Transcript:

Speaker Tell me a story about the first time you heard Benny Chicago.

Speaker First time I saw Benny was with Ben Pollack at the South Park Hotel in Chicago on the south side near the lake. Had I lived it 50 fifth in Hyde Park Boulevard and.

Speaker Had heard about the band and I want to hear from. And I shall be my name to a friend of mine that he probably wouldn't members libeled and remember exactly how it went. That was the first time.

Speaker And what were you doing that in Chicago?

Speaker I was just starting to work.

Speaker I was working with a band called The Legions who were involved in hand. It was pretty. Give us five guys. Hand. Piano, trumpet, saxophone, drums. And to my friends, your father tertile. And so we are working out of there as well. You'd have time off Cedar's. Working with Tade.

Speaker So that's why I'm not Benny. I went back a couple of times, I listened to the band. I liked it.

Speaker And head, was that this particular bout and that you noticed that first time that impressed you in any way? Think about his plane. You remember the night you went in there, what what the place was like. Can you describe anything about it? It sticks in your mind?

Speaker No, I don't know too much about it. Just like a fancy hotel. It was a dance floor and dining and dancing.

Speaker What kind of guy was better? Did you get to really get to know him?

Speaker No, I didn't like meeting a head waiter. Really? But it was a lot of guys in the band that I was like, Hitched has heard about. I know he has people in Chicago and.

Speaker They talked about different guys. I know Glenn Miller was in that band. Fred Livingston, I believe, had a piano player.

Speaker I later met in New York.

Speaker I think he was with a bottom and then you also told me that he used his chair, I switched chairs. Well, that's probably a good idea. What's up? My chair is squeaking.

Speaker Just get that answer to be sure. My chair isn't on the answer. About the first time you.

Speaker Your daddy just started. Yeah. Started. Oh. The first time I saw Benny was with Ben Pollack. Hit the South More Hotel, the south side of Chicago. How was it living at the Fifty Fifth and Hyde Park Boulevard. And this is just a few blocks away. And we walked over to the hotel and hey, it's a hotel. And then waited for the band to start. That's when I saw Benny and a few other guys that I'd heard about, like Glenn Miller and Fred Livingston and different ones and.

Speaker I'm betting that not casually. He would move average and I was just saying he'd do that.

Speaker Hey, that night I was with a band called The Collegians. And Chicago had time to do a number of things, pop routines, but in different style. And it worked out very good. We also did in the summertime, we just came off a Chautauqua Chautauqua circuit.

Speaker And that's a very successful has a time.

Speaker That's what, two University, Illinois, for about three months. I got my allowance. The band was starting at. And my dad had an office and a fine arts building. There's a lot of other dance studios, had dramatic studio, a lot of offices, people, the top music and singers. And there was a dance studio there. And the piano really played form with Joe Show on a jazz piano player. And I had heard records he'd made with Benny Goodman, who's played clarinet, was called Shiner Galore. Nice record. He played great cause on hand.

Speaker So I talked to him. I got to know where he was. He later was with Bob Crosby, joined Bob Crosby.

Speaker He was public and start to start again the next time I saw him. Then he was in New York. He was working with public at the Park Central Hotel. Also, they had the Williams sisters, two girls had sang.

Speaker And I saw that a few times.

Speaker And then later I met Benny.

Speaker How was that? I don't know this. I was just moved here.

Speaker I stayed with Joe Venuti when I first went to New York with Whitewell. And they were me when I had seen my show at the palace. Was it Paul?

Speaker And so we got to talking, went and talked about music. He asked about the band and things. He had left potluck and he was or doing radio work. I know he was working on Charlottetown Vorhees, which Jovanotti worked.

Speaker And I don't know what was the life like then for musicians in New York? Everybody was working freelance. Right? You would go from they would go from job to job. Yeah. Yeah. You were getting bands in those days which had awarded big bands in those days, right?

Speaker It was oh there was honorably Ma Davis had big bands, the Latin brothers had bands, hats away and a lot of extra work from radio work.

Speaker He used the radio probably every week. But I when I went to New York, I went with one for second time after he played the palace. We did a tour of theatres and came into the Biltmore Hotel. I didn't have a New York card, so I couldn't work. And Paul said, gee, I don't know what to do. I said, Don't worry about it. I put my card in. Not that time. It took me a year to get a car and not six months like now had three months. Now you can be working. But in those years, you had the car you had to ditch. Shuffle away. This you could do that you was Parr's show. Sam Harmon had a lot of people that played xylophones. Right.

Speaker The next thing I happened to really important was it before I bought a house out in force, tails on the court side, which you go out Queens and make a left turn and go back to a place called Pilgram Circo Red Nikko's right across the street.

Speaker Across the street. And then. He has had very wonderful place, the course of those times in New York. He was very, you know, jazz. And so we instigated like, yes, we knew could play pretty good at CBS.

Speaker Was still on a regular show at CBS at the time I was say things I could do guessing. So I did this however night change session and all those kind of things. We have started to have jazz sessions at our house.

Speaker We've invited like 180 different people. Oh, yes. Thank you. I'm John Hammond would come to tell about John was always count.

