Happy Birthday Johnny Hodges!!


Johnny Hodges, Alto Sax
b. Cambridge, MA, USA.
d. May, 11, 1970.
né: Cornelius Hodge.
Member of Duke Ellington's orchestra from 1928 on. Esquire Mag. 1944-45, Gold Award for Alto sax. In 1946 he received the Silver Award. 
~by Scott Yanow Possessor of the most beautiful tone ever heard in jazz, altoist Johnny Hodges formed his style early on and had little reason to change it through the decades. Although he could stomp with the best swing players and was masterful on the blues, Hodges' luscious playing on ballads has never been topped. He played drums and piano early on before switching to soprano sax when he was 14. Hodges was taught and inspired by Sidney Bechet, although he soon used alto as his main ax; he would regretfully drop soprano altogether after 1940.
His early experiences included playing with Lloyd Scott, Chick Webb, Luckey Roberts, and Willie "The Lion" Smith (1924), and he also had the opportunity to work with Bechet. However, Johnny Hodges' real career began in 1928 when he joined Duke Ellington's orchestra. He quickly became one of the most important solo stars in the band and a real pacesetter on alto; Benny Carter was his only close competition in the 1930s. Hodges was featured on a countless number of performances with Ellington and also had many chances to lead recording dates with Ellington's sidemen. Whether it was "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," "Come Sunday," or "Passion Flower," Hodges was an indispensable member of Ellington's orchestra in the 1930s and '40s. It was therefore a shock, in 1951, when he decided to leave Duke Ellington and lead a band of his own.
Hodges had a quick hit in "Castle Rock" (which ironically showcased Al Sears' tenor and had no real contribution by the altoist), but his combo ended up struggling and breaking up in 1955. Hodges' return to Duke Ellington was a joyous occasion and he never really left again. In the 1960s, Hodges teamed up with organist Wild Bill Davis on some sessions, leading to Davis joining Ellington for a time in 1969. Johnny Hodges, whose unchanging style always managed to sound fresh, was still with Duke Ellington when he suddenly died in 1970.
Fletcher Allen, Saxophone
b. La Crosse, WI, USA.
~by Eugene Chadbourne
While Fletcher Allen is a name most known as a health care provider, there is also a jazz saxophonist and arranger with this name who really seemed to get around; his career including lengthy performing stints in India and Egypt as well as the extended European sojourns that are "de rigeur," "naturalisch," or "bellisimo" for the jazzman who inevitably find the American scene to be a bit taxing. Or perhaps "non-taxing" would be a better description, as in very little income to tax. At one point when Allen returned to the United States from his travels and acclaimed performing ventures, he wound up working on the docks in New York City because there were no gigs. 
 He began his career in the mid-'20s as a member of Lloyd Scott's Band in New York City. In 1927, he was off to Europe for the first time in a group under the direction of Leon Abbey, a bandleader whose pioneering efforts with jazz eventually led to a 1936 tour of India which Allen also participated in. In between, he went to Budapest with the Benny Peyton group in 1929 and hung out in Europe the following decade, activity including several fine collaborations with guitarist Django Reinhardt. This virtuoso French player recorded some of Allen's arrangements and compositions, including the intoxicating "Viper's Dream." He also took advantage of the European base to take part in several tours involving top American performers, working with Louis Armstrong in the '30s on an itinerary that included England. He played with Freddy Taylor in Paris in the mid-'30s, was off to the land of curry with Abbey, and began leading his own band. 
 In 1938, he began performing with Benny Carter, something of a doppelgänger in that both men played alto saxophone and clarinet and had excellent reputations as arrangers. He shows up several times in the extensive Carter discography such as on the pompously titled Masterpieces, Vol. 17 on the EPM Musique label. Later that year, Allen journeyed to Egypt as a member of the Harlem Rhythmakers group during an era when American jazz musicians held forth at swank Cairo hotels, a situation that would be quite inconceivable in modern times. He stayed there for two years, but like all of his peers ran for cover when the Second World War began filling a larger spot on the horizon then the pyramids of Giza. Allen at first found little work upon returning home, but eventually left the docks when he found that his new skills on baritone sax meant work filling in the sections of various New York big bands. Allen's last job of any notoriety began in the early 70s with the big band of Fred "Taxi" Mitchell, meaning he was one New Yorker who managed to find a taxi.
Fletcher Allen - Wikipedia

Henry Brown, piano
b. Troy, TN, USA
~by Bruce Eder
Henry Brown left Tennessee for St. Louis, MO, at the age of 12 and took up the piano while still in school. His playing style, an economical form of piano blues, was taught to him by a Deep Morgan Street blues player known to the public only as "Blackmouth." Brown later worked with St. Louis Jimmy Oden and trombonist Ike Rogers; with Rogers and guitarist Lawrence Casey, he formed a trio called the Biddle Street Boys. He recorded sides (often in tandem with Rogers) with Mary Johnson, among others, in between playing in clubs around St. Louis, where he lived most of his life and worked regularly right up through the mid-'70s.

