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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceTrombonists(Moderator: zemry) Ernie Fields Orchestra/Russell "Big Chief" Moore - photo location ID needed
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Author Topic: Ernie Fields Orchestra/Russell "Big Chief" Moore - photo location ID needed  (Read 903 times)
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« on: Mar 18, 2017, 03:46PM »

Hello all,

I've just completed a major article for the ITA Journal that will run in the July 2017 issue about jazz trombonist Russell "Big Chief" Moore, a member of the Akimel O'odham (Pima) Tribe of Native Americans (Arizona) who had a long career as a "traditional jazz" player. He played with many bands over the years before his death in 1983 including a stint with Louis Armstrong and the All Stars, as well as Sidney Bechet, Oran "Hot Lips" Page, and many others. He is a fascinating person and player who has been overlooked for too long and researching this article has been very rewarding for me. I hope the ITA Journal readership finds his story to be as compelling as I have.

Here is where I am hoping someone might be able to help me. I recently obtained the oldest known photo of Russell Moore, taken around 1940; this is an original, vintage photo, not a modern print. The photo, shown below, is of the Ernie Fields Orchestra. Fields was a trombonist (wearing a white suit in the photo; his trombone is behind him, to his left) who had a big band that was based in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Russell Moore met him at the Apollo Club in Harlem and joined the band, playing concerts in Philadelphia, Chicago and finally in Tulsa. In this photo, Moore is shown in the middle of the trombone section, second from the left, playing lead trombone. Among the things of interest is the fact that Moore is the only non-African-American in the band. He was truly color blind, and spent his career working with players both black and white, and from many countries.

The back of the photo has a stamp on it saying the photo was reproduced by "Photo Service Company, 127 N. Dearborn, Street, Chicago." This leads me to think that this photo might have been taken when the band was in Chicago for gigs.

I wonder if anyone on the Forum has seen another photo taken in this location and that might help me identify where this photo was taken. I realize it's a long shot, a real needle in a haystack. The only distinguishing features in the room are the Art Deco designs on the mirrors on either side of the bandstand. I'm sure there were dozens of such places in many large cities. But on the chance that someone might recognize this space from another photo, I thought I'd ask.

To view a larger version of this photo, go to:


With thanks,

Douglas Yeo


Douglas Yeo   

Professor of Trombone, Arizona State University (2012-2016) - retired
Bass Trombonist, Boston Symphony Orchestra (1985-2012) - retired

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« Reply #1 on: Mar 18, 2017, 06:27PM »

It's worth noting that they're on a temporary stage (looks like carpeted 6'x6' platforms). Most big clubs and hotel ballrooms would have had something much fancier.

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