A really outrageous Fats Navarro concert poster from Harlem, New York in the spring of 1949.
I say “outrageous” because of its unique feature of using red velvet, or felt, on much of the top half of the poster.
This bebop jazz window card has to be seen in person to be believed… you have to run your fingers over it to really appreciate it.
But I do my best in this video to tilt the poster at an angle, toward the camera, to give you a look at its spectacularly unusual 3D effect.
I mean, heck, any Fats Navarro placard from the 1940s would be cool enough, but when you add in the red velvet here, it just hits it out of the park.
I don’t care if this were a circus poster, I think I’d want it framed on my wall. In all my years of poster collecting, I’ve never seen anything like it. Have you?
If you were to have just one bebop jazz show poster in your collection, how could you possibly beat this one?
Sure, Dizzy and Thelonious are bigger names, but the velvet treatment here elevates it to #1 in my book!
It doesn’t even matter that this cardboard Fats Navarro poster board is significantly tattered around the edges… where are you ever going to find another one?
But I would refrain from having it restored by a paper expert… I’d rather just frame it as is, maybe “frame out” or “mat out” the damage, and have it look old.
I’d be inclined to call this a bebop jazz tour poster, but then I realized that it was almost certainly a “one-off,” or one-use-only, poster.
There just isn’t enough flexibility in the pertinent this-night-only information that’s given in several different places on the poster, for it to be a “tour blank.”
That’s a shame, because anyone seeking out old Fats Navarro concert memorabilia would only have this exact show to find this from.
Whereas many other great posters I’ve blogged here have been tour blanks that were used for an entire tour, sometimes over a year or two. Not this one.
Besides using that amazing velvet, this bebop jazz broadside was printed in red and mint green inks… interesting how no black ink was used.
That’s very unusual in itself. Normally, if a printer used two colors like this, they throw in the normal black, too, and then on a white background you’d have a four-color poster.
But all bets are off with this Fats Navarro in-person poster, due to its red-velvet content. Maybe the black ink would’ve proven difficult, and messy, around the velvet.
I’m really hoping a viewer contacts me with news of another poster, somewhere along the line, that used this unique printing feature. Even if it’s a modern-day poster.
OK, I’ve gone on & on about the velvet found on this bebop jazz window poster. Let’s get down to what it tells customers.
The big date right in the middle is highly unusual… you can’t miss it, and for some reason, the “23” is the biggest font used on the poster.
But since this was a Fats Navarro street poster, they really wanted the date to jump out at people walking by… it adds a sense of urgency.
The closer it drew to April 23, the more important that large and velvet “23” was.
Any other bebop jazz concert placard I’ve seen has the date typically printed in at the top, where it also drew lots of attention.
But again, that was for tour blanks that were used for many cities along a national (or regional) tour.
And then this Fats Navarro billboard gives the ticket prices as $1.35 in advance and $1.50 at the door.
That sounds outrageous today, of course, but any collector of vintage concert memorabilia is used to seeing that by now. Heck, lots of Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong posters have admission as only a buck.
If you’re not a particular Fats fan but you want a vintage bebop jazz ticket poster, this thing rattles off six musicians out of Fats’ trumpet that most will recognize.
Those beboppers would be Kenny Clarke, Milt “Bags” Jackson, Walter Bishop, Curley Russell, Earl Coleman and Allen Eager. With mint-green stars scattered amongst them.
You’ll see in my video that this Fats Navarro window display was made of cardboard and measures the standard 14×22” in size.
But everything else about it is very un-standard… for jazz fans, it’s a beauty, if not a museum piece.
If you’re seeking a bebop jazz tour placard for your collection, you’re probably going to seek out only the 1940s and ’50s… that was the genre’s heyday.
At least these things weren’t lost to the WWII paper drives… which ate up a lot of 1930s big-band posters… because bebop didn’t really come of age until after the war.
I wonder if there was ever a jumbo Fats Navarro show placard made… meaning 22×28” in size.
I’ve seen that size for Louis Armstrong and other postwar jazz and blues artists, so it’s a legitimate question.
We don’t know who printed this particular bebop jazz concert announcement, because the printer’s credit down at the bottom has been obliterated by masking tape.
The tape appears to be as old as the poster itself, so I don’t dare try to lift it off, for fear of tearing up whatever ink is there.
It’s a good bet that Prince & Maxwell printed this Fats Navarro event poster, however, because they also printed many of the other concert posters found in this stash.
So why the cover-up tape job? It’s anybody’s guess… perhaps the person thought that it detracted from the poster’s outstanding design.
The name of the venue for this bebop jazz boxing-style concert poster is part of its appeal, IMHO… I always love a catchy venue name.
And this is a good one: Rockland Palace Ballroom, 155 St. & 8th Ave. That’s at the very northern end of Harlem on the island of Manhattan.
I love the way this Fats Navarro concert sign hints that the music may have run all night. Instead of a customary “9:00 PM to 1:00 AM” or something like that, it says the show started at 10:00 PM and ran until… “?”
So it’s easy to envision a swinging Harlem hot spot where the jazz music played all night long – especially on a Saturday night.
The promoter is listed at the top of this bebop jazz telephone-pole poster, but it’s a bit hard to read their name because the color contrast is not strong.
But right there in the far upper left, it states, “San Juan Hill Assoc. Presents.” It’s easy to miss, compared to all the other writing.
This Fats Navarro tour placard – oops, I mean one-off poster – was exposed to a lot of moisture over the years, contributing to its fragile state today.
Moisture can be an insidious enemy of old paper or cardboard items, so oftentimes it’s best if a restorer treats the item to stop the mildewing process.
This outstanding piece of bebop jazz concert memorabilia is presented today by long-time collector Peter J. Howard, of California’s central coast. I pay the BEST PRICES IN THE HOBBY for vintage concert posters and collectibles like this. I can be written to at email@example.com, or phoned at (805) 540-0020.
To see a few more delicious examples of vintage, classic jazz concert posters and placards, just slip over to this page here on my site: http://www.postercentral.com/jazz.htm