Monday

NOVEMBER 15TH




BIRTHDAYS




The Original Creole Orchestra. L to R: Eddie Vincent, Ollie “Dink” Johnson, Freddy Keppard, Jimmie Palao, George Baquet, Bill Johnson, and W.M. Williams, cir. 1918. Photo courtesy Red Hot Jazz Archive. The Original Creole Orchestra was the first JAZZ band to tour widely in North America (from 1914 - 1918).
1885
George Baquet, Clarinet/Sax
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. Nov. 20, 1956.
Brother of clarinetist George Baquet.
There was literally a bouquet of musicians from the New Orleans Baquet family, all clarinetists. George Baquet has been considered by musical historians as the earliest player to use the so-called "licorice stick" as a jazz instrument, and was an important influence on the great Sidney Bechet. He was also one of a group of players who accompanied blues singer Bessie Smith on her historic recording sessions. His father Theogene Baquet was an established clarinetist in the latter decades of the 19th century, and certainly seems to have championed passing musical interests along to his children. Sons Achille Joseph Baquet and Harold 'Hal' Baquet also played clarinet, and it was Hal Baquet who met his death in a stabbing incident that for a short period was blamed on songwriter, pianist and publisher Clarence Williams.
George Baquet began his performing career in the Lyre Club Symphony Orchestra in 1897, only 14 years old at the time. P.T. Wright's Nashville Student Minstrels was the first group to take the clarinetist on the road. He left this group in Georgia to become one of the Georgia Minstrels but returned to New Orleans in 1905 where he sat in with the Buddy Bolden band and was subsequently considered good enough to become a regular member. He also began playing with John Robichaux's Orchestra, Freddie Keppard and the Onward Brass Band, the latter group specializing in parades. Keppard took him to Los Angeles to join the first Original Creole Orchestra tour, and Baquet stayed with this revue until the summer of 1916. This was the year that this band might have been able to make the absolute first recording of jazz known to mankind but didn't, for reasons wrapped in controversy. Keppard says he wouldn't record because he didn't want to make it easy for someone else to steal his style; the way Baquet remembered it in interviews with British jazz writer John Chilton, it was the possibility of not getting paid that kept the band out of the studio. With the technology available for recording in 1916, the Victor label didn't want to shell out session fees until it was sure the microphone had picked up the sound of the bassist, Bill Johnson.
Baquet's next home base was the New York City area, where he held forth for several years at a Coney Island inn. In 1923 he swung south several hours to join Sam Gordon's Lafayette Players in Philadelphia, and wound up becoming a resident of this city, remaining there until his death. Baquet began leading his own groups there, including the popular New Orleans Nighthawks, which in the '30s evolved into George Bakey's Swingsters in a nod to spelling-deprived local jazz fans. Baquet recorded with Jelly Roll Morton in 1929 and in the '40s took part in a reunion concert with Sidney Bechet.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
1911
Mann Curtis, songwriter
Born: Emanuel Kurtz
b. New York (Brooklyn), NY, USA.
né: Emanuel Manny Kurtz. Manny Curtis was born Emanuel Kurtz in Brooklyn in 1911. He wrote the lyrics for over 250 songs. Most notable song lyrics are In a Sentimental Mood (1935) and Let It Be Me (1957).
He also used the pseudonyms Mann Curtis, and Manny Kurtz. He died in 1984.



1918
Dicky Harris, trombone
b. Birmingham, AL, USA.
Worked with Lucky Millinder
Biography 
~by Eugene Chadbourne 
This Richard Harris shifted his name down to Dicky Harris early in his career, thus avoiding confusion with the British actor who gets tortured in the film A Man Called Horse. The veteran trombonist still gets mixed up with pedal steel guitarist Dickie Harris, however, leading to the unlikely conclusion that there was once a musician who played in both the James Brown band and Ernest Tubb & the Texas Troubadours. Harris did play with the soul godfather, it is true, remaining a favorite sidekick of that band's superstar trombonist Fred Wesley. Brown had brought a real pro into his band, as Harris already had more than two decades of professional experience behind him.
Family ties plunged Harris into a musical bath as a child. Uncle William Harris was a trumpeter, and family friend and music teacher W.W. Handy was a nephew of the famed W.C. Handy, although some mistook him for the man himself, hiding behind a typo. Pianist Frank Hines provided an early professional gig as the trombonist was turning 21, followed by a stint with Erskine Hawkins which ended when a two-year stretch with the Army Air Force Band took priority. In the second half of the '40s the trombonist performed with J.C. Heard, Joe Thomas, and Lucky Millinder. During the '50s, he often served as a foil for the hard-driving tenor saxophones of Arnett Cobb and Illinois Jacquet, and was also in a lovely, if short-lived, brass liaison with trumpeter Buck Clayton.
Harris worked more and more on a freelance basis after 1958, often contracting himself to long-running Broadway shows. His tenure with Brown began in 1964, and it could be argued that his riffs on "Out of Sight" represent some of the most widely-heard trombone playing in the history of the instrument. The soul side of his discography also includes recordings with Don Covay, Sam Cooke, and Ruth Brown. Although credited as the trombonist on an Elmore James' side, the instrument itself is inaudible. In the '80s, Harris was still going strong, touring Japan in the company of other jazz veterans.