Speaker Hey, Carl. Of course we didn't know first, we didn't know John first time.

Speaker Benny came a few times and and he said, if somebody wants to meet you, very bad.

Speaker And that's probably why John Hammond and John invited him out and he came having met John Hammond. And I guess we came pretty good friends because he used to come every Thursday. We had a wonderful cook says Milford was had to burn to, you know, like him, the food.

Speaker Charlie would come out every Thursday and we go up to the Apollo for them to check on every every Thursday, see the shared and change bands and had pretty good shows.

Speaker Let's not tell us a little bit about about. You were married to so late. So the audience will know Mildred is explaining about that you were marriage. I know. I was married to Mildred Bailey and she was what she was married to have advised with Leitman.

Speaker And I will play rough. And I'm sorry.

Speaker Say say her whole name. So we know Mildred is on the soundtrack. Mildred Bailey start start over again. I was Hardan. Start up the whole sentence. I was married to Mildred Bailey, if you would.

Speaker When I was married to Mildred Bailey, when I had to leave Weidemann who bought a house in Forest Hills and. It was quite a big house.

Speaker That's how we got. We can use that from before. I heard someone spying. You know, the famous story of John Hammond discovered Billie Holiday. And then he walked into some dive and found her there.

Speaker Later, that Mildred really introduced John to the point there is that way. He came by the house all the time. He hung around there almost all the time because of food. They got a whole lot. Yes, he kind of liked it.

Speaker But we started to play tennis and getting up pretty well. And so then we'd have said, has he come by?

Speaker And then Robert's peasant car, Ballenger, his they had a home in Kew Gardens. This was a real close to the end. So we started to have sessions there and we had everybody had we'd have a we'd start like us do it on Sunday and we'd have a feed like a buffet. And I used to bring in a lot of white guys in New York out hit the Renko silo on the weekend. They had a big feed and Carl's folks had to head off to make one. Cook was very great and she'd really put his feet out with turkey, stuffing, pig and all these things. His musicians would flip out, see all his food and we'd play the rest of the day.

Speaker It was wonderful. It was one of those sections of Teddy.

Speaker Teddy used to come out with New Teddy, had met Teddy in Chicago before he came even. And Betty Carter bodying to New York from Chicago. He was working with Jimmy News in Chicago, had a little club.

Speaker And so I get to be friends with him.

Speaker I don't know. I think he did a data that was on or something. And so Teddy and Irene used to come out and play a lot. And that's the way to get my. And Carl Kurzon was in college at Yale. He also flew at his home planet, Jacobs.

Speaker Uh.

Speaker Motor air, they fly a lot. We'd fly Rousselle field. He kept the field, but he was also a drummer. We had a sun porch on the back of the house.

Speaker I had my room back there. Five, which was a long five octave marimba. So he brought his drums over. So one Sunday, we had a party at our house. John was there when he was here. Had a few other guys like Bunny was very Baragon and have temozolomide. Leslie suggested that Teddy play play sampling. So he started playing Beneke and he started to get his clarinet, which he did, and he started to play. John was hurt. John Hammond was a Shukar when Homer started playing drums over Persia's with Hey, it really sounds wonderful. It really gone funny. It was got so good a chance that we get to record it. And that's how it started.

Speaker That's great. Let's. You want to have a drink. What do you say, Benny? I used to, I used to give Benny lifts to go into the city.

Speaker Or however you want to begin. This is you're telling me the story.

Speaker Hard times going into New York from Forest Hills. I used to take Ben in. He called me and say, Are you going to New York today? I say, yes. And he would clearly pick me up. He lived over an hour. Kings have an alpha king down in Fort and Jackson Heights. So I go a different way and goof off guard.

Speaker He'd be on a corner and I'd pick him up. And we go into New York. This went on for months and months and months. We had to go in a hurry or something. Otherwise, he'd have to take a bus or take the elevator over the bridge. So he just went on and on and on.

Speaker Finally, one day he called me and said, You're going into New York. I said, yeah, I got to go to dinner and I'm going to meet Melba's at the attorney's later.

Speaker And he said, I'll pick you up. What time you got to go. So I told him and sure enough, he picked me up.

Speaker So we went to New York. Now, he parked on Sixth Avenue about the whole, I guess, 50s first street show. But that was when the L was still there. Sixth Avenue turn left. And show you we parked under the aisle there and he got a place to park and left. And I said goodbye to her. I went and did what I had, did my job hand. Penny went on his way.

Speaker He had something else he had to do a and so I didn't see him anymore that day. And I meant nobody went home. So. Four days later, I get a call from Benny and he said he got into town for year.

Speaker He said, Will you pick me up? And I'm a little surprised because he'd have had this car just a short while and I wondered what happened, but I didn't say anything.

Speaker Hand, Tim. So.

Speaker He said, pick me up at the same time, okay? I picked him up. We went to New York. I didn't mention, hey, back to his car or anything. So I parked at fifty third and Sixth Avenue.

Speaker And we're both on down sixth death row south and.

Speaker We're wilfong finally been stopped all of sudden like this.

