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Bob Astor, leader/trumpet/drums
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
né: Robert E. Dade.
After working w/local groups in New Orleans and East Texas Oil Fields, he formed his first band in Los Angeles, CA, USA.- where he also worked as a DJ, night club manager and MC. In the early 1940s, he led an important band in New York City which though it never recorded, employed sidemen who would subsequently achieve fame. Among these men were trumpeters Neil Hefti; and Les Elgart; Tenor saxmen Illinois Jacquet, Zoot Sims and Corky Corcoran; on drums were Irv Kluger, Teddy Charles, Shelly Manne; Pianists Marty Napoleon, George Williams, and Lee DeLyon. After disbanding, he became a booking agent for a New York agency.
Solid! -- Bob Astor
Bob Astor

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Jimmy Blanton, Bass
b. Chattanooga, TN, USA.
d. July 30, 1942, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Jimmie Blanton (October 5, 1918 – July 30, 1942) was an influential American jazz double bassist. Blanton is credited with being the originator of more complex pizzicato and arco bass solos in a jazz context than previous bassists.
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Blanton originally learned to play the violin, but took up the bass while at Tennessee State University, performing with the Tennessee State Collegians from 1936 to 1937, and during the vacations with Fate Marable. After leaving university to play full-time in St Louis with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra (with whom he made his first recordings), he joined Duke Ellington's band in 1939.

Duke Ellington with Jimmy Blanton

Though he stayed with Ellington for only two years, Blanton made an incalculable contribution in changing the way the double bass was used in jazz. Previously the double bass was rarely used to play anything but quarter notes in ensemble or solos but by soloing on the bass more in a 'horn like' fashion, Blanton began sliding into eighth- and sixteenth-note runs, introducing melodic and harmonic ideas that were totally new to jazz bass playing. His virtuosity put him in a different class from his predecessors, making him the first true master of the jazz bass and demonstrating the instrument's unsuspected potential as a solo instrument. Such was his importance to Ellington's band at the time, together with the tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, that it became known as the Blanton–Webster band. Blanton also recorded a series of bass and piano duets with Ellington
In 1941, Blanton was diagnosed with tuberculosis, cutting short his tenure with Ellington. His last recording session was cut on September 26, 1941 in Hollywood. Blanton died the following year after retiring to a sanatorium in California, aged 23. ~Wikipedia
Bill Dixon, Trumpet
b. Nantucket, MA, USA.
Bill Dixon

Kalle Engstrom
b. Oslo, Norway, d. July 17, 1955.

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Frank Guarente, Trumpet
Born: Montemilleto, Southern Italy, 5th October 1893
died: U.S.A., 21st July 1942 Began on trumpet during childhood. Emigrated to the U,S.A. in 1910 to join his brother in Allentown, Pennsylvania; played with local bands, then moved to New Orleans in 1914. Worked in a bank for a while, then became professional musician-swapped lessons with King Oliver. Played residencies at Kolb Restaurant, Tom Anderson's, Triangle Theatre Orchestra, and worked with the Mars Brass Band. Left New Orleans (c. 1916), did solo act in Texas, then played with Alabama Five prior to serving in the U.S. Army during World War 1. Returned to Texas (c. 1919), then played with Charlie Kerr's Band in Philadelphia. Joined Paul Specht in 1921 and directed the orchestra's small group The Georgians. Visited Europe in 1922, then rejoined Specht until May 1924 (including residency in London-June-August 1923). Visited Europe in May 1924, from September 1924 led The New Georgians in Europe until joining pianist Carroll Gibbon's Savoy Orpheans in London (January 1927). Played with various leaders in London, then returned to U.S.A. in 1928 and rejoined Paul Specht for two years. Did studio work throughout the 1930s; worked with Victor Young's Orchestra, the Dorsey Brothers, Harry Salter's Orchestra, etc., etc. Illness forced retirement from playing in the early 1940s.
MM Bio

Ernst Hollerhagen Clarinet/Saxophone
b. Wuppertal, Germany
d. July 11, 1956.

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Rev. F.W. McGee
(Country gospel) vocals
b. Winchester, TN, USA.
né Ford Washington McGee.
Initially, McGee and His Jubilee Chorus, preached and sang in the "revival" tents. In 1925, he built a congregation in Oklahoma City, -with the assistance of the noted sanctified (born blind) singer/pianist Arizona Dranes. ("Juanita" Arizona Dranes b. Dallas, TX, USA, ca 1905. She is believed to have been of Mexican and African-American heritage). Fort Worth-based minister, Samuel Crouch, suggested to an Okeh Records talent scout Richard M. Jones that Dranes be given a recording test.

