Thursday

APRIL 1ST


HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALBERTA HUNTER !

BIRTHDAYS...



1895
Alberta Hunter, Vocal/composer
b. Memphis, TN, USA. d. Oct. 17, 1984.
aka: Josephine Beatty.
Alberta Hunter was a pioneering African-American popular singer whose path crosses the streams of jazz, blues and pop music. While she made important contributions to all of these stylistic genres, she is claimed exclusively by no single mode of endeavor. 
Hunter recorded in six decades of the twentieth century, and enjoyed a career in music that outlasted most human lives.

Hunter was born in Memphis, and depending on which account you read, she either ran away from home or her family relocated to Chicago when she was 12-years-old. Her career began in the bawdy houses on the south side of Chicago, probably in 1911 or 1912, although she claimed 1909. Early on she married, but ultimately discovered she preferred women to men.
In Chicago Hunter worked with legendary pianist Tony Jackson, was good friends with King Oliver's pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong, and even sang in white clubs. But working in these violent, rough-and-tumble nighteries was dangerous business, and not long after an incident where Hunter's piano accompanist was killed by a stray bullet, she decided to try her talent in New York.
Not long after she arrived, Hunter made contact with the Harry Pace and his Black Swan Records concern. Hunter's initial records for Black Swan, made in May 1921, were the first blues vocals recorded by the company. Later, after Paramount acquired Black Swan, these sides were co-mingled with Hunter's newer Paramount recordings; her work from both labels dominated the early couplings in the Paramount 12000 Race series. Her recordings were also pressed up for labels like Puritan, Harmograph, and Silvertone under pseudonyms such as Josephine Beatty, Alberta Prime, Anna Jones, and even May Alix, the name of another (incidentally inferior) real live singer!



Although some listeners accustomed to her voice on her post-1977 recordings have little or no use for these early waxes, Hunter contributed positively to some very important sessions. These include a 1923 Paramount date where she was accompanied by a white group, the Original Memphis Five, said to be the first session of its kind; the famous Red Onion Jazz Babies session for Gennett-Champion's New York studio with Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet that produced "Cake Walking Babies from Home" and the vocal version of "Texas Moaner Blues"; many sessions backed by Fletcher Henderson's earliest orchestra, and some others where she was supported by Fats Waller, Eubie Blake, Lovie Austin, and Tommy Ladnier. 
 Altogether, Hunter made more than 80 sides before 1930, most of them being made before 1925. A (rumored) rejected 1926 date for Vocalion teamed her with King Oliver, Lil Armstrong, and Johnny Dodds, but nothing concrete about this session has ever surfaced, and certainly no recordings of it.
During the '20s, Hunter also established herself as a songwriter of some significance; her song "Downhearted Blues" was covered by Bessie Smith on her first recording for Columbia -- it was a huge hit for Smith. Hunter was able to break easily into the black vaudeville circuit and by 1927 she was off to Europe for an extended stay which would keep her out of the U.S. for most of the depression. In London in 1934, Hunter made an extensive series of recordings with an orchestra led by Jack Jackson, some of these being straight-up pop records with no pretension of being blues or jazz.
Returning to the U.S. in 1935, Hunter still found an audience waiting for her, but record dates were getting harder to come by. She made sessions with ARC, Bluebird, and Decca, but these generated no hits, and some weren't even released. Hunter ultimately wound up working for fly-by-night indies such as Regal and Juke Box in the '40s. Unfazed, Hunter worked the USO circuit during World War II and still had considerable drawing power in terms of personal appearances. There are those who insist that her recordings are nothing but a weak imitation of the real thing, and that it was Alberta Hunter the "live" performer that kept her fan base active during these years.
Hunter dropped out of show business for two decades starting in 1956 in favor of working as a licensed practical nurse at a hospital in the New York City area. She broke from this routine only once, in 1961, in order to make a justly celebrated album for Bluesville which reunited her with her old friends Lovie Austin and Lil Hardin Armstrong. None of her patients or co-workers at the hospital had any idea who she was or what a famous name she had been, and Hunter preferred it that way.
When Hunter retired from nursing in 1977, she was 81 and ready to go back on the road. By this time her voice was gritty, down and dirty, and her fans loved her for it. She made four albums for Columbia between 1977 and her death in 1984, including the extraordinary Amtrak Blues, and for many younger listeners these are the records by which Alberta Hunter is defined. Oddly, these same fans have little patience for her sweet and precious singing in the '20s, and relatively few outside of England would have much tolerance for her '30s work with Jack Jackson. Nonetheless, all of Hunter's recordings are interesting and wonderful in their own way.
Alberta Hunter was one of the earliest African-American singers, along with Sippie Wallace, to make the transition from the lowly brothels and sporting houses into the international spotlight. That she defies easy categorization attests to the astonishing fact that she was on the scene a little before the genres themselves were defined. Her longevity as a popular artist is equaled by only a few others, and she was successful in adapting her style to changes in popular taste, as well as along the lines of her own personal experiences.
~ Uncle Dave Lewis




