Little Laura Dukes with Robert Burse, Dick Rowles, Louis Allen, Wilfred Bell and Will Batts 1930's.


Will Batts Band 
Will Batts, (Blues and Jug Band style) violin
b. Michigan, MS, USA, d. April 16, 1954.
Will Batts was the primary instrumentalist in (singer-guitarist) Jack Kelly's 'South Memphis Jug Band'. Recorded for the Banner, Melotone, and Vocalion labels.
~by Jason Ankeny

Fiddler Will Batts was the primary instrumentalist in Jack Kelly's South Memphis Jug Band, a popular string band whose music owed a heavy debt to the blues as well as minstrel songs, vaudeville numbers, reels and rags. Born January 24, 1904 in Michigan, Mississippi, Batts was working as a farm hand when he decided to pursue a career in music full-time; he sooned joined Kelly's band, a fixture of the Beale Street area, and in 1933 they made their first recordings, followed in 1939 by a second and final session. Batts also backed a variety of other Memphis performers, including minstrel singer Frank Stokes; a 1952 session with harpist Big Walter Horton was his last known recording date -- he died on April 16, 1954.

Will Batts Cadillac Baby

Joe Albany, Piano
b. Atlantic City, NJ, USA. 
d. Jan. 12, 1988
Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, he had studied piano as a child and by 1943 he was working on the West Coast in Benny Carter's orchestra. In 1946 he was playing with Parker and also Miles Davis. He continued for a few years afterward and was on an album by Warne Marsh album in 1958. Despite that most of the 1950s and 1960s saw him battling a heroin addiction or living in seclusion in Europe. He also had several unsuccessful marriages in the period. He returned to jazz in the 1970s and produced a few albums. He died in New York City.

Jimmy Forrest, Tenor Saxophone
b. St. Louis, MO, USA.
d. August 26, 1980, Grand Rapids, MI, USA.
né: James Robert Forrest, Jr.
Biography ~by Scott Yanow
A fine all-round tenor player, Jimmy Forrest is best-known for recording "Night Train," a song that he "borrowed" from the last part of Duke Ellington's "Happy Go Lucky Local." While in high school in St. Louis, Forrest worked with pianist Eddie Johnson, the legendary Fate Marable, and the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra. In 1938, he went on the road with Don Albert and
then was with Jay McShann's Orchestra (1940-1942). In New York, Forrest played with Andy Kirk (1942-1948) and Duke Ellington (1949) before returning to St. Louis. After recording "Night Train,"

Forrest became a popular attraction and recorded a series of jazz-oriented R&B singles. Among his most important later associations were with Harry "Sweets" Edison (1958-1963), Count Basie's Orchestra (1972-1977), and Al Grey, with whom he co-led a quintet until his death. Forrest recorded for United (reissued by Delmark), Prestige/New Jazz (1960-1962), and Palo Alto (1978). 
Jimmy Forrest - Wikipedia

Les Houck, vocalist
b. Cisna Park, IL, USA.
d. Sept. 4, 1992, Roseburg, OR, USA.
né: Lester Franklin Houck.
Les is perhaps best remembered for his days as a member of the Biltmore Trio vocal group (the other two were Don Dorsey and Ned Hewitt). Named for one of the venues where they appeared, Los Angeles' Biltmore Hotel, they sang with the Earl Burtnett Band (with whom they also recorded) and with the Ted Fio Rito orchestra too. Les married another entertainer (vocals and banjo), Dottie, whom he met when they were both appearing at Denver's Elitch's Gardens. (Later, Dottie would take a position at Paramount Pictures where she was a head seamstress working under famed costume designer Edith Head.)
When the Big Band era closed, the couple settled in Burbank, CA, USA, where Les found work with the Prudential Insurance Company. He remained with Prudential until his retirement 30 years later, after which be briefly worked with another insurance firm (Security Life) and even sold cars for awhile. Very sadly, the couple divorced, although Dottie remained in touch with Les and also with Don Dorsey and his wife. Les did re-marry and continued to play the organ and write music in his spare time. (The Big Bands Database Plus thanks Ms. Pam Houch Shriver for this information on her father, Les Houck.)

