Friday

NOVEMBER 5TH

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ETTA MOTEN!


BIRTHDAYS


1901
Etta Moten, vocals
b. Weimer, Texas, USA
d. Jan. 2, 2004, Chicago, IL, USA.
(pancreatic cancer).
Age: 102.
Etta will always be remembered for her wonderful rendition of the song "The Carioca" which she sang in an early Hollywood 'talkie', that starred Lupe Velez and Gene Raymond, and co-starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (who appeared together on screen for the first time). She went on to do some vocal dubbing in other films, -not always credited.

At the personal request of composer George Gershwin, Moten also played the role of 'Bess' in the 1942 revival of "Porgy and Bess" However, she told George Gershwin that she wouldn't sing the word "nigger," and Ira Gershwin subsequently wrote the word out of the libretto.
In 1956 McVea recorded as a leader for Rhythm, Melodisc, Apollo, Black & White and Exclusive from 1945-47 and for Combo and Ace from 1953-55. He also recorded a jazz album for 77 in 1962. From 1966 until the mid-1980s, McVea led a Dixieland-oriented trio at Disneyland, playing clarinet exclusively. When the Disneyland job ended, he retired from music. Jack McVea died in Los Angeles on December 27, 2000.
The daughter of a Methodist minister (in Texas), Moten's immediate plans for college were derailed when she married one of her high school teachers. However, when the marriage fell apart, Etta left her three young daughters with her parents, and enrolled in the University of Kansas. After graduating (at age 30) with a degree in voice and drama, she moved to New York City, and first found work singing with the 'Eva Jessye Choir' after which she starred in the Broadway show ``Zombie'', and then into films after the show had toured in Los Angeles.

In Hollywood, Etta dubbed songs for actresses and sang a ballad ('My Forgotten Man' -she was not credited) in the Busby Berkeley film "Gold Diggers of 1933.'' On January 31, 1933, Etta Moten became the first African-American stage and screen star to sing and perform at the White House (at the personal invitation of President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt). In 1934, Etta married Claude Barnett, the head of the Associated Negro Press, a wire service for black newspapers. (Claude Barnett died in 1967.)
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_w5LGNDNVwqg/R3xAjmnJMXI/AAAAAAAAAko/HQzIg2mgIHc/s320/Picture%2B016.jpg
Claude Barnett was the founder of the ANP.
Picture of him along with his wife Etta Moten Barnett.
In 1957, Etta and Claude served as U.S. representatives to the independence celebrations of Ghana and several other African countries. In 1942, she appeared as Bess in the Broadway production of ``Porgy and Bess'', touring with the show until 1945. After many appearances in symphony concerts and music festivals, a strained voice forced her to give up performing in 1952.
She later became active in many civic organizations, including the National Council of Negro Women, the Chicago Lyric Opera and Chicago's Field Museum, as well as hosting a radio show for many years in Chicago. (Station: WMAQ, -NBC) As a singer and actress, Etta played romantic, sexy figures in movies at a time when most other black actresses were relegated to roles as nannies or maids. The Pittsburgh Courier, a black newspaper, dubbed Barnett "the first Negro woman to play a dignified role in pictures.'' 

Upon her demise at age 102, she was survived by Sue Ish, a daughter from her first marriage, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.




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1917
George Fierstone, Drums/Vocals
b. London, England, UK
d. March 13, 1984.
Fierstone played with a traveling revue in 1931, then played in London with such bandleaders as Bert Ambrose, Harry Roy, Sid Millward (1938), Frank Weir (1944), and Harry Hayes (1944-46). During this time he also did copious work as a studio musician and played in the Heralds of Swing in 1939. He worked in an RAF dance band during World War II, and after the war's end this ensemble performed and recorded as The Skyrockets from 1946 to 1953, accompanying Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra among others. He continued to work freelance into the 1980s.
~Digby Fairweather
George Firestone - Wikipedia


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1897
Jan Garber, Leader

b. Morristown, PA, USA.

d: Oct. 5, 1977, Shreveport, LA, USA.

Billed as "The Idol Of The Airwaves," Jan Garber led a big band in the 1930's that was the epitome of "sweet" music. His reed section's quavering saxophones (sounding as if they were overflowing with emotion that almost bordered on sarcasm) was the band's trademark and, when it came to corn, few could compete with Garber.


