Denny Dennis, Vocalist
    Birth Name: Ronald Dennis Pountain
      b. November 1, 1913 in Derby
    d. Nov. 2, 1993 in Barrow-in-Furness at age 80.
    Sang with the Roy Fox Orch, and other English Bands.
    Denny Dennis enjoyed a long career as a band singer, solo recording star and broadcaster which spanned three decades.
    The first Englishman to sing with an American big band, Tommy Dorsey in 1948. By then he was a household name, recording in the Thirties, touring Britain and Europe with Roy Fox and broadcasting not only on the BBC but the two commercial stations Radio Normandy and Radio Luxembourg. It was Fox who renamed him Denny Dennis only moments before his first BBC broadcast with Roy Fox & His Band.

        Denny Dennis, the “British Bing Crosby”, was born in Derby and played the drums in a local dance band while also providing the occasional vocal. One night in 1932 at a locally held contest he was heard by Percy Mathison Brooks, Editor of Melody Maker, who arranged for Denny to audition with Roy Fox who was then leading one of the most successful of Britain’s pre-war big bands. With Roy Fox Denny made regular broadcasts for the BBC and more than 200 records, most of which were romantic ballads and big sellers. They also toured extensively Britain’s variety halls. As a result Denny Dennis became a house-hold name and in 1936 Denny came second in a Melody Maker poll. 
      When the Roy Fox band broke up Denny joined the Ambrose Orchestra. The recordings he made with Ambrose impressed American bandleaders Paul Whiteman and Sammy Kaye so much they both attempted to sign him up, but wartime restrictions forced Denny to decline these offers. After a spell as a solo singer where he was signed to the Decca label and produced many classic recordings Denny enlisted in the RAF. Following his demob in 1946 he recorded a vocal version of the Django Reinhardt composition “Nuages” now given a new name of “It’s the Bluest Kind Of Blues”. Backed by a Stanley Black arrangement the song took off in America and led to an offer from Tommy Dorsey in 1948 which he accepted. 
      After touring the USA Denny completed a season in New York’s Pennsylvania Hotel where his initial six month contract was renewed for a further six months. Because of a recording ban by the American Federation of Musicians Denny only recorded five sides with Tommy Dorsey before family problems forced him to return to Britain where he was never to recapture his former glory.

      Sippie Wallace, Vocal
      b. Houston, TX, USA.
      d. 1986
        by Cub Koda
        A classic female blues singer from the '20s, Wallace kept performing and recording until her death. She was a major influence on a young Bonnie Raitt, who recorded several of Wallace's songs and performed live with her.
        The daughter of a Baptist deacon, Sippie Wallace (born Beulah Thomas) was born and raised in Houston. As a child, she sang and played piano in church. Before she was in her teens, she began performing with her pianist brother Hersal Thomas. By the time she was in her mid-teens, she had left Houston to pursue a musical career, singing in a number of tent shows and earning a dedicated fan base. In 1915, she moved to New Orleans with Hersal. Two years later, she married Matt Wallace.
        In 1923, Sippie, Hersal, and their older brother George moved to Chicago, where Sippie became part of the city's jazz scene. By the end of the year, she had earned a contract with OKeh Records. Her first two songs for the label, "Shorty George" and "Up the Country Blues," were hits and Sippie soon became a star. Throughout the '20s, she produced a series of singles that were nearly all hits. Wallace's OKeh recordings featured a number of celebrated jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Eddie Heywood, King Oliver, and Clarence Williams; both Hersal and George Thomas performed on Sippie's records as well, in addition to supporting her at concerts. Between 1923 and 1927, she recorded over 40 songs for OKeh. Many of the songs that were Wallace originals or co-written by Sippie and her brothers.
        In 1926, Hersal Thomas died of food poisoning, but Sippie Wallace continued to perform and record. Within a few years, however, she stopped performing regularly. After her contract with OKeh was finished in the late '20s, she moved to Detroit in 1929. In the early '30s, Wallace stopped recording, only performing the occasional gig. In 1936, both George Thomas and her husband Matt died. Following their deaths, Sippie joined the Leland Baptist Church in Detroit, where she was an organist and vocalist; she stayed with the church for the next 40 years.
        Between 1936 and 1966, Sippie Wallace was inactive on the blues scene -- she only performed a handful of concerts and cut a few records. In 1966, she was lured out of retirement by her friend Victoria Spivey, who convinced Sippie to join the thriving blues and folk festival circuit. Wallace not only joined the circuit, she began recording again. Her first new album was a collection of duets with Spivey, appropriately titled Sippie Wallace and Victoria Spivey, which was recorded in 1966; the album wasn't released until 1970. Also in 1966, Wallace recorded Sippie Wallace Sings the Blues for Storyville, which featured support from musicians like Little Brother Montgomery and Roosevelt Sykes. The album was quite popular, as were Sippie's festival performances.
        In 1970, Sippie Wallace suffered a stroke, but she was able to continue recording and performing, although not as frequently as she had before. In 1982, Bonnie Raitt -- who had longed claimed Sippie as a major influence -- helped Wallace land a contract with Atlantic Records. Raitt produced the resulting album, Sippie, which was released in 1983. Sippie won the WC Handy Award for best blues album of the year and was nominated for a Grammy. The album turned out to be Sippie Wallace's last recording -- she died in 1986, when she was 88 years old.