Speaker Darren Hasid.

Speaker So that's where I left my car.

Speaker Did we do it in four or five days before he'd parked the car and he'd forgotten where he'd parked it? You didn't couldn't remember.

Speaker It's a classic. He said about he was thinking about his clarinet. He wasn't thinking about anything else.

Speaker He just couldn't remember. He didn't think of that.

Speaker How bad was the plane on that? Was it all right?

Speaker I think it's useful. I mean, it goes by this point.

Speaker The airplane airplane went over in the middle of a story. But I think. I think it's OK. I think we're OK. It's a different story.

Speaker It's fine.

Speaker Let's go now to talk about that.

Speaker You helped get Ben in the job, OK? That's right.

Speaker How do you hope to get the job at Benny Billy Rose's musical? No, I didn't. Helping me get the band. Oh, OK. That's even better. Tell about the difference. I'm sorry.

Speaker They had worked with the. Singer Risk Colombo had a nice summer place. He got the band together. That's the first band aids. I think he got together. It was a very good band. A lot of radio musicians. That I mean, good time musicians that were off on the summer and he put together quite a band. Had to plead for a rest. It was pretty well, again, I heard that band. And then later. Next time you get a band she had, you got to help me get a band. I got to get the man I got may I have a job? So he sure enough, did he got a job at Billy Rose Theater, which is on Broadway, right. About to see fifty between fifty thousand fifty Fourth Street, which is a CBS theater or The Sullivan Show. Used to be. And so he went in there. He was with the band actually heavily tried out and really hurt us. They didn't like the xylophone. So I said, oh, that's fine. So I said, Ben, you better get somebody who is not right. He wants a different take, which was all right hand man. So he got. And he. He has the saxophone, the devil's violin himy shirt, so you can check it out to the dental plan lead have worked out real good. Will find sex shall had to that jam.

Speaker I've heard stories that he lost that job because the mob or some there some gangsters who ran that joint, who owned it. And Billy had something to do with Billy Rose. They were backing him and they didn't like Benny's band, so they fired him. You remember. Did you ever hear anything about that?

Speaker No, I didn't. I never knew. So the next time you then start up where you were, I knew that Benny moved in town. He took a room at Dependent's Hotel. I know he'd be close hand to.

Speaker Here's I don't know what happened. I know a lot of the. Opposed to this case, excuse me.

Speaker We've got to change batteries. Keep going. Whenever you whatever you want to start over or. Clears throat Just stop and we'll start over.

Speaker You know, I'm kind of itchy.

Speaker So it's pretty clear, hey, clear enough.

Speaker Yes. Yeah. Okay.

Speaker Where you want to start going to start with the story you told me before about after the user call job. He came and told you one day you're walking down.

Speaker I met him in New York. Joe Venuti, households. Let's start start over again. We're a little bit to premiss. Giovanni and Sammy lived there, too, at the time. His job was getting ready to go to Europe. I think concert or something happened. So I went to see Joe and I ran into Barney. Hand. The job, but to me, it really rose head handed. I said things that he tried to get. I knew about it hadn't worked out. So he said, Red. If I don't get this, I get a chance to get a real good job. He said of Fortune, who was helping him. Somebody was helping, said, if I don't get it, I'm just going to give up having a van. I think I'll just give up. He said, if I get it, I think you'll be fine. It's a good job and ran for a while. So that's the job that turned into. Let's Dance program. Which had been very, very good couples.

Speaker Let's just start again to start from then he said he had a chance for a really good job.

Speaker He said he has a chance at a good job and pay very well and think he did as he did. He keep on with a banner. Otherwise, he'd give up being a band leader, having a band and go back to radio, to still on radio. What has it turned out? He got the job, which was less than Schill with Lynn Murray, Benny Goodman and Xavi keep. That and a show. Then Murray had a tremendous plan. I guess maybe 30, 40 pieces. And Benny Cause had directed the band that he always had five brass for saxophones himself and a rhythm section for rhythm.

Speaker And he played his records that he'd done.

Speaker You know, that latter part is that he was. And we went down to see that quite a lot. And the course. At that time. Starting on the show, he had like unlimited funds to buy arrangements.

Speaker So every time he'd run into an arranger, he'd say, you make me arrangement. Henie at all these reasons, come on in. So he got to the point where he was taken off the air. Hey, John, set it up. They had to think, bring it out to Forestdale. We'd play it. And this time he played this show and. We'd been down by here and Bunny Berganza had joined the band on the jazz trumpet and the band sounded really great, but so we were playing the tapes of the show. I mean, not I said, Tepes, that's not playing the stage was what I was.

Speaker Start over again. And so we're.

Speaker And he started the. They started making the acetates of the show. So John and Betty came out and started to play the tapes.

Speaker We played the whole show.

Speaker Listen to it. Only had a few drinks and things of this night and during the course of thing they said, what do you think, Melanie?

Speaker What do you think? Think of it. She said something wrong. He said, What do you mean? Something wrong? He said, well, God is different.

