Cabell "Cab" Calloway, III 

b. Rochester, NY, USA.
d. Nov. 18 , 1994, Hockessin, DE, USA.
Often presented as "Cab Calloway. The King of "Heigh De Ho", presents a bit of Heated Harlem Rhythm." Always dressed in an all-white "Fish and Tails" - even a White Top Hat.

Cab Calloway (December 25, 1907–November 18, 1994) was a famous American jazz singer and bandleader. Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States' most popular African American big bands from the start of the 1930s through the late 1940s. Calloway's Orchestra featured performers that included trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon "Chu" Berry and bassist Milt Hinton. Calloway continued to perform right up until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.

*Early years -

Cab Calloway was born Cabell Calloway III in a middle-class family in Rochester, New York, and raised primarily in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, Cabell Calloway II, was a lawyer, and his mother Martha Eulalia Reed was a teacher and church organist. His parents recognized their son's musical talent, and he began private voice lessons in 1922. He continued to study music and voice throughout his formal schooling. Despite his parents' and vocal teachers' disapproval of jazz, Calloway began frequenting and eventually performing in many of Baltimore's jazz clubs, where he was mentored by drummer Chick Webb and pianist Johnny Jones.

Blanche Calloway

After graduating from high school Cab joined his older sister, Blanche, in a touring production of the popular black musical revue Plantation Days (Blanche Calloway herself would become an accomplished bandleader before her brother did, and Cab would often credit his inspiration to enter show business to her).

When the tour ended in Chicago in the fall, Cab decided to remain in Chicago with his sister, who had an established career as a jazz singer in that city. His parents had hopes of their son becoming a lawyer like his father, so Calloway enrolled in Crane College. His main interest, however, was in singing and entertaining, and he spent most of his nights at the Dreamland Cafe and the Sunset Cafe, performing as a drummer, singer and emcee. At the Sunset Cafe he met and performed with Louis Armstrong who taught him to sing in the "scat" style.

*Success -

The premier jazz venue in the country, and Cab Calloway and his Orchestra was hired as a replacement for the Duke Ellington Orchestra while they were touring. (There is some speculation that Mafia pressure was responsible for Cab's hiring.) Calloway quickly proved so popular that his band became the "co-house" band with Ellington's, and Cab and his group began touring nationwide when not playing the Cotton Club. 

Their popularity was greatly enhanced by the twice-weekly live national radio broadcasts on NBC at the Cotton Club. Calloway also appeared on Walter Winchell's radio program and with Bing Crosby in his show at the Paramount Theatre. As a result of these appearances, Calloway, together with Ellington, broke the major broadcast network color barrier.

In 1931, he recorded his most famous song, "Minnie the Moocher". That song, "St. James Infirmary Blues" and "The Old Man Of The Mountain" were performed for the Betty Boop animated shorts Minnie the Moocher, Snow White and The Old Man of the Mountain, respectively. Through the magic of rotoscoping, Cab not only gave his voice to these cartoons but his dance steps as well. Cab took advantage of this and timed his concerts in some communities with the release of the films in order to make the most of the attention. As a result of the success of "Minnie the Moocher" he became identified with its chorus, gaining the nickname "The Hi De Ho Man." In 1943 he appeared in the high-profile 20th Century Fox musical film, Stormy Weather.

In 1941 Cab Calloway fired Dizzy Gillespie from his Orchestra after an onstage fracas erupted when Calloway was hit with spitballs. He wrongly accused Gillespie, who stabbed Calloway with a surreptitious knife.In 1944, The New Cab Calloway's Hepsters Dictionary: Language of Jive was published, an update of an earlier book in which Cab set about translating jive for fans who might not know, for example, that "kicking the gong around" was a reference to smoking opium.

*Later years -

In the 1950s, Calloway moved his family from Long Island, NY, to Greenburgh, NY to raise the three youngest of his five daughters.

In his later career, Calloway became a popular personality, appearing in a number of films and stage productions that utilized both his acting and singing talents. In 1952, he played the prominent role of "Sportin' Life" in a production of the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess with William Warfield and Leontyne Price as the title characters. Another notable role was "Yeller" in The Cincinnati Kid (1965), with Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret and Edward G. Robinson.

