Wilton Crawley, Clarinet
b. Smithfield, VA, USA.
d. ca. 1948.
~by Eugene Chadbourne
Here is an early jazz artist who has largely been forgotten, yet if listeners had his clarinet blasting in their ears for a few days, that would hardly be the case. Perhaps not the most versatile musician on earth, Wilton Crawley still worked up a clarinet sound and style that utilized weird speech-like sound effects and extended use of slap tonguing, sometimes filling out whole lines of a solo with obnoxious little pops. The fact that one of his sidemen, pianist Jelly Roll Morton, went on to become an everlasting legend of early jazz has meant that many of the recordings originally done under Crowley's name have all been reissued in various Morton retrospectives.
Crawley formed his first band with fellow reed-playing brother Jimmy Crawley after his family moved from Virginia to Philadelphia. During the '20s and '30s, the clarinetist began to have success with a variety act featuring his singing and playing. In the late part of the '20s, he made many of the aforementioned recordings, most of which include Morton. Some earlier sides from 1927 and 1928 also combine Crawley with fine early jazz guitarist Eddie Lang. Much of this music reveals Crawley attempting to recreate jazz sounds from other instruments, particularly typical muted trumpet effects that might have been done by an artist such as Bubber Miley. Other influences may be more easily traceable back to Virginia and its many farms and barnyards: Crawley cackles and clucks like a chicken, oinks like a pig, and neighs like a goat.
While some of this sound effect activity may predict the later work of artists such as Anthony Braxton, Crawley actually seems to have more in common with the clarinetists who worked with Spike Jones or even later rock showmen such as Arthur Brown. Apparently, the finale of Crawley's vaudeville act consisted of him propelling himself across a stage with a lighted kerosene lamp on his head. He was also known as "the human worm," although what this has to do with a clarinet is best left to the imagination. Although some of the membership in ensembles such as Wilton Crawley & His Orchestra or the Washboard Rhythm Kings also remains unknown, the clarinetist did have many fine sidemen in his employ besides those already mentioned. Trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen, banjoist Johnny St. Cyr, and fine blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson all show up in his bands. Some critics see Crawley's clarinet style as part of the klezmer influence on jazz, although he was hardly brought up on matzoh balls. The most complete collection of his material is available on the Jazz Oracle collection entitled Showman, Composer and Clarinetist. In the early '30s, he toured the United Kingdom.
Joe Comfort, Bass
b. Alcorn, MS, USA.
d. 1988.
Worked with both Nat "King" Cole and Lionel Hampton, among others. 
~by Eugene Chadbourne
The name Joe Comfort represents an important example of a musician's surname summarizing what is expected of them as an instrumentalist. It would be grand to say this man's name is thus synonymous with great jazz bass players, but unfortunately this artist has much less name recognition with jazz fans than some of the players that inspired him, a list that starts with Jimmy Blanton of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and continues with reliable mainstream jazz veterans such as Paul Chambers and Ray Brown. Comfort's discography rivals any of these players in size, nonetheless, the most extensively heard sides most likely being recordings with stars such as Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. Comfort's Los Angeles family were entirely musically talented, although the general alignment was the classics rather than swinging. The soon-to-be bassist's father taught him trombone initially; Comfort never lost his ease with brass, keeping up chops on an arsenal of at least four such instruments throughout his career. Comfort taught himself bass and by his late '20s was gigging with enthusiastic bandleader Lionel Hampton. Cole called a couple of years later and their relationship continued into the early '50s, including an extensive European tour. Comfort also worked independently with Oscar Moore, a guitarist whose style was considered an important element of Cole's original trio groove. In the second half of the '50s the bassist began picking up a larger proportion of studio credits, soundtrack music for bosses such as Nelson Riddle as well as pop and vocal music. The aforementioned blue-eyed wonder was comfortable enough with Comfort to include him on anABC television series in 1957. A crime series entitled M Squad was even more of a jazz highlight for the boob tube set around the same time, featuring the bassist in the context of a studio band helmed by the brilliant Benny Carter. This amount of popular exposure and the bassist's rafter of commercial recording sessions apparently backfired in terms of maintaining interest amongst the jazz snobbery, however.

