Tin Pan Alley was a group of businesses who hired songwriters and composers to create popular songs to market extensively to the public in sheet music format. The songs were marketed by getting performers to incorporate the songs in their acts, in the theater, vaudeville, through recordings, and later on radio, films, and finally television. Though there were publishers who resided in other buildings, the Brill Building was the heart of the American music industry.
As the 4 Jays were looking for work, Eddie Jefferson took them upstairs and asked them to wait in the hallway while he went to see a friend. In a few minutes, out of a door stepped none other than Duke Ellington ("Take the A Train"). Diz gave this account.
Diz: I was mesmerized! Back home Edward "Duke" Kennedy Ellington was akin to a god.
Duke Ellington: What can I do for you gentlemen?
Diz: I told him that we were the 4 Jays, and he asked us to sing a couple of songs for him.
Duke: I know some people who need an act. Do you all have work clothes?
Diz: No, we left our raggedy costumes behind. Duke made a phone call and told us we would have some tuxedos by the time we arrived. I then asked what about size?
Duke: Don't worry about size man, you need a job, put it on. The name of the club is Snookie's at 47th and Broadway and you will see a Mr. Louie Apuzzo.
Diz: Duke then picked up the phone and called the Hotel Markwell at 220 West 49th Street and told the desk clerk to give us two rooms. He told us the Four Guys vocal group had worked at Snookie's for about a year, and if we did our thing, we might have a job for a while. I was thrilled and in disbelief that a man of Duke's stature was responsible for getting us our first job in New York.
One day at the Markwell Hotel, Tex had gone somewhere, so the rest of the guys decided to get some ice cream. The idea was to eat it before he returned because he would try to eat it all. Upon completion Gerald carefully disposed of the evidence. Tex returned in a couple of hours and when he entered the room he sniffed twice and said, “Yunses had ice cream.” James Brunson reacted with surprise, “Damn, he can even smell ice cream.”