Peerless Quartet


Isadore Barbarin, Alto Sax
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. June 12, 1960, New Orleans, LA, USA.
He was a 30 year member of the Onward Brass Band.
~by Eugene Chadbourne
Here we have the senior member of the Barbarin musical family of New Orleans, at least on moldy vinyl. A grand old man of the city's jazz style he is as well, a master on an unusual horn that later brassmen found too difficult to fit into the evolving sounds of jazz. Isidore Barbarin began with the cornet as a young teenager: the year was 1886. After taking up alto horn he marched forward with the Onward Brass Band but was also involved with other brass groups. It was quite common in this period for different bands to nab members from each other's formations in order to fill the roster needed for a parade, funeral or concert.
Isidore Barbarin had to wait quite awhile to get his sound on record. By 1945 there was finally some evidence of the man in discographies, courtesy of bandleader Bunk Johnson. Some musicians naively call their records their children; perhaps this artist's actual acts of procreation have meant more to the history of jazz than his time in front of a microphone. He produced four children that became musicians: Paul Barbarin, Louis Barbarin, William Barbarin and Lucien Barbarin. Furthemore jazzman Danny Barker is his grandson.

Jimmy Butts, Bass
b. New York, NY, USA
d. Jan 8, 1998
If the bass is supposed to represent the bottom end in the musical scheme, then Jimmy Butts could be said to have a name that is more than just appropriate. The size of the body part with which the bassist's surname shares a slang incarnation may have expanded due to Butts' early membership in a group called Dr. Sausage & His Five Pork Chops; then again, playing in a band with a name like this might kill an appetite rather than stimulate it. At any rate, this group, led by drummer Frank Tyson, shared Butts' bass talents with Daisy Mae's Hepcats; even back then, Butts was being a typical bassist and freelancing his you-know-what off.
In the early '40s he began working with Les Hite, then was discovered by the Chris Columbus Band the following year. In 1943 he left this new world of music to work with more of a variety of jazzmen, moving forward stylistically to bands led by Don Redman, Art Hodes, Lem Johnson, Tiny Grimes, and Noble Sissle. During the war years he did a USO tour of the South Pacific backing up the fine singer Frances Brock. In the late '40s and early '50s, Butts ran his own bands as well as working in a duo with Doles Dickens. Butts decided on a seating change in the following decade, plopping his musical rear in Canada and working with pianist Juanita Smith. From the '70s onward he was based out of New York City once again and fronted his own combo, continuing to play well past his 80th birthday. Following his death in 1998, the band continued on under the name of Friends of Jimmy Butts.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
Jimmy Butts - Wikipedia

Johnny Catron, Leader
b. Boston, MA, USA (??)
d. Oct. 31, 1998, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
In the fall of 1995 Johnny Catron summed up his life by saying, "I was born on September 24, 1916. I worked as a salesman for automobiles for 36 years. I had a big band for 40 some years. And I wrote a few good songs. Not bad for a guy that never knew what he wanted to do when he grew up!" After World War II, Catron has financial problems and could not raise the funds to reorganize a band such as the one he had before the war. He took a job at a Volkswagen dealership in Pomona, California in order to finance a band. He soon discovered he had two loves, making music and selling cars. "I know the two careers don't really go together, but I really loved both. A few years later I found a way I could link these two jobs. I wrote a song and had my band perform it, it was called "The Volkswagen Song Polka." In 1941 when Mr. Catron starting working with Ben Pollack he began to arrange and write songs. "Pollack really encourage me to write, so I did, after all I realized even at that young age how talented Pollack was." When Catron landed a job with the "Union Oil Company Radio Program" he took over as head arranger. Years later he was head arranger and writer for a KFI (Southern California radio station) program with Lawrence Welk and Freddy Martin, the show ran from 1963 to 1966. During this time he wrote some remarkable songs such as "Valerie," "A Little Affection," and "There's a Time and a Place for Everything." In 1964 he wrote a poignant song about the asassination of John F. Kennedy. The song was entitled "The Big D" and a recording of the song is located at the Dallas Museum. "Some people have a hard time making sense of my career, to them I say: I got to do what I loved!".
~Above Notes courtesy of Mr. Dan DelFiorentino

Herb Jeffries, USA

Herbert "Herb" Jeffries (born September 24, 1913, Detroit, Michigan) is an American jazz singer and actor.

~Early life

Born Herbert Jeffrey, he is the son of Umberto Balentino, a pianist of African-American and Sicilan descent and his wife, Mildred, who was of Irish descent. More specifically he was of of Ethiopian-French Canadian and Italian-Irish descent. The family lived in a rented home on 224 Watson Street in Detroit's third ward.
A jazz musician, Jeffries is noted for being the first man to star in an American western. He starred as a singing cowboy in several all-black Western films (called "Race Films") in which he sang his own western compositions. Jeffries got financing for the first black western film and hired Spencer Williams to appear with him. In addition to starring in the film, Jeffries sang and performed his own stunts as the cowboy character, "Bob Blake." Jeffries, a deep baritone, sang with Duke Ellington in the early 1940s. He was replaced by Al Hibbler in 1943. His most famous song, "Flamingo", sold over 50 million copies.
Through playing a singing cowboy in the low-budget films, he soon became known as the "Bronze Buckaroo" by fans who flocked to his films. In a time of American racial segregation these films played mostly in theaters catering to African American audiences. The films can be found on video and are titled "Harlem on the Prairie", "The Bronze Buckaroo", "Harlem Rides the Range" and "Two Gun Man from Harlem".
In 1995, aged 81, Herb Jeffries recorded a Nashville album of songs on the Warner Western label titled The Bronze Buckaroo (Rides Again).
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Herb Jeffries has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6672 Hollywood Blvd.
In 2004, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
~Personal life
In 2007, while assembling materials for the producers of a documentary film about him, "A Colored Life," Jeffries ran across his birth certificate, which reminded him that he actually had been born in 1913—not 1911—but that he had fibbed about his age after he left home as a youngster looking for a job. So he celebrated turning 95 twice.
Jeffries lives in the Southern California mountains with his wife, Savannah. A popular eatery in Idyllwild, Cafe Aroma, has a room named for him. He is the father of five children, and his family tree includes numerous grand children, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, including a granddaughter with autism. "Mr. Flamingo" is still singing today (2009). He regularly appears at jazz festivals and events that benefit Autism and other childhood causes that involve developmental delays. He also lectures at colleges and universities across America.
Herb Jeffries - Wikipedia

Blind Lemon Jefferson
Folksinger/guitar b. Couchman, TX, USA.
d. December 1929
~by Joslyn Layne
Country blues guitarist and vocalist Blind Lemon Jefferson is indisputably one of the main figures in country blues. He was of the highest in many regards, being one of the founders of Texas blues (along with Texas Alexander), one of the most influential country bluesmen of all time, one of the most popular bluesmen of the 1920s, and the first truly commercially successful male blues performer. Up until Jefferson's achievements, the only real successful blues recordings were by women performers, including Bessie Smith and Ida Cox, who usually sang songs written by others and accompanied by a band. With Jefferson came a blues artist who was solo, self-accompanied, and performing a great deal of original material in addition to the more familiar repertoire of folk standards and shouts. These originals include his most well-known songs: "Matchbox Blues," "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean," and "Black Snake Moan." In all, Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded almost 100 songs in just a few years, making his mark on not only the bluesmen of the time (including Leadbelly and Lightnin' Hopkins) but also on music fans in the years to come. The legacy of Jefferson's unique and powerful sound did not fade with the passing decades.

Many specifics on the life of Blind Lemon Jefferson are not available, but general information on the man and his career can be traced somewhat through recordings, a few public records, and the memories of those who knew him. Although his birth has long been placed in July of 1897, research almost a century later uncovered a census record that listed his birth in September of 1893. Despite the uncertainty surrounding his birth date, a few things are certain: Jefferson was born on a farm in Couchman, TX, outside of Wortham, and, blind from the time of birth, he grew up as one of seven children.
Around 1912, he began playing guitar and singing at picnics and parties in his home area. His musical influences included not only the singing of the cotton pickers and local guitar players but also the guitarists among the area's Mexican workers who often incorporated flamenco patterns in their playing. These influences eventually led to Jefferson's unique style of complex phrases and intricate, yet fast, finger work. Within a couple of years, Jefferson widened his performing radius to include Groesbeck, Buffalo, Waco, and other surrounding towns. Sometime around 1915, Jefferson also began playing in Dallas and, by 1917, was a resident of the city. He was most often found playing in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas where he eventually met another bluesman who would one day be famous, Leadbelly. Although Leadbelly was the senior bluesman of the two, it is generally recognized that Jefferson was the better guitarist. Leadbelly was so impressed with Blind Lemon Jefferson, in fact, that he would later record songs in tribute to Jefferson's ability, including the song, "Blind Lemon's Blues." The two men even played together for a short while, sometime before Leadbelly's first prison sentence.

From the late teens into the early '20s, Blind Lemon Jefferson traveled and performed his passionate brand of blues, hitting (at the very least) the Mississippi Delta and Memphis regions, although it is likely that his travels took him further. In 1922 or 1923 he married a woman named Roberta with whom he would have children, including a boy in the mid-'20s. It was in 1925 that a Texas talent scout finally made a demo recording of Jefferson and sent it to Mayo Williams at Paramount Records in Chicago. Jefferson was soon (circa 12/25 and 1/26) brought to Chicago to record for the first time. The results were two gospel songs: "I Want to Be Like Jesus in My Heart" and "All I Want Is That Pure Religion," both of which were released under the pseudonym Deacon L.J. Bates. Two months later, Jefferson began recording blues 78s under his own name, but that initial session wasn't the last time Jefferson recorded under a pseudonym. In 1927, "He Arose From the Dead" and "Where Shall I Be?" were released under the names Deacon L.J. Bates and Elder J.C. Brown for the Paramount and Herwin labels, respectively.
Jefferson recorded over 90 songs total in less than four years' time. Almost all of his recordings were for the Paramount label, with the exception of his two-day session for Okeh, which took place in Atlanta in March of 1927. This session resulted in the second version of "That Black Snake Moan," (11/26) this time entitled "Black Snake Moan," as well as the first recording of another song that became one of Jefferson's most famous originals, "Matchbox Blues," which he recorded again for Paramount just one month later. Jefferson's records did well immediately, making him one of the best-selling race recording artists of the time. This is surprising considering his decidedly noncommercial sound; his high, eerie voice (often described as having a "lonesome" sound), the desperate (and sometimes suggestive) nature of his lyrics, and his often-complex guitar work all combined into a particularly raw and hard-hitting blues. 

In addition to his frequent recording sessions in Chicago throughout the late '20s, Blind Lemon Jefferson still performed in Texas and traveled around the South. He played Chicago rent parties, performed at St. Louis' Booker T. Washington Theater, and even worked some with Son House collaborator Rev. Rubin Lacy while in Mississippi. In late September of 1929, Jefferson went to Paramount's studios in Richmond, IN, for a fruitful session that included two songs -- "Bed Springs Blues" and "Yo Yo Blues" -- that were also issued on the Broadway label. Jefferson was back in Chicago in December of 1929 when, sadly, he was found dead following a particularly cold snowstorm. There are several stories regarding his death: It has been said that he got lost in the storm after leaving a friend's party at a late hour, or that he was abandoned by his chauffeur, or was killed in a car accident, while yet another version claims Jefferson had a heart attack and froze in the snow. Regardless, the influential bluesman was still in his thirties when he died, and no death certificate was issued, so the date of his passing is only known to be toward the end of December.
Pianist and labelmate Will Ezell escorted Jefferson's body back to Wortham, TX, where Blind Lemon Jefferson was laid to rest, purportedly on New Year's Day, 1930. Unfortunately for the author of the pleading "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean," the grave itself went unmarked. This was finally remedied in 1967 when a metal Texas Historical Marker was placed on the approximate spot. By the 1990s, however, Jefferson's grave was discovered to be in disrepair. A fundraiser was organized and, thanks to the efforts and donations of blues fans around the world, a granite headstone was finally placed upon Jefferson's grave, inscribed with his lyric, "Lord, it's one kind favor I'll ask of you. See that my grave is kept clean." It was also discovered during the preparation of the headstone that there is no support for the date widely believed to be that of Jefferson's birth -- July 1897 (which even appeared on the original grave marker) -- while the census documents in the State Archives listed Lemon Jefferson's birth to be in September of 1893. Thus, the new date was put on the gravestone.
Blind Lemon Jefferson was to Texas blues what Charley Patton was to Mississippi blues. His performances had a direct influence upon such legendary Texas musicians as Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, and Leadbelly, while his recordings helped bring his influence to an even larger audience. In the decades since, Jefferson's songs have been covered by countless musicians including Bob Dylan, John Hammond, Jr., and Kelly Joe Phelps, to name just a few. The late '50s and early '60s brought the reissue of some of Jefferson's recordings on the Riverside and Milestone labels, sparking a renewal of widespread public interest in the bluesman. As a result, Blind Lemon Jefferson Clubs were opened in California and New York during the '60s, and the rock band Jefferson Airplane reputedly chose their name after the great bluesman. A good single album compiling selections of Jefferson's music remains the Yazoo label's appropriately titled King of the Country Blues, which was eventually remastered for CD release. For completists, the Document label has since issued his entire recorded works in a four-volume CD series. In 1980, Blind Lemon Jefferson was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame.

Theodore "Fats" Navarro, trumpet
b. Key West, FL, USA
d. July 7, 1950 New York, NY, USA. Theodore "Fats" Navarro (24 September 1923 – 6 July 1950) was an American jazz trumpet player. He was a pioneer of the bebop style of jazz improvisation in the 1940s. He is regarded by many to have been one of the first modern jazz trumpet improvisers and in his short career had a strong stylistic influence on many other players, most notably Clifford Brown.

Ahmed Ratip
b. Istanbul, Turkey

Carl Sigman, lyricist
d. 2000
Big Bands Database
Carl Sigman was a pianist, composer and lyricist who wrote an amazing number of songs which were performed by artists as diverse as Kenny Drew, Mel Torme, Dottie West, Joni Mitchell, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Sigman completed law school, but his heart was in music. His friend Johnny Mercer, with whom he wrote “Just Remember” (1936), encouraged him to focus on writing lyrics.
Sigman wrote the lyric for Glenn Miller’s hit, “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” in 1940, the same year Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey recorded “Love Lies” (written with Ralph Freed and Joseph Meyer). During service in WWII, from which Sigman emerged a hero, he wrote the official song for the 82nd Airborne.
Sigman returned home to a string of hits. “(Dance) Ballerina (Dance),” written with Bob Russell, went to number one for Vaughn Monroe in 1947 and was later revisited by Nat “King” Cole. “Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo),” written with Bob Hilliard for the Broadway show Angel in the Wings, propelled Elaine Stritch to stardom. In 1950 Guy Lombardo had a hit with “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)” (written with Herb Magidson), and Guy Mitchell took “My Heart Cries for You,” written with Percy Faith, to the charts. In 1951 Sigman added lyrics to a classical piece written by Charles G. Dawes, and it became “It’s All in the Game,” which made the charts several times over the next 30 years. Robert Maxwell’s “Ebb Tide,” a popular instrumental, was recorded by everyone from Sinatra to the Righteous Brothers once Sigman added lyrics. In 1953 “Dream Along with Me,” with Sigman’s music and lyrics, became Perry Como’s TV theme. Sigman wrote the English lyric for “Arrivederci, Roma” and the lyric for Francis Lai’s theme to 1970’s Love Story, “Where Do I Begin.”
Many of Sigman’s tunes rate high with jazz musicians. “All Too Soon,” a collaboration with Duke Ellington, was recorded by Mildred Bailey in 1941. Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now” with Sigman’s lyric was a hit for Sarah Vaughan in 1946 and is still among the top 200 jazz standards. Billie Holiday introduced the Sigman/Russell tune “Crazy He Calls Me” in 1949. “I Could Have Told You,” written with Jimmy Van Heusen, was a hit for Sinatra in 1953. Sigman also wrote the English lyric for Luis Bonfa’s “Manha de Carnival” which became “A Day in the Life of a Fool.”
Sigman’s son Michael has compiled a 3-CD set of his father’s music selected from some 800 songs that cut across musical genres, testament to Sigman’s status as a great American songwriter.
- Sandra Burlingame
Carl Sigman

Horst Winter
b. Beuthen, Germany
Harry Winter (24 September 1914 – 3 December 2001), born Horst Winter, was a German-Austrian singer, musician and band director.
An Artie Shaw-influenced swing-era clarinetist, Winter formed his first orchestra and made his first records in 1930s Berlin. He recorded for the German-based Tempo label during World War II with such artists as Willi Berking and Meg Tevelian. After the war he relocated to Vienna and became an Austrian citizen.

Winter formed his Vienna Dance Orchestra in 1946; the band had great success performing for, among others, American soldiers during the post-war occupation. The group played a successful extended engagement at Vienna's Wintergarden circa 1947-50. Like his musical model, Shaw, Winter retired from playing jazz in the mid 1950s.
~ Chris Kelsey
Harry Winter

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Glenn Miller ended his CBS radio broadcasts for Chesterfield Cigarettes. The show had aired three times a week for three years. WWII was raging, and Miller went into the U. S. Armed Forces. He did not survive the war.

Ruth Etting died in Colorado Springs in 1978, aged 80.

Carl Jones, label owner (CJ Records)
died in Chicago, IL, USA.
Age: 72.

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Peerless Quartet
  • My Lovin Melody Man
  • Dinah


Benson Orchestra of Chicago


Abe Lyman's California Orchestra - Any Way the Wind Blows

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
  • The Hoodoo Man


Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra
The Cavaliers (b.selvin orch.)
  • After I've Called You Sweetheart

The Knickerbockers (B. Selvin Orchestra) - Marvelous


Arrowhead Inn Orchestra - Good Little Bad Little You
  • Sleep Baby Sleep


Fats Waller - Smashing Thirds - tune:waller


Earl Burtnett and his Orchestra
Sweetheart of my Student Days

Abe Lyman's california Orchestra
  • As Long As We're Together

Paul Tremaine and his Orchestra - 
When Gabriel Blows Dat Horn


Ben Bernie and his Orchestra
  • A Faded Summer Love

Don Redman and his Orchestra - Song of the Weeds


George Olsen and his Music - Please Mr Hemingway


Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys - Four or Five Times
Wayne King and his Orchestra
  • Dans Mes Bras
  • Arrancame La Vida


Bill Gale and Globe Trotters
  • Venetian Melody

Leo Reisman and his Orchestra
  • Down Argentina Way, - tune: Mack Gordon-Harry Warren
  • Such Stuff as Dreams are Made Of


Xavier Cugat

Benny Goodman and his Orchestra



You left today but you didn't say goodbye
I wonder why
I'm standing now where you made your vow
So blue for you I could cry
Leaves come tumbling down round my head
Some of them are brown some are red
Beautiful to see, but reminding me
Of a faded summer love
Weighing high above in the trees
They were so in love with the breeze
Now the autumn wind brings to them the end
Of a faded summer love
I'm like the poor leaves that swayed with the breeze
I thought that life was sweet
You are the sweet breeze that tried hard to please
Then swept me off my feet
Summer morning dew turn to frost
Leaves that once were new pay the cost
Beautiful to see but reminding me
Of a faded summer love
I'm like the poor leaves that swayed with the breeze
I thought that life was sweet
You are the sweet breeze that tried hard to please
Then swept me off my feet
Summer morning dew turn to frost
Leaves that once were new pay the cost
Beautiful to see but reminding me
Of a faded summer love

A Weekend In Havana
~Gordon, Mack, Warren, Harry

How Would You Like To Spend, A Week-end In Havana,

How Would You Like To See The Caribbean Shore?
Come On And Run Away Over Sunday
To Where The Night And The Music Is Tropical; 
You'll Hurry Back To Your Office On Monday,
But You Won't Be The Same Any More.
How Would You Like To Go Where Nights Are So Romantic,
Where Stars Are Dancing Rhumbas In The Ski-yi-yi?

How Would You Like To Spend As Week-end In Havana,
You Better Pack Up All Your Summer Clothes;
Meet You Down At "sloppy Joe's," So Long, Boy,
And Ship Ahoy, Havana. Havana.

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