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When Arthur Briggs arrived in Europe as a member of the Southern Syncopated Orchestra in 1919, he was just twenty years of age. For the rest of his life he worked on the "Old Continent" with but one single trip back to the United States in 1930. Admired for his technical ability and clear tone, he recorded extensively and influenced generations of European jazz musicians. Although he had no firsthand experience in American jazz, he managed to keep abreast with developments in the States through records he obtained in stores in every country he visited: "I had most of Fletcher Henderson's records and the Wolverines at that time and Frankie Trumbauer" (Goddard 1979, 287).1 [End Page 93]

Figure 1. Undated, 1950s? Portrait of Arthur Briggs with trumpet.
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Figure 1.

Undated, 1950s? Portrait of Arthur Briggs with trumpet.

Arthur Briggs himself has always been vague, even contradictory about the place and date of his birth. On more than one occasion he claimed to be a United States citizen: "I was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the 10th of April 1901. My parents were from Grenada, Mississippi."2

In actual fact he was born in St. George's on the Caribbean island of Grenada on April 9, 1899, the youngest of ten children of a father from St. George's and a mother from Barbados. According to the passenger list of the British and Burmese Steam Navigation's liner SS Maraval, James Arthur Briggs, musician, eighteen years and six months old, arrived from Grenada in New York on November 22, 1917. He gave his address as the home of his mother, Louisa Briggs, on Green Street, St. George's, Grenada. She had paid for the travel, and stated that he was going to stay with his sister, Mrs. Inez [End Page 94] Hall, in New York City. According to the immigration authorities, Briggs was a West Indian and traveled on a British passport. Briggs also declared that he had not been in the States before.

Briggs's sister Inez, a seamstress, had arrived with her twenty-five-year-old sister Olive, a domestic servant, on June 6, 1913, aboard the SS Maracas from St. George's to New York. On arrival they gave their father's name as James Briggs and stated that they were bound for a friend, Thomas Hall, whom the nearly-nineteen-year-old Inez was to marry the same year. On August 1, 1917, Edith Inez Hall arrived in New York from Grenada aboard the SS Mayaro and stated that she was twenty-four years of age and on her way to rejoin her husband Thomas, and that she had previously resided in New York from 1913 to 1916.3

Upon his arrival in the United States in November 1917 Arthur Briggs stated that he followed the occupation of "musician." Perhaps he had undergone some musical training in his hometown of St. George's, training which was available either through the Boy Scouts' drum-and-fife bands, one of the British colonial police bands, the Salvation Army, or private study.

John Chilton's Who's Who of Jazz claims that the legendary trumpeter William "Crickett" Smith (1881-1947)—"New York's Buddy Bolden"—was Briggs's uncle (Chilton 1985, 307). If this were true, Crickett should have been the brother of Briggs's mother Louisa (whose birth name is not known). But according to his 1919 passport application, Smith was born at Emporia, Kansas, on February 8, 1881. His father, French C. Smith, was born at Memphis, Tennessee, and by 1919 was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There seems to be no relationship between Smith and Briggs, and it is probably safe to assume that this is part of Briggs's construction of his ancestry as an African American. According to Chilton, Pete Briggs (ca. 1900-1970s) was a "distant relative of Arthur Briggs" (Chilton 1985, 46). The tuba and string bass player from Charleston, South Carolina, who became known for his work with Carroll Dickerson, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Noone, Edgar Hayes, Jell Roll Morton, and Herman Autrey, was in fact a cousin of his.

Briggs volunteered that he had lived on Green Street in Charleston. He knew all about the Jenkins Orphanage at Franklin Street and its founder, the Reverend Jenkins (1861-1937), so perhaps Briggs had briefly lived in Charleston around 1917 or 1918; there is no evidence that he ever was a [End Page 95] pupil there (Chilton 1985, 46). All the same he claimed to have received "private tuition from the Orphanage's Brass Teacher, Lt. Eugene Mikell."

Francis Eugene Mikell Sr. (1880-1932) was one of the early music teachers at the orphanage but had left Charleston long before Briggs's possible arrival. He had later attended the New York Conservatory, had taught music at various institutions, had been musical director of the Globe Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida, and for a time led the orchestra at the Pekin Theatre in Chicago. In early May 1917, Mikell signed up with the band of the Fifteenth Infantry Regiment (Colored) of the New York National Guard under the direction of James "Jim" Europe (1881-1919), the famous orchestra leader. In the New York Age of June 28, 1917, he is identified as having assisted Europe in the regimental band's first concert at the Manhattan Casino. With the addition of Gene Mikell, Jim Europe had a widely experienced musician and a first class assistant conductor in his ranks. The regiment was mustered into federal service on July 25, 1917, and drafted into service on August 5, 1917. It trained at Camp Whitman in Poughkeepsie, New York and performed guard duties at various locations in New York state, followed by further training at Camp Wadsworth in Spartanburg, South Carolina. On December 13, 1917, the regiment—now designated the 369th Infantry Regiment—left New York for France where it became legendary for its bravery and earned the nicknames "Hellfighters," "Harlem Hellfighters," and "The Men of Bronze" (Badger 1995).

If Briggs was indeed in Charleston in late November or early December 1917, Mikell was not. Briggs probably stayed in New York, after all, that is where his sister and her family lived; arrangements for him to do so could have been discussed when she visited Briggs and his family in Grenada in July 1917. In New York, Briggs attended the Martin Smith School of Music in Harlem.4 During a concert of the school's orchestra in 1918, Arthur Briggs attracted the notice of composer and orchestra leader Will Marion Cook (1869-1944), who was assistant musical director of the Clef Club, a popular entertainment venue and booking agency for African-American musicians. Cook engaged Briggs for the club's marching band under the direction of Fred Simpson, who worked as first trombonist in the orchestra of Florenz "Flo" Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolics Revues.

Around November or December 1918, Briggs started rehearsals with Cook's New York Syncopated Orchestra, an all-black band billed as "50 Players and Singers—All Star Soloists." Briggs toured East Coast theaters with this orchestra from January 30 until February 28, 1919 (New York Age, February 8, 1919). [End Page 96]

Briggs's first visit to a record studio must have taken place during this period. He stated on one occasion that he had recorded the tunes "Ja-Da" and "Weary Blues" with Wilbur Sweatman for the Okeh label in "early 1919 after the tour with the New York Southern Syncopated Orchestra."5 On another occasion he stated that one tune was "Ja-Da" and the other "Sister Kate." He also said he played second trumpet to Willie Lewis (not the saxophonist who later led bands in Europe) and that the trombonist was Frank Withers.6

Briggs may have confused the exact circumstances some fifty-five years after the event. As of March 1918 Wilbur Sweatman was under contract with the Columbia company. Sweatman recorded "Ja-Da" for Columbia in two sessions; all three takes recorded on January 17, 1919, remain unissued. At the time of a remake session on February 6, 1919, which produced Take 4" (Columbia A-2707), Briggs was still on the road with the New York Syncopated Orchestra. (Russell Smith may have taken the trumpet chair on the issued take.)7 Arthur Briggs thus may be on the unissued takes of which no tests are extant.

It is not altogether impossible for Briggs to have participated in the remake session if either he left the NYSO before the end of the tour or else the tour was terminated earlier than originally scheduled. At any rate, Sweatman never recorded "Weary Blues," nor did he record "Sister Kate." The other title recorded on the first session was "Rainy Blues," also unissued. The other titles emanating from the second session were "Lonesome Road (Intro: Salvation Blues)" and "A Good Man is Hard to Find (Intro: Sweet Child)." Although there is trumpet on all the sides in question, it is not prominent, typical of a young man just starting out professionally. The trumpet on "Rainy Day Blues" plays during collective ensemble passages only and has no distinctive sound of its own. It is almost impossible to say whether one or two trumpets are present.8 But close listening will reveal that all the early 1919 sides and at least two sessions feature two trumpets. Also, there was a William Lewis living in Harlem and listed in the 1929 AFM Local 802 directory.9 Perhaps Briggs played second trumpet on "Rainy Day Blues" (the same session included a rejected "Ja-Da") and possibly on "Kansas City Blues/Slide Kelly Slide"; the identification is made more difficult as the recordings are badly balanced and use confusing arrangements. [End Page 97]

Back in New York, Cook's orchestra temporarily disbanded, awaiting completion of the negotiations between his business manager George William Lattimore, a black lawyer from Brooklyn, and French-born British impresario André Charlot for a forthcoming engagement in London.

In June 1919 the Southern Syncopated Orchestra of thirty-six instrumentalists and singers left the United States. The company sailed in three parties (see Rye 2009). Briggs was a member of the first group that left from Philadelphia aboard the American Line's SS Northland on May 31, 1919, arriving at Liverpool on June 12. Clarinet virtuoso Sidney Bechet (1897-1959) had left his hometown of New Orleans in 1916 and eventually settled in Chicago. There, members of the touring NYSO heard him in February 1919 at a concert with a band which included cornetist Manuel Perez and trombonist George Filhé—both also from New Orleans—and told Will Marion Cook of their "discovery." Reputedly, the clarinetist had been enticed for a weekly wage of sixty dollars. Bechet left the United States with the second group of musicians aboard Cunard's SS Carmania from New York on June 5, arriving at Liverpool on June 14, 1919. The brothers Edward "Fess" Robert (b. 1893) and Jacob "Jake" C. Patrick (b. 1896) had been raised in the Jenkins Orphanage in Charleston. They left New York aboard the White Star Liner SS Lapland on June 22, 1919, arriving at Liverpool on June 29.

The three parties arrived at Liverpool at the height of a series of race riots. On June 4, a black man had been severely beaten by Scandinavian sailors in a pub brawl. The next night, some thirteen black men set upon seven Scandinavians in a public house. Soon the population and the press labeled the black population of Liverpool as the aggressors, as the Liverpool Courier on June 11, 1919, put it:

One of the chief reasons of popular anger behind the present disturbances lies in the fact that the average negro is nearer the animal than is the average white man, and that there are women in Liverpool who have no self respect. There is also the unemployment grievance—the fact that large numbers of demobilised soldiers are unable to find work while the West Indian negroes, brought over to supply a labour shortage during the war, are able to "swank" about in their smart clothing on the proceeds of their industry.

White mobs patrolled the streets of Liverpool on the lookout for blacks to attack. The police advised black people to remain in their homes. Briggs later recalled that his party required a police escort to get from the docks in Liverpool to the train station. Some members of his party claimed to have seen black bodies floating in the Mersey River. Contemporary reports, however, make no mention of any deaths resulting from the riots (Jenkinson 1986, 182-183).

In London, both Briggs and Bechet lodged at a hotel run by Horatio Botacchi [End Page 98] at 1 Grenville Street in the Bloomsbury area, close to Russell Square and the British Museum. Briggs recalled their days in London: "Bechet was a good friend and a fine fellow, but he just couldn't trust himself. He was so impetuous." Bechet referred to Arthur Briggs as "the Kid." Briggs continued: "Despite being older than I was, he asked me to keep an eye on him, because he might get drunk or get in with the wrong crowd. But he was so easily tempted that when the time came nothing on earth would stop him from doing what he wanted to do. . . . Yet we always remained good friends" (Chilton 1987, 40-41).

The SSO arrived in London at the time when a white quintet, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, were presenting their "funny hat" jazz in the city. The ODJB had left New York for Britain in March 1919, arriving at Liverpool on April 1, 1919, for an engagement as an added attraction to Albert de Courville's revue Joy Bells at the Hippodrome in London, beginning on April 7. However, this engagement lasted only one night after the show's star, comedian George Robey, had served the producers an ultimatum: himself or the jazz band. From April 12, 1919, the ODJB played at the Palladium, followed by engagements at Martan's Club in Old Bond Street from April 28, 1919, at Rector's Club in Tottenham Court Road in June, and at the Hammersmith Palais de Danse, the "largest and most luxurious dance palace in Europe," from October 18, 1919.10

After a series of rehearsals, the SSO opened at the Philharmonic Hall, 95 Great Portland Street, a short walk from Oxford Street, on July 4, 1919. The word "jazz" did not appear in the program. The repertoire, played in a semi-symphonic style, included popular ballads and novelty pieces, works by black composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Will Marion Cook's own compositions, and a few instrumental features, notably Jim Europe's "That Moaning Trombone" for John Forrester and Sidney Bechet's show piece "Characteristic Blues." In Briggs's recollection, Bechet was the only real improviser in the orchestra—and the only one who could not read music. As he recalled it: "We had various players who could embellish melodies and play variations in the symphonic style, and we also had musicians who could re-interpret a melody with Ragtime phrasing, but Bechet could and did play pure Jazz and Blues." (Chilton, 1987, 37-38).

Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet (1883-1969), known for his authoritative interpretations of the works of twentieth-century French composers and founder of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Switzerland in 1918, reviewed one of the orchestra's concerts in the October 19, 1919, issue of the periodical Revue Romande—often cited as the first serious jazz review [End Page 99] in Europe. Ansermet found that "the first thing that strikes one about the Southern Syncopated Orchestra is the astonishing perfection, the superb taste and the fervor of its playing." He also talked at length about Sidney Bechet's performance, which apparently had impressed him most of all.

The London engagement continued until December 6, 1919, with a few outside concerts during the long run. The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) invited the orchestra to perform at a garden party for members of the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace on the afternoon of August 9, 1919, to celebrate the June 28 peace treaty. Bechet suggested in his autobiography that this was a Royal Command Performance, but it was a garden party (Bechet 1960, 140). The Daily Telegraph wrote that the SSO entertained about a thousand guests in a kind of amphitheater formed by the bed of a drained out lake in the palace gardens. From contemporary reports one may conclude that the full orchestra participated in the concert and that some of the singers presented traditional songs, Will Marion Cook being the accompanist. A "Nigger Jazz Band," composed of William [sic] Briggs (cornet), Sidney Bechet (clarinet), William [sic] Forrester (trombone), Lawrence Morris (bandoline), and Robert Young (drums) was also featured. On the first anniversary of the Armistice a Victory Ball was held at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on November 11, 1919, where the full SSO played for dancing.

By this time Cook had left the orchestra in a huff and returned to New York from Le Havre aboard the SS La Savoie on November 1, 1919. Despite the favorable reviews, the SSO attracted little attention and the concerts were poorly attended. The SSO enjoyed no financial success, and tensions had developed between its two managers. The business manager, George Lattimore, wanted to break it up in smaller units which he could sell individually to clubs and restaurants, whereas the musical manager, Will Marion Cook, wanted to save the orchestra as a whole. Lattimore offered the leadership of the orchestra to Edmund Thornton Jenkins (1894-1926), a son of the founder of the Charleston Orphanage, then a Ross Scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Jenkins, however, declined, and Lattimore replaced Cook with the orchestra's bandmaster, Egbert Thompson, as conductor for the remainder of the contract.

At the end of the engagement at the Philharmonic Hall, the reduced SSO featured for a week, from December 8, 1919, as part of the variety bill at the Coliseum Theatre, after which the London run was finished. In its issue of December 9, 1919, The [London] Times reviewed the orchestra's performance: "It is an entertainment which all would feel better for seeing and hearing . . . the great point in their favour is that at a bound they can bring us back to the darkies' folk songs and melodies what will live long after jazz and ragtime have enjoyed their spell of popularity. The harmony of some of their concerted numbers is a joy." [End Page 100]

At the time, Arthur Briggs was staying in London with Edmund Jenkins to further his musical education (Green 1982, 81). He is not listed among the personnel that left London for a tour of Scotland and northern England. In March or April 1919 Edmund Jenkins had organized the "Coterie of Friends," a social club of his black friends. He arranged for Briggs to participate in a concert of works by the black English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) and of his own composition Folk Rhapsody at Wigmore Hall, London, on Sunday, December 7, 1919, which he conducted. Besides Briggs, the fifty-four-piece orchestra included Frank Withers (1880-1952), who had come with Louis Mitchell's Jazz Kings to Europe in 1919, as one of the three trombonists; flutist Bertin Depestre "Flusky" Salnave from Haiti (1895-1987), who had come to Paris in 1913 to study at the Conservatoire de Musique and had joined the SSO in Europe; and Puerto Rican double bass player Santos (Santita) Rivera (born 1898 or 1899) from the SSO. Briggs remembered the concert later: "I can never forget this wonderful memory, although I was scared to death."11

Jenkins also introduced Arthur Briggs to John Solomon (1856-1953), a distinguished trumpet instructor at the Royal College of Music and a founding member of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1904, then living at 98 Loughborough Park in Brixton, South London. Said Briggs: "I ended up taking two lessons a week for my technique. He taught me how to study and how to produce my tone without forcing it. I studied with him for two years. The first year I went almost twice a week. Then I went once a week, then once a month. . . . I'll never forget it as long as I live because I realize that the facility and all the other things I learned with him and above all not to fight the instrument were invaluable" (Goddard 1979, 283).

During the first few months of 1920, Briggs worked in London, eventually in the band at the Hammersmith Palais de Danse, with clarinetist John Russell, trombonist Jake Patrick from Charleston, pianist George Ruthland Clapham (1888-1949) from St. Kitts in the West Indies, and African-American drummer George "Bobo" Hines, all from the ranks of the former SSO.

Around September or October 1920, Briggs joined English pianist Teddie Garratt's Five Jazzing Devils for an engagement at the Mauriske Hall of the new Bristol Hotel in Kristiania, three years hence to be renamed Oslo. The engagement should have started in October 1920 but was delayed until January 25, 1921, over problems with the necessary work permits. According to the files of the Norwegian Central Passport Office,12 the band consisted of Arthur Briggs, Jake Patrick, and Bobo Hines, as well as French saxophonist Roger Jean-Paul Clinton and pianist-leader Teddie Garratt, the only white [End Page 101] musician in the group, who wore sun glasses as a kind of disguise. Alfred Charles "Teddie" Garratt was born in Far Cotton, Northampton, in 1896, but in 1906 emigrated with his mother and brother to Canada, where his father had lived since 1903. The press reported that the musicians were as "black as coal," but little commentary was offered on the Devils' music, although one paper wrote of their "hellish disharmony" and made a note of "Mr. Bobo" and the effect of his drumming on the women, who were apparently fascinated by the range of noises he produced. The engagement ended on March 27, 1921, when Canadian banjo player Jack Harris and his Premier Syncopated Five, a white band from the Embassy Club in London, took over at the Bristol, joined by pianist Teddie Garratt, who had stayed on. This engagement lasted until April 23, 1921. In 1922 Garratt emigrated to South Africa where he ran a piano school, later called the Teddie Garratt School of Syncopation, which according to a promotional leaflet had branches in Johannesburg, London, and Sydney.

Briggs's sojourns during the next six months are not known. Perhaps he "returned briefly to the U.S.A. in 1921, playing with Leslie Howard's Orchestra, then returned to Europe" (Pernet 1979).13 However, there is no evidence of such a visit in the Ellis Island records of incoming passengers. Also the records of arrivals via border crossing from Canada show no trace of Arthur Briggs. A careful search of British incoming passenger lists has also failed to reveal his return from this supposed trip. However, this does not prove that the visit did not take place. The relevant page of the records may be missing or there may have been a contemporary failure in documentation.

Around October 1921, Briggs linked up with Mope Desmond's Five Musical Dragons at Murray's Club in London. Ernest "Mope" Desmond (1895-1922), born Caleb "Cab" Jonas Quaye, came to London from Accra, capital of the British Gold Coast (now Ghana) with the intent to study law but switched to music instead. During an engagement of his Five Musical Dragons at London's Rector's Club in 1921, Sidney Bechet was one the band's members. In November 1921, the Five Musical Dragons were engaged at Murray's Club—in one report they were referred to as "Murray's Black Dragoons Orchestra"—with an ensemble consisting of Arthur Briggs (trumpet), Roger Jean-Paul Clinton (clarinet), Mope Desmond (piano, vocals), Lawrence B. Morris (banjo), and Bobo Hines (drums). The Dragons folded after Desmond was killed on January 27, 1922, in a freak accident during the train journey from Euston Station to Birmingham for a gig at the Wolverhampton Rugby Union Football Club. En route, a [End Page 102] footboard had broken off the tender and smashed through the window of the front coach, killing Mope Desmond. Briggs and Hines, who were in the same compartment remained uninjured; the two other band members, Clinton and Morris, had left Euston Station on an earlier train. A London weekly journal reported that the funeral at Highgate cemetery took place on February 3, 1922, and was attended by "the remaining members of the band—Messrs. G. Bobo Hines, L. Morris, A. Brigge [sic] and Gean [sic] Paul" ("Mr. Caleb Quaye's Funeral" 1922).

During the next few weeks, in February and March 1922, Briggs may have worked at the Grafton Galleries on Grafton Street in Westminster. Unfortunately this upper-class venue never advertised, and thus the names of the bands engaged and the personnel involved remain unknown. Briggs also may have subbed occasionally for English trumpeter Harry Smith (born 1884) in the band led by West Indian pianist George Clapham (1888-1949) at the Embassy Club in Old Bond Street. Besides Smith or Briggs and Clapham, the lineup included Jake Patrick, who had replaced Englishman Frank Kendall (trombone; b. 1885), Sidney Bechet (clarinet, soprano sax) who had replaced Englishman Arthur A. Burgoyne (clarinet; b. 1872), Bertin Salnave (alto sax), and the American Arthur Howard Williams (drums, dance interludes; b. 1872).

As of April 20, 1922, Arthur Briggs joined Le Pollards Jazz Band, led by Hughes Pollard (1892-1926), a drummer from Chicago, at Le Perroquet de Paris in Brussels.14 The Perroquet was the ballroom of the Théâtre de l'Alhambra, Boulevard Emile Jacquemain. The band played for dancing at the Perroquet, and occasionally—Pollard in particular—joined the show of French actress-singer Mistinguett (b. Jeanne-Marie Bourgeois; 1875-1956) at the Alhambra. Besides Briggs and Pollard the band included African Americans Jake Patrick, who by now had earned the nickname "Trombonesky," and Texas-born Roscoe Burnett (alto sax, clarinet; 1891-1971), as well as a pianist known only as "Gabriel." The Belgian lawyer, author, and jazz fan Robert Goffin (1898-1984) referred to Gabriel, who was white, as an Italian, while Briggs described him as a Spaniard.15 On banjo was one "Dunlap." [End Page 103]

Goffin was deeply impressed by the music he heard. He described Pollard:

The greatest drummer of the heroic age. He already possessed that wonderful supple sobriety which only Chick Webb was later to equal. Strangely enough, Pollard was the first and only one to use four-to-the-beat rhythm on the bass drum. With him was Arthur Briggs, the first Negro to use the trumpet instead of the cornet. Briggs was the very backbone of transatlantic jazz. Possessing an amazing technique, an exciting feeling for hot music, and a characteristic swing (long before the swing era began). Briggs was one of those great American pioneers, who taught jazz to all of Europe.

Briggs gave lessons to Goffin: "It was he who explained hot or, as we then called it, New Orleans music to us." According to Goffin, the repertoire included "Stumbling," "Sweetheart," "Young Man's Fancy," "Montmartre Rose," "Red Head Gal," "Dapper Dan," and "Sunny Jack." The engagement at the Perroquet ended on July 3, 1922.

For the 1922 summer season, from early July until the end of August, "L'Orchestre Pollard—Le Célèbre Jass-Band" moved to Ostend on the Belgian coast for an engagement at Chez Pan in the building of the Koninklijke Schouwburg, at the corner of Vlaanderenstraat and Van Iseghemlaan. On July 27, 1922, the Pollard band played at a Grand Fête de l'Or at the Splendid in Ostend.

During this summer in Ostend, both the drummer-leader and Jake Patrick fell victim to violence. Pollard had a drunken encounter with a pimp which left him with a facial scar for the rest of his short life, while Patrick ran into trouble in a cabaret over the question of payment for champagne which he claimed he had not ordered. Patrick was assaulted by the club's manager and severely beaten. Later Briggs recalled that when he found Patrick at the police station he was almost dead and that he died of his injuries about six months later in the American Hospital in Paris (Goodard 1979, 62). On this count Briggs's memory must have failed him—Jacob Patrick was still alive in March 1924 when he applied for a passport for an engagement of eight months in Madrid with the orchestra of Michel Padreano. Back in New York, Jacob Patrick was a member of the New Orleans Creole Jazz Band which Sidney Bechet had organized in the summer of 1925 to play at his Club Basha—a basement club at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 145th Street (Chilton 1987, 72). From Ostend the Pollard band returned to Brussels to accompany La Revue Sans Gêne at the Alhambra from September 5 until October 5, 1922.

At the end of this engagement, Briggs joined the Creole Five of Belgian drummer Gabriel "Gaby" Malaël, an African from the Congo, for a residency at the Regina in Liège from October 14, 1922. Goffin described the Regina as [End Page 104] a "provincial taverne" with entertainment on three floors, including a bar on the fifth floor, where local jazz pianist Jean Pâques (1902-1974) started his professional career. Gaby's Creole Five consisted of Arthur Briggs (trumpet, soprano sax, violin), Bertin Salnave (alto sax, clarinet), Sidney "Kid" (a British pianist whose last name is not known), Greeley Franklin Willis (also known variously as Freeley Franklin, Hilton Willis, and Hilton Wiles) from Barbados on banjo, and Gaby Malaël (drums). In Liège, the Creole Five played as an attraction at Le Forum, a cinema-music hall in rue du Pont d'Avroy. When Malaël returned to Brussels to look after his agency business from his rue Van Artevelde office, Arthur Briggs became the band's leader. Drummer Malaël was replaced by Ludovic "Lud" Germain, who later became known as a saxophonist, and perhaps also by Lazare Florius Notte, a drummer from Martinique (1906-1957). During the winter 1922-1923, American banjoist Albert "Al" Smith replaced Willis.

