Ella Fitzgerald, vocals
b. Newport News, VA, USA (raised in Yonkers, a New York city suburb).
d. June 15, 1996, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Diabetes. (variously credited with dying at ages 75, 76 78.)
In 1934, after having spent some time in a home for indigent young girls, Ella was discovered when she won an 'Amateur Night' contest at New York's Apollo Theater (in Harlem).

In 1935, she made her professional debut with 'Tiny' Bradshaw's band at the Harlem Opera House and later that same year (age 16) became the vocalist with drummer 'Chick' Webb's orchestra, where her recording of her own tune "A Tisket A Tasket" made her (and 'Chick') nationally famous. Ella would go on to record over 200 albums. She was equally at home singing the sophistcated lyrics of Rogers and Hart, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and with 'scatting' along with the orchestra.
She was voted 13 Grammy awards (more than any other Swing vocalist), as well as winning the 'Best Female Vocalist' award three years in a row. Her marriage to Ray Brown (1949-1953) ended in divorce. They had one son. In 1955 Ella, Promotor Norman Granz, 'Illinois' Jacquet, and Dizzy Gillespie, were arrested by the vice squad in Houston, TX before a 'Jazz At The Philharmonic' concert.
They were charged with gambling backstage but, upon payment of a $50 fine, were released in time to perform. Promoter Granz later indicated that the raid was "set-up" due to his insistence that the concert not be segregated.
Tragically, in her final years, Ella had a bout with with congestive heart failure (Aug. 1986 followed with a 5 way bypass operation), and the bilateral amputation of both legs due to complications arising from Diabetes. Over her career, Ella's work was heard on records, Radio, Television and Films. One of the last of the great Swing vocalists,- Ella helped to define the vocals of the era. She was called the "First Lady Of Song".
The amatuer contest she won, she was originally signed on to dance (she originally wanted to be a dancer), but the person running the show said they had too many dance acts and asked if she could sing. She went on and mimicked her favorite singer off the time, Connee Boswell.

Sal Franzella (Jr)
alto sax/clarinet/bass clarinet
b. New Orleans, LA. USA.
Leader: 'Sal Franzella and the Accordionaires'

The Wolverine Orchestra in 1924.
Standing: Dick Voynow. Seated: Vic Moore, George Johnson,
Jimmy Hartwell, Bix Beiderbecke, Al Grande, Min Leibrook, Bob Gillette.
George Johnson
Alto Sax/clarinet
b. Grand Rapids, MI, USA.
~by Eugene Chadbourne

Credits for jazz musicians named George Johnson date back to an era when few were even using a name for the genre yet. One George Johnson, however, has made more jazz records then all the George Johnsons combined. Because of some interesting cases of instrumental doubling among the various people named George Johnson; confusion is rampant. The most prolific of the jazzmen Johnsons, logging in with nearly 40 recording sessions, is sometimes assumed to be the same George Johnson who played tenor saxophone in the first Bix Beiderbecke band. While the original Wolverine Orchestra were indeed youthful, none were between the ages of ten and 13, depending on which birthday is accepted as accurate for the George Johnson under discussion here.
He is the only George Johnson who gets a mention in John Chilton's Who's Who of Jazz; none are considered worthy of even a passing nod in Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz. Chilton claims Johnson was born in Detroit around 1910, while other references place him farther north in former President Gerald Ford's city, Grand Rapids, with 1913 the estimated year of birth. Either way would have made him a trifle green to have been a Wolverine Orchestra member.

Johnson's actual professional career began with affiliations among three bandleaders: Zack Whyte, Benny Carter, and Freddy Taylor. The latter artist took Johnson on a European tour, and this changed his life forever.

Historically, this Johnson's status is principally among one of the early generations of American jazz musicians who sought refuge on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. He was more of a rover than a settler, perusing scenes in a variety of countries including the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Switzerland. When the first Taylor tour ended, Johnson opted to hang in Paris where he began working with Willie Lewis, a pioneer in the art of being an expatriate. The groovy Ville D'Est was a spot where Johnson led his own band, and he continued with similar gigs into the late '30s. Then he went back to the United States until roughly the end of the second World War.

During that period he was associated with Frankie Newton and John Kirby; Raymond Scott Fans may notice Johnson as one of the players involved with the legendary 1942 CBS recording sessions.
In the winter of 1946 he was leading his own group in Spain following a sideman stint with trumpeter Rex Stewart. This time, Johnson was absent stateside for a solid decade, spending a great deal of his time in the dreamy land of cuckoo clocks and Emmenthal cheese. Johnson was back in New York City in the early '50s, if only to give discographers the opportunity to confuse him with George "Happy" Johnson, a player doubling on tenor saxophone and trombone and associated with the Chicago jazz scene for at least a chunk of his career. Quickly, the George Johnson who cannot be presumed to be unhappy, in comparison, packed up his alto and tenor saxophones and clarinet and went back to Europe, where he was last seen sitting by the side of a canal in Amsterdam.

