5/15/13

Sketch-work for a Palatka, Fl Historic Mural

      Another bit of history will soon be portrayed in paint adding to the 30+ murals that grace Palatka and surrounding Putnam County!  But these are just preliminary sketches!!  Tentative plan are in the works for a mural depicting Palatka's Belton Society Syncopators performing at the Cotton Club. Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong to be featured in the mural along with Belton's orchestra band! 
     Territory Bands were popular back in the 20's, 30's and 40's performing in nightclubs up and down the east coast from Miami to Boston.  At that time, CS Belton and his brother Wilbert, both from Palatka formed a successful group of jazz musicians who soon became known as the' Duke Ellington Band of the South'. The band members included Cookie Mason, Dr. Harold Finley, Sam Clark, Lonnie Slappy, Joe Gatio, LeRoy Kirkland, Cy Oliver, Andy Martin and Mose Williams. Booker Auditorium in Palatka was a popular location where many of the jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and others would come to perform. Back then, everybody who was somebody was there. People would come from St. Augustine, Orlando, Daytona, etc to be in Palatka for dance night!  Belton's band also traveled the country, performing in well known clubs such as the Roseland Ball Room in NY, the Empire Ball Room, the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater. 
 Here are some of the initial sketch ideas for this mural, and a more finished version at the bottom of this post.

A sketch of the manager's car and bus they traveled in to get to and from the ballrooms in various cities.

  Some of Duke Ellington's orchestra

Louis Armstrong 

Belton's Society Syncopators on stage with Ella and Duke to the right.


Swing dancers and patrons enjoying the show

Another composition idea to combine dancers with performers and music staff.
Color rendering sketch featuring Duke and Belton to the left.



 The center of mural rendering with dancers
Louis and Ella off to the right.
click here to see an original handbill from 1934
 A definite date for this mural project has yet to be scheduled, but is expected to begin in the spring of 2014.