Thursday

JANUARY 13TH








HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOPHIE TUCKER!

BIRTHDAYS





 
1884
Sophie Tucker, vocalist
b Russia. d. Feb. 9, 1966, New York, NY (Lung Cancer).
née: Sophie Kalish.
Tag: "The Last of The Red Hot Mamas" was raised in Hartford CT, where she first appeared at her father's cafe; was in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1909; in her first talking picture in 1929; starred on Radio and TV. Sophie enjoyed a career that lasted 6 decades, from the 1900 Vaudeville stages through to films and television to 1966.
Biography
~by Steve Huey

Declaring "I'm the Last of the Red Hot Mamas" in one of her best-known songs, Sophie Tucker created a brassy, bawdy persona that made her a smashing success on the vaudeville circuit and the musical stage. Tucker was born Sonia Kalish on January 13, 1884, as her Jewish parents were fleeing Russia for Poland and, by the time Sophie was three, the United States; the family took the last name Abuza as a cover during their flight. After a spell in Boston, her parents opened a restaurant in Hartford, Connecticut, where young Sophie met many a vaudeville entertainer and picked up spare change singing for them and other customers. 

Sophie married a man named Louis Tuck at age 16 and had a son, Albert, a year later, at which point Tuck left her. Changing her married name to Tucker to produce her stage name, Sophie moved to New York to pursue a singing career, initially performing at small cafés and beer halls. Tucker eventually got an agent, who helped her break into vaudeville in 1906. At the behest of her handlers, she usually worked in blackface early in her career, under the logic that since she was rather generously built and plain of face, her audiences might not otherwise take to her.

In 1909, Tucker landed a job with the Ziegfeld Follies; she was a headlining act by 1911, and when she finally dropped the blackface act in favor of gaudy costumes and began adding traditional Yiddish songs to her repertoire of risqué comic songs, 
sentimental ballads, and ragtime numbers, she allayed all unfounded fears about her appearance and became more popular than ever. 


1911 also saw the first recording of one of Tucker's signature songs, "Some of These Days." During World War I, Tucker adopted jazz stylings and toured with a small group called the Five Kings of Syncopation ; she also played from 1914-1917 with second husband Frank Westphal , a pianist, but their marriage dissolved over his jealousy of her popularity.
In 1919, Tucker landed her first Broadway role in Shubert Gaieties; two years later, she hired as musical director pianist Ted Shapiro , who would accompany her for the next 40 years, writing a great deal of her bawdier material as well. She made her first of many trips to London in 1922, starring in the revue Round in 50. Tucker scored hits in the 1920s with songs like a re-recording of "Some of These Days," "I'm the Last of the Red Hot Mamas," and "My Yiddishe Momme," the latter two co-written by Jack Yellen , a regular contributor whom Tucker paid a regular salary plus commissions.
As motion pictures began to rob vaudeville of its audience, Tucker tried to make the leap herself; she made her film debut in Honky Tonk in 1929, but the next year went to London to star in the musical comedy Follow a Star. For the next few years, she alternated London stage appearances with occasional films like Gay Love (1936), Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), and Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937). Tucker also appeared in several more Broadway shows, including Leave It to Me (1938), Gay Paree, and High Kickers (1941).

Tucker's fame gradually diminished over the years; aside from occasional motion picture and television appearances, she spent most of her time performing in nightclubs, preferring the more intimate atmosphere and audience interaction. Her repertoire in later years often included half-spoken philosophical songs, which helped hide her vocal decline somewhat. Tucker devoted much of her income to various charities and frequently performed at benefit concerts. Sophie Tucker died on February 9, 1966, three years after becoming the subject of the biographical musical Sophie.

"I'm a one-ticket gal, free as the breeze
I go where I like, I do as I please
When I lock up my apartment, I've got all the keys
I'm living alone and I like it.
If I wanna play gin, I stay up and I play gin
I come home when I want to and when I walk in
There's nobody growling at me, "Where the hell have you been?"
I'm living alone and I like it."


