September 22, 1945 p. 22
IF YOU ARE ONE of those people who are interested in night clubs and the talent which earn their living therein, you must have been puzzled by the double talk ads which appeared in the metropolitan press last week on the new Zanzibar show which opened Wednesday nigrt [sic]. Carl Erbe who thinks up the publicity stunts for this popular Broadway spot, used this text for his forthcoming show: "Notice--this space was reserved to announce the cast of the new show opening at the Cafe Zanzibar. Tonight--however, as a gesture of cooperation with the Police Department, we are withholding this Atomic Array of explosive entertainment to avoid the near-riot that would follow if everybody knew who was going to open at the Zanzibar."
This clever ad was dreamed-up as result of Louis Jordan's manager insisting that his attraction be billed over Duke Ellington. As can well be imagined. Ellington's manager in deference to Ellington's position and standing in the musical world, could not under any circumstances allow such an arrangement to maintain. However, a compromise has been reached and appearing in last Sunday's papers, and ad appeared with Ellington getting top billing and Louis Jordan billed as an added attraction in the same size type. This is the sort of agreement which should have been reached in the beginning without question.
It is bad business to ever allow disagreements of this sort to reach the stage whereby the guy who pays off is in the middle and has to resort to the kind of cover up that appeared in the press. It is not stretching the imagination too far I don't think to say that Howard (he is owner) and Erbe after drawing business with their ad which used no name other than that of the Zanzibar, haven't commenced to ask themselves if they have to have star attractions in order to do business? That of course is pure speculation but the kind which I think we might well make. Such an idea may have never entered the heads of the managers (and I sincerely hope it hasn't) the ad might have been the most discreet way of handling an embarrassing situation. At any rate, there is always the possibility of the third party collection the spoils with the two participants collecting nothing but grief.
No one knows anything about show business and who is unbiased, would say that Jordan's manager had a valid argument in asking for billing over Ellington or that he has enhanced Jordan's popularity among the top ranking musicians and managers in the business, by insisting on such an arrangement [sic: no period] Of course any manager is supposed not only to protect his client but get as good a contract with as many clauses in his favor as possible. However, a manager who takes a long range view and tries to build as much good-will as box office prestige for his client, does not try to threaten the undisputed rating of another artist who happens to be appearing on the same bill.
Perhaps Jordan's manager should take stock of the twenty odd year star-record of Duke Ellington in the band business. Never before in the history of Ellington's career has he opened an engagement in any theatre, dance hall or night club, and that fact has not been made known to the public. Never before have I heard of any artist working on the same bill with Ellington where there has been any question about his billing. When he appeals with artists of star rating, the billing is always equal with no questions asked by either side. This incident brings to mind the almost reverent esteem held for "the Duke" by such people as, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Leopold Stokowski, the late Fats Waller, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Lunceford, Judy Garland, Igor Stravinsky, Art Tatum, Andre Kostalanez, the late George Garshwin, on and on the names suggest themselves--all people who are thoroughly grounded in the art of music and who's names are synonomous [sic] with music whenever and wherever it is heard. And what about that vast public who follow "the Duke" year in and year out? Jordan's manager should also have taken into consideration the fact that Ellington is among the [...] members of ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Arrangers and Publishers.) Maybe few people outside of the business know that Ellington exemplifies each phase of this organization, he is composer, and by the way, rated with George Gershwin for American music, arranger, and publisher. His contribution to American music, is unchallenged and lately he has set up an annual scholarship to Julliard for high school musical students. It is also interesting to note that he is the first done only musician to ever give such scholarships.
In face of even this inadequate factual data, it becomes all the more apparent that either Louis Jordan's manager is woefully unhipped [sic] or he is contemptuous of the kind of lasting achievement which has blazed the trail for such people as his client Louis Jordan. I am quite certain that Louis Jordan himself does not appreciate this kind of stupid bickering for billing over one of America's beloved and foremost gentlemen, composers, arrangers, and publishers, Duke Ellington.