Early in 1923, Briggs organized his own band for an engagement at the Savoy Hotel, Boulevard de Waterloo, Brussels, replacing an unidentified American band, possibly Louis Mitchell's Jazz Kings. On its menus the Savoy referred to itself as "the Savoy—Grill Room and American Bar." Besides Briggs, the "U.S.A. Savoy's Syncops Band" included Bertin Salnave (alto sax, clarinet), Sidney "Kid" (last name unknown) on piano and accordion, Al Smith, the only African American in this combination (banjo, vocals), and Lud Germain or Albert Refurt, a Frenchman of African descent from Guadeloupe (drums, dance interludes). Robert Goffin—then studying law at Brussels University—remembered his impressions in Aux Frontières du Jazz (Goffin 1932): "Soon Arthur Briggs had the Savoy's revolving door turn very well indeed. But many times we had to stand outside, elbows on the window sill, listening enraptured to the rhythms and syncopations he certainly was the first to let us hear."

The following summer, the Briggs band played in Ostend, probably at the Casino-Kursaal. At the time, the Excellos Five, a Belgian band, featured at the nearby Chez Pan. During this engagement, Hungarian Lajos "Louis" Bobula (d. 1944) replaced the unidentified British pianist whose work permit had expired. Later, Bobula became known as an accordionist. Salnave also mentioned to French researcher Bertrand Demeusy an engagement at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, which cannot be traced; this may have been a concert in aid of the Belgian Congo.16 For the winter 1923-1924, the Briggs band returned to the Savoy, Brussels, where the young Belgian pianist Egide van Gils replaced Bobula. [End Page 105]

Egide van Gils (1905-1986) had started his musical career in 1923 with the orchestra of Philipp Maniet followed by an engagement with Louis Voorhammen, where he linked up with Arthur Briggs. The members of that band included: Arthur Briggs (trumpet, soprano sax, violin), Bertin Salnave (alto sax, clarinet), Egide van Gils (piano), Al Smith (banjo, vocals), Albert Refurt (drums, dance interludes). At the end of this engagement, in mid-1924, Briggs temporarily disbanded and went to Paris to join the International Five of African-American pianist Palmer Jones (1888-1928). This band included trombonist Earl Granstaff (1894-1928), banjoist-vocalist Opal Cooper (1889-1974), and drummer-vocalist Harvey White (b. 1896). At the Seymore Cabaret on rue de Mogador, the International Five provided the music for the revue Midnight Shuffle Along, presented by Palmer Jones and Louis Douglas (1889-1939). The revue featured dancer Douglas, his wife Marion Cook (b. 1900), and Marion's mother Abbie Mitchell (1884-1960) (Lotz 1997, 311-313). Abbie Mitchell had been the wife of composer and orchestra leader Will Marion Cook from 1899 until 1906, when they were divorced. The Chicago Defender of August 2, 1924, quoting the Paris edition of the Tribune, described the revue as "the first appearance of a real all-Colored midnight show in Paris." Others in the cast were Elmer Certain, Tony Mitchell, Florence Jones, Mabel White, and singer/dancer Sonny Jones.

In Paris, Briggs reorganized his band for engagements at Le Perroquet, a club above the Casino de Paris, in rue de Clichy, and at the Palais Washington. Beginning around August 15, 1924, Briggs was back in Ostend, maybe opening at the Chez Pan, followed by an engagement at the Casino-Kursaal under the management of Edmond Sayag, until September 15. Briggs fronted his own band which included his old friends Bertin Salnave (alto sax, clarinet), Egide van Gils (piano), and Albert Refurt (drums, dance interludes), as well as Trinidadian Alston "Al" Hughes (1895-1956) who had replaced Albert Smith on banjo. On tenor saxophone and violin Briggs added Mario Scanavino (1903-1962), a Frenchman who, after 1933, assumed Italian citizenship.

From September 16, 1924, "Les Noirs Savoye's [sic] Orchestre—Briggs la fameuse trompette Jazz" played L'Abbaye,17 19 Porte de Namur, Brussels. The engagement was originally scheduled to last until December 5, 1924, but was extended until the end of January 1925. Subsequently, going by press reports, the band may have played in Namur, Belgium, where Belgian René Bassaert (trombone, string bass) may have been a member of the band.18 [End Page 106]

Figure 2. 1924, Bruxelles, Abbaye: USA Savoy's Syncops Band. L-R: Mario Scanavino (sax), Egide van Gils (piano), Alston Hughes (sax, banjo), Arthur Briggs (soprano sax, trumpet), Albert Refurt (drums), Bertin Salnave (trombone).
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Figure 2.

1924, Bruxelles, Abbaye: USA Savoy's Syncops Band. L-R: Mario Scanavino (sax), Egide van Gils (piano), Alston Hughes (sax, banjo), Arthur Briggs (soprano sax, trumpet), Albert Refurt (drums), Bertin Salnave (trombone).

From May 1 until the end of June 1925, the "Nigger Jazz-Band Arthur Briggs mit dem Savoy-Orchester aus dem Palais Washington, Paris" appeared for two months at Max Glasel's Weihburg-Bar at Weihburggasse 10-12 in the center of Vienna.19 In continental Europe at that time, the use of the word "nigger" in entertainment did not have the deliberately racist connotation it has today (and has always had in the United States). Briggs, who was very race conscious, would certainly have objected. The press described the group as "Three Negroes and one Mulatto."

Austrian trumpeter Fred Küssling told researcher Klaus Schulz that Briggs used to cover his right hand with a cloth in order to hide his finger technique from other trumpeters. Saxophonist Heinrich Blaser, another Austrian musician, recalled that sometimes a Hungarian violinist by the name Radic or Radicz had joined the Briggs band at the Weihburg-Bar (Schulz 2000). In 1925 future English composer and arranger Spike Hughes [End Page 107]

Figure 3. 1925-05-01, ad, Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 12. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 3.

1925-05-01, ad, Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 12. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

Figure 4. 1925-05-14, Wien, Weihburgbar: USA Savoy's Syncops Band. L-R: Alston Hughes, Mario Scanavino, Albert Refurt, Arthur Briggs, Egide van Gils, Bertin Salnave.
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Figure 4.

1925-05-14, Wien, Weihburgbar: USA Savoy's Syncops Band. L-R: Alston Hughes, Mario Scanavino, Albert Refurt, Arthur Briggs, Egide van Gils, Bertin Salnave.

[End Page 108]

(1908-1987) studied classical music in Vienna. In his autobiography Opening Bars, he recalled having been influenced by Briggs:

I discovered a new jazz band, a group of coloured musicians led by an American Negro trumpet player called Arthur Briggs. The band played in one of the smarter night clubs, and I became as regular a patron as I was at the Opera; indeed, I went quite happily on to the Weihburg Bar after listening to Mozart and Verdi and suffered no noticeable aesthetic shock from the sudden change of surroundings and musical standards.

At the time, Hughes wrote arrangements for Arthur Briggs, recalling:

It was Arthur Briggs's band which had the doubtful distinction of performing my first experiment in popular dance music. . . . The form was there, the instrumental writing was effective, but there wasn't a tune in a carload. I produced on an average one new "blues" every week, copied the parts out myself and was as mystified by the result as Arthur Briggs was.

Figure 5. 1925-10-ca. Wien: USA Savoy's Syncops Band. Still from film Das Spielzeug von Paris with Egide van Gils, Mario Scanavino, Lilly Damita, Bertin Salnave, Albert Refurt, Arthur Briggs.
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Figure 5.

1925-10-ca. Wien: USA Savoy's Syncops Band. Still from film Das Spielzeug von Paris with Egide van Gils, Mario Scanavino, Lilly Damita, Bertin Salnave, Albert Refurt, Arthur Briggs.

[End Page 109]

Hughes also mentioned that "while Briggs's band was certainly all-coloured, it was by no means all-American Negro, for in addition to the flute player from Haiti, the drummer had been Senegalese and one of the saxophone players had come from the Belgian Congo" (Hughes 1946, 227-228).

During the engagement, the Briggs band participated in the production of the Austrian silent film, Das Spielzeug von Paris (in English, Red Heels; in French, Célimène, la poupée de Paris), which was released on October 16, 1925. One of two still photographs shows the "U.S.A. Savoy Syncops Band" with Briggs, Salnave, Scanavino, van Gils, Hughes, and "Bobo" Hines. The film features French actress Lili Damita, born Liliane Carré (1904-1994), in her first leading role as dancer; Damita's future husband, Swedish actor Eric Barclay, born Erik Altberg (1894-1938), as a British bohemian; as well as Hans Moser (1880-1964). The film was directed by Hungarian Mihály Kertész (1888-1962). The film director and his star married in 1925, but the marriage lasted only a year. In 1926, Kertész emigrated to the United States, where he assumed the name Michael Curtiz and became known for the cult film Casablanca (1942).

Figure 6. 1925-08-05. Mr. and Mrs. Virag, violinist from Vienna, with members of the Briggs orchestra at Ostende. Die Stunde, p. 10. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 6.

1925-08-05. Mr. and Mrs. Virag, violinist from Vienna, with members of the Briggs orchestra at Ostende. Die Stunde, p. 10. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

[End Page 110]

By July 1925 Briggs had been replaced at the Weihburg by Ralph Day, from the Negresco.20 A photo signed by all members of the band and dedicated "To our friend René—Oostende: August 22, 1925," points to an engagement at this coastal resort during the 1925 summer; "René" is probably Belgian trombonist René Bassaert.

Briggs and his band were re-engaged to open at the Weihburg-Bar on Saturday September 12, 1925, to play daily for afternoon teas, and from 9:45 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. Once again they were announced as a "Nigger Jazz-Band." Nonetheless, a photo portrait reproduced in a popular evening paper shows the six gentlemen in formal black tie attire. The caption notes that—very unusual for a night club—"the audience listens to the band as if they were attending a concert performance" and that, "although everyone seems to play something different, the rhythm of the dance remains cohesive."21

Briggs alternated with various local groups ("Kapellen"): a trio led by Oskar Neuhaus, a Hungarian band led by Oskar Virag, and an ensemble led by Ralph Erwin. The engagement lasted until May 3, 1926, long enough for the black band members to become well known in Vienna, both among locals and among visitors. Banjoist Al Hughes was remembered as a "Schwammerlbrocker," i.e. "a mushroom picker," friendly jargon for somebody regarded as a penny pincher. The Chocolate Kiddies revue with Sam Wooding and his orchestra performed at Vienna's Raimund Theater during the second half of November 1925. They repeatedly went to see Arthur Briggs after hours.22 [End Page 111] Sixty years later Wooding's clarinetist Garvin Bushell still had vivid memories of Briggs: "Vienna was where I first saw and heard Arthur Briggs. What a beautiful trumpet player! He was in an orchestra with some Austrians, some French, and a couple of Senegalese. His trumpet made ours sound like beginners" (Bushell 1987, 188; 1988, 62).

At the end of the engagement, Salnave returned to France while Refurt left for his Caribbean home. Briggs sent a note to African-American trombonist Earl Granstaff in Budapest inviting him to join his band at Vienna and asking him to suggest a drummer who could replace Refurt. Granstaff accepted the offer and brought Hungarian drummer Jenö "Chappy" Orlay Obendorfer (1905-1973). Both had been members of the band led by Vilmos "Villi" Pataky at the Parisienne Grill in Budapest early in 1926, where they also featured as a "Black & White" dance act.

Earl Granstaff (1894-1928), from Grand Rapids, Michigan, had toured from 1913 with the band of the (Carl) Hagenbeck-(Ben) Wallace Circus under the direction of cornetist Perry George Lowery (1869-1942), to whom Scott Joplin dedicated his ragtime "A Breeze From Alabama" (1902), then with Horace Eubanks, the obscure clarinetist on some of Jelly Roll Morton's

Figure 7. 1925-12-08, Weihburg-Bar, ad, Die Bühne, Praha, p. 61. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 7.

1925-12-08, Weihburg-Bar, ad, Die Bühne, Praha, p. 61. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

[End Page 112]

Figure 8. 1925, Wien, Weihburg-Bar: Arthur Briggs Savoy Syncops Orchestra. L-R: Mario Scanavino, Mike Engelen, Henri Vidal, Chappy Orlay, Arthur Briggs, Egide van Gils.
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Figure 8.

1925, Wien, Weihburg-Bar: Arthur Briggs Savoy Syncops Orchestra. L-R: Mario Scanavino, Mike Engelen, Henri Vidal, Chappy Orlay, Arthur Briggs, Egide van Gils.

recordings. During the First World War, Granstaff served under James "Tim" Brymn in France with the seventy-piece 350th Field Artillery Band, called the "Black Devils" and "the Overseas Jazz Sensation," until he transferred to the 807th Pioneer Infantry Band under Will Vodery, then with Elmer Chambers on cornet and Sam Wooding on tenor horn. After the war he returned with the regiment to the United States. In May 1923, Granstaff came back to Europe as a member of Vodery's Plantation Orchestra accompanying the revue "Dover Street To Dixie" starring Florence Mills. The revue closed on September 1, 1923, and the orchestra and members of the cast left Southampton for New York on September 6, 1923. In the spring of 1924, Granstaff returned to Europe and settled in Paris. For a time, he worked in Berlin as a member of the American Alex Hyde's orchestra (June-July 1925) and probably worked with the German Eric Borchard band (autumn 1925).23 The New York Amsterdam News reported that Eddie [sic] Granstaff, [End Page 113] "a fine trombone player," had died in the south of France ("Notes from London" 1929).

The original band played the final evening at the Weihburg. After only one rehearsal the following day, the reorganized band left Vienna by train for Istanbul on August 9, 1926.24 Its new engagement in this Turkish city was at the Maxim, a nightclub owned by George Thomas, an African American, who had lived in Russia up to the Revolution, leaving in 1918. When this club suddenly closed its doors, the Briggs band continued at the Jardin Taxim, the summer club of the Petit Champs on the banks of the Bosporus, in the suburb of Pera, where it accompanied a revue which included the dance duo Alaska and Robovska and African-American dancer Harry Fleming with a white female partner (Lotz and Bergmeier 2007). The band consisted of Arthur Briggs (trumpet), Earl Granstaff (trombone), Mario

Figure 9. 1926, Constantinople, Taxim Gardens: Arthur Briggs Orchestra. L-R: Alston Hughes, Chappy Orlay, Egide van Gils, Mario Scanavino, Arthur Briggs, Earl Granstaff.
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Figure 9.

1926, Constantinople, Taxim Gardens: Arthur Briggs Orchestra. L-R: Alston Hughes, Chappy Orlay, Egide van Gils, Mario Scanavino, Arthur Briggs, Earl Granstaff.

[End Page 114]

Scanavino (alto sax, tenor sax, violin), Alston Hughes, whom Chappy Orlay in his autobiography refers to as "Dickens" (banjo, tenor sax), Egide van Gils (piano), and Chappy Orlay (drums). A report in the German language newspaper Türkische Post of July 20, 1926 refers to a concert of "A. Brigs" [sic] and his jazz band, with songs and Negro dances at the Taxim Garden: "We had a command performance to Ankara by the President, Gamal [sic] Atatürk Pasha. During our performance thirteen of the most prominent politicians of the opposition party were hanged on the market place while we entertained the President's party." The Los Angeles Examiner of August 1, 1926, published an article headed "Kemal Promises More Hangings of Political Antagonists in Turkey."25

From the Bosporus the band returned aboard the SS Constantinople to Marseille and by train to Paris. Orlay mentioned that they arrived in the capital at a time when Blackbirds of 1926 played at the Ambassadeurs; the show opened in London on September 11, 1926. In Paris both Granstaff and Hughes left (Alston Hughes died on April 1, 1956, in Paris; Briggs attended his funeral). They were replaced by French trombonist Jean Naudin (b. 1902) and American banjoist Mike Engelen from Boston, Massachusetts. Jean Naudin knew Mario Scanavino from an engagement with the Hot Boys Band of Italian saxophonist Tony Rumolino in Paris around 1924 or 1925. Mike Engelen grew up in Britain and by September 1926 he was living in Antwerp, Belgium. Another new addition was French alto saxophonist-clarinetist Georges Jacquemont "Brown" (1897-1981), who may also have been a member of the Rumolino band.

Beginning on October 1, 1926, Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncopators Orchestra started a long residency at the Barberina, Palais des Westens, Berlin's leading dance-restaurant, on Hardenbergstrasse. The personnel included Arthur Briggs (trumpet), Jean Naudin (trombone), Mario Scanavino (tenor sax, violin), Georges Jacquemont (alto sax, clarinet), Egide van Gils (piano), Mike Engelen (banjo), Chappy Orlay (drums). Chappy Orlay lists Heinz Müller (trombone) and Charlie Vidal (alto sax). French trumpeter Julien Porret (1896-1979), however, having just finished an engagement with Ernö Rapée in Berlin, distinctly recalled having met fellow countryman Naudin as a member of the Briggs band in Berlin in 1926. German discographer Horst H. Lange lists American guitarist Harold M. Kirchstein among the recording personnel (Lange 1978, 162-164), but this is denied by Kirchstein himself.26

During this engagement, the Briggs band recorded two titles for the Vox-Schallplatten- und Sprechmaschinen AG. A brass bass is audible; Lange [End Page 115] suggests that one Hans Holdt was added for the recordings only. Around January-February 1927, two titles were recorded: "It Made You Happy" and "Bugle Call Rag." The latter was remade early in March. The first title is introduced by Arthur Briggs: "How do you do everybody? This is Arthur Briggs and his band playing for you. The name of this tune is 'It Made You Happy When You Made Me Cry.'" On this side an unidentified vocalist is present whom Lange identifies as "Bob Astor."

Bob Astor, also Astern-Astor, was born as Heinz Alfred Stern in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, in 1908. He had studied piano and theory in Stuttgart from 1925 to 1927 but started his business career as a bank clerk, singing on the side, before moving into music full-time. Being of Jewish descent, Stern was not allowed to perform after the Nazis came to power; in 1935 he left for Prague, then Luxembourg and Switzerland. In 1938, he emigrated to Ecuador, where he owned a restaurant and entertained the small German community with his songs. Stern returned to Germany in 1949, initially settling in the German Democratic Republic, before moving to West Germany in 1952. A year later he left for Switzerland and retired to Bern.

The second Vox title is introduced: "Hello everybody, this is Arthur Briggs and his band playing. Get ready to shake your hips to the 'Bugle Call Rag!' Are you ready boys?" to which the band shouts an affirmative "Yes!" The Vox release was first advertised in the Phonographische Zeitschrift on May 1, 1927.27 Both titles are musically great performances and a marvelous recording debut for Briggs and his solo trumpet, especially since Briggs had no first-hand experience in American jazz; he had been away from home since 1919! In 1930 the Kristall record company mistakenly reissued "Bugle Call Rag" as "Die alte Mühle" ("The Old Mill").28

In Berlin on April 1, 1927, Dagobert Tichauer, owner of the Barberina, opened his new club, Valencia, with the Imperial Jazz Band led by Italian tenor saxophonist Sesto Carlini. Later, Carlini recalled that the Briggs band, including Scanavino and Jacquemont, worked at the "sister" club. At the time, Briggs became a close friend of Sesto Carlini and the Italian musicians Aldo Capperucci (trumpet) and Felice Barboni (alto sax, clarinet).29 At the end of the Barberina contract, late in April 1927, both Scanavino and Orlay [End Page 116] joined the band which German violinist Robert Gaden was rehearsing for an engagement at the Regina Palast Hotel, Munich, from May 5, 1927.

Briggs's group disbanded, perhaps on account of his health problems. There had been rumors that he stayed on in Berlin as an independent freelance soloist (e.g. Lange 1966, 38-39). This was first substantiated by American banjoist Mike Danzi: "Arthur Briggs was a Black trumpet player from Paris. While in Berlin he did some sessions with Dajos Béla at Lindström in 1928."30 Danzi was for decades closely involved in the German hot dance scene and was on some of the sessions (Danzi 1986). This was later confirmed by Briggs in interviews, in which he also pointed out his presence on several sides with Marek Weber's society dance band.31 At that time, there was no need for German record companies to note personnel in their recording ledgers. All musicians were paid cash; royalty agreements were exceptional. Individuals can therefore only be identified through the recollections of the participants and aural evidence. Briggs's unmistakable hot trumpet can be heard to good advantage on a few Vox titles by the Gabriel Formiggini Orchestra ("Heut ist die Käte ete-petete," and "Wieso ist der Walter so klug für sein Alter" (May-July 1927).

With Dajos Béla (1897-1978) Briggs recorded several sides for the Odeon, Beka, and Parlophon labels, including "One O'Clock Baby" (June 1927) and the "Super-Charleston: Hi-Diddle-Diddle" (August 1927). On the latter, Briggs's solo work stands out nicely in a good musical arrangement, although the ending is too abrupt. Among the titles he recorded with Marek Weber (1888-1964) for Electrola (HMV) is the Charleston "Crazy Words" (July 1927), really a wonderful musical performance; the band shines. Briggs possibly participated in most if not all Dajos Béla recordings during the period April-September 1927. Briggs further stated that he recorded about fifty, mostly straight, titles with the Marek Weber orchestra.32 Lange also lists the trumpeter for recordings by Billy Bartholomew, and René Dumont (Lange 1978, 49, 105, 293), which Briggs has since denied and which is not supported by aural evidence.33 There is no denying that the presence of Briggs enormously improved the sound of the dance bands noted, none of which were known for their jazz or hot dance qualities.

Briggs can also be identified as the lead trumpeter on a promotional record for the Bottina shoe company, Hamburg. A speaker praises Bottina shoes as "gut—schick—billig" [good—elegant—inexpensive] which is followed by an instrumental version of the specially composed "Bottina-Shimmy" (music by Harry Hauptmann, text by Artur Lokesch). [End Page 117]

Bottina-Schuhe sind bekanntals gut und billig, in Stadt und Land.Für Euch wird es von Nutzen seinkauft' Schuh' ihr bei Bottina ein.

Harry Hauptmann, born in Berlin on July 7, 1882, wrote the operetta Die Dame mit dem Monokel (1921) and became known for his cabaret songs: Claire Waldoff sang his "Mitten in der Nacht" (1921/22) and Trude Hesterberg his "Heut' geht ich zu Kempinski" (1930) in the Ballsaal-Revue at the Haus Vaterland. The composer was blacklisted in publications sponsored by the Nazi party, such as Judentum und Musik (1938) and Lexikon der Juden in der Musik (1940). He emigrated to Shanghai in 1938.

On the reverse side of the promotional record a male voice praises Bottina shoes followed by the song "Am Mai-Kussa" by pianist-composer Lena Stein-Schneider (1874-1958). She was born Helene Meyerstein, married Schneider, and was in the advertising business.

Around July or August 1927, Briggs reorganized and a band under his direction worked at the Libelle on Jägerstrasse, Berlin. From mid-August 1927 the band moved to the fashionable Eden Hotel on Kurfürstenstrasse, at the corner of Budapester Strasse, Berlin. Both Scanavino and Orlay had rejoined the band after the end of the engagement with Gaden in Munich. Briggs's band included the following musicians: Briggs (trumpet), German Heinz Müller (trombone) replacing Jean Naudin, Frenchman Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet) replacing Georges Jacquemont, Mario Scanavino, another Frenchman (tenor sax, violin), Belgian Egide van Gils (piano), American Mike Engelen (banjo), and Hungarian Chappy Orlay (drums). For recording purposes Hans Holdt (brass bass) was added to this international ensemble which, save for its leader, was all white.

Between late August and early September 1927, the band recorded a number of sides for the Clausophon label, owned by the Clemens Claus AG in Thalheim, a small town (8,100 inhabitants in 1925) in the Erzgebirge part of Saxony, not far from the Czech border. The company had been founded in 1926 by Albert Claus, the owner of a local paper mill. Clausophon's technical manager, August Kybarth (1878-1945), was a well-known expert in the record industry. He had worked in Berlin for Nigrolit, a company specialized in manufacturing compounds for gramophone disc records. With two German business partners he had founded Metropol-Record in Russia in 1910—the first and largest pressing plant in Aprelevka—about forty kilometers outside of Moscow along the railway to Kiev.

Initially, the Clausophon records were made in Thalheim in a reconstructed barn, but soon the company's recording activity was moved to Berlin where the records were made, presumably under contract for the [End Page 118] Usiba Sprechmaschinen-Gesellschaft, a trading house specializing in exports to Poland. The Usiba label carries the legend "produced exclusively by 'Venus Records.'" The Berlin-based Venus-Grand-Record company claimed in advertisements to have been founded in 1904 and was owned by one H. Temple. In 1927 the company went into liquidation, and its assets may have been taken over by the newly established Clausophon company. The owner of Venus Records continued as partner of the Sirena/Syrena company in Warsaw. The titles were issued on the company's Clausophon label, and for export to Poland on Usiba, labeled as by the Barberina Brighs Orkiestra, the Savoy Syncops Orkiestra, and the Pavillon Jazz Orkiestra. Some sides were also issued on the Polish Sirena/Syrena label as by the Tanz Orchester Henry Gold, as well as on Sigurd and V.d.M. (Volksverband der Musik-freunde, a subscription label). The titles were not Arthur Briggs's choice but stock arrangements selected by the company owners. When asked which recording he considered his best, Briggs surprisingly answered: "Paris" ("Ça . . . c'est Paris!"), a onestep from the first Clausophon session. He probably chose it because it had sold best and thus made a lasting impression.34

Around late August or early September 1927, the Briggs band made another promotional record for the traditional Dresden-based shoe polish "Eg-Gü." An unidentifed German sings to the popular melody "Heut' ist die Käte ete-petete":

Eg-Gü putzt die Schuhe allemal,Eg-Gü ist das Schuhputz-Ideal.Ob abends, mittags, früh -pfleg' deine Schuh' mit Eg-Gü!

