1955

Wardell Gray Chronology

 

 

 

Created by Leif Bo Petersen

 

Last updated: December 4, 2013

 

 

Date

 

Event

References/Further Details

January 19

Wardell Gray Quintet

Unknown studio, Chicago, IL.

Commercial recordings for Vee-Jay.

 

 

February late/March early

Wardell Gray Band

Including Sonny Stitt and Philly Joe Jones.

Blue Note, Philadelphia, PA.

 

L. Porter (ed.), The John Coltrane Reference (2008), 97.

March?

Wardell Gray

Engagement as single.

Bee Hive Lounge, Chicago, IL.

Private recordings exist.

 

See discography for details.

March?

 

Wardell Gray

Inc. Pepper Adams (as & bars).

Prob. Klein’s, Detroit, MI.

http://www.pepperadams.com/Chronology/EarlyYears.html

March 31

Frank Morgan Septet

Unknown studio, Los Angeles, CA.

Commercial recordings for Gene Norman Presents.

 

See discography for details.

April 2

 

Concert

Ella Fitzgerald

Dave Brubeck Quartet

Including Paul Desmond.

Red Norvo Trio

Including Tal Farlow.

Modern Jazz All Stars

Wardell Gray, Zoot Sims, Harry Edison, Arnold Ross, Jackie Mills, John Simmons, Conte Candoli, and Barney Kessel.

Irving Granz (prod.): Jazz ala Carte

Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA.

 

 “Jazz a la Carte,” Daily Trojan, Friday, April 1, 1955, 2.

Ad in Daily Trojan, Friday, April 1, 1955, 2.

 

 

May 17?

Jam session

Jack Millman (flh), Wardell Gray (ts), Leroy Vinegar (b), Lawrence Marable (d), a. o.

Jazz City, Hollywood, CA.

A Tuesday night few days before Wardell Gray’s death.

 

Photo in Malcolm Walker Collection.

May 23

Benny Carter Orchestra

New Moulin Rouge Hotel, Las Vegas, NV.

Rehearsals for the Tropi-Can-Can Revue.

 

“Wardell Gray Slain…” Chicago Defender, June 4, 1955, 1: photo of Wardell Gray with the chorus line two days before his death.

May 24

Opening of New Moulin Rouge Hotel, Las Vegas, NV.

“Music Notes,” Variety (Daily), May 23, 1955, 8: Hotel opens Tuesday (24).

May 25

Wardell Gray

Las Vegas, NV.

In a pause between first and second set of the show at Moulin Rouge (7:30–8:00 p.m.) Wardell Gray dies of an overdose of heroin in dancer Teddy Hale’s apartment. Hale subsequently transports the body to a ditch 4 miles outside Las Vegas.

 

“Wardell Gray Slain…” Chicago Defender, June 4, 1955, 1.

“Gray Buried in Detroit Teddy Hale Gets 90 Days,” Chicago Defender, June 11, 1955, 1.

Teddy Edwards interviewed in Cadence Magazine, vol. 20, No. 4, April 1994, 16.

May 26

Benny Carter Orchestra

New Moulin Rouge Hotel, Las Vegas, NV.

Official premiere of the Tropi-Can-Can Revue.

Wardell Gray’s dead body is found at 4 p.m. few hours before the opening of the revue.

 

“Nitery Review: Moulin Rouge,” Variety (Daily), May 27, 1955, 8: Review of opening nigh dated May 26.

“Wardell Gray Slain…” Chicago Defender, June 4, 1955, 1.