Frank Joseph Assunto, Trumpet
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. Feb. 25, 1974.
One of the Assunto brothers who formed The Dukes Of Dixieland Band. (They were later joined by their father.)
~by Eugene Chadbourne

The Italian community in New Orleans has been the source of many active musicians, and the name of the Assunto family will inevitably arise from any tally. Amongst the siblings of trumpeter Frank Assunto were a pair of sisters that shined on piano and woodwinds and brother trombonist Fred Assunto; all grew up studying with their father, banjoist Jacob "Papa Jac" Assunto. It was the pair of brothers that made the most racket on the New Orleans scene, founding a group called the Dukes of Dixieland in 1949. This band, which would eventually become something of an institution, began as a casual one-off for a talent show organized by producer and bandleader Horace Heidt. He appreciated the Assunto assembly enough to ask it on tour, and when the Dukes of Dixieland docked back in New Orleans, the group wound up practically taking over the Famous Door club.

This style of jazz--a kind of Dixieland revival minus the rhythmic anarchy of the '20s--began to peak in popularity in the '50s, taking the Assunto brothers' group to a pinnacle of national popularity. The Dukes of Dixieland toured clubs as well as releasing a string of albums and performing on television variety shows. When the group recorded the first jazz album in stereo in 1958, listeners had the unique perspective of hearing one brother on the left channel, the other on the right. The trumpeter's style is of course heavily indebted to Louis Armstrong, whether in mono, stereo or quadrophonic. But Assunto also seems to like the somewhat leaner tone of Bunny Berigan as well as the brighter, flashier approach of Bobby Hackett.
Showmanship was also a large part of the Dukes of Dixieland's appeal, the Assunto brothers pretty much the opposite of the type of jazzmen who play with their backs to the audience. Frank Assunto also performed vocal duties with the group. He has on a few occasions been credited with the authorship of the standard "St. James Infirmary". If everyone that has been listed as author of this song in some 500 recorded versions ever battled it out, the body count would no doubt be much higher than even a complete version of the song itself.

Charles Gerard Conn
Entrepreneur, Band Instrument Manufacturer, and U.S. Representative from Indiana.
B. January 29, 1844
D. 5 January 1931
Charles Gerard Conn was born in Phelps, New York on January 29, 1844. In 1850, he accompanied his family to Three Rivers, Michigan and in the following year to Elkhart, Indiana. Little is known about his early life, other than that he learned to play the cornet. With the outbreak of the American Civil War he enlisted in the United States Army on May 18, 1861 at the age of seventeen, despite his parents' protests. On June 14, 1861 he became a private in Company B, 15th Regiment Indiana Infantry, and shortly afterwards was assigned to a regimental band. When his enlistment expired he returned to Elkhart, but re-enlisted on December 12, 1863 at Niles, Michigan in Company G, 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. At the age of nineteen on August 8, 1863 he was elevated to the rank of Captain. During the Assault on Petersburg on July 30, 1864, Conn was wounded and taken prisoner. In spite of two imaginative and valiant attempts to escape, he was recaptured and spent the remainder of the war in captivity. At the end of hostilities, he was released from Columbia, South Carolina prison camp, and was honorably discharged on July 28, 1865. He was one of only six Union soldiers to be retroactively awarded the Silver Citation Star on the Civil War Campaign Medal for gallantry in action.

After the war he engaged in the grocery and bakery business. In 1871, while serving as a band leader in Buchanan, Michigan, Conn badly injured his hand while working at the local zinc Horse collar-pad factory. The accident forced Conn to switch from violin to cornet.

In 1877, Conn and his wife, Catherine, relocated to Elkhart, Indiana, where Conn worked various jobs for two years. During this time, Conn sold health care products under the tradename "Konn's Kurative Kream", and invented parts for sewing machines. He also plated and engraved silverware, and manufactured rubber stamps. Drawing from the skills learned at his previous jobs, he invented a cornet mouthpiece with a rubber rim, which began his career in the manufacture of band instruments Conn was an important innovator in the development of modern wind instruments, and established the C.G. Conn Company, a major instrument manufacturer, in Elkhart.

Charles Conn was elected Mayor of Elkhart in 1880. In 1884 Conn organized the 1st Regiment of Artillery in the Indiana Legion and became its first Colonel, a military title which stayed with him throughout the remainder of his life. He was also the first commander of the Elkhart Commandery of the Knights Templar. Colonel Conn also served as Lieutenant Colonel of the 2nd Regiment of Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias, and was re-elected many times as Commander of the local G.A.R. post.