In 1967 Calloway co-starred as Horace Vandergelder in an all-black revival of Hello, Dolly! (even though the original production was still running!) starring Pearl Bailey. This was a major success and led to a cast recording released by RCA. In 1973-1974 he was featured in an unsuccessful Broadway revival of The Pajama Game alongside Hal Linden and Barbara McNair. 1976 saw the release of his autobiography, Of Minnie The Moocher And Me (Crowell). It included his complete Hepsters Dictionary as an appendix.

Calloway attracted renewed interest in 1980 when he appeared as a supporting character in the film The Blues Brothers, performing "Minnie The Moocher", and again when he sang "The Jumpin' Jive" with the Two-Headed Monster on Sesame Street. Calloway helped establish the Cab Calloway Museum at Coppin State College (Baltimore, Maryland) in the 1980s and Bill Cosby helped establish a scholarship in Cab Calloway's name at the New School of Social Research New York City. In 1994, a creative and performing arts school Cab Calloway School of the Arts was dedicated in his name in Wilmington, Delaware.

In 1986, Calloway appeared at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s WrestleMania 2 as a guest judge for a boxing match between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. T that took place Nassau Coliseum and in 1990 made a cameo in Janet Jackson's video for "Alright". In the United Kingdom he also appeard in several commericals for the Hula Hoops snack, both as himself and as a voice for a cartoon (in one of these commericals he sang his hit "Minnie The Moocher").

*Death -

On November 18, 1994, Calloway died after having suffered a major stroke six months previously.
In 1998, The Cab Calloway Orchestra (directed by Cab's grandson C. Calloway Brooks) was formed to honor Cab Calloway's legacy on the national and international levels.

Willie "61" Blackwell, guitar
Merritt Brunies and his Friars Inn Orchestra Left to Right: Gordon Pouliot, 
Bill Paley, Henry Brunies, Maurie Friedman, Merritt Brunies, Bill Creger, 
Norman Van Hook, Clarence Piper, Rip Logan.

Merritt Brunies 

b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. 1973
Cornet, trombone. Member of legendary New Orleans musical family. Merritt Brunies was a traditional jazz bandleader in New Orleans and Chicago from 1916 - 1918, and headed a grroup called The Original New Orleans Jazz Band. 

This group did not record, but it predated Jimmy Durante's New Orleans Jazz Band which was formed in New York in 1918, and The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, which played in Chicago in 1916 and became the first group to record in 1917. 

After his first group disbanded, Brunies played cornet and led the ensemble that replaced The New Orleans Rhythm Kings at Friar's Inn in Chicago. He returned to New Orleans in 1930 and played in various clubs. Brunies relocated to Mississippi in 1946, and played in The Brunies Brothers Dixieland Jazz Band for the rest of his career.
~ Ron Wynn 
Merritt Brunies and his Friars Inn Orchestra

Joe Butler, Bass 

b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. June 19, 1982

Louis Cottrell Sr., Drums

b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. Oct. 17, 1927

Alton Delmore 

C&W vocals
b. Elkmont, AL, USA
d. June 8, 1964.
Member: "The Delmore Brothers" and "The Brown's Ferry Four" vocal groups.

"Izzy" Friedman 

b. Linton, IN, USA.
"Izzy" began his music career in Terra Haute, IN, USA.

Eddie Gibbs 

b. New Haven, CT, USA.
Eddie was a student of banjoist/bandleader Elmer Snowden. In the late 1920s, was already working with such players as Wilbur Sweatman, Eubie Blake and Billy Fowler. In 1937 he began playing quite regularly with Edgar Hayes, and in 1938 toured Europe with Hayes. During this period, Gibbs switched to playing a guitar. In 1940, after a brief stint with Teddy Wilson, Gibbs joined Eddie South for two years. Subsequently, Eddie played with pianist Dave Martin, Luis Russell, and Claude Hopkins.

In the early 1950s, he was part of a Wilbur De Paris combo (playing mostly banjo). In the mid '50s, he left De Paris, and began to study the Bass with Ernest Hill. Before the decade ended, Gibbs was playing the Bass full time. However, in the 1960s, there was a revival of interest in Dixieland Jazz, and Gibbs was soon back playing his banjo full timne with various groups, as well as at the 1965 New York World's Fair. During the late 1960s, Gibbs worked with a combo called 'The Happy Family' playing both banjo and bass. In the 1970s, Gibbs 'hung up' his banjo and retired.