Blues singer Sara Martin agreed to travel to Fort Worth and help the blind Dranes make it to Chicago for her test on June 17, 1926. It was very successful, and Dranes subsequently 'cut' a half dozen more records for Okeh before returning home. On November 15, 1926, Dranes returned to Chicago, and this time partnered with "Rev. Ford Washington McGee and His Jubilee Choir". The four numbers recorded that day were the first of thirteen recording sessions for McGee. As the 'Rev. F.W. McGee', he would become a popular recording artist for Victor. In the 1940s, McGee may have recorded with the Library of Congress, an honor he owed to Dranes, who originally set up the date with Okeh.
Rev. F.W. McGee
Bill McGee - Biography

Ala Mae Miller
b. GA, USA.

Fred Norman Arranger/composer
b. Leesburg, FL, USA. 
d. Feb. 19, 1993
Verve Bio

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Dick Todd, vocalist
b: Montreal, Canada.
d. May, 1973.
Often called the "King of the Jukebox", and the "Canadian Crosby", he was heard regularly on Canadian radio before relocating to the U.S. in 1938. Worked in the Larry Clinton band, then went "solo", and was heard on a great many different radio programs, as well as recording for Victor and their Bluebird label. Had his own radio series in the 1940s. In 1945, he was featured with singer Dinah Shore on the popular Lucky Strike sponsored "Your Hit Parade" show.
Apparently, Todd (a red-haired Irishman) told a lot of tales about his background. He claimed to be born in Alberta, but he was born in Montreal. He claimed to attend McGill University in Montreal, but no record exists that he was ever there. He was married, but essentially abandoned his family when he became popular in the US. However, he was popular, but went into obscurity after WWII. According to his biographer, he ended up as a side-show barker, a circus roustabout, and a stage-hand for the early Ed Sullivan Show, but then disappeared. He did hang around lower Manhattan for awhile, but no one could remember what happened to him.

Irvine "Pinky" Vidacovich, clarinet
b: New Orleans, LA, USA.
Played with "The New Orleans Owls", "The Princeton Revelers" and "The WWL Dawn Busters".
Clarinet New Orleans Style, a 1960 solo release by this artist, came complete with an album title that was a much more precise stylistic description than most. An Irving who gained fame with a somewhat evocative nickname, Pinky Vidacovich stuck closely to the Big Easy during nearly 40 years of performing as a clarinetist and bandleader. His association with Louisiana lore extended beyond playing New Orleans jazz into activity on the border between mainstream and trivial. Prior to retiring from performing to become a traveling script artisan for trumpeter Al Hirt, Vidacovich became quite popular on radio as an actor in the cornpone role of Cajun Pete.
Reacting to his first examination of a Cajun Pete routine, noted Swiss New Orleans jazz scholar Franzie Justu -- name changed due to Swiss laws protecting the criminally insane -- went literally berserk. He wandered the streets of Solothurn in a rage, grabbing people at random and shouting a question that, like the Homeland Security terrorism alerts, varied only in tint and hue. "Is there a Bluey? Is there a Yellowy? Is there an Orangey? Is there a Purpley?" He admitted to a court that since hearing the routine he was devoured by a constant fear of exposure to other artists like Pinky Vidacovich. Despite a supportive lobbying effort on behalf of a proofreading collective that was having problems with the other half of the name, the Swiss critic was sent off to wherever this nation houses the insane, probably somewhere posh.
The more random jazz listener is highly likely to have a much less negative reaction to this artist's music, whether hearing it on serious archival efforts such as the aforementioned album or in the set list of artists such as Louis Prima, the Four Lads, or Pete Fountain. Vidacovich came up with entertaining ditties related exclusively, needless to say, to the land of alligator sausage and okra. "Ai-Ai-Ai," "Gotta Go to the Fais Do Do," "I'm Going Home," and "New Awlins'" are all songs celebrating the music life that Vidacovich started out on by the mid-'20s in groups including the New Orleans Owls and the Princeton Revellers.