1883
Jules Verne Allen, (Western) vocals
b. Waxahachie, TX, USA.
Tag: "The Singing Cowboy"
Jules Verne Allen was one of a handful of authentic and documented cowboy singers and writers -- along with Carl T. Sprague -- who lived the life that his songs dealt with. He also learned those songs before radio and records carried them to the world, when they were still part of an oral tradition. A cowboy from the age of ten, and a participant in cattle drives until the end of the first decade of the new century, Allen began singing as an amateur for the pleasure of his fellow cowboys.
After a stint in law enforcement, including a possible period as a Texas Ranger, and service in the army during World War I, he began working as a professional singer in the 1920s and was appearing on radio in Dallas, San Antonio, and Los Angeles by the end of the decade, sometimes under various pseudonyms, including Longhorn Luke. Allen began cutting music for Victor starting in 1928, and cut a total of a dozen sides for the company that year and the next. He cut what were among the earliest known versions of "The Cowboy's Dream," "Home on the Range," and "Days of Forty-Nine." His recording of "The Dying Cowboy," more familiar as "Oh Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie," is one of the more notable authentic oral tradition-derived versions of a song dating, in that form, at least since the 1830s.
Allen was also a composer and writer in his own right, and published Cowboy Lore, a collection of three dozen songs accompanied by details about cowboy life, in 1933 -- it has been reprinted several times, most recently in 1971, some 26 years after his death.
~ Bruce Eder

1897
Lucille Bogan, vocals
b. Amory, MS, USA. d. Aug. 10, 1948.
née: Lucille Anderson
Bessie Jackson was a pseudonym of Lucille Bogan, a classic female blues artist from the '20s and '30s. Her outspoken lyrics deal with sexuality in a manner that manages to raise eyebrows even within a genre that is about as nasty as recorded music ever got prior to the emergence of artists such as 2 Live Crew or Ludacris. The name change seems to be quite different in her case than the usual pattern among blues artists who recorded under other names simply to make an end run around pre-existing recording contracts. 
Jackson/Bogan seemed to be looking for something more substantial, in that she not only changed her name but her performance style as well, and never recorded again under the name of Lucille Bogan once the Jackson persona had emerged. This was despite having enjoyed a hit record in the so-called "race market" in 1927 with the song "Sweet Petunia" as Bogan, but perhaps this was a scent she was trying to hide from.
This performer came out of the extremely active blues scene of Birmingham, AL, in the '20s. She was born Lucille Anderson in Mississippi, picking up Bogan as a married name. She was the aunt of pianist and trumpet player Thomas "Big Music" Anderson. Bogan made her first recordings of the tunes "Lonesome Daddy Blues" and "Pawnshop Blues," in 1923, in New York City for the OKeh label. Despite the blues references in the titles, these were more vaudeville numbers. She moved to Chicago a year or two later and developed a huge following in the Windy City, before relocating to New York City in the early '30s, where she began a long collaborative relationship with pianist Walter Roland. 
This was the type of musical combination that many songwriters and singers only dream about; he was a perfect foil, knew what to play on the piano to bring out the best in her voice, and was such a sympathetic partner that it is hard to know where her ideas start and his end, no matter what name she was using. The pair made more than 100 records together before Bogan stopped recording in 1935.
One of the most infamous of the Jackson sides is the song "B.D. Woman's Blues," which 75 years later packs more of a punch than the lesbian-themed material of artists such as Holly Near or the Indigo Girls. "B.D." was short for "bull dykes," after all, and the blues singer lays it right on the line with the opening verse: "Comin' a time/women ain't gonna need no men." Well, except for a good piano player such as Walter Roland or some of her other hotshot accompanists such as guitarists Tampa Red and Josh White, or banjo picker Papa Charlie Jackson. She herself gets an accordion credit on one early recording, quite unusual for this genre. Certainly one of Bogan's greatest talents was as a songwriter, and she copyrighted dozens of titles, many of them so original that other blues artists were forced to give credit where credit was due instead of whipping up "matcher" imitations as was more than norm.
She still wrote songs during her later years living in California, and her final composition was "Gonna Leave Town," which turned out to be quite a prophetic title. By the time Smokey Hogg cut the tune in 1949, Jackson really had left town, having passed away the previous year from coronary sclerosis. 
While the material of some artists from this period has become largely forgotten, this is hardly the case for her; Saffire: The Uppity Blues Women have recorded several of her songs, as has bandmember Ann Rabson on her solo projects, as well as the naughty novelty band the Asylum Street Spankers.
~ Eugene Chadbourne

