Saturday

JULY 16TH


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BLOSSOM SEELEY!


BIRTHDAYS


1891
Blossom Seeley, vocals.
One of the great vaudevillians.

Vaudeville Times
Blossom Seeley was one of the greatest vaudeville singers, an equal in talent and billing to Nora Bayes and Sophie Tucker. Blossom began as a child performer and worked San Francisco's Barbary Coast as a ragtime singer.









Her strutting and finger-snapping, syncopated rhythms gave distinction to her act and she was enticed eastward to New York, the center of big-time vaudeville and musical revues. She worked solo in vaudeville and with her husbands. Joe Kane was one and Rube Marquard, the top flight pitcher for the New York Giants was another.
Benny Fields came next and he was to be Blossom’s
lasting partner on stage and off.



Blossom Seeley & Benny Fields




Seeley made a couple of films, appeared on radio and seemed to be content to fade away in tune and time with vaudeville. After Benny Field’s early death in 1959, Blossom tried a comeback, appearing on the Ed Sullivan TV show.

Although she could still sing well in her seventies and eighties, and was still a captivating performer, her era and her audience were gone.

1909
"Teddy" Buckner, Trumpet
b. Sherman, TX, USA.
d. Sept 22, 1994.
nÈ: John Edward Buckner.
Biography ~by arwulf arwulf
Trumpeter Teddy Buckner was a Louis Armstrong devotee whose passion for New Orleans styled jazz and swing took him around the world during a career that spanned more than six decades. He was distantly related to the St. Louis based Buckner family that produced pianist/organist Milt, trumpeter George, as well as saxophonist and Motown session man Ted Buckner. John Edward "Teddy" Buckner was born in Sherman, TX, north of Dallas, on July 16, 1909. Buckner spent five years as a child in Silver City, NM. An uncle taught him to handle drumsticks and play the ukulele; he also studied the trumpet with Harold Scott, a member of the brass section in the Louis Armstrong Orchestra. When he was 15 years old Buckner worked with bandleaders Buddy Garcia and "Big Six" Reeves, then headed for Los Angeles where his trumpet was heard in ensembles led by Sonny Clay, Curtis Mosby, Sylvester Scott, Speed Webb, and Edith Turnham.
When in 1934 trumpeter Buck Clayton assumed leadership of an orchestra formerly led by Earl Dancer, pianist Teddy Weatherford arranged for the 14-piece ensemble (which included Buckner) to sail for Shanghai, China for a lengthy residency at the Canidrome Ballroom. Within a year Buckner had returned to California and was working with Irwin C. Miller's Brownskin Models Revue (an organization fated to play a role in the career of R&B vocalist Larry Darnell) and pianist Lorenzo Flennoy. Buckner was hired by Lionel Hampton in 1936, gigged with Hamp's orchestra at the Paradise Club in Los Angeles and assumed leadership of the band while the vibraphonist devoted more of his time to working with Benny Goodman.
Teddy Buckner appeared in a number of motion pictures during the 1930s and '40s. Most famously he stood in for Louis Armstrong in Pennies from Heaven and appeared with Fats Waller in King of Burlesque (both films date from 1936). Before, during and after the Second World War he was a member of the Benny Carter Orchestra, sat in with Johnny Otis, fortified a band led by singing drummer Cee Pee Johnson, and gigged with the Solid Blenders Sextet. Buckner's intensive years with trombonist Kid Ory (1949-1954) initiated a return to old-fashioned jazz that would characterize the rest of his career. In 1954 he formed his own small Dixieland band, deliberately hiring some of the best traditional jazz and swing players in the world, including clarinetist Edmond Hall, drummer J.C. Heard, clarinetist Albert Nicholas, pianist Sammy Price, and trombonist Trummy Young. He also recorded with trombonist George Brunis in 1954 and was visible and audible during Jack Webb's film Pete Kelly's Blues the following year.
During one week in July 1958 Buckner performed with soprano saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet at the Salle Wagram in Paris, at the Festival de Jazz 1958 in Knokke-le-Zout, Belgium and at the Cannes Jazz Festival. For more than 25 years, Teddy Buckner's jazz band played to enthusiastic crowds at nightclubs including the 400 Club and the Beverly Caverns in Los Angeles and The Huddle in West Covina. He enjoyed a lengthy run of employment as leader of a Dixieland band at Disneyland from 1965-1981 and passed way in Los Angeles on September 22, 1994.