Earl Bostic, Leader/Alto Sax b. Tulsa, OK, USA d. Oct. 28, 1965

~by Steve Huey
Alto saxophonist Earl Bostic was a technical master of his instrument, yet remained somewhat under-appreciated by jazz fans due to the string of simple, popular R&B/jump blues hits he recorded during his heyday in the '50s. Born Eugene Earl Bostic in Tulsa, OK, on April 25, 1913, Bostic played around the Midwest during the early '30s, studied at Xavier University, and toured with several bands before moving to New York in 1938. There he played for Don Redman, Edgar Hayes, and Lionel Hampton, making his record debut with the latter in 1939. In the early '40s, he worked as an arranger and session musician, and began leading his own regular large group in 1945.
Cutting back to a septet the next year, Bostic began recording regularly, scoring his first big hit with 1948's "Temptation." He soon signed with the King label, the home of most of his biggest jukebox hits, which usually featured a driving, heavy, R&B-ish beat and an alto sound that could be smooth and romantic or aggressive and bluesy.
In 1951, Bostic landed a number one R&B hit with "Flamingo," plus another Top Ten in "Sleep." Subsequent hits included "You Go to My Head" and "Cherokee." Bostic's bands became important training grounds for up-and-coming jazzmen like John Coltrane, Blue Mitchell, Stanley Turrentine, Benny Golson, Jaki Byard, and others. Unfortunately, Bostic suffered a heart attack in the late '50s, which kept him away from music for two years. He returned to performing in 1959, but didn't record quite as extensively; when he did record in the '60s, his sessions were more soul-jazz than the proto-R&B of old. On October 28, 1965, Bostic suffered a fatal heart attack while playing a hotel in Rochester, NY.

Cliff Bruner
b. Houston, TX, USA.
Recalled today as one of the fiddlers who helped create and develop "Western Swing" by fusing Country and Jazz sounds. He led his own 'Texas Wanderers', a group that focused on the simpler vocal pieces, with lyrics that spoke of disillusionment and hard luck. simpler vocal pieces with lyrics that spoke of disillusionment and hard luck.
~by James Manheim

In the late '30s, during the classic era of Western swing, Cliff Bruner was one of the fiddlers who helped to create and develop that music by fusing country and jazz sounds. As the bandleader of his own Texas Wanderers, Bruner carved out a place in country music history by focusing on a new kind of song -- not the smooth, heavily jazz-influenced arrangements to which other Texas bands of the day aspired, but simpler vocal pieces with lyrics that spoke of disillusionment and hard luck. Bruner is particularly noted for his recording of Ted Daffan's composition "Truck Driver's Blues" -- the first trucker song ever committed to disc.

Born in Houston, TX, in 1915, Bruner was performing professionally and wandering around Texas in search of gigs by the late 1920s. The medicine show provided him with early employment, as it did for many other early country stars; he had signed on with Dr. Scott's Medicine Show, a traveling caravan hawking a cure-all called Liquidine Tonic. In 1934, Bruner joined the pathbreaking Western swing band Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies, an act which billed itself as "The Greatest String Band on Earth." He cut close to 50 songs with the group before Brown was killed in an auto accident in April 1936; the twin fiddles often heard in the Brownies' music (setting a pattern that lasted for decades in country music) are those of Bruner and the classically trained violinist Cecil Brower.

After Brown's death, Bruner returned to Houston and formed a group called the Texas Wanderers (sometimes called Cliff Bruner & His Boys). The band settled into a slot on Beaumont radio station KDFM, whose listenership crossed the state line into heavily Cajun Southwestern Louisiana. As did other Western swing bands, this one fused traditional fiddle-led country music with elements of 1920s and '30s pop and jazz. But Bruner, from the start, favored a strikingly contemporary sound. He brought the wildly experimental electric steel guitarist Bob Dunn on board from the Brownies and featured an electric mandolinist, Leo Raley, and an energetic barrelhouse pianist, Moon Mullican. The Texas Wanderers' recordings on the Decca label crowded jukeboxes along the oil-rich, heavily industrialized Texas Gulf Coast. Among the many songs featuring vocalist Dickie McBride were several that were recognized in retrospect as early classics of the honky tonk genre: the band had perhaps its biggest hit in 1938 with a recording of the Floyd Tillman composition "It Makes No Difference Now" and "Truck Driver's Blues" followed in 1939.