Albert "Happy" Caldwell, Tenor Sax
b. Chicago, IL, USA. d. 1978.
~by Eugene Chadbourne
With his nickname, Happy Caldwell comes across as having a more upbeat attitude than the stereotyped disgruntled jazzman. His long career may have contributed to the smiles, although the nickname dates back to his childhood and the days when he was studying to be a pharmacist. He was 16 when he began playing clarinet, beginning in the Eighth Illinois Regimental Band and continuing in his Army service. Caldwell's cousin, the reknown reedman Buster Bailey, provided some lessons once Uncle Sam let go. In the early '20s Caldwell began playing professionally in Bernie Young's Band.
This leader held forth at a regular Columbia Tavern stint in Chicago and also provided Caldwell with his first recording dates in 1923. Sides such as "Dearborn Street Blues" were the start of a discography that would eventually tower over a small car. Caldwell was motivated to begin doubling on tenor sax during this period. He soon began touring with Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds, sniffing out a new home base in New York City while on the road. In 1924 he joined Bobby Brown's Syncopaters and in the next few years worked with pianist and bandleader Elmer Snowden as well as in groups led by Billy Fowler, Thomas Morris, Willie Gant and Cliff Jackson. Louis Armstrong put Caldwell on a record in 1929, the same year the reedman returned to collaborating with Snowden. From the late '20s through 1933 one of Caldwell's regular stints was in the orchestra of Vernon Andrade, followed by gigs with Tiny Bradshaw and Louis Metcalfe.
By the mid '30s Caldwell was taking a crack leading his own band, the Happy Pals. The group started working at the famous nightclub Minton's, then Caldwell headed a few hours south to Philadelphia where he put band leadership on the backburner, gigging with groups such as Eugene Slappy and His Swingsters and Charlie Gaines. Caldwell went back to New York in the mid '40s and became active with his own group again, a situation that would continue, it goes without saying happily, throughout subsequent decades of residencies at clubs such as Small's and the Rockland Palace. He was also associated with the blues shouter Jimmy Rushing and in the '70s was featured on several international tours. While his real name was Albert Caldwell, he has no connection with saxophonist Al Caldwell of the Don Junker Big Band.

Dorothy Dickson (July 25, 1893 – September 25, 1995) American-born, London-based theater actress and singer.
Dickson is known mostly for her rendition of the Jerome Kern song "Look for the Silver Lining". She was also a member of the Ziegfeld Follies and made many appearances in New York and abroad. In 1922 she starred in The Cabaret Girl. In 1936 she co-starred with Ivor Novello in his Careless Rapture and, in 1937, in his Crest of the Wave.

As for her film career, Dickson starred in a few silent films, including Eastward Ho! (1919) and Paying the Piper (1921).

During her early days on the London stage, Dickson was introduced to another future celebrity (as well as centenarian), whose name was Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later the Queen Mother. The two became close friends and their friendship lasted until Dickson's death at age 102.

Her daughter was the actress Dorothy Hyson, who was married to Sir Anthony Quayle. Dorothy Hyson Quayle died, aged 81, one year after her mother's death at age 102.

In 2006 Angus McBean's photograph of Dorothy Dickson was used on the poster for an exhibition of his photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, London, as well as on the cover of the accompanying book.
Dorothy Dickson