Speaker And then Murray. And he's different than you. That's a similarity between you and Lynn Murray isn't enough because the same arrangers are writing for Linberg that are writing for Benny Goodman and. Oh, you sound like it's a small version of Len Murray.

Speaker Well, you've got to get somebody just that gives you a style that writes only for you and for what happens in the band. For the guys. And that's what that'll put seed in a class by different than Lenneberg. And she said, well, who are you? He said, Oh, there's a lot of guys. And she can get. I mean, is Edgar Sampson. There's a lot of bands around. They have had good rangers guys here ranging. So John suggested Fletcher Henderson. Hamilton said had of great hand, he's not working hand. So that's a way he'd had Fletcher make. Sometimes I'm happy and King Porter stomp on all signs I became famous. Should be.

Speaker You said earlier that this wasn't a great time for jazz in New York for you and Mildred were getting a sense that their jazz was getting a rebirth. You were playing Benny Martin's records. Sounds like you were hip to something new that Benny didn't know about yet. And be nice if you gave a sort of feeling. If you told that.

Speaker Yeah, well, we we had a lot of records came me. Remember, I had a lot of records, open records.

Speaker And we had a lot of Benny Moulton records, which count base, he was on piano. We didn't really know who it was. I didn't mean anything at that time. But he had a wonderful band from Kansas City. And they made I think Victor Records had some very different Sharleen's to play.

Speaker And my heart was beating around the house when you were playing.

Speaker Yes. Yeah, he was. He liked them.

Speaker If you could say again, we played. So my question would be there. We played. So if you say it and just to connect it to ideas, we would play the. But you told me you would play him in the morning. You would play the very Motown Records and really get a kick and then tie in that venue. Listen to him, too. And like Benny Goodman, listen to this without me. I mean, just to use if you say. Tell that little bit to connect those two ideas for us.

Speaker I'm not hearing you. Right. You just tell again the story that you would get up in the morning and play the Benny Motown Records. How many lectures or something?

Speaker Well, we used to play a lot in the daytime and put them on in the morning and start today.

Speaker You know, Sanjay Handmaid would like them to show the whole thing went down good with angelic Benny Mother's band.

Speaker That's great. You just got to put a new tape. Sorry, Red.

Speaker Confused, Benny, get the show. He was like a kid with a toy. He had always wanted to spend for arrangements. He went while hand. He he walked down the street running to arrange. Hey, you busy? Make me an arrangement. And that's really started.

Speaker That's great. That's perfect. But that's.

Speaker You were you were you there at the at the Hammond house. Wasn't there a night when Benny was playing classical music for the first time?

Speaker Yes. Here, tell that story. Heschel. He would have had challenge home. Hands of music room, big place. Big room with a stage and everything. I didn't know that Benny played there, that John was enthused about its idea of playing the clarinet. It was a mutual concern. Yeah. That Benny was always practice and things like that anyway. And there was a lot of people in his field. I remember Colin incidents has been told before, but I'll tell it now. And there are no chairs brought in hand. Fix your hand as a wife was quite big. And the. Certainly those before they started just about getting teamed up, ready to go and hey, everybody, sit down here with me. They played the first section. Haven't they had a little animation came and sat down and they were gonna start Sika section Fetcher Harrison's wife chair broke. Was a big thunder. She hit the floor and probation. So it got real quiet. So Mover's said, how am I doing? The weather is pretty vague, too.

Speaker Ted and.

Speaker Chances went on his fine.

Speaker I'm so used, used to go fishing and play tennis and do other things with Betty. What kind of guy was he? Can you tell us any stories about as a friend and just any anything you remember from from your times with Betty to give us a feeling of what kind of guy he was rather always was, who follows him regularly?

Speaker We plan to go in one day. He said we go fishing. Okay, but he didn't show up at my house till like 10 o'clock. And I don't do that when you go on vacation. So Milton knew I was going inflation since he is Billy. So he showed it was his car going in. So he started to drive. And he kept gone wrong. I knew he kept going. I said where we got to fish. He said, we'll find a place.

Speaker Now let's get in the afternoon late and we end up at Montauk Point and still haven't faced. He said, well, we'll fish tomorrow.

Speaker And you're a married man and it's not the brightest thing in the world, you know.

Speaker No phones are out there. And I didn't call. So we went got to rooms in a house. And the next morning we went fishing and.

Speaker Legislation and had usually we had fun that day and everything, so we stayed the second night and then came back from Montauk Point to Forest Hills. The next day, so was real happy day. Coming home, members out of your mind, man, that ended up in the famous fight were later.

Speaker They've live brawls, which. Varying things.

Speaker When I'm talking about Jon Hamm was putting together an all star band to go after John Record his first records with Benny in 1935.

Speaker Never heard of 1935. I'm sorry. 1970. Thirty four. Can't be had never heard.

Speaker It didn't happen. It never went. But it was. It was after Benny Carter left and went to Europe. I mean, after Coleman Hawkins left and went to Europe, there was talk about this all star band that was putting together my hair.