    Lester Alexis, drums
    b. New Orleans, LA, USA. 
    Jacob "Papa Jac" Assunto, Trombone
    b. Lake Charles, LA, USA.
    d. Jan. 5, 1985.
    Father of Frank and Fred whose Dukes Of Dixieland Orch he joined in 1955.
      The patriarch of the New Orleans Assunto clan, Jacob "Papa Jac" Assunto presided over a family of musicians who in some ways would help create a less serious image for the city's jazz community of Italian descent. The Dixieland association with silly striped suits and corny stage antics was influenced in a large way by players such as the members of the Assunto family. By doubling on banjo and trombone, the senior Assunto took no chances on his musical usefulness. But he wound up playing mostly in a popular group organized by one of his sons and dubbedThe Dukes of Dixieland. 
        Trumpeter and vocalist Frank Assunto masterminded the band, originally as a one-off gig for a 1948 talent show organized by Horace Heidt. The band, eventually to emphasize showmanship as equally as jazz if not more, took off, but not with daddy. Jac Assunto did not join up until 1955, and is featured on the group's handsomely recorded series of releases on the Audio Fidelity and Roulette labels.
              Father Assunto's trombone style strongly influenced his son Fred Assunto's approach to the instrument. The family also had two daughters that were musicians, but not professionally. Prior to joining his sons' combo, Jac Assunto taught music and was the director of the Redemptorist High School band. The success of the Dukes of Dixieland drew him out on the road, as an upsurge in interest in New Orleans jazz combined with the recording label's potency on the hi-fi market meant a full club schedule, as well as regular television and radio broadcast appearances. This may not have endeared the band to jazz purists, who felt the Dukes of Dixieland were getting too much attention, but the combo eventually held its own in collaboration with several New Orleans jazz greats, Louis Armstrong and Edmond Hall. The group ended in 1964 following the death of Fred Assunto.
              ~ Eugene Chadbourne

            Louis Bacon
            b. Louisville, KY, USA
            d. Dec. 8, 1967.
            Worked the singer Bessie Smith.

            Lew "Doc" Childre
            C&W trombone/trumpet/drums/vocals
            b. Nov. 1, 1901, Opp, AL, USA.
            d. Dec. 3, 1961.
            Lew Childre was a holdover from the early days of vaudeville shows and one-man bands, who managed a successful career during the 1930s and '40s playing radio broadcasts and doing his own advertising transcriptions. In high school, he played trombone, trumpet, and drums and then attend the University of Alabama. After graduation, he joined a tent show as a singer/performer. He subsequently formed the 'Alabama Cotton Pickers' his own Jazz band, which also included a very young Lawrence Welk, and recorded several sides. "Country" music was then in its commercial infancy, and Lew became fascinated with the genre.
            Childre learned to play guitar and then returned to the tent shows. In 1930, he was working in a Texas radio station. During September 1930, he recorded several sides for Gannett Records, and then toured Texas with Wiley Walker as "The Alabama Boys". (Wiley later became part of the 'Wiley & Gene' duo.) In 1934, Lew moved to New Orleans and began broadcasting over WWL and recording for the ARC label. In the late 1930s, he played with the Carter Family broadcasting on the Mexican (on Texas border) radio station XERA. In the early 1940s, he was with West Virginia's 'Wheeling Jamboree'. In 1945, he joined the 'Grand Ole Opry', and soon was also producing transcriptions for General Foods and Pepsi, and other companies. In the mid-1950s, he recorded an LP for the Starday label, and in 1959 retired from music. Two years later, he died. (CAUTION: Do not confuse with: Lew Houston Childree, b. Oct, 23, 1936, d. June 4, 2001, Plattsburg, MO, USA.)

