(SOLD): BIBBS, Hart Leroy. Archive.
(Paris): Hart Leroy Bibbs, 1977-1985. Small archive of works by Hart Leroy Bibbs, an African American photographer, jazz musician, poet, and artist, who born in Kansas, MO., lived in France from the 1960s where he adopted the jazz-filled lifestyle of artists living in Paris, becoming part of a group of black American artists — among them Louis Armstrong, Amiri Baraka and Ted Joans with whom he collaborated on Double Trouble. Al Jones who now recites Bibbs poetry from memory at poetry readings in the New York says of Bibbs prose it, “‘tore him up.’ “He would write for his life, it was like he bled every time.” with Bibbs basing most of his poetry on his ill health and use of drugs. The archive comprises:
1. “The Hanging Box”. An unpublished typescript of the first 27 pages of a novel written in homage to Chester Himes and featuring Himes’s two-man African American detective team, Coffin Ed and his partner Grave Digger Jones. In For Love of Imabelle (1957), Himes’s first Harlem crime novel, a villain throws acid in Coffin Ed’s face. This vicious attack scars the detective both physically and emotionally for the rest of the Hime’s nine-book series. Coffin Ed’s acid-scarred face is often described in grotesque and frightening terms and comes to represent the potential terror he himself could unleash. As a result of this incident, Ed is known to be very quick to the trigger and subject to extremely violent rages when interrogating suspected criminals. This is one of the few characteristics that distinguishes him from his partner, Grave Digger. Grave Digger often acts as the restraining voice or hand when Ed seems close to the edge of excessive force. In this work the two detectives are sent to France, at the request of the F.B.I., to locate a missing American painter. It is unknown if the novel was ever completed we have here the only known example which comprises 27 A4 sheets, recto printing, with some minor ink corrections.
2. “La Malade Obscene” / “He Couldn’t Hold It.” (Paris): 1984 Handwritten short story 5-pages in black marker together with a 2-page typescript version of the same story which concerns an awkward incident during a visit to the Frankfurt International Book Fair.
3. “Par for the Course.” (Paris): 1984. Handwritten account, 9-pages, of a concert by Mal Waldron Centre culturel de
Soissons, November, 1984. Bibbs tells of travelling from Paris for the concert, and hanging with Waldron before and after the concert. Waldron was an American jazz pianist, and Billie Holiday’s regular accompanist from April 1957 until her death in July 1959. Waldron after a heroin overdose in 1963 was left unable to play or remember any music, moving to Europe he slowly regained his skills.
4. “Free Jazz from Strange Fruit” (Paris): 1983. Handwritten dialogue, 15-pages, in passionate support of Arthur Doyle who had been imprisoned in France for the alleged rape of two women at gunpoint. Doyle was later pardoned and released in 1988. Doyle was an American jazz saxophonist, bass clarinettist, flutist, and vocalist who was best known for playing what he called “free jazz soul music”. He moved to Paris in 1981 where he began an association with multi-instrumentalist Alan Silva and his Celestrial Communication Orchestra, and participating in the recording of the album Desert Mirage in 1982. He was arrested in 1983, during his five years in prison Doyle wrote over 150 songs that became the Arthur Doyle Songbook — nursery rhyme-like folk tunes and obsessively-rendered, deceptively simple lyrics in homage to fallen heroes and family figures that, in performance, would be interspersed with saxophone squall and microtonal flute twitter.
5. “No Jazz in Misr”. (Paris): 1982. Handwritten account, 12-pages (including cover sheet with black marker decoration) of a trip to Cairo where Bibbs met the Egyptian jazzmen Yehya Khalil, the founder of the Cairo Jazz Quartet, the first jazz band in Egyptian history, and Salah Ragab who accompanied Sun Ra during his 1984 European Tour.
6. Manifesto Optkorption. (Framingham, MA): Wooley the Newt Productions Ltd, 1980. First edition. First edition. 16 pages. French translation (Jeanne Catala) of a booklet that looks at the relationship between thought, music and photography. The booklet is illustrated with eleven portraits of musicians including Charlie Mingus, Nina Simone, Sugar Blue, Don Cherry and others. A very good example in stapled wrappers.
7. Photographic portrait of French author, Marc Albert-Levin. Portrait measures approx. 15cm by 9cm and is signed on the reverse by Bibbs.
8. Photographic portrait of Barbara Summers. Portrait measures approx. 13.5cm by 10cm and is signed on the reverse by Bibbs. Summers was a successful model, being represented by Ford Models, one of America’s top agencies for 17 years, and author of Skin Deep – the story of Black models in America and abroad – the definitive work on black women in the modelling industry.