Gotta Be This Or That - JazzWax

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June 30, 2011


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jeff helgesen

"Russian born Emil Coleman led a popular New York City society band. He formed his band in the early 1920s and was performing at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel as late as 1958."


Bruno Leicht

Hi Marc --

This is a fantastic post, once again. Thanks for reminding us of "Gotta Be This Or That". -- Slam Stewart was with Benny at this time, and on this very recording.

He is the one who sang the phrase "Gotta Be This Or That". I know it, because he sang it to me in person.

Well, it's for the very first time I can tell this little personal story:

Slam was the member of an all-star swing group who toured Europe in the early 1980's: "The Great Eight", featuring Buddy Tate, Billy Butterfield, Johnny Mince, Tal Farlow, Red Norvo, Teddy Wilson, Slam, and Sam Woodyard.

I went backstage after the concert, and talked to the swinging greats. -- Each of them gave me his autograph in George T. Simon's book "The Big Bands". -- It was great fun, hearing the original performer sing the famous phrase quasi directly into my ear. Alas, I can't remember if it was the left, or the right ear.

Anyway, gotta be this or that. ;)

P.S. -- Feel free to click on my name for a very special anniversary.

Bruno Leicht

2nd P.S. -- The above comment wouldn't make sense 'cause the UTuber hasn't posted the full version of "Gotta Be This Or That".

It can be heard here now, transferred directly from a very old 10", Benny Goodman Dance Parade:

The 2nd part (where you had to turn around the disc in 1945) starts with Slam, then comes Red Norvo with a very percussive solo. "Get it Red, get it!", little chat with Benny, over and out.

Ed Frank

If you check the writing on the photo in this link, it appears that Emil Coleman's "P.R." drummer may have been named "Phil Rule".

For Love of The Music,
Ed Frank


Like the blog, appreciate the share!

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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