Thursday

MAY 20TH


HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILE BERLINER!


BIRTHDAYS



1851
Emile Berliner
gramophone inventor
b. Hanover, Germany
d. August 3, 1929,
Washington, DC, USA. 
Biography 
~by Eugene Chadbourne 
While Emile Berliner never actually appeared on any records, no records could have appeared without him. The compact disc generation can also mull over the man's importance, as Berliner was the first man to introduce the concept of a "disc" as a medium to be played on his newly invented gramophone. His competition at the time, the much better known Thomas Edison still thought a cylinder was the way to go, but he was ever so wrong. The disc concept was conceptually the key to the entire concept of mass production of recordings.
Berliner also invented the microphone that became part of the first Bell telephones, known as the carbon microphone transmitter. At 25, the German-born inventor had already patented and sold this microphone for $50,000 to what was then the just up and starting Bell Telephone Company, getting the ball rolling for it to become one of the largest corporations in the world. His thanks from the American business community for his inventions was, as might be expected, something in the nature of an all-out assault in which he was forced to move his ventures across the border to Canada.
Jimmy Blythe, Piano
b. Louisille, KY, USA.
d. 1931 Biography
~by Scott Yanow

Considering how many fine recording sessions he was on in Chicago in the 1920s (particularly with Johnny Dodds), it is surprising how little is known about the mysterious Jimmy Blythe. He was raised in Kentucky, moved to Chicago in 1918, and studied with pianist Clarence Jones. Blythe recorded dozens of piano rolls in the early '20s.

He began cutting records in 1924 (Blythe's "Chicago Stomp" from that year is considered by some to be the first full-length boogie-woogie recording).
During the next seven years, he made a few piano solos; backed singers Viola Bartlette and Alexander Robinson; teamed up with Dodds in several settings; led Blythe's Sinful Five; recorded with the Midnight Rounders, Jimmy Bertrand's Washboard Wizards, Lonnie Johnson, and the State Street Ramblers; and cut piano duets with Buddy Burton and Charlie Clark. Jimmy Blythe died at the age of 30 from meningitis. A decent soloist and a superior accompanist, nearly all of Blythe's recordings are available on an RST CD.


1911 
Vet Boswell, vocals
b. Birmingham, AL, USA.
Member of famed 'Boswell Sisters' 
Biography
~by John Bush 

Definitely the most talented and arguably the all-around best jazz vocal group of all time, the Boswell Sisters parlayed their New Orleans upbringing into a swinging delivery that featured not only impossibly close harmonies, but countless maneuvers of vocal gymnastics rarely equalled on record. Connee (sometimes Connie), Helvetia (Vet), and Martha Boswell grew up singing together, soaking up Southern gospel and blues through close contact with the black community. 

They first performed at vaudeville houses around the New Orleans area, and began appearing on local radio by 1925. At first, they played strictly instrumentals, with Connee on cello, saxophone and guitar; Martha on piano; and Vet on violin, banjo, and guitar. 
The station began featuring them in a vocal setting as well, with Connee taking the lead on many songs (despite a childhood accident that had crippled her and left her in a wheelchair). Word of their incredible vocal talents led to appearances in Chicago and New York, and the Boswell Sisters began recording in 1930 for Victor.

By the following year, they'd moved to Brunswick and reached the Hit Parade with "When I Take My Sugar to Tea," taken from the Marx Brothers' film Monkey Business and featuring the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in support. The trio continued to work with many of the best jazzmen in the field (including Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, and Bunny Berigan), and appeared in the 1932 film extravaganza The Big Broadcast with Bing Crosby and Cab Calloway. The Boswell Sisters hit the top of the Hit Parade only once, in 1935, with "The Object of My Affection" from the film Times Square Lady. One year later however, both Martha and Vet retired from the group in favor of married life.
Connee had already made a few solo sides for Brunswick as early as 1932, and she continued her solo career in earnest after the Boswell Sisters parted. She hit number one twice during the late '30s, with the Bing Crosby duets "Bob White (Whatcha Gonna Swing Tonight?)" and "Alexander's Ragtime Band," and continued recording into the '60s.
"One of the best ways to learn about the Boswell Sisters is to listen to their music.Jimmie Jazz of www.wool.fm in Bellows Falls, Vermont, has put together a great two hour program that tells the story of Martha, Connee and Vet through quotes from writers and the Sisters themselves, accompanied by their songs.
Bozzies.com recommends that you turn down the light, turn up the speakers and spend a couple of hours getting to know the Boswell Sisters. Navigate on over tohttp://www.jimmiejazzarchive.com and scroll past some other great names of the 1920s and 30s until you reach the Boswell launch button. Click on and get Bozzed.

1907
Rod Cless, Clarinet
b. Lenox, IA, USA.
d. 1944
Biography 

~by Eugene Chadbourne 
Clarinetist Rod Cless seems to have emerged from the middle of a potato field somewhere in Iowa and died in the mid '40s after falling several stories from the balcony of an apartment. Named George Roderick Cless, he was related by marraige to the much better known reedman Bud Freeman, but certainly had a respectable career in the Dixieland ensembles of leaders such as Muggsy Spanier and Bobby Hackett. He began playing in bands in college including the Varsity Five, darlings of Iowa State University. In the mid '20s he relocated to Des Moines where he first came into contact with an important influence, bandleader Frank Teschemacher, known as "Tesch" to his musical cohorts. The two went to Chicago together and began playing with groups such as the orchestra of Charlie Pierce.
In the late '20s, Cless toured in the south with Frank Quartell's Band, including his first journey to New Orleans. Back in Chicago, Cless squatted at the Wig Wam Club and enlisted with the combo of Louis Panico, a fairly calm bandleader despite contrary indications suggested by his surname. During this time Cless began to play more saxophone and took part in gigs with a less pronounced jazz content. Often these jobs involved extended club residencies, and the stay-at-home nature of this employment also allowed him to expand his activities as a clarinet teacher.
The spring of 1939 marked in many ways a return to pure jazz work, Cless joining up with panier's band The Ragtimers for the balance of the year, followed by two years with pianist Art Hodes. Other gigs in the '40s included work with Marty Marsala, Ed Farley, Georg Brunis and Wild Bill Davidson as well as the aforementioned Hackett. In 1944 he was associated with Max Kaminsky with whom he was employed at New York City's Pied Piper Club when Cless suffered catastrophic injuries toppling over the railings of an apartment, subsequently surviving for only four days in the hospital.
Rod Cless - Wikipedia