Fletcher Henderson (center) and His Orchestra, late 1924.
Left to right...Howard Scott, trumpet; Coleman Hawkins, reeds; Louis Armstrong, trumpet; Charlie Dixon, banjo; Henderson, piano; Kaiser Marshall, drums; Buster Bailey, reeds; Elmer Chambers, trumpet; Charlie Green, trombone; Ralph Escudero, tuba; Don Redman, reeds.
1898
Ralph Escudero, Bass
b. Manati, Puerto Rico
d. 1970.
Biography
~by Eugene Chadbourne
Sometimes credited as Ralph Escudero, this Puerto Rican musician was a valuable rhythm section member in some of the most prominent of the larger classic jazz ensembles, such as the bands of Fletcher Henderson and the popular McKinney's Cotton Pickers. These bands featured challenging arrangements and the leaders depended on players who could swing with an accurate sense of time, such as Escudero, to keep things from falling apart in all possible confusion between sections. When the audience for this genre began to dry up, he opted to return to Puerto Rico rather than remain on the American jazz scene and finished out his career as a musician in his homeland.
Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra
(Ralph Escudero upper right corner holding the tuba).
He originally started music as a bassist at the age of 12 and came to New York to play professionally under the auspices of the New Amsterdam Musical Association. His first recordings were classic blues or jazz numbers featuring vocalists Ethel Waters and Lucille Hegamin, recorded in 1920-1921. He was working a gig with the hard-working Wilbur Sweatman at the Howard Theatre in Washington when bandleader Fletcher Henderson, always with an ear out for new talent, heard him and recruited him on the spot. He became one of the hearty rhythm section men who were able to handle this particular boss's adventurous musical undertakings up through 1926. "The Stampede" from 1926 is a good example of the Henderson rhythm sound when the composer was attempting to create the effect of all hell breaking loose.
He appeared with McKinney's Cotton Pickers under the musical leadership of reed artist Don Redman in 1926 as well and stayed with this band for five years, appearing on many of their recordings. The historic jazz drummer Kaiser Marshall used Escudero on tuba in his band the Bostonians, and he also toured with W.C. Handy as part of a traditional-sounding classic blues combo. Into the late '30s, he was based out of both New York and Los Angeles but returned to Puerto Rico where he worked as a jazzman through the '60s.
Lucille Hegamin and her Blue Flame Syncopaters - 1921 
with Ralph Escudero, playing tuba
Ralph Escudero - Wikipedia


Ralph Escudero at All About Jazz




1904
Eddie Farley, Trumpet/Vocal
b. Newark, NJ. USA
Biography
~by Eugene Chadbourne
Trumpeter and singer Eddie Farley is best known for the mid '30s hit "The Music Goes 'Round and Around", the high point in the songwriting and bandleading partnership of Farley and Mike Riley. The two got together in the early '30s, not long after Farley's professional career began. As a trumpeter his earliest credits appear to be with Bert Lown and his Hotel Biltmore Orchestra, an outfit he began playing with in the late '20s for several years. Farley seemed to never lose his desire to produce the sort of comfortable, easy-going music expected from a hotel band, and would still be playing in hotels when his career checked out. When that is seems to be something of a mystery, as does the year of the man's birth, listed as both 1904 and 1905. Jazz calenders printed in the year 2003 still listedFarley as being alive--at close to 100 years old, that might just mean the jazz scene has lost track of him. Drummer Will Osborne was Farley's boss in the early '30s prior to launching the group with Riley. By 1935 the Farley and Riley project was going quite well in the New York City area thanks to the previously mentioned record, but the thrill of working together only lasted until 1936. At that time both men decided to fire off their own respective combo cannonballs. Farley had success with it, adding his own pleasant vocals to the mix and holding down stints at ritzy venues such as the Midnight Club and Meadowbrooks. In the '50s his group was featured at the Ivanhoe Club in Irvington, New Jersey, Farley making his home within a short drive from the gig.


