UPDATED: 6-9-2009


Big Jay walks and blows outside the Club Oasis in Los Angeles with brother Bob on baritone trailing after him (circa 1953). Big Jay wails and Bob bleats
in the early '50s.
Fan Barbara Enright meets her hero at
a Southern California Doo-Wop Society
show. Photo by Lonnee Eileen.

Outside the Club Oasis. Big Jay goofs with Johnnie Ray backstage at the
Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, late 1951.

Big Jay plays at the Seattle Birdland Club with Boyd Dunlop (piano) and James Pleasant (bass) in 1957-58.

"Deacon" McNeely blows behind his back for deejay Ray Robinson at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, late 1951. Big Jay with his "There Is Something On Your Mind" band at El Monte Legion Stadium in 1958: Wendell Johnson (guitar), Dillard McNeely (bass), Leonard Hardiman (drums), Little Sonny Warner and Bob McNeely (baritone sax). Big Jay blasts the crowd at New York's famous Birdland in 1952.

Big Jay and Bob McNeely blow on Ed McKenzie's Saturday Party TV show in Cleveland, circa 1956. Big Jay honks at a Kansas City club around 1955-56. (Photo courtesy of Kansas City Museum, Kansas City, Mo.) Big Jay and Cab Calloway gigged together in Vienna, Austria, in 1990.

Big Jay at the Ronnie Mack's Barn Dance 16th anniversary show at Crazy Jack's in Burbank, California, January 2004
(Photos by Earl Reinhalter)

Big Jay's first Federal 45-rpm EP, 1952.   Volume 2   Volume 3

Volume 4   10-inch LP   Top Rank Records released Big Jay's first two Swingin' singles on this French EP.

This was the third pressing of Big Jay's first record. Originally released in 1948 as by the Johnny Otis Band, the label was changed in early 1949 after Big Jay's No. 1 R&B hit, "Deacon's Hop." The two earlier pressings have different B-sides.   The cover of "The Big Horn" booklet, a part of the 4-CD Proper box-set of 100 R&B honker recordings, featured Bob Willoughby's famous photo of Big Jay playing at the Olympic Auditorium in late 1951. The kid in the middle of the photo (with the yellow shirt in this hand-tinted photo) is Marty Clark, who reunited with Big Jay at a Toluca Lake gig (at Crazy Jack's) in 2002. This photo has been displayed at museums all over the world, and appeared in a 2008 issue of Newsweek. Willoughby, who now lives in France, was mainly a Hollywood photographer whose photos of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and others are now classics.   "Surfin' EP"

vintage performance photo   June 2000 in Seattle


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