 

April early

Count Basie Septet

Clark Terry (tp); Wardell Gray (ts); Count Basie (p), Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b), Gus Johnson (dr).

April 20, 1951:

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

Recordings exist.

This broadcast was probably pre-recorded.

 

For details see: http://www.wardellgray.org/discography.html

 

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,

For details see: http://www.wardellgray.org/discography.html

 

April 15

Oscar Pettiford Sextet

Howard McGhee (tp); unidentified (p); Joe Roeland (vib); Oscar Pettiford (cello, b); Tommy Potter (b); unidentified (d).

(closing April 15).

Count Basie Septet

Hi-Hat, Boston.

April 15–22?.

 

”Jo Jones at Storyville affair, Boston Traveler, April 11, 1951, 27:

“Count Basie Band Plays at Hi-Hat,” Boston Traveler, April 18, 1951, 7: Basie opened Sunday opposite Oscar Pettiford, who had last day here.

April 15?

Jam session

Christie’s Restaurant, Framingham, MA.

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

Recordings exist

 

For details see: http://www.wardellgray.org/discography.html

 

April 16

Buddy Rogers Show

Count Basie, Toni Arden and other guests.

WOR Television. 12:30–12:50.

No surviving recordings exist.

 

“Television and Radio Programs,” Brooklyn Eagle, April 16, 1951, 13: 12:30–12:50: WOR Buddy Rogers Show.

April 26

Count Basie Septet

Clark Terry (tp); Wardell Gray (ts); Count Basie (p), Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b), Gus Johnson (d).

Birdland, New York, NY.

April 26–May 2.

April 28:

Broadcast. WJZ. Symphony Sid (mc).

Count Basie Septet

Harry Edison, Clark Terry (tp); Wardell Gray (ts); Count Basie (p), Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b), Gus Johnson (d).

Recordings exist.

 

“On the Upbeat,” Variety, April 25, 1951, 50: Opening on April 26. “

Rhythm and Blues Notes,” Billboard, May 5, 1951, 34: Closing May 2.

“On the Radio,” New York Times, April 27, 1951, 33. WJZ: 12:00–5:45 am.: Symphony Sid.

For details see: http://www.wardellgray.org/discography.html

 

May 2

Count Basie and His Orchestra

Paul Campbell, Clark Terry, Lamar Wright (tp); Booty Wood, Jimmy Wilkins (tb); Marshall Royal (cl, as); Ernie Wilkins (as), Wardell Gray, Paul Quinichette (ts); Charlie Fowlkes (bars); Count Basie (p); Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b); Gus Johnson (d).

Bill Bailey

(tap dance)

Thelma Carpenter

(voc)

George Kirby

(impressionist)

Orioles

(5 vocals, including g, and b).

Strand Theater, New York, NY.

May 2–15.

 

Ad in Brooklyn Eagle, May 2, 1951, 75:Today.

 “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

 

Count Basie and His Orchestra

Paul Campbell, Clark Terry, Lamar Wright (tp); Booty Wood, Jimmy Wilkins (tb); Marshall Royal (cl, as); Ernie Wilkins (as), Wardell Gray, Paul Quinichette (ts); Charlie Fowlkes (bars); Count Basie (p); Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b); Gus Johnson (d).

WNEW Broadcast, New York, NY: 5:30: Make Believe Ballroom.

Recordings exist.

 

”On the Radio This Week,” New York Times, May 6, 1951, 10 X: 5:30: WNEW: Make-Believe Ballroom.

For details see: http://www.wardellgray.org/discography.html

 

May 17

Count Basie and His Sextette

Clark Terry (tp); Wardell Gray (ts); Count Basie (p), Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b), Gus Johnson (dr).

400 Casino Jazzland, Albany, NY.

May 17–23.

 

Ad in Troy Record, May 14, 1951, 4.

Ad in Troy Record, May 18, 1951, 27.

May 24

Kate Smith Hour

Count Basie and His Orchestra

Paul Campbell, Clark Terry, Lamar Wright (tp); Booty Wood, Jimmy Wilkins (tb); Marshall Royal (cl, as); Ernie Wilkins (as), Wardell Gray, Paul Quinichette (ts); Charlie Fowlkes (bars); Count Basie (p); Freddie Green (g); Jimmy Lewis (b); Gus Johnson (d).

Unidentified TV studio, New York, NY.

NBC  TV show (in New York WNTB): May 24, 1951, 4:00–­5:00 p.m.: Kate Smith Hour. Count Basie and others are guests.

Surviving sound parts exist.

 

“On Television,” New York Times, May 24, 1951, 54: 4–5 p.m.: WNTB: Katie Smith Hour.

For details see: http://www.wardellgray.org/discography.html

 

May 25

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

Bill Bailey

(tap dance)

Irene Williams

(voc)

George Kirby

(mimic)

Norma Miller Dancers

Howard Theater, Washington, DC.

May 25–31.

 

Todays’s Neighborhood Movies,” Washington Post, May 25, 1951, 24.

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

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

June

Count Basie Orchestra

A  one-niters through the South on the way to Chicago.

 

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

 

June 1

Count Basie Orchestra

Irene Williams

(voc)

Armory Auditorium, Charlotte, NC.

 

“Count’s New Band Food for Thought,” Charlotte Observer, June 2, 1951, 10-A.

June 2

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

Nags Head Casino, NC.

June 2.

 

“Name Bands Play at Nags This Weekend,” Charlotte News, June 1, 1951, 2 A.