1903
Carmen Lombardo
~From Wikipedia
Carmen Lombardo (July 16, 1903 - April 17, 1971) was the younger brother of bandleader Guy Lombardo. He was a vocalist and composer whose compositions included the 1928 classic "Sweethearts on Parade", which was number one for three weeks in 1929 on the U.S. pop charts, "Ridin' Around in the Rain", written with Gene Austin in 1934, the jazz and pop standards "Coquette", "Boo Hoo", and "Some Rainy Day", and "Powder Your Face With Sunshine (Smile, Smile, Smile)", written with Stanley Rochinski in 1948-49.
Born in London, Ontario, Canada, as a child he took flute lessons, and later learned to play saxophone, forming a band with his brother Guy as conductor. The band developed into The Royal Canadians in 1923, in which Carmen both sang and wrote music. He frequently collaborated with American composers and his music was recorded by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, and others. Many of his compositions have also been used in Woody Allen films. When singing songs like "Alone at a Table for Two" he would allow his voice to tremble, and seem nearly to break into tears- he was caricatured in Warner Brothers cartoons as "Cryman" Lombardo.
Lombardo wrote the words and music with John Jacob Loeb for Guy Lombardo's stage productions of Arabian Nights (1954, 1955), Paradise Island (1961, 1962), and Mardi Gras (1965, 1966) at Jones Beach, New York.
In the late 1960s, actor-raconteur Tony Randall made several TV appearances on the "Tonight Show" in which he sang songs written by Carmen Lombardo in a voice imitating (and somewhat exaggerating) Lombardo's style. On one appearance, Lombardo and Randall performed a duet of Lombardo's "Boo Hoo (You've Got Me Crying for You)", which was one of the songs that Randall typically included in his Lombardo routine.
~Death
Lombardo died of cancer in Miami in 1971, aged 67.
~Compositions by Carmen Lombardo
Lombardo's compositions included the number one jazz and pop standard "Sweethearts on Parade", "Powder Your Face with Sunshine (Smile! Smile! Smile!)", "A Lane in Spain", "Some Rainy Day", "Boo Hoo (You've Got Me Crying For You)", "A Sailboat in the Moonlight" (1937) with John Jacob Loeb, "Coquette", written with Johnny Green and Gus Kahn, recorded by Paul Whiteman, Louis Armstrong, Jimmie Lunceford, Bud Freeman, Bob Crosby, and The Ink Spots, "Seems Like Old Times", "Oahu (My Lovely Island Home)", "Get Out Those Old Records", "Ridin' Around in the Rain" with Gene Austin, "Return to Me" (1957) with Danny Di Minno, and "You're Beautiful To-Night, My Dear".

"Carmen Lombardo Biography"
"Carmen Lombardo biography"



1896
Evelyn Preer
~From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born: Evelyn Jarvis 
July 16, 1896
Vicksburg, Mississippi, United States
Died: November 27, 1932 (aged 36)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1919–1932
Spouse(s) Edward Thompson
(1924–1932) (her death)
Evelyn Preer, born Evelyn Jarvis (July 16, 1896 – November 27, 1932), was a pioneering African-American stage and screen actress and blues singer of the 1910s through the early 1930s. Evelyn was known within the black community as "The First Lady of the Screen."
She was the first black actress to earn celebrity and popularity. She appeared in ground-breaking films and stage productions, such as the first play by a black playwright to be produced on Broadway, and the first New York-style production with a black cast in California in 1928, in a revival of a play adapted from Somerset Maugham's short story, Rain.
Early life and education
Born Evelyn Jarvis in Vicksburg, Mississippi, she migrated with her mother to Chicago after her father died prematurely. She completed grammar and high school in the city.