Many of his prime period's recordings are barely listenable today, but strangely enough Garber was responsible for some worthwhile music during two periods. Garber went to the University of North Carolina and shortly after World War I. he played violin in the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. In 1921 with pianist Milton Davis, he co-formed the Garber-Davis Orchestra. Chelsea Quealey and Harry Goldfield (who would eventually join Paul Whiteman) were the orchestra's trumpeters.
In 1924 Garber and Davis split up and the Jan Garber Orchesra during the 1924-30 period played dance music and some hot jazz. With the rise of the Depression, Garber's ensemble was struggling. After hearing the very commercial Freddie Large Orchestra in 1933, he arranged to take over the big band and adopted a very sweet sound, in the tradition of Guy Lombardo. His orchestra recorded popular recordings for Victor up to 1935 and then for Decca during the next seven years.
In 1942 Jan Garber surprised his fans by switching gears and reorganizing his orchestra into a swing band; he was apparently persuaded by his 12-year old daughter!. Gray Rains' arrangements transformed the orchestra's sound and Liz Tilton took pleasing vocals but the recording ban of 1942-44 kept the big band from recording much and by 1945, Garber had returned to his former sweet sound. He continued working on at least a part-time basis into the mid-1970's, performing music that pleased dancers but was so commercial as to now sound very dated.
~ Scott Yanow
http://www.jangarber.com/Photos/GarberBtn.jpg
1914
Roy Horton, C&W vocals/guitar/bass
b. (near) Broad Top, PA, USA. 
d. Sept. 23, 2003.
Roy was largely responsible for the creation of the Country Music Association and the Country Music Foundation. While an excellent artist in his own right, his career was greatly overshadowed by the success of his brother Vaughn Horton. (George Vaughn Horton, b. June 6, 1911, Broad Top, PA, USA) Vaughn later became an R&B-specialty producer for a number of New York companies (Continental, National, Majestic, MGM, London, and Varsity among others).

1914
Jack McVea
Tenor Sax/Leader
b. Los Angeles, CA, USA.
d. Dec. 27, 2000, age 86.
Father played banjo.
Jack McVea will always be most famous for his big hit "Open the Door, Richard." Although associated with the R&B world due to that 1946 bestseller, McVea was actually a swing stylist whose fairly mellow sound was a major contrast to the honking tenors of the time. He started out playing banjo as a youth (1925-27) before switching to alto. McVea began playing professionally with his father (banjoist Satchel McVea), Dootise Williams' Harlem Dukes (1932), Charlie Echols (1934-35), Claude Kennedy, Edyth Turnham, Cee Pee Johnson and Eddie Barefield (1936). McVea mostly gigged in the Los Angeles area until joining Lionel Hampton in 1940 as a baritonist. He was with Hamp for three years and played with Snub Mosley, but McVea made a much stronger impression when he played on the first Jazz at the Philharmonic Concert.
From 1944 on, McVea led his own group most of the time. He appeared on arecord date in 1945 that included Slim GaillardDizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parkerand was quite popular from 1946-48 after "Open the Door, Richard" became a novelty hit. In the 1950s McVea had a lower profile, continuing to lead his own combo in the Los Angeles area and gigging with Benny Carter.
~ Scott Yanow
1911
Roy Rogers
Cowboy Actor/vocalist
b. Cincinnati, OH, USA
d. July 6, 1998
Apple Valley, CA, USA. (Cardiac Arrest)
né: Leonard Franklin Slye. Roy Rogers
("The King of the Cowboys") and his wife, Dale Evans, acted and sang in a large number of 'Western' films, often with the 'Sons Of The Pioneers' band.
American cowboy actor-singer who starred in some 90 motion pictures and over 100 episodes of a weekly television show from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s and reigned as king of the cowboys. The quintessential "Good Guy" in a white hat," he subdued villains by shooting the guns from their hands instead of trying to kill them. During his childhood Rogers took up singing, guitar playing, and square-dance calling.
http://www.ocassn.com/images/sonsp1.jpgHe worked as a fruit picker in California and as a cowhand in New Mexicoduring the Depression, and, at the same time, he and his cousin Stanley Slye began performing as the Slye Brothers. Rogers made radio and personal appearances with a succession of groups before helping form The Sons Of the Pioneers Trio, which, because of a radio announcer’s mistake, became The Sons Of the Pioneers. They recorded such hits as "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," their theme song, and "Cool Water"; were said to have put the "western" in country-and-western music; and by 1935 were appearing in motion pictures.
Rogers was given his first starring role in the 1938 film Under Western Stars, which also featured Trigger, the horse that would be his costar until 1965, when Trigger died. Another favorite costar, his sidekick George ("Gabby") Hayes, joined Rogers in Southward Ho! (1939). For The Cowboy and the Senorita (1944), Rogers was teamed with Dale Evans, and, in 1947, 14 months after the death of Rogers’s first wife, he and Evans were married.
They starred together in a number of films and from 1951 to 1957 in their own television series. At the end of each series episode, they signed off with the song "Happy Trails," which Evans had written and which also became the title of their 1979 autobiography. Rogers and Evans starred in a musical variety showon television in 1962-63 and thereafter made guest appearances on TV specials, series, and talk shows. Rogers also made state fair and rodeo appearances, marketed clothes and toys, ran a restaurant chain, and continued to record. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988 and in 1991 released the album Tribute, which featured both old and new songs and included duets with current recording artists.

