July 14TH

Sheet Music: Stormy Weather - Lyrics by Ted Koehler


J. Lawrence Cook - click here to view enlarged photograph

J. Lawrence Cook
Pianist/Piano Roll transcriber and manufacturer/arranger/author
b. Athens, TN, USA. d. April 2, 1976, Mt. Vernon, NY, USA. (Coronary. Age: 76).
né: Jean Lawrence Cook.
J. Lawrence Cook, well earned his sobriquet "Dean of the Piano Roll". However, while many critics have said that he arranged 20,000 or more Player Piano Music Rolls, he disputed that number, claiming only that he worked very hard to produce everything from Nursery Rhymes to Concertos. His father (Jacob L. Cook -and wife Zella) was a Presbyterian minister and educator. Both parents died when Cook was 3, and he was raised by relatives who cared for him. During this time, he also learned to play the violin, the piano and the clarinet. At just age 15 he became enchanted with piano roll music and purchased a hand operated piano roll perforator for $150, paying it off at $10 a month by working at menial jobs. Moving to New York from his native Pittsburgh, he took a course in piano technique learning harmony and composition. In those days, player pianos were big business and Cook found work with 'U.S. Music Rolls Inc.', one of some fifty companies that flourished in the 1920s.
For years, he was one of about 100 top U.S. arranger-perforators. Circa 1930, the Piano Roll business faded away. The three main causes for it's demise were the invention of Radio broadcasting (ca 1921), Movies, especially 'Talking Films' after ca. 1927, and increasing popularity of the electrically operated Phonograph (no more hand cranking), with their electrically recorded shellac discs. Most all Piano Roll companies were forced to cease production. However, Cook, though working a full time job at the U. S. Post Office, continued to serve a small piano roll market with his own "J. Lawrence Cook Rolls." Cook was also a composer in his own right, composing a beautiful full orchestral suite, and other works. He was also fluent in Spanish , French, and had studied Japanese. He finished his days as a retired Postal Worker, but was quite musically active.
During his long career, Cook was a friend of such wonderful Jazz pianists as W.C. Handy, Eubie Blake and Jelly Roll Morton. Teddy Wilson was one of his pupils. NOTE: For still more information on J. Lawrence Cook, please see our Tune smith's Database entry for Max Kortlander, (b. September 1, 1890, Grand Rapids, MI, USA. d. Oct. 11, 1961, Rye, NY, USA. Age: 71 passed away while in the office of the Imperial Industrial Company, 781 East 136th Street, the Bronx, New York City.)
Walter Gross, piano/composer
b. New York, NY, USA.
d. 1967, USA.
Biography ~by Joslyn Layne
Walter Gross was a capable pianist who gained more recognition as a conductor/arranger/composer (he wrote "Tenderly") during the late '30s and '40s, and as an executive of Musicraft Records during the late '40s. Born in N.Y.C. in 1909, Gross began playing professionally in various bands of the early '30s (including Paul Whiteman's for a short time), and became a pianist on CBS radio later that decade.
After serving in the military during WWII, Gross became an executive at Musicraft Records from 1946-1947. While there, Gross served as conductor/arranger/pianist for many recording sessions, including a session with Rosemary Clooney that resulted in a hit a few years later. Her rendition of "Tenderly" became a million seller in the early '50s, and was the biggest single Gross ever wrote. Some of his other, better-known songs are "Your Love," "I'm in a Fog About You," and "Just a Moon Ago."
When songwriting, Gross most often collaborated with Jack Lawrence, Carl Sigman, and Ned Washington, among others. He also played piano on various dates, including a few led by him, as well as in bands led by Paul Whiteman, Maxine Sullivan, Alec Wilder, Raymond Scott, and more. Gross moved out to California during the '50s, making occasional club appearances.
Walter Gross (musician) - Wikipedia

Billy Hill, Jazz Piano/vocals/composer
b. Boston, MA
d. Dec. 24, 1940, New York, NY.
nee: William J. Hill. Worked With: Benny Carter; Coleman Hawkins; Gene Autry; Louis Armstrong; Bunny Berigan; The Boswell Sisters; Dave Brubeck; Bing Crosby; Jimmy Durante; Tommy Dorsey; Benny Goodman; Butch Baldassari; Fletcher Henderson; Jack Bulterman; Alix Combelle; Al Thomas; Jack Pet; Lew Stevenson; Billy Ternent; Les Gilbert; Bruce Trent; Andre Ekyan; George Van Helvoirt; Wim Poppink; Eugene D'Hellemmes; Stanley Roderick; Jack Bentley; Tommy Benford; and Kees Kranenburg.
Bonnie King, vocals
nee: Julia Berndt
Best recalled for her work with Bob Crosby Orch.

