Sunday, July 4, 2010

Designs in Music - Raymond Scott & Dorothy Collins


It appears that this may be John playing the Sax in this performance.  This is December 1961 &  John would have been 49 years old looking very much like other family members in many ways.  In 1939 - 40 a cousin visited John in New York City and he was said to be working at the time with Raymond Scott.  It has been made very clear to me that John was an Arranger of Music not a performing musician even though he was very skilled on the Sax, Clarinet & Piano.  When I first spoke with the Catholic Nun that had watched over him in the last years of his life she corrected me when I called him a musician,  she stated, "No he was an  Arranger".  So even as his memories faded in the last years of his life he still knew who he was.  On his marriage license  in 1938 for occupation it clearly states  "Arranger of Music".  John was also an early member of the New York Division of ASMA (American Society of Music Arrangers).  Now know as ASMAC (American Society of Music Arrangers & Composers.    ASMAC website

Given the clear facts he was an Arranger first... there were downturns and changes in the music business during the 50's & 60's for financial reasons he may of had to do public performances to keep himself fed. If there was some connection, if not a longtime friendship with Raymond Scott maybe this was a case of a friend helping another out by way of giving him a job.

If this is not John,  I came across a Sax player years ago that had a Myspace or Facebook type site that I shared a few emails with; it may be him,  as he told me that he had played with one of the last Raymond Scott Quintettes for one performance.  Although he was a "much" younger guy  than John. I don't believe Scott did public performances with a band after 1963.  I wish I could find him again,  at the time he had a younger female vocalist that sometimes performed with him at venues in New York City.  Anyone have any clues??

Also, if anyone can identify any of the other musicians other than Raymond Scott & his wife Dorothy Collins in this video let me know.   The two guys at the end of the line up on clarinet & trumpet really strike me as two faces I use to see as a comedy character team that appeared on commercials or in some sitcoms in the sixties. 

If this was a New York production what control did the Local #802 Union have regarding performing musicians. John was not a registered #802 member, at least not under his legal name.

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  1. Hi, To all:

    My name is John Alexander and I am Virginia (Bartee) Alexander's oldest son. I came across this site and was pleasantly surprized to see photos of the Bartee family, including my mother when she was a young girl. Virginia passed away in 2009 at the age of 84.

    As a young child living in Burbank, CA., I recall John visiting our home. He had a box of sheet music and a guitar. I was very young, perhaps 4 years old, but I was very interested in John and the music stuff that he had. At that time, I do not think the family realized his accomplishments.

    I began playing guitar at the age of 8 and then bass Upright and electric at the age of 12. I continue to perform professsionaly on a very frequent basis. Music has always been my true love (not always a benefit to my relationships and family).

    Please feel welcome to contact me with additional information or questions that you may have.

    John Alexander

  2. Thanks for stopping by John.

    Got a couple of pictures of you on electric bass & guitar. Look forward to the day when you can play that Upright along with other musicians... as the layers of sound, and the Music of John Bartee are once again performed & recorded.

    Have some good feelings about the newly discovered Music, especially John Bartee's composition, "NB California". aka /Newport Beach. Ca.