Darnell Howard 1925 by puzzlemaster.
Darnell Howard, Violin/Clarinet/Saxophone
b. Chicago, IL, USA. d. 1966. d. Sept. 2, 1966. (brain tumor).
In 1917, he played on W.C. Handy's first New York recordings, after which he returned to Chicago where, in 1921, he worked with (his former teacher) Charlie Elgar's band at the Dreamland Ballroom. During the '20s, he worked with the King Oliver, Carroll Dickerson and Erskine Tate orchestras. In 1931, he joined the Earl Hines band, where he remained until 1937. In the early '40s, he became a shopkeeper briefly, but soon returned to music, playing (mostly clarinet) with "Kid" Ory, Muggsy Spanier, and Bob Scobey. In 1955, he rejoined Earl Hines in San Francisco, and remained there (although he only played with Hines, playing with the band until 1962. 4 years later, he died.
Biography ~by Scott Yanow
A skilled soloist who sometimes displayed a hyper style on clarinet in later years that was also influenced by the smoother Jimmie Noone, Darnell Howard had a long career. Both of his parents were musicians. Howard started on violin when he was seven, adding clarinet and reeds later on. He started playing professionally in 1912 while still in high school. Howard played with John H. Wickcliffe's Ginger Orchestra during 1913-16 and then in 1917 went to New York, working and recording with W.C. Handy (on violin). Howard then led a band in Chicago, gigged with Charlie Elgar (1921), was part of James P. Johnson's Plantation Days Band that visited London in 1923 and made a return trip to Europe the following year with the Singing Syncopators.
In Chicago, Howard played with Carroll Dickerson, Dave Peyton and most notably King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators. After a visit to Shanghai with the New York Singing Syncopators, Howard rejoined Oliver and soon was playing with both Erskine Tate and Carroll Dickerson. 1928 was spent with Jimmy Wade's Dixielanders and leading his own quartet. Howard worked with Dave Peyton during 1929-30, had a brief stint with Jerome Carrington and then was a steady fixture with the Earl Hines big band during 1931-37. He freelanced for a few years and spent short periods with Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra and Coleman Hawkins (1941). Howard led his own band in Chicago during 1943-45, was with Kid Ory in California during part of 1945 and then freelanced in Chicago for a few years including with Doc Evans. 
In 1948 he moved to California to join Muggsy Spanier's group, staying five years. After stints with Bob Scobey and Jimmy Archey, Howard was part of Earl Hines' dixieland band in San Francisco during 1955-62; during 1956-57 he recorded a couple of excellent albums with Don Ewell. Illness caused him to leave Hines although he recovered for a time, working with Elmer Snowden and Burt Bales plus his own groups. After touring Europe with the New Orleans All-Stars in early 1966, Howard became ill in the United States and died a few months later. He only led one recording date, resulting in four
Darnell Howard - Wikipedia
WhosWho Chicago: Darnell Howard
Darnell Howard 1925 on Flickr

Yvonne Printemps 
(25 July 1894 – 19 January 1977)
Yvonne Printemps (French: [pʁɛ̃tɑ̃]; 25 July 1894 – 19 January 1977) was a French singer and actress who achieved stardom on stage and screen in France and internationally.

Printemps went on the stage in Paris at the age of 12, and at 21 she was singled out by the actor, director and playwright Sacha Guitry as a leading lady. In 1919 they were married, and worked closely together until 1932, when they divorced. Printemps never remarried, but had a personal and professional partnership with the actor Pierre Fresnay which lasted until his death in 1975.

As a performer, Printemps was famed for the quality of her singing voice and for her personal charm. Among those who composed for her were André Messager, Reynaldo Hahn, Noël Coward and Francis Poulenc. Her voice could have led her to an operatic career, but guided by Guitry she concentrated on operette and other types of musical show, along with non-musical plays and films. In addition to her many successes in Paris she appeared to great acclaim in the West End of London, and on Broadway in New York.
Yvonne Printemps 

Annie Ross, Jazz Vocals
b. Mitcham (nr London), England.
née: Annabelle Short.
Member group: 'Lambert, Hendricks & Ross'.
Annie has also had an extensive solo career, both singing and acting in films. Annie comes from a long line of theatrical talent. Her parents (vaudevillians) were appearing in a London show when Annie was born shortly after a matinee ended. At the age of four and a half, Annie traveled to New York city for a visit with her famous singer aunt, Ella Logan, who created the title role in "Finigan’s Rainbow."
Sylvester Weaver, guitar
b. Louisville, KY, USA. 
Sylvester Weaver (July 25, 1896 or 1897 – April 4, 1960) was an American blues guitar player and a pioneer of country blues.
Weaver recorded "Longing for Daddy Blues" and "I've Got to Go and Leave My Daddy Behind" with the blues singer Sara Martin on October 23, 1923, in New York City. Two weeks later, as a soloist, he recorded "Guitar Blues" and "Guitar Rag", the first blues guitar instrumentals.[3] Both recordings were released by Okeh Records. They are the first recorded country blues and the first known recordings of a slide guitar. "Guitar Rag" (played on a Guitjo) became a blues classic. A cover version recorded by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in the 1930s as "Steel Guitar Rag" became a country music standard.
Louisville city directories published between 1916 and 1930 indicate that Weaver, like his parents, lived most of his life in the Smoketown neighborhood and that he supported his music career with employment in various blue-collar jobs. These directories list his occupation as porter (1916–1920), packer (1925), apartment janitor (1928), and chauffeur (1930). The 1938 directory suggests financial hardship during the [Great Depression]; it indicates that Weaver was living with his parents. By 1949, he and his wife, Dorothy, had moved to a better neighborhood, near Cherokee Park, where they lived in a basement apartment, probably a modest accommodation. His move from Smoketown is roughly contemporaneous with the construction of the Sheppard Square housing project, so he and his parents may have been displaced when the project absorbed his Roselane Court and their Clay Street residences.
Weaver recorded about 50 more songs, sometimes accompanied by Sara Martin, until 1927. On some recordings from 1927 he was accompanied by Walter Beasley and the singer Helen Humes. Weaver often played his guitar bottleneck style, using a knife as a slide. His recordings were successful, but in 1927 he retired and went back to Louisville, where he lived until his death, in 1960. A revival of interest in the recordings of many country blues artists occurred from the 1950s on, but Weaver died almost forgotten.
A complete collection of his recordings was released on two CDs in 1992. In the same year his hitherto unmarked grave received a headstone by engagement of the Kentuckiana Blues Society, based in Louisville. Since 1989 the society has presented its Sylvester Weaver Award annually to honor those who have rendered outstanding services to blues music.
Sylvester Weaver 
Sylvester Weaver

image: Booze Bros Entertainment
Johnny Wiggs, Cornet
b. New Orleans, LA, USA. d. Oct. 9, 1977.
né: John Wigginton Hyman.
Became a musician after hearing 'King' Oliver; studied music at Loyola University, and began playing around 1920 with Earl Crumb, then with Norman Brownlee (1924-5) and 'Happy' Schilling (1926). In 1927 he toured with a vaudeville troupe and recorded, as 'John Hyman with his Bayou Stompers' (Ain't love grand/Alligator Blues, Victor 20593); the following year he performed and recorded with Tony Parenti. 

During the 1930s and 1940s Wiggs worked as a teacher, but then re-commenced playing and, between 1948 and 1973, made several recordings with his own band (none are in print). He continued to play until 1974. Johnny Wiggs is fondly recalled by many as the man who recorded guitar wizzard "Snoozer" Quinn.

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:


Experimental TV station W2XBS TV, in New York City, presented "Topsy and Eva", the first musical comedy seen on TV. It was also the first station to operate with a 50,000 watt transmitter. Broadcast on July 25, 1939 "Topsy and Eva Television Edition" was the first musical comedy to be telecast via the new medium of television. The one-hour program was broadcast by the NBC station W2XBS in New York City. Featured performers included the Duncan Sisters (see photo), the Southernaires, the Chansonettes, Billy Kent, Florence Auer, Winfield Hoeney and Edwin Vail.


Tommy Duncan, front man for 'Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys', died in San Diego, CA, USA. Age: 56. (Heart Attack after a show).
Tommy Duncan


Hank Newman, of "The Georgia Crackers" died.
Age: 73.


"Big Mama" Thornton, drums/harmonica
died in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Age: 57.
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Dangerous Blues
Tampa Blue Jazz Band

Marion Harris - Sweet Cookie


Sara Martin - Sweet Man Was The Cause Of It All
  • Sympathizing Blues

James P. Johnson


Coon-Sanders Nighthawks - "Every Thing's Hotsy Totsy Now"


Birmingham Bluetette
  • Old Man Blues


Tom Gates and his Orchestra
  • The Buckets Got A Hole In It

Eddie Carlew's Baby Aristocrats
  • Indiana Mud

Ben Selvin and his Orchestra - Miss Annabelle Lee


Ben Pollack and His Park Central Orchestra - Bashful Baby
Walter Barnes and his Royal Creolians
Walter Barnes and his Royal Creolians - Birmingham Bertha

Ruben "River" Reeves and his River Boys
  • Blue Sweets

Bessie Smith - Take It Right Back ('Cause I Don't Want It Here)


Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders - Burma Girl
Ted Weems and his Orchestra - A Girl Friend Of A Boy Friend Of Mine

Lee Morse and her Bluegrass Boys - I Still Get A Thrill (Thinking Of You)

Waring's Pennsylvanians - Little White Lies - Vocal refrain by Clare Hanlon and the Three Girl Friends

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - Song of the Congo


Ted Lewis and his Band - She's Funny That Way
  • I'm The Medicine Man For The Blues
  • The Old St. Louis Blues
  • Three O'Clock In The Morning


- LEE MORSE and her Bluegrass Boys

Because I still get a thrill thinking of you

And I still feel your lips kissing me too

Although our love affair wasn't to be

I wonder if you care care about me

I still remember that night under the moon

I recall that it all ended too soon

I can't believe you're gone memories linger on

'cause I still get a thrill thinking of you

I still remember that night under the moon
I recall that it all ended too soon
I can't believe you're gone memories linger on
'cause I still get a thrill thinking of you

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