Speaker He came out here and he went to Chicago. And I know that Teddy and for that time, Teddy had made records with Billie Holiday and made some. And I had made it and sang with Benny Goodman. He'd take me down and Carl and the bass player. That's when I made it past the octopus. OK. And Benny Barr declaring a bass clarinet for that fellow, playing more. If Palus was a recording who was later did all of Sinatra's Stefano. Tommy Dorsey. The whole Sinatra stuff was strange. Great. Great man. Very good musician. You tell us a little bit about that session, about the dancer, the octopus in a mist, why you think those dresses and then take these things for Brunswick. I mean, like know type things are written. One of the things I did was knocking on licks which made that twice to see these around one with Eddie Danni's and.

Speaker A group. And it's out now.

Speaker Gary Burt, Halliburton. Very good thing.

Speaker And Gary insisted on that dance. That was one of the things. What was the think thing? It was fast. But on this, I wondered if this had fine with four hammers for so long and had did so many things. I did our big six things and I had a bunch of stuff I did myself. I just took one, which was Pennsy Octopus Hand.

Speaker I said, Can you play bass clarinet? He wasn't doing much anything at that time and he was to get a date. It was good to time. So he borrowed a bass clarinet. How he made to date, it simply said, did you and Benny ever talk about Bass?

Speaker Do you know how he felt about things? Did you have a special feeling about it?

Speaker I don't remember that. I mean, you talk about so many things you couldn't. Yeah, I don't remember him talking about pitch.

Speaker Did any change after he played in the Palomar out here and in Chicago in the. Got to be a big success. Did you notice any difference in the man, the guy that was your friend?

Speaker Well, you seem much happier. I thought he was doing fine. That's a man with sound I'm pretty good. I went out the road and point to here. I only came from out here and back to the Congress hotel. He went on tour. We drove left a road in point. However, I did hear the van was great.

Speaker Do your lives change when swing? Got to be a big popular music when jazz suddenly went from being where nobody listened to it after the Palomar. Those years.

Speaker Got to be like that was I was working on for the second straight year that time with a small group. Jazz was getting the Fifty Second Street. It was pretty good. I worked in a place called The Famous Score and I did. I went in for short while, stayed a year there. Teddy Wilson was before he went with Benny. So I have a hint of jazz. Before then it had Dave. Barbara, Stewy. A cook on clarinet and Herbie Hammer hanta. Pete Peterson is a big fan.

Speaker Can you describe to me what 50 Second Street was like? What was the atmosphere were when the club started opening? There was this lead today. You walked out.

Speaker No, it's not what it was later. It started out as the famous door was a speakeasy run by Joe Hill back on the second floor. And this famous door was downstairs on the main floor like that. Musicians all hung around. And. He's right next to Lee Island, has a sound. Fifty Second Street and. He was we started what was happening on 50 Second Street.

Speaker How did he do since we get to be a bigger deal? Was it because the recording studios were there and musicians needed a place to hang out?

Speaker Oh, no. The whole radio musicians. How was it that she'll help box place? I mean, you see Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Durante, everybody would go home with was drinking places he was during Prohibition.

Speaker So what was the next time that you hooked up with Betty?

Speaker Oh.

Speaker Was seen. I think he came. We saw him at Rowden Point. I know. Then ran into him. I know he took an apartment for a while. He went into the Pennsylvania hotel.

Speaker So about it. So the next time you played with him after the dance, the octopus date wasn't until forty. Oh, hey. So let's skip to that. Let's talk about nineteen forty two.

Speaker Oh, you were. Tell me about that before.

Speaker I had a band. I had put together a band for William Morris Agency that Duke Ellington had left Irving Mills and went with William Moores hand. William Morris Junior liked the band and Mildred and I headed to break our hands. Shelley. Ned Williams, who has worked for Duke, approached me about getting a band. I had a small group work in the Hickory House Chaska. The same groups that worked on Howard, the famous board, and went to Hinckley has then to a new place called Jack Dempsey's over on Eighth Avenue, not the one on Broadway, but he'll Jack Dempsey opened his first place over from Madison Square Garden on HD Avenue. So I put together this van. I said, great, if you let me get what I want, I get. To do it. So I put together a band that was really backed by William Moore's. And because they had Duke and they had this man and I worked. I had five saxophones, six brass, three rhythm myself.

Speaker How we worked with Jimmy Durante theaters and movie joined us. Well, Jimmy Durante, we work theaters now. This is a time when the war was starting.

Speaker And so it kind of hung things up. I know. I was losing. Guys, we're gonna be leaving till we play the place up front gardens, which was owned by Jimmy Chavous. Nice place. We had a in our w o r hanta. One of the boys, Eddie Bird wife, took it off the air on an acetate hanging around for a long while. People at play in it. I had a prowler, a new arranger. Any shoulder. I made a couple for that band and he didn't move stuff in the van. He worked for and I'd found a guy that had knew Johnny Thompson that used to come in here and set the Commodore. And I worked the Commodore. So this band was going very, very successfully. And we went know Paramount. And we only made two records with that band. We did the Paramount Theater. And after the last show a week there, we rushed over. Leaving grants are made to size and then Patrimonial had called a strike. Musicians strike no more recording musicians. So that's that's why we ever got more because of the people. Now, I just brought out a C D of that band, that tape the had heavy Burke's wife made.