Conn served as mayor of Elkhart from 1880 until 1883, and as member of the Indiana state House of Representatives in 1889. He established the "Elkhart Daily Truth," which is still operating and is known as The Elkhart Truth, in 1889.

Conn was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-third Congress (4 March 1893 - 3 March 1895), but he was not a candidate for renomination in 1894. Conn bought the newly established "Washington Times" in 1894, during his congressional term of which Stilson Hutchins (1838-1912) was later to serve as publisher (who himself previously founded and owned "The Washington Post", 1877-1889, (later one of the nation's most influential newspapers by the mid-20th Century) prior to selling "The Times" to the newspaper syndicate of Frank A. Munsey (1854-1925) who later sold it in 1917 to William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951). Later purchased by Eleanor Josephine Medill Patterson "Cissy" Patterson (1881-1941) (of the Medill-McCormick-Patterson families which owned the conservative Chicago Tribune and later founded the trend-setting New York Daily News and Newsday on New York's Long Island) who later merged it with The Washington Herald" and became the "Washington Times-Herald" to 1954 when it was absorbed by "The Post" now under the Meyer-Graham family (with the name of "Times-Herald" remaining on the masthead until 1973).

After his term in Congress, Conn resumed the manufacture of band instruments at Elkhart, Indiana. In 1916 he retired and moved to Los Angeles, California. Conn authored books in his retirement, including The Sixth Sense, Prayer: Brain Cell Reformation (1916), For the Good of the World. Finding the Real God (1919), The Wonder Book: How to Achieve Success (1923). Charles Gerard Conn died 5 January 1931 in Los Angeles, and was interred in Grace Lawn Cemetery, Elkhart, Indiana.
C.G. Conn
Images of the C. G. Conn band instrument factory.

Paul Gayten
R&B pianist/bandleader/producer/singer-songwriter/label owner (Pzazz)
b. New Orleans, LA, USA, d. March 29, 1991, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Biography - by Jim O'Neal
Paul Gayten, was a seminal figure in New Orleans rhythm & blues, led a varied career in the music business as a bandleader, producer, label owner, and one-time overseer of the West Coast operation of Chess Records. A nephew of blues-piano legend Little Brother Montgomery, Gayten once led one of the top bands of New Orleans, but he gave up the performing life in 1956 to turn his attention to production and eventually to his own California-based Pzazz label (which featured Louis Jordan, among others). Gayten wrote Larry Darnell's 1949 classic "For You My Love" and recorded a few Top Ten hits of his own for Regal and DeLuxe (1947-1950), some of them with vocalist Annie Laurie.
Robert Hall, Clarinet
b. Reserve, LA, USA.

Ulysses Livingston, Guitar
b. Bristol, TN, USA.
d. Oct 7, 1988
Ulysses Livingston's name is surely one of the most auspicious sounding amongst guitarists in the jazz idiom. Despite the fact that greater fame was awarded to simpler handles such as Jim Hall and Joe Pass, Livingston still piled up discographical credits that would mightily impress any bean counter -- even including a side or two with "Bean" himself, namely tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Like Speedy Sparks of Austin, Texas, Livingston's professional music career began as a roadie, although in the Horace Henderson band this position was referred to as "valet." And like the avant-garde guitarist Joe Morris, Livingston began concentrating on playing electric bass after several decades as a guitarist.

Livingston began this musical life in the West Virginia State College Band, leaving that for the previously described gainful employment with the Henderson mob. From there he returned to West Virginia, using the area as a base to secure gigs with roaming carnival bands. He strums his way into the jazz picture frame in the mid- '30s, performing with Lil Armstrong, Frankie Newton, Sammy Price and Benny Carter. Like many a musician, this activity eventually involved residencies in New York City. In the early '40s the guitarist began touring and recording with the great jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald. This was a period in which many musicians were sidetracked into the military, to either play music on bases or actually march in the infantry. Livingston's involvement was brief, despite any heroic references his first name may evoke. 

By 1943 he was back on the music scene, this time trying the west coast. The move also seemed to involve a change in musical direction, moving toward rhythm and blues or the type of vocal group sound that was popular before the former term was even established. He played guitar and also sang in groups such asthe Spirits of Rhythm as well as leading his own Four Blazes, a combo moniker that has been used in music history with the regularity of summer forest fires. The development of this type of music in Hawaii also involves Livingston, an island resident in 1947, with collaborator Cee Pee Johnson.