1910
Harry Carney
piano/clarinet-alto-baritone Sax
b. Boston, MA, USA. 
d. Oct. 8, 1974.
Harry Carney's baritone saxophone was the anchor, the lodestone, the foundation of a distinctive tonal blend that virtually defined the Duke Ellington Orchestra for more than 45 years. A mainstay of the Ellington experience, he remained with Duke longer than anyone else and outlived him by only a little more than four months. Harry Howell Carney was born in Boston on the first of April 1910 and grew up in the same neighborhood as alto saxophonists Johnny Hodges and Charlie Holmes. Together they gathered inspiration from 78-rpm jazz records. Carney cited as primary influences Sidney Bechet with Clarence Williams, Buster Bailey with Fletcher Henderson, and Don Murray with Jean Goldkette. 
At the age of 13, he blew clarinet with a band sponsored by the Knights of Pythias. After developing some proficiency on the alto sax, he visited New York with Holmes and gigged at the Bamboo Inn shortly before it burned to the ground.
Carney then began sitting in with Duke Ellington, who took him back to Boston for a series of one-nighters. After Duke sweet-talked Carney's mother into allowing the 17-year-old to continue his involvement with the band, a lifelong collaboration ensued. Over the years Ellington took to riding in Carney's Imperial automobile while the saxophonist quietly handled the steering wheel. This provided Duke with a friendly and intimate atmosphere wherein some of his most memorable melodies were conceived. Carney co-composed "Rockin' in Rhythm" and was usually responsible for executing the bubbling clarinet solo on this tune, but he generally confined himself to the big baritone sax.
Examples of his arresting presence on this horn are myriad and include "Frustration," "Sono," "Perdido," and "La Plus Belle Africaine." A bonus track version of "Sophisticated Lady" on the CD reissue of the Verve album Soul Call is a thrilling testimonial to Carney's lyrical profundity as a balladeer and his resilience as a practitioner of circular breathing, two of the many ways in which he influenced Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who in 1972 on his album A Meeting of the Times presented a duple portrait of Harry Carney and Barney Bigard by simultaneously blowing a clarinet and a baritone sax. Carney claimed to have originally mastered the baritone in order to help Duke broaden the palette of the ensemble, initially emulating Coleman Hawkins in the upper register and Adrian Rollini in the basement of the horn. Around 1944 he also took up the bass clarinet.
Between 1946 and 1960, Harry Carney recorded as a leader for the HRS, Wax, and Columbia labels. His wide-ranging adventures as a sideman further from or entirely outside of the Ellington orbit include sessions with Billy Taylor's Big Eight, the Coleman Hawkins Sax Ensemble, Lionel Hampton, Edmond Hall, Earl Hines, Harry James, Al Killian, Tyree Glenn, Jimmy Jones, Johnny Bothwell, and Dizzy Gillespie. He also helped to provide accompaniments for vocalists Billie Holiday, Al Hibbler, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Pleasant Joseph, Buddy Clark, and Johnny Rae.
In 1937, Carney sang in a vocal trio with Rex Stewart and Hayes Alvis behind Ivie Anderson on "I've Got to Be a Rug Cutter." When Johnny Hodges led a small group in live performance at the Berlin Sportpalast in 1966, Harry Carney provided a thunderous backbone for their rendition of "Things Ain't What They Used to Be." His last testament, as it were, is a feature performance of "Drop Me Off in Harlem" on Mercer Ellington's album Continuum, recorded during the interim between the deaths of Duke Ellington on May 24 and Harry Carney on October 8, 1974. A moving tribute to Carney, composed by Sy Johnson, was recorded by Charles Mingus in December of that year and included on his album Changes Two.
~ arwulf arwulf
1909
Eddie Duchin
society pianist/bandleader
b. Mass, d. Feb. 9, 1951 (Leukemia)
Eddy Duchin (April 1, 1909 - February 9, 1951) was an American popular pianist and bandleader of the 1930s and 1940s, famous for his engaging onstage personality, his elegant piano style, and his courageous fight against leukemia.
Early career