The otherwise unknown Hellaphon label was not available to the general public. The only known copy of this particular disc bears a red rubber stamp reading "Unverkäuflich!" (not for sale) and the handwritten remark "Probeplatte" (test record).35

Around September, 1927, the Briggs band may have briefly appeared in Hamburg. In September and October of that year, "Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncop's Orchestra" (and variations of this name) featured at the Café am Zoo on Berlin's Budapester Strasse, a complex of several dance restaurants, including the Café am Zoo, the Palais am Zoo, and the Grill am Zoo, which had opened early in 1927. This orchestra recorded a total of forty-six titles for the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft, Germany's largest recording company, of which forty-five were released on the company's main label. Most sides were also issued on the Polydor label for [End Page 119] export purposes (after the lost war, the rights to the famous Grammophon dog trademark were denied outside Germany) and some on pressings for the Australian market. The discs are considered to be among the best jazz recorded during the Weimar Republic.36 Twenty-two sides feature singer Al Bowlly who likely also played rhythm guitar on some of the numbers. Bowlly used to hang around at the Café am Zoo but was not a regular member of the Briggs band, as independently recalled by Edgar Adeler and Don Barrigo.37

Albert (Alick) "Al" Bowlly (1899-1941) was born to Greek and Lebanese parents in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo, Mozambique). He grew up in South Africa, where he joined pianist Edgar Adeler for a tour of the Far East. During the tour Bowlly quit and stayed in the East while Adeler proceeded to Europe and joined the orchestra of Robert Gaden in Munich in May 1927. Early in June 1927, Bowlly followed his mentor to Munich and also joined the Gaden orchestra (which then included Briggs's former sidemen Mario Scanavino and Chappy Orlay). At the end of the Munich contract, Gaden disbanded, and the musicians went to Berlin. It was in Berlin that Al Bowlly made his first important recordings. In June 1928 his fellow countryman Len Fillis suggested he should leave Berlin for London, where he was to become an extremely popular "crooner," still widely remembered today.

Max Harrison noted that

even at this early stage, Briggs's technique was mature, and although on some pieces, such as Among my souvenirs, he merely decorates the melody, he more often syncopates it violently, as in Ain't she sweet, or skitters across it obliquely, making only passing allusions, as on Since I found you . . . his best passages occur . . . when he spins an entirely independent line of his own, as on Do the black bottom and Ain't she sweet . . . the reed players gyrate with extreme liveliness in their solos, even if these are hit-or-miss. The rough treatment accorded Song of the wanderer provides good examples.

Polydor began pressing in Australia from imported masters in 1927. The seven Briggs records issued there were advertised in the March 1, 1928 issue of The Australian Musical News (Grossman 1980). "The Far Away Bells" (matrix 733bd) on Polydor (Australia) 21097 was only issued in Australia.

In early December 1927, the Briggs band played at the Abbaye de Thélème at 1 Place Pigalle in Paris. For the rest of the winter season (December 16, [End Page 120] 1927 until January 1928) the band was booked at the Mont Blanc Palace Hotel in Chamonix, the ski resort in the French Alps. Briggs then returned to Vienna for a concert of jazz adaptations of opera melodies and popular songs at the Konzertsaal on February 18, 1928. However, the concert had been cancelled at short notice as noted in a German theatrical paper:

Der berühmte amerikanische Negerdirigent Artur Brix [sic] wollte im großen Konzertsaal ein Konzert veranstalten, bei dem er Jazzbearbeitungen berühmter Opern vorzuführen beabsichtigte. Ein paar Tage vor dem Konzert wurde seinem Manager die Benutzung des Konzerthaussaales ohne jede weitere Begründung verweigert. Inzwischen dürfte Artur Brix sein Konzert in einem großen Wiener Nachtlokal abgehalten haben.

(R. H. 1928)38

The same day, Briggs had found an engagement at the Weihburg Bar, Vienna, his third at this venue, from February 18 until April 18, 1928.39 A photograph of the band taken on location and published in Orlay's autobiography (Orlay 1943) was identified by Briggs: Briggs (trumpet), Henri Vidal (alto sax, clarinet), Mario Scanavino (tenor sax, violin), Egide van Gils (piano), Mike Engelen, the only American in the band (guitar), and Chappy Orlay (drums).40 What had happened? The Briggs Band had arrived in Vienna at a time when Ernst Krenek's so-called jazz-opera Jonny spielt auf had played at the State Opera (since December 31, 1927) and had created a scandal. "Unsere Staatsoper ist einer frechen jüdisch-negerischen Besudelung zum Opfer gefallen," read a call for a protest demonstration on January 13, 1928.

While Briggs was engaged at the Weihburg Bar, Josephine Baker arrived in Vienna for an appearance at the Ronacher-Theater on March 1, 1928. She was greeted with polemics anticipating those of the National Socialists. In the Wiener Allgemeinen Zeitung a cartoon appeared with the subtitle: "Ab Samstag den 18. Februar spielt Briggs für Baker und Jonny auf," with Josephine Baker as a white dancer and Arthur Briggs—not Jonny—on saxophone. Against this background Josephine Baker fled Vienna within a day or two without having appeared on stage, and Briggs had to scale down his ambitions and present his standard repertoire of jazz and popular melodies at the Weihburg Bar instead. In April 1928 the band was back in Berlin, probably at the Valencia on Kantstrasse in Charlottenburg (at the time African-American violinist Leon Abbey's "10-Neger-Jazz-Symphoniker" were engaged at the Europa-Pavillon).

Mrs. van Gils, widow of the pianist Egide van Gils, told Belgian researcher Robert Pernet that the Briggs band participated in the production of a film [End Page 121]

Figure 10. 1928-02-16. Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 2. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 10.

1928-02-16. Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 2. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

Figure 11. 1928-02-03. Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 3. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 11.

1928-02-03. Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 3. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

[End Page 122]

Figure 12. 1928-02-21, ad, Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 5. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 12.

1928-02-21, ad, Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 5. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

Figure 13. 1928-02-21, ad, Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 12. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 13.

1928-02-21, ad, Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 12. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

Figure 14. 1928-03-01, ad, Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 12. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 14.

1928-03-01, ad, Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 12. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

[End Page 123]

Figure 15. 1928-03-14. Drummer Chappy Orlay. Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 4. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 15.

1928-03-14. Drummer Chappy Orlay. Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 4. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

starring Clara Bow. However, the "flapper" is not known to have visited Berlin, and it is assumed that Mrs. van Gils confused Clara Bow with Louise Brooks (1906-1985), star of Georg Wilhelm Pabst's Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box/Lulu, 1929), which was produced in Berlin by Nero-Film AG. Brooks came to Berlin on October 14, 1928, shooting started on October 17, and she left Berlin again on November 23, 1928.

On April 14, 1928, German comedian Joseph Plaut (1898-1981) recorded two jazz parodies. Side one of Odeon O-4051, although titled "Johnny spielt auf," is actually a parody on "Oh, Miss Hannah," and there is no musical relationship with Krenek's 1927 jazz opera of that name. On side one, Briggs's trumpet leads a jazz band into the first bars of the tune, then stops: "I say: Look here, if we don't get more money, we are going on strike." Plaut (in his role of theater manager) replies in German that in this case he will do the entire show alone, and sings to piano accompaniment, then imitates a saxophone and trumpet until Briggs gives in, picks up his trumpet, and the band finishes the tune. The reverse is a sketch by Plaut, again in the role of a provincial Saxon club owner who wants to hire a jazz band but dislikes the music. Both he and Briggs (and the record buying public) must have enjoyed themselves.

Those parodies were apparently close to real life. Briggs was realistic about the situation with regard to jazz in Germany: [End Page 124]

Figure 16. 1944. Drummer Chappy Orlay. Dust cover of autobiography published in 1944.
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Figure 16.

1944. Drummer Chappy Orlay. Dust cover of autobiography published in 1944.

Figure 17. 1928-04-05. Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 5. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.
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Figure 17.

1928-04-05. Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, p. 5. Courtesy of Konrad Nowakowski.

[End Page 125]

Figure 18. 1928-04-14. Joseph Plaut. Odeon O-4051.
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Figure 18.

1928-04-14. Joseph Plaut. Odeon O-4051.

Of course the work we did was very commercial. We had a pretty hard time trying to slip the jazz stuff in. Especially in Germany, because the Germans were way behind where jazz was concerned. Most of their stuff was in march time—"eins, zwei, eins, zwei." We had to play commercial things for them except occasionally we were able to slip in "Bugle Call Rag" or something a bit like that. That would have been around 1928.

Beginning in May 1928 the Briggs band extensively toured Germany. Egide van Gils had stayed behind in Berlin where he opened the prestigious Delphi Palast with the Delphians Jazzband, led by Englishman Billy Bartholomew (Bergmeier and Lotz 1985, 22). It seems that the Briggs band was in Hamburg, Breslau (today Wroclaw, Poland), and Leipzig before turning west again to play at Stuttgart, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Nürnberg, and at the Café Kiefer in Saarbrücken. "Die Jazzkapelle Briggs" ended its German tour with an engagement at the Café Sacher Wien in Kaiserstrasse, Frankfurt/Main, which lasted until October 31, 1928. From this venue they ended the evening programs with live broadcasts on Sunday, October 14, and again the following Sunday, October 21.41 A week later they left for Switzerland. [End Page 126]

"Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncops Orchestra—Der beste Jazz-Trom-peter Amerikas" played the entire month of November at the Dancing Esplanade in Zürich, where they replaced the Fantasio Band directed by Ladis Illaraz.42 An added attraction were Greenlee's Chocolade Bon-Bons—the girls were announced as the "solo dancers of the former Chocolate Kiddies in their Negro dances," and the local press applauded both.43

While the band was still in Zürich, Scanavino returned to Berlin and was replaced by Jean Girardbelle (b. 1905) on alto sax. Girardbelle, a Swiss, had previously been at the Esplanade with the Caprino Band.44 According to Chappy Orlay, the Briggs band was replaced by a Hungarian gipsy orchestra ("Horvàth Sandor der ungarische Geigerkönig mit seiner Magnatenkapelle"), then moved to Paris and opened at the Abbaye de Thélème where he worked opposite Francisco Canaro's tango orchestra (and later that of Brodman-Alfaro), as of December 1, 1928. Orlay remembers the personnel as follows (his spellings): Arthur Briggs (first trumpet), Louis de Vries (second trumpet), Flemming (trombone), Don Polo (first sax), "Big Boy" (tenor sax), Gerardbill (third sax), Euged van Gils (piano), Mike Angelein (banjo), Hans Bassmann (bass), and Chappy Orlay (drums) (Orlay 1943, 101).

Dutchman Louis de Vries had just completed an engagement with Danish saxophonist Kai Ewans in Paris. "Hans Bassmann" might be his brother Jack de Vries. However, Herb Flemming could not have been with the band at this time, as he had returned to New York, along with other members of the Sam Wooding orchestra, at the end of August 1927. He would not return to Europe until May 1929. Furthermore, Danny Polo is believed to [End Page 127] have led a band at the Abbaye at about the same time. Frank "Big Boy" Goudie grew up in New Orleans; he had lived in France from 1925.

In December 1928 and early January 1929, the Briggs band played a return engagement of six weeks at the Mont Blanc Palace Hotel in Chamonix. In January 1929, the band was in Frankfurt for another engagement at the Café Sacher Wien; the first advertisement, "Nochmaliges Gastspiel Arthur Briggs mit seinem Savoy Syncops Orchestra," was placed in the January 1, 1929, issue of the Frankfurter Zeitung (Stadtblatt).45 The band was favorably reviewed by a theatrical journal. February 1929 saw Briggs back in Paris, at the 440 Club as well as at the El Garron on rue Fontaine, Paris's strongest redoubt of tango music. Several non-French musicians, including Girardbelle, Mike Engelen, and Chappy Orlay, were unable to obtain work permits and had to leave Briggs, and France for that matter. (They joined the revue orchestra which accompanied Mistinguett for a tour of Europe.)

Around March 1929 "Arthur Briggs and his Black Boys—L'orchestre de Noirs Américains" recorded several titles for the elusive Azuréphone label—some sides were also released on Hébertot and Discolor. The exact personnel is still open to debate, but may have included the following (Brard and Nevers 1991): Arthur Briggs (trumpet), Belgian René Bassaert (trombone), Frenchmen George Jacquemont (alto sax, clarinet) and Charlie Vidal (clarinet, alto sax), Italian Francis Giulieri (tenor sax), Stéphane Mougin, another Frenchman (piano), the two African Americans Maceo B. Jefferson (banjo, guitar, vocal) and John Warren (brass bass), as well as Jean Taylor(drums)—this may have been Billy Taylor, a black Englishman from Manchester—and Jamaican singer and songwriter Rudy Bayfield Evans, who is also known to have played alto saxophone. Thus, one half of the "Black Boys" were white.

In July the Briggs band appeared at the Abbaye in Paris.46 Late in October 1929, the "Tanzmusikkapelle Arthur Briggs" returned for a last time to Germany, for a week's engagement at the Café Hambitzer at Eschersheimer Tor in Frankfurt am Main. There was some animosity about the presence of foreign bands during the months of September and October in Germany, but Briggs was also defended by local musicians.47 If advertisements are to be believed, "thousands of requests" persuaded management to hold [End Page 128] the band over into November.48 That the orchestra was well received is evidenced by two live broadcasts transmitted from the Café, on November 7 and 11, 1929.49 After this brief excursion to Germany, Briggs disbanded and returned to France. Around December 18 or 19, 1929, African-American lyricist, singer and band leader Noble Sissle (1889-1975) passed through Paris en route from Britain to the south of France. Sissle's trumpeters Demas Dean and Clifton "Pike" Davis had returned to the States at the end of a British tour (they left Southampton on December 17), and Sissle was happy to hire Briggs in Paris the following day.50

Figure 19. 1929-04-ca. Briggs and His Black Boys. Discolor 11.
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Figure 19.

1929-04-ca. Briggs and His Black Boys. Discolor 11.

From December 21, 1929 until June 1930, the Sissle orchestra played at the Café de Paris in Monte Carlo. The line-up was: Arthur Briggs (trumpet), James Reevy (trombone), William "Buster" Bailey (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax), Rudy Jackson (clarinet, alto sax), the Puerto Rican Ramón "Moncho" [End Page 129] Usera (clarinet, tenor sax), Robert "Juice" Wilson (violin), Lloyd Pinckney (piano), Henry "Bass" Edwards (bass), and Jack Carter (drums). During this engagement the band also appeared at the Sporting Club, Monte Carlo, and performed a concert in Paris in April 1930.51 In June and August 1930 the Sissle orchestra worked at the Ambassadeurs, Paris, with an enlarged personnel which now included Tommy Ladnier (second trumpet), Frank "Big Boy" Goudie (tenor sax, clarinet), Antonio Spaulding (second piano), and Frank Ethridge (banjo, violin).

Arthur Briggs may have been engaged in some freelance work during this time, but the trumpet heard on recordings made by "James Boucher et son Jazz" for Pathé in Paris around September is not his but Harry Cooper's, perhaps with Briggs playing second trumpet.

From November 17 until December 13, 1930, the Sissle orchestra, now ten members, was engaged at Ciro's Club, London, in Orange Street off Haymarket.52 The members of the band were Arthur Briggs (first trumpet), Tommy Ladnier (second trumpet), William Burns (trombone), Puerto Rican Rafael "Ralph" Duchesne (first sax), Ramón Usera (second sax), Lloyd Pinckney (piano), Frank Ethridge (banjo, violin), Edward Coles, brother of Nat "King" Cole (brass bass), Jack Carter (drums), and Bert Marshall, an Englishman of Ghanaian ancestry (vocals). Duchesne (1890-1986) had been with Noble Sissle in France during the Great War and probably joined the Sissle orchestra in 1930 on the recommendation of his fellow countryman Ramón Usera (1904-1972).

"Noble Sissle & His Band from Ciro's Club and of Radio & Gramophone Fame" were featured in a British Pathétone film clip in which Sissle sings Walter Donaldson's "Little White Lies." When he finished the lyrics, and after an instrumental break, drummer Jack Carter leapt up to sing a rapid rendition of "Happy Feet" at the back of the band; towards the close, tuba player Edward Coles rushed up front to tap-dance a furious demonstration of "Happy Feet," true to the word. From Ciro's the BBC transmitted four live broadcasts, on November 11 and 15, and again on December 4 and 11, 1930. On Thursday, December 11, 1930, Noble Sissle and His Sizzling Syncopators recorded four sides for Columbia. In an interview with French record collector Daniel Guerin, Briggs was bitter that all solos on this session were taken by Tommy Ladnier. The engagement at Ciro's ended on [End Page 130] Saturday, December 13, 1930. The following Tuesday, December 16, 1930, the Sissle orchestra, including Arthur Briggs, returned aboard the CGT liner SS Paris from Plymouth to the States. They arrived in New York City on December 22.

Only two days later, on December 24, Noble Sissle and his Paris Ambassadeurs Orchestra opened at Harlem's Rockland Palace, the old Manhattan Casino at 155th Street and Eighth Avenue.53 Sidney Bechet, who had arrived in New York aboard the German liner SS Bremen from Bremen on the same day as the Sissle orchestra, joined them. Sissle subsequently played a series of dates around Chicago, returned to New York for a residency at Pierre's Club beginning on January 27, 1931, and left again for a tour of the southern states. On April 21, 1931, Sissle visited the Brunswick studios to record three sides:

"Basement Blues," the first of these, has some excellent instrumental interludes. . . . Arthur Briggs plays two emotive 12-bar blues choruses, sounding unflurried and assured, then Bechet enters, on soprano saxophone, and soars up to even greater heights of feelings, creating a chorus that radiates intensity. Subsequently Tommy Ladnier, not sounding the least bit overawed, blows a beautifully constructed 12-bar solo.

Shortly after this record date Sissle returned to France. Noble Sissle's Plantation Orchestra, as it was now called, arrived at Le Havre on May 1, 1931. Briggs was fed up living on the road with Sissle, recalling:

The touring was tough . . . it was real tough. That's why I decided to stay in France. I reckoned much more of that and my life would be considerably shortened. We'd play sometimes from nine in the evening until five in the morning. Then there'd be eight, ten, sometimes twelve hours in the bus to the next gig. That's why when Sissle came back to France I decided not to go back with him.

On May 7, 1931, the orchestra opened at the Ambassadeurs in Paris. Apparently, the engagement came to a premature end when Sissle, who had resisted a demand by the French Ministry of Labor that half of the musicians in his band be French citizens, returned to the States. He was replaced by Lud Gluskin. Bechet left France for Berlin while Briggs stayed in Paris. According to Briggs, the booking office of Lartigue and Fisher, knowing that he had left Sissle, proposed that Briggs re-form his orchestra for a job at the Monte Carlo Casino. In fact, this did not happen until March 1933. Meanwhile Briggs joined pianist Freddy Johnson for a June 1931 engagement at [End Page 131] the summer club of African-American singer-entertainer Ada "Bricktop" Smith on the French Riviera. Freddy Johnson had left Sam Wooding in December 1929 and settled in Paris. Here, he worked at Bricktop's on Rue Pigalle initially as solo pianist until he formed a band to play society music for the club's exclusive clientele. During the summer of 1931, the Johnson band consisted of Arthur Briggs (trumpet), Herb Flemming (trombone), Bricktop's husband Peter DuCongé from New Orleans (alto sax, clarinet), Big Boy Goudie (tenor sax), Freddy Johnson (piano), Juan Fernandez from Martinique (bass), and Billy Taylor (drums).

Upon returning to Paris from the Riviera, Briggs (the press phonetically spelled him "Brix" on occasion) organized his Plantation Orchestra for an engagement at the Embassy Club on Champs Elysées until early in 1932. During this engagement, on December 12, 1931, Briggs was featured as a member of "Bricktop et sa Troupe" at a "Grande Matinée de Gala" which Harry Pilcer, the American ballroom dancer, had organized at the Casino de Paris. Briggs (trumpet), Nelson Kincaid (clarinet, alto and tenor sax), Ralph Duchesne (alto sax, clarinet), Freddy Johnson (piano), Joe Caulk (bass), and Bert Marshall (drums), accompanied vocalists Louis Cole, Mabel Mercer, and the Close Harmony Boys.54 At the end of his contract Briggs was replaced by Vala et ses Gars.

In January 1932, the Briggs orchestra played at Ciro's, the restaurant of the Hôtel Daunou, rue Daunou. Briggs then disbanded and freelanced in Paris. On May 4 he augmented the Lud Gluskin orchestra at a Pathé recording session: on "Home—Rumba Cubaine," Briggs plays a trumpet solo and obbligato; on "Oh Mon'ah!" he takes eight bars. A month later, on June 9, Pathé cut "Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho" to which the Kentucky Singers55 contribute the vocals; and Briggs one bar of solo trumpet. Around December 20, 1932 Briggs was on an audition session organized by Maceo Jefferson for the Salabert label. The one title produced by this black band, "Isn't It Romantic," was never released.

When two enthusiastic jazz fans—the well-off Hughes Panassié (1912-1974) and Charles Delaunay (1911-1988), the son of painter Robert Delaunay and his artist-wife Sonia Delaunay—formed the "Hot Club de France" in December 1932, Arthur Briggs became one of its founding members. The founders [End Page 132] had set out to reveal the real meaning of jazz to a public which until then believed that Paul Whiteman and Jack Hylton were the leading exponents of this kind of music. The first two members were Panassié and Delaunay; Freddy Johnson and Arthur Briggs were members three and four. (A year later Panassié published Le Jazz Hot, the first serious study of the music. Delaunay published his Hot Discography in 1936—the first effort to document all jazz records. Both works set standards for future researchers.)56

Early in 1933, the Briggs band, including Ralph Duchesne (alto sax, clarinet) and Benny Peyton (drums), worked at the Casino in Monte Carlo. During the engagement Briggs fell ill for about two weeks and put Peyton in charge. Theodore "Teddy" Brock did the trumpet work. When Briggs came back, he had "a little difficulty with some of the boys in the group," as he put it (Goddard 1979, 286). In fact, Peyton had accepted an engagement for "his" band at the Florida Cabaret in Paris, and Briggs found himself without a band. It may have been during this difficult time that Briggs played an otherwise unconfirmed gig in Brussels at La Quinzaine de Gala au Broadway.

At this time, around March 1933, Arthur Briggs linked up with Freddy Johnson again, which was the beginning of a close partnership and friendship. Briggs recalled that "we worked together like clockwork. We just felt it—we didn't have to say a word" (Goddard 1979, 286). On May 17, 1933, the Johnson-Briggs orchestra provided the music on the occasion of the first concert of the Hot Club de France at the club's premises, 14 rue Chaptal. In the band were Briggs (trumpet), Peter DuCongé (clarinet, alto sax), Big Boy Goudie (tenor sax, clarinet, trumpet), Freddy Johnson (piano), Maceo Jefferson (guitar), Juan Fernandez (bass), and Billy Taylor (drums).

On June 13, 1933, Arthur Briggs and His Hot Boys recorded four titles for Brunswick, two duets ("Grabbin' Blues" and "Japanese Sandman") and two vocal accompaniments for Louis Cole ("Nobody's Sweetheart" and "I Got Rhythm"). On June 30, 1933, the Johnson-Briggs orchestra accompanied singer Alberta Hunter (1895-1984) at a concert at the Salle Chopin, Paris, which the Hot Club had organized. On July 4, 1933, the orchestra and singer Louis Cole gave a concert at the Poste du Petit Parisien radio station; Sterling Bruce Conaway had replaced Maceo Jefferson on this occasion.

Later that month Briggs was member of the all-black Cuban and American line up of Maceo Jefferson and His Boys when they cut four sides for the Salabert label. The band consisted of Briggs, Harry Cooper (trumpet), Billy Burns (trombone), Peter DuCongé (clarinet, alto sax), Filiberto Rico, Alcide Castellanos (alto sax), Frank "Big Boy" Goudie (tenor sax), Freddy Johnson [End Page 133] (piano), Maceo Jefferson (banjo), Juan Fernandez (bass), and Oliver Tines (drums). On two sides ("Stormy Weather" and "Crying for Love") they were joined by African-American singer Elisabeth Welch on her first recordings in Europe. From her stage debut in 1922 to her final professional appearance in 1996, Elisabeth Welch (1904-2003) was an important figure in the world of popular song. In 1923 she launched the Charleston and throughout the Jazz Age, she was associated with some of the great names of the Harlem Renaissance, including Josephine Baker, Adelaide Hall, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Ethel Waters. She settled in England (Bourne 2005).

During the month of July 1933, Briggs and Johnson returned twice more to the recording studios. On July 8, they recorded five sides for Brunswick as "Freddy Johnson, Arthur Briggs and Their All Star Orchestra," which included Briggs, Bobby Jones, Theodore Brock (trumpets), Billy Burns (trombone), Peter DuCongé (clarinet, alto sax), Alcide Castellanos (alto sax), Big Boy Goudie (tenor sax), Freddy Johnson (piano), Sterling Conaway (guitar), Juan Fernandez (bass), and Billy Taylor (drums), plus Louis Cole and Spencer Williams (vocals). Strangely, their homage to the Hot Club de France to which they owed so much, "Hot Club Stomp," is the only title of the session which remains unissued.

According to German discographer Horst H. Lange, movie star Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) was accompanied by Johnson, Briggs, DuCongé, Fernandez, and Taylor on a recording date in Paris on July 19, 1933. Supposedly, the studio formation (members of the Wal-Berg orchestra) which the recording company Polydor had lined up did not satisfy either Peter Kreuder (1905-1981), the composer of "Wo ist der Mann?," nor Dietrich. Instead, they looked for African-American expatriate jazz musicians and engaged the Freddy Johnson men. Judged by the unusual number of reissues of "Wo ist der Mann?," this performance must have been quite successful.