Career

Jarvis began her performance career in early vaudeville and minstrel shows. She changed her surname to Preer.

Her first film role was in Oscar Micheaux's 1919 debut film The Homesteader, when she was 23. Micheaux promoted Preer as his leading actress with a steady tour of personal appearances and a publicity campaign. Her most well-known film role is in his Within Our Gates, (1920). It is the only known surviving Micheaux film to feature her, although she appeared in more of his works.


Micheaux was such an influential film director that he has been dubbed the "Father of Afro-American Cinema". Micheaux developed many of his subsequent films to showcase Preer's extraordinary versatility. These included The Brute (1920), The Gunsaulus Mystery (1921), Deceit (1923), Birthright (1924), The Devil’s Disciple (1925), The Conjure Woman (1926) and The Spider’s Web (1926). These Micheaux titles are presumed lost. Preer was lauded by both the black and white press for her ability to continually succeed in ever more challenging roles. She was known for refusing to play roles that she believed demeaned African Americans.


Stage career

In 1920, Evelyn Preer joined The Lafayette Players in Chicago. The theatrical stock company was founded in 1915 by Anita Bush, a pioneering stage and film actress known as “The Little Mother of Black Drama.” Bush and her acting troupe toured the US to bring legitimate theatre to black audiences, at a time when theatres were racially segregated by law in the South, and often by custom in the North.

By the mid-1920s, Evelyn Preer began garnering much attention from the white press and she began to appear in "crossover" films and stage parts. In 1923, she acted in the Ethiopian Art Theatre's production of The Chip Woman's Fortune by Willis Richardson. This was the first dramatic play by an African-American playwright to be produced on Broadway in New York City.


In 1926, Preer had a successful stint on Broadway in David Belasco’s production of Lulu Belle. Preer supported and understudied the actress Lenore Ulric in the leading role of Edward Sheldon’s steamy drama of a Harlem prostitute.


She won acclaim in Sadie Thompson, in a West Coast revival of Somerset Maugham’s play about a fallen woman. Preer rejoined the Lafayette Players for that production in their first show in Los Angeles at the Lincoln Center. Under the leadership of Robert Levy, Preer and her colleagues performed in the first New York-style play featuring black players to be produced in California. That year she also appeared in Rain, a play adapted from Maugham's short story by the same name.


Preer had her talkie debut in the 1930 race musical, Georgia Rose. In 1931 she performed onscreen opposite the actress Sylvia Sidney in the film Ladies of the Big House. Her final film performance was the minor role of a prostitute named Lola in Josef von Sternberg's 1932 film Blonde Venus, playing opposite Cary Grant and Marlene Dietrich.

Preer was also an accomplished vocalist. She performed in cabaret and musical theater, where she was occasionally backed by such diverse musicians as Duke Ellington and Red Nichols early in their careers.


Evelyn Preer was regarded by many as the greatest actress of her time. Only her film by Micheaux and three shorts survive. She became successful within the constraints for minority actors of the time. Very fair, she was of mixed-race African and European ancestry and deemed "too light or too white looking" for Broadway and Hollywood roles as a black woman, for which directors tended to select darker-skinned actresses. She did not receive roles similar to those gained by contemporaries such as Ethel Waters, because of her fair skin, although she had similar versatile talents. Some colleagues advised her to pass for white for more opportunities, but she refused to do so. Preer often did vocal work and dubbing in Hollywood, but her best work was done in the race films of the time.