THE COMPLETE EARLY SOPHIE TUCKER (1910 - 1937)
SUPERBATONE RECORDS - ORDER HERE!
LINKS: 
1909

Danny Barker, Banjo/Guitar
b. New Orleans, LA, USA
d. March 13, 1994, age: 85.
Biography
~by Scott Yanow 

A humorous personality as important for his storytelling and teaching as for his playing, Danny Barker had a long and colorful career. He played with the Boozan Kings early on in New Orleans and toured Mississippi with Little Brother Montgomery. In 1930, he moved to New York, switching from banjo to guitar and working with Dave Nelson, Sidney Bechet, Fess Williams, Albert Nicholas, James P. Johnson, Lucky Millinder (1937-1938), Benny Carter (1938), and Cab Calloway (1939-1946). He wrote "Don't You Feel My Leg" for his wife Blue Lu Barker (with whom he recorded frequently) and also had a hit with "Save the Bones for Henry Jones" (recorded by Nat King Cole ).
By 1947, Barker was fully involved in the Dixieland revival (he never cared for bebop), appearing on the This Is Jazz radio series, recording with Bunk Johnson , and returning to the banjo. He performed at Ryan's throughout the 1950s (often with Conrad Janis or Wilbur DeParis ) and then returned to New Orleans in 1965 where he worked as the assistant curator of the New Orleans Jazz Museum (1965-1975), led the Onward Brass Band , encouraged younger players, and wrote about his experiences. Danny Barker, who appeared at the 1993 Monterey Jazz Festival with Milt Hinton, penned his memoirs (A Life in Jazz) in 1986 and was active in keeping New Orleans jazz alive up until to the end. His definitive recording is a solo set for Orleans; Barker can also be heard late in life on records by Wynton Marsalis and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Further Reading:



A Life In Jazz, by Danny Barker, Oxford University Press, 1986
Buddy Bolden And The Last Days Of Storyville by Danny Barker, 1998

1890
Steve Brown, Tuba/Bass
b. New Orleans, LA, d. 1965
The first significant string bassist on record and one of the finest of the 1922-28 period, Steve Brown deserves to be renowned in jazz history books but is generally overlooked. His brother was the early New Orleans trombonist Tom Brown. Steve played tuba in his Tom's band early on before switching to string bass. 



He moved to Chicago in 1915, playing with Brown's Ragtime Band (his brother's group, one of the first jazz bands to be heard in Chicago), freelanced and was a member of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1923 and also played with the Original Memphis Melody Boys and the Midway Dance Orchestra.

While with Jean Goldkette's Orchestra (1924-27), Brown's simple but driving bass lines (usually heard prominently on the final choruses) were sometimes the most memorable aspect of the recordings, adding a great deal of excitement (and a jazz feel) to the dance-oriented music. As with many of the Goldkette sidemen, Brown became a member of Paul Whiteman's Orchestra later in 1927 but, unlike them, he rejoined Goldkette the following year, settling permanently in Detroit. Steve Brown remained active during the next few decades but, since he rarely left Detroit, he was largely forgotten outside of the city. Few realize that he recorded with Frank Gillis' Dixie Five (for Jazzology) in 1950. It is a pity that he was never rediscovered and persuaded to record his own sessions or to play with major jazzmen again.
~ Scott Yanow
Ed Burke, Trombone
b. Fulton, MO, USA
d. 1988
Biography
~by Eugene Chadbourne

The unlikely instrumental double of violin and trombone was this artist's specialty when he was featured in the band of Walter Barnes in the late '20s. In the early '30s he gambled musically with the band of Cassino Simpson as well as taking on a load with Ed Carry's Orchestra . In the summer of 1934 he was blowing mostly trombone with Kenneth Anderson , then got into the fine band of Erskine Tate , with whom he stayed through the following year. His next job of importance was with Horace Henderson , and in 1938 he signed on the dotted Hines ,Earl Hines that is, whose tricky syncopations required close attention to the dotted notes along with everything else.

In the '40s, Burke performed with Walter Fuller and the tenor saxophone great Coleman Hawkins . He showed up on the East Coast and spent several long tours in a big band fronted by Cootie Williams on one of his jumps away from the Duke Ellington organization. The trombonist played in the Cab Calloway band in the early '50s and in Buddy Johnson 's extended ensemble a few years later. He was soon to depart from the full-time music world, although he continued doing gigs in the '60s and '70s with Lem Johnson and Wally Edwards . Some of these jobs were simply rehearsal orchestras, allowing him a break from the pressure of actual performance.
 

Ed Burke (musician) - Wikipedia


1915
Jenny Lou Carson
singer-songwriter/"cowgirl"
b. Decatur, IL, USA.
née: Virginia Lucille Overstake.

She was known to be a 'vigorous singer of modern and old-time ballads, and also won distinction as a songwriter back then. She was on WLS and the Barn Dance back in 1943 or so. 



Back in those days she was writing songs about home, soldier boys and sweethearts and were immensely popular.




1907
Ezra Cline, C&W Fiddle
d. July 11, 1984.
Member: 'Lonesome Pine Fiddlers'.

 

1902
Putney Dandridge, Piano/Vocals
b. Richmond, VA, USA
d. Feb. 15, 1946, Wall Township, NJ, USA. Biography
~by Eugene Chadbourne

Performing accompaniment for the great tap dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in 1930 may seem historic enough for most music enthusiasts, but Putney Dandridge had already been in the music business for more than a decade when he got this gig. 