June 18

Count Basie and His Orchestra

Chilhowee Park Auditorium, Knoxville, TN.

June 18. 1951. 10 pm.

 

“Band Due at Chilhowee,” Knoxville Journal, June 17, 1951, 12-A.

Ad in Knoxville Journal, June 17, 1951, 9-D,

June 22

Count Basie and His Orchestra

Sports Arena Ord., Greensboro, NC.

June 22. 9 pm.­–

White Spectators invited.

Ecccles & Rowell (prod.)

 

Ad in Greensboro Daily News, June 20, 1951, 4-B.

June 28

Count Basie and His Orchestra

Kenwick On the Lake, Port Huron, MI.

June 28. 1951. 10 pm.

 

“Ad in Port Huron Times Herald, June 24, 1951, 2-.sec. 6.

June 29

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

Joe Turner

(voc)

Herman Chittison Trio

Irene Williams

(voc)

Bill Bailey

(tap dance)

George Kirby

(mimic)

Norma Miller Dancers

Regal Theater, Chicago, IL.

June 29–July 5.

 

Ad in Chicago Tribune, June 29, 1951, part 2, 15: does not have Joe Turner. He is not in the ads here during the entire week.

Ad in Chicago Defender, June 30, 1951, 52: Has Joe Turner.

 

 

July 6

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

KMBC TV Concert.

TV Playhouse, Kansas City, MO.

 

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

July 12

One O-Clock Revue

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

Joe Turner

(voc)

Herman Chittison Trio

Irene Williams

(voc)

Bill Bailey

(tap dance)

George Kirby

(impersonation

Norma Miller Dancers

Flamingo, Las Vegas, NV.

July 12–25.                           

 

“Basie’s ‘One O’Clock Review’ Set,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 1o, 1951, 9: The band includes Joe Turner.

Ad in Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 12, 1951, 18: Joe Turner not mentioned in ad.

 “Bailey Drives to Wrong Home,” Billboard, July 21, 1951, 12: Bailey missed the opening.

Ad in Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 25, 1951, 7: Opening July 26: Spike Jones..

 

 

July 22

One O-Clock Revue

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

War Memorial Building, Salt Lake City, UT.

2 pm.

Benefit for Scholl of Handicapped children of Clark country.

Silver State lodge of Elks no. 1168 (prod,)

 

“Count Basie to Aid Building fund for handicapped Tots,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 18, 1951,2

July 27

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

18 pieces.

Club Oasis, Hollywood, CA.

July 27–August 2?

“Oasis Owners Drop Eckstine,” Billboard, July 7, 1951, 33: Basie at Flamingo last week of July.

Ad in Variety (Daily), 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.

C. Sheridan, Count Basie–A Bio-Discography (1986), 1128: has July 27–August 9.

 

August 6

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

Primalon, San Francisco, CA.

 

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

August 7

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

Auditorium, Stockton, CA.

 

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

 

August 8

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

Young’s Bijou. Lake Tahoe, NV.

 

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

 

August 9

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

Auditorium, Winnemucca, NV.

 

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

 

August 10

Count Basie Orchestra and Revue

Including Joe Turner (voc).

Lagoon Amusement Park, Salt Lake City, UT.

August 10–11.

 

Ad in Salt Lake Telegram, August 10, 1951, 14.

August 13

Count Basie Sextet

Denver, CO.

C. Sheridan, Count Basie–A Bio-Discography (1986), 1128:  After the Lagoon gig 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–September 5

Wardell Gray leaves Basie after this engagement.

“Chi Crazy Over Name Jazz Units,” Billboard, September 1, 1951, 14: Article date august 25: The Septet went into the Lounge 10 days ago.

Wardell Gray letter to Dorothy Gray. Chicago undated.

https://faculty.hampshire.edu/aravett/forgotten_tenor/trans/trans.html#teddy2

Ad in Chicago Tribune, September 2, 1951, part 7, 2.

C. Sheridan, Count Basie–A Bio-Discography (1986), 1128: Has August 16–September 5

 

 

 

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 11?.

 

Ad in  Los Angeles Times, September 12, 1951, part 1, 22: Opening tonight.

Ad in  Los Angeles Times, October 6, 1951, part 1, 19: Opening tonight.

Ad in  Los Angeles Times, October 11, 1951, part 1, 28: Jay Jay Johnson opening tomorrow,.

Pittsburgh Courier, October 13, 1951, 17: gives the personnel.

 

October?

Joe Swanson and His Orchestra

Unknown Studio, Los Angeles, CA.

Commercial recordings for Recorded In Hollywood.

 

For details  see: http://www.wardellgray.org

 

 

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). AFM Contract for Wardell Gray as leader: 2 weeks starting November 16 .9:45pm.–1;45 am. Seven nights per week. Salary 378 per week (leader $126; sidemen § 84 each,

http://wardellgray.org/contractsp5.html

 

 

November 30

Helen Humes

Ned Tracy

Wardell Gray Quartet

 Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, CA.

November 30–December 9.

 

Ad in Los Angeles Times, November 30, 1951.

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

 

 

December

Joe Swanson

Release of Recorded in Hollywood RIH 173.

10” 78 rpm. record.

 

Recorded September/October 1951.

Joe Swanson and His Orchestra

RIH 173 A

Thrust

RIH 173 B

East of the Sun

 

“Rhythm & Blues Record Reviews,” Billboard, December 15, 1951, 72: Friendly review.