Editor, Webmaster: Phil Cartwright Editor@earlyjas.org
|In Tune -- by Bill Fuller
Additions, comments, corrections, contributions
to Bill Fuller %Earlyjas, or e-mail:
There are a few geographic areas in America that have become historically synonymous
with the proliferation of classic jazz and swing: the French Quarter in New Orleans, the
Southside of Chicago, Beale Street in Memphis, Harlem, and then there’s that 1.9 mile, one-
way stretch of West 52nd Street between Fifth and Seventh Avenue in New York City
known by hipsters and cab drivers simply as “The Street.” Otherwise often referred to as
“Swing Street” or “the street that never slept,” it was jazz heaven from roughly 1933 (repeal
of prohibition) to 1950.
Early in this period the wonderful phenomenon of the “jam session” was converted into a
public institution and a livelihood for club owners and musicians. Virtually all the well-known
jazz musicians of that time played either professionally or jammed on “The Street” in such
now-vanished places as Jimmy Ryan’s, The Famous Door, The Three Deuces, The Yacht
Club, Kelly’s Stable, The Onyx Club, and The Hickory House. Names like Fats Waller, Louis
Prima, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, The DeParis Brothers, Art Tatum,
Woody Herman, Benny Carter, Stuff Smith, Dizzy Gillespie, Cootie Williams, Wingy
Manone, Red Norvo, Lee Wiley, and many, many more regularly appeared on Swing Street
performing their recordings, such as:
I’M CRAZY ‘BOUT MY BABY - (1931) by Fats Waller and Alex Hill. Waller recorded it as
a piano solo/vocal in 1931 for Columbia.
OLD FASHIONED LOVE-(1922) by James P. Johnson, written for the show “Runnin’
Wild” with lyrics by Cecil Mack. Recorded by Red Norvo and His New Swing Septet (but
not released). It appeared as an unissued alternate take on Meritt #3..
I FOUND A NEW BABY-(1926) by Spencer Williams, was written while Spencer was in
Europe and sent to his publisher in New York. It was used in the 1926 show “Tan Town
Topics” and was recorded by Count Basie and Benny Goodman for Columbia in 1941..
PLEASE DON’T TALK ABOUT ME WHEN I’M GONE-(1930) by Sam H. Stept and Bee
Palmer. It was sung by Norma Shearer in the 1939 film “The Women,” and was recorded by
the Barney Bigard Sextet with Art Tatum in 1945 for Black and White..
THE MARTINIQUE- composed by Wilbur DeParis and recorded in by his band in 1952 for
Atlantic. Wilbur held forth with his brother Sidney for over ten years on “The Street” at
UNDECIDED-(1938) by Sid Robin and Charlie Shavers. It was first recorded in 1938 by
John Kirby and his Onyx Club Boys for Decca.. Coleman Hawkins also recorded it with his
quartet for Jazztone in 1954.
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