Ted Koehler, lyricist/composer
b. Washingnton, D.C.,USA.
d. Jan. 17, 1973, Santa Monica, CA
Koehler started out as a photo-engraver but was attracted to the music business, where he started out as a theater pianist for silent films. He moved on to write for vaudeville shows and Broadway, and he also produced nightclub shows. His most famous collaboration was with the composer Harold Arlen, with whom he wrote many famous songs from the 1920s through the 1940s. The two wrote for Broadway, for productions at the Cotton Club, and for Hollywood films. Koehler also worked with other composers, including Rube Bloom and Sammy FainKoehler died in Santa Monica, California.
Billy Kyle, Piano
b. Philadelphia, PA, USA d. 1966.
Biography ~by Scott Yanow
A fluent pianist with a light touch, Billy Kyle never achieved much fame, but he always worked steadily. A professional from the time he was 18, Kyle played in the big bands of Tiny Bradshaw and Lucky Millinder and then became an important part of the John Kirby Sextet (1938-1942), a perfect vehicle for his style. He was forced to leave the band when he was drafted and, after three years in the military (1942-1945), Kyle freelanced, working fairly often with Sy Oliver. He joined Louis Armstrong's All-Stars in 1953 and was there for nearly 13 years until his death. His playing with Armstrong, although appealing, tended to be very predictable. Billy Kyle had very few opportunities to record as a leader and none during his Armstrong years; just some octet and septet sides in 1937, two songs with a quartet in 1939, and outings in 1946 with a trio and an octet, 17 songs in all.
"Rubberlegs" Williams, Vocal/Dancer
b. Atlanta, GA d. 1962.
A jazz/blues singer and dancer who enjoyed middling success in the '30s, Williams biggest claim to posterity had mostly to do with being in the right place at the right time: Miles Davis made his initial recordings on a Williams-led session. Davis's contribution was minimal--saxophonist Herbie Fields was the featured instrumentalist and bandleader--but the April 24, 1945 sessions for Savoy are the first known recorded examples of his playing, and important for that reason (if for no other). As for Williams, his career straddled jazz and vaudeville. He worked the TOBA circuit in his teens, and played in minstrel and vaudeville shows during the '20s and '30s. His nickname comes from his "legomania" style of dancing, which combined high leg kicks and various gyrations; the 1933 film Smash Your Baggage featured an example of his hyper-kinetic moves. As a singer his best known song was Bring it On Home. Williams also performed with several big-name jazz band leaders, including Fletcher Henderson and Chick Webb. He also recorded in 1945 with pianist Clyde Hart in a band that also included some of the first recordings of bebop pioneers Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. These and the Davis sessions were among his last; his performing career virtually ended soon after making those sides. 
~ Chris Kelsey, Rovi

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly recorded
the song "Brazil" with the Jimmy Dorsey band.
It was their last duet together.

Spencer Williams, piano/composer
died in New York (Flushing), NY, USA.
Age: 66
by ~Jason Ankeny
Jazz pianist and composer Spencer Williams was born in New Orleans on October 14, 1889, studying at the local St. Charles University before relocating to Chicago in 1907. A decade later he was in New York City, teaming with Fats Waller to pen a handful of songs including 1918's "Squeeze Me"; the roll call of Williams' subsequent hits is most impressive, and includes jazz standards like "Basin Street Blues," "I Ain't Got Nobody," "Tishomingo Blues," "Everybody Loves My Baby," "Mahogany Hall Stomp," "Royal Garden Blues," "I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll," "Fireworks," and "Shim-Me-Sha-Wobble."
He traveled to Paris in 1925 and wrote for Josephine Baker and La Revue Negre; returning to the U.S. three years later, Williams later sang and played on sessions with Lonnie Johnson and Teddy Bunn. In 1936, he settled in England, collaborating with Benny Carteron "When Lights Are Low"; after spending the better part of the 1950s in Sweden, Williams returned stateside in 1957, dying in New York on July 14, 1965.

Fats Waller, Jr.
died in New York (Jamaica), NY, USA.
Age: 61
né: Maurice Waller Jr.

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Husk O'Hare's Super Orchestra of Chicago

Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds

Club Royal Orchestra


Benson Orchestra of Chicago

Georgia Melodians


Original Indiana Five

The Little Ramblers - Deep Elm

The Little Ramblers - Melancholy Lou


New Orleans Bootblacks - Flat Foot
Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders
  • I'll Never Miss You Again
  • New Moon


Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Orchestra - All By My Ownsome
  • The Tap-Tap

The Virginians - Nothing Could Be Sweeter


Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers - Blue Blood Blues

Ben Selvin and his Orchestra - My Sweet Tooth Says "I Wanna" (But My Wisdom Tooth Says No)

Ben Selvin and his Orchestra Nobody Loves My Baby Like My Baby Loves Me


Tommy Dorsey

Jimmy Dorsey accompanied by
the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra - Beebe
Stormy Weather
~Music: Harold Arlen
~Lyrics: Ted Koehler

Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
Keeps raining all the time, the time
Life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather, just can't get my poor self together
It's raining all the time, the time
When you went, you went away, the blues walked in and met me
If he stays away, ol' rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray, the Lord above will let me walk in the sun once more
Can't go on, everything I had is gone
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
It's raining all the time
I walk around, heavy-hearted and sad
Night comes around and I'm still feeling bad
Rain's pouring down, blinding every hope I had
This pitterin pattering, beating and spattering drives Me Mad
Love, Love, Love, this misery's just too much for me
Can't go on, everything I have is gone
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
It's raining all the time, keeps raining all the time

(Roger Graham / Dave Peyton / Spencer Williams)

There's been a sayin' goin' round
And I begin to think it's true
It's awful hard to love someone
When they don't care about you
Once I had a lovin' gal
The sweetest little thing in town
But now she's gone and left me
She done turn me down
Now I ain't got nobody, and nobody cares for me!
That's why I'm sad and lonely,
Won't somebody come and take a chance with me?
I'll sing you love songs, honey, all the time,
If you'll only say you'll be sweet gal of mine,
Oh, I ain't got nobody, nobody cares for me!
(Instrumental Break)
I'll sing you love songs, honey, all the time,
If you'll only say you'll be sweet gal of mine,
Oh, I ain't got nobody, nobody cares for me!

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