Jack Teagarden
b. Vernon, TX, USA.
d. January 15, 1964 New Orleans, LA, USA.
né: Weldon John Teagarden (aka: "Big T").
One of the classic giants of jazz, Jack Teagarden was not only the top pre-bop trombonist (playing his instrument with the ease of a trumpeter) but one of the best jazz singers too. He was such a fine musician that younger brother Charlie (an excellent trumpeter) was always overshadowed. Jack started on piano at age five (his mother Helen was a ragtime pianist), switched to baritone horn, and finally took up trombone when he was ten.
Teagarden worked in the Southwest in a variety of territory bands (most notably with the legendary pianist Peck Kelley) and then caused a sensation when he came to New York in 1928. His daring solos with Ben Pollack caused Glenn Miller to de-emphasize his own playing with the band, and during the late-'20s/early Depression era, "Mr. T." recorded frequently with many groups including units headed by Roger Wolfe Kahn, Eddie Condon, Red Nichols, and Louis Armstrong ("Knockin' a Jug"). His versions of "Basin Street Blues" and "Beale Street Blues" (songs that would remain in his repertoire for the remainder of his career) were definitive.
Teagarden, who was greatly admired by Tommy Dorsey, would have been a logical candidate for fame in the swing era but he made a strategic error. In late 1933, when it looked as if jazz would never catch on commercially, he signed a five-year contract with Paul Whiteman. Although Whiteman's Orchestra did feature Teagarden now and then (and he had a brief period in 1936 playing with a small group from the band, the Three T's, with his brother Charlie and Frankie Trumbauer), the contract effectively kept Teagarden from going out on his own and becoming a star. It certainly prevented him from leading what would eventually became the Bob Crosby Orchestra.
In 1939, Jack Teagarden was finally "free" and he soon put together a big band that would last until 1946. However, it was rather late to be organizing a new orchestra (the competition was fierce) and, although there were some good musical moments, none of the sidemen became famous, the arrangements lacked their own musical personality, and by the time it broke up Teagarden was facing bankruptcy. The trombonist, however, was still a big name (he had fared quite well in the 1940 Bing Crosby film The Birth of the Blues) and he had many friends. Crosby helped Teagarden straighten out his financial problems, and from 1947-1951 he was a star sideman with Louis Armstrong's All-Stars; their collaborations on "Rocking Chair" are classic.
After leaving Armstrong, Teagarden was a leader of a steadily working sextet throughout the remainder of his career, playing Dixieland with such talented musicians as brother Charlie, trumpeters Jimmy McPartland, Don Goldie, Max Kaminsky, and (during a 1957 European tour) pianist Earl Hines. Teagarden toured the Far East during 1958-1959, teamed up one last time with Eddie Condon for a television show/recording session in 1961, and had a heartwarming (and fortunately recorded) musical reunion with Charlie, sister/pianist Norma, and his mother at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival. He died from a heart attack four months later and has yet to be replaced.
~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
Billy Amstell, Clarinet
b. London, England
~by Eugene Chadbourne
His surname would allow him to pass as a river flowing through Amsterdam, or the famous beer supposedly made from its waters. The sounds of Billy Amstell's horns have likewise been a seemingly unending stream running through decade after decade of merry old England's dance band and popular orchestra sounds. He began playing music in 1921 -- the instrument was piano, and he was all of ten years old. Amstell at 13 had become clever enough to teach himself alto saxophone, and his professional career began only a few years later in some wee combos around Glasgow. By 1930 he had headed to London and scored a gig with violinist Jack Harris. The following year he began working with Roy Fox, resulting in some of the earliest recorded documentation of Amstell's adaptable, highly professional work on several different reed instruments. For the record, his first solo was cut in 1931 with Spike Hughes' orchestra, part of a series of what were considered the first "genuine" recordings of jazz in the U.K. Who decides what is genuine? The jazz police, of course! By the fall of 1931 Amstell had been drawn into the orchestra of Bert Ambrose, a seer of the British dance band scene who was eventually known, along with his entire band, as just plain Ambrose. A major stylistic development took place for Amstell in this group; he started concentrating on tenor saxophone, and by 1932 was taking the majority of the solos allotted to that instrument. The piece "Tootin' Around" was designed as a snug showcase for Amstell's tenor tootsies, first recorded by Ambrose in 1939. Into the late '40s, Amstell's chops kept him in the employ of a kind of triumvirate of hip British orchestra directors, including just plain Geraldo as well as Ambroseand Harris. 

