Strangest Book of the Week #3 - Triple Signed Jazz

Strangest Book of the Week #3 - Triple Signed Jazz

This week I'm highlighting a book because it has been signed by three African American jazz legends. That alone is fantastic, but one of them isn't even mentioned in the book, and the other signed his name in a very strange place...

The Encyclopedia of Jazz by Leonard Feather, second printing, 1956.

The half-title page is signed by Harry Belafonte, even though he isn't mentioned in the text, nor is he particularly remembered for his contributions to jazz. But apparently he did play some jazz up until the mid-1950s, and in 1956 his solo album Calypso came out and was the first solo album to ever sell over a million copies (source). Doubtless he knew many artists that are mentioned in the book.

Secondly, Dizzy Gillespie was good enough to sign where his photo is in the book. And last of all, James Moody signed his name on the page edges, visible when the book is opened to Dizzy's photo. Perhaps Dizzy signed the book and James signed it right after, but on the page edges...? The two of them did play together.

Pure conjecture, but I'd love to have evidence that this was signed by all three at what would have been one of the final Cavalcade of Jazz events, which were held annually between 1945 and 1958 in Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California. Maybe if I could have found any information about the previous owner, Dorothy King...

The Encyclopedia of Jazz by Leonard Feather, 1956Encyclopedia of Jazz by Leonard Feather with Harry Belafonte signatureDizzy Gillespie signed photoJames Moody's signature

And you know after finding Dizzy's signature I had to comb through this book looking for any other signatures because WHO KNOWS where they could have been hiding!

The book is currently at auction over on eBay, ending Tuesday April 4th, 2023.

Take it away, Mr Moody...

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