The New Orleans Owls
The radio station WWL was the first in New Orleans to regularly feature the growing talents of Vidacovich, allowing him to direct a group that he also brought into clubs and hotels for residencies. As he went into his second decade as a player, Vidacovich settled into the reed section of drummer Augie Schellang's combo, meanwhile maintaining his radio schedule and extending the more popular portions of that enterprise into the recording market. All of this action extended well into the '50s. Some of his gigs subsequent to this were collaborations with Sharkey Bonano as well as sessions on his own. Vidacovich came up with show material related once again to the New Orleans and Cajun gestalt for Hirt for about five years, dying in New Orleans in the typically stifling summer of 1966. Vidacovich was almost home; had he died in his actual birthplace, writers would have had the intense pleasure of saying he was buried in Bura.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
New Orleans Owls

Duke Ellington playing piano in a rehearsal for
“Black and Tan Fantasy” with Arthur Whetsol (left)
and Fredi Washington, 1929. ~
The Frank Driggs Collection
Arthur Whetsol, Trumpet
b: Punta Gorda, FL, USA.
d: 1940.
Good Friend of Duke Ellington and member of band from inception till 1937 (illness forced him to leave). Featured 1920s records incl: Dicty Glide; Stevedore Stomp; Black Beauty; Big House Blues; Rocky Mountain Blues; Misty Morning.
Arthur Whetsol, one of the original members in Duke Ellington's Washingtonians, had an attractive tone, impressive technique, and a very lyrical style that set a standard for Ellington; in future years Harold "Shorty" Baker filled a similar role with Duke. A childhood friend of Ellington, Whetsol came to New York with Duke to join Elmer Snowden's group in 1923 but left a year later to study medicine at Howard University. He eventually returned to music and was a fixture in Duke's orchestra during 1928-1936 until a brain disorder forced him to permanently retire. Featured prominently in Ellington's 1929 film short Black and Tan, Whetsol took many fine solos in the late '20s when his melodic style was a contrast to that of Bubber Miley and (a little later) Cootie Williams, most notably on "Mood Indigo," "Black and Tan Fantasy," and "Black Beauty"; his role became less prominent in the 1930s.

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:


Tommy Magness fiddler for Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe
died. Age: 54.
Al Cooper tenor sax,
died in NY. USA.
Age: 70.
(and The Savoy Sultans)
Al Cooper

Manny Sayles guitar/banjo
died in New Orleans, LA. USA.
Age: 79.
Jazz Age Banjo

Skeets Marsh, drums
died in Philadelphia, PA. USA.
Age: 62.
Worked with Sammy Price, and Count Basie.

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


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Marion Harris
Marion Harris - Don't Leave Me, Daddy


All Star Trio
All Star Trio - Dottie Dimples

All Star Trio - 12th Street Rag


    Esther Bigeou
    • The Memphis Blues
    • The St. Louis Blues


    Marion Harris - I've Got A Cross Eyed Papa


    Blythe's Owls Have Mercy"

    Blythe's Owls -Hot Stuff"
    • Poutin' Papa"
    • Weary Way Blues

    Bix Beiderbecke and his Gang
    Bix Beiderbecke and his Gang - At The Jazz Band Ball
    Bix Beiderbecke and his Gang - Jazz Me Blues
    Bix Beiderbecke and his Gang - Royal Garden Blues


    St. Louis Blues - (W.C. Handy)

    I hate to see that evening sun go down,

    I hate to see that evening sun go down,

    'Cause my lovin' baby done left this town.

    If I feel tomorrow, like I feel today,

    If I feel tomorrow, like I feel today,

    I'm gonna pack my trunk and make my getaway.

    Oh, that St. Louis woman, with her diamond rings,

    She pulls my man around by her apron strings.

    And if it wasn't for powder and her store-bought hair,

    Oh, that man of mine wouldn't go nowhere.

    I got those St. Louis blues, just as blue as I can be,

    Oh, my man's got a heart like a rock cast in the sea,

    Or else he wouldn't have gone so far from me.

    I love my man like a schoolboy loves his pie,

    Like a Kentucky colonel loves his rocker and rye

    I'll love my man until the day I die, Lord, Lord.

    I got the St. Louis blues, just as blue as I can be, Lord, Lord!

    That man's got a heart like a rock cast in the sea,
    Or else he wouldn't have gone so far from me.

    I got those St. Louis blues, I got the blues, I got the blues, I got the blues,

    My man's got a heart like a rock cast in the sea,
    Or else he wouldn't have gone so far from me, Lord, Lord!

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