He then worked in the BBC's own dance orchestra for five years, evolving into a studio player of great value to stylish session leaders of the '60s such as George Chisholm. This type of work seems to have suited him well, and along with his prolific composing and arranging would amount to a contribution of great magnitude. In addition, Amstell's playing in the '80s once again changed course as he began blowing much more clarinet, joining the club of players whose opportunities to expose talents as a leader only develop when they are more than 60 years old. Session After Midnight, released on the Zodiac label in 1980, was hailed as a fine performance of swing. In 1986, he published his autobiography, entitled Don't Fuss, Mr. Ambrose. At the age of 91, Amstell was reportedly still doing "the occasional gig." His younger brother, Mickey Amstell, was also a saxophonist.
BBC - Radio 3 World on Your Street - Musicians' Stories: Billy Amstell

Art Drelinger, Tenor Sax
b. Gloucester, MA, USA.
If asked to come up with a frequently heard jazz horn player named Art, logical choices might be Art Farmer, Art Pepper orArtie Shaw. A case could be made that Art Drelinger rivals all three, size of his discography foremost, yet the concept of the public hearing him might have to be understood as on a subliminal level. Drelinger's career included involvement in both jazz and studio bands right from the get-go and as he evolved he stood more and more in the glow of the little red recording light. He appears on records with the likes of Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday as well as backing Doris Day and many other pop artists from the '50s and '60s. He was not, however, a frequently utilized soloist and could often be found filling in the bottom of the musical form with a few well placed bass saxophone dots.
He played in local bands around New England before arriving in New York City in the mid '30s. He gainied access to the world of bandleader Adrian Rollini, which included gigs at the bandleader's own club and back to back studio sessions, often involving several pseudonyms for the same group of musicians. Through the '30s Drelinger played with hardcore traditional jazzmen such as the one-armed trumpeterWingy Manone and the popular Bunny Berigan. Bandleader Jack Jenney put Drelinger into a studio band in late '30s and the reedman also began working with Paul Whiteman in 1938. Whiteman's Swing Wing was the last major performing ensemble for Drelington, who in the early '40s began more than 25 years of work for CBS, playing on all manner of radio and television productions.
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Joe Mares, Clarinet
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
Joe Mares born New Orleans 1908 was a Dixieland clarinet player, brother of Paul Mares (1900-1949), an American early dixieland jazz cornet & trumpet player, and leader of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings.
Their father, Joseph E. Mares, played cornet with the military band at the New Orleans lakefront and ran a fur and hide business. Like many New Orleans cornetists of his generation, Joe Mares Sr.'s main influence was “King” Joe Oliver.
In late 1924 Paul Mares, the brother returned to New Orleans, deciding to play music on the side while taking over the running of his family fur & hide business. He ran the business well and with his prosperity purchased 3 homes for himself and his relatives (assuming Joe) in New Orleans' new suburb of Metairie, Louisiana. Mares's Metairie home was the site of a legendary jam-session in 1929 where Bix Beiderbecke and the other jazz playing members of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra jammed with the local New Orleans jazz musicians.
Two great interlocking names in New Orleans Jazz are Mares and Brunies. There is always something important happening when members of these two great Jazz families get together. When George Brunies first went to Chicago to join the Rhythm Kings, he borrowed the fare from Mr. Joseph Mares. (Mr. Mares, Senior, that is - not the Southland impresario.) With the great Dixieland trumpet star, Paul Mares, George produced the great early classics of Jazz.
Little Joe Mares didn't grow up fast enough, and Paul and fabulous Rappolo passed on too soon for Joe to realize his early ambition of getting this greatest of all front lines together on waxings of his own. He didn't let this opportunity slip by, though, to capture the Brunies sound in that unique Southland manner that seems to serve up each new hot platter in incomparable home style. So this new Mares- Brunies merger, (Joe recorded the late Abbie Brunies very successfully, you'll recall ...) was destined for success the instant George walked into the studio - but what came out exceeded all expectations!
Joe Mares established a successful record company Southland, and broadcast on the radio as a DJ during the 1950's, playing the jazz recordings he made. He rediscovered Lizzy Miles who had recorded with Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong in 1924 with the hit reocrding “I'm Confessin'”.
Mares loved traditional style New Orleans jazz and was impressed with the many fine musicians still playing in the city, only a few of whom had been recorded. Mares first arranged recording sessions that he sold to other labels in the 1940s, then decided to start his own label.
Mares's regular job was running the family fur and hide business in the French Quarter. He invited musicians to regular jam sessions in a back room of the business. Unusually for the Southern United States in the era of Jim Crow laws when racial segregation was the law, many Mares's jam sessions were racially integrated, as were a good number of his recordings.
Musicians who recorded on Southland included Sharkey Bonano, Lizzie Miles, Johnny Wiggs, Paul Barbarin, and many others. George Lewis recorded the “Saint Louis Street Blues” in honor of Mares's location.

