Sarah Vaughan and Joe Louis in Chicago


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Here’s a followup to the Sarah Vaughan birthday post of March 27. In his Crown Propeller’s Blog, Armin Büttner published a picture of the great singer in interesting company at the Crown Propeller Lounge in Chicago. The club thrived as one of the city’s most vital nightspots from the late 1940s through the 1950s. It specialized in jazz and R&B and booked some of the leading lights in both fields. Here we see world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis with Sarah and trumpeter King Kolax. Crown Propeller owner Norman Schlossberg is behind Louis and Vaughan.

Armin has not yet identified the women on either end. If you know who they are, send a comment and I’ll pass it along to Mr. Büttner. Go here to visit his fascinating blog, see other photos from the Crown Propeller’s heyday and hear music of the period, including a track by Kolax’s excellent little band. Thanks to Armin and the Schlossberg family for permission to use the picture.

The next logical step is to listen to Sarah in a recording from the same era. We might as well wrap our spring theme into this exercise in nostalgia and musicality. The trumpet player who introduces the piece is Miles Davis, a week before his 24th birthday. The rhythm section is Jimmy Jones, piano; Billy Taylor, bass; and J.C. Heard, drums. The clarinetist who joins at the end is Tony Scott. This was May 19, 1950.

All eight of Sarah’s sides with the George Treadwell All-Stars are in this box set of four CDs. In addition to the musicians you heard on “It Might as Well be Spring,” the band included guitarist Mundell Lowe, trombonist Bennie Green and saxophonist Budd Johnson.

Photo courtesy of the Schlossberg family

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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