James Kok, leader/Violin
b. Czernowitz, Bukovina.
d: Oct. 18, 1976, Berlin, Germany.
né: James Arthur Kok.
Between 1929 and 1932 Rumanian James Kok founded one of the hottest big bands in Germany.
The orchestra consisted mainly of German musicians (e.g. Fritz Schulze: piano, Erhard Bauschke:clarinet, Piano, Scat-vocal and Kurt Wege: Saxophon, Clarinet). Bandleader Kok attracted negative attention from the "Reichsmusikkammer" (Reichs-music-board) because of his outspoken public support of the British Jack Hylton Orchestra, which was rather unpopular with the Nazis. This incident led to the discovery of his "half-Jewish" origin and resulted in his work ban. Kok escaped to England, survived the war and afterwards lived in Switzerland.
Eberhardt Bauschke continued his work leading the "Aryanized" band from summer 1935 on.
Avery Parrish, Piano
b. Birmingham, Al, USA
d. Dec. 10, 1959, New York, NY.
Besides his great piano playing, he will always be recalled as the composer of "After Hours". 
~by Scott Yanow

Avery Parrish will always be most famous for his 1940 recording of "After Hours" with Erskine Hawkins' Orchestra but his playing career was actually tragically brief. Parris attended Alabama State Teachers College where he became a member of the 'Bama Street Collegians in 1934, which in time became the Erskine Hawkins Big Band. Parrish was with Hawkins through the glory years, staying until 1941 and appearing on all of the band's early recordings. His "After Hours," a classic blues solo, would become a standard in future years. Parrish left Hawkins in 1941 to work in California but a year later he was in a bar fight, suffered partial paralysis and his playing career was over; he was only 24. Avery Parrish, who never recorded under his own name, spent the rest of his life working day jobs and when he was 42 he died mysteriously.

Avery Parrish - Wikipedia
Dan Sane, guitar/vocals
b. Michigan, MI, USA.
d. Feb. 18, 1956, Memphis, TN, USA.
The lives of Bluesmen Dan Sane, Will Batts (b. Jan. 24, 1904, Memphis, TN, USA - (see above entry), Jack Kelly (b. ca. 1905, Mississippi, USA, d. ca. 1960, Memphis, TN, USA), and Frank Stokes (b. Jan. 1, 1888, Whitehaven (near Memphis), TN, USA, d. Sept. 12, 1955, Memphis, TN, USA (Stroke) are intertwined. (Sane and Batts have the same birthdate.) Dan Sane may be best known for his long collaboration with guitarist Frank Stokes. During the 1920s, Sane relocated to Memphis where he played in the string band led by violinist Will Batts, and where he first began playing with Frank Stokes. A little later, the two guitarists again worked together, this time in Jack Kelly's Memphis Jug Band. In 1927, the duo made their own first recordings for the Paramount label. In 1928, they moved to Victor but returned to Paramount the following year. Their 1929 Paramount sides were their last as a team, although Sane continued performing with Frank Stokes until 1952 when Stokes retired.
~by Jason Ankeny

Best known for his work in collaboration with guitar partner Frank Stokes, Dan Sane was born in Michigan, Mississippi on January 24, 1904. Upon relocating to Memphis during the 1920s, he played in the string band led by violinist Will Batts; there Sane first began playing with Stokes, and the two guitarists also worked together in Jack Kelly's jug band. When the duo made their first recordings for the Paramount label in 1927, they had emerged among the most complementary duos in all of the blues, with Sane's flatpicking ideally embellished by Stokes' fluid rhythms. They moved to Victor in 1928, but by the following year were back on Paramount; these 1929 sides were their last together, although Sane continued performing with Stokes up until the latter's 1952 retirement. Sane died in Memphis on February 18, 1956.

Dan Sane - Wikipedia

Isadore "Tuts" Washington, Pianist
b: New Orleans, LA, USA
d. August 5, 1984, New Orleans, LA, USA
(while on stage at the New Orleans World's Fair).
"Tuts" was also widely known as "Papa Yellow".
~by Jason Ankeny

A longtime staple of the New Orleans blues and boogie-woogie community, pianist Isidore "Tuts" Washington was a primary influence on later Crescent City players spanning from Professor Longhair to Allen Toussaint to Fats Domino. Born January 24, 1907, he began teaching himself piano at the age of ten; inspired by the itinerant New Orleans musician Joseph Louis "Red" Cayou, Washington amassed a vast repertoire of songs by memorizing performances by area brass bands, then quickly returning home to develop his own renditions. Recognized as something of a prodigy, Washington -- also known as "Papa Yellow" -- was already the superior of most local barrelhouse pianists by his teen years, and he regularly sat in with prominent Dixieland and society bands; his style brought together an eclectic mix of ragtime, jazz and blues textures, and despite a general reliance on instrumentals, he was also known to pull the occasionally bawdy vocal number out of his bag of tricks.