Livingston continued working on a freelance basis in the '50s, settling in Los Angeles and developing an expertise in electronics that led to dual responsibilities at recording sessions. In the '70s he was better known as an electric bassist, but he continued to record on guitar as well. ~ Eugene Chadbourne
Ulysses Livingston - Wikipedia
Ulysses Livingston

Lloyd Perryman
Tenor Vocals/Guitar
b. Ruth, AR, USA, d. May 31, 1977
né: Lloyd Wilson Perryman.
member: 'The Sons of The Pioneers'

Sons Of The Pioneers - Lloyd Perryman

Frederic Ramsey
b. Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
d. March 19, 1995.

Frederic Ramsey Jr. (1915-1995) was a jazz scholar and author who worked with a number of musicians in the South and the New York/New Jersey area, notably Lead Belly. Ramsey produced a number of recordings for the Folkways label in the 1950s-1960s.

The Archives acquired his field tapes in 1990. Ramsey's personal papers are now part of the collections at the Jazz Institute at Rutgers University.

Frederic Ramsey, A Writer, Historian And Jazz Expert, 80 ...
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage - Frederic ...

Al Stricklin, piano
b. Antioch, TX, USA.
Best recalled for his work with Bob Wills' Texas Playboys
~by Linda Seida

Al Stricklin was a jazz pianist whose lively playing helped give Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys the band's unique western swing flavor. Ironically, when Stricklin first heard Wills play the fiddle during an audition at a radio station where Stricklin was in charge of hiring, he thought Wills' routine was more of a comedy act than any serious musical offering. It wasn't long before Stricklin's opinion changed and he became a key part of the Texas Playboys' lineup, staying with the band from 1935 through 1942. He played piano on several hundred of the group's recordings, including Wills' nationwide hit in 1940, "New San Antonio Rose."
The piano player was born Alton Meeks Stricklin in 1908 in Antioch, TX. He never had the benefit of music lessons, and has said that his major inspiration was jazz great Earl "Fatha" Hines. When he was about four or five years old, Stricklin started teaching himself how to play with his father, who was a fiddler. By the time he left high school and headed to Weatherford Junior College in 1927, and later Baylor University, the self-taught pianist was teaching others how to play to help pay for his schooling. While at Weatherford he performed with two bands, a jazz group named the Texans and a Dixieland band named the Rio Grande Serenaders. Stricklin, a history major, was almost ejected from Baylor because of his involvement with a jazz group. When the administration of the Baptist university got wind of his association with a group called the Unholy Three, and learned that he played in the trio at local dances, only a dean's intervention kept him from being expelled.
Stricklin ended up leaving school anyway, thanks to the lean years of the Depression. To help support his family, he took work in 1930 at Fort Worth's KFJZ radio station, where he later auditioned Wills. Before joining the Texas Playboys, Stricklin also was employed as an elementary school teacher and principal in Island Grove, TX, and later he played with the Hi Flyers dance band back in Fort Worth. When Wills heard him play at a club called the Cinderella Roof in 1935, he lured Stricklin to the Texas Playboys with a job that paid $30 weekly.
The piano player left the Texas Playboys to work at North American Aircraft during World War II. In 1943 he turned down a chance to reunite with the Texas Playboys in California, instead marrying and settling down. He put his musical career behind him until United Artists asked for another recording from Wills and his band. The double album was Wills' last, and the recording of it came to be viewed as an historic event. It won a Grammy Award and attracted new listeners to western swing.
Wills died in 1975. Stricklin and some of the other band members continued for about ten years to record and perform under the name Bob Wills Original Texas Playboys. Stricklin also had a brief solo career. He wrote My Years With Bob Wills, a memoir, in 1976. Stricklin, along with Wills and the Texas Playboys, is an inductee of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He passed away in 1986 in Cleburne, TX.
Al Stricklin

Homer Watson
Leader of "The Modernaires"
b. Toronto, Canada
d. Dec. 15, 1997, Toronto, Canada.
The Modernaires
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Vera Hall, vocals
died in Tuscaloosa, AL, USA.

JesseFuller_John Edwards Memorial Foundation Colleciton, SFC, UNC Chapel Hill
Jesse "Lone Cat" Fuller
guitar/harmonica/"footdella" or "fotdella"
(Footdella: his own invention, -a homemade, foot-operated instrument)
died in Oakland, CA, USA.
Age: 79.