In the early '40s, Bruner dissolved the Texas Wanderers, but he continued to work with Mullican and with other musicians who were forging modern country music out of the forms of Western swing: he performed with former Texas governor W. Lee O'Daniel and with Louisiana governor-to-be Jimmie Davis. Bruner and Mullican headed a band called the Showboys, and he made some recordings for Mercury and for small Texas labels after World War II. Bruner largely dropped out of music in the early '50s in favor of an insurance-sales career. When the Western swing revival flowered in the 1970s, however, he gained proper recognition as an enormously influential figure. 
He appeared on Johnny Gimble's 1980 LP Texas Swing Pioneers and remained active as a performer well into his ninth decade. On August 25, 2000, Bruner's long lifetime of making music came to an end when he died of cancer at the age of 85.

Cliff Bruner - Wikipedia

Joe Dean, piano

b. St. Louis, MO, USA.

(Tag: "Joe Dean From Bowling Green")

Played piano and sang - ("I'm So Glad I'm Twenty-One Years Old Today" and "Mexico Bound Blues").

Karl Farr, guitar
b. Rochelle, TX, USA
d. Sept. 20, 1961.
né: Karl Marx Farr
One of the Farr Brothers who worked with "The Sons of The Pioneers".
Bob Russell, lyricist
~by Joslyn Layne

American pop lyricist and Songwriters Hall of Fame member Bob Russell was an active Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood songwriter during the 1940s and 1950s and wrote such pop songs as "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." Born Sidney Keith Russell in Passaic, NJ, in 1914, he enjoyed his first hit songs in 1940 with "Frenesi," "Marie Elena," and "Brazil" on the Lucky Strike Parade. 

Some of his best-known songs are "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (1942), "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" (1943), "I Didn't Know About You" (1944), "Dance Ballerina Dance" (1947), "You Came a Long Way From St. Louis" (1948), "Crazy He Calls Me," and "It's the Beast in Me."
Over the years, Russell collaborated with a number of songwriters, including Duke Ellington, Harry Warren, Carl Sigman, and Lester Lee, with whom Russell penned songs for films such as Blue Gardenia, Reach for Glory, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the theme song for The Girl Most Likely. The songs that Russell co-wrote with Quincy Jones -- "The Eyes of Love" for the film Banning and "For the Love of Ivy" from the movie of the same name -- garnered the songwriters Academy Award nominations in 1968 and 1969. 1969 also brought Russell's final song: "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother."

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Teddy Weatherford, piano
died in Calcutta, India.
Age: 41

Cisco Houston, guitar
died in San Bernardino, CA, USA.
Age: 42.

Eddie South, violin
died in Chicago, IL, USA.
Age: 57.

Tenor saxman Dexter Gordon
died Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Age: 67. (kidney failure).

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Lizzie Miles

Bailey's Lucky Seven - That Sweet Somebody O' Mine
  • Down By The River
  • My Old Ramshackle Shack (Where The Rambler Roses Ramble 'Round) (Irving Kaufman Sings Chorus)


Isham Jones and his Orchestra
  • After The Storm

The California Ramblers


Lonnie Johnson - Baby, Will You Please Come Home

South Bound Water


Johnnie Miller's New Orleans Frollickers - Dippermouth Blues

Alberta Brown How Long?

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - You Took Advantage of Me


Jimmy Bertrand's Washboard Wizards - Isabella
  • I Won't Give You None

Harry Reser and his Orchestra

The California Ramblers - My Sin

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra


Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra


It Had To Be You
~Written in 1924 by Gus Kahn & Isham Jones

Why do I do, just as you say
Why must I just, give you your way
Why do I sigh, why don't I try to forget

It must have been,
That something lovers call fate
Kept me saying: "I have to wait"
I saw them all,
Just couldn't fall 'til we met

It had to be you, it had to be you
I wandered around, and finally found
The somebody who
Could make me be true,
And could make me be blue
And even be glad, just to be sad
Thinking of you

Some others I've seen,
Might never be mean
Might never be cross,
Or try to be boss
But they wouldn't do
For nobody else, gave me a thrill
With all your faults, I
Love you still
It had to be you, wonderful you
It had to be you

I'm Confessin' That I Love You
~Performed by: Louis Armstrong
~Songwriters: Daugherty, Doc; Neiburg, Al J; Reynolds, Ellis

I'm confessin' that i love you . . .
Tell me, do you love me too?
I'm confessin' that i need you,
Honest i do, need you every moment!
In your eyes i read such strange things,
But your lips deny they're true . . .
Will your answer really change things,
Making me blue?

I'm afraid someday you'll leave me,
Say'n can't we still be friends?
If you go, you know you'll grieve me,

All in life on you depends . . .
Am i guessin' that you love me?
Dreamin' dreams of you in vain,
I'm confessin' that i love you,
Over again!

I'm afraid someday you'll leave me,
Say'n can't we still be friends?
If you go, you know you'll grieve me,
All in life on you depends . . .

Am i guessin' that you love me?
Dreamin' dreams of you in vain,
I'm confessin' that i love you,
Over again!

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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