He was part of a revue known as the Drake and Walker Show beginning in 1918 and subsequently became known as one of the most active players on the Buffalo music stampede. 


After several years with Robinson , the pianist and vocalist skimmed his way around the Great Lakes in order to establish a new residency in Cleveland, complete with his own band. This activity lasted through 1934.

Dandridge's next move was to cut back on overhead, as in sidemen to pay. He tried out a solo stint at a Cleveland venue, then took this show to New York City--a decision that led to several long residencies at clubs such as the Hickory House. 



Beginning in the mid '30s he had regular opportunities to record, primarily as a vocalist with the assistance of many excellent jazzmen. Some of these recordings have been reissued in sets devoted to these instrumentalists, including trumpeter Roy Eldridge. But in 1996 collections also began appearing under Dandridge's name on the Classic and Timeless labels.


1916
Allen A. Haberman
banjo/guitar
d. July 29, 2002.
Allen played with Earl Keller Melody Rangers Of New Tripoli, The Perseverance Jazz Band, The Keystone String Band, and The Ben Salem Boys & Girls Church Band.


1905
Percy Humphrey, Trumpet
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. 1995
Percy and his brother, clarinetist Willie Humphrey, became well-known from the 1960s on for their playing in the erratic but enjoyable Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Percy, whose other brother was trombonist Earl Humphrey (1902-1971), was never a major musician, but he played his simple melodic leads with sincerity. He gained his initial recognition working with New Orleans brass bands, including the Eureka Brass Band. Humphrey was with George Lewis during 1951-1953 and mostly played locally, became a fixture at Preservation Hall after it opened in 1961, and toured the world with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, performing until shortly before his death at the age of 90. Percy Humphrey, who sounded at his best on a Sweet Emma Barrett date in 1961, recorded as a leader for Riverside, Pearl, GHB, Storyville, and Smoky Mary, among other labels.
~ Scott Yanow

1909
Quentin "Butter" Jackson, Trombone
b. Springfield, OH, USA. d. Oct. 2, 1976.
Best recalled for his work in the Duke Ellington orchestra. 
Biography
~by Scott Yanow

A fixture with Duke Ellington's Orchestra in the 1950s, Quentin Jackson was Duke's best "wa-wa" trombonist (an expert with the plunger mute) post- Tricky Sam Nanton. His brother-in-law Claude Jones (who played with McKinney's Cotton Pickers ) taught him trombone. Jackson played with Zack Whyte (1930), McKinney's Cotton Pickers (1931), Don Redman's Orchestra (1932-1940), Cab Calloway (1940-1948), and Lucky Millinder. He took occasional solos with those groups, and in the early days was a ballad singer. But most important were his contributions to Duke Ellington 's music (1949-1960), both as a soloist and in the ensembles.

After leaving Ellington, he toured Europe with Quincy Jones (1960), played with Count Basie (1961-62), recorded with Charles Mingus (1962), returned to Ellington (1963), and worked with the big bands of Louie Bellson and Gerald Wilson . Quentin Jackson was with the Thad Jones /Mel Lewis orchestra (1971-1975) near the end of his life. His only session as a leader resulted in four titles, in 1959, that were reissued by Swing.


1910
Otis Johnson, Trumpet
b. New York, NY, USA. 
Biography
~by Eugene Chadbourne

The career of this classic jazz trumpeter can be divided into two sections, before the second World War and after. The second part was no career at all, at least in terms of the music business, unless Johnson slipped in a few performances of "Taps". While the careers of many of his peers include a return to full-time music following the end of hostilities, Johnson is an example of a player who simply stayed with the military. His background in the National Guard might have made him more prone to such a decision; at any rate, he was eventually posted to Colorado Springs, where his trumpet seems to have stayed in the case.

This horn and the man blowing it had begun a busy round of professional engagements in 1928 with groups such as Gene Rodgers' Revellers, Henri Saparo ,Eugene Kennedy and Charlie Skeete. Based out of New York City, Johnson began a two-year stretch with Luis Russell in 1929, bouncing around between this band, the previously mentioned Kennedy and the superb Benny Carter in 1934. In the mid '30s Johnson numbered as one of Charlie Turner's Arcadians as well as working with Willie Bryant . His final and perhaps most important engagements pre-blitzkrieg were with the orchestra assembled by Louis Armstrong in 1938 and 1939 and the Don Redman band in 1936, 1937 and 1940.



1885
James V. Monaco (Jimmy), Composer



Tin Pan Alley composer James V. Monaco -- sometimes nicknamed "Ragtime Jimmie" -- was a multiple Oscar nominee who is perhaps best remembered for "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)," a hit for Judy Garland and others. 