Harry "Big Jim" Lawson 

b. Round Rock, TX, USA.
Harry Lawson, whose nickname in the big band heydays of the '30s and '40s was "Big Jim," celebrated his 99th birthday in 2003. Perhaps his longevity can be attributed to giving up playing trumpet, which he was forced to do in the late '50s due to problems with his teeth. He had already put in nearly four decades of professional music activity by the time his chops literally gave out, beginning as both a trombonist and trumpeter at the age of 15 and within a few years joining up with different circus and carnival ensembles.

Lawson's initial jazz contact was bandleader Terrence Holder in the early '20s. This association was followed quickly by an extended involvement with the music of innovative bandleader Andy Kirk. The trumpeter, sometimes assuming chores as a musical director, worked steadily with Kirk through the early '40s. At that point he backed off playing full-time music, yet still made himself available to Kirk on an occasional basis through 1956. "Big Jim" was a presence in Kirk's works not only as a player but in the repertoire of the group itself. "Big Jim Blues," a subtle, relaxed theme from the Kirk set list, was co-written by Lawson and Kirk's regular pianist, the great Mary Lou Williams. This trumpeter should not be confused with the Harry Lawson who played saxophone on recordings by vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee.
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Leighton Noble 

b. Pasadena, CA, USA.
d: March 6, 1994
né: Faye Leighton Jepsen
This California-based bandleader and singer was part of the same '30s Los Angeles jazz and dance band scene that spawned musicians as famous as the madcap bandleader Spike Jones and big band jazz innovator Stan Kenton. Noble actually employed Jones as a drummer in his dance band in the early days, although he never noticed anything too unusual about him one way or another.

Leighton Noble: Information from

Edward "Kid" Ory, Trombone 

b. La Place, LA, USA.
d. Jan. 23, 1973, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Probably the most famous of all the original "Tailgate" trombonists. Played with all the legendary New Orleans bands, and later renowned for his work on the 'Louis Armstrong Hot Five' Chicago recordings.

Kid Ory was the greatest trombone player in the early years of Jazz. He originally played banjo, but then switched to trombone. Perhaps his banjo playing helped shape the "tailgate" style of playing he later developed on the trombone. In the "tailgate" style, the trombone plays a rhythmic line underneath the trumpets and cornets. From 1912 to 1919 he led one of the most popular bands in New Orleans. Ory's Band featured many of the great musicians who would go on to define the Hot Jazz style. At various times King Oliver, a young Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet and Jimmie Noone all played in Ory's band.

In 1919 Ory relocated to California for health reasons. He assembled a new group of New Orleans musicians on the West Coast and played regularly under the name of Kid Ory's Creole Orchestra. In 1922 they became the first African-American jazz band from New Orleans to record. They used the name of "Spike's Seven Pods of Pepper Orchestra" and recorded the songs "Ory's Creole Trombone" and "Society Blues".

In 1925 he moved to Chicago, and played regularly with King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five and Hot Seven and with Jelly Roll Morton and several other Chicago groups. During the Depression Ory played very little and ran a chicken ranch with his brother. When the Dixieland revival occurred in the 1940's, Ory found his style of music back in vogue. He revived Kid Ory's Creole Orchestra in 1943 and was able to continue to play, tour and record Jazz until he retired in 1966.

Frank Pappalardi 

b. Providence, RI, USA.
Worked with Louis Jordan.

"Big Jim" Robinson, Trombone 

b. Deer Ranger, LA, USA.
d. May 4, 1976, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Jim Robinson was a very reliable New Orleans trombonist who was much more consistent than most of the musicians he performed with, never seeming to have an off day. A jazz pioneer, Robinson played guitar as a child and started playing trombone in 1917, while stationed in France during World War I; he was already 24. He started working in New Orleans in 1919 with Kid Rena, the Golden Leaf Band, and the Tuxedo Band.