By October 1933, Freddy Johnson had assumed sole leadership of the former Johnson-Briggs orchestra. When bandleader Leon Abbey returned to Paris from a tour of South America, some of his men, Roy Butler and Herb Flemming, joined Freddy Johnson's Harlemites. Butler recalled:

It consisted of some members of Lucky Millinder's band who happened to be in Paris, and trumpeter Arthur Briggs. We made several recordings, including Sweet Georgia Brown, Harlem Bound, and Sweet Madness for Brunswick [on October 14, 1933]. That was arranged by a fellow named Cannetti. . . . An interesting thing about the session was that we had no written arrangements. Each section just got together and worked out their own harmonies and rhythms etc.

Figure 20. 1933-07-19. Marlene Dietrich accompagnée par Freddy Johnson et son Jazz. Polydor flyer.
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Figure 20.

1933-07-19. Marlene Dietrich accompagnée par Freddy Johnson et son Jazz. Polydor flyer.

Bulgaria-born Jacques Canetti (1909-1997) had studied in Vienna, Frankfurt, and Lausanne. In 1926 he emigrated to France where he became an influential music promoter and a pioneer of "Jazz Hot." The recording personnel included Briggs and Bobby Jones (trumpet), Billy Burns, Herb Flemming (trombone), Booker Pitman (clarinet, alto sax), Clé Saddler (alto sax), Roy Butler (alto and baritone sax), Alfred Pratt (tenor sax), Freddy Johnson (piano, arrangement), Sterling Conaway (guitar), Juan Fernandez (bass), and Billy Taylor (drums). On October 29, 1933, the Johnson orchestra gave a concert at the Salle Pleyel, with Teddy Brock added on trumpet. [End Page 135]

Beginning June 1, 1933, the French government had enacted the so-called "ten percent law" to stem an alleged tide of foreign musicians. From then on, a foreign musician had to be part owner of the establishment he was working in. Briggs signed as "part-owner" of a cabaret but, towards the end of 1933, inspectors discovered him in another job. He was issued the customary fifteen-day notice to leave France.

On December 8, 1933, the Hot-Club de France presented a concert featuring Arthur Briggs and pianist Garland Wilson; the titles performed included "Dinah," "Blues in B Flat," "Black and Tan Fantasy," "Chinatown," and "Some of These Days" among others, and finally "Tiger Rag."

Freddy Johnson and his Harlemites left France for the Netherlands where the Dutch announced him as "De sensatie van het saison—Freddy Johnson And Harlemites, including Arthur Briggs, solo-trompetists, een ster Armstrong gelijk."58 He opened at the Tabaris in the Hague on March 1, 1934.

From Holland the musicians returned to Paris. Briggs may have done some freelance work again, but his alleged presence on recordings by the Don Alfredo Marimba Band (French Columbia, March 1934) is unlikely and not supported by aural evidence. In November 1934, Briggs surfaced in a pickup group at the Stage B on Boulevard du Montparnasse, the other musicians being Alix Combelle on clarinet and saxophone, Stéphane Grappelli on piano, virtuoso guitarist Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), and George Marion on drums. On November 30, a concert was given at the Cabane Cubaine, rue Fontaine, in honor of Arthur Briggs.

According to a letter from English jazz historian and journalist Leonard Feather, dated London, November 17, 1934 and published in Melody Maker, "Arthur Briggs, another Parisian Harlemite, doughtily hits his top C's at the Chantilly."

The December 1934 issue of Jazz Tango (no. 51) carried a brief news item: the Orchestra of the Hot Club de France directed by Arthur Briggs, traveled from Paris for just twenty-four hours to play in Zürich at the "Bal des Italiens" on Saturday, December 8. About a thousand guests attended and participants included Reinhardt, Grappelli, and Booker, among others. At the time, the Leon Abbey band featured at the Café Esplanade. Also, some time in December 1934 and January 1935, Briggs fronted his own band for an engagement at the Sihlporte, Zürich. Besides Briggs the band is known to have included Ralph James (alto sax, clarinet), Clé Saddler (tenor sax), and Billy Taylor (drums). The others remain unidentified. Zürich was followed by a tour of Switzerland with engagements in Geneva, Lausanne, and probably other cities.

At the end of the Swiss tour, Briggs disbanded and joined the orchestra [End Page 136] of Cuban guitarist Don Barreto at Le Chantilly night club on rue Fontaine in the Montmartre district of Paris which included, in addition to Briggs, Luis Fuentes (flutes, clarinet, saxophone, claves), Ray Gottlieb (piano), Don Barreto (guitar), Storne (bass), and Sergio Barreto (drums, maracas, bongos). Guitarist Emilio "Don" Barreto was born in Havana in 1909 as one of three musician brothers of whom Marino Barreto (1907-1995) was a pianist and vocalist, and later became known as leader of a Cuban band at the Embassy Club, London. José Isidore Sergio, born in Havana, Cuba, around 1911, was a drummer and vocalist; Justo Barreto (sax, piano) was a cousin.

Emilio Barreto started his musical career as a violinist. At the age of thirteen, he won a prize at the conservatory he was attending; two years later he was a member of Cuba's philharmonic orchestra. In 1925 the family moved to Madrid, and the following year Emilio and his brother Marino went to Paris. At the time, Emilio took up the banjo, and with American drummer Farrel as third man initially worked at the Boeuf-sur-le-Toit. Here the impresarios Sirota and Leonidoff of Chocolate Kiddies fame discovered the brothers and hired them for the orchestra of the Louis Douglas revue Black People. The orchestra was led by Sidney Bechet, and the revue would make Josephine Baker a star. From Paris, Black People was featured in Brussels and Berlin, where Josephine Baker left the ensemble and the revue broke up (Lotz 1997, 321). Back in Paris the Barreto brothers worked at the Palermo, rue Fontaine, and at Bricktop's, rue Pigalle. Under the influence of the local jazz scene, Emilio Barreto switched to guitar. From around March 1932, he led the band at the Melody's Bar in Montmartre playing beguines, at the time a popular slow rumba-style dance music, which made him famous. In May 1932, Emilio Barreto made his first recordings in Paris for Columbia and in May of that year Decca invited him to London.

Briggs may have participated in record sessions with the Cuban band, although this appears to be doubtful. The same can be said of his participation, on February 9, 1935, in a session which produced three issued titles by "Léon Monosson, accompagné par M. Alain Romans du Poste Parisien et son Ensemble" (Columbia). Charles Delauney indicated that the trumpet player on these titles was unknown, whereas the annotation by Olivier Brard and Daniel Nevers (Brard and Nevers 1989, 63) was "prob. Arthur Briggs or Noël Chiboust (tp)"; Paul Vernon names Alex Renard (Vernon 2003, 33).

On February 23, 1935, the tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, one of the giants of jazz, was the star of a concert at the Salle Playel. He was accompanied by a band which included Arthur Briggs and Noël Chiboust (trumpet), Castor McCord (tenor sax), Fletcher Allen and Peter DuCongé (alto sax, clarinet), Django Reinhardt, Sigismond Beck (bass), and Billy Taylor (drums). [End Page 137]

On March 2, 1935, Arthur Briggs augmented the orchestra of French jazz violinist Michel Warlop for a recording date with Coleman Hawkins. Warlop (1911-1947) had been a highly acclaimed child prodigy in the classical music field until he fell in love with jazz and disappointed his sponsors. The records are dominated by Hawkins, leaving little room for solos by the others present: Briggs, Noël Chiboust and Pierre Allier (trumpet), Guy Paquinet (trombone), André Ekyan, Charles Lisée (alto sax), Alix Combelle (tenor sax), Stéphane Grappelli (piano), Django Reinhardt (guitar), Eugène d'Hellemes (bass), and Maurice Chaillou (drums).

On March 21, 1935, a "Gala de l'Université des Annales" concert was given at the Salle Gaveau, featuring Josephine Baker, Arthur Briggs, Willie Lewis, and Bobby Martin.

Five weeks later, on April 11, 1935, the Hot Club de France organized a concert at the École Normale de Musique in rue Cardinet involving Briggs (trumpet); Americans Jerry Blake, real name Jacinto Chabania (clarinet, alto sax) and Big Boy Goudie (tenor sax, clarinet); with Frenchman Roger Chaput on guitar. Around April, Briggs played at the Music Box.59 On June 4, 1935, Arthur Briggs guested with the Willie Lewis orchestra from Chez Florence at the ball of the "Petits Lits Blancs."

In late June, Briggs joined the Quintette of the Hot Club of France for an Ultraphone date which produced "Avalon" and "Smoke Rings." The personnel included two additional trumpets, a trombone, and three guitars, one of which was of course Reinhardt. Briggs returned to Ultraphone in September 1935, with the core of the Hot Club (Stéphane Grappelli, violin and piano, Reinhardt, guitar, Louis Vola, bass) to record four trumpet solos. Sadly, all four titles were rejected, and the masters destroyed.

From September 12, 1935, Arthur Briggs and His Coloured Boys—"dit phenomenale Jazz-Orkest"—(advertisements, Het Vaderland, September 10 and 11, 1935) were reengaged at the Dancing Tabaris, the Hague, doubling for thé-dansants at the Grand Hotel Central (3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.). The nine-piece orchestra consisted of Arthur Briggs and Pedro Lugo (trumpets); José Bandera and Ralph James, a veteran of the Sam Wooding orchestra (alto sax, clarinet), Clé Saddler (tenor sax); Pedro Guevara (piano), Greeley Franklin Willis (guitar), Abelardo Gonzales (bass), and Billy Taylor (drums). The Cubans were from the Barreto orchestra. Willis had worked for Briggs back in 1922.

The winter of 1935-1936 saw Briggs at the Ambassadeurs in Cannes. The Ambassadeurs was frequented by society, and the Paris press noted that the orchestra "from Les Ambassadeurs in Cannes and about to leave [End Page 138] for Switzerland" entertained the guests at a party celebrating the wedding of Mr. Olivier Allard, a banker, to Miss Maggy Ozil at the salons on the Boulevard Exelmans on May 12, 1936. Around June or July 1936 the band played in Zürich, followed by the summer season of 1936 at the Deauville Casino in France (where it replaced Big Boy Goudie and his Band).

Figure 21. 1936-07/08-ca. Zürich, Sihlporte, Arthur Briggs Orchestra. L-R: Arthur Briggs (trumpet), Pedro Guevara (piano), Pedro Lugo (trumpet), George Franklyn (guitar), José Bandera (alto sax), Abalado Gonzalez (string bass), Ralph James (alto sax), Billy Taylor (drums), Clé Saddler (tenor sax).
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Figure 21.

1936-07/08-ca. Zürich, Sihlporte, Arthur Briggs Orchestra. L-R: Arthur Briggs (trumpet), Pedro Guevara (piano), Pedro Lugo (trumpet), George Franklyn (guitar), José Bandera (alto sax), Abalado Gonzalez (string bass), Ralph James (alto sax), Billy Taylor (drums), Clé Saddler (tenor sax).

Back in Paris, Briggs replaced Bobby Martin, who had returned to the States, in Willie Lewis's Entertainers. According to discographer Brian Rust, Briggs participated in the band's recording sessions for Pathé on October 15 and November 12, 1936, although this is not supported by aural evidence. In a letter dated September 3, 1971, Briggs told Swiss jazz expert Johnny Simmen: "I did quite a few free-lance recordings . . . and one with Lewis for Pathé after Bobby Martin had left the band. Willie phoned me to make this date and a title that I remember is 'On Your Toes.' I was never a member of Willie's band on a regular basis, but we were very close friends right from the Sam Wooding days" (Rust 2002). All trumpet solos on records made on those two sessions by the Willie Lewis orchestra feature Bill Coleman. But in "On Your Toes" it must indeed be Briggs who takes a trumpet solo, [End Page 139] while the obbligato is by Jack Butler. All the other freelance recordings to which Briggs referred remain unidentified.

According to a note in the Chicago Defender of November 21, 1936 (Wiggins 1936), "Briggs' new outfit," including Fletcher Allen (clarinet, alto and tenor sax) and Frank Withers (trombone), had an hour-long broadcast on Poste Parisien on Sunday, November 15, which resulted in the offer to play regularly on Saturday nights, replacing Willie Lewis and his orchestra. However, Briggs had to decline the offer as he was committed to an engagement in Vienna during the remainder of the month followed by a season in Egypt, as of December 1, 1936.

Subsequently, "Arthur Briggs and His American-Cubano Boys," including Fletcher Allen (clarinet, alto and tenor sax) worked in Egypt, at the Hotel Continental in Cairo and in Alexandria, probably at the Monseigneur. In its edition of February 13, 1937, the Melody Maker reported that Briggs had "signed for a winter season at the Continental Cabaret, Cairo, with 9-piece combo."

The French periodical Jazz Hot reported in its December 1937-January 1938 issue that the Briggs band had returned from Egypt to Paris, evidently some time during the first half of October 1937. Briggs apparently disbanded the orchestra and might have rejoined Willie Lewis for a recording session

Figure 22. 1937-02-ca. Arthur Briggs and His American-Cubano Boys, photo montage, dedicated to the Melody Maker Unidentified, except Briggs (trumpet).
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Figure 22.

1937-02-ca. Arthur Briggs and His American-Cubano Boys, photo montage, dedicated to the Melody Maker Unidentified, except Briggs (trumpet).

[End Page 140]

on October 18, 1937, although he cannot be recognized on the issued titles; all trumpet solos are by Bill Coleman (on "Swing Time" Jack Butler also has six bars). On January 15, 1938, and again on January 29, the Chicago Defender reported that the band had returned from a one-year engagement in Egypt and went into Henri Dajou's Cotton Club at the Place Pigalle in Paris (Wiggins 1938).

During the week of March 21, the band left Paris for an engagement in Stockholm for the entire month of April. According to a note in the periodical Orkester Journalen (May 1938), the band included a second trumpet, clarinet, two saxophones and a rhythm section of piano, bass, and drums; the band accompanied an unidentified French varieté ensemble. Some time in mid-1938, the Briggs band appeared at the Pergola of the Casino in Namur, Belgium. During this engagement, "Arthur Briggs and His Boys" accompanied Coleman Hawkins at a Swing Party which the local Hot Club had organized at the Park Hotel. On December 16, 1938, Arthur Briggs and scores of other musicians, including the Willie Lewis band, the Quintette of the Hot Club of France, and famous accordionist "Gus" Viseur's Music, as well as Valaida Snow, Una Mae Carlisle, and Garland Wilson, participated in "La Grande Nuit du Jazz" at the Coliseum, rue Rochechouart, Paris.

On March 1, 1939, Arthur Briggs participated in a concert at Le Club, rue Pierre Charron, with Philippe Brun (trumpet), Alix Combelle (clarinet, sax family), Noël Chiboust (tenor sax), Michael Warlop (violin), Joe Turner (piano), and others. On March 21, 1939, Arthur Briggs, Oscar Alemán, Big Boy Goudie, Danny Polo, Garland Wilson, and several other musicians, participated in "Un Récital de Musique Swing," organized by the Hot Club of France at the Salle de la Chimie, rue Saint-Dominique, Paris.

After the outbreak of war, Robert Goffin recalled bumping into Briggs in a café on the rue Pierre Charon on the day of the German offensive against the low countries.60 Just before the occupation of Paris by the Wehrmacht on June 14, 1940, Arthur Briggs, accompanied by Christian Wagner (clarinet), Ray Stokes (piano), Django Reinhardt (guitar), and Tony Rovira (bass), recorded some sides for Charles Delaunay's Swing-label, on February 15, 1940. "Both Melancholy baby and Sometimes I'm happy have fanciful, surefooted, tirelessly mobile trumpet solos," says Max Harrison (Harrison, Fox, and Thacker 1984, 241).

During the war, Arthur Briggs stayed in France. Paris was his adopted home. After the occupation of Paris on June 14, 1940, he was ordered to report to the police to be interned. Subsequently, the order was withdrawn, probably because the Wehrmacht officials had assumed he was American, and the United States had not yet entered the war. Nevertheless, on October [End Page 141]

Figure 23. 1940-02-15. Arthur Briggs and His Orchestra. Swing sleeve.
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Figure 23.

1940-02-15. Arthur Briggs and His Orchestra. Swing sleeve.

17, 1940, Briggs was arrested and interned in a camp near Compiègne, eighty kilometers north of Paris. The old barracks, predating the First World War, had served the German army as a prisoner of war camp until the dreaded SS took them over and, using the name "Polizeihaftlager" (police arrest camp), turned them into a concentration camp for political prisoners. Here Briggs found himself in the company of Maceo Jefferson, Juan Fernandez, and other African-American expatriate musicians. In the camp, Fernandez was killed in a bomb blast which was never explained. The British residents of France, including pianist-leader Tom Waltham, were mainly interned in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris. The "Camp des Internés Britanniques" was located in barracks built in the middle of the nineteenth century. When Waltham heard of Briggs's imprisonment, he petitioned the German authorities to have him transferred to the British camp. The petition was granted, and Briggs was transferred to Saint-Denis, where he became the centre of the camp's musical activities. He also became member of a vocal trio, his partners being Gay Bafunke Martins, born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1894, a member of the Southern Syncopated Orchestra in 1921, and Owen Macauley, a black Briton. A printed program survives of a "Concert Symphonique" (Albeniz, Granados, de Falla, Mozart, Haendel, Franck, Liszt) which was organized and arranged by pianist Hedley Heaton for [End Page 142] November 2, 1942. Tom Waltham directed the sixteen-piece camp orchestra that consisted of Arthur Briggs, Arnold Prager (trumpet), Harold Chouinard, Tony Payne, Leslie Prager (clarinet), Reginald Camilleri (flute), Frank Leboutillier (bassoon), A. B. Freilich, Arthur Owen King, Cecil J. Mackee (violin), Hedley Heaton (piano), Jack Bunyan (cello), Joseph Choouinard (bass), Owen Macauley (drums), and Bernard Kay (tympani).

Briggs recalled:

We did play jazz for ourselves in the rooms, the different rooms, but it was disbanded . . . we couldn't play any jazz, we were not supposed to play jazz in a German camp, you know that. We played right along for each other in our various rooms. But the band that we had, we had a big band that played classics and everything else, we even had a [?] festival and everything else. The Germans came, the German officers, oh yes, they all came. I had a personal congratulations from—I hate to say [?] his name, von St-[Stülpnagel], the commander of Paris. 'Cause they never thought a Negro could play anything but, what did they call it, "monkey music" or something, when he heard us play the

Figure 24. 1942-11-02. Arthur Briggs Et Son Orchestre. Camp concert program.
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Figure 24.

1942-11-02. Arthur Briggs Et Son Orchestre. Camp concert program.

[End Page 143]

Fifth Symphony and the second strain, the second part of the Fifth Symphony with a very important trumpet entrance, you see, very musical, and very hard to a certain extent, which shows whether you had musical culture or not. You have a double forte, sforzando which enters a triple pianissimo, three pianos, you have a sforzando and three pianos immediate after you hit the note. And at the end of the concert the commander asked the orchestra leader to present me to him, and we, he said, "I congratulate you. I never thought it was possible but I've heard it myself," so I said, "Well, there are lots of things that man doesn't know in life. Es gibt viel Sachen die man nicht kennen selbst." I've forgotten most of my German, but I can read and write it. And he understood and he said?"You're quite right,' he said? I shall never forget this evening." In English he said it. "I shall never forget this evening."61

When the Allies advanced, the German guards opened the gates of the camp on the night of August 24, 1944, and told the prisoners they were free to leave. The next day the Swiss consul arrived. He confirmed that the prisoners were free, and that arrangements were being made for transportation. The same night a German tank shelled the camp; several people were injured but none was killed. In the panic that ensued, Arthur Briggs and a friend escaped, pushing a cart with their meager belongings towards Paris. On September 23, 1944, the Chicago Defender published an account by the British clarinetist, composer, and orchestra leader Rudolph Dunbar from Guyana under the heading "Briggs Trumpet Player, Free After 4 Years in Nazi Camp."62 After a reunion with his wife, Briggs joined his musician friends at the Hot Club de France in a concert to celebrate the liberation. In its Christmas issue The Melody Maker reported: "Since then, the trumpeter has lost no time getting back to work. To-day he is again prominent in Parisian jazz circles, taking a leading part in the direction of the French Hot Club's programmes. . . . Last month, this club staged a large jam session at L'École Normale de Musique, given in honour of Briggs's return to free musical life. The concert drew a huge crowd and was immensely popular."

Already on February 1, 1945, Briggs was recording again. He fronted the orchestra of Eddie Barclay (1921-2005) for Barclay's own Blue Star label; all titles featured vocals by singer-drummer Jerry Mengo. In addition to Briggs, the band included Eddie Barclay (leader), Hubert Rostaing (clarinet), André Ekyan, Chico Cristobal (alto sax), Charles Lisée (alto and tenor sax, clarinet), Max Hugot (tenor sax), Jacques Diéval (piano), Pierre Gérardot (guitar), Lucien Simoens (bass), and Jerry Mengo (drums, vocal); the arrangements were provided by Hubert Rostaing and Jerry Mengo. [End Page 144]

On April 6, 1945, Arthur Briggs and His Orchestra with unidentified personnel and instrumentation recorded four additional sides for Blue Star of which two were released.

By November 1945, Arthur Briggs was fronting his own band at Beaulieu. Around March 1946, he started a long residency with his band at Chez Florence, 61 rue Blanche, Paris, which lasted until 1951. On Saturday evenings, the band's "Surprise Party" was regularly broadcast by the Poste Parisien radio station. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s he continued to play successful residencies in France, including regular summer seasons at the Casino in Aix-les-Bains. Between 1945 and 1958 he regularly played at the Pavillon d'Armenonville, Bois de Boulogne as "Briggs High Society Band," or "Briggs and His Society Orchestra." Among his sidemen in Paris during the 1950s was Dutch trumpeter Piet Alkema.

In 1950 and again in 1952 Briggs recorded for Pathé at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées as "Arthur Briggs et son Society Dance Orchestra." The personnel is likely to have changed, but might have included, besides Briggs, Charles Lisée (tenor sax, clarinet), André Darbonneville, Claude Rué, André Tibault (alto sax, clarinet), Pierre Dutillet or Figaro Thibaut (piano), André Gerion (guitar), Emnanuel "Nono" Sude (bass), Georges Mandel (accordion, bass), Robert Monmarché (drums), André Delonnerville, and Jean Gruyer (arrangements). "Rag Mop," on which Arthur Briggs sings with interjections by the ensemble, is the title most likely to interest the hot jazz collector.

In 1964 Briggs disbanded his last ensemble, retired from touring, and began teaching saxophone and drums at several schools and cultural centers—initially at Lisieux, some hundred kilometers distant from Paris, later at the Paris suburbs of St. Gratien, Chantilly, and Saint Ouen, until failing eyesight forced him to retire. At Saint-Gratien, on March 14, 1981, his pupils performed at the twentieth anniversary of the cultural center: "The Saint-Gratien Harlemites—formé et animé par Arthur Briggs." Briggs was then eighty-two years of age.

Briggs never got around to writing his memoirs, which he so often shared with all the interviewers whom he met either at his home, at 93 rue Lamarck, or his favourite café, Le Palmier.63

Arthur Briggs died in Chantilly on July 6, 1991, and was laid to rest at the [End Page 145] Montmartre cemetery in Paris. He was survived by his wife Jaqueline64 and their daughter, Barbara (Inez) Pierrat-Briggs a graduate of the Sorbonne in foreign languages.65 Briggs always was very proud of his daughter who, he said, was playing pretty nice classical and variety piano.

Figure 25. 1981-03-14. "The Saint-Gratien Harlemites" formé et animé par Arthur Briggs. Poster.
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Figure 25.

1981-03-14. "The Saint-Gratien Harlemites" formé et animé par Arthur Briggs. Poster.

In its obituary the New York Times of July 18, 1991, wrote that "Arthur Briggs, an American trumpeter who was one of Paris's most popular jazz musicians between the two world wars, died on Monday in Chantilly, a [End Page 146] suburb of Paris. He was 92 years old. He died of kidney failure, his family said. Mr. Briggs, who was born in Charleston, S.C., went to Europe in 1919 with Sidney Bechet and played with Will Marion Cook's Southern Syncopated Orchestra."

Figure 26. 1991-07. Paris.
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Figure 26.

1991-07. Paris.

Tokyo's Pacific Stars and Stripes of Friday, July 19, 1991, headed its obituary "Veteran Jazz Trumpeter Arthur Briggs dies," and continued, "among recordings that made his reputation was Blue Moon cut with Hawkins in 1935" ("Veteran Jazz Trumpeter" 1991).

Gerd Ahlers, Nicola Ardenghi, Bruce Bastin, Johs Berg, Mark Berresford, Hans Bönschen, Bertrand Chaumelle, Ate van Delden, Jan Evensmo, Jeffrey P. Green, Ernst Grossmann, Daniel Guerin, Michael Gunrem, Karl Gert zur Heide, Christopher Hillman, George Hirst, K. H. Jordan, Adriano Mazzoletti, Bernd Meyer-Rähnitz, George Morrow, Wolfgang Muth, Konrad Nowakowski, Hans Pehl, Dan Morgenstern and Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies, Robert Pernet, Warren and Héliane Plath, Eddie Ritten, Howard Rye, Gert Schimanski, Andreas Schmauder, Paul Sonntag, and Harald Weiskopf.