Edwin Frank Duchin was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sources are divided as to whether his birth occurred on 1 April 1909 or 10 April 1910. He first became a pharmacist before turning full-time to music and beginning his new career with Leo Reisman's orchestra at the Central Park Casino in New York, an elegant nightclub where he became hugely popular in his own right and eventually became the Reisman orchestra's leader by 1932. He became widely popular thanks to regular radio broadcasts that boosted his record sales, and he was one of the earliest pianists to lead a commercially successful large band.
Musical style
Playing what later came to be called "sweet" music rather than jazz, Duchin's success opened a new gate for similarly styled, piano-playing sweet bandleaders such as Henry King, Joe Reichman, Nat Brandwynne, Dick Gasparre, Little Jack Little, and particularly Carmen Cavallaro (who acknowledged Duchin's influence) to compete with the large jazz bands for radio time and record sales.
Duchin had no formal music training -- which was said to frustrate his musicians at times -- but he developed a style rooted in classical music that some believe the forerunner of Liberace's ornate, gaudy approach. Still, there were understatements in Duchin's music that were beyond Liberace's self-conscious glitz. By no means was Duchin a perfect pianist, but he was easy to listen to without being rote or entirely predictable. He was a pleasing stage presence whose favourite technique was to play his piano cross-handed, using only one finger on the lower hand, and he was respectful to his audiences and to his classical influences.
Duchin would often use beautiful soft-voiced singers like Durelle Alexander and Lew Sherwood to accommodate his sweet and romantic songs, giving them extra appeal and making them more interesting. His marvelous taste in vocalists is perhaps his most underrated talent.
Notoriety
Duchin's 1938 release of the Louis Armstrong song "Ol' Man Mose" (Brunswick Records 8155) with vocal by Patricia Norman caused a minor scandal at the time with the lyric "bucket" being heard as "fuck it." Some listeners analyze the recording and conclude that there is no vulgarism uttered, while others are convinced that Norman does use the f-word (which would explain one of the band members laughing delightedly after Norman seems to chirp, "Aww, fuck it, fuck-fuck-fuck it!").
The "scandalous" lyrics caused the record to zoom to #2 on the Billboard charts, resulting in sales of 170,000 copies when sales of 20,000 were considered a blockbuster. The song was banned after its release in Great Britain. The notorious number can be heard on a British novelty CD, "Beat the Band to the Bar."
Late career and death
Duchin entered the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving as a combat officer in a destroyer squadron in the Pacific.[1] He attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander (O4). After his discharge from the military, Duchin was unable to reclaim his former stardom in spite of a brave stab at a new radio show in 1949. On February 9, 1951, Eddy Duchin died at age 41 in New York City of acute myelogenous leukemia. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the Atlantic Ocean.
Legacy
By the mid 1950s, Columbia Pictures, having enjoyed success with musical biographies, mounted a feature film based on the bandleader's life. The Eddy Duchin Story (1956) is a fictionalized tear-jerker, with Tyrone Power in the title role. The film did well in theaters, and was well enough known to be referenced in one of Columbia's Three Stooges shorts: the Stooges' spaceship is about to crash when Joe Besser yelps, "I don't want to die! I can't die! I haven't seen The Eddy Duchin Story yet!"
An anthology of some of Duchin's best recordings, Dancing with Duchin, was released in 2002. Perhaps Duchin's strongest legacy, however, is his only child. Peter Duchin (b. 1937), was the product of his first marriage (to Marjorie Oelrichs). Though just 14 years old when his father died, the boy had begun a musical education with his father and eventually later studied formally at Yale. In time, he became an orchestra-leading pianist in his own right, as well as the author of a series of mystery novels, a presence in high society (into which his mother had been born), and a frequent entertainer (as well as musical director for U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson's inauguration) at the White House and on television. In his 1996 memoir Ghost of a Chance, Peter Duchin wrote about the wholesale fictionalization in The Eddy Duchin Story. Peter Duchin has been married to actress/writer Brooke Hayward (daughter of agent and theatrical producer Leland Hayward and actress Margaret Sullavan), since 1985.
~From Wikipdia