1919
Curtis Sylvester Lowe, Sr., Baritone Sax
b. Chicago, IL, USA.
with Erskine Hawkins for 20 years.


1905
Mantovani, leader
b. Venice, Italy.
d. March 30, 1995, Tunbridge Wells, Eng.
UK. né: Annunzio Paolo Mantovani.

Mantovani was a cornerstone of the easy listening business for over 30 years. His father was the principal violinist at La Scala under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. Moving with his family to England in 1912, Mantovani eventually studied music at Trinity College and, after graduation, formed his own orchestra, starting out in theaters in and around Birmingham. By the the start of World War Two, Mantovani's was among the most popular groups on the BBC and the theater circuit. Mantovani served as musical director for a number of long-forgotten British musicals and plays, inlcuding several by Noel Coward.
Mantovani and his orchestra. Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter)
After the war, he began to focus on recording, and eventually abandoned live performances entirely. Working primarily with arranger Ronnie Binge, he developed a big cascading string sound that as featured on his first big hit, "Charmaine," in 1951. Mantovani spent hours working in the studio with microphone placements and other techniques to perfect the lush feeling and dramatic effects.
Mantovani recorded on Decca through the mid-1950s, when he switched to London, for who he cranked out over 50 albums, many of them charting in the Top 40. He also had a string of best-selling singles with such space age pop staples as "The Song from Moulin Rouge," "Swedish Rhapsody," and "Exodus." He is reputed to have been the first act in the music business to sell over one million stereo recordings, and as a quick look at most thrift store music sections will tell you, he pushed out an incredible volume of product. His album of music from Exodus stayed in the Top 40 for the better part of a year in 1961, and the same year, London bundled 5 of his albums together in a special promotional deal and together they all reached "Gold Record" status. Virtually all of Mantovani's music is unexceptional and uninteresting, however, regardless of the enticiveness of the tunes covered.


1914
Rita Rio, bandleader
Born: Eunice Westmoreland
aka Dona Drake 
Other names: Rita Rio, Una Velon, Rita Shaw
b. Miami, FL, USA.
d. June 20, 1989, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
né: Rita Novella.
This vivacious leading lady was most active in U.S. films of the 1940's and early 50's. As was common in those days, she worked under a variety of different names. Early in her career she worked under the names of Una Velon and Rita Shaw.
A vivacious Bandleader and later leading lady in films.
In her films, she was most often credited as Dona Drake.
In the early 1930s, as Rita Rio, she had been the bandleader of an 
all-girl orchestra and girls singing group, "The Girl Friends". 
One reader, (Mr. C. Bentz of Brookfield, WI, USA) has noted that a 
very young actor, Alan Ladd, appeared with the Rita Rio Orchestra in 
one of her film 'shorts'. "Ladd did a fairly good job of dancing and singing.
" Rita was 75 when she died of pneumonia and respiratory failure.

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:


1954.
Charley Jordan, guitar
died in St. Louis, MO, NJ, USA.
Age: 64



1978.
"Mississippi Matilda", vocals
died in Chicago, IL, NJ, USA.
Age: 64.
(née: Matilda Whiterspoon)
b. 1914, Hattiesburg, MS, USA.
Her husband was pianist Richard "Hacksaw" Harney. 
In 1936 she married (Sonny Boy Nelson). 
She enjoyed a brief career as a Bluessinger, 
then became a gospel singer.
Scented Jasmine Tea Blues: Mississippi Matilda Revisited


Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include: 



1921




Esther Bigeou - “If That's What You Want Here It Is”
Esther Bigeou - “Nervous Blues”


1923

 
Virginia Liston - Sally Long Blues”

Virginia Liston - “You Don't Know My Mind Blues”


1926


Gilbert Watson and his Orchestra
  • “I Just Want To Be Known As "Susie's Feller"

1928


Texas Alexander - “The Risin' Sun”
Texas Alexander - “Work Ox Blues”



1929


Jones And Collins Astoria Hot Eight
“Astoria Strut”

“Tip Easy Blues”



1940



Leo Reisman and his Casino Royal Orchestra - "Down Argentine Way", Leo Reisman orch.


LYRICS:

~credited to the songwriting team of Gray, Liston and Williams

I'm going to the racetrack to see my pony run
If he won some money gonna take my good gals on
Yeah, you don't know, you don't know my mind
When you see me laughing I'm laughing just to keep from crying

I left my frump standing in the door
Lookin' after me a-crying say "You won't come back no more, sweet daddy"
You don't know, you dont' know my mind
When you see me laughing I'm laughing just to keep from crying

When I asked my mama "Can you stand to say goodbye"
She said "Yes, sweet papa, if you can stand to see me cry, Lord"
You don't know, ooh my mind, hmmhmm
Oh, when you see me laughing, honey, laughing just to keep from crying

I got a handfull o' nickles, got a handfull o' dimes
Got a housefull o' youngens and no one mindes
Lord, you don't know, you don't know my mind
And when you see me laughing I'm laughing just to keep from crying 

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