Text Box: JAZZ autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541


Price: $250.00



Autographed and inscribed 8” x 10” photograph by the tenor saxophonist, band leader and a founder of bebop, cool and soul jazz to New York City bluesman Clyde Robinson.  Ammons writes:


To Clyde,


Here’s hoping this deck won’t change your mind about being a fan of mine - If not, try and get more to join you as far as my music is concerned - be cool


Your friend




Ammons (1925-1974) was a major figure in jazz during his lifetime and perhaps more so after his early death. The son of boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons, he forged his own path on the tenor sax, starting with Billy Eckstine’s band in 1944, as the saxophone duet with Charlie Parker and after Parker left, Dexter Gordon.  Eckstine disbanded the group in 1947 and went out as a solo singer, sometime flugel horn player and Ammons formed a house band form the Jumptown Club in Chicago, hiring Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt among others.  Two years later the saxophonist joined Woody Herman’s Second Herd and in 1950 performed regularly with Stitt as a duet.  He also released the famed Chess Records first recording in 1950, “My Foolish Heat” and “Bless You” which were instant hits and the first, their top selling recording of 1950!  The “orchestra” mentioned in the photograph was perhaps his greatest moment as a musician, partnering up again  with Sonny Stitt on tenor and baritone sax.  This group played regularly at Birdland through 1951 and came back periodically through 1955.


Through the 1950’s, he recorded prolifically with colleagues like, Kenny Burrell, John Coletrane, Art Farmer, Duke Jordan and others.  His 1956 record, “Happy Blues” is legendary.  In 1958 he was arrested and tried for heroin possession which led to his incarceration from 1958-1960 and a second arrest in 1962, led to a second prison term from 1962-1969 where he was sent to Joliet in Illinois.  Whilst in prison he led the prison band.  After his release in 1969, he was signed by Prestige Records for the most lucrative contract they had offered to that time.  For the rest of his life, he performed and recorded with a wide group of artists due to his varying genres within jazz.  Ammons passed away from cancer at the age of 48.


Ammons was not beholden to any one school of jazz, however, his styles in several cases were the precursors to what became modal and cool jazz and in a sense was a mentor to John Coletrane and Miles Davis in that respect.  The saxophonist began in the blues world, moved to swing, bebop, soul jazz and r&b.  As he purposefully adopt a single style like, Coletrane, Gordon, Hawkins, or Parker, he did not reach the modicum of fame that some of the other sax players who stayed true to their genre, but his recordings still stand up well over time.


The photograph from bluesman Clyde Robinson’s collection were likely acquired when he ran a blues, or jazz club in New York City.  The collection, mostly jazz and blues also contained a wide variety of other autographs from film to country. We suspect these photographs at one time were framed on the wall of the club and later, he used a three hole punch and placed them in loose leaf binders.


With the exception of the three holes punched to the right of the image, the photograph is in otherwise fine condition.  That said, a rare and important jazz autograph!