1917
George Dale "The Fox" Williams
leader/composer
b. New Orleans, LA, USA
Williams worked as the staff arranger for such orchestras as Sonny Dunham, Glenn Miller, Gene Krupa, and also contributed arrangements to the Benny Goodman, Buddy Morrow, Ralph Flanagan, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Hal McIntyre, Vaughan Monroe, Jimmy Lunceford, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Les Brown, Les and Larry Elgart, Charlie Spivak, Art Mooney, Eddy Duchin, Count Basie, Vincent Lopez, and perhaps for as many as 45 other great name bands. He did virtually all of Ray Anthony's band arrangments. This arranger created the lush string sound of all those romantic Jackie Gleason albums and helped Bobby Hacket record a distinctive "Serenade In Blue". 
Williams toured the world as musical director for Bobby Hackett and Tony Bennett. He wrote hits for Barbra Streisand, including "Happy Days", her first gold record. Among other vocalists for whom he scored are Johnny Desmond, Ray Kellogg, Tommy Mercer, Jane Morgan, Anita O'Day, Frank Rosolino, Lena Horne, Dinah Washington - and many others.
Among the many tunes he composed are "Whamboogie", "It Must Be Jelly" (for Miller, RCA Vic.), "Hamp's Boogie" (Lionel Hampton), "Gene's Boogie" (Gene Krupa Orch.), "Lackawanna Local", "The Fox" and "The Bunny Hop" (both for Ray Anthony Orch.), - and dozens more. Although he is not well remembered, the legacy of George "The Fox" Williams, a prolific and revered big band arranger, is preserved today on the more than 9000 recordings by famous bands.


1926
John Henry "Johnny" Windhurst, Trumpet
b. New York, NY, USA.
Self taught and never did learn to read music. Played with Bechet, Hall, Louis Armstrong, Condon, Wettling, and others.
In the spring of 1945, legendary soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet formed a band to play an extended engagement at the Savoy Café in Boston. He chose the veteran Bunk Johnson to be his trumpeter. The irascible Johnson's erratic behavior proved more than Bechet had bargained for, however, so on the basis of a recommendation by members of the Boston Jazz Society he replaced him a few weeks into the gig with the 18-year-old Johnny Windhurst.
Windhurst was a self-taught musician, influenced by Bix Beiderbecke and subsequent white trumpeters/cornetists like Bobby Hackett, Wild Bill Davison, and Bunny Berigan. Windhurst had only been playing professionally for a short time when tapped by Bechet, yet he quickly developed a reputation as a fine young musician. He played with the pianists Art Hodes and James P. Johnson at the Jazz at Town Hall concert in September 1946.
He worked in Chicago for a time, then moved to California, where he played with clarinetist Edmond Hall. Other employers around this time included Louis Armstrong and Nappy Lamare. He also led his own band in Ohio and Boston, and was a latter day associate of Eddie Condon, playing and recording with the guitarist in the early '50s.
He recorded with trumpeter Ruby Braff (1952-1953), singer Barbara Lea (1955-1957), trombonist Jack Teagarden (1955), and vocalist Lee Wiley. Windhurst made Jazz at Columbus Avenue for the Transition label in 1956, the first and only time he recorded under his own name (bassist Buell Neidlinger was a sideman on the date). In the late '50s, Windhurst worked in Ohio and again at Condon's club in New York. Little was heard from him thereafter.
Rest In Peace George M. Cohen
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

