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On September 16, 1957, Will Alger and I met with agent Joe Glaser and signed a three-year contract for the Salt City SIx with his Associated Booking Corp. Jack Maheu had left the band in April for the Dukes of Dixieland whom Glaser also represented and Nick Palumbo had taken Jack’s place. Our agreement included an announcement ad in Variety with no commissions paid on certain prior jobs. Glaser was instrumental in getting the band booked in top NYC clubs like the Metropole, Nick’s, the Roundtable as well as the Stardust in Vegas and the Theatrical Lounge in Cleveland. He also obtained a contract with Roulette Records. Later, I used the agency for Roy Liberto’s Bourbon St. Six band from New Orleans which I also managed. One of my prize possessions is Liberto’s contract for the Teamsters Convention in Miami in 1966 signed by Jimmy Hoffa and myself (I even danced with his wife). The agency was formed in 1940 by Glaser and Armstrong. According to Vanity Fair (4/‘97), Glaser began as a “fight promoter and fight fixer for the Capone Mob”. His family owned several Chicago Nightclubs, including the Sunset Cafe which he managed and became Armstrong’s manager for the rest of his life. No other agency was bigger on the jazz scene than ABC. Phil Napoleon had initially recommended that we sign with Glaser but I chose MCA which also paid off with bookings like The Meadowbrook, Princess Hotel, and the Persian Terrace (Bermuda). Through the years, Glaser represented such artists as Billie Holiday, Mildred Bailey, Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, Les Brown, Andy Kirk & the Clouds of Joy, Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Barbra Striesand and Arethra Franklin. He also represented Dinah Washington. I remember waiting in the reception room to see Glaser when she was sitting across the room, obviously under the influence of whatever. Joe came out, greeted her, pulled out a wad of bills and gave it to her and she left. She died two years later. 

 

In my opinion, far too little recognition has been given to agents like Glaser who were, and still are, indispensable to the development and success of so many jazz artists.  Without those “ten percenters”, the history of jazz would have been quite different.