Rita Montaner
Rita Aurelia Fulcida Montaner y Facenda (20 August 1900 – 17 April 1958), known as Rita Montaner, was a Cuban singer, pianist and actress. In Cuban parlance, she was a vedette (a star), and was well known in Mexico City, Paris, Miami and New York, where she performed, filmed and recorded on numerous occasions. She was one of Cuba's most popular artists between the late 1920s and 1950s, renowned as Rita de Cuba. Though classically trained as a soprano for zarzuelas, her mark was made as a singer of Afro-Cuban salon songs including "The Peanut Vendor" and "Siboney".

Throughout her career, Montaner kept a close personal and professional relationship with two famous musicians from her hometown of Guanabacoa: pianist-singer Bola de Nieve and composer Ernesto Lecuona.

Montaner was born on 20 August 1900 in Guanabacoa, Havana, into a middle-class family. Her father, Domingo Montaner Pulgarón, was a white pharmacist and her mother, Mercedes Facenda was a mulatta; she herself was short in stature, good-looking with a fine smile, and intelligent. She learned English, Italian and French at religious school, and at 10 attended the Peyrellade Conservatory in Havana. There she studied music: solfege, theory, harmony and piano; at 16 she started voice lessons. From the start, she was a potential star: her first press notice came in 1912, her first press photograph in 1913, and in 1915 she received two bronze medals for piano. In 1917, Montaner played Mendelssohn in her final examination at the Peyrellade Conservatory in Havana; she graduated in piano, song and harmony with a gold medal.

Rita married entertainer Xavier Cugat in 1918-1920 before marrying lawyer Dr Alberto Fernández Díaz. They had two sons, Rolando and Alberto. The marriage lasted until his death in 1932, and remarried twice. She died of cancer in 1958, aged 57.

Early years
March 1922 saw the launch of Rita's career at a concert of typical Cuban music in Havana, organized by the composer Eduardo Sánchez de Fuentes, a friend of her family. He persuaded her husband to let her appear and sing. In October, she sang on one of the first radio broadcasts in Cuba at the PWX radio station.

Rita Montaner in 1923
In 1923, she had a full professional program of work. She sang duos with Eusebio Delfín, and as a solo, pieces by Alberto Villalón, Ernesto Lecuona, Sánchez de Fuentes and others. She sang a duet from La Gioconda by Ponchielli with Lola de la Torre, a soprano, and sang solo on other pieces.

Her work as a singer and pianist with such maestros as Lecuona, Jorge Anckermann, Delfín, Sánchez de Fuentes and Gonzalo Roig was successful and immensely respectable, as befitted a middle-class married woman of those times. Gradually, however, a change began as she became fully adult. She performed in popular, but slightly vulgar theater (zarzuela; bufo); traveled to other countries and became a recording star. It became clear that performing in public was the most important thing in her life, and this was hardly compatible with her role as a bourgeois wife and mother. The first signs of change came in 1926, a year which started conventionally enough.

In 1926, she sang on stage to Lecuona's piano in his 7th Concert of Cuban music at the Teatro Nacional. On vacation in New York she needed an appendix operation; after recovering she performed at a benefit concert for the blind. Then she auditioned for the Schubert brothers, impresarios, who offered her a contract. Significantly, perhaps, her husband returned to Cuba. She made her debut in the Schubert Follies together with Xavier Cugat at the Apollo Theater. Later she had a great hit with a review entitled A night in Spain.

Back in Havana, she made her debut on stage in zarzuelas in 1927. Playing in La Niña Rita, o La Habana de 1830 (music by Eliseo Grenet and Lecuona) she sang the Congo-tango Mamá Inéz. The title role was played by Caridád Suarez, with Rita in blackface and male drag as El Calesero (the coachman). The second one-act work on the same program was the premiere of Lecuona's La tierra de Venus, where Rita sang "Siboney", which is still a Latin standard.

Rise to fame
From 1927 to 1929 Montaner recorded about fifty songs for Columbia Records, including hits from the revues and zarzuelas she appeared in, such as "Ay, Mama Inés", "Siboney", "Noche azul", "Lamento esclavo", and the first recording of "El manisero". She went to Paris for the first time, performing at the Olympia and Le Palace theaters. Still in Paris, she appeared in Josephine Baker's Revue. According to Gonzalo Roig, she began to change, becoming more bohemian, something of a diva, and generally more competitive and combative. In November 1928 she returned to Havana.

