A previously unidentified Goldkette test pressing

Joined: March 16th, 2018, 8:41 am

July 8th, 2018, 7:49 pm #1

Way back in August 2007, trombonist Dave Bock posted to the Bixography Forum an audio file and plain label photo of a test pressing of "Dinah" by an unknown band. Here is the link to the original post:-
viewtopic.php?f=27140&t=2639&p=24443&hi ... est#p24443
In his post, Dave asked for help in identifying the band. This request generated quite a lot of interest and some thought-provoking suggestions, but nothing conclusive resulted and the band remained a mystery. I posted about this test pressing myself at the time, and as it turns out completely goofed!
Fast forward a couple of years. Collector and researcher Joe Lauro kindly sent me a sound file and label image of an unusual private recording by the saxophonist Larry Tise* and an accompanying group, entitled "Play That Jazz" (a.k.a. "Crazy Words"). At the time of the recording, December 1927, Tise and the other musicians playing on the record were members of the Jean Goldkette band that played at the Pla-Mor ballroom in Kansas City; Tise actually mentions that he is a member of the Goldkette band in his message at the end of the recording. Moreover, in the intro of "Play That Jazz", you can hear Harold Stokes - the leader of Goldkette's Kansas City band - take a break on his accordion.
(*though his name was often spelt Tice, and given as such in all discographies, I will stick to Tise for the purposes of this post. It is possible that he changed his name from Tise to Tice in 1928)
This Kansas City band was also Goldkette's Victor Recording Orchestra - just as the Goldkette outfit with Bix and Tram had fulfilled the same role earlier. As "Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra", Tise and his fellow musicians recorded several sides for Victor in December 1927. Hoagy Carmichael was a member of the band for a short while and takes the vocals on "So Tired"; he left the band a few days later. These Victor recordings were made in Kansas City. So was "Play That Jazz". We know this to be the case, because the company that recorded "Play That Jazz" was New Flexo, and at the time (December 1927) the firm was based in Kansas City (it later relocated to California). It is highly likely that the Larry Tice-led recording for New Flexo was a private recording. Another New Flexo private recording made by members of Goldkette's Kansas City band can be heard here:-

Fast forward again. A few weeks ago, I was looking for a sound file on my computer and quite by accident came across the transfer I did in 2007 of the "Dinah" test pressing. I hadn't listened to it for years, so I thought I'd give it a spin. As I was listening to it, I thought "Hang on a minute, I recognise that alto sax". Specifically, it reminded me of the alto sax that Larry Tise plays on "Play That Jazz". The clarinettist on "Dinah" also seemed to be very similar to the clarinet heard on "Play That Jazz". So I then compared the two recordings side by side, flipping between the two to better judge the similarities, and that exercise more or less confirmed that I was listening to the same band. In other words, the "Dinah" test is very likely to be by a contingent from the post-Bix Jean Goldkette band. The tone, style and phrasing of the alto sax are far too close to be a coincidence, and this is also the case with the clarinet that can be heard on both sides. In fact, the overall sound is very similar, as is the recording quality (though the New Flexo side is clearer). In addition, someone says something during and also at the end of the "Dinah" test, and, in a similar manner, Larry Tise says a few words at the end of the New Flexo side (he sounds a bit worse for Christmas cheer!).
The "Dinah" test gives one the impression that the band had rehearsed the number beforehand, whereas the New Flexo recording has a last minute "let's have fun" feel to it. However, with those voices heard during and at the end of "Dinah", I doubt very much that "Dinah" was intended for public release.
New Flexo records were pressed on an early flexible plastic material, but for the sake of convenience test pressings made by the company may have been pressed on standard shellac, as was the case with "Dinah". However, this is a matter of conjecture and I should also state that I have been unable to verify if the numbering that Dave Bock identified on the "Dinah" test tallies with New Flexo recording ledgers. Therefore, at this stage it cannot be confirmed that "Dinah" was destined to be released privately on the New Flexo label, even though it is certainly a possibility. There is a further possibility - that "Dinah" was recorded for release on another label, also perhaps for private or semi-private distribution. Whatever the particular circumstances, there can be little doubt that both recordings - "Play That Jazz" and "Dinah" - were made by a contingent from the post-Bix Jean Goldkette Orchestra that included Larry Tise: "Play That Jazz" in late 1927 and "Dinah" sometime between late 1927 - when the Goldkette band was appearing in Kansas City - and mid-1928, by which time it had moved to Chicago.
I sent the audio comparison file I made of "Dinah" and "Play That Jazz" to my friend, the Dutch trumpet player/arranger Frank Van Nus - an expert on the Goldkette band and its recordings - and also to Albert. Here are their responses:-
Frank Van Nus: Larry Tice, Volly De Faut and Harold Stokes for sure on "Play That Jazz" ("Crazy Words"). On Dinah, I think it's safe to identify Larry Tice on alto sax and Volly De Faut on clarinet. I strongly suspect (but can’t be 100% positive about) Pee Wee Hunt on trombone and Sterling Bose on trumpet. Obviously, both sides are by a Tice-led Goldkette unit. Great find! (It should be noted that Frank independently identified the band on the test pressing of "Dinah" as consisting of musicians from the Jean Goldkette Orchestra that played in Chicago in 1928-1929. Larry Tise and several other members of the Kansas City outfit became members of this version of the Jean Goldkette Victor Recording Orchestra when the Goldkette band transferred to Chicago in 1928). 
Albert Haim: That is fascinating. An unknown Goldkette!! I listened to Dinah and Play That Jazz several times and the similarities are remarkable.
Below are links to the test pressing of "Dinah", courtesy of Dave Bock, and the New Flexo side "Play That Jazz" by Larry Tise, courtesy of Joe Lauro:-
And here is a link to a photo of the Larry Tise New Flexo record:-
Larry Tise/Tice remained with the Jean Goldkette band when it transferred to become the WGN radio station house band in Chicago in 1928, retaining its status as the Jean Goldkette Victor Recording Orchestra. Further details are available in the two-part article I wrote with Albert that appeared in VJM magazine:-
Nick Dellow