1942.
George M. Cohan
composer/actor
dead at age 64.
George Michael Cohan (pronounced Coe-han; July 3, 1878 – November 5, 1942), known professionally as George M. Cohan, was a major American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer, and producer.
Cohan began his career as a child, performing with his parents and sister in vaudeville as one of the "The Four Cohans." Before long, he was writing songs and sketches, and he went on to write some 500 songs during his lifetime. He also wrote, produced, and starred in many Broadway musicals. Cohan's many popular songs include "Over There", "Give My Regards to Broadway", "The Yankee Doodle Boy", and "You're a Grand Old Flag". Beginning with Little Johnny Jones in 1904, he wrote and appeared in more than three dozen shows that were produced on Broadway. He displayed remarkable theatrical longevity, continuing to perform as a headline artist until 1940. Cohan also appeared in films, including The Phantom President in 1932. Off stage, he was one of the founders of ASCAP.
Known in the decade before World War I as "the man who owned Broadway," he is considered the father of American musical comedy. His life and music were depicted in the Academy Award-winning film Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and the 1968 musical George M!. A statue of Cohan is in Times Square in New York City.

1954.
"Hot Lips" Page, trumpet, died 
New York, NY, USA. 
Age: 46.
Oran Thaddeus Page (January 27, 1908 – November 4, 1954) was a jazz trumpeter, singer, and bandleader born in Dallas, Texas. He was better known as Hot Lips Page by the public, and Lips Page by his fellow musicians. He was known as a scorching soloist and powerful vocalist.


1956.
Art Tatum, piano, died
b. Los Angeles, CA, USA. 
Age: 47.
Arthur "Art" Tatum, Jr. (October 13, 1909 – November 5, 1956) was an American jazz pianist and virtuoso who played with phenomenal facility despite being nearly blind.


1956.
Robert Nighthawk, guitar, died
b. Helena, AR, USA. 
Age: 57.
Robert Lee McCollum (November 30, 1909 – November 5, 1967) was an American blues musician who played and recorded under the pseudonyms Robert Lee McCoy and Robert Nighthawk.


2000.
Jimmie Davis, C&W singer-songwriter
and two-term Governor of Louisiana 
died in Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
Age: 101.
Songs Recorded/Released 
On This Date Include:


1920


Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds 
  • “If You Don't Want Me Blues”

1921


Esther Bigeou “Stingaree Blues (A Down Home Blues)”


1928


The Clicquot Club Eskimos 


1929


McKinney's Cotton Pickers - I'd Love It
McKinney's Cotton Pickers - “Gee, Ain't I Good To You?"(Don Redman)
  • Miss Hannah - Vocal refrain by Don Redman
McKinney's Cotton Pickers - The Way I Feel Today

    1930



    McKinney's Cotton Pickers - “After All, You're All I'm After” - Vocal refrain by George Bias
    • Hello

    LYRICS:
    Lyrics & Music: Razaf, Redman
    You know it's love that makes me treat you
    The way I do
    Gee baby, ain't I good to you?
    You know there's nothing too good
    For a girl like you
    Gee baby, ain't I good to you?

    I bought you a fur coat for Christmas
    And I bought you a diamond ring
    I bought you a Cadillac car
    I tried to buy you everything

    But it's love that makes me treat you
    The way that I do
    Gee, gee baby, ain't I good to you?

    You know it's love that makes me treat you
    The way I do
    Gee baby, ain't I good to you?

    You know there's nothing too good
    For a girl like you
    Gee baby, ain't I good to you?

    I bought you a fur coat for Christmas
    And I bought you a diamond ring
    I bought you a Cadillac car
    I tried to buy you everything

    But it's love that makes me treat you
    The way that I do
    Gee baby, gee baby, ain't I good to you?
    Gee ain't I good to you?

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