Marriage and family

Preer met her husband Edward Thompson when they were both acting with the Lafayette Players in Chicago. They married in 1924 while in Nashville, Tennessee.

In April 1932, Preer gave birth to her only child, daughter Edeve Thompson. Developing post-childbirth complications, Preer died of double pneumonia on November 27, 1932 in Los Angeles, at the age of 36.



Her husband, Edward Cullen, continued as a popular leading man and "heavy" in numerous race films throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He died in 1960. Their daughter entered Catholic holy orders and is known as Sister Francesca Thompson. She is an assistant dean at Fordham University, New York.
Preer, Evelyn (1896-1932)
Evelyn Preer at Find a Grave


1911
Ginger Rogers
Actress/vocals/dancer.
Academy Award Winner.
Biography
~by Jason Ankeny
In step with Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers was one half of the most legendary dancing team in film history; she was also a successful dramatic actress, even winning a Best Actress Oscar. Born Virginia McMath on July 16, 1911 in Independence, Missouri, she relocated to Hollywood while still a toddler with her newly-divorced mother, herself a screenwriter. At the age of six Rogers was offered a movie contract, but her mother turned it down; the family later moved to Fort Worth, where she first began appearing in area plays and musical revues. Upon winning a Charleston contest in 1926, Rogers' mother declared her ready for a professional career, and she began working the vaudeville circuit, fronting an act dubbed "Ginger and the Redheads; " after marrying husband Jack Pepper in 1928, the act became "Ginger and Pepper." She soon travelled to New York as a singer with Paul Ash's Orchestra, and upon filming the Rudy Vallee short Campus Sweethearts won a role in the 1929 Broadway production Top Speed.

