The Towne Casino was a local jazz bar situated in Cleveland. During its short years of existence (1951-53) it featured many great musicians such as Duke Ellington, JJ Johnson, Sarah Vaughan and Coleman Hawkins. The club (like some other similar venues) suffered bomb attacks, thought to be racially motivated, and therfore hade to close down its activity on August 1, 1953.

Betty Roché sings All Of Me

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra played at the Towne Casino for a week (17 -25 September) in 1952. As far as known this was the only occasion Duke and his men played there. The New Desor has one session dated September 1952, from a local broadcast and numbered DE5217a-d, and furthermore, Amazon offers an on demand produced CD-R which is dated 17 September 1952 (Link: The latter is likewise from a broadcast, but not to be found in the New Desor. You’ll find both recordings in the Goodies Room.

Starting off with the purported broadcast from Sept. 17, perhaps we should mention that the orchestra personell is the familiar one from this time, except that Hilton Jefferson (although not heard soloing) had recently replaced Willie Smith. After the theme and introduction, Ko-Ko, one of Ellington’s most famous composititions is played. Ellington presents the solists. After the 1950ies this number disappeared from the reportoire. Jimmy Grissom sings Do Nothin’ Till you Hear From Me, before Ray Nance comes in to sing another masterpiece from the Webster-Blanton Era, Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’. After Mood Indigo has been played, Betty Roché sings All Of Me, which used to be a show-case for Johnny Hodges when he played with the band. Betty Roché was undoubtedly one of the band’s best girls singers. This broadcast finishes with VIP’s Boogie and Jam With Sam before the closing number, Caravan, is played with its composer, Juan Tizol, in the main solo role.

The other broadcast we offer for listening, was originally issued by Voice Of America. Only four numbers were recorded, namely: Ko-Ko, Mood Indigo, VIP’s Boogie and Jam With Sam, which can all be found on the previous broadcast. Although a similarity in contents they seem to be from two different broacasts.




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