            Preston Fulp, guitar
            b. Stokes City, NC, USA.
            d.Oct. 23, 1993, Winston Salem, NC, USA. Preston Fulp, born in 1915, was a sawmill worker, a tobacco sharecropper, moonshiner and blues and old-time guitarist.

            Woody Harris, songwriter
            b. New York, NY, USA.
            d. 1985
            Woody Harris was an American songwriter of the 1950s and 1960s. He is perhaps best known for songs written for and with Bobby Darin. On "Queen Of The Hop", Darin used the name "Walden Tweed". His real name was Walden Robert Cassotto.[1] He also wrote songs for Elvis Presley, Della Reese and other popular singers. In addition to his collaboration with Darin, he also collaborated with Eddie V. Deane, Jack Reardon, and others. Harris composed songs in the rock and roll, rockabilly, and blues genres.

            Franz Jackson

            Tenor Sax/clar/leader/arranger
            b. Rock Island, IL, USA.
            Studied Chicago Music College Biography One of the last survivors of the pre-swing era, Franz Jackson (a fine tenorman and clarinetist) remained active into the next century, recording for Parkwood with Marcus Belgrave, and enjoying the release of a 2000 performance on Delmark.
            He worked in the Chicago area starting in 1926, including with Albert Ammons, Carroll Dickerson (1932 and 1934-1936), Jimmie Noone (1934), Roy Eldridge (1937), and Fletcher Henderson's orchestra (1937-1938).
            Jackson traveled to New York with Eldridge (1938-1939), played in California with Earl Hines' orchestra (1940-1941), and then worked with Fats Waller (1941) and the Cootie Williams big band (1942). Stints with Frankie Newton (1942-1943) and Wilbur DeParis (1944-1945) followed, and he played in the Pacific on several USO tours. In the mid-'50s, after returning to Chicago, Franz Jackson formed his Original Jazz All Stars, a group that lasted for around 20 years. He recorded for Riverside in 1961, Delmark, and for his own label Pinnacle; Jackson also recorded with Art Hodes in 1974. He continued playing regularly in the Chicago area during the next several decades.
            ~ Scott Yanow 

            "Little Johnnie" Jones, piano
            b. Jackson, MS, USA.
            Worked with Elmore James
            "Little" Johnny Jones was a Chicago blues pianist and singer, best known for his work with Tampa Red, Muddy Waters and Elmore James.
              Jones was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1924. He arrived in Chicago, Illinois in 1945 in the company of Little Walter and "Baby Face" Leroy Foster, and soon replaced pianist Big Maceo Merriweather in Tampa Red's band after Merriweather suffered a stroke which paralysed his right hand. He later backed Muddy Waters on harmonica, and recorded (on piano and vocals) with Waters for the Aristocrat label in 1949. From 1952 to 1956 he played and recorded with Elmore James, and in later years he worked with Howling Wolf, Billy Boy Arnold and Magic Sam, among others.
                    Like several other Chicago pianists of his era, his style was heavily influenced by Big Maceo Merriweather, from whom he had learned, and for whom he played piano after Merriweather's stroke. Jones's 1949 side "Big Town Playboy" is regarded as a classic of the genre, and was covered by guitarist Eddie Taylor in 1955.
                          Popular with audiences, Jones was a heavy drinker and had a reputation as a wild character. According to Homesick James, who worked and toured with them in the 1950s, "Elmore and Johnnie used to just have a fight every night".
                              Jones married his wife Letha in 1952. He died in Cook County Hospital in November 1964.

                              (Photo by Nick Puopolo)

                                Sabby Lewis, Piano
                                b. Middleburg, NC, USA.
                                d. July 9, 1994
                                Sabby Lewis was a piano player and band leader.
                                  He started taking piano lessons when he was 5, and organized his first band in Boston in 1936. He later performed on Broadway and in ballrooms and clubs in Manhattan. He performed with Dinah Washington and Billy Eckstine.
                                  During World War II, Lewis' orchestra included long-time Ellington tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, and drummer Alan Dawson spent much of the 1950s in the band.