Speaker And let me interrupt for a second, if I may.

Speaker So after that broke that band up, I didn't have a band. Benny had broke up his band. Danny Wilson had broken up. So they got together with all of us and said, let's play what he want to do, Arthur. So I said, where? And so we went up to Columbia Studios. We played up there. I was planned xylophone and we played. We had more fail. And Terry and Sid was, I think, Congres not sure. Hey, we started playing for a couple of days. And so that's when they wrote Ratio Stream. That's when we started mucking around with them. So when Benny went up on time, I said, hey, let's play it three ways. And that's the next time I worked with Benny so that Benny got this show with Billy Rose seven live. The art was a great show. Would it be Lily? Shall we start to really bear down on 10? When the sex that started.

Speaker And it was the next record session that you did when you and Teddy decided to play a joke on Benny.

Speaker You had a plan to loosen it while we were in the show home and said, why should this work in a pit? And the stage both. And Freddy got him the job as a base for pit to hand. Great music and chill. I did a blue ballet called Dance. It really was great. Doc Rockwells. We finished the first that's. The Goodman Sect Quintet. So it's kind of second what began the show and some things weren't happening just right.

Speaker And then you start to start and over again. We were working in the show. Start from there.

Speaker We're working on seven. And doing seven. Mainly arts. And things weren't quite what they should be. And I could tell Benny wasn't quite happy with the way things were.

Speaker I'm I read you were you were closing your eyes. And you just look at me when you're when you're talking because you were you were covering your mouth and it was hard to hear.

Speaker I'm trying to keep them call phone calls if you have to call and I will stop.

Speaker Where am I? I mean, keep going. I'm mixed up.

Speaker You were in seven Lively Arts and you decided.

Speaker Yeah. Seven hours. We we knew something was wrong. Teddy and I did. We didn't say that. We just kept working. And finally, Benny was how we stand after the show was over, getting a read. Here, all these reads from France that. Had been bad for him. And then he try em out after the show, keep trying to get a good read. Good read. And so I had a bottle of champagne and so did Teddy. So we go up to his room, knock on the door. He opens a door and we start drinking champagne. So we'd made up the idea to take many. You hear something? So I said, let's go out tonight. Yeah, let's go and hear some. So the first place we took him to the visas to hear Tatum and swam trip Art Tatum trail, he this flipped out. So I'm sure he thought he was wonderful. So Levon Helm, our Friday charity work. He called the record date for Sunday. That's when we did. Happy you've gone, Dad.

Speaker That's great. Yeah. Tell a story about.

Speaker Shuga.

Speaker She answers the phone. We can.

Speaker You don't want to go back. It's not worth it. OK, that's fine. Just leave sleep. Well, actually, what happened was.

Speaker OK, he rang again. She got.

Speaker Well.

Speaker Also, the years he a with me, I never had a contract willingly. You know, like Chicago, all these things and Chicago will look to the Commodore in New York. He went on the road for a year. He came out to California. We followed Benning one summer in the Parama here. The second year that he was here. Then we left San Francisco and worked all this time. Eddie's started out with groups that I headed to Famous Store. We started making a few records for four decker.

Speaker And we we'll work in that time downstairs at the halfway house and.

Speaker So he made a couple of reasons for that group. One day, Barbara and Pete Peterson, two battle groups that I've had in a famous store. So let's show a star. When?

Speaker Leon.

Speaker Stepped up from that. It's all right if we get to it. If you just say an agent from William Morris, that's good enough for a good friend of mine.

Speaker I'm sorry, but anyway, I don't know where to start, where you want me to start.

Speaker Have Betty heard about any sort? Saw you. Let me tell you how many you got.

Speaker Well, for all the bands, are they going on any show? I've been very close. And he made all the band arrangements. He made them movies, vocals. He's a great vocal arranger show. Benny kept trying to get him tape. He didn't have a contract. He'd never leave. He started out with me. So finally, Benny didn't have a band. And he was kidding. To get a band. I was back of a small group and I called them. I said. How would you like to have any shelter for this new band? Said, I'd love it. I said, okay. Slowly they got together and he ruled for Bennie, wrote some great things by Benny, rides again. And Clarin aid that Sobel's. He did some great things.

Speaker So I was around this time or I guess it was I think I've got to look out for him is really red.

Speaker Trust me. All right. So.

Speaker Those two points have you were wise. You were hip enough that you found out about them and how to meet your band and then also make the connection that although they were very shaky, put that on the thing and I could follow it.

Speaker Been perfect. I don't know what to say. That had totally closed the show. Seven lively hours. Then it started again. Big band. But he kept a sextet in the band. And so we started playing days. Theaters. We played theaters. We open in Hartford. I think it started to Boston. Went Oh, we played all at New England college territory and came back and worked at a place called the 5th and 5th Avenue. And he had the big band. And we do a show with us with the quintet.

Speaker And he wasn't a sex ed. Yeah, this was a quintet. And that worked for a while. Then swing band.

Speaker I am a shadow, keeps it and keeps the sex tape going and.