On Broadway, Rogers earned strong critical notice as well as the attention of Paramount, who cast her in 1930's Young Man of Manhattan, becoming typecast as a quick-witted flapper; back on Broadway, she and Ethel Merman starred in Girl Crazy. Upon signing a contract with Paramount, she worked at their Astoria studio by day and returned to the stage in the evenings; under these hectic conditions she appeared in a number of films, including The Sap From Syracuse, Queen High, and Honor Among Lovers. Rogers subsequently asked to be freed of her contract, but soon signed with RKO; when her Broadway run ended, she went back to Hollywood, starring in 1931's The Tip-Off and The Suicide Fleet. When 1932's Carnival Boat failed to attract any interest, RKO dropped her and she freelanced around town, co-starring with Joe E. Brown in the comedy The Tenderfoot, followed by a thriller, The Thirteenth Guest, for Monogram. Finally, the classic 1933 musical 42nd Street poised her on the brink of stardom, and she next appeared in Warner Bros.' Gold Diggers of 1933.
Rogers then returned to RKO, where she starred in Professional Sweetheart; the picture performed well enough to land her a long-term contract, and features like A Shriek in the Night and Sitting Pretty followed. RKO then cast her in the musical Flying Down to Rio, starring Delores Del Rio; however, the film was stolen by movie newcomer Astaire, fresh from Broadway.
He and Rogers did not reunite until 1934's The Gay Divorcee, a major hit; however, she resisted typecasting as strictly a musical star, and followed with the drama Romance in Manhattan. Still, the returns from 1935's Roberta, another musical venture with Astaire, made it perfectly clear what kinds of films audiences expected Rogers to make, and although she continued tackling dramatic roles when the opportunity existed, she rose to major stardom alongside Astaire in classics like Top Hat, 1936's Follow the Fleet, Swing Time and Shall We Dance. Even without Astaire, Rogers found success in musical vehicles, and in 1937 she and Katherine Hepburn teamed brilliantly in Swing Time.
After 1938's Carefree, Rogers and Astaire combined for one final film, the following year's The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, before splitting; she still harbored the desire to pursue a dramatic career, but first starred in an excellent comedy, Bachelor Mother. In 1940, Rogers starred as the titular Kitty Foyle, winning an Academy Award for her performance; she next appeared in the 1941 Garson Kanin comedy Tom, Dick and Harry.
After starring opposite Henry Fonda in an episode of Tales of Manhattan, she signed a three-picture deal with Paramount expressly to star in the 1944 musical hit Lady in the Dark; there she also appeared in Billy Wilder's The Major and the Minor and Leo McCarey's Once Upon a Honeymoon. Rogers then made a series of films of little distinction, including 1945's Weekend at the Waldorf (for which she earned close to $300,000, making her one of the highest-paid women in America), the following year's Magnificent Doll, and the 1947 screwball comedy It Had to Be You.
Rogers then signed with the short-lived production company Enterprise, but did not find a project which suited her; instead, for MGM she and Astaire reunited for 1949's The Barkleys of Broadway -- their first color collaboration. The film proved highly successful, and rekindled her sagging career -- she then starred in a pair of Warner Bros. pictures, the 1950 romance Perfect Strangers and the social drama Storm Warning.
After 1951's The Groom Wore Spurs, Rogers starred in a trio of 1952 Fox comedies -- We're Not Married, Monkey Business and Dreamboat -- which effectively halted whatever momentum her reunion with Astaire had generated, a situation remedied by neither the 1953 comedy Forever Female or by the next year's murder mystery Black Widow. In Britain, she filmed Beautiful Stranger, followed by 1955's lively Tight Spot. With 1957's farcical Oh, Men! Oh, Women!, Rogers' Hollywood career was essentially finished, and she subsequently appeared in stock productions of Bell Book and Candle, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Annie Get Your Gun.
In 1959 Rogers travelled to Britain to star in a television musical, Carissima; a few years later, she starred in a triumphant TV special, and also garnered good notices taking over for Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly. She also starred in Mame in London's West End, earning over 250,000 pounds for her work -- the highest sum ever paid a performer by the London theatrical community. In 1965 Rogers entered an agreement with the Jamaican government to produce films in the Caribbean; however, shooting there was a disaster, and the only completed film to emerge from the debacle was released as Quick, Let's Get Married. That same year she also starred as Harlow, her final screen performance. By the 1970s, Rogers was regularly touring with a nightclub act, and in 1980 headlined Radio City Music Hall. A tour of Anything Goes was among her last major performances; in 1991, she published an autobiography, Ginger: My Story. Rogers died April 25, 1995.
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:



1984.

Billy Williams, vocalist on Sid Ceasar's
'Your Show of Shows', died at the age of 73.


1985.
Orchestra leader Wayne King,
"The Waltz King", died at the age of 84

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:



1920



Ray Miller's Black And White Melody Boys
  • Can You Tell?
  • Rose Of Spain

1922



Lucille Hegamin accompanied by
Wooding's Society Entertainers


1923


Dolly Kay

Dolly Kay - My Sweetie Went Away
Original Memphis Five
1924


Harlem Trio
  • The Funny Blues
  • The Poor Man's Blues


1926



The Broadway Bell-Hops - Barcelona


1928



Cow Cow Davenport - Cow Cow Blues

The Dorsey Brothers Concert Orchestra - Was It A Dream? Part 1
  • Was It A Dream? Part 2

1929



Henry Allen and His New York Orchestra - Biff'ly Blues
Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra
1930


The Clicquot Club Eskimos - Little White Lies


1934


Isham Jones and his Orchestra




LYRICS:


Chicago That Toddling Town ~Written by Fred Fisher

Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin' town
Chicago, Chicago, I'll show you around
Bet your bottom dollar you'll lose the blues in Chicago
Chicago, the town that *Mart Faye* could not shut down
On State Street, that great street
I just want to say
They do things that they don't do on Broadway, say
They have the time, the time of their life
I saw a man, he danced with his wife
In Chicago, my home town
They have the time, the time of their life
I saw a man, he danced with his wife
In Chicago
In Chicago
In Chicago


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