                              Joseph Augustine "Joe" Rushton, Jr.
                              baritone/Bass Sax
                              b. Evanston, IL, USA. d. 1964
                              The history of jazz has had very few significant bass saxophonists. In fact, other than Adrian Rollini in the 1920's, Joe Rushton was probably jazz's finest. Rushton actually started out on the drums and spent time playing clarinet, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax before settling on bass sax in 1928.
                              Through the years Rushton would occasionally play other instruments. His associations included Ted Weems, Jimmy McPartland, Bud Freeman, Benny Goodman (1942-43) and Horace Heidt (1943-45). Most significant was Rushton's longterm job with Red Nichols' Five Pennies which began in 1947 and continued throughout most of the 1950's. Rushton was a major asset (and often a costar) on Nichols' many recordings of the era and also made records with Floyd O'Brien and the Rampart Street Paraders. As a leader, he only had the opportunity to lead six songs, cut for the Jump label in 1945 and '47 and, since he was otherwise always a sideman, Joe Rushton never received the recognition he deserved.
                              ~ Scott Yanow 

                              Henry Thies, bandleader
                              b. ?, d. 1935.
                              Recorded for RCA Victor in 1929 and 1930 as Harry Thies and his Hotel Sinton Orch. Jane Frohman was his vocalist and she recorded two songs with the band, "Sharing" and "June Kisses". Thies had previously recorded for Vocalion Records as Thies' Detroit Ritz Orch.
                              "Mississippi" Johnny Woods, harmonica
                                b. Looxahoma, MS, USA.

                              Notable Events Occurring
                              On This Date Include:

                              "Daddy Stovepipe"
                              (né: Johnny Watson), (Blues) Mouth Harp
                              died in Chicago, IL, USA.
                              Age: 96
                              Often worked with his wife "Mississippi Sarah" playing the "Jug". There is a very rare Vocalion label recording of "Greenville Strut" (Music: Watson) where the two of them are called an "Instrumental Jug Band".

                              Joe Tillman, tenor sax
                              died in New Orleans, LA. USA.
                              Worked with "Guitar Slim" 1978.
                              Larry Hiller
                              Bessie Smith's sound engineer
                              died in New York, NY, USA.
                              Age: 55.

                              Beto Villa, (Tejano) alto sax
                              died in Corpus Christi, TX, USA.
                              Age: 71.

                              Songs Recorded/Released
                              On This Date Include:


                                Isham Jones and his Orchestra - “Aunt Hagar's Children Blues”
                                    Isham Jones and his Orchestra -  “Burning Sands”



                                    University Six
                                     “Lonely Eyes”
                                        University Six “My Baby Knows How” - Vocal Chorus by Arthur Fields

                                      Warner's Seven Aces - “Don't Take That Black Bottom Away”

                                      Harry Reser and his Orchestra
                                  • “Don't You Remember ?” - (Tom Stacks vocal)


                                    Victoria Spivey - “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” 


                                        The Georgians - “Lets Do It (Let's Fall In Love)  (from "Paris") (Cole Porter)

                                          Bertha "Chippie" Hill - “Hangman Blues”


                                            ~Cole Porter

                                            Birds do it, bees do it
                                            Even educated fleas do it
                                            Let's do it, let's fall in love

                                            In Spain, the best upper sets do it
                                            Lithuanians and Letts do it
                                            Let's do it, let's fall in love
                                            The Dutch in old Amsterdam do it
                                            Not to mention the Fins
                                            Folks in Siam do it - think of Siamese twins
                                            Some Argentines, without means, do it
                                            People say in Boston even beans do it
                                            Let's do it, let's fall in love

                                            Romantic sponges, they say, do it
                                            Oysters down in oyster bay do it
                                            Let's do it, let's fall in love
                                            Cold Cape Cod clams, 'gainst their wish, do it
                                            Even lazy jellyfish, do it
                                            Let's do it, let's fall in love

                                            Electric eels I might add do it
                                            Though it shocks em I know
                                            Why ask if shad do it - Waiter bring me
                                            "shad roe"
                                            In shallow shoals English soles do it
                                            Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it
                                            Let's do it, let's fall in love

                                            In old Japan, all the Japs do it
                                            Up in Lapland little Laps do it
                                            Let's do it, let's fall in love
                                            The chimpanzees in the zoos do it
                                            Some courageous kangaroos do it
                                            Let's do it, let's
                                            fall in love

                                            I'm sure giraffes on the sly do it
                                            Even eagles as they fly do it
                                            Let's do it, let's fall
                                            in love

                                            Electric eels I might add do it
                                            Though it shocks em I know
                                            Why ask if shad do it - garcon de
                                            "shad roe"
                                            The world admits bears in pits do it
                                            Even Pekingeses at the Ritz do it
                                            Let's do it, let's
                                            fall in love

                                            The royal set sans regret did it
                                            And they considered it fun
                                            Marie Antoinette did it -
                                            with or without Napoleon

                                          brought to you by... 


                                          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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