Horst P. J. Bergmeier

Horst P. J. Bergmeier has been a senior business executive in England, South Africa, and The Netherlands. He has published articles in a variety of international magazines such as Der Jazzfreund, Fox auf 78, Storyville, Memory Lane, and Doctor Jazz. With Rainer Lotz, he is the author of Hitler's Airwaves: The Inside Story of Nazi Radio Broadcasting and Propaganda Swing (Yale University Press, 1998), Live from the Cotton Club (Bear Family Records, 2003), and, with Ejal Eisler of Vorbei, Beyond Recall: Dokumentation jüdischen Musiklebens in Berlin 1933-1938 (Bear Family Records, 2002). The first and last publications were awarded the ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Sound Research.

Rainer E. Lotz

Rainer E. Lotz, an economist and mechanical engineer by education, has worked as a manager of development banks in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He is a retired civil servant in development aid and a lecturer in political science. He is the compiler of more than fifty LP and CD anthologies of historic recordings and the author of more than two hundred articles in scholarly journals in Europe, the United States, Australia, and Africa. He has almost one hundred monographs to his credit (many in cooperation with Horst P. J. Bergmeier). His current projects include the German National Discography (twenty-two volumes published to date) and Black Europe, the first comprehensive documentation of the sounds and images of black people in Europe before 1927.

References

A. M. [Allard Möller]. 1976. Americans in Europe: Arthur Briggs 75 years young. Pts. 1 and 2. Roaring Jazz Crooner Chronicle 3: 5.
Arthur Briggs [obituary]. 1991. New York Times. July 18.
Arthur Briggs [obituary]. 1991. The [London] Times. July 30.
Badger, Reid. 1995. A life in ragtime: A biography of James Reese Europe. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bechet, Sidney. 1960. Treat it gentle: An autobiography. New York: Hill and Wang. [End Page 147]
Bergmeier, Horst, and Rainer E. Lotz. 1985. Billy Bartholomew bio-discography. Menden: der Jazzfreund.
Bourne, Stephen. 2005. Elisabeth Welch: Soft light and sweet music. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press.
Brard, Olivier, and Daniel Nevers. 1989. Le jazz en France: Jazz and hot dance music discography, selection 1. Paris: M.A.D. (Musiques, Archives, Documents).
———. 1991. Le jazz en France: Jazz and hot dance music discography, selection 3. Paris: M.A.D. (Musiques, Archives, Documents).
Brunn, H. O. 1960. The story of the original jazz band. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
Bushell, Garvin, as told to Mark Tucker. 1987. On the road with the Chocolate Kiddies. Storyville 131: 182-188.
———. 1988. Jazz from the beginning. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Chilton, John. 1985. Who's who of jazz: Storyville to Swing Street. 4th ed. London: Macmillan Press.
———. 1987. Sidney Bechet: The wizard of jazz. New York: Macmillan Press.
Danzi, Michael, as told to Rainer E. Lotz. 1986. American musician in Germany 1924-1939: Memoirs of the jazz, entertainment, and movie world of Berlin during the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era, and in the United States. Schmitten: Ruecker.
Darke, Peter, and Ralph Gulliver. 1977. Roy Butler's story. Storyville 71: 184-185.
Demeusy, Bertrand. 1979. Can't we talk it over. Storyville 83:164.
Goddard, Chris. 1979. Jazz away from home. New York: Paddington Press.
Goffin, Robert. 1932. Aux frontiéres du jazz. Paris: Éditions du Sagittaire.
———. 1948. Nouvelle histoire du jazz du Congo au bebop. Bruxelles: L'Écran du Monde; Paris: Les Deux Sirènes.
Green, Jeffrey P. 1982. Edmund Thornton Jenkins: The life and times of an American black composer, 1894-1926. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
Grossmann, Ernst. 1980. Can't we talk it over. Storyville 87: 107-108
Harrison, Max, Charles Fox, and Eric Thacker. 1984. The essential jazz records, vol. 1, Ragtime to swing. London: Mansell.
Hughes, Spike. 1946. Opening bars. London: Pilot Press.
Jenkinson, Jacqueline. 1986. The 1919 race riots in Britain: A survey. In Under the imperial carpet: Essays in black history 1780-1950, edited by Rainer E. Lotz and Ian Pegg, 182-207. Crawley, England: Rabbit Press.
Lange, Horst H. 1966. Jazz in deutschland. Berlin: Colloquium Verlag.
———. 1978. Die deutsche "78er" Discographie der Hot-Dance- und Jazz-Musik 1903-1958. 2nd. ed. Berlin: Colloquium Verlag.
Lotz, Rainer E. 1997. Black people: Entertainers of African descent in Europe, and Germany. (CD incl.). Bonn: Birgit Lotz Verlag.
Lotz, Rainer E. and Horst Bergmeier. 2007. B & L special: Harry Fleming—"Der Dandy aus Harlem," Fox auf 78 24: 32-39.
Mazzoletti, Adriano. 2004. Il Jazz in Italia dalle origine alle grandi orchestre. 2nd ed. Torino: Edizione Italiana EDT.
Mr. Caleb Quaye's funeral. 1922. West Africa, February 11.
Notes from London. 1929. New York Amsterdam News, February 20. [End Page 148]
Orlay, Jenö. 1943. Chappy—Dzsessz-Dobbal A Világ Körü [Around the world with a jazz drum]. Budapest: May Janos Nyomdai Müintezet Rt.
Panassié, Hugues. 1958. Discographie critique des meilleurs disques de jazz. Paris: Robert Laffont.
———. 1987. Dictionnaire du jazz: Nouvelle edition revue et augmentée. Paris: Albin Michel.
Pernet, Robert. 1979. Some notes on Arthur Briggs. Storyville 84: 204-209.
Rust, Brian, and Malcolm Shaw. 2002. Jazz and ragtime records (1897-1942). Denver, Col.: Mainspring Press.
Rye, Howard. 1983. Visiting firemen 7: Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle. Storyville 105: 88-95.
———. 2009. The Southern Syncopated Orchestra. Black Music Research Journal 29, no. 2: 153-228.
Schulz, Klaus. 2000. Black bottom in der Weihburg Bar. Fox auf 78 19: 4-13
Vernon, Paul. 2003. Jean "Django" Reinhardt: A contextual bio-discography 1910-1953. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing.
Veteran jazz trumpeter Arthur Briggs dies [obituary]. 1991. Pacific Stars and Stripes [Tokyo] July 19.
Wiggins, Edgar. 1936. Mme Caterina Jarboro leaves Paris for six months tour of Europe. Chicago Defender November 21: 21.
———. 1938. Adelaide Hall's Café Big Apple tops Paris. Chicago Defender January 29: 19.

Appendix

The discographical layout follows standard procedures. When more than one take was recorded, those takes known to have been issued are underlined. Square brackets indicate editorial comment.1

James Arthur Briggs Discography

In an interview with Dutch researcher Ate van Delden on May 30, 1974, Briggs stated that he had recorded the tunes Ja-Da and Weary Blues with Wilbur Sweatman for the Okeh label in "early 1919 after the tour with the New York Southern Syncopated Orchestra." In an interview with American researcher Warren Plath in 1981 he again said it was with Wilbur [End Page 149] Sweatman, that one tune was Ja-Da and the other Sister Kate. He also said he played second trumpet to Willie Lewis (not the saxophonist who was later a bandleader in Europe) and the trombone was Frank Withers.

Briggs may have confused the exact circumstances some fifty-five years after the event. As of March 1918 Wilbur Sweatman was under contract with the Columbia company. He recorded Ja-Da for Columbia twice: on January 17, 1919, all three takes recorded remain unissued, and again in a remake session on February 6, 1919 which produced the issued fourth take.

Briggs was a member of the New York Syncopated Orchestra which toured East Coast theatres from January 30 until February 28 (New York Age, February 8, 1919).

Sweatman's biographer Mark Berresford has aurally checked the early 1919 sides and is of the opinion that the two sessions in question may have two trumpets playing. Also, there is a William Lewis listed in the 1929 AFM Local 802 directory living in Harlem. Berresford suspects that Briggs is the second trumpet on Rainy Day Blues (the same session includes a rejected Ja-Da), although aurally it is impossible to tell whether one or two trumpets are present.

For the second session on February 5, 1919, which produced the issued take four of Ja-Da, the most recent edition of Brian Rust's jazz discography (2002) lists Briggs. However, at the time Briggs was still touring. A likely candidate for the trumpet chair on this session would be Russell Smith. Briggs might have participated in the remake session, but only if he either left the SSO before the end of the tour, or the tour was terminated earlier than originally scheduled.

At any rate, Sweatman never recorded Weary Blues, nor did he record Sister Kate.

Played by Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band

Willie Lewis, prob. Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Frank Withers or Major Jackson (trombone); Wilbur Sweatman (clarinet); unknown (C melody sax); Dan Parish (piano); Romy Jones (tuba, if any); Henry Bowser (drums).

New York, Friday, 17 January 1919
78255-1,-2,-3 Rainy day blues
Foxtrot
M: Frank Wirshauer
Columbia A.2707
78256-1,-2,-3 Ja-Da! (Ja-Da, Ja-Da, Jing, Jing, Jing)
Jazz Foxtrot
M: Bob Carleton
Columbia unissued

Played by Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band

Willie Lewis, poss. Arthur Briggs or Russell Smith (trumpet); Frank Withers or Major Jackson (trombone); Wilbur Sweatman (clarinet); unknown (C melody sax); Dan Parish (piano); Romy Jones (tuba, if any); Henry Bowser (drums).

New York, Wednesday, 05 February 1919
78256-4 Ja-Da! (Ja-Da, Ja-Da, Jing, Jing, Jing)
Jazz Foxtrot
M: Bob Carleton
Columbia A.2707
78291-1-2-3 Lonesome road
(intro: Salvation Blues [A camp meetin' croon])
? Foxtrot
M:
Columbia unissued
78292-2-3 A good man is hard to find
(intro: Sweet child)
? Foxtrot
M: Eddie Green
Columbia A-2721, LaBelle AL-5040

[End Page 150]

LaBelle is a pasteover label

ca. July 1923: The trumpeter on a date by Orchestre [Harry] Pollard's Six for Pathé in Paris is Bobby Jones, not Briggs, as claimed in Brian Rust (2002)

Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncopators Orchestra

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Mario Scanavino (tenor sax, violin); Bertin Salnave (alto sax, clarinet); Egide van Gils (piano); Alston "Al" Hughes (banjo); Albert Refurt (drums, dance interludes).

Wien (Vienna), Austria, before October 1925
Das Spielzeug von Paris
(Red Heels / Célimène - La poupée de Paris)
silent film

Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncopators Orchestra (Vox)
Marimba "La Joya" Guatemala (Kristall)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Jean Naudin (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor sax); Georges Jacquemont (alto sax); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (banjo); unknown, possibly Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); Arthur Briggs (spoken introduction-1); Bob Astor (English vocal).

Berlin, ca. January 1927
1272-1,-2 BB It made you happy -1,-vocBA
Foxtrot
M+T: Walter Donaldson
Vox 8470
1273—,-1,-2 BB Bugle call rag
Foxtrot
M: Jack Pettis, Elmer Schoebel and Billy Meyers (label: I. Mills)
Vox unissued

Take 1272-1BB is unconfirmed. Introduction by Briggs as follows: "How do you do everybody? This is Arthur Briggs and his band playing for you. The name of this tune is 'It Made You Happy When You Made Me Cry'"

Vox-8470 was first advertised in the May 1, 1927 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift.

Künstler-Orchester Dajos Béla (Odeon) / Dajos Béla (Odeon 2098, 2123) / Tanzorchester Dajos Béla (Odeon 2123) / Kapelle Merton (Beka) / Richard Tauber. Dajos Béla Orchestra (Parlophone) / Sándor Józsi Orch. (Parlophone E.5883).

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); augmenting the regular Dajos Béla personnel, Walter Borchert, Willy Geisler, — Cook, Franz Thon (arrangement); Richard Tauber (tenor vocal).

Berlin, Thursday, 10 February 1927
xxB7607—,-2 Heimweh (Always) -vocRT
Valse Boston
M: Irving Berlin/T: Fritz Löhner-Beda
?Odeon O.8305A, R.20142,
Parlophone PXO1059
Take-3 recorded on November 8, 1928 without Briggs
xxB7608—,-2 In der Pfalz -arrWB, -vocRT
Marschlied
M: Jara Beneš, op.32/T: Fritz Löhner-Beda
?Odeon O.8305B
Take-3 recorded on November 8, 1928 without Briggs
Be 6050,-2-3
(33817)
Ich red' mir ein, es geht mir gut
(Es geht schon besser)
Fox und Charleston
M: Hermann Leopoldi
Odeon A.45221/216, O.2098B,
Beka B.6114
Plain take issued, takes -2 and -3 destroyed
Be 6051
(33856)
Black Bottom -arrWG
Black Bottom
M: Ray Henderson
Odeon O.2098A, Beka B.6133
Be 6052 Venezia
Onestep
M: G. Marcoliano
Odeon O.2122, Parlophone E.5883
Be 6053 (33857) Ilona -arrFT
Blues
M: Will Meisel
Odeon O.2123A, A.45272/275,
Beka B.6133-I, B.7314
Be 6054 Deep Henderson -arrCook
Black Bottom
M: Fred Rose
Odeon 0-2123b

[End Page 151]

Briggs plays solo on Deep Henderson. Records first advertised in March 1927.

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Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncopators Orchestra (Vox) / Marimba 'La Joya' Guatemala (Kristall)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Jean Naudin (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor sax); Georges Jacquemont (alto sax); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (banjo); unknown, possibly Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); Arthur Briggs (spoken introduction-1); Bob Astor (English vocal).

Berlin, ca. March 1927
1537 BB Bugle call rag (Die alte Mühle*) -1
Foxtrot
(E.J. Pettis, I.Mills, E. Schobel) (sic)
Vox 8470, Kristall 3010*

Master 1273-1BB was originally allocated to Bugle Call Rag. The crossed-out figure 1273-1BB can still be detected engraved in the wax under the labels. Briggs introduces the song: "Hallo everybody, this is Arthur Briggs and his band playing. Get ready to shake your hips to the 'Bugle Call Rag'! Are you ready boys?" The band shouts an affirmative "Yes!".

Kristall 3010 is a freak pressing credited both sides to Marimba "La Joya" Guatemala, coupling

1575-BB Das Lied vom Angeln which is indeed played by the Marimba orchestra, as labelled; with 1537-1BB by Briggs, instead of 1573 Die alte Mühle

Vox 8470 was first advertised in the May 1, 1927 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift.

Orkester Dajos Béla (A 162033, D-4507)/ Dajos Béla mit seinem Künstlerorchester

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting the regular Dajos Béla personnel

Berlin, 27 April 1927
Be 5751 Förlat, men hur va'namnet
(*Mir scheint, du bist aus Posen)
Foxtrot
M: Jules Sylvain
A 162033, D-4507, O.2216*
Be 5753 Anna, du kann väl stanna
(*Wenn Du noch nicht verliebt warst)
?Foxtrot
M: Jules Sylvain
Odeon A 162033, D-4507, O.2216*

[End Page 152]

This session produced six titles. Briggs' presence has been aurally identified on the above.

Dajos Béla

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting the regular Dajos Béla personnel

Berlin, 08 June 1927
Be 5821 Det göt gummen me'
Foxtrot
M: Jules Sylvain
Odeon A 162039, D-4518
Be 5822 Tacka vet jag gubben far
Foxtrot
M: Bernt Carsten
Odeon A 162039, D-4518

This session produced eight titles. Briggs' presence has been aurally identified on the above.

Dajos Béla mit seinem Tanz-Orchester / Dajos Béla mit seinem Künstler-Orchester / Dajos Béla (O.2171, 2178).

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting the regular Dajos Béla personnel; ?Rex Allen (vocal).

Berlin, Wedsnesday, 22 June 1927
Be 5867,-2 Siviglia bella!
Onestep
M: Emilio Gnecco
("Nur Ausland" [only for abroad])
Odeon (?Italy) ?
Be 5868 Blue skies -voc?RA
Foxtrot from musical Betsy
M+T: Irving Berlin
Odeon A.45163/52, O.2178b
Be 5869 Russian lullaby -voc?RA
Valse Boston
M+T: Irving Berlin
Odeon A.45152, A.221064, O.2178a,
D.5844, A.162042b
Be 5870 One o'clock baby -voc?RA
Foxtrot
M: Bud G. de Sylva, Lew Brown und Al Jolson
Odeon O.2171b
Be 5871 La guitarera
Tango
M: E. Tagliaferri
("Für Mailand" [for Milano])
Odeon (Italy)?

Dajos Béla orkester / Orchestra Dajos Béla (A.167171)/ [?= Odeon Tanz-Orchester]

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting the regular Dajos Béla personnel

Berlin, Friday, 24 June 1927
Be 5887 Josephine
Black Bottom
M: Dino Rulli
Odeon A.167171B, O.8210
Be 5888 En midsommarnatt
Waltz
Odeon 19252
Be 5889 Oh, Charles !
Foxtrot
M: Georg Enders
Odeon 19252

[End Page 153]

This session produced three titles. The recording ledgers refer to "Odeon Tanz-Orchester" and the leader is not identified. Aurally this is the Dajos Bela personnel augmented by Briggs, at least on Be 5888 and Be 5889

Gabriel Formiggini mit seinem Orchester

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting the regular Gabriel Formiggini personnel; Max Kuttner (vocal).

Berlin, ca. July 1927
1965 BB Pamplona
Stomp
M: David Bee and Peter Packay
Vox 8534
1966 BB Heut ist die Käte ete-petete! -vocMK
Foxtrot
M: Anton Profes/T: Otto Stransky und Fritz Rotter
Vox 8524
1967-,-1 BB Niemand liebt dich so wie ich -vocMK
Blues from operetta Paganini
M: Franz Lehàr/T: Knepler und Jenbach
Vox 8523
1968 BB Amalie geht mit'm Gummikavalier -vocMK
Onestep
M: Siegwart Ehrlich
Vox 8525
1969 BB Wieso ist der Walter so klug für sein Alter? -vocMK
Foxtrot
M: W. Rollin and Austin Egen/T: Austin Egen and Fritz Rotter
Vox 8524
1970 BB Lene Lehmann ging mal spazieren -vocMK
Foxtrot
M+T: Hermann Leopoldi
Vox 8525
1971 BB Sag' Du, sag' Du zu mir -vocMK
Blues
M: Robert Stolz/T: G. Beer
Vox 8523
1972 BB Dawn
Symphonie-Foxtrot
M+T: Harry Revel, C. Wappus
Vox 8538

Briggs plays solo on 1966-BB and 1969-BB. Records were first advertised on October 1927. ca. July-August 1927: Possible sessions with Billy Bartholomew for the Grammophon label, but not supported by aural evidence.

ca. July-September 1927: Briggs freelanced on recording dates with Dajos Béla and Marek Weber, and possibly other orchestras. He may be present on more sessions than shown below, where his presence is confirmed.

Dajos Béla Tanz-Orchester

Berlin, 13 August 1927
Be 5910 Wann und wo ? Odeon O.2191, Beka B.6191,
B.12548
(34145) March/Onestep from revue Wann und wo ?
M: Walter Kollo/ T: Hermann Haller, Reidamus, Willi Wolff

Arthur Briggs possibly is present on four more recordings from this session

Bottina Schuhe

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting an unidentified orchestra, probably directed by Dajos Béla; Artur Hell (vocal), spoken intro-1 [End Page 154]

Berlin, Monday, 22 August 1927
BOTTINA I Bottina-Shimmy -vocAH Lena Stein-Schneider Werbe-platte I
Shimmy
M: Harry Hauptmann/T: Arthur Lokesch

Bottina Schuhe

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting an unidentified orchestra, probably directed by Dajos Béla; Artur Hell (vocal), unidentified female (Lena Stein-Schneider ?) spoken intro-1

Berlin, Thursday, 25 August 1927
BOTTINA II Am Mai-Kussa -1 Lena Stein-Schneider Werbe-platte II
Charleston
M+T: Lena Stein-Schneider
Figures 2 and 3. Disc and newspaper publicity for Bottina shoes.
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Figures 2 and 3.

Disc and newspaper publicity for Bottina shoes.

Tanz-Orchester Dajos Béla (Odeon) / Kapelle Merton (Beka, Parlophon)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting the regular Dajos Béla personnel.

Berlin, Thursday, 25 August 1927
Be 5933,-2
(34220,-2)
Sag' du, sag' du zu mir!
Blues. Inserted song in operetta Der Hampelmann
M: Robert Stolz
Plain take issued, take 5933-2 (34220-2) destroyed
Odeon O.2212, A.45245/46, Beka B.6215-I
Be 5934,-2
(34175,-2)
Hi-Diddle-Diddle (The Super Charleston*)
Charleston
M: Carleton A. Coon
Plain take issued, take 5934-2 (34175-2) destroyed
Odeon O.2213a, Beka B.6213*,
Parlophon 34175*
Be 5935,-2
(34174,-2)
Kölsche Mädcher künne bütze
(Amsterdamsche Meisjes Kunnen Zonen*)
Onestep
M: Willi Ostermann
Plain take issued; take 5935-2 (34174-2) destroyed
Odeon O.2299, A.164041*,
Parlophon 34176
Be 5936—,-2 Napolitana Odeon O.2212, Beka B.6214,
?B.6216
(34219—,-2) (Warum hat jeder Frühling, ach, nur einen Mai)
Valse Boston from operetta Der Zarewitsch
M: Franz Lehár

[End Page 155]

Marek Weber und sein Orchester

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting the regular Marek Weber personnel.

Berlin, Monday, 29 August 1927
BwR 1067-1,-2 Blue skies
Foxtrot
M: Irving Berlin
Electrola EG-634(-2)
BwR 1068-1,-2 Crazy words (Crazy words, crazy tune*)
Charleston
Inserted song in Haller-Revue 1927-28 Wann und wo
M: Milton Ager
Electrola EG-639(-1), 641(-1),
*HMV EG-639(-2)
BwR 1069-1,-2 Sag' Du zu mir
Slow-Fox. Inserted song in operetta Der Hampelmann
M: Robert Stolz
Electrola EG-634
BwR 1070-1,-2 Hallelujah
Foxtrot
M: Vincent Youmans (label: Winston Youman)
Electrola EG-641

Briggs plays lead on all titles, Hallelujah being a particularly good arrangement.

Dajos Béla mit seinem Künstler-Orchester / Tanz-Orchester Dajos Béla (O.2228, 2240) / Kapelle Merton (Beka) /

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting the regular Dajos Béla personnel.

Berlin, Saturday, 17 September 1927
Be 6117
(34257)
Kut erop! Kut erop! Kut erop!
Foxtrot
M: Willi Ostermann
Odeon O.2299, Beka B.6287
Be 6118,-2
(34276,-2)
Ausgeschlossen
Foxtrot and Charleston from Nelson-Revue Lichter von Berlin
M: Rudolf Nelson
The plain take Be6118 (34276) was destroyed
Odeon O.2228a, Beka B.6233
Be 6119
(34277)
Die Lichter von Berlin
Slowfox (Foxtrot) from Nelson-Revue Lichter von Berlin
M: Rudolf Nelson
Odeon O.2228b, Beka B.6233
Be 6120
(34256)
Heebie Jeebies
Slow Drag
M: Boyd Atkins und Richard M. Jones
Odeon O.2239a, Beka B.6232-I,
Parlophon B.12549
Be 6121 Sehnsucht
Yale
M+T: Ralph Benatzky
Odeon O.2240a

Briggs plays solo on Heebie Jeebies.

Reverse of Beka B.62232 is Banana's Slide by Saxophon-Orchester Dobbri (director: Otto Dobrindt). [End Page 156]

Dajos Béla mit seinem Künstler-Orchester / Tanz-Orchester Dajos Béla (O.2237, 2238) / Kapelle Merton (Beka)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); augmenting the regular Dajos Béla personnel; Fred Ralph (arrangement)

Berlin, Tuesday, 27 September 1927
Be 6136
(34306)
Do the Black-Bottom with me
Black Bottom
M: George W. Meyer
("Für Novitas, Prag") [For Novitas, Prague]
Odeon O.2238a, Beka B.34306,
Parlophon B.34306
Be 6137 Cadiz
Pasodoble Castizo
M: José Sentis
Odeon O.2238B
Be 6138 Wir wollen tun, als ob wir Freunde wären -arrFR Odeon A.45534, O.2237,
(34282) (Vi låtsas skall, som om vi vore vänner) Beka B.6239, B.12581
Tango from operetta Eine Frau von Format (Hennes Excellens)
M: Michael Krausz/T: Rudolph Schanzer und Ernst Welisch
Be 6139 Du bist mein stiller Compagnon -arrFR Odeon O.2237, Beka B.6239,
B.12581
(34283) (Du är min tyste Kompanjon)
Slowfox from operetta Eine Frau von Format (Hennes Excellens)
M: Michael Krausz

Briggs plays solo on Do the Black Bottom

ca. September-November 1927: Possible sessions with René Dumont for the Grammophon label, but not supported by aural evidence.

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[End Page 157]

Savoy Syncops Orchestra Arthur Briggs (Clausophon) / Barbarina Brighs Orkiestra (Usiba 1045, 1046, 1049) / Barbarina Brijgs Orkiestra (some issues of Usiba 1044) / Savoy Syncops Orkiestra (some issues of Usiba 1044) / Pavillon Jazz Orkiestra (Usiba 1034) / Tanz-Orchester Henry Gold (Sirena/Syrena)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor and alto sax); Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet-1); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (banjo, guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); ensemble (handclapping-2).

