Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Chocolate Dandies - 1928 - 1940 Studio Ensembles

Don Redman
Taking their name from a show written by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, a small group led by Don Redman recorded in the late '20s as the Chocolate Dandies. Redman also used the name for some McKinney's Cotton Pickers record dates. During the early '30s the name was picked up by other musicians, notably Benny Carter, who used it for a string of recordings he made with Coleman Hawkins, among others. Carter revived the name in 1940, again with Hawkins recording some small group jazz sides. - Below I'll insert some examples of recordings made by the various Chocolate Dandies studio ensembles.

Star Dust_Okeh 8668
Don Redman directed McKinney's Cotton Pickers in four titles recorded October 13, 1928 in New York for Okeh as Chocolate Dandies. Personnel included Don Redman (as,dir), Langston Curl, John Nesbitt (tp), Claude Jones (tb), Milton Senior (as,cl), George Thomas, Prince Robinson(ts,cl), Todd Rhodes (p), Lonnie Johnson (g), Dave Wilborn (bj), Ralph Escudero (bb), Cuba Austin (dm). Besides the shown Star Dust the titles included Paducah, Birmingham Breakdown and Four Or Five Times

Benny Carter
On September 9, 1929 another combination of Chocolate Dandies recorded two titles for Okeh in New York. Personnel this time included Benny Carter (as,voc), Don Redman (as,cl,voc), Leonard Davis (tp),  Rex Stewart (co), Coleman Hawkins (ts), J.C. Higginbotham (tb), Cyrus St. Clair (tuba), Fats Waller (p), Unknown (bj), George Stafford (dm). The recorded titles were That's How I Feel Today and Six Or Seven Times 

Dee Blues_Columbia 2543-D
December 1930, Benny Carter recorded two dates with a sextet of musicians drawn from Fletcher Henderson's orchestra as Chocolate Dandies for Columbia in New York. Personnel included Benny Carter (as,cl,voc,arr), Horace Henderson (p), Bobby Stark (tp), Coleman Hawkins (ts), Jimmy Harrison (tb,voc), Benny Jackson (g) and John Kirby (sb). On December 3 was recorded only one title, Goodbye Blues, but on December 31 were recorded Cloudy Skies, Got Another Sweetie Now, Bugle Call Rag  and the shown Dee Blues 

Blue Interlude_Decca 18255 A
Benny Carter recorded another session October 10, 1933 under the name of Chocolate Dandies, this time for Okeh/Decca. Personnel included Benny Carter (as,tp,arr), Max Kaminsky (tp), Floyd O'Brien (tb), Chu Berry (ts), Teddy Wilson (p), Lawrence Lucie (g), Ernest "Bass" Hill (sb) and Sidney Catlett (dm). Recorded titles besides the shown Blue Interlude were I Never Knew, Once Upon A Time and Krazy Kapers 

Krazy Kapers_Okeh 41568

Coleman Hawkins
Benny Carter was featured with Coleman Hawkins in a session for Commodore May 25, 1940 and recorded three titles under the name of Coleman Hawkins and The Chocolate Dandies. Recorded titles included Smack!, I Surrender Dear and I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me. Participating musicians were Benny Carter (as,p), Roy Eldridge (tp), Coleman Hawkins (ts), Bernard Addison (g), John Kirby (sb), Sidney Catlett (dm)
Smack!_Commodore 533 A


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