1896
"Jaybird" Coleman, harmonica
b. Gainesville, AL, USA. 
Biography
~by Stephen Thomas Erlewine 
Jaybird Coleman was an early blues harmonica player. Although he only recorded a handful of sides and his technique wasn't particularly groundbreaking, his music was strong and a good representation of the sound of country-blues harmonica in the early '30s.
Coleman was the son of sharecroppers. As a child, he taught himself how to play harmonica. He would perform at parties, both for his family and friends. Coleman served in the Army during World War I. After his discharge, he moved to the Birmingham, AL area. While he lived in Birmingham, he would perform on street corners and occasionally play with the Birmingham Jug Band.
Jaybird made his first recordings in 1927 -- the results were released on Gennett, Silvertone, and Black Patti. For the next few years, he simply played on street corners. Coleman cut his final sessions in 1930, supported by the Birmingham Jug Band. These recordings appeared on the OKeh record label.
During the '30s and '40s, Coleman played on street corners throughout Alabama. By the end of the '40s, he had disappeared from the state's blues scene. In 1950, Jaybird Coleman died of cancer.

1911
Milt Gabler, Record Shop
co-owner/label owner
(Commodore Records')
d. 2001
Biography 

~by Scott Yanow 
One of the top record producers of the 1940s and 50s, Milt Gabler will always be associated with his Commodore label. His father owned the Commodore Music Shop which Milt (starting in 1926) helped turn into one of the top record stores in New York. At a time when reissues were unheard of, Gabler talked several labels into letting him lease items for his United Hot Clubs of America label and in 1935 these were the very first reissues. In 1938 Gabler started recording new music for his Commodore label and during the next eight years his company emphasized freewheeling small group jazz. Among the many artists recording for Commodore were Eddie Condon and his sidemen, Billie Holiday ("Strange Fruit" was made for Commodore when Columbia shied away from the controversial song), Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and the Kansas City Six, Jelly Roll Morton and most of the who's who of swing and New Orleans jazz.
After 1946 the label slowed down drastically although occasional material was recorded through 1957; all of the Commodore recordings were reissued on three massive limited-edition sets (totalling 67 LPs!) by Mosaic in the late '80s. In addition to Commodore, Milt Gabler was quite active as a producer for Decca up until the late '60s, working with both jazz and pop artists including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan. He also had an impact on Rock and Roll, being responsible not only for signing Bill Haley and the Comets to Decca in 1954, but also for changing their sound from Western Swing to Rock and Roll while acting as producer. Gabler was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Milt Gabler - Wikipedia



Notable Events 
Occurring 

On This Date Include:



1920.
Canadian Marconi Company station XWA in Montreal
Quebec aired North America's (world's?) first scheduled
radio broadcast.


1975.
"Bon Bon" Tunnell, vocals
died in Philadelphia, PA.
Age: 72.
Best recalled for singing with Jan Savitt orchestra.


1978.
Ivan B. Browning, vocals
died in Los Angeles, CA.
Age: 87.
Member: 'The 4 Harmony Kings'


1986.
Clyde E. Bernhardt
vocals/trombone
died in Newark, NJ, USA.
Age: 80

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


1921


Mamie Smith and her Jazz Band

1924



Rosa Henderson




Herb Wiedoeft's Cinderella Roof Orchestra - Beale Street Blues



1925




Clifford's Louisville Jug Band - Struttin' The Blues


1927


Thomas Waller with Morris' Hot Babies - Won't You Take Me Home?
  • Fats Waller Stomp
  • Savannah Blues


Alberta Hunter (Thomas Waller at the Piano) - Beale Street Blues


Alberta Hunter (Thomas Waller at the Piano) Sugar



1929



The Cotton Pickers - Sugar Is Back In Town



The Georgians
  • Me Queres
  • S'posin' - Vocal chorus by Irving Kaufman


LYRICS:


Beale Street Blues
~W. C. Handy


I've seen the lights of gay Broadway,
Old Market Street down by the Frisco Bay,
I've strolled the Prado, I've gambled on the Bourse;
The seven wonders of the world I've seen,
And many are the places I have been,
Take my advice, folks, and see Beale Street first!
You'll see pretty browns in beautiful gowns,
You'll see tailor-mades and hand-me-downs,
You'll meet honest men, and pick-pockets skilled,
You'll find that business never ceases 'til somebody gets killed!
If Beale Street could talk, if Beale Street could talk,
Married men would have to take their beds and walk,
Except one or two who never drink booze,
And the blind man on the corner singing "Beale Street Blues!"
I'd rather be there than any place I know,
I'd rather be there than any place I know,
It's gonna take a sergeant for to make me go!
I'm goin' to the river, maybe by and by,
Yes, I'm goin' to the river, maybe by and by,
Because the river's wet, and Beale Street's done gone dry



brought to you by... 
~confetta
Special Thanks To: 
The Red Hot Jazz Archives, 
The Big Band DatabaseScott Yanow

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

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