E. R. Lewis
label co-founder (Decca)
died in UK.
Age: 79.

Jimmy Durante, Comedian/pianist
died in Santa Monica, CA, USA
Age 86.
James Francis "Jimmy" Durante (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an Italian American singer, pianist, comedian and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and large nose helped make him one of America's most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. His jokes about his nose included referring to it as a "Schnozzola", and the word became his nickname.

Cozy Cole, Drummer
died in Columbus, OH, USA.
Age 71.
Cozy Cole (October 17, 1909 – January 9, 1981) was an American jazz drummer who scored a #1 Cashbox magazine hit with the record "Topsy Part 2". "Topsy" peaked at number three on Billboard Hot 100, and at number one on the R&B chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The track peaked at #29 in the UK Singles Chart in 1958. The recording contained a lengthy drum solo, and was one of the few drum solo recordings that ever made the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single was issued on the tiny Brooklyn-based Love Records label.

Don Raye, singer-songwriter
died in Encino, CA, USA.
Age: 75.
Don Raye (March 16, 1909 - January 29, 1985), born Donald MacRae Wilhoite, Jr., in Washington, D.C., was an American vaudevillian and songwriter, best known for his songs for the Andrews Sisters such as "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar", "The House of Blue Lights", "Just For A Thrill" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."
While known for such wordy novelty numbers, he also wrote the lyrics to "You Don't Know What Love Is," a simple, poetic lament of unusual power. He also composed the song "(That Place) Down the Road a Piece," one of his boogie woogie songs, which has a medium bright boogie tempo. It was written for the Will Bradley Orchestra, who recorded it in 1940, but the song was destined to become a rock and roll standard, recorded by The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Foghat, Amos Milburn, Harry Gibson, and countless others. In 1940 he wrote the lyrics for the patriotic song "This Is My Country".
His great success with "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar" (written with Big Band drummer Ray McKinley) led Raye to write the follow-up songs, "Scrub Me Mamma, with a Boogie Beat," "Bounce Me Brother, with a Solid Four," and "Fry Me Cookie, with a Can of Lard."
In 1985, Raye was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Don Raye - Wikipedia

Willie Dixon
died in Burbank, CA, USA.
Age: 76.
Willie Dixon - Wikipedia

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Dolly Kay
  • Aggravatin' Papa
The Georgians - Aggravatin' Papa

Benson Orchestra of Chicago - Down In Maryland


Ladd's Black Aces - Nine O'Clock Sal - Vocal Chorus, Vernon Dalhart

Henderson's Club Alabam Orchestra - Cotton Pickers' Ball

Clara Smith - Good Looking Papa Blues

Ted Lewis and his Band - O! Katharina

The Savoy Orpheans

The Savoy Orpheans - Me And The Boy Friend

  • If I Had Only Known (waltz) 

The Clicquot Club Eskimos - Chinky Butterfly

The Savoy Orpheans - Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue

The Savoy Orpheans - London And Daventry Calling - Parts 1 and 2

Irving Kaufman - Masculine Women, Feminine Men


Clarence Williams' Washboard Four - Candy Lips (I'm Stuck On You)

Clarence Williams' Washboard Four - Nobody But My Baby Is Getting My Love


Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces - Jazz Battle

James P. Johnson

James P. Johnson - Riffs

Van Phillips and his Band
  • Sweet Dreams
  • Don't Be Like That
  • I'm Sorry Sally
  • How About Me?

Ambrose And his Orchestra, with Sam Browne on vocalsMy Love Parade

Ambrose And his Orchestra,  with Sam Browne on vocalsThe Punch And Judy Show


Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra
Glenn Miller and his Orchestra

Ain't Misbehavin'
~Lyrics by Andy Razaf
~Music by Thomas "Fats" Waller and Harry Brooks

No one to talk with,
All by myself,
No one to walk with,
But I'm happy on the shelf
Ain't misbehavin',
I'm savin' my love for you

I know for certain,
The one I love,
I through with flirtin',
It's just you I'm thinkin' of.
Ain't misbehavin',
I'm savin' my love for you
Like Jack Horner in the corner
Don't go no where,
What do I care,
Your kisses are worth waitin' for
Be-lieve me
I don't stay out late,
Don't care to go,
I'm home about eight,
Just me and my radio
Ain't misbehavin',
I'm savin' my love for you

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The Red Hot Jazz Archives,
The Big Band Database, Scott Yanow, 

and all those who have provided content,
images and sound files for this site.