Eddie Bert Home


Program Notes - Eddie Bert Tribute
May 16, 2002 The Town Hall NYC

[This being jazz, the program is subject to change and spontaneous eruptions]

Mood Indigo (Duke Ellington)
Eddie observes that Duke Ellington liked to play Mood Indigo every day, but a different way each day. Eddie chose to open and close this evening with a Duke Ellington tune. Eddie was asked to join Ellington’s band three times, the last being in 1968 just after Eddie had been signed to the Dick Cavett Show, a gig that lasted 4 years for him. Eddie plays this tune often, and each time it is different.

Suspicious Suspension (Red Norvo as transcribed and arranged by Walt Szymanski)
Eddie was in Red Norvo’s band in 1941 and 1942 and it is likely that this song has never been played since 1942. It was never published or recorded commercially, and survives only because of the acetate recording made by Mollie Bert off the a live radio broadcast on January 6, 1942. The recording has been transcribed for this evening by Walt Szymanksi.

Norvo Barnet Medley (arranged by Walt Szymanski)
During the war years before Eddie was drafted, Eddie also played with Charlie Barnet and this group of songs displays the dance tunes of the era. Eddie played with Charlie Barnet from 1942-1943.

Jersey Bounce (Myron C. Bradshaw, Robert Bruce, Buddy Feyne, Edward Johnson, Bobby Plate)
This was the first song recorded by Eddie with Red Norvo as shown in Eddie’s notebook entry for March 5, 1942.

Strollin’ (Howard McGhee)
This song was recorded by Charlie Barnet with Eddie’s solid solo. The song was a minor hit. Eddie recounts that after he was drafted in 1944, the song was being played on a jukebox in a solider hangout. Another G.I. says to Eddie “Listen to that trombone” and Eddie responds “Yea, that’s me.” Eddie said the G.I. laughed at him. Perhaps he stopped laughing if he later saw Eddie on the stage with Bill Finegan’s “unofficial” Army Band.

Skyliner (Charlie Barnet)
Eddie has fond memories of touring with Charlie Barnet’s band, one of the first integrated bands. Barnet, he says, was a gentleman and relaxed and Barnet’s band was well rehearsed.

Whale Bones aka Hambone (composed and arranged by Eddie Bert)
This was recorded first as Hambone on Vic records in 1957. The song was renamed Whale Bones.

The More I See You (Harry Warren and Mack Gordon, arranged by Lance Bryant)
Carla Cook Vocals
Carla Cook sings this song to show her appreciation to this great guy, Eddie Bert. Carla recorded this on her most recent CD, “Dem Bones”, a tribute of course to the trombone. Both Eddie and Carla see the trombone and the voice as similar instruments with a similar range.

He Ain’t Got Rhythm (Irving Berlin)
Eddie recorded this tune in 1955 on the Discovery records and sings this for us tonight.

Manhattan Suite (Eddie Bert, arranged by Lance Bryant)
This Eddie Bert song was originally recorded by Eddie on Savoy.

Don’t Be That Way (composed and arranged by Edgar Sampson) To be conducted by Loren Schoenberg.
Eddie had a long association with Benny Goodan starting with touring with BG’s bebop band from 1947-1948 and continued to play with Benny Goodman for years. He played on BG’s TV show “Swing into Spring” and played on BG’s last TV show, Let’s Dance, in 1986.

Big Dipper (Thad Jones)
At the end of 1968, Eddie became a member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, a group comprised of New York’s finest players. “On Monday nights I worked with Thad and Mel at the Village Vanguard,” he remembers, “which I would do after my theatre gig. I did their European tour, as well, in 1969. That was a really great band but one night Thad had a meeting in the Vanguard kitchen and told us that we had to go on the road if the band was going to function properly, which was when a lot of guys like Snooky Young, Eddie Daniels and I left because we had commitments in town.”

Apple Honey (Woody Herman arranged by Walt Szymanski) 
Solos by Loren Schoenberg.

Eddie played for Woody Herman’s band just before he was drafted in 1944 and returned to play with Woody in 1950.

Undercurrent Blues (composed and arranged by Chico O’Farrill)
Benny Goodman’s band played this O’Farrill song during the period between 1947-1948 when he had a bebop band which included Eddie Bert. This was the title song of a Capitol LP. Eddie recorded with O’Farrill’s band in 1950-1954.

Now’s the Time (Charlie Parker).
In 1950, Eddie was a member of Charlie Parker’s “The Band That Never Was”, a large ensemble that was put together by Gene Roland, rehearsed a great deal, but never played a gig. Eddie’s photos of those sessions are well known.

Social Call (Gigi Gryce arranged by Bill Finegan).
Eddie recorded this with Gigi Gryce in 1955 on Nica’s Tempo. Gigi gave Eddie the lead sheet and later Bill Finegan arranged it at Eddie’s request for four trombones. Gigi Gryce was an alto player and composer and had a group with Art Farmer.

The Blues Ain’t Necessarily Sad (Composed and conducted by Slide Hampton)

Around Town (Composed by Eddie Bert)
Eddie wrote this piece in 1955 after hearing jazz critics put down bebop music for simplistic composition. Apparently, the critics did not notice the complexity of this piece: it is in 4 different keys and is 40 bars long. The piece was later recorded with Eddie by Loren Schoenberg.

Sunny Ray ( Ray Santos)
Latin Percussion solo Renato Thoms.
Eddie recorded with many of the Latin Bands in the early 50s including Machito’s and Tito Puente’s, Xavier Cugat, and Tito Rodriguez. This Santos pieces was chosen tonight as a showcase for Brass.

Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk - Dizzie Gillespie Arrangement)
Eddie feels that it is nearly impossible to play Monk’s or Mingus’ music without Monk or Mingus because their personalities were the music. Two generation of jazz musicians think otherwise and our musicians will try their best to play “Monk inspired” music.

Sumpn’ Like Dat (Jack Jeffers)
Bass trombonist Jack Jeffers has offered this trombone blues piece.

Speedster (Eddie Bert arranged by Lance Bryant)
Eddie named this song after his 1955 black and white Studebaker “Speedster” with dual exhaust, dual carburetors, leather interior, and wire wheels. Today, Eddie, always the automotive style leader, tools around in Toyota Prius hybrid automobile.

Harlem Holiday (Stan Kenton, transcribed and arranged by Walt Szymaniski)
Harlem Holiday was a signature piece for Stan Kenton, with whom Eddie played 1947-1948. Eddie had a featured solo on the 1947 recording with Kenton’s band. Eddie played again with Kenton in 1950 and 1951 and continued to play from to time with Kenton’s bands.

In a Mellotone (Duke Ellington) A reprise as per Mingus 1962.
Clark Terry Leading Off

Eddie had a long association with Mingus and appeared with Mingus on his first recordings on Mingus’ Debut label at the Bohemia in 1955. Eddie was also present at Mingu’s calamitous concert at Town Hall in 1962 which ended in an ad hoc Clark Terry initiated rendition of In a Mellotone as the stage hands were shooing out the audience.

Eddie also recorded this same tune in his first appearance at Town Hall in 1945 with Red Norvo in a concert produced by Timme Rosenkrantz, the Danish Jazz Baron which was later released on Milt Gabler¹s Commodore label. Eddie recalls Rosencrantz recording the evening back stage with the extra large acetate disks.

Notes by Alan D. Sugarman with the assistance of Eddie Bert.