Berlin, ca. late August-early September 1927
T.5662 (6559)
(11281 label,
11198 in wax)
Paris! (Ça ... c'est Paris!)
(Warzawa znow sie bawie?)
Onestep
M: José Padilla/T: Fritz Löhner-Beda
Clausophon 362, Usiba 1044,
Sirena 4878?, Rensie 193/172
T.5663 Black Bottom
M: Ray Henderson
Clausophon 364, Usiba 1045
T.5664 Brawo! Bis! -2
Foxtrot
M: Jerzy Petersburski and Henryk Gold
Clausophon 362
T.5665 Was macht der Maier am Himalaja?
(*Na Himalaja (Meyer am dHimalaja?)
M: Anton Profes/T: Fritz Rotter and Otto Stransky
Clausophon 363,
Rensie 172/193*
T.5666 Funny Girls [Kitten on the keys]
Foxtrot
M: Friedrich Wilhelm Rust [label: F. William Rust]
Clausophon 363
T.5667 Up and at'em (Ona ma wab ka*) -1
Novelty Foxtrot
M+T: Jack Pettis and Al Goering
Clausophon 365, Usiba 1046*
T.5668
(X 11179)
Ja kocham cie (Ich liebe dich)
Blues
M: Petershurak [sic on label, recte: Petersburski]
Usiba 1034
T.5669
(11201)
Syrena-Blues (*Syren Blues)
Blues
M: Zygmunt Wiehler
Clausophon 364,
Usiba 1045*, 1049*
T.5670 Zula
Charleston-Fox
M: Zygmunt Wiehler
Clausophon 365
T.5671 Pani mi sie snila (Ich hab' von Dir geträumt)
Shimmy
M: Jerzy Petersburski, A. Gold
Clausophon 366
T.5672 Adieu Mimi !
Shimmy from the operetta Adieu Mimi !
M: Ralph Benatzky
Clausophon 367 (?),
Stradivari G 5394
T.5673 Kind, komm küss mich !
Foxtrot
M: Con Conrad/ T: Rideamus
Clausophon 367 (?),
Stradivari G 5394

The prefix 'T' is sometimes used only in the wax, or only on the label, or not at all. At least one copy of Clausophon 362 shows two matrix numbers for Paris c'est Paris, i.e., T.5662 and 6559. The significance of the latter is not known.

Reverse of Usiba 1034 is Heut' fahr' ich nach Amerika, Shimmy (Dzis Jade Do Ameryki) (Rapée and Heymann); this side uses artist credit Orkiestra Venus-Record and is aurally not by Briggs. [End Page 158]

Reverse of Usiba 1044 is Horses; although it uses the artist credit Savoy Synkops Orkiestra Arthur Briggs this is actually by Jimmy Johnston's Rebels from Paramount 20449.

Freak pressings of Usiba 1044/1046 exist, coupling masters 5662 and 5665 according to label information; however, the latter side actually plays Always by a still unidentified orchestra.

Before the actual start of master 5664 studio noise and talking can be heard.

Reverse of Usiba 1049 is master 11230 Marchen [sic, recte "Märchen"], die uns der Wind erzählt (Opowiesci Wichru) Tango (Silwang); although credited Barbarina Brighs Orkiestra it is aurally not by Arthur Briggs.

Both sides of Clausophon 367 (T5672/5673), also issued as Stradivari-Jazz-Kapelle vom Café am Zoo, Berlin (Stradivari G 5394), are by Jazz-Kapelle Faconi, not Briggs.

Savoy Syncops Orchestra Arthur Briggs vom Eden Hotel, Berlin (Clausophon) / Savoy Syncops-Orchestra Arthur Briggs (Clausophon 947, 949) / Savoy Syncops Orchestra Arthur Briggs vom Hotel Eden, Berlin (V.d.M.)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); unknown (violin, trumpet-1); Mario Scanavino (tenor sax, violin); Charlie Vidal (alto and tenor sax); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (banjo, guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); 2 violins present on -2. The personnel includes two saxes and a violin, doubling trumpet.

Berlin, ca. late August-early September 1927
T.5686 Makkaroni
Lied and Charleston
M: Jara Beneš/T: Fritz Löhner-Beda
Clausophon 945
T.5687 Liebe Katharina, komm zu mir nach China!
Foxtrot
M: Richard Fall/T: Fritz Löhner-Beda
Clausophon 945
T.5688 Mammy. Für mich bist du die schönste Frau der Welt
Blues
M: Theodor Wottitz/T: Peter Herz
Clausophon 947
T.5689 Sehnsucht. -1?
Waltz
M: [?Franz Schubert]
Clausophon 946, V.d.M. 77
T.5690 Turandot, bezaubernde Turandot
Lied
M: [?Franz Doelle]
Clausophon 946, V.d.M. 77
T.5691 Dulcinea -2
Foxtrot
M: Zygmunt Wiehler
Clausophon 947
T.5698
(5692?)
Darum trinken wir noch eins.
March from operetta Drei arme kleine Mädel
M: Walter Kollo/T: Willi Kollo
Clausophon 949
T.5699 Forget -1
Waltz
M:
Clausophon 948
T.5700 Sei nicht traurig, kleines Mädel.
Slow-Fox from operetta Drei arme kleine Mädel
M: Walter Kollo/T: Willi Kollo
Clausophon-949
T.5701 Komm' mit mir nach Kopenhagen
Lied
M: F. Kowarik and N. Leopoldi/T: Peter Herz
Clausophon 948

Volksverband der Musikfreunde (V.d.M.) was a mail-order label. [End Page 159]

Savoy Syncops Orchestra Arthur Briggs vom Eden Hotel, Berlin (Clausophon), Sigurd, V.d.M.)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Charlie Vidal (alto sax); unknown - possibly Mario Scanavino (tenor sax); unknown - possibly Mario Scanavino (violin); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (banjo, guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums).

Berlin, ca. late August-early September 1927
T.5757 Hallelujah!
Foxtrot
M: Vincent Youmans
Clausophon 373, 558, V.d.M.
14,
Reinton 373, Sigurd S.473
T.5758 Du, nur Du
Blues
M: Walter Kollo/T: Willi Kollo
Clausophon/Reinton 373, V.d.M. 14,
Sigurd S.473
T.5759 Meine Herren
?
M:
Clausophon 374
T.5760 Du bist mein stiller Kompagnon
Slowfox from operetta Eine Frau von Format
M: Michael Krausz/T: Rudolf Schanzer and Ernst Welisch
Clausophon 374

Reverse of Clausophon 558 is master 5906 Bublishki, credited to Jazz-Orchester. Reinton is a paste-over label.

[Anonymous]

Arthur Briggs (trumpet), augmenting an unidentified orchestra

Berlin, ca August-September 1927
no mx Eg-Gü-Schuhputzmittel-Reklame Blank label

Savoy Syncops Orchestra Arthur Briggs vom Eden Hotel, Berlin

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (violin, alto and tenor sax); Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet?); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (banjo, guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); unknown, not Bob Astor (German male vocal).

Berlin, ca. late August-early September 1927
998 Heut' ist die Käte ete-petete -voc
Foxtrot
M: Anton Profes/T: ?
Hellaphon-998

The only known copy of this disc is now at the Jazz Library of Rutgers University. It bears a red rubber stamp "UNVERKÄUFLICH" (i.e. not for sale) and the additional information "Probeplatte" (i.e. test record) in handwriting. The reverse is master H.4640 Parijs, de Stad der Zonden by a still unidentified orchestra.

Hellaphon may have been a special label for publicity and advertising records, possibly associated with the Bu-Scha label of the Bu-Scha Schallplattenvertriebsgesellschaft m.b.H. at Berlin S.42, which in turn was associated with V.d.M., Rensie and the Artiphon labels controlled by Hermann Eisner, the record industry pioneer.

Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncop's Orchestra with singing chorus (Grammophon 21034) / Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncop's Orchestra (Grammophon 21035) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchestra (Polydor)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor and alto sax); Charlie Vidal (clarinet, alto sax); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (banjo); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); Al Bowlly (vocal, ukulele or muted tenor banjo -1). [End Page 160]

Berlin, ca. September-October 1927
592 bd Song of the wanderer (Wanderer's Lied) -vocAB
(Where Shall I Go?) -1
Foxtrot
M: Neil Morét
Grammophon/Polydor 21034
593 bd Muddy water (Trübes Wasser)
Foxtrot
M: Peter de Rose and Richmann/T: Jo Trent
Grammophon/Polydor 21035

It is probably Al Bowlly who plays a brief fourteen-bar ukulele or muted tenor banjo solo on Song of the wanderer while Engelen plays rhythm banjo throughout.

Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncop's Orchestra (Grammophon 21034, 21037) / Arthur Briggs and his Savoy Syncop's Orch. (Grammophon 21035) / Arthur Briggs's Savoy Syncop's Orchestra (Polydor 21036) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncops Orchestra (Australian Polydor 21037) / Arthur Brigg's Savoy Syncopators Orchestra (Polydor W.103)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor and alto sax); Charlie Vidal (alto sax); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); unknown (rhumba gourds-1).

Berlin, ca. September-October 1927
599 bd Halleluja (Hallelujah!!*)
Foxtrot from revue Hit the deck
M: Vincent Youmans
Grammophon 21034, Polydor 21034*,
Polydor (Australian) W.103*
600 bd Miss Annabelle Lee
Foxtrot
M: Lew Pollack, Harry Richman and Sidney Clare
Grammophon/Polydor 21036
601 bd Memphis
Foxtrot
M: Joe Tarto
Grammophon/Polydor 21036
602 bd Rio Rita -1
Fox Trot
M: Frank Tierney
Grammophon/Polydor 21037,
Polydor (Australian) 21037
603 bd I'm looking for a gal named Mary
(Ich suche die Marie)
Waltz
M: Sam H. Stept
Grammophon/Polydor 21037
604 bd Cheritza.
Viennese Waltz
M: Louis Breau/T: Tom Ford and Irving Bibo
Grammophon/Polydor 21037,
Polydor (Australian) 21037

Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchester (Grammophon 21097, 21096) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncops Orchestra (Polydor 21095) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncopators Orchestra (Australian Polydor 21095, 21097, Polydor W.102, W.103)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor and alto sax); Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet-1); Egide van Gils (piano, glockenspiel-2); Mike Engelen (banjo, guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums).

Berlin, ca. September-October 1927
648 bd Ain't she sweet? (Ist sie nicht reizend?) -1
(¿No Es Lindísima?)
Foxtrot
M: Milton Ager/T: Jack Yellen
Grammophon 21095, Polydor
21095
649 bd Komm' tanz Black Bottom mit mir
(Do the Black Bottom with me)
Foxtrot
M: Geo. Meyer
Grammophon/Polydor 21096
650 bd Russisches Wiegenlied (Russian lullaby*) -2
Foxtrot
M: Irving Berlin
Grammophon/Polydor 21097,
Polydor (Australian) 21097*
651 bd Nur ein Stündchen (One o'clock baby)
Foxtrot
(Bud G. de Sylva and Lew Brown
Grammophon/Polydor 21096
652 bd Ich kenn' ein kleines weißes Haus -1
(There is a little white house*)
Foxtrot
M: Billy Rose/T: Harry Akst
Grammophon/Polydor 21097,
Polydor (Australian) W.102*
653 bd Yale-Blues (The Yale Blues*)
Fox Trot
M: Vivian Ellis
Grammophon/Polydor 21095,
Polydor (Australian) 21095*

[End Page 161]

Despite label identification as a Foxtrot, master 650 bd Russian Lullaby is actually played in waltz tempo.

Grammophon 21097 was first advertised in the December 1, 1927 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift.

Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orch. mit engl. Ges. (Grammophon 21222, 21124) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Sincop's Orchestra (sic on Polydor 21094) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchestra Polydor 21123) / Arthur Brigg's Savoy Syncopators Orchestra (Polydor W.104)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor and alto sax, violin-1); Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet-2); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (banjo, guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); Al Bowlly (vocal).

Berlin, ca. September-October 1927
681 bd Ain't she sweet (Mir geht's gut) -1 -2 -vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Milton Ager/T: Jack Yellen
Grammophon 21124, Polydor 21124
682 bd Geh! Bubi (Do the Black Bottom with me) -vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Geo. W. Meyer
Grammophon/
Polydor 21122
683 bd "Allahabad". Pearl of the East-2
Foxtrot
M: David Bee and Peter Packay
Grammophon/Polydor 21094
684 bd Souvenirs (Erinnerungen) -1 -vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Horatio Nicholls
Grammophon/Polydor 21122,
Polydor (Australian) W.104
685 bd Rubinesque. -1
Foxtrot
M: Anton G. Rubinstein/Arrangement: Katzbach
Grammophon/Polydor 21123,
Polydor 41885
686 bd Justine-Agathe-Marie. -2
Foxtrot
(Vandervinne, Cadin, Fr. Dolys))
Grammophon/Polydor 21094

Grammophon 21094 first advertised in the December 1, 1927 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift. Grammophon 21122, 21123, 21123 in the December 15, 1927 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift. [End Page 162]

Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orch. mit engl. Ges. (Grammophon 21125, 21128)
Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchestra (Polydor 21126, 21127)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor and alto sax); Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet-1); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (banjo, guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); Al Bowlly (vocal).

Berlin, ca. September-October 1927
691 bd Since I found you (Seit ich dich fand) -vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Sidney Clare/T: Harry Woods
Grammophon/Polydor 21125
692 bd Mean dog blues (Wüste Gedanken)
(Pobre hombre Blues) -1
Foxtrot
M: [?Howard] Jackson
Grammophon/Polydor 21126
693 bd Whoo-oo? You-oo! That's who !-vocAB
(Wer ist es?)
Foxtrot
M: Jack Yellen
Grammophon/Polydor 21128
694 bd Rosy cheeks -vocAB
(Rosige Wangen) (Hoyuelos)
Foxtrot
M: Richard E. Whiting/T: Seymour Simons
Grammophon/Polydor 21127
695 bd Roses for remembrance -vocAB
(Rosen zur Erinnerung)
Foxtrot
M+T: Gus Kahn and L. Curtis
Grammophon/Polydor 21128

Grammophon 21125, 21126, 21128 were first advertised in the January 1, 1928 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift. Grammophon 21127 was first advertised in the December 15, 1927 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift.

Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orch. mit engl. Ges. (Grammophon 21124, 21125)
Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchestra (Polydor 21123, 21126)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor and alto sax); Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet-1); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); Al Bowlly (vocal).

Berlin, ca. September-October 1927
700 bd Why don't you? -vocAB
(Warum willst du nicht?) (¿Por Que No Quieres?)
Foxtrot
(Raymond Klages - Lange)
Grammophon/Polydor 21123,
Polydor 41885
701 bd I'm coming Virginia (Ich komme, Virginia) -1
-vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Donald Heywood/T: Will Marion Cook
Grammophon/Polydor 21125
702 bd It all depends on you (Es liegt in deiner Hand) -1
-vocAB
Foxtrot,
M+T: Bud G. de Sylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson
Grammophon/Polydor 21124
703 bd Odle-de-o -1?
Foxtrot
M: Maurie Rubens/T: Clifford Grey
Grammophon/Polydor 21126

[End Page 163]

Grammophon-21123, 21124 were first advertised in the December 15, 1927 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift. Grammophon 21126 was first advertised in the January 1, 1928 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift.

Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orch. mit engl. Ges. (Grammophon 21130)
Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchester (Grammophon 21132, Polydor)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor sax, violin-1); Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet-2); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); Al Bowlly (vocal).

Berlin, ca. September-October 1927
717 bd Dreamy amazon (Amazonen-Träume)
Foxtrot
M: Rebers (?)
Grammophon/Polydor 21129
718 bd Me and my shadow (Ich und mein Schatten)
-vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Dave Dreyer and Al Jolson/T: Billy Rose
Grammophon/Polydor 21130
719 bd Are you happy (Bist du glücklich?) -1,2, -vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Milton Ager
Grammophon/Polydor 21130
720 bd You should see my Tootsie (Kennen Sie mein Liebchen?)
Foxtrot
M: Milton Ager/T: Jack Yellen
Grammophon/Polydor 21129
721 bd Maybe I will (Vielleicht will ich) -vocAB
Foxtrot from Talk About Girls
M: Harry Orlob/T: Irving Caesar
Grammophon/Polydor 21132
723 bd I'm walking on air (Ein Luftspaziergang)
-vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Dan Dougherty/T: William Tracey
Grammophon/Polydor 21131

Grammophon-21129, 21130, 21131 were advertised in the January 1, 1928 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift.

Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchester (Grammophon 21132) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orch. mit Engl. Ges. (Grammophon 21135) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchestra (Polydor) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchestra with English chorus (Polydor 21127, 21134) / Arthur Brigg's Savoy Syncopators Orchestra (Australian Polydor 21097, 21098, Polydor W.103)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor and alto sax, violin-1); Charlie Vidal (alto sax); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums, glockenspiel-2); Al Bowlly (vocal).

Berlin, ca. September-October 1927
733 bd The far away bells -1,2
Fox Trot
M: Westell Gordon
Polydor (Australian) 21097
734 bd Sometimes I am happy -vocAB
(Von Zeit zu Zeit verliebt) (A veces soy feliz)
Foxtrot from musical Hit the deck
M: Vincent Youmans
Grammophon/Polydor 21127,
Polydor (Australian) W.103*
735 bd Ain't that a grand and glorious feeling? -vocAB
(Welch schönes Gefühl)
Foxtrot
M: Milton Ager/T: Jack Yellen
Grammophon/Polydor 21135,
Polydor (Australian) W.102
736 bd Sweet Marie -vocAB
Foxtrot
M+T: Rose - Franke
Grammophon/Polydor 21134
737 bd Baby your mother (Like she babied you)
(Mamas Liebling)
Foxtrot
M: Joe Burke/T: Andrew Donnelly and Dolly Morse
Grammophon/Polydor 21132,
Polydor (Australian) 21098

[End Page 164]

Polydor began pressing in Australia from imported masters in 1927. The Briggs records were advertised in the March 1, 1928 issue of The Australian Musical News. Matrix 733bd on Polydor (Australia) 21097 was only issued in Australia. Reverse of Australian Polydor 21098, although on some copies credited Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncopators Orchestra, is actually master 625 bd Baby My Baby by Efim Schachmeister's Symphonians.

Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orchestra (Grammophon, Polydor) / Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncop's Orch. mit Engl. Ges. (Grammophon 21135) / Arthur Brigg' Savoy Syncopators Orchestra (Australian Polydor 21095, Polydor W.104)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Heinz Müller (trombone); Mario Scanavino (tenor and alto sax, violin-1); Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet-2); Egide van Gils (piano); Mike Engelen (guitar); Hans Holdt (tuba); Chappy Orlay (drums); Al Bowlly (vocal).

Berlin, ca. September-October 1927
738 bd Snag it (Gehässigkeiten)
Slow-Fox
M: Joe Oliver
Grammophon/Polydor 21133
739 bd Untraced unissued?
740 bd Take your finger out of your mouth -1, vocAB
(Nimm den Finger aus dem Mund)
M: Vincent Youmans (label: Duke Johmann)
Grammophon/Polydor 21134,
Polydor (Australian) 21095
741 bd Vo-do-do-de-o blues
Blues
M: Milton Ager/T: Jack Yellen
Grammophon/Polydor 21133
742 bd The little white house -vocAB
(Ein kleines weisses Haus)
Foxtrot
M: James F. Hanley /T: Eddie Dowling
Grammophon/Polydor 21135,
Polydor (Australia) W.104

January 1928: On his way back from France to his next engagement in Vienna, Briggs possibly had a stop-over in Berlin, which would have enabled him to participate in a recording session with John Abriani between January 17 and 20, 1928, as suggested by discographer Horst Lange (Lange 1992, 49-50) and supported by aural evidence, although Briggs himself denied his presence (Briggs to Lotz, April 4, 1978). Briggs could be the trumpet on mx 19831, 19833 or 19840.

John Abriani's Six
John Abriani's Six vom Stephanie Hotel, Baden-Baden und Kasino "Vier Jahreszeiten", Hamburg

Unidentified personnel, possibly including Arthur Briggs (trumpet), Ferri Juza (trombone), 2 (reeds), Helmuth Wernicke (banjo), 1 (tuba), Felice Abriani (banjo), Al Bowlly (vocal), Fred Brownwood (drums), John Abriani (leader, spoken intro-1) [End Page 165]

Berlin, Tuesday, 17 January 1928
19826 I love no one but you -vocAB
Waltz [label: Foxtrot]
M: Phil Spitalny
Homocord 4-2514
19827 My blue heaven - vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Walter Donaldson/T: George Whiting
Homocord 4-2511, 4-2611
19828 Just once again -vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Walter Donaldson/T: Paul Ash
Homocord 4-2512, 4-2613
19832 Dawning
Foxtrot
M: Maceo Pinkard/T: Abner Silver
Homocord 4-2524

19832 apparently out of sequence

same as above

Berlin, Wednesday, 18 January 1928
19829 A shady tree -vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Walter Donaldson
Homocord 4-2613, 4-2511
19830 Are you thinking of me to-night? -vocAB
Waltz
M+T: Benny Davis, Harry Akst, L. Wolfe Gilbert
Homocord 4-2612
19831 My regular girl -1, vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Harry Warren/T: Bud Green
Homocord 4-2512, 4-2611
19833 Shaking the blues away
Foxtrot
M: Irving Berlin
Homocord 4-2514
19834 unidentified unissued
19835-2 Say it with a red red rose -vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Jesse Greer/T: Rose
Homocord 4-2612, 4-2524

same as above

Berlin, Friday, 20 January 1928
19840 All I want is you
Foxtrot
M: Harry Akst/T: Benny Davis, Sidney Clare
Homocord 4-2532
19841 Can't you hear me say I love you? -vocAB
Foxtrot
M: Charles Derickson/T: Bud Brown
Homocord 4-2532

Matrices 19836-19839 are by Abriani's Salon Quintet

About April-September 1928 the Briggs orchestra participated in a film starring one of Paramount's biggest stars, the quintessential "It-Girl" Clara Bow (1905-1965) (Mrs van Gils, widow of pianist Egide van Gils, to Belgian researcher Robert Pernet). The exact details could so far not be verified, nor can any evidence be found that Clara Bow was in Europe at this time.

[Arthur Briggs and his Orchestra]

Berlin-Babelsberg?; ca. April-September 1928
Unidentified titles unidentified silent film

[End Page 166]

Joseph Plaut

Joseph Plaut (comic vocal), accompanied by Arthur Briggs (trumpet, narration) and unidentified orchestra, probably Dajos Béla personnel.

Berlin, Saturday, 14 April 1928
Be6758 Jonny spielt auf! -vocJP-AB
Parodie
T: Joseph Plaut (M: Jessie L. Deppen)
Odeon 0-4051a
Be6759,-2 Jazz in Krimmitschau -vocJP
T: Joseph Plaut
Odeon 0-4051b

Master 6758 is actually a parody on Oh, Miss Hannah, and there is no musical relationship with Krenek's "jazz opera" of that name. This title features a dialogue between Arthur Briggs (in English) and Joseph Plaut (in German).

Chanté par R. B. Evans et son Guitariste Chanteur Jefferson (Azuréphone 1017) / Orchestra Briggs and his Boys (Azuréphone 1018, 1020) / Orchestre Briggs and his Boys (Hébertot) / Briggs and his Black Boys. L'orchestre de Noirs Américains (Discolor)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); René Bassaert (trombone); probably Francis Julierie (tenor and alto sax); Charlie Vidal (alto sax, clarinet-1); Egide van Gils (piano); Maceo B. Jefferson (banjo, guitar); John Warren (tuba); Jean Taylor or Alphonse Kane (drums); Rudy Bayfield Evans, Maceo B. Jefferson (vocal).

Paris, ca. April 1929
4802.AB H-ree-wa-ha mine -vocRBE
?
M:
Azuréphone 1017
4803.AB My lady -vocRBE
?
M:
Azuréphone 1017
4804.AB By the lazy river -vocRBE
Foxtrot
M: Peter Packay [label: Pockray]
Azuréphone 1018, Hébertot CX-20020
4805.AB Then came the dawn -vocRBE
Foxtrot
M: Harry Warren/T: Al Dubin
Azuréphone 1018, Discolor 26
4806.AB Glad rag doll. -vocMBJ-RBE
Foxtrot
M: Miltzon Ager and Dan Dougherty/T: Jack Yellen
Azuréphone 1019, Hébertot CX-20020
4807.AB Only for you (Pour vous, chérie) -vocRBE
Waltz
M: Paul Gazon
Azuréphone 1019, Hébertot CX-20019
4808.AB There's [a] rainbow round my shoulder -1?
Slow-Foxtrot
M+T: Al Jolson, Dave Dreyer and Vincent Rose
Azuréphone 1020, Discolor 11,
4809.AB Shall we remember (Remember*)
Waltz (Valse*) [label: Slow]
M: Cook and Jefferson
Azuréphone 1020, Discolor 11*,
*Hébertot CX-20019, 20020

Jamaican singer Rudy Bayfield Evans (1897-1987) had lived in London since 1925. He was not a regular member of the orchestra and added for the recording sessions only. [End Page 167]

The reverse of Discolor 26 is 4747-AB Why Don't You Love Me. Foxtrot. Avec refrain chanté par Evans. The tune played is actually Why Do I Love You, from the musical Show Boat. Adjacent matrices remain untraced.

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Although credited to Arthur Briggs and his Black Boys this is most probably a mislabeling for a French band of the time, possibly the Orchestre Reckles (which recorded matrices 4736 up to 4739, 1740 remains untraced.).

Briggs has been reported to be present on a September 1930 recording by James Boucher et son Jazz (Pathé X-8754), which is not supported by aural evidence. The trumpet soloist is Harry Cooper.