Washington achieved his greatest success in the company of singer/guitarist Smiley Lewis, with whom he joined forces during the late 1940s; prior to the 1952 breakup, they cut for Imperial some of the landmark New Orleans R&B sides of the period, among them "Tee-Nah-Nah," "The Bells Are Ringing" and "Dirty People." However, for the most part, Washington considered recording of little consequence, content instead in his standing as the consensus choice as the French Quarter's champion pianist; as a result, he regularly rejected offers to cut solo sides, and in 1950 set out to conquer new territories, relocating to St. Louis to join the Tab Smith Orchestra. He was back in New Orleans by the end of the decade, signing on with the Clyde Kerr Orchestra and adding a new pop-oriented dimension to his playing for the sake of tourists. Finally, in 1983 -- at the age of 76 -- Washington consented to his first solo recordings, cutting New Orleans Piano Professor for Rounder; he died on August 5, 1984 during a performance at the New Orleans World's Fair. mino, Professor Longhair, James Booker, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint.
Tuts Washington - Wikipedia
Tuts Washington | AllMusic

"Tiny" Winters, Bass
b. London, England
d. Feb. 7, 1996. 
né: Frederick Gittens. 
~by Chris Kelsey
A well-known and respected figure on the British jazz scene for over six decades, Winters began playing professionally in the '30s with such leaders as Ray Fox, Bert Ambrose, Lew Stone, and Ray Noble. He recorded with Coleman Hawkins in 1934 and as a leader in 1936. From 1948-55 he played a regular gig at the Hatchett's Club in London. He also worked freelance as a session player and in theatrical orchestras. 

Beginning in the early '80s, Winters played with the British cornetist Digby Fairweather in the Kettner's Five. In 1989 Winters recorded with the octogenarian saxophonist Benny Waters on the latter's final European recording session. Winters played on Fairweather's recorded tribute to trumpeter/singer Nat Gonella, With Nat in Mind, in 1994. 
Tiny Winters - Wikipedia
OBITUARY : Tiny Winters
Lew Stone and His Band ( & Tiny Winters) - " Ain´t Got Nobody"

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Thomas Alva Edison sells his latest invention, the phonograph, for $10,000 and a 10% royalty. As a result of this deal, The Edison Speaking Phonograph Company is set up.

George Gershwin attends the premiere of Levee Land, a group of four jazz-based songs by black composer William Grant Still, performed by Broadway star Florence Mills, at Aeolian Hall, New York City, USA.

Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded "Stompin' at the Savoy," in a session at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. It is now a "standard" that has been recorded by hundreds of various artists.

Ken Darby, songwriter, died.
Perhaps his best known tune
is "Love Me Tender"
Ken Darby - Wikipedia

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Leona Williams and her Dixie Band - “Cruel Daddy Blues”, (Tim Brymn) 


The Virginians - “If You'll Come Back”, (Sam Erlich / J. Turner Layton) 


University Six - “Then I'll Be Happy”

Billy Lustig and The Scranton Sirens Orchestra - “Why Should I Believe In You?” 

The California Ramblers 


Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang
“Wild Cat”, (Eddie Lang / Joe Venuti)

Charlie Johnson's Paradise Orchestra - “Charleston Is The Best Dance After All”, (Charlie Johnson / Arthur Porter)

Bert Firman's Dance Orchestra, “Rhapsody in Blue” Carroll Gibbons, piano

Waring's Pennsylvanians  -“The Yale Blues”, (Collie Knox / Vivian Ellis)

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - “My Heart Stood Still”, (Rogers / Hart)


Ben Pollack and His Park Central Orchestra - “Let's Sit And Talk About You”, (Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)

Speckled Red - Wilkins Street Stomp

Ray Miller and His Orchestra - Cradle Of Love
  • My Angeline
  • Mississippi Here I Am


Ted Lewis and his Band - “Dinah”, (Sam M. Lewis / Joe Young / Harry Akst)


The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet - John The Revelator


~(Cliff Friend - S. Clare - L. Brown)

I wanna go where you go, do what you do
Love when you love then I'll be happy
Smile when you smile then I'll be happy.
I wanna sigh when you sigh, cry when you cry
I'll follow you sweetheart and share your little love nest
I wanna go where you go, do what you do
Love when you love then I'll be happy.
If you go north or south, if you go east or west
(I wanna go where you go, do what you do)
Love when you love then I'll be happy
(I wanna sigh when you sigh, cry when you cry)
Smile when you smile then I'll be happy.
I wanna go where you go, do what you do
I'll follow you sweetheart and share your little love nest
If you go north or south, if you go east or west
Love when you love then I'll be happy...
brought to you by... 

Special Thanks To: 
The Red Hot Jazz Archives, The Big Band Database
Scott Yanow, and all those who have provided content,
images and sound files for this site.

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