Speaker And this work with a big man. Two people, both things. So we worked all summer. That group. He worked a manic city or Boston or New England. And he my Chicago head off and I keep working. So that's about it.

Speaker But then how did you get involved with Charlie? Charlie Parker.

Speaker Charlie Parker? Well, when I got my that is that I had a ten piece group that had fun with Gonzo, which was quite a guy. These boys later went all one, the army. Some very good musicians hand. We made a trip out here, how West went down to Texas, came up and we tried to move off and work in the middle of our guy named Tanum from St.. So every time he'd go back to work, the losers, he would take the train. He wouldn't fly. He would take the train to Kansas City. And from there, he'd stay a couple days. And then go on to New York. He'll stay with a doctor. He knew then. And he had the piano and have family really have had Payton was right at home, so he came, called me at the hotel and we went to a place called the Kentucky Club. And that's where I heard. The alto player. And they kicked him out that night. They didn't like what they was playing, the leader, her leader. So I went back to the following year, right back to here, to the new Boxx.

Speaker And Tatum went to town and he called me and we went out to eat at the Kentucky club. And Charlie Parker walked in and played and he came over and the leaders, you know, brought him over and introduced seem to Tatum. I. That's when I knew him. So next time I saw Parker, he was playing with the Earl Hines at the Savoy. So we went up to him and we started talking. He remembered that he had met me there. So then he left to I haven't started to work on the street. And he kept saying to me, get a record date. Get a record date. I said, okay, I will try. But I really wasn't thinking about getting a record date because I was working and will show she had CBS show.

Speaker I was working all kinds of dates. I went back to work on dates with orchestras and everything, recording.

Speaker And then that we were to Paramount with Benny.

Speaker I get a call. At about seven o'clock in the morning, he said no. Yeah. He said, I'm from Cleveland. So I just got in town. I want to make a record from it. Oh, no, I don't want to make a record.

Speaker I was recording with Benny and we had a little group working with me, Mildred in charity Shavers Teddy Wilson. I give a little group real power to give our. Rex Powell on drums. And we were recording to try it. And I said, you kept trying to get me to do it, so I said, how fix him?

Speaker So I said, if he would let me pay him what I want to pay him, he let me do. Get who I want to get. How does date pass? I'll take care of that. So we went out. We were still in another week of panic. I get a call about a week later, pendas here maybe. He said it's okay on I'd record data. And I said, what record date who is is? He said, I'm the guy from Cleveland. Oh. So we said two things. We made the price and I told him I was kidding. That's when I got dizzy. Charlie Parker. Teddy Siim.

Speaker Phillip Phillips. I think that was it.

Speaker Had we made a method called Congo Blues. That's why I'm Simoes for the first time. How we. Something else I forgot. It was a big hit.

Speaker And we have heavy truck right there when he was missing.

Speaker We'll get we'll just. There were truck went by, the coverage is the end of the story. So we'll just have to tell it from.

Speaker We got the record date start with. We got the record date and we had to say who was on the date again. We are for the date who we had on a date with.

Speaker So Dizzy Gillespie, Cherry Parker, 5th Phillips.

Speaker Sam Stewart, Teddy Wilson and J.C. Herd and myself.

Speaker And then we're just about done. OK. Just look here at my boy, that bag.

Speaker Well, that's what I promise. Later. Mayor, when I was young some years later in the 60s, he did we did a Carnegie Hall thing that they took for some commercial for TV. And he didn't even come rehearsal. And the guy I had to take him to all the camera angles and everything for the show.

Speaker Because he's back and he was in pain, hopeful pain.

Speaker Let's go back to when he was going to quit. Back in 1940, when he first got the back problem.

Speaker You know, right now, I don't know, man. OK. I hate to talk about that. That's fine. That's all right. I don't know about it. That's all right. Let's talk about the Charlie Parker story. Charlie Bird like Betty. How you do about that?

Speaker The reason I knew that that was.

Speaker I don't. Don't cover your mouth.

Speaker You got it. That's great. OK. The reason I need a Charlie Parker like Benny Goodman. Because I was walking the street, I ran into him. And so we're talk and I said, well, what can I do? Had records become quite, quite a big thing? And he said, Look, hey, give me an overt J. S Fifth Avenue job. I said, sure, I can get a table. Cheney said, Yeah, I want to hear Benny. Okay. So I went the head waiter was at the Fifth Avenue, used to be on Fifty Second Street. I knew him well, well. And later he was a base on Street East in New York. But here he was hit Fifth Avenue. So I went to have a.. Said. Charlie Parker wants to come in here cause he was a fan of charities because he'd worked in the same club on Fifty Second Street. So he said he's got the best table on the house. Okay. So, Charlie, I told him I called him and told him.

Speaker And.

Speaker He came, set the table. When he was thrilled, the death of Penny Judge Group, Betty met him and he was great. He was three on. He enjoyed it. His comments were very then. He like to sound an.

Speaker Then later on. You said that Betty went to Brussels and you didn't do well and he thought you might. That's pretty funny.