Monaco was born in Genoa, Italy, on January 13, 1885, and his family emigrated to Chicago when he was six. A self-taught pianist, he worked as a ragtime player in Chicago's Savoy Club before moving to New York and hitting the club and cafe scene. 


His first published composition, "Oh, You Circus Day," was premiered in 1911 in the Broadway revue Hanky Panky; the following year, Monaco scored two massive hits with "You Made Me Love You" (lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, initially popularized by Al Jolson) and "Row, Row, Row" (lyrics by William Jerome). 


Working with a variety of lyricists over the next decade and a half, Monaco penned several more hits, including "Dirty Hands, Dirty Face," another song that entered Al Jolson's repertoire. In 1927, Jolson reprised the song in his seminal and hugely popular talkie film The Jazz Singer, making it a part of cinema history.

The same year, Monaco contributed several songs to the Broadway revue Harry Delmar's Revels. He remained a successful composer over the next few years, working often with lyricist Edgar Leslie; their 1932 hit "Crazy People" became the theme song to George Burns and Gracie Allen's radio show, and he contributed songs to a number of films in 1930. 


For the next four years, Monaco directed his own dance band, and in 1936 he moved to Hollywood to break into the film industry in earnest. He signed on with Paramount and formed a successful partnership with lyricist Johnny Burke in 1937 (the same year a young Judy Garland revived "You Made Me Love You" as a tribute to Clark Gable). Monaco and Burke contributed songs to a number of Bing Crosby films, including 1938's Sing You Sinners ("I've Got a Pocketful of Dreams") and 1940's Rhythm on the River (where they earned a Best Song Oscar nomination for the smash hit "Only Forever").

Monaco's partnership with Burke dissolved later in 1940 when the lyricist went to work with composer Jimmy Van Heusen. Monaco branched out into doing work for United Artists and 20th Century Fox as well, collaborating with several partners over the next few years. He scored a total of three more Oscar nominations, for "We Mustn't Say Goodbye" (from 1943's Stage Door Canteen, written with Al Dubin), "I'm Making Believe" (from 1944's Sweet and Lowdown, written with Mack Gordon), and "I Can't Begin to Tell You" (from 1945's The Dolly Sisters, also with Gordon). Unfortunately, at the height of his Hollywood success, Monaco died of a heart attack on October 16, 1945.
~ Steve Huey

1913
Vido Musso
Tenor Saxophone
b. Carini, Sicily, d. Jan 9, 1982.
(Some sources claim b. Jan. 17, 1913.)
Raised in Detroit, MI, and then, in 1930, moved to Los Angeles, CA where he worked with various local bands. First fame when he worked for Benny Goodman between 1936-8, in '38, he worked in Gene Krupa's band, then followed terms in '40-1 with Harry James, '41 again with Goodman, late '42 with Woody Herman, and in '45-7 with Stan Kenton. 


During these years he had led his own bands briefly, -none successful. Finally settled in Los Angeles and led own small groups in clubs. His excellent full-toned playing earned him Down Beat Poll awards in '43, '46, and '47. (some sources say b. Jan. 17th).

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

1864.
Stephen Foster, died in a New York City hospital after falling over a wash basin in a drunken stupor. In his pocket was found the manuscript for what became one of his most famous songs, "Beautiful Dreamer."
LYRICS:

Beautiful dreamer / Currier and Ives, 
(between 1856 and 1907).
Beautiful Dreamer





Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,


Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world, heard in the day,
Lull'd by the moonlight have all pass'd away!
Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng,
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea
Mermaids are chanting the wild lorelie;
Over the streamlet vapors are borne,
Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn.
Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,
E'en as the morn on the streamlet and sea;
Then will all clouds of sorrow depart,
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!



1970.
Harry Woods, composer
died in Phoenix, AZ, USA.
 
1971.
Willie Lewis, alto sax/bass sax
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 65

1983.
"Doodles" Weaver (b..May 11, 1911, Age 71) died this day.
né: Winstead Sheffield Glendening Dixon.
A novelty musician, Variety Show Host, and comedian, he is best recalled as a comic member of "Spike Jones & the City Slickers".



Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:

1923

Leona Williams and her Dixie Band

Lee Morse

Original Indiana Five
1928

Original Indiana Five
1931

Ted Lewis and his Band




LYRICS:







I Like Pie, I Like Cake

I like pie, I like cake,
I like everything you bake,
And I like some crackers, too,
Crumbled up in a stew.
When I see a jelly roll,
I lose all my self-control.
But of all these things I like you best of all.

TubaGirlFin
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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