Fats Waller and his Rhythm - 1938 left to right: Slick Jones, Herman,
Autrey, Fats Waller, Cedric Wallace, Albert Casey and Eugene Sedri.
Herman Autrey
b. Evergreen, AL
d. June 14, 1980
Perhaps best recalled for his work with 'Fats Waller and his Rhythm'.
Trumpeter Herman Autrey is most closely associated with the delightful pianist, vocalist, and bandleader Fats Waller and was a key member of a small inner circle of musicians who worked frequently in his bands. When Waller's manager, Phil Ponce, decided in 1934 to launch his talented client as a bandleader on the heels of a new recording contract with Victor, Autrey was one of the main players pitched to be part of the new Waller combo, along with drummer Harry Dial, guitarist Al Casey, and the fine reed man Gene Sedric. Prior to this big move, Waller was mostly busy as an accompanist and song plugger for publishers and record label managers such as Joe Davis, his talents as an entertainer bubbling up like lava in an active volcano no matter what the song or setting.

Autrey appears on dozens and dozens of Waller recordings and the trumpeter never failed to come up with interesting twists in his solos, always playing with superb tone. Autrey came from a musical family in which both his father and two of his brothers were professional musicians. He began with the alto horn before switching to the much more popular trumpet, gigging as a teenager with a variety of bands in the Pittsburgh area before settling in Florida. He accomplished much of what was possible for a player of his talents in that state's somewhat limited jazz scene, then began working his way north again, putting in time on bandstands in Washington, D.C., then Philadelphia, and finally New York in 1933.

His first professional engagement of any repute in the Big Apple was in the group of Charlie Johnson and he went on to become a regular associate of Waller shortly thereafter. Despite the extensive recordings and other commitments of Waller, the trumpeter also had the chance to regularly record with many other leading bands from the period, including Fletcher Henderson and Claude Hopkins. He continued working as a freelance sidemen through the early and mid-'40s, building a reputation for driving, rambunctious solos played with an enormous tone. Violinist Stuff Smith liked working with him, as did pianist Sammy Price and bluesy bandleader Una Mae Carlisle. Several influential players worked in Autrey's own combos, most noticeably the brilliant pianist and composer Herbie Nichols.

In the early '50s, Autrey was involved in a car accident that, although extremely serious, led only to a playing hiatus of a bit more than a year. He toured with Saints & Sinners, a popular swing revival band in the '60s, including European jaunts in both 1968 and 1969. The dreaded losing of the chops, a syndrome that hits trumpeters particularly hard, began to happen toAutrey in the '70s, but he borrowed a page from the Waller book and finished out his career with more of an emphasis on vocals.
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Deanna Durbin
b. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
née: Edna Mae Durbin.

In Canada, she is known as "Winnipeg's Sweetheart". 

By age 14 Deanna had already completed a number of 
films, including 'Three Smart Girls', 'Mad about Music' 
and 'That certain Age', and in the process had become 
the most highly paid female star in the world. 
By age 18, her income was $250,000/year.
Though a true "Star", - honored with Dolls and other toys named for her; her first screen kiss described in every fan magazine, and such, the most unique aspect of Deanna's life was that she abhored the glamour and glitz of 'La La Land' and eventually turned her back on Hollywood and all the it stood for in her mind. Her first two marriages were failures.
When she wed film director Charles Henri David (her 3rd), she exacted a promise (in a written contract) that she would not appear in any films and could lead the "life of a nobody". Currently (1999), Deanna resides in the small village of Neauphle-le-Chateau, France, where for over 35 years, she has stubbornly resisted all film offers that have come her way. Deanna permitted her last interview in 1948.

Eddie Heywood (Jr.)
b. Atlanta, GA, USA.
d. Jan. 2, 1989, USA.
Best recalled today for leading his own Sextet, and for composing the hit song "Canadian Sunset". Eddie's father - Eddie Haywood Sr, a good pianist who was most active in the early 1920s and often accompanied the 'Butterbeans and Susie' vaudeville team, taught his son to play the piano. Eddie Jr, was active professionally by age 14.

In 1932, he was working with the Wayman Carver band, in '34-'37 with Clarence Love; in '39 - '40 with Benny Carter in New York; Formed his own group in 1941 and backed Billie Holiday on some records; in 1943 he formed his Sextet (with Doc Cheatham and Vic Dickenson) and also had some solos on a Coleman Hawkins led recording date; His sextet's recording of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" was a big hit (The "Beguine" rhythm had it's start on the Carribean island of Martinique I believe. ca 1940s.) In 1945, he won the Esquire New Star Award. Beginning in 1947 Hayward suffered from a paralysis of his hands that precluded his playing the piano, but by 1950, he was able to play again (with his trio) and performed into the 1980s.

Russell Robert Jacquet, Trumpet/Vocal
b. St. Martinville, LA, USA. 

d. Feb. 28,1990, Los Angeles, CA, USA. 
Age 72.
Russell is the older brother of tenor-saxophonist Illinois Jacquet. During 1934-'37, Russell played in the Midwest with the 'California Playboy Band', a group that also included another brother, -Linton Jacquet, on drums. During 1939-'40, Russell worked with the Floyd Ray band, and then spent the next two years studying at Wiley College (1940-'42), and at Texas Southern University (1942-44), and also led a big band at TSU. Meanwhile, big brother Illinois had become famous. After forming his own unsuccessful group, Russell played, on and off, with brother Illinois' band during 1946-'54, even recording with them. During 1965 and 1969, he primarily worked as a schoolteacher, but did occasionally led his own bands. Russell often worked with his brother through the years but never achieved much fame.

Alex North, songwriter
b. Chester, PA, USA.
Perhaps his biggest hit was "Unchained Melody"

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Duke Ellington's big band opened at New York city's famed Cotton Club in Harlem.
This was the first appearance of Dukes new large group (which continued at that venue until 1932).

Songbird Ethel Merman, backed by the Johnny Green Orchestra, recorded (for Brunswick label) "I Get a Kick Out of You", from Cole Porters musical, "Anything Goes". She was the show's star. 

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Original Dixieland Jass Band


Original Memphis Five
  1. Evil Minded Blues - Vocal Chorus by Anna Meyers
  2. Last Go Round Blues - Vocal Chorus by Anna Meyers

The Virginians
Ted Lewis and his Band
Bessie Smith
Ray Miller's Orchestra
The Cotton Pickers
Isham Jones and his Orchestra

The California Ramblers

Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five

Fred Elizalde and his Anglo American Band
Fats Waller
Annette Hanshaw

Fats Waller and his Orchestra

Adrian Rollini Quintette

Abe Lyman and his Californians

Chicago Bound Blues
~by Lovie Austin

Late last night, I sold away and cried
Late last night, I sold away and cried
Had the blues for Chicago, I just can't be satisfied

Blues on my brain, my tongue refused to talk
Blues on my brain, my tongue refused to talk
I was followin' my daddy but my feet refuses to walk

Mean old fireman, cruel old engineer
Lord mean old fireman, cruel old engineer
You took my man and left his mama standing here

Big red headline, tomorrow Defender 1news
Big red headline, tomorrow Defender news
"Woman dead down home, these old Chicago blues"
I said blues

brought to you by... ~confetta

Special Thanks To:
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

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