Rita in 1929
In 1929, Montaner traveled to Madrid and Valencia, then to Paris, returning to Cuba in 1930. In 1931 she traveled to Broadway under contract to Al Jolson for his musical Wonder Bar, which was set in a Paris night-club, for which she was by now more than qualified! When she was in Cuba, Rita had a regular engagement at the Edén Concert, a nightclub right in the center of Havana (Zulueta Street, near the Parque Central). Armando Romeo, later orchestra leader at the Tropicana, gave an interview later in life:

"There we would be, with Rita singing:
Mejor que me calle, que no diga mas, que tu sabes lo que yo se!
(Better I shut up and say no more, since you know what I know!)
—while outside the cabaret walls you could hear shooting in the streets." 
In 1933, she went to Mexico City, with Bola de Nieve as her accompanist. She put him on the bill under his nickname, without consulting him. "It was the greatest favor she did in my life!" was Snowball's perhaps ambiguous comment. Bola was already of the opinion that she was becoming unbearable. "Rita's shows at the Teatro Iris were triumphant, but her mouth got the better of her" 

On 1 April 1933, she married Ernesto Estévez Navarro. He was born in Cárdenas, Cuba, but had been deported to México. They divorced in 1938. Montaner next organized a smaller company with Pedro Vargas, whom she injudiciously paid in advance. In El Paso, Texas, Vargas denounced her as an enemy of Mexico, hoping to prevent her return to his country. "Rita tore into him, and told him he was a priests' faggot (and many other things!)" Bola said later in life when interviewed about her. Rita, furious, left the company, and Bola found himself looking at a third-class ticket to Mexico City.

Rita Montaner in 1938
during the shooting of El romance del palmar.
The arrival of sound in films had created new opportunities for musicians, and Montaner launched on a new career as a film performer. After a musical number in a 1934 film, she made two films in 1938. Radio, too, was developing as a mass medium which was wide open to musical talent. La Montaner was to make good use of both these opportunities. But by now her temperament was getting out of control. Gonzalo Roig detailed the story of her sacking from the Lecuona show, María la O, at the Teatro Martí. During a duet with the tenor about the rekindling of betrayed love, she began to tear his clothes off on stage! That was a step too far for the management.

She divorced Ernesto Estévez in 1938, and married in 1939, for the third time, to the advocate Dr Javier Calderón Poveda.

Radio days
In 1942, RHC-Azul gave her a program Yo no sé nada (I don't know anything!) to do the character La Chismosa again, and once more the government (Fulgencio Batista's first term) applied pressure to have it taken off the air. Much later, in 1946, she had a third chance. CMQ gave her a program Mejor que me calle (Better I shut up! – a line from one of her songs) in which her street character, Lengualisa, had a side-kick Mojito (Alexandro Lugo). When the government (Ramón Grau's second term) tried to bribe her, she talked about it on the program! But, on the day of the first anniversary of the program, her brother (a policeman) was killed in a drive-by shooting. It surprised no-one that the culprits were never found. The program continued until February 1948.

Montaner often helped people in need. The famous Tropicana cabaret opened in Marianao, Havana, in late 1939. Choreographer Rodrigo Neira, a former dancer who had contracted leprosy became disfigured, poor and socially isolated. She intervened to save him from the leprosarium, supported his family and gave him accommodation in her house. She also helped Chano Pozo before his career took off, getting him a job at the radio company RHC-Cadena Azul as a door-man and bodyguard. There he sang and played conga in his spare time; he was first hired as a musician by the Havana Casino orchestra.

Night clubs
In 1939 the Tropicana theater and restaurant (as it was first called) opened its doors in Marianao. After closing temporarily when tourism declined during wartime; the Tropicana re-opened in 1945, along with other night-clubs such as the Sans Souci, the Montmatre, and their competition, the Gran Casino Nacional. In 1946 Rita signed with the Tropicana, with Bola de Nieve as accompanist, to take part in the midnight spectacular. She reigned there as the number one figure for nearly four years: the longest-running contract of her career. Mongo Santamaría commented: "This launched the era of the Cuban cabaret super-productions".

