Text Box: JAZZ autographs

Text Box:

Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247


Price: $125.00



Autographed and inscribed 8” x 10” action photograph of the legendary trumpet virtuoso and bandleader, c. 1980’s.

James (1916-1983) was born to a circus family.  His parents worked for the Haag Circus and his middle name is Haag.  At the age of 10, his Father began to teach him trumpet and within a short period of time he was playing in the circus band.  They moved to Texas in 1924 and Harry was playing in the clubs in and around Beaumont in the early 30’s, latching a gig with the Herman Waldman’s Band, which led to Ben Pollack grabbing him for his band in 1935.  He toured with the band through 1936 and signed on with Benny Goodman in 1937.  The talented James was so virtuostic that Goodman began to feature him in tunes like “Ridin’ High” and James played with his band through the end of 1938.  James then put together his own band, The Music Makers with the help of Benny Goodman in 1939.  Let’s put it this way, they became huge very quickly with saxophonist Sam Donahue, clarinetist Vido Musso and tenor saxophonist Corcky Corcaran as soloists. Frank Sinatra was first hired by James for his band in 1939 for $75 per week! He appeared in his first of several films “Springtime in the Rockies” in 1942, Betty Grable was in the cast and they married a year later.  (His 2nd wife)  The first band ran through 1946 and then disbanded. He reorganized the band a year later and played with them until a few days before his death in 1983.

James was a bold and accurate trumpeter.  He was virtuosic and videos exist of truly bravura performances of “The Flight of the Bumblebee” and “Carnival of Venice”, old standbys from his circus days which were arranged for his big band.  Numerous recordings!

Many of the James autographs on the market, especially the ones with “Chestefield Wishes” are secretarial.  This photograph is highly authentic!