1915
Art Lund, Vocal
b. Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
d. May 30, 1990.



1908
Bob Nolan, leader
b. New Brunswick, Canada
d. June 15, 1980.
né: Robert Clarence Nobles.
Member (The Leader): 'The Sons of The Pioneers'



Notable Events Occurring 
On This Date Include:


1917.
Scott Joplin died in a New York City
mental institution at the age of 49.
Scott Joplin - Wikipedia


1989.
Lem Johnson, tenor sax
died in NY, USA.

1991.
Eddie Miller, tenor sax
died in Van Nuys, CA, USA.




2001.
Ted McCarty, retired president
of the Gibson Guitar Company
died in Idaho.
Age: 91

jf
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:



1919


Louisiana Five - Just Another Good Man Gone Wrong (Introducing Who'll Love You When I'm Gone?)


1922



Bailey's Lucky Seven
  • Don't Leave Me, Mammy
  • Poor Little Me

1923


Harry Reser
  • Crazy Jo' - (w/ Ferde Grofe at the piano)
  • Pickin's - (w/ Ferde Grofe at the piano)

Original Indiana Five

1924


Benson Orchestra of Chicago
  • Forget Me Not (Means Remember Me)

The California Ramblers
  • That Lullaby Strain

1925


Faye Barnes / Maggie Jones - Suicide Blues
  • Dangerous Blues


The California Ramblers - Cheatin' On Me



1926



The Washingtonians


Laura Smith accompanied by Perry Bradford's Mean Four - I'll Get Even With You


Waring's Pennsylvanians - In My Gondola
  • Someone To Love - Vocal refrain by Tom and Fred Waring

1927


Edwin J. McEnelly’s Orchestra - I'll Take Care Of Your Cares

Edwin J. McEnelly’s Orchestra My Sunday Girl - Vocal refrain by Frederick L. Wade



Eddie Lang - April Kisses

Eddie Lang Eddie's Twister



Original Indiana Five - Memphis Blues

Annette Hanshaw - Aw Gee! Don't Be That Way Now
Annette Hanshaw -  My Idea Of Heaven

Bessie Smith - Lock And Key



1928


W.E. "Buddy" Burton - No One But You
  • Silvery Moon


Blythe and Burton

1929


Cow Cow Davenport - Chimes Blues

Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Orchestra - Pretty Little Thing



1930




Abe Lyman's California Ambassador Hotel Orchestra


LYRICS:

~W.C. Handy

Folks I've just been down, down to Memphis town,
That's where the people smile, smile on you all the while.
Hospitality, they were good to me.
I couldn't spend a dime, and had the grandest time.

I went out a dancing with a Tennessee dear,
They had a fellow there named Handy with a band you should hear
And while the folks gently swayed, all the band folks played Real harmony.
I never will forget the tune that Handy called the Memphis Blues.
Oh yes, them Blues.
They've got a fiddler there that always slickens his hair
And folks he sure do pull some bow.
And when the big Bassoon seconds to the Trombones croon.
It moans just like a sinner on Revival Day, on Revival Day.

Oh that melody sure appealed to me.
Just like a mountain stream rippling on it seemed.
Then it slowly died, with a gentle sigh
Soft as the breeze that whines high in the summer pines.

Hear me people, hear me people, hear I pray,
I'm going to take a million lesson's 'til I learn how to play
Because I seem to hear it yet, simply can't forget
That blue refrain.

There's nothing like the Handy Band that played the Memphis Blues so grand.
Oh play them Blues.
That melancholy strain, that ever haunting refrain
Is like a sweet old sorrow song.
Here comes the very part that wraps a spell around my heart.
It sets me wild to hear that loving tune a gain,
The Memphis Blues.




(WHAT DID I DO TO BE SO) BLACK AND BLUE
(Thomas "Fats" Waller / Harry Brooks / Andy Razaf)


Out in the street, shufflin' feet
Couples passin' two by two
While here am I, left high and dry
Black, and 'cause I'm black I'm blue

Browns and yellers, all have fellers
Gentlemen prefer them light
Wish I could fade, can't make the grade
Nothing but dark days in sight

Cold, empty bed, springs hard as lead
Pains in my head, feel like old Ned
What did I do to be so black and blue?

No joys for me, no company
Even the mouse ran from my house
All my life through I've been so black and blue

I'm white inside, it don't help my case
'Cause I can't hide, what is on my face, oh!

I'm so forlorn, life's just a thorn
My heart is torn, why was I born?
What did I do to be so black and blue?

'Cause you're black, folks think you lack
They laugh at you, and scorn you too
What did I do to be so black and blue?

When you are near, they laugh and sneer
Set you aside and you're denied
What did I do to be so black and blue?

How sad I am, each day I feel worse
My mark of Ham seems to be a curse, oh

How will it end? ain't got a friend
My only sin is my skin
What did I do to be so black and blue?


TubaGirlFin
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~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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