In 1923, Robinson became part of the Morgan band which, under Sam Morgan's leadership, had a recording session in 1927. He was a fixture in New Orleans for decades, playing with many local groups while working days in the 1930s as a longshoreman. Robinson was part of Kid Rena's 1940 recording session and joined Bunk Johnson's band in 1942, meeting up with George Lewis. He returned to New Orleans with Lewis in 1946, and was a part of Lewis' popular band during the 1950s and '60s, touring the world and recording extensively. He was the top musician in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in the 1970s, staying active until his death at age 83. Jim Robinson recorded as a leader for AM (1944), Riverside (1961), Atlantic, Pearl, Jazz Crusade, and finally Smoky Mary (January 1976).
~ Scott Yanow

Eddie Safranski, Bass, leader 

b. Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
d. January 10, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Perhaps best known for his work with Stan Kenton, but he had also worked with Charlie Barnet and Benny Goodman From 1946 to 1953, he won the "Down Beat Readers Poll" for best bassist. As a leader, his band recorded two songs with singer Ginny Gibson, --."Doodle Bug" and "Scutter-Botch", (Gibson is little recalled today, but she did also record backed by the Hugo Winterhalter, Bobby Sherwood, Lenny Herman, and Joe Lipman orchestras. )

Nat Shilkret 

leader, piano, cornet, clarinet, violin
b. New York (Queens) NY, USA.
d: Feb., 18, 1982, Long Island, NY, USA.

Bandleader and clarinetist, Nat Shilkret was born Nathaniel Schuldkraut in Queens, New York in 1895. 

He began studying the violin and clarinet at the age of five and later the piano, studying under Charles Hambitzer, also the instructor to George Gershwin. 

After graduating from college with a civil engineering degree, Shilkret began playing as a classical clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

He began his recording career on the RCA Victor label in 1924. He became one of the top bandleaders of the late 20’s and early 30’s with over 50 chart hits including “Tell Me You’ll Forgive Me” (#7, 1924), “June Brought the Roses” (#7, 1925), “Rio Rita” (#8, 1926), “On the Riviera” (#6, 1926), “All Alone Monday” (#2, 1927), “One Alone” (#4, 1927), “I Know That You Know” (#5, 1927), “Hallelujah!” (#3, 1927), “Me and My Shadow” (#5, 1927), “Diane (I’m in Heaven When I See You Smile)” (#2, 1928), “The Sidewalks of New York” (#2, 1928), “You Were Meant for Me” (#2, 1929), “Pagan Love Song” (#3, 1929), “Chant of the Jungle” (#3, 1930) and “Dancing With Tears in My Eyes” (#1, 1930).

In the mid 1930’s, Shilkret began working in various radio programs and later in Hollywood as a studio composer for films including Swiss Miss. He was also the Director of Light Music or Victor Records until 1945.

Nat Shilkret died in 1982.

Rabon Tarrant 

b. Ennis, TX, USA

Rabon Tarrant: Information from

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include: 

Charles L. Cooke 

(ragtime) piano
died in Wurtsboro, NY, USA.
Age: 67

Lawrence Brown, piano 

died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 79.
Played with Paul Robeson

Richard "Hacksaw" Harney 

piano tuner/guitarist/pianist
died in Jackson, MS, USA.
Age: 71.
Sadly, "Hacksaw" is not too well remembered today. "Hacksaw" was an excellent guitarist (recorded by Adelphi label -1969). During the early 1920s, he worked in a local band, and then had an ongoing exposure to a variety of musicians in his travels as a piano tuner and rebuilder. His peers regarded him as one of the greatest musicians in the Mississippi Delta.

Dean Martin 

died at age 78
in Beverly Hills, CA, USA.
On the singer/crooner, actor, comedian's 

tombstone is engraved; 
Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include...


Coon Sanders Nighthawks Orchestra


I Ain't Got Nobody
  ~(Graham, Williams)

There's a saying going 'round and I begin to think it's true
It's awful hard to love someone, when they don't care 'bout you
Once I had a lovin' man, as good as many in this town
But now I'm sad and lonely, for he's gone and turned me down, now
I ain't got nobody and nobody cares for me
I got the blues, the weary blues
And I'm sad and lonely, won't somebody come and take a chance with me?
I'll sing sweet love songs honey, all the time
If you'll come and be my sweet baby mine
'Cause I ain't got nobody, and nobody cares for me
Won't somebody go and find my man and bring him back to me
It's awful hard to be alone and without sympathy
Once I was a loving gal, as good as any in this town
but since my daddy left me, I'm a gal with her heart bowed down

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Special Thanks To:
Scott Yanow, 
And all who have provided 
content for this site.