Bob Helm, clarinet/soprano sax
b. Fairmead, CA, USA.
~by Scott Yanow
Bob Helm is chiefly famous for being a member of the highly influential Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band in the 1940's. Throughout the years he has primarily been a sideman and, although far from a virtuoso (and quite erratic tonewise in later years), he has made his presence felt. Helm studied trumpet, guitar and saxophones before settling on clarinet. He originally met Lu Watters and Turk Murphy shortly after moving to San Francisco in 1935.
After some freelancing, he spent most of the last half of the 1940's with Watters' band, helping to bring about the revival of New Orleans jazz and the rise of Watters' brand of freewheeling San Francisco jazz. After leaving Watters, Helm mostly played on and off with Turk Murphy's bands, particularly in the 1950's and 60's. In more recent times, Helm has occasionally appeared with Pat Yankee and been utilized as a sideman by a variety of San Francisco-style bands. As a leader, Helm recorded one album for Riverside in 1954. He also participated in Watters' famous recording sessions of 1946-49, was heard with Murphy's bands on records on an semi-regular basis during the 1947-78 period and appeared on quite a few Stomp Off albums in the 1980's and 90's.
Very Best of Ozzie Nelson 21909
Harriet Hilliard
d. Oct. 2, 1994.
née: Peggy Lou Snyder.
As vocalist with Ozzie Nelson's band, she used the name Harriet Hilliard. Later, she became Mrs. Ozzie Nelson. Later, they had their own TV Show 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" 1952 -1966.


She was born Peggy Lou Snyder in Des Moines, Iowa, to Roy Hilliard Snyder and Hazel Dell McNutt. By 1932, she was performing in vaudeville when she met the saxophone-playing bandleader Ozzie Nelson.
Nelson hired her to sing with the band, under the name Harriet Hilliard. They married three years later.
Hilliard had a respectable film career as a solo performer, apart from the band. RKO Radio Pictures signed her to a one-year contract in 1936, and she appeared in three feature films, the most famous being the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical Follow the Fleet. She was very much in demand during the World War II years for leading roles in escapist musicals, comedies, and mysteries.
In Ozzie Nelson's book, he wrote that Harriet was quite popular during the short time at RKO and they wanted her to continue her solo film career, but decided that it was more important for her to continue with the band and subsequent radio show.
Although the couple occasionally appeared together in movies, either as a duo (in Honeymoon Lodge) or as separate characters (in Hi, Good Lookin'), they are best known for their broadcasting efforts. In 1944, the Nelsons began a domestic-comedy series for radio, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. It was highly popular and made a successful transition to television. It was one of the stalwarts of the ABC-TV schedule through 1966. The Nelsons' two sons, Ricky Nelson and David Nelson, were featured continuously on the show.
In 1973, Ozzie and Harriet also
appeared in the syndicated sitcom,
Ozzie's Girls.
Later years
In the 1980s Harriet Nelson lived in Laguna Beach, California. She died of congestive heart failure on October 2, 1994.
She is interred with her husband and younger son Ricky (who died in a plane crash) in the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
For her contribution to the television industry, Harriet Nelson has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.