Speaker I understand the van he went to, but I didn't know anything about the band, the Brussels. I knew about the band that went to Russia. Because I didn't go to Russia on purpose. He made a trip out here and he went up to Alaska. Went that way if something had be taken out. Neither vibe prior from here. But I didn't want I didn't want to go to Rush and. But then later, the bands that I had in Vegas. All these years, the quintet, the last year, he put together the best bands he's ever had with this quintet, which was set. And I was working trip back east. I was in Toronto and he called me at the Sands where I work. And he said, can he send me a tape? I said, Man, I'm not gonna send you an old tape. I said. He said, Man, I want to hear the rhythms. So I said, Take my word for it. His skill. They've been playing together for a year and a half. And I'd made trips or Sinatra's Australia. It was a good, good group. So he said I said, we're going to fight Toronto. Come on up here, I'll take you an hour. Bring your climate.

Speaker So but all the plays we played. There was another room. So how do we get through the night before? I said we took stuff down there and set up.

Speaker Many came in and he came to the place.

Speaker He turn it and we started to play. He stayed for three days playing with us every day to play so happy. He fought back and formed the group. He had a bill. Here's Fred Phillips and Jack Sheldon from here.

Speaker He's been out here and worked and he's chairman and that's a group, so what do we open in Munich? How was a sensation? I think you probably heard some of the concerts on tape and in Zurich and Munich. It was a whole gang. There's a whole tape. They recorded all those things. Very good.

Speaker I guess that was just one last question. Again, if this is anything you want to you can think of, you'd like to share what it is you played with Benny and you played with Sinatra was there.

Speaker You know what? Benny felt when Sinatra became popular? Was it like one era was finishing, another era was starting? Did you get any sense of what he thought about Sinatra's popularity or vice versa?

Speaker You mean.

Speaker Well, Schnatter grew up in a area of town. But Sinatra, well, it's not true, sang at the Paramount with Benny Goodman. People said that was sort of the end of the big band era.

Speaker It was the giving of Schnapper didn't play with Benny Goodman.

Speaker We came and sang with him one gig at the Paramount. That's where he made his debut at the Paramount, where they all screamed and yelled and.

Speaker Thanks. He left. He left Dorcy and went. No, I didn't. When Benny made that screaming and yelling, when Benny prayed the Paramount Sinatra was working because I knew he was working as a log cabin. And this was late. I tried to get him with the band. I worked with Harry James. Right. Harry worked with Harry James, the Lincoln Hotel.

Speaker Then he left Tommy. He went with Tommy. First time as he went to Panama, he worked with Tommy there.

Speaker That I know this unfranked, I know him well enough. He told me about because we worked with Frank a lot with that same small group that Benny had. And he went to he used to go to Florida. These dates in Florida and we come up and work. Fairly. That little club that be there and I that when he had the pleasure a with visit. He bought.

Speaker We worked one whole summer for him with that same group, or we did have quite a long and dry in place through the story of the story.

Speaker There were three days that went on for.

Speaker I'm sorry, when we do one just does one last take. If you can tell again the beginning part that you were playing in Vegas with a band that had been backing up Trank and then Benny Heard wanted a new rhythm section. So he came down. He played with you for three days.

Speaker If you could just tell he didn't do it in Vegas. He did it in Toronto.

Speaker I said, I'm sorry. I'm so hurrying because I know this guy's rolling on collapsing. So when are we on television?

Speaker If there's anything special about it? You remember that or anything about Benny's personality that came across her?

Speaker No, OK.

Speaker How does that happen? I know you've been operated on a couple times and.

Speaker He'd been shake. Habanera good.

Speaker Literally the newspaper all the time and are talking about my eyes, and I work with Tellier Labs in Europe.

Speaker Fact, I was willingly feinted. In Germany. And he got stuck there. It's terrible to be. He played in Europe. He would shake, he did. He had a rough time. And they operate on four stomach cancer.

Speaker You have to.

Speaker There was no question. Save your own. No, I hope so. I thank them. I don't know, Terry.

Speaker I think Teddy will part of that headband. I think for from I feel to the quartet, too. Really? Has he worked a lot for her, Benny? And I know they get along pretty well. Hey, I think in the end there was where everyone was.

Speaker Yeah. Um, how about Carnegie Hall? Were you at the choir, the famous Carnegie Hall concert? Did you go to that?

Speaker Yeah. You tell us about that night when I was like.

Speaker The concern was her, her brize, a big hit with Jeff Stacey, I think. And the. He'd had a wonderful salon. I forget what it was, but he was a great concert. We had saved him. We had a box and the first box. You know, Jan was well promoted and good.

Speaker OK. Well, we're all done unless there's anything else you want to.

Red Norvo
Interview Date:
1993-01-28
Runtime:
1:09:18
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-ww76t0hr77, cpb-aacip-504-xd0qr4ph8q, cpb-aacip-504-v97zk56b4g
MLA CITATIONS:
"Red Norvo, Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 28 Jan. 1993, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/403
APA CITATIONS:
(1993, January 28). Red Norvo, Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/403
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Red Norvo, Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). January 28, 1993. Accessed January 29, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/403

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