Ray Ventura and his Collegians

Arthur Briggs, Ray Binder, Erik Krøll (trumpet), André Cauzard, Robert Degaille (trombone), Edouard S.Foy, René Barry (alto sax, clarinet), Roger Berson (alto sax), Serge Glykson (alto sax, flute), John O.Arslanian (tenor sax, clarinet), Georges Effrosse, Noël Chiboust, André David (violin), Bob Vaz, Jean Marcland (Marc Lanjean) (piano), Louis Gasté (guitar), Pierre Simon (bs), Louis Pequeux (sousaphone), "Coco" Aslan (drums, vibraphone), Paul Misraki, Robert Burnier (vocal), Ray Ventura (leader, arrangements)

Paris, 25 October 1930
Ki 3730 My future just passed -voc PM
Foxtrot from movie Safety in numbers
M: R.A.Whiting, G.Marion
Odeon 238175
Ki 3731-1,-2 Good for you, bad for me -voc RB +Trio
Foxtrot from movie Flying high
M: De Sylva, Brown, Henderson
Odeon 238175
Ki 3732-1,-2 Vivons nos rêves (Love is a dreamer) -vRB
Foxtrot
M: Bud Green/ T: St. Granier
Odeon 238176
Ki 3733-1,-2 Tout doux, tout doux
Slow-Fox
M: Ray Ventura/ T: J.Le Seyeux, J.Charley
Odeon 238176

[End Page 168]

Noble Sissle and his Band from Ciro's Club and of Radio and Gramophone Fame

Tommy Ladnier, Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Billy Burns (trombone); Frank "Big Boy" Goudie, Rudy Jackson, Ralph Duquesne (clarinet, soprano-, alto sax); Ramon Usera (tenor sax, clarinet); Lloyd Pinckney (piano); Frank Ethridge (banjo); Edward Coles (tuba, tap dance); Jack Carter (drums, vocal); Noble Sissle (vocal, leader).

London, Pathé film studios, ca. November 1930
Little white lies
Foxtrot
M+T: Walter Donaldson
British Pathétone Film Soundtrack

Noble Sissle and his Sizzling Syncopators

Tommy Ladnier, Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Billy Burns (trombone); Frank 'Big Boy' Goudie, Rudy Jackson, Ralph Duquesne (clarinet, soprano-, alto sax); Ramon Usera (tenor sax, clarinet); Lloyd Pinckney (piano); Frank Ethridge (banjo); Edward Coles (tuba); Jack Carter (drums); Noble Sissle (vocal, leader); Ensemble, unknown female (vocal).

London, Thursday, 11 December 1930
WA 10968-2 Daughter of the Latin Quarter -vocNS/?
Foxtrot
M: Alexandre
Columbia CB-192
WA 10969-1 You can't get to heaven that way -vocNS/ENS
Onestep
M: Seymour Simons/T: Irving Caesar
Columbia CB-193, DF-463
WA 10970-1 Sunny sunflower land -vocNS
Foxtrot
M: Noble Sissle
Columbia CB-192
WA 10971-1 Confessin' (That I love you) -vocNS
Foxtrot
M: Doc Daugherty and Ellis Reynolds/T: Al Neiburg
Columbia CB-193, DF-463

Briggs, although present, is not audible. All trumpet solos by Ladnier

Briggs stated: "I did quite a few free-lance recordings with Ray Ventura, Lud Gluskin and one with Willie Lewis for Pathé." [Briggs to Swiss Researcher Johnny Simmen, 03.09.1971, quoted in "Willie Lewis & his Entertainers", Storyville, 115, October-November 1984, 5]. None of the recordings made with Ventura have been identified as yet. On only a few of the recordings he made with Gluskin and Lewis can he be aurally identified, although he may have been present on others. An attempt is made to list the sessions in their entirety for completeness sake. Recording dates are copied from the recording ledgers, courtesy Olivier Brard, and checked against Horst Bergmeier & Rainer E. Lotz, "Lud Gluskin - A Bio Discography", Fox of 78 Sonderpublikation Nr. 1, 1991, which is based on the Gluskin diaries, courtesy Mrs. Gluskin.

Lud Gluskin et son Orchestre

Lud Gluskin (leader); Arthur Briggs, Alex Renard, Julien Porret (trumpet); Guy Paquinet, René Weiss (trombone); Gene Prendergast (clarinet, tenor and baritone sax); Charles Coco Kiehn (tenor sax, clarinet); Max Blanc (alto sax, clarinet); Rapha Brogiotti, unknown (violin); Paulie Freed (piano); Don Baird (guitar); Jean Belloni (bass); Georges Marion (drums); Florentino Frontela (drums-1); Georges Sellers (accordion-2); Freddy Johnson, John Macklin (vocal); Frank Skinner, M. Gracey, Jack Mason, Brownsmith, Lowry (arrangement). [End Page 169]

Paris, Wednesday, 04 May 1932
301577- Home -2, -vocJM, -arrFS
Rumba Cubaine
M+T: Peter van Steeden, Harry Clarkson and Jeff Clarkson
Pathé X-96189
301578- Mona Lisa -vocJM, arr B and L
Foxtrot
M: Henry Sullivan
Pathé X-96191
301579- Tom-Thumb's drum -1, -vocJM-FJ, -arrMG
Novelty-Foxtrot
M: Leslie Sarony
Pathé X-96189
301580- Oh! Mo'nah! -vocFJ
Foxtrot
M: Ted Weems and Country Washburne/T: Irving King
Pathé X-96191
301581- Une heure près de toi -vocJM, arrJMason
(If I could be [One hour with you])
Foxtrot
M: Richard A. Whiting
Pathé X-96190
301582- Les trois coups
Rumba Cubaine
M: Moises Simons
Pathé X-96190

Pathé X-96191 is 30cm diameter. Briggs can be heard to advantage on 301577 Home, and on 301580 Oh! Mo'nah.

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[End Page 170]

Lud Gluskin et son Orchestre

Lud Gluskin (leader); Arthur Briggs, Alex Renard, Julien Porret (trumpet); Guy Paquinet, René Weiss (trombone); Gene Prendergast (clarinet, tenor and baritone sax); Charles 'Coco' Kiehn (tenor sax, clarinet); Max Blanc (alto sax, clarinet); Rapha Brogiotti, unknown (violin); Paulie Freed (piano, organ-1); Don Baird (guitar); Jean Belloni (bass); Georges Marion (drums); Marcel Véran, unidentified, Kentucky Singers: Arthur Strut Payne, Robert Carber, James Logan, Edward Coleman, Frank Riley (vocal quintet). Unidentified (harp and strings-2), Adolph Deutsch; Arthur Lange (arrangement).

Paris, Thursday, 09 June 1932
301608- Sing a new song -arrFS, -vocKS
Foxtrot
M: Milton Ager
Pathé X-96197
301609- Somebody loves you -vocKS
?Foxtrot
M: Pete de Rose/T: Charles Tobias
Pathé X-96196
301610- Was that the human thing to do? -vocKS
?Foxtrot
M: Sammy Fain/T: Joe Young
Pathé X-96196
301611- Auf Wiedersehen, my dear -2, -arrAD, -voc(French male)
Foxtrot
M: A. Hoffman, Ed Nelson, A. Goodhart and Milton Ager
T: R. Valaire
Pathé X-96195
301612- Paradise -2, -arrAL, -vocMarcel Véran
Waltz
M: Nacio Herb Brown/T: René Nazelles
Pathé X-96195
301613- Joshua fit the battle of Jericho -1, -vocKS
Foxtrot Spiritual
M: Traditional
Pathé X-96197

Briggs plays solo on 301613 Joshua fit the battle of Jericho

Maceo Jefferson and His Orchestra

Arthur Briggs, unknown (trumpet); unknown (trombone); Peter Ducongé, unknown (alto sax); Frank 'Big Boy' Goudie (tenor sax); Freddy Johnson (piano); Maceo Jefferson (banjo, leader); unknown (tuba, bass); unknown (drums).

Paris, ca. 20 December 1932
SS-1253-A Isn't it romantic?
?Foxtrot
M: Richard Rogers/T: Lorenz Hart
Salabert rejected (text exists)

Adjacent matrices are untraced.

Maceo Jefferson and His Boys

Arthur Briggs, Harry Cooper (trumpet); Billy Burns (trombone); Filiberto Rico, Alcide Castellanos (alto sax); Frank 'Big Boy' Goudie (tenor sax); Freddy Johnson (piano); Maceo Jefferson (banjo, leader); Juan Fernandez (bass); Oliver Tines (drums); Elisabeth Welch (vocal).

Paris, ca. March-April 1933
SS 1625-A,-B Ready for love
Foxtrot
M: Maceo Jefferson and A. W. Monfred
Salabert 3360
SS 1626-A,-B Stormy weather -vocEW
Slowfox
M: Ted Koehler/T: Harold Arlen
Salabert 3360
SS-1627-A Crying for love -vocEW
?
M:
Salabert 3372
SS-1628-A,-B Look who's here
Foxtrot
M: Burton Lane/T: Harold Adamson
Salabert Test (-A), Salabert-3372 (-B)

[End Page 171]

Louis Cole, accompagné par Freddy Johnson au piano et Arthur Briggs à la trompette (500262)
Louis Cole, Freddy Johnson, piano, et Arthur Briggs à la trompette (500263)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet solo); Freddy Johnson (piano); Louis Cole (vocal).

Paris, Tuesday, 13 June 1933
6431 BKP Nobody's sweetheart -vocLC
Foxtrot
M+T: Elmer Schoebel, Gus Kahn, Ernie Erdman, Billy Meyers
Brunswick A-500262
6432 BKP Grabbin' blues
Blues
M: Freddy Johnson
Brunswick A-500263
6433 BKP I got rhythm -vocLC
Foxtrot from musical Girl Crazy
M+T: George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin)
Brunswick A-500262
6434 BKP Japanese sandman
Foxtrot
M: Richard Whiting/T: Raymond B. Egan
Brunswick A-500263

Freddy Johnson-Arthur Briggs and Their All Star Orchestra (500278) / Freddy Johnson and his orchestra, avec Arthur Briggs (trompette), et "Big Boy" Goodie (saxophone), refrain chanté par le compositeur Spencer Williams (500277)

Arthur Briggs, Bobby Jones, Theodore Brock (trumpet); Billy Burns (trombone); Peter Ducongé (clarinet, alto sax); Alcide Castellanos (alto sax); Frank "Big Boy" Goudie (tenor sax); Freddy Johnson (piano, arrangement); Sterling Conaway (guitar); Juan Fernandez (bass); Billy Taylor (drums); Louis Cole, Spencer Williams (vocal).

Paris, Saturday, 08 July 1933
6458 BKP Hot Club stomp
Foxtrot
M: ?
rejected
6459 BKP Sing about the Swanee -vocSW
Foxtrot
M+T: Thomas Waller and Spencer Williams
Brunswick A-500277
6460 BKP My baby's gone -vocSW
Foxtrot
M+T: Thomas Waller and Spencer Williams
Brunswick A-500277
6461 BKP Sweet Georgia Brown -vocLC
Foxtrot
M+T: Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard and Kenneth Casey (label: Parrish)
Brunswick A-500278
6462 BKP Foxy and grapesy -vocLC
Foxtrot
M+T: Freddy Johnson and Spencer Williams
Brunswick A-500278

[End Page 172]

Marlene Dietrich mit Orchesterbegleitung
Marlene Dietrich mit Orchester unter Leitung von Peter Kreuder
Jazz Orchester Freddy Johnson; trumpt solo: Arthur Briggs; direction: Peter Kreuder
(Polydor SP-1A)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Peter Ducongé (clarinet); Freddy Johnson (piano); Juan Fernandez (bass); Billy Taylor (drums); Marlene Dietrich (vocal); Peter Kreuder (director).

Paris, Wednesday, 19 July 1933
6476—,-½,-¾ BKP Allein in einer großen Stadt
-vocMD
Chanson
M: José d'Alba/T: Kurt Gerhardt
Polydor 524181, Brunswick 7723,
Decca M-442, Grammophon 25296A
6477—,-½,-¾ BKP Wo ist der Mann? -vocMD
Chanson
M: Peter Kreuder/T: Max Kolpe
Polydor 524182, 530002, 25300,
25559A, SP-1A, Vox-16074,
Grammophon 47002A, 47199,
Brunswick-7724, A-25300

Reverse of Grammophon 47002 is by Tatjana Birkigt; 47199 by Lys Gauty; SP-1A by Anna Sten.

Briggs has been suggested as a sideman on recordings by Tomás et ses Merry Boys for Odeon between 1933 and 1949. This is not supported by aural evidence (in March 1933 the trumpet soloists were —Casta and Eddie Ritten).

Freddy Johnson and His Harlemites

Arthur Briggs, Boby Jones (trumpet); Billy Burns, Herb Flemming (trombone); Booker Pitman (clarinet, alto sax); Clé Saddler (alto sax); Roy Butler (alto-, baritone sax); Alfred Pratt (tenor sax); Freddy Johnson (piano, arrangement); Sterling Conaway (guitar); Juan Fernandez (bass); Billy Taylor (drums).

Paris, Saturday, 14 October 1933
6574 BKP Sweet madness
Foxtrot
M: Freddy Johnson
Brunswick A-500340, Decca F-3810
6575-,-½ BKP Harlem bound
Foxtrot
M: Freddy Johnson
Brunswick A-500340, Decca F-3810
6576 BKP I've got rhythm
Foxtrot from musical Girl Crazy
M+T: George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin)
Brunswick A-500341

Freddy Johnson and His Harlemites

Arthur Briggs, Bobby Jones (trumpet); Billy Burns, Herb Flemming (trombone); Booker Pitman (clarinet, alto sax); Clé Saddler (alto sax); Roy Butler (alto-, baritone sax); Alfred Pratt (tenor sax); Freddy Johnson (piano, arrangement); Sterling Conaway (guitar); Juan Fernandez (bass); Billy Taylor (drums).

Paris, Tuesday, 07 December 1933
6645-, BKP I've got rhythm
Foxtrot from musical Girl Crazy
M+T: George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin)
Decca F-5110
6646 BKP Tiger rag
?Foxtrot
M: Dominic "Nick" LaRocca
Brunswick A-500341, Decca F-5110

[End Page 173]

Don Alfredo Marimba Band

Possibly Arthur Briggs, Eddie Ritten (trumpet); unknown (trombone); (3 reeds); (piano); (guitar), (bass); Don Alfredo (marimba, xylophone); Bart Curtis (drums, vocal); Chiquito (vocal).

Paris, Friday, 09 March 1934
CL 4748-1,-2 Close your eyes -vocBC
Foxtrot
M: Bernice Petkere
Columbia DF-1467
CL 4749-1,-2 Get hot foot
Foxtrot
M:
Columbia DF-1466
CL 4750-1,-2 Silencio -vocBC
Rumba
M:
Columbia DF-1466
CL 4751-1,-2 Pourquoi quand je te dis "Je t'aime?"
?
M:
Columbia DF-1467

The presence of Briggs on this session is doubtful

The presence of Briggs has been suggested for a February 2, 1935 session by German emigrant singer Leon Monosson accompanied by Alain Romans du Poste Parisien et son Ensemble (Columbia DF-1676, DF-1690). This is not supported by aural evidence.

Coleman Hawkins with Michel Warlop and His Orchestra (X-4497, K-7455, 7527)

Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Arthur Briggs (solo trumpet), Noel Chiboust, Pierre Allier (trumpet); Guy Paquinet (trombone); André Ekyan, Charles Lisée (alto sax); Alix Combelle (tenor sax); Stéphane Grappelli (piano); Django Reinhardt (guitar); Eugène d'Hellemes (bass); Maurice Chaillou (drums).

Paris, Saturday, 02 March 1935
0LA 346-1 Blue moon
Foxtrot
M: Richard Rogers/T: Lorenz Hart
Electrola EG-3537, HMV B-8388,
HMV K-7455, X-4497,
Victor JA-860, A-1419
0LA 346-2 Blue moon unissued
0LA 347-1 Avalon
Foxtrot
M: Vincent Rose/T: Al Jolson and Bud G. de Sylva
Electrola EG-3537, HMV B-8388,
HMV K-7527, X-4496
0LA 347-2 Avalon unissued
0LA 348-1 What a difference a day made
Foxtrot
M: Maria Grewer/T: Stanley Adams
HMV B-8494, K-7455, X-4497,
Victor JA-860

Django Reinhardt et le Quintette du Hot Club de France avec Arthur Briggs et Stéphane Grappelli / Stephane Grappelli and His Hot Four (UK Decca) / Quintet of the Hot Club of France (US Decca) / Hot Club of France Quintet (Royale, Varsity)

Arthur Briggs (solo trumpet); Alphonse Cox, Pierre Allier (trumpet); Eugène d'Hellemes (trombone); Stéphane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt (solo guitar), Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre "Baro" Ferret (guitar); Louis Vola (bass).

Paris, late June 1935
P-77434 Avalon
Foxtrot
M: Vincent Rose/T: Al Jolson and Bud G. de Sylva
Ultraphone AP-1512,
Decca F-6077, 23002, Y-5204,
Brunswick A-81074, Royale 1780,
Varsity 8379, Polydor(Japan) A-142
P-77435 Smoke rings
Foxtrot
M: Gene Gifford/T: Ned Washington
Ultraphone AP-1512, Decca F-6531,
Brunswick A-81304, Joe Davis-8005,
Royale 1788, Varsity 8379

[End Page 174]

[Unknown artist credit]

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Stéphane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt (guitar); unknown (piano); Louis Vola (bass).

Paris, ca. August 1935
Bright eyes Ultraphone unissued

Despite some reports to the contrary, this recording does exist. Its origin, however, remains obscure.

Arthur Briggs

Arthur Briggs (trumpet solo); Stéphane Grappelli (violin); unknown (piano); Django Reinhardt (guitar); possibly Louis Vola (bass).

Paris, late September 1935
P-77... Tiger rag
?Foxtrot
M: Dominic Nick LaRocca
Ultraphone rejected
P-77... Sweet Georgia Brown
Foxtrot
M+T: Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard and Kenneth Casey
Ultraphone rejected
P-77... Who?
Foxtrot
M: Jerome Kern/T: Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II
Ultraphone rejected
P-77... There'll be some changes made
Foxtrot
M: J. B. Overstreet/T: Billy Higgins
Ultraphone rejected

All masters were destroyed

Willie Lewis and His Orchestra
Interpreté par Willie Lewis and his Entertainers
(Pathé PA-1027)

Bill Coleman, possibly Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Billy Burns (trombone); Joe Hayman (alto,-tenor and baritone sax); Willie Lewis, George Johnson (alto sax); Frank "Big Boy" Goudie (tenor sax); Herman Chittison (piano); John Mitchell (guitar); Louis Vola (bass); Ted Fields (drums); Ensemble (vocal); Karla (spoken instructions-1).

Paris, Thursday, 15 October 1936
CPT 2900-1 Au rhythme du jazz: Culture physique, 1re Partie -1
Huit exercises de Karla. Presenté par "Votre Beauté"
M: Irving Berlin
Pathé PA-1027
CPT 2901-1 Au rhythme du jazz: Culture physique, 2e Partie -2
Huit exercises de Karla. Presenté par "Votre Beauté"
M: Irving Berlin
Pathé PA-1027
CPT 2902-1 Sing-Sing-Sing -vocENS
Foxtrot
M: Louis Prima and Spud Murphy
Pathé PA-1029
CPT 2903-1 Knock, knock, who's there? -vocENS
Foxtrot
M: Vincent Lopez/T: Johnny Morris
Pathé PA-1029
CPT 2904-1 Sweet Sue
Foxtrot
M: Victor Young/T: Will J. Harris
Pathé PA-1030
CPT 2905-1 Organ grinder's swing
Foxtrot
M: Will Hudson/T: Irving Mills and Mitchell Parrish
Pathé PA-1030

[End Page 175]

The presence of Briggs is doubtful. He cannot aurally be identified.

Interpreté par Willie Lewis and his Entertainers (Pathé PA-1060)
Willie Lewis and his Entertainers (Pathé PA-1061)

Arthur Briggs, Bill Coleman, possibly also Jack Butler (trumpet); Billy Burns (trombone); Joe Hayman (alto-, tenor and baritone sax); Willie Lewis (reeds, vocal), George Johnson (alto sax); Frank 'Big Boy' Goudie (tenor sax); Herman Chittison (piano); John Mitchell (guitar); Louis Vola (bass); Ted Fields (drums); Jean Tranchant (French vocal).

Paris, Thursday, 12 November 1936
CPT 2965-1 On your toes -vocWL
From revue On your toes
M: Richard Rodgers/T: Lorenz Hart
Pathé PA-1060
CPT 2966-1 There's a small hotel -vocWL
From revue On your toes
M: Richard Rodgers/T: Lorenz Hart
Pathé PA-1060
CPT 2967-1 Le soleil s'en fout -vocJT
Chanson optimiste
(Jean Tranchant, J. H. Tranchant)
Pathé PA-1061
CPT 2968-1 Love (Le mot qui signifie "Amour") -vocJT
(Jean Tranchant, J. H. Tranchant)
Pathé PA-1061

Briggs remembered only one recording with Willie Lewis, On your toes. All other trumpet work is by Bill Coleman.

Willie Lewis et son Orchestre / Willie Lewis and his Orchestra

Bill Coleman, Jack Butler, possibly Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Billy Burns (trombone); Joe Hayman (alto-, tenor and baritone sax); Willie Lewis (alto sax); Frank 'Big Boy' Goudie (tenor sax); Herman Chittison (piano); John Mitchell (guitar); Wilson Myers (bass, arrangement); Ted Fields (drums); Willie Lewis (vocal).

Paris, Monday, 18 October 1937
CPT 3474-1 Ol' man river -arrWM
Foxtrot
M: Jerome Kern/T: Oscar Hammerstein
Pathé PA-1297, Columbia FB-1990,
GN-5032
CPT 3475-1 Swing! Brothers, swing -vocWL
Foxtrot
(Lewis Raymond, Walter Bishop, Clarence Williams)
Pathé PA-1295, Columbia FB-1955,
GN-5026
CPT 3476-1 Swing time
Foxtrot
M: Willie Lewis and Maceo Jefferson
Pathé PA-1295, Columbia FB-1990,
GN-5032
CPT 3477- Doin' the new lowdown
Foxtrot
M: Jimmie McHugh/T: Dorothy Fields
Pathé PA-1296
CPT 3478- Swinging for a Swiss miss
Foxtrot
M: P. Bretscher
Pathé PA-1296
CPT 3479-1 Basin Street Blues -arrWM
Foxtrot
M: Spencer Williams
Pathé PA-1297, Columbia FB-1955,
GN-5026

The presence of Briggs is doubtful. He cannot aurally be identified. All trumpet work is by Bill Coleman, except Swing Time: Bill Coleman 16+8, Jack Butler last 6. [End Page 176]

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Arthur Briggs and his Orchestra (Swing 72) / Arthur Briggs and his Swing Band (Swing 72) / Arthur Briggs et son Orchestre (Swing 205)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Christian Wagner (clarinet); Ray Stokes (piano); Django Reinhardt (guitar); Tony Rovira (bass).

Paris, Thursday, 15 February 1940
OSW 95-1 My melancholy baby
Foxtrot
M: Ernie Burnett/T: George A. Norton
Swing 72B
OSW 96-1 Braggin' the Briggs - Part 1
?Foxtrot
M: Arthur Briggs
Swing 205A
OSW 97-1 Braggin' the Briggs - Part 2
?Foxtrot
M: Arthur Briggs
Swing 205B
OSW 98-1 Sometimes I'm happy
Foxtrot
M: Vincent Youmans/T: Irving Caesar
originally rejected (unissued on 78)
OSW 99-1 Scatter brain
Foxtrot
M: Kahn Keene, Carl Bean and Frankie Masters (on label: Mastas)
T: Johnny Burke
Swing 72A

Eddie Barclay and his Orchestra

Eddie Barclay (leader); Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Hubert Rostaing (clarinet); André Ekyan, Chico Cristobal (alto sax); Charles Lisée (alto-, tenor sax, clarinet); Max Hugot (tenor sax); Jacques Diéval (piano); Pierre Gérardot (guitar); Lucien Simoëns (bass); Jerry Mengo (drums, vocal); Hubert Rostaing, Jerry Mengo (arrangement) [End Page 177]

Paris, Thursday, 01 February 1945
ST 1236-1,-2 Paper doll -vocJM
Foxtrot
M: Johnny S. Black
Blue Star BS-14
ST 1237-1,-2 A lovely way to spend an evening -vocJM
Foxtrot
M: Jimmy McHugh/T: Harold Adamson
Blue Star BS-13
ST 1238-1 I'll walk alone -voc JM
Foxtrot
M: Jule Styne/T: Sammy Cahn
Blue Star BS-13
ST 1239-1,-2 Goodnight wherever you are -vocJM
Foxtrot
M+T: Dick Robertson, Al Hoffmann and Frank Weldon
Blue Star BS-14
ST 1240-1,-2 Smiles
Song
M: Lee M. Roberts/J. Will Callahan
unissued

Blue Star Swing Band

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); Hubert Rostaing (clarinet); André Ekyan (alt sax), Chico Cristobal (tenor sax); Jacques Diéval (piano); Pierre Gérardot (guitar); Lucien Simoëns (bass); Jerry Mengo (drums)

Paris, Thursday, 01 February 1945
ST 1241-1, -2? Blues for sale
?Song
M:
Blue Star BS-3

Arthur Briggs and his Orchestra

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); others unknown.