Acting career in the 1950s

Montaner continued to do theater work whenever her radio show was off the air. In 1955 she triumphed as Madame Flora in the opera La Medium by Menotti, and in 1956 in the comedy Mi querido Charles. Beginning in 1954, she co-starred in the comedy television program Rita y Willy with Guillermo Alvarez Guedes. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, she acted in numerous Mexican movies of the Rumberas film genre.
Rita Montaner

Freddie Moore, Drums/Vocal
b. Washington, NC, USA
d. Nov. 3, 1992. 
by Scott Yanow
Freddie Moore certainly had a long career. He started playing drums when he was 12 in 1912 and was still active 80 years later. Moore began his career playing in traveling shows and he picked up much experience in variety shows and on vaudeville. He was with Charlie Creath in 1927 in St. Louis, led his own band in Detroit, recorded with King Oliver from 1929-30 and played in New York with Wilbur Sweatman from 1928-31. Moore toured with Oliver from 1931-32, led a trio also including Pete Brown and Don Frye from 1933-37 and freelanced with many top players during the next 20 years including John Kirby, Art Hodes, Sidney Bechet, Bob Wilber and Conrad Janis. The drummer was with Wilbur DeParis' New New Orleans Jazz Band from 1952-54, played in Europe with Mezz Mezzrow from 1954-55 and had associations with Sammy Price, Tony Parenti and even Roy Eldridge in 1971. Through the 1980s and into the '90s, Moore stayed active, playing with various bands in the New York area and often doubling on washboard. He was a colorful performer, often mugging and adding showbiz effects to the music. Moore, who appeared on a Rahsaan Roland Kirk record playing "Sweet Georgia Brown," led his only record date for the New York Jazz label in 1981.

Joya Sherrill, vocals/lyricist
b. Bayonne, NJ, USA.
One of Duke Ellington's favorite vocalists (he thought her diction and articulation to be excellent). Her only two records (as a Leader) had personnel: Frank Rosolino/Trombone; Ritchie Kamuca/Tenor Sax; Vince Guaraldi/Piano; Monty Budwig/Bass; and Stan Levey/Drums. Earlier, she worked with worked with Stan Kenton, Harold Land, Bob Cooper, Clarke-Boland Big Band. In 1942, she worked briefly with Ellington.
In 1944 , after she wrote the lyric to "Take The A Train", she joined the Ellington band. In 1946, she married Richard Guilmenot. In 1948, she left Ellington to become a solo vocalist. Rejoined Ellinton in 1956 for the TV Show 'A Drum Is A Woman'. In 1959, she toured the USA. In 1962, she went to the USSR with Benny Goodman In 1963, performed and recorded with Ellington in Chicago, and also recorded her two albums as a leader (1960, 1965).

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Johnny Dunn, trumpet
died in Paris, France
Age: 40.

General Morgan, piano
died in Chicago, IL
Age 44.
Played with violinist Stuff Smith.

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Varsity Eight - Hard Hearted Hannah


Clara Smith - Kitchen Mechanic Blues

Lee Morse - Best Of All


The Broadway Bell-Hops - Mary Lou - Vocal Chorus by Bob Thomas


Frank Brunch and his Fuzzy Wuzzies - Congo Stomp
  • Fourth Street Stomp

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - It Won't Be Long Now


Bessie Smith - He's Got Me Goin'
The California Ramblers
  • Do I Know What I'm Doin'?
  • Shoo Shoo Boogie Boo

Annette Hanshaw - Forget-Me-Not

Annette Hanshaw & Cliff Edwards Singin' In The Rain


Mary Johnson


Shoo Shoo Boogie Boo
Music and Words by Leo Robin, Sam Coslow
and Richard A. Whiting

Here beside the mournful river,
I pace to and fro –
Afraid of tomorrow;
A slave to my sorrow.
Can that dreamy stream deliver me
From all of my woe?
But something inside me
Keeps answering, "No" ... and so
When Mister Trouble gets in my way,
I'll look him square in the eyes and say:
Shoo shoo boogie boo –
I'm sick and tired of you;
Go pick on somebody new a while – I wanna smile!
Shoo shoo boogie boo –
Give me my place in the sun;
Show me how fast you can run a mile.
I've been so long, oh so long in the shadow,
But now I bid you, "So long, boy, and how!"
Shoo shoo boogie boo –
Your time has come to vamoose,
So you can go to the deuce right now!

From the film "Hollywood Revue of 1929"
(Arthur Freed / Nacio Herb Brown)

I'm singin' in the rain,
Just singin' in the rain,
What a glorious feeling,
I'm happy again!
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above,
The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love!
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place,
Come on with your rain,
I've got a smile on my face!
I'll walk down the lane
With a happy refrain,
Just singin', singin' in the rain!
Why am I smiling and why do I sing?
Why does December seem sunny as Spring?
Why do I get up each morning to start
Happy and head-up with joy in my heart?
Why is each new task a trifle to do?
Because I am living a life full of you!
Hey, I'm singin' in the rain,
Just singin' in the rain,
What a glorious feeling,
I'm happy again!
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above,
The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love!
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place,
Come on with your rain,
I've got a smile on my face!
I'll walk down the lane
With a happy refrain,
Just singin', singin' in the rain!

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