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MILTON 'MEZZ' MEZZROW and HUGHES PANASSIE!<BR>Mezzrow's Memebership Card to The Hot Club De France,<BR>Signed by Mezzrow and Hot Club Founder Panassie!<BR>SOLD!

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Here is a very special piece of jazz history. Offered here is Milton 'Mezz' Mezzrow's personal 'musicien' membership card at the legendary parisian jazz haunt, Hot Club De France.

The piece shows considerable wear and is missing a corner as is evident in the scan, but considering the Mighty Mezz himself was probably carrying it around in his back pocket for years (and possibly using it to cut lines of coke backstage!) the condition is not too shabby!

It is signed on the front by Mezz (using his full name: Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow) and famous French jazz critic and Hot Club president and founder, Hughes Panassie (he has signed H. Panassie). The writing on the back also appers to be in Panassie's hand, probably a reminder for Mezz to show up at a gig - the gig just happened to be the legendary 1948 Jazz Festival in Nice, France. He has written,

"Festival du Jazz a Nice
Feb 22 - 28, 1948"

The front of the card is stunning (click on image at the top of this page for a close up), not only containing the coveted blue "MUSICIEN" overlay, but including the words,

'Federation Des Hot-Clubs
Fonde en 1932
President D'Honneur; Louis Armstrong'

Mezz was an average clarinetist who endeared himself to his fellow musicians by being the best drug connection in the jazz world of the 1930s and 1940s, hence the reference to "The Mighty Mezz" in the jazz classic about pot smoking, "When You're a Viper".

Below are bios from the All Music Guide to Jazz on both Hughes Panassie and Mezz Mezzrow:

Mezz Mezzrow (1899-1972)
Mezz Mezzrow occupies an odd and unique place in jazz history. Although an enthusiastic clarinetist, he was never much of a player, sounding best on the blues. A passionate propagandist for Chicago and New Orleans jazz and the rights of Blacks (he meant well but tended to overstate his case), Mezzrow was actually most significant for writing his colorful and somewhat fanciful memoirs Really the Blues and for being a reliable supplier of marijuana in the 1930s and '40s. In the 1920s he was part of the Chicago jazz scene, at first helping the young White players and then annoying them with his inflexible musical opinions. Mezzrow recorded with the Jungle Kings, the Chicago Rhythm Kings and Eddie Condon during 1927-28, often on tenor. In the 1930s he led a few swing-oriented dates that featured all-star integrated bands in 1933-34 and 1936-37. The French critic Hugues Panassie was always a big supporter of Mezzrow's playing and Mezz was well-featured on sessions in 1938 with Tommy Ladnier and Sidney Bechet; "Really the Blues" is a near-classic. Mezzrow had his own King Jazz label during 1945-47, mostly documenting ensemble-oriented blues jams with Bechet and occasionally Hot Lips Page. After appearing at the 1948 Nice Jazz festival, Mezzrow eventually moved to France where he recorded fairly regularly during 1951-55 (including with Lee Collins and Buck Clayton) along with a final album in 1959. -- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Hughes Panassie (1912-1974)
Without question the first great non-American jazz critic, Hughes Panassie studied saxophone and began writing about the music at 18. He was a founder and later president of "The Hot Club De France" and edited Jazz Hot from 1936 to 1947. He also wrote the book Le Jazz Hot, a mid-'30s treatise that was a leader among periodicals in addressing the music as a serious art form. Panassie organized a series of small-group recording sessions in 1938 with Mezz Mezzrow, Tommy Ladnier and Sidney Bechet that reportedly led to Eddie Condon's famous comment that "he didn't go over there (to France) and tell him how to stomp a grape." Count Basie recorded "Panassie' Stomp" that same year. Panassie recorded and produced a swing date led by Frankie Newton in 1939. But he was an avowed, unrepentant anti-bebop scribe, repeatedly denouncing the form as the antithesis of jazz. He continued the charges until his death in the mid-'70s. Panassie's extensive private collection now resides in the Discotheque Municipale at Villefranche-de-Rougergue. -- Ron Wynn, All Music Guide

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