Paris, Tuesday, 06 April 1945
ST 1263- It had to be you
Foxtrot
M: Isham Jones/T: Gus Kahn
Blue Star unissued
ST 1264- Blue Lou
Foxtrot
M: [?Edgar Sampson]
Blue Star unissued
ST 1265-1,-2 Briggs' boogie
Boogie Woogie
M: Arthur Briggs
Blue Star-11
ST 1266-1,-2 When the saints go marching in
Foxtrot
M: Traditional
Blue Star-11
No description available
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[End Page 178]

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Arthur Briggs et son "Society Dance Orchestra" (French Pathé)
Arthur Briggs y sus "Society Dance Orchestra" (*Argentine Pathé)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); others unknown, possibly including: Charles Lisée (tenor sax, clarinet); André Darbonneville, Claude Rué, André Tibault (alto sax, clarinet); Pierre Dutillet or Figaro Thibaut (piano); André Gerion (guitar); Emmanuel "Nono" Sude (bass); Georges Mandel (accordion, bass); Robert Monmarché (drums); A. Delonnerville, Jean Gruyer (arrangement).

Paris, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, 08 December 1950
CPT 7983-1,-2 Where in the world
Foxtrot
M:
Pathé PG-466
CPT 7984-1,-2 Let's choo choo choo to Idaho-arrJG
(*El tren a Idaho)
Fox-Swing
M+T: Al Rinker, Floyd Huddleston
Pathé PG-455, *FN-0016
CPT 7985-1,-2 Chattanooga shoe shine boy
Foxtrot
M: Harry Stone and Jack Stapp
Pathé PG-466
CPT 7986-1,-2 Joseph, Joseph -arrAD
Foxtrot
M+T: Louis Hennevé, Léon Palex
Pathé PG-455

Arthur Briggs et son "Society Dance Orchestra" (French Pathé)
Arthur Briggs y sus "Society Dance Orchestra" (*Argentine Pathé)

Arthur Briggs (trumpet); others unknown, possibly including: Charles Lisée (tenor sax, clarinet); André Darbonneville, Claude Rué, André Tibault (alto sax, clarinet); Pierre Dutillet or Figaro Thibaut (piano); André Gerion (guitar); Emmanuel "Nono" Sude (bass); Georges Mandel (accordion, bass); Robert Monmarché (drums); A. Delonnerville, Jean Gruyer (arrangement).

Paris, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, 17 March 1951
CPT 8167-1,-2 Nevertheless -arrAD
Foxtrot
M: Harry Ruby
Pathé PG-493
CPT 8168-1,-2 I just can't do enough for you, baby -arrJG
Foxtrot
M: Sammy Fain
Pathé PG-508
CPT 8169-1,-2 The Continental (*El Continental)
Foxtrot
M: Con Conrad
Pathé PG-493, *FN-0016
CPT 8170-1,-2 Goodnight sweetheart -arrJG
Slowfox
M+T: Ray Noble, Jimmy Campbell and Ray Connelly
Pathé PG-508

[End Page 179]

Arthur Briggs et son "Society Dance Orchestra"

Arthur Briggs (trumpet, vocal); others unknown, possibly including: Charles Lisée (tenor sax, clarinet); André Darbonneville, Claude Rué, André Tibault (alto sax, clarinet); Pierre Dutillet or Figaro Thibaut (piano); André Gerion (guitar); Emmanuel "Nono" Sude (bass); Georges Mandel (accordion, bass); Robert Monmarché (drums); A. Delonnerville, Jean Gruyer (arrangement).

Paris, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Wednesday, 27 February 1952
CPT 8713-1,-2 Rita de Panama
Foxtrot
M: Henri Leca
Pathé PG-668, 33AT1009 [10"LP]
CPT 8714- unknown title unissued
CPT 8715-1,-2 Rag Mop -vocAB and Ensemble
Foxtrot
M+T: Johnny Lee Wills, Deacon Anderson
Pathé PG-668, 33AT1009 [10"LP]
8713/5 were run onto Tape No. BLP 291 in October 1952.
CPT ____ Rose de la tonnelle
Boléro (Chanson)
M: Marceau Dehette/T: P. Amel
Pathé 33AT1009 [10"LP, Nov 1952]
CPT ____ Qu'elle était jolie
Boléro (Chanson)
M: R. Lucchesi and J. Brito
Pathé 33AT1009 [10"LP, Nov 1952]
CPT ____ Soft shoe song (The dance my darlin' used to do)
Slow
M: Roy Jordan/T: Sid Bass
Pathé 33AT1009 [10"LP, Nov 1952]
LP mastering number XPT 142-2
CPT ____ Cry
Foxtrot (Song)
M+T: Churchill Kohlman
Pathé 33AT1009 [10"LP, Nov 1952]
CPT ____ Shanghaî
Foxtrot (Song)
M: Milton de Lugg/T: Bob Hilliard
Pathé 33AT1009 [10"LP, Nov 1952]
CPT ____ I do, do, do like you
Calypso-Samba
M+T: Allie Wrubel
Pathé 33AT1009 [10"LP, Nov 1952]
CPT ____ Une petite île
Samba
M: Hubert Giraud/T: Jean Dréjac
Pathé 33AT1009 [10"LP, Nov 1952]
CPT ____ Cheeky cheeky hoopla
Foxtrot
M: Al Hoffmann/T: Bob Merrill
Pathé 33AT1009 [10"LP, Nov 1952]
LP mastering number XPT 143-2

Arthur Briggs Orchestra / Arthur Briggs et son "Society Dance Orchestra" probably similar personnel

Paris, ?Théâtre des Champs Elysées ca. March 1953
CPT ____ La nuit sur la vallée
Chanson
M: Louis Gasté
Pathé 45EA2 [EP, released Nov 1953]
CPT ____ Jericho
Chanson
M: Louis Gasté
Pathé 45EA2 [EP, released Nov 1953]
CPT ____ Sensual
Tango
M: G. Gomez
Pathé 45EA2 [EP, released Nov 1953]
CPT ____ Chou
M: Bourdin and Astor
Pathé 45EA2 [EP, released Nov 1953]

[End Page 180]

Arthur Briggs et son "Society Dance Orchestra" probably similar personnel

Paris, ?Théâtre des Champs Elysées ca. 1953
CPT 9532-1,-2 Las Vegas
Samba
M: Arthur Briggs
Pathé PG834 [78, released May 1954]
CPT 9977-2 Banania da Costa Rica
Samba lente
M: Gorge Gavarentz [George Diran Wem]/T: Gérard Deyan
Pathé PG834 [78, released May 1954]
CPT 10451-2 Mambo B
Mambo
M: Arthur Briggs and Marc di Domenico/T: Yvon Marc
Pathé PG833 [78, released May 1954]
CPT 10452-2 You're so dangerous
Slow-Fox
M: Robert Mellin
Pathé PA3058 [78, released Feb 1954]
CPT 10453-2 Bal aux Baléares (Mallorca)
Mambo Bolero (Chanson)
M: Louis Gasté
Pathé PA3058 [78, released Feb 1954]
CPT 10454-2 Macaco
Mambo
M: Arthur Briggs and Marc di Domenico
Pathé PG833 [78, released May 1954]

Arthur Briggs et son "Society Dance Orchestra" probably similar personnel

Paris, ca. 1954
CPT 10979-2 Baiao des flots bleus (Baiao no Braz)
Baiao
M: Humberto Teixeira, Luis Gonzaga
Pathé PG 935
CPT 10980 unidentified title unissued ?
CPT 10981-2 La Brésilienne (Em louvor a Sào Joào)
Baiao
M: George Brass
Pathé PG 935

Sessions by Noble Sissle's band on February 24, 1931, and April 21, 1931, referred to in the text have inadvertently been omitted from the discography. [End Page 181]

Footnotes

1. Berresford, Mark. 2010. That's got 'em. The life and music of Wilbur C. Sweatman. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Brard, Olivier, and Daniel Nevers. 1989. Le jazz en France: Jazz and hot dance music discography, selection 1. Paris: M.A.D. (Musiques, Archives, Documents).

Brard, Olivier, and Daniel Nevers. 1991. Le jazz en France: Jazz and hot dance music discography, selection 3. Paris: M.A.D. (Musiques, Archives, Documents).

Lange, Horst H., 1992. Die deutsche "78" er Discographie der Hot-Dance- und Jazz-Musik 1903-1958. Berlin: Panther.

Rust, Brian. 2002 (Malcolm Shaw, editor). Jazz and ragtime records (1897.1942), Volume I:A-K, Volume II:L-Z. Denver: Mainspring.

Lotz, Rainer E. 2006. Deutsche Hot-Discographie. Cake Walk, Ragtime, Hot Dance & Jazz— in Handbuch (incl. CD-ROM). Bonn: Birgit Lotz Verlag.

Footnotes

1. The actual transcript is slightly different from the printed version. Goddard's lengthy interviews with Briggs are a valuable source of information, although Briggs repeatedly complained after publication about Goddard's alleged misquoting. In interviews with Rainer E.Lotz, Briggs recalled that "in many cases he used his own imagination" (January 4, 1979) and "by transforming certain of my phrases to inject animosity among my fellow musicians towards me and my story" (February 4, 1980). Transcribing spoken interviews for reproduction in print is a difficult task and slight alterations and adaptations inevitable, though they should not change the meaning.

2. In a 1982 interview with James Lincoln Collier (Jazz Oral History Project of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, New Jersey), Collier questions Briggs on his birthplace. Collier: "Grenada?" Briggs: "Grenada, Mississippi." Collier: "Is that somewhere in the Delta country, was it?" Briggs: "Yes, it certainly was. I was brought up in Charleston." Collier: "What did your Dad do down there?" Briggs: "He was a sanitary inspector." Collier: "In Charleston?" Briggs: "In Charleston." Panassié (1987, 361), has him born in St. Georges, Canada, on April 9, 1901. An essay in the Roaring Jazz Crooner Chronicle (A. M. 1976), supposedly based on an interview with Briggs by Allard Möller, repeats this, but perhaps Möller copied the information from Panassié (as did several other jazz dictionaries).

3. The authors gratefully acknowledge the research undertaken by Mark Miller and Howard Rye, who checked immigration, shipping line, and census data, as well as Charleston Orphanage files (Rye to Lotz, November 22, 2007; Miller to Lotz, November 23, 2007; Green to Lotz, November 23, 2007). When interviewed by British researcher Jeffrey Green for the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Briggs flatly denied that he was born in the Caribbean (Kernfeld 2002, 304).

4. Allard Möller states: "Briggs enlisted as a military bandsman but when the U.S. began to take part in W.W.I in 1917, he was too young to be sent overseas" (A. M. 1976, 5).

5. Briggs interview with Dutch researcher Ate van Delden, May 30, 1974.

6. American researcher Warren Plath to Rainer E. Lotz, December 3, 1981.

7. The most recent edition of Brian Rust's discography (Rust and Shaw 2002, 1646), lists Briggs as trumpet player on this session.

8. Sweatman's biographer Mark Berresford to Lotz, April 14, 2008.

9. Berresford to Lotz, April 28, 2008.

10. The band never performed at Buckingham Palace before King George V, as claimed by H. O. Brunn (1960).

11. Briggs to Lotz, Paris, March 6, 1979.

12. Johs Bergh to Bergmeier, February 4, 1988.

13. This information may have been obtained from Briggs in an interview dated April 28, 1973.

14. "Hugh Fitz Pollard was one of our great percussionists, classically trained and an exponent of vaudeville in the pit orchestra or for accompanying acts, revues, shows, etc. He also excelled in dance music. He accompanied Mistinguett at the Alhambra, Brussels 1922. That was my first continental venture. He returned to Chicago in 1923 due to bad health" (Briggs to Lotz, July 5, 1982).

15. Drummer Paul Delvi, when interviewed by French researcher Bertrand Demeusy, identified him as "a Swiss musician who had a Brazilian Negro wife" (Demeusy 1979).

16. Around July 1923 the Orchestre Pollard's Six, directed by Harry Pollard, recorded two sides for Pathé in France. The latest edition of Brian Rust's Jazz Records (Rust and Shaw 2002, 1274) still lists Arthur Briggs as probable trumpeter; Briggs, however, denied his presence when interviewed by Daniel Guerin and Lotz, and suggested Bobby Jones.

17. Later to be renamed Le Pingouin, Willie Lewis played there in 1932, and still later it became famous as Le Boeuf sur le Toit.

18. Banjoist Al Hughes was registered in Vienna on April 30, 1925, as having arrived from Brussels.

19. Regular advertisements were placed in Theater-Courier der Wiener Allgemeinen Zeitung, starting from Friday, May 1, 1925, and ending on Sunday, June 28, 1925.

20. "Heute Mittwoch. Erstes Auftreten der weltberühmten American Jazz-Band Ralph Day vom 'Negrosco' [sic] Hotel Nizza," Theater-Courier der Wiener Allgemeinen Zeitung, July 2, 1925, 12. (See also Die Bühne, July 1925). Day was last advertised in the September 11, 1925 issue.

21. "Diese sechs exotischen Musikkünstler stehen im Mittelpunk des Wiener Nachtlebens. Das Getöse von zehn verschiedenen Instrumenten vereinigt sich mit melodiöser Tanzmusik, und Banjo, Trompete, Jazz, Saxophone (groß und klein), ja sogar Geige und Klavier und eine Reihe anderer exotischer Instrumente fordern das Publikum zum Tanzen auf. Merkwürdig ist, dass jeder einzelne etwas anderes zu spielen scheint und der Rhythmus des Tanzes dabei doch niemals verloren geht. Überaus amüsant, wenn dieses halbe Dutzend Negermusiker ihre ?Songs' zum Vortrag bringen. Das Publikum horcht mäuschenstill auf die Vortragenden und vergisst beinahe den Tanz. Arthur Briggs ist der ?Chef' dieser Band und erreichte das, was er wollte, den Wienern zu gefallen" (Turl, "Wien bei Nacht: Die Nigger Jazz-Band von der Weihburg Bar," Neues 8-Uhr-Blatt, November 14, 1925).

22. The following newspaper writeups were unearthed by Austrian researcher Konrad Nowakowski: "Ein artistisches Ereignis ersten Ranges bildet das Zusammentreffen der Chocolate Kiddies in der Weihburg Bar. Eine Schar junger Neger kommt jeden Abend in diese Bar, um sich mit der dort engagierten Nigger Jazz zu unterhalten. Es ist ein Vergnügen, die Neger zu beobachten. Ihre Füße ruhen nicht, und sogar sitzend trampeln sie mit den Füßen und steppen nach der Musik der Arthur Briggs Band. Auch heute, nach ihrem ersten Auftreten, werden sich die Chocolate Kiddies dort einfinden und hoffentlich ihre Tanzkünste zeigen. Daß dies geschieht, dafür sorgt schon der liebenswürdige Direktor Glasel" ("Die Chocolate Kiddies," Neues 8 Uhr Blatt, November 19, 1925). "Am Donnerstag hatte die Weihburg Bar eine Sensation. Das zahlreiche Publikum warteteauf die Chocolate Kiddies, die nach der Vorstellung um ½ 11 Uhr nachts in der Bar erschienen und mit stürmischem Applaus empfangen wurden. . . . Das Publikum applaudierte, und die zwei Eddis tanzten und sangen aus Liebe zur Sache und ohne Gage" ("Die Chocolate Kiddies als Gäste in der Weihburg Bar," Neues 8 Uhr Blatt, November 21, 1925).

"Nach der heutigen Abschiedsvorstellung im Raimund Theater werden die Künstler in der Weihburg Bar erscheinen, um bei ihren Kollegen der Nigger Jazz, Artur Briggs, zu tanzen, spielen und singen. Kein Wiener wird heute in der Weihburg Bar fehlen, um diese famosen Tänzer zum letztenmal bewundern zu können" ("Heute Abschiedsfeier der Chocolate Kiddies in der Weihburg Bar," Neues 8 Uhr Blatt, December 2, 1925). For New Year's Eve 1925, an advertisement was placed: "Große Überraschungen - Die Chocolate Kiddies—Arthur Briggs—der Weihburg Bar und das Savoy-Orchester" (Neues 8 Uhr Blatt, December 31, 1925).

23. Horst Bergmeier and Rainer E. Lotz, The Alex Hyde Bio/Discography (Menden: Jazzfreund Publikation, 1986). Horst Bergmeier and Rainer E. Lotz, Eric Borchard Story (Menden: Jazzfreund-Publikation no. 35, 1988).

24. The August 15, 1926 issue of the New York Age erroneously advertised that Porter Grainger and Freddie Johnson's musical Lucky Sambo opened at the New 125th Street Theatre in New York, with music provided by "Arthur Briggs and his Gang Orchestra." Briggs was in Vienna at the time, and the pit orchestra in New York was directed by Arthur Gibbs, the composer of Running Wild.

25. Briggs to Lotz, November 22, 1977.

26. When Kirchstein prepared a listing of his Berlin engagements he denied ever having played with Briggs (Kirchstein to Lotz, May 7, 1984).

27. The disc was recommended as perfect for dancing: "Für intimere Lokale ist der diskreteCharleston It made you happy der ausgezeichneten Kapelle Briggs vom Eden-Hotelbestimmt, für Freunde der rhythmischer Besonderheiten der Quick-Fox derselben Kapelle Bugle Call Rag" (Der Tanz - Monatschrift für Tanzkultur, October 1927, 28).

28. Kristall 3010 is a freak pressing credited on both sides to "Marimba 'La Joya' Guatemala," coupling "Das Lied vom Angeln" (Vox master 1575) which is indeed played by the marimba orchestra as labeled, with master 1537 ("Bugle Call Rag" by Briggs), instead of 1573 "Die alte Mühle." Apparently the clerk responsible made a mistake.

29. Briggs to Italian researcher Adriano Mazzoletti, September 3, 1982 (Mazzoletti 2004, 135-136, 197-198).

30. Danzi to Lotz, February 25, 1976.

31. Briggs to Lotz, October 15, 1977.

32. Briggs to Dutch researcher Ate van Delden, ca. 1974.

33. Briggs to Lotz, October 15, 1977.

34. Briggs to Lotz, Paris, 1979.

35. It is part of the Harold Flakser collection at the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, New Jersey.

36. They also served their purpose as dance music, and the quickstep "Ain't She Sweet" was recommended by a dance magazine (Der Tanz - Monatsschrift für Tanzkultur, December 1927-January 1928, 30).

37. Edgar Adeler and Don Barrigo to Bergmeier, interviews conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa, 1975-1976.

38. R. H. [Rudolf Happrich], "Von der Wiener Negerinvasion," Der Artist, February 24, 1928.

39. Not February 26 until March 25, 1928, as stated elsewhere.

40. Briggs to Lotz, November 22, 1977.

41. SRZ Süddeutsche Rundfunk-Zeitung, October 14, 1928 (no. 42); October 21, 1928 (no. 43). Bernd Hoffmann, "Zur Frühgeschichte afro-amerikanischer Musik in Deutschland: 'Jazz' am Frankfurter Sender," ZfMP Zeitschrift für Musikpädagogik, 38 (1987): 40-45. Bernd Hoffmann, "Aspekte zur Jazz-Rezeption in Deutschland: Afro-amerikanische Musik im Spiegel der Musikpresse 1900-1945," Jazz Research 35 (2003).

42. Actually, Briggs may have fronted the Fantasio Band for a while, as a slightly racist comment seems to indicate: "Der Verbindung des Negertrompeters (Briggs) mit den weißhäutigen Herrn haftet noch etwas improvisiertes an. Ins Esplanade gehören erprobte, leistungsfähige Kapellen . . . die Fantasio Band gewann Sympathien . . . bei Briggs trifft dies nicht zu" (Max Albert, "Grand Café Esplande," Der Artist, November 16, 1928).

43. "Die weißen Jazzmusiker im Café Esplanade lassen sich nun von dem NegerdirigentenArthur Briggs dirigieren. Man erwartet einen Kapellenlenker, der über seinen Musikern epileptisch den Stab schwingt und das mit den Armen tut, was sonst das schwarze Element auf dem Tanzpodium mit den Beinen besorgt. Nichts von dem. Mister Briggs liebt, was sonst kein Neger liebt: das Mass. Er führt sein Jazzmilitär mit der Trompete an, die deutsch und korrekt in seinen Händen funkelt, als hätte sie von Ufer zu Ufer zu blasen. Das Dirigieren besorgt der Körper mit einem Vibrato der Schulter oder einem sanften Wippen des Kopfes, aber da sich der Meister dem Publikum zuwendet, haben es die Musiker nicht leicht, aus der ihnen verbleibenden Schattenansicht ihres Anführers die Intentionen herauszuspüren, denen sie zu folgen haben. Herr Briggs steht also unerschütterlich hinter seiner Trompete, die er famos bläst, dass der von Säckingen neidisch werden könnte. Es ist eine Trompete, die in verschiedenen Rollen brilliert; sie spielt Kindertrompete, tönt wiederum so leis und erstickt als ob sie bauchrednern wollte, quitscht zahm oder nimmt einen Anlauf zu einem blendenden Gesang" ("Schwarzer Dirigent," Neue Zürcher Zeitung, November 14, 1928).

44. Jazz Tango, January 1933 (no. 28).

45. "Artur Briggs ist wieder hier und beweist, welchen Wert und welche geschäftliche Zugkraft eine erstklassige Kapelle für ein modernes Kaffeehaus besitzt. Er gastierte vor einigenMonaten im Café Sacher auf der Kaiserstraße und ist dort jetzt reengagiert. Diese Jazzkapellevon Namen ist unermüdlich, kennt eigentlich kaum eine längere oder kürzere Pause und bedeutet die Attraktion, die Sacher braucht" ("Musikkritiken," Der Artist, January 11, 1929).

46. Briggs was briefly mentioned in the July 1929 and October 1929 editions of La Revue du Jazz.

47. The violin virtuoso Berndt Buchbinder spoke up for Briggs, "who could give all Germans a lesson" (Der Artist, November 1, 1929).

48. The first advertisement was placed in the October 23, 1929, issue of the Frankfurter Generalanzeiger. On Wednesday, October 27, 1929, a "farewell concert" was announced for Saturday, October 30. The November 1, 1929, issue carried notice of the prolongation of the contract.

49. SRZ Süddeutsche Rundfunk-Zeitung, November 7, 1929 (no. 44); November 11, 1929 (no. 45).

50. For a detailed discussion of Sissle's British sojourns, see Rye 1983.

51. Sponsored by the newspaper L'Intransigéant and members of the Paris black entertainment community at the Théâtre Champs Elysées in aid of flood victims ("200 Performers thrill French with music and mimicry at Paris benefit," New York Amsterdam News, April 23, 1930, 10).

52. The Sissle orchestra may have flown into London for a day's visit earlier than that. The November 8, 1930 issue of the Afro-American has a photograph of the band en route to the Paris airport to fly to London "for a special engagement."

53. [Baltimore] Afro-American, December 20, 1930. According to Möller, the orchestra "returned to the U.S.A. where they almost immediately landed a long-term contract with the New York Park Central Hotel" (A. M. 1976, 5). This could not be substantiated.

54. Adriano Mazoletti (2004, 271) claims that Chicago-born Paul "Spade" Jones (piano, violin, arranger), came to Europe with his own orchestra in 1930 and played—but never recorded—with Freddy Johnson and Arthur Briggs. No precise date is suggested. The August 22, 1942 issue of Melody Maker ("Collector's Corner," 4) quotes saxophonist Jimmy Fykes as having traveled to England in 1916, left for India in 1917, worked in South America, North Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and settled in Turkey. According to his own testimony he returned to Europe, where he joined Arthur Briggs, but again no date is given.

55. "In 1931, he [Arthur Strut] Payne was in charge of the Kentucky Singers, who performed at the Monte Carlo Sporting Club accompanied by my orchestra" (Briggs to Lotz, November 22, 1982).

56. Although Hugues Panassié wrote a short piece on Briggs in the July 1934 issue (no. 46) of Jazz Tango, he did not list one single side with Briggs in his Discographie Critique des Meilleurs Disques de Jazz (Panassié 1958).

57. "Sweet Georgia Brown" was not recorded on this occasion; it had already been waxed on July 8, but without Butler.

58. Advertisement, Het Vaderland, February 27, 1934.

59. The May 1935 edition (no. 56) of Jazz Tango carried a brief note, that "Briggs et son orchestre" had left the Music Box.

60. Arthur Briggs obituary, The [London] Times, July 30, 1991.

61. Briggs to Goddard; the transcript, not used in the book, was kindly made available by German researcher Karl Gert zur Heide.

62. "Famous Negro trumpet player's adventures under Nazis in France," Melody Maker, December 30, 1944, 2. The individual page is misdated December 23, 1944.

63. Due to his failing eyesight Briggs found it increasingly difficult to write. He entered an agreement with one of the authors, Lotz, whereby he would tape his memoirs and Lotz would handle translations and publication through Rabbit Press (jointly owned by Jeffrey Green, Ian Pegg, and Lotz). However, his tape recorder broke down and was not repaired. In 1982 Adriano Mazzoletti had acquired the rights for Italian television. Although they did a five-hour taping of Briggs's professional activities, this was presumably never aired. Lotz also proposed to reissue Briggs's complete output in chronological order on four CDs on Bruce Bastin's British-based Harlequin label. Although the transfers were ready for mastering, that deal fell through due to the difficult situation of the independent record business.

64. Briggs' previous twenty-two years of marriage to a Belgian wife ended in an unhappy divorce. Briggs stated that "fortunately we had no offspring" (Briggs to Lotz, January 26, 1979.

65. Briggs apparently had no other close relatives. He mentioned "one of my great nephews [Martin Briggs-Hall] was promoted Captain, West Point graduate in 1975" (Briggs to Lotz, January 4, 1979). On another occasion he referred to "one of my great nephews who is a graduate jazz historian" with whom he spoke during a visit to the States in 1974 (Briggs to Lotz, September 27, 1979).