Although her name appears nowhere on this poster, this can easily be called an authentic 1930s Billie Holiday concert poster.
That’s because this Artie Shaw window card states “And His Orchestra,” without naming Billie or any of the other individual musicians.
This is s shame, because Chick Webb’s 1938 concert window cards all listed Ella Fitzgerald on the poster as his singer. However, Ella was with Chick Webb for years and Billie was with Art Shaw for just months.
It’s interesting to note that almost any 1938 Art Shaw concert poster would feature Billie Holiday in his orchestra, with the exception of the earliest and latest months of that year.
Additionally, there exists a 1939 Jimmie Lunceford concert poster that includes Billy Holiday down near the bottom, misspelling her name. So that pains me about this Shaw poster even more!
And wait, there’s more: there’s a ’30s Count Basie concert poster which mentions Billie Holiday down at the bottom. One version of this 1937 Basie window card states “Featuring Billie Holiday and James Rushing,” whereas another version mentions just Rushing.
Collectors who desire a concert poster dedicated to Lady Day herself, and not a big-band leader, can chase after a 1940s Billie Holiday concert poster from Sacremento, Calif. dated Tuesday, March 1, without the year being mentioned. 1949 is the year on that one, and the state capitol of Sacramento is erroneously spelled.
Big-band and jazz telephone-pole concert posters from the 1930s and ’40s, and for that matter to this very day, were made of stiff cardboard to help ward off inclement weather, especially moisture.
Back to my video now: this Art Shaw concert placard features colors of orange and black, and contains a sketch of Shaw’s face, not a photograph.
The dimensions of this big-band concert billboard are 14 by 22 inches, very much the standard for such posters.
While this concert broadside uses the name “Art Shaw,” notice that I trade off that name with “Artie Shaw” because the latter is how the legendary clarinetist was better known.
Here is what this poster says, from top to bottom: CRYSTAL (name of the ballroom) – Thurs. Sept. 1 – (And then a plug for another act, most unusually): Every Saturday Jay Van’s Orchestra
In Person – King of the Clarinet – Art Shaw and his Orchestra
(In very bottom margin): Management: Rockwell O’Keffe, Inc. – Rockefeller Center, Radio City, N.Y. – 32 West Randolph Street, Chicago, Ill. (on Chicago’s famous “loop”) – 8949 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, Calif. (on the famous Sunset Strip).
As always, this early vintage jazz concert poster is discussed with high enthusiasm by collector Pete Howard of PosterCentral.com (phone 805-540-0020, email address firstname.lastname@example.org). I’m a huge, huge Lady Day fan and will pay top dollar, period, for any old, original Billie Holiday concert poster like these.
And if this video tickled your fancy, move over and see more old big-band window cards on this page right here on my web site: