Oscar "Papa" Celestin, Trumpet
b. Napoleanville, LA, USA.
d. Dec. 15, 1954, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Theme Song: "Marie LaVeau".
"Papa Jack" appeared in one Hollywood movie, "Cinerama Holiday" (1953). His son Jack also had an equally famous band in New Orleans.
Oscar "Papa" Celestin was a cornetist and the leader of the Original Tuxedo Orchestra, one of the most popular of the early jazz bands based in New Orleans. From 1910 Celestin led the house band at the Tuxedo Dance Hall on North Franklin St. in the French Quarter, and later founded the Tuxedo Brass Band, the namesake of the currently active Young Tuxedo Brass Band. A shooting at the Tuxedo in 1913 closed the dancehall for good, but Celestin kept both bands going, and in 1916 entered into a partnership with trombonist Tommy Ridgely that established a network of Papa Celestin bands playing constant jobs. This arrangement with Ridgely lasted until 1925.
In those days, playing with Celestin was as steady a gig as could be had in New Orleans. Basically all of the best-known New Orleans jazz pioneers played with Celestin at one time or another. Louis Armstrong was his second cornet in 1921 and 1922, Jimmie Noone played clarinet for him in the 1916 band, and Clarence Williams once led a Celestin unit. The Original Tuxedo Orchestra also proved one of the most prolific New Orleans-based recording bands of the 1920s, waxing 17 sides between 1925-1928. In 1932 Celestin was forced out of the business by depression economics and did not get another band together until after the second World War. The new Tuxedo Orchestra proved tremendously popular and was hailed as a key New Orleans tourist attraction. In 1953, Papa Celestin appeared leading his band in the big-budget travelogue Cinerama Holiday.
Celestin died not long after, and his last recording singing, "Marie LaVeau," is considered a voodoo cult classic. Celestin's band continued to record after his death; ironically the number of records this "ghost" band made nearly equals that of Celestin's own lifetime output.
~ Uncle Dave Lewis
Papa Celestin
Papa Celestin - Wikipedia


"Wee Bonnie" Baker, vocals
ne: Evelyn Nelson.
Best recalled for her hit tune "Oh Johnny", with the Orrin Tucker Orch. (Orrin, b. Feb. 11, 1917, was himself a 'singing' bandleader.) SOLID BIO: Diminutive big band singer best remembered as vocalist on the 1939 Orrin Tucker hit ''Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh!'' Born Evelyn Nelson, she was known as ''Wee'' Bonnie Baker due to her short stature. Tucker hired her on a recommendation from Louis Armstrong. In 1940 she was voted Most Popular Female Band Vocalist in a college poll. She left Tucker's orchestra in 1941.
Solid! -- Bonnie Baker Biography

Xavier Cugat
b. Girona, Catalonia, Spain
d. Oct. 27, 1990, Barcelona, Spain.
ne: Francisco de Asis Javier Cugat Mingall de Bru y Deulofeo.
This Spanish/Cuban bandleader was principally responsible for popularizing Latin American music in the U.S.A., and he became known as "The Rhumba King". His family moved to Cuba while he was still a child. There he studied violin, and played in the Havana opera company. He later continued his studies in Berlin, Germany, and worked with The Berlin Orchestra before coming to America. In the late 1920s, he organized his first Latin dance band. In the '30s, he became a film star when he appeared in the movie 'Gay Madrid' -- the first of many film appearances. During the '40s, Cugat was particularly prominent, being featured in many MGM musicals.

He had many hit records all through the '30s and '40s and made appearances with Bing Crosby and Desi Arnaz. His orchestra became a 'fixture' at New's York's famed Waldorf- Astoria Hotel, where he was adored by the 'society' set. Vocalists who appeared with the band include Lena Romay, La Chata, Miguelito Valdes, Carmen (wife No. 1), Lorraine (wife no. 2), Abbe Lane (wife no. 3) and "Charo" (wife no. 4), - all of whom were talented performers. He officially retired in 1970, turning his band over to Tito Puente. Cugat returned to Spain in 1980. He is well remembered today as a prime mover in bringing Latin rhythms and beats to the attention of world audiences. His bands were composed of excellent musicians.
Edwin Franko Goldman
Band Leader
b. Louisville, KY, USA.
d. Feb. 21, 1956, New York, NY, USA.
Edwin Franko Goldman (January 1, 1878 - February 21, 1956) is one of America's prominent band composers of the early 20th century. He composed over 150 works, more notably his marches. He is known for founding the renowned Goldman Band of New York City and the American Bandmasters Association. Goldman's works are known for their pleasant and catchy tunes, as well as their fine trios and solos. He also encouraged audiences to whistle/hum along to his marches. This has become a tradition with his most famous march "On the Mall".

Frank Delaney Kettering, bass/guitar
b. Monmouth, IL, USA
d. June 1973.
Member: "The Hoosier Hot Shots"
Frank Delaney Kettering.
The Hoosier Hot Shots were an American quartet of madcap musicians who entertained on stage, screen, radio, and records from the mid 1930s into the 1970s. The group initially consisted of players from the U. S. State of Indiana. Beginning on local Indiana radio in the early 1930s, the Hot Shots went on to a successful national radio career on National Barn Dance on WLS-AM in Chicago, Illinois and a successful and prolific recording career, before moving to Hollywood to star in many feature-length western movies.

The Hot Shots' core personnel were multi-instrumentalists, playing brass band instruments as well as their standard instrumentation of guitar (Ken), clarinet (Gabe), string bass (various), and a strange, homemade instrument known both as the "Wabash Washboard" and "the Zither," played by Hezzie. It consisted of a corrugated sheet metal washboard on a metal stand with various noisemakers attached, including bells and a multi-octave range of squeeze-type bicycle horns. Trietsch constructed this instrument himself as well as a series of slide whistles he played in addition to the washboard. The washboard, along with other artifacts from the band, is now in the collection of the Indiana State Museum.

The Hot Shots' repertoire focused on swing and jazz standards and originals, especially those with a comedic element. Powered by a frantic and seemingly freewheeling instrumental virtuosity, grounded in the musical comedy of vaudeville, the Hot Shots were nevertheless able to cover both comic and more serious material, although some of their more serious recordings retain whimsical ornamental elements, capable of evoking a subtle musical irony.
Hoosier Hot Shots: Information from

Orville Knapp, leader
b. Kansas, City, MO
d. July 16, 1936, Beverly, MA, USA.
It is darkly prophetic that this fellow was named after Orville Wright, who had made the first airplane flight two weeks before Orville Knapp's birth, as flying airplanes turned out to be the end of him. The Midwest big band leader was one of the rare artists with no family background in music. The young boy and his sister, Pauline Knapp, became interested in music and theater in elementary school, and in high school Orville taught himself to play the saxophone. After graduating, he and Pauline moved to New York where they appeared in a vaudeville dancing act. He played with both Leo Reisman and Vincent Lopez's orchestras during this New York stay, sometimes hitting the road.

At 19 years old, he toured with the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks band; a 1923 photograph taken in Kansas City shows him on-stage with this outfit. In the late '20s, he had one band of his own which for a short time featured the young Curly Howard of the Three Stooges as a conductor of musical comedy numbers. As he moved his arms, pieces of Curly's coat and tails would fall apart until finally his pants would break away and the crowd would predictably erupt into guffaws.

While this type of nonsense was going on, Knapp's sister had headed for Hollywood to try a film career. He went out there to visit her in 1933 and found, among other things, that the Warner Bros. studio had changed his sister's name to Evelyn Knapp. Her best-known films are Sinner's Holiday with James Cagney and the serial Perils of Pauline. Of course, the brother found jazz performance possibilities on the West Coast, starting out with a small combo in a series of cafĂ© gigs and then escalating to starting his own big band. This group debuted at Santa Monica's Grand Hotel in 1934, featuring vocalists Virginia Verrill, then only 18 years old, and Don Raymond. 

The band was signed to a recording contract for Decca the same year. Verrell's mom issued a no-touring ultimatum, one of several personnel changes Knapp had to make. These included hiring the interesting pianist and arranger Charles Floyd and singer Edith Caldwell, both pilfered from the Ted Black Orchestra. The group quickly went through a series of male vocalists, including Ray Hendricks, Dave Marshall, and Norman Ruvell. A permanent male vocalist was not found until Leighton Noble was snatched away from the George Hamilton Orchestra in 1935. During the same period of tryouts, Knapp revealed an absolute lack of instinct for new talent by turning down both Stan Kenton and Spike Jones for the respective positions of pianist and drummer.

The band began touring and broadcasting over WOR radio the same year. While in New York, the band recorded eight songs for Brunswick and Knapp married actress Gloria Grafton, who had starred in the Broadway musical Jumbo. It was an optimistic period for the band, their personal appearances and recordings praised for the group's sweet sound as well as some unusual effects in the arrangements. Yet there were clouds in the sky, literally. By now, Knapp had gotten into flying as a hobby, the interest occupying most of his free time. Shortly after his wedding, he bought a biplane and while practicing emergency landings at a Boston airport, he was involved in a fatal accident. This obviously cut the history of the Orville Knapp band quite short, although by then the group had actually made a total of 17 records, including 13 for Decca. The band stayed together after the leader's death, with vocalist Leighton Noble temporarily taking charge. The singer was ousted by both the band's booking agency and widow Gloria Knapp, who decided that '20s bandleader George Olsen should take over. Under his direction, the group became known as the Orville Knapp Orchestra & the Music of Tomorrow. In 1937, Noble took talented bandmember Floyd under his wing and the two formed their own band, which operated under Noble's name. By the summer of 1938, the Knapp band was, in the words of a certain raven, nevermore. The group's most famous songs include "Why the Stars Come Out at Night," "Everything Stops for Tea," and the band's theme song, "Accent on Youth."
~ Eugene Chadbourne
George W. Meyer, Composer
b. Boston, MA, USA
d. Aug. 28, 1959, New York, NY, USA.
Another self-made Tin Pan Alley legend, George did time as an accountant in the department stores of Boston, and then graduated to the even larger department stores of New York. Having taught himself how to play the piano, he found more interesting, lucrative and rewarding employment demonstrating songs for sheet music publishing firms. Eventually he began to write songs of his own. In 1909 he caused barely a stir with "I'm Awfully Glad I Met You". In 1911 he moved closer to success with "Brass Band Ephraham Jones". This song made the rounds from coast to coast after Al Jolson made a wonderful recording of it in 1912. It was also in 1912 that Meyer began to operate as a publisher of other peoples' material, specializing in the purveyance of novelty rags, which were all the rage at that time. This however did not prevent him from continuing to invent catchy melodies.
In 1916 he dreamt up an archetypal piece of naive sentimentality, "If You Were The Only Girl In The World", along with "Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday On Saturday Night?" This bit of silliness, with lyrics by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young, became another instant hit after Jolson recorded it as soon as the ink was dry on the score. What really put George W. Meyer out in front was the impossibly wholesome "For Me And My Gal", published in 1917 with lyrics by Edgar Leslie and E. Ray Goetz. It would be difficult to find a better example of innocent happiness than this apple pie melody, so strangely disarming when sung years later by Arthur Godfrey. (Legend has it that the title of this song is etched into the gravestone of Meyer's wife.) Al Jolson's continuing collusion with Meyer bore fruit in 1918 with a very popular phonograph recording of "Everything Is Peaches Down In Georgia", written in collaboration with Milton Ager and Grant Clarke.
That same year Meyer churned out an obligatory wartime ditty with the worrisome title "If He Can Fight Like He Can Love, Good Night, Germany!". Then in 1921, Eddie Cantor hauled in quite a bit of cash for himself (and for Meyer, Lewis and Young) with a hit record of "Tuck Me To Sleep In My Old ‘Tucky Home". Meyer and Gus Kahn had a minor hit with a modest number called "Sittin' In A Corner" which they published in 1923. Please note that not every Tin Pan Alley composer's story crosses over into classic jazz the way this one does. For it was on December 17th, 1924 that Clarence Williams' Blue Five recorded two songs by George W. Meyer: "I'm A Little Blackbird Looking For A Bluebird" and "Mandy, Make Up Your Mind". Present were Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Charlie Irvis, Buddy Christian, Williams and his wife, vocalist Eva Taylor. The most noteworthy aspect of this session is Bechet's Anthony Braxton-like impromptu bass clef sarrusophone solo on "Mandy". One can only imagine what the composer's reaction must have been to this recording.
The rest of Meyer's output seems modest at first: "Someone Is Losin' Susan" came out in 1926; "My Song Of The Nile" in 1929, and I'm Sure Of Everything But You" in 1932. What steers the tale end of this story back around to jazz are three melodies he published in 1935: "I Believe In Miracles", "The Girl I Left Behind Me" and "I'm Growing Fonder Of You". Fortunately for posterity, these love songs were recorded onto three-minute records by Fats Waller and his Rhythm in 1935. Mr. Waller brought out every latent nuance of each selection, added his own measure of good humor, and left us with outstanding examples of Meyer's genius for sentimental harmony. Oh, to be sure, Meyer had one or two flashes of inspiration left; his last noteworthy opus was 1942's "There Are Such Things". But those songs from 1935 constitute George W. Meyer's best legacy, and if he is remembered for nothing else, let us identify him forever with Fats Waller's optimistic recording: "I'm Growing Fonder Of You".
~ arwulf arwulf

Henry W. Ragas, piano
b: New Orleans, LA, USA.
One of the first of many early deaths in jazz, Henry Ragas' one claim to fame was his association with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Ragas picked up experience as a solo pianist during 1910-13. He went with Johnny Stein's band to Chicago in 1916 and, when several of the musicians left the group in order to form the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Ragas was among them.
The ODJB, the first jazz group to ever record, became a major hit in 1917. 

Ragas was on the band's first 21 recordings (including "Bluin' The Blues" which he composed) although he is nearly inaudible due to the primitive recording technology of the era. Tragically shortly before the group was set to tour England (where they became a sensation), Henry Ragas was a victim of the 1919 flu epidemic and he died at the age of 27; J. Russell Robinson would be his permanent replacement with the ODJB.
~ Scott Yanow

Judge L. Riley, drums
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
(Worked with Arthur Crudup).

Grace Smith, vocals
b. Columbia, SC, USA.

Frank Stokes, guitar/vocals
b. Whitehaven (near Memphis), TN, USA
d. Sept. 12, 1955, Memphis, TN, USA (Stroke).
Frank Stokes and partner Dan Sane recorded as The Beale Street Shieks, a Memphis answer to the musical Chatmon family string band, the Mississippi Shieks. 

According to local tradition, Stokes was already playing the streets of Memphis by the turn of the century, about the same time the blues began to flourish. As a street artist, he needed a broad repertoire of songs and patter palatable to blacks and whites.

A medicine show and house party favorite, Stokes was remembered as a consummate entertainer who drew on songs from the 19th and 20th centuries with equal facility. Solo or with Sane and sometimes fiddler Will Batts, Stokes recorded 38 sides for Paramount and Victor. These treasures include blues as well as older pieces: "Chicken You Can't Roost Too High for Me," "Mr. Crump Don't Like It," an outstanding version of "You Shall" (commonly known as "You Shall Be Free"), and "Hey Mourner," a traditional comic anticlerical piece. 

Stokes possessed a remarkable declamatory voice and was an adroit guitarist. His duets with Sane merit special attention because of their subtle interplay and propulsive rhythm.
~ Barry Lee Pearson

Jasper Taylor
b. Texarkana, TX, USA.
d. Nov. 7, 1964.
One has to love Jasper Taylor, if only because there are more wood blocks in his discography than can be found in the rumpus room of a kindergarten. A grand old man from the early days of percussion in jazz, Taylor was also known for writing two of the most unappetizing songs of all time, the cautionary "Don't Eat at Jasper's Barbecue" and the stinky "Stockyard Strut."
Born in Texarkana on New Year's Day, 1894, this character started performing in Wild West and minstrel shows, including tours of Mexico. By 1913 he was working theaters in Memphis and had begun studying xylophone, upon which he would eventually become influential to the ears of Memphis blues maestro and publisher W.C. Handy. While gigging with Handy, Taylor introduced the idea of washboard accompaniment in a jazz group: to some players it was a solid move closer toward the concept of washing their clothes.
Taylor played with Jelly Roll Morton in Memphis, a collaboration that was fortunately documented on recording. In 1917 the percussionist relocated to Chicago and was largely connected with the classic jazz scene in the Windy City for the rest of his career. Taylor was in the 365th Infantry Band in France and following the end of the First World War went back to performing with Handy as well as Will Marion Cook, the brilliant Chicago Novelty Orchestra, and the pianist and arranger Clarence Williams. One of his longer musical relationships in the second half of the '20s was in a trio with Dave Peyton and Fess Williams.
This artist's career takes an unexpected turn in the '30s -- it could certainly be described as downward but not in the usual sense. Touring much less and settling into theater accompaniment jobs were not surprising developments. Then, Taylor stuffed his xylophones, washboards, woodblocks, and whatnot into a closet and became a cobbler. Perhaps he lacked cooperative elves: by the '40s he was back on the bandstands in Chicago backing pianist Freddie Shayne, among others. The Midnight Sun, a Chicago venue and not a Norwegian vista, was where Taylor held forth with bandleader Natty Dominique for an extended stint in 1952. Taylor ran out of neither steam nor mallets, leading his own Creole Jazz Band only a couple of years prior to his death.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
Estelle "Mama" Yancey, piano
b. Cairo, IL, USA.

~by Richard Skelly
The other half of the blues team led by pioneering boogie-woogie pianist Jimmy Yancey, Estelle "Mama" Yancey was a talented vocalist known for her warm sense of humor and great command of the stage. In her childhood, Estelle Harris sang in church choirs and learned guitar. Jimmy Yancey, who had traveled the U.S. and Europe as a vaudeville dancer, married Estelle in 1917, when she was 21.

Yancey often sang with her husband at informal gatherings, house-rent parties, and clubs in the 1930s and '40s in Chicago. Because Jimmy Yancey was not that good a blues singer, but was a great boogie-woogie/blues piano player, Estelle recorded frequently with her husband.
Yancey sang with her husband in 1948 at Carnegie Hall, and this performance in turn led to Jimmy Yancey's last recording with Mama, Pure Blues, in 1951 for a fledgling Atlantic Records. Jimmy Yancey died a few months later from a stroke brought on by complications from diabetes, but Estelle continued to perform and record. One of the best examples of her soulful, expressive vocals can be found on an album for Atlantic, Jimmy and Mama Yancey: Chicago Piano, Vol. 1. 

Mama Yancey's recordings with other pianists include South Side Blues for the Riverside label (1961), some records with Art Hodes for Verve in 1965, and Maybe I'll Cry with Erwin Helfer for the Red Beans label in 1983, recorded at age 87. Yancey died in 1986.
~ Richard Skelly
Estelle Yancey - Wikipedia

Johnny Young, guitar/mandolin
b. Vicksburg, MS, USA.
Johnny Young (January 1, 1918 – April 18, 1974) was an American blues singer, mandolin player and guitarist, significant as one of the first of the new generation of electric blues artists to record in Chicago after the Second World War, and as one of the few mandolin players to have been active in blues music in the post-war era. His nickname, "Man", came from his use of the mandolin.
Young was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and played in string bands in Mississippi in the 1930s. He also claimed to have worked with Sleepy John Estes in Tennessee before moving to Chicago in 1940. By 1943 he was working with John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson and Muddy Waters and in the late 1940s he became a regular player on Maxwell Street, often with his cousin, guitarist Johnny Williams, as well as playing in clubs with Williams and Little Walter. His first recording was made in 1947 for the Ora Nelle label and featured Young singing "Money Taking Woman" on the A-side, accompanied by Williams, who sang "Worried Man Blues" on the B-side. A second session in late 1948, with Young and Williams joined by Snooky Pryor on harmonica, resulted in a single being released under the name "Man Young" on the Planet label. A further session for the J.O.B. label was unissued, and after a session playing guitar behind Snooky Pryor for Vee-Jay Young retired from performance for a time in the 1950s.
The rise of white interest in blues in the early 1960s resulted in Young emerging from retirement in 1963, and he recorded for a number of labels including Vanguard, Testament, Arhoolie and Blue Horizon in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Young died in Chicago in 1974 from a heart attack and was buried in Lincoln cemetery, Urbana, Illinois.
Johnny "Man" Young - Wikipedia

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Hank Williams, guitar/songwriter
died in Oak Hill, W. VA, USA.
Age: 29. (He died somewhere in the night of December 31, 1952, or the morning of January 1, 1953, in the back seat of his Powder Blue Cadillac convertible.)
Aubrey "Moon" Mullican, piano
died in Beaumont, Texas.
Age: 57.
Throughout the 1930s Economic Depression and WWII years, he "cut his teeth" on Western Swing, most notably as vocalist and piano player in Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers. In 1946, he signed with the King Records label. Mullican was a performer with wide-ranging tastes. A piano-pounding honky-tonk man, his playing had a significant musical influence on Jerry Lee Lewis, and others. Many of his King sides, cut with Black producer Henry Glover, jumped to the beat of hardcore R&B.
Floyd "Salty" Holmes
C&W singer/guitarist/harmonica/Jug,,
and member "The Prarie Ramblers," died.
Age: 60.

Maurice Chevalier
died in Paris, France.
Age: 84.
Maurice Chevalier - Wikipedia

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Harry Reser
  • Easy Goin'

Harry Reser - The Old Town Pump - (w/ Paul Rickenback at the piano)
  • "The Clock And The Banjo", (w/ Paul Rickenback at the piano), (Harry Reser)

    The Goofus Five

    The Goofus Five - Sonny Boy - Vocal Chorus bt Irving Kaufman


    Sonny Boy

    Climb up on my knee Sonny Boy
    Though you're only three Sonny Boy
    You've no way of knowing
    There's no way of showing
    What you mean to me Sonny Boy.

    When there are grey skies,
    I don't mind the grey skies.
    You make them blue Sonny Boy.
    Friends may foresake me.
    Let them all foresake me.
    I still have you Sonny Boy.

    You're sent from heaven
    And I know your worth.
    You made a heaven 
    For me here on earth.

    When I'm old and grey dear
    Promise you won't stray dear
    For I love you so Sonny Boy.

    When there are grey skies,
    I don't mind grey skies.
    You make them blue Sonny Boy.
    Friends may foresake me.
    Let them all foresake me.
    I still have you Sonny Boy.

    You're sent from heaven
    And I know your worth.
    You've made a heaven
    For me here on earth.

    And the angels grew lonely
    Took you because they were lonely
    I'm lonely too Sonny Boy.
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