Discographical Ramblings

A selection of Ate van Delden’s Ramblings from VJM 191, our Autumn 2021 issue.

The old Regal label credited some records to ‘The Corona Dance Orchestra’. Scandinavia even had a record label named Corona. Both are history now, and today's Corona will go as well.

But discography will never die. Here are some more Ramblings.


And here's another from Steven Lasker. Duke Ellington's first tuba player was Henry Edwards (also called "Bass" Edwards). On 21 March Ellington's engagement at the Kentucky Club ended when it was padlocked. Edwards found a new job at the Savoy. with the ‘Charleston Bearcats’ (later called the ‘Savoy Bearcats’). From 25 May 1926 Ellington had a new engagement, at the Plantation Club and his new tuba player was Mack Shaw. It is Shaw, not Edwards on Ellington's 2nd Gennett date, on 21 June 1926.

  Steven goes a step further and identified Mack Shaw also on Clarence Williams' Okeh date of 7 April 1926, together with Bubber Miley and Joe Nanton. This date produced the titles Jackass Blues (a blues in B-flat) and What's The Matter Now. Shaw is also the tuba player on Ellington's first recording of Black And Tan Fantasy (also a blues in B-flat), made exactly one year later.

  More details on this interesting period in Duke's history are found in the TDWAW website (= The Duke Where And When - tdwaw.ca). TDWAW is the place to look for any details concerning Ellington's life and career. It's amazing.


Steven owns a master-pressed shellac test of George E. Lee's St. James Infirmary which shows mx KC 586-A inscribed in the wax. It is identical to the take issued on Brunswick 4684, which establishes this as take A.


Bernhard Behncke has a copy of an undated letter from Sidney Bechet. Bechet writes to his wife Elisabeth that he will leave California on 4 October. Which year? Did Bechet make records in Cal.?


Brian Goggin writes: On Bennie Moten's excellent recording of Midnight Mama, the reeds are a puzzle. The section consisted of Harlan Leonard (cl, as); LaForest Dent (cl, as, bar) and Woody Walder (cl, ts). Contrary to usual listings, Dent did play clarinet - there are trio passages, e.g. White Lightnin’ Blues, Muscle Shoals Blues. There is a tenor sax/clarinet mouthpiece duet both of which sound like Walder; the same tenor solos later followed immediately by a clarinet also sounding like Walder, leading into the final ensemble with Dent’s baritone prominent. Leonard being the final clarinet soloist solves the second problem, but the first mystery remains - assuming one tenor (supported by a photo) who played the clarinet mouthpiece - Leonard or Dent?

  Brian also notes that there is an uncredited rough, gravelly voice featured on both White Lightnin’ Blues (13/12/1926) & That’s What I’m Talking About (18/10/1929) who he believes to be Woody Walder. The common musicians are Walder, Thamon Hayes, Harlan Leonard, Moten, Vernon Page and Willie McWashington. By process of elimination, the voice is audible during the Hayes/Leonard duet on WLB, with Page blowing; he addresses Moten on TWITA; and given that Willie Mc’s voice was high pitched (Rit-Dit-Ray) and he was further away, this leaves Woody Walder.


Ramblings readers produced a stream of new information on his recordings but this has now dried up. So the next step is to try to get the discography published. If you have any new facts, on Rollini's or other jazz 78s, then my email is there to use: [email protected].