Oscar Aleman, Guitar
b. Resistencia, Argentina
d. 1980 
~by Scott Yanow

Oscar Alemán, one of the finest jazz guitarists of the 1930s, is a difficult player to evaluate because he sounded like a near-exact duplicate of Django Reinhardt. Since Django was a year younger, some have speculated that he developed his style from Alemán, although the opposite is just as likely.
Alemán began playing guitar as a teenager in Argentina and in the late '20s, he moved to Europe, Spain at first. By 1931, he was living in Paris and during 1933-1935, he was a regular member of Freddy Taylor's Swing Men From Harlem. Alemán appeared on records with trumpeter Bill Coleman and clarinetist Danny Polo and was the leader on eight selections from 1938-1939. He moved back to Argentina in 1941 and, although he recorded as late as 1974, few outside of his native country have ever heard of him.

Strangely enough, Oscar Alemán does not seem to have ever visited the United States and none of his many recordings of swing tunes in his post-Europe years (except for a few titles put out by the collectors TOM label) have ever been released domestically.
Charles Boulanger, Leader
d. Nov. 1967
The Boulanger band was based in Hartford, Connecticut and often played for Broadway productions and supper clubs in and around New York. The band's style began to change once they toured. During Boulanger's first Midwest tour, he hired famed drummer, Herman Dressel, who made a name for himself while with Hal McIntyer's band. The sound of the band changed while on tour to reflect Dressel's talents.
George Simon once wrote that Charlie Boulanger, "put together a pleasantly subdued orchestra that eschewed the usual blatant brass and crunchy rhythms prevalent in the Broadway-type nightclubs it played, while still satifiying customers with its light, lilting, melodic sounds."
These notes supplied thru the courtesy of Mr. Dan DelFiorentino.

Beulah Bryant, vocals
b. Dayton, AL, USA. 
~by Eugene Chadbourne

Claimed by the proud state of Alabama as one of their homegrown talents, Beulah Bryant was born Blooma Bryant and sang in local church groups. She left the state as a teenager, though, relocating to California in 1936 and more or less officially launching her professional career about a decade later by winning an amateur contest held by a network radio show. This victory inspired her to start up her own trio, which worked regularly in California. In the mid '40s she moved to New York and by 1950 was part of a group of signings pulled off by Joe Davis wearing his hat as an MGM A&R man. The June Billboard of that year announced that the label had "inked West Coast blues thrush Beulah Bryant." She made some excellent recordings with a group of musicians that had also backed up singers such as Irene Redfield and Millie Bosman, including the fine trombonist Will Bradley and trumoeter Taft Jordan.

Bryant's style was tailored from the same type of musical suits worn by the so-called "blues shouters." She had strong, authoritive delivery, a sense of rhythm that was like a bass drum pedal come to life, and the advantage of some first class material created specifically for her by contributors such as singer and writer Irene Higginbotham, most notably the meaty "Fat Mama Blues". As good as these records were, the singer must have supported herself from her gigs or had an additional job, since the payment from the label was almost non-existent--for example, her advance for one session was only $50. Up through the '70s, she kept