Charlie LaVere
b. Salina, KS, USA.
d. April 28, 1983, Ramona, CA, USA.
né: Charles LaVere Johnson.
Now little recalled, LaVere was one of the early Jazzmen. He is also credited with composing a number of tunes. Today, he is basically recalled for a set of recordings made with his 'Chicago Loopers', a studio group featuring Jack Teagarden, Billy May, Matty Matlock, George Van Eps, Floyd O'Brien and little-known cornetist Rico Vallese. Charlie first played trumpet, but eventually settled on the piano as his main instrument. His earliest work was with his cousin Stan Weis where they appeared as "Dan and Stan". He next played Alto Sax with Herb Cook's Oklahoma Joy Boys. Following this, he was part of the Frank Williams' Oklahomans (when that band was stranded in New York city). He continued to 'knock about' accompanying Bert Forman, then with Etzi Covato in Pittsburgh, with the Sam Robbins' Orchestra (in Bermuda) and gigging with Marshall Van Pool, Tracy Brown, Boyd Schreffler and (playing trombone) with Johnny Dorchester.
In 1933 LaVere recorded with Jack Teagarden and gigged with Wingy Manone. In 1935, led a record date that included Jabbo Smith, (he had previously toured with the Eddie Neibauer and Dell Coon bands). In 1937, he played in the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, and was also heard on radio playing with Rico Marcelli's band. In the same year he played (trumpet) with Joe Sanders, and also played with Henry Busse's Orchestra. During 1939-47 he was mostly active as Bing Crosby's accompanist. After leaving Crosby, he teamed with Gordon Jenkins and they had a Million Seller record with LaVere singing "Maybe You'll Be There." In 1944, 1945 and 1950, he recorded some "all-star" dates for the Jump label (as leader) which at times included Jack Teagarden, George Van Eps, Joe Venuti, Matty Matlock and Joe Rushton. He led his own Dixieland group called "The Sextet from Hunger" which played at the Dixieland Jubilee, and was also active in the recording studios.
In 1950, he recorded with Billie Holiday, and, in 1951 with Louis Armstrong. During 1955-59, he worked at Disneyland, and was comedian George Burns' accompanist. During 1961-62, he played with Bob Crosby's band. In 1963, after working with Wingy Manone, he led his his own small combos in Los Angeles area clubs. Charles was a true journeyman player with a likable style, who appeared in many jazz settings over his career. In later years he found work as a piano tuner and repairman. Note: This information on Charlie LaVere has been condensed and edited from his bio in famed author John Chilton's Who's Who of Jazz.
Charles La Vere

Ivor Mairants
b. Rypin, Poland: Feb. 20, 1998
Age 89
Worked with: Roy Fox; Geraldo; Ambrose; George Melachrino; Sid Phillips.
Ivor Mairants was born in Rypin, Poland. He came with his family to the United Kingdom in 1913. He took up the banjo at the age of 15 and became a professional musician at the age of 20.
From the 1930s he was a featured banjoist and then guitarist of many of Britain's leading dance bands including those of Bert Firman, Ambrose, Roy Fox, Lew Stone, Geraldo and Ted Heath. In the 1960s and 1970s his outstanding guitar playing was often heard on television, radio, film soundtracks, and many recordings with the popular Mantovani orchestra, and with Manuel and his Music of the Mountains. His recording of the 'Adagio' from Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with Manuel sold over one million copies. His guitar quintet broadcast regularly in the late 1950s on the BBC's 'Guitar Club' series.
Of particular importance to guitarists is the fact that Ivor Mairants devoted so much of his time to writing music and instructional methods for the guitar. His flamenco guitar method has for many years has been a bestseller all over the world. His many other solo and technique books for all styles of guitar playing, from publishers both in the UK and USA, have enjoyed great success.
Mairants worked with American guitarist Josh White to create The Josh White Guitar Method (Boosey & Hawkes) in 1956. It was an extremely influential book for the fledgling UK blues/folk scene and was the first blues guitar instruction book ever published. UK guitarist John Renbourn and American guitarist Stefan Grossman (who was living in the UK at the time) have cited it as a critical influence on their playing. The success of the book prompted Mairants to commission a Zenith “Josh White” signature guitar based on White's Martin 0021 from German guitar maker Oscar Teller. Scottish guitarist Bert Jansch owned one of these models in his early playing years. The Guild Guitar Company in the US was rumored to be working with Josh on a signature model in the early 1960s.
In the 1950s Ivor Mairants established his Central School of Dance Music in London. All instruments were taught at this innovative establishment, but special emphasis was given to the guitar. Several of his ex-pupils are today Britain's top guitarists. In 1958, together with his wife Lily, he opened The Ivor Mairants Musicentre. This was Britain's first specialist guitar store situated in the heart of London's West End. For many years some of the world's best guitars and guitar accessories were introduced into Britain by Ivor Mairants at his store.
The Ivor Mairants Musicentre became a Mecca for professional guitarists, and for amateur guitarists at all levels of ability. Although the store was sold in recent times to one of the UK's major instrument distributors, it still bears his name and continues to stock one of Britain's finest ranges of guitars. Because of his unique knowledge and music skills, Ivor Mairants was over the years often employed as a specialist consultant for leading instrument makers and importers.
From the 1930s Ivor Mairants was a prolific columnist in several leading music journals including Melody Maker, BMG and Classical Guitar. In 1980 his highly acclaimed biography 'My Fifty Fretting Years' was published by Ashley Mark Publishing in the UK, and in 1995 his marvelous opus, 'The Great Jazz Guitarists', probably the most complete collection of note-for-note transcriptions of historic jazz guitar solo's was published by Music Maker Publications in Cambridge, UK.
Ivor Mairants made a unique and outstanding contribution to the world of guitar in Britain. Over the past 50 years, there can be few British guitarists who have not benefited from this contribution. he was a member of the worshipful Society of Musicians, a prestigious and ancient British guild, and a Freeman of the City of London.
In 1997 the Worshipful Society of Musicians inaugurated a new annual competition; the Ivor Mairants Guitar Award, which will remain an important part of the enormous legacy this irreplaceable figure has left for future generations of guitarists.
Lupe Velez, actress
d. Dec 13/14, 1944 (Age: 36).
née: Maria Guadeloupe Velez de Villalobos.
María Guadalupe Villalobos Vélez (July 18, 1908 in San Luis Potosí, Mexico – December 13, 1944 in Glendale, California), known professionally as Lupe Vélez, was a Mexican film actress. Vélez began her career in Mexico as a dancer in vaudeville, before moving to the U.S. Vélez soon entered films, making her first appearance in 1927 in the film The Gaucho. By the end of the decade she had progressed to leading roles. She worked with film directors like D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, Victor Fleming and William Wyler among others. 

With the arrival of talkies, Vélez's career took a turn towards comedy. Her characterization of the temperamental, explosive, rebellious and irreverent Latina woman gave her enormous popularity. She enjoyed immense popularity among Hispanic audiences and also made some films in Mexico. Some of her most memorable films are Lady of the Pavements (1928), The Wolf Song (1929), Palooka (1933), Laughing Boy (1934), Hollywood Party (1934) and the series of films created especially for her: Mexican Spitfire, in the early 1940s.

Vélez's personal life was often difficult; a five-year marriage to Johnny Weissmuller and a series of romances with figures like Gary Cooper, were highly publicized. Her premature death from suicide, and the mysterious circumstances in which this occurred, made her an urban legend of the Hollywood industry.

She is often associated with the nicknames "The Mexican Spitfire" and "The Hot Pepper".

Vélez was one of the first Mexican actresses to succeed in Hollywood. The others are Dolores del Río, Katy Jurado and in more recent years, Salma Hayek.

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Will Marion Cook
died in (Harlem), NY, USA.
Alan Lomax, producer
died in Florida.
Age: 87

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Marion Harris
  • When I Hear That Jazz Band Play


Paul Biese Trio
Ted Lewis and his Band
  • My Little Dreamboat


The Virginians - Blue


New Orleans Rhythm Kings
Jelly Roll Morton - Grandpa's Spells


The California Ramblers - Charley, My Boy


Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five


State Street Ramblers - Endurance Stomp
  • Brown Skin Mama
  • Do Right Blues
  • Road House Blues
  • St. Louis Man
  • St. Louis Nightmare
  • Tuxedo Stomp
  • Yearning And Blue


Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra
  • Ain't Misbehavin'
  • Off Time
  • S'posin'
  • That Rhythm Man
  • True Blue Lou

Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra
Alberta Hunter - Gimmie All The Love You Got

Alberta Hunter My Particular Man


Lucille Bogan


~Lyrics by Gus Kahn and Ted Fiorito

Charley, my boy, oh Charley, my boy
You thrill me, you chill me, with shivers of joy
You've got that kinda sorta bit of a way
That makes me, takes me, tell me what shall I say
And when we dance I read in your glance
Whole pages and ages of love and romance
They tell me Romeo was some lover, too
But boy, he should have taken lessons from you
You seem to start where others get through
Oh, Charley, my boy.
Charley, my boy, oh Charley, my boy
You thrill me, you chill me, with shivers of joy
You've got that kinda sorta bit of a way
That makes me, takes me, tell me what shall I say
And when we dance I read in your glance
Sweet notions and oceans of love and romance
My mother told me that I shouldn't be kissed
But then your coaxing ways are hard to resist
My lips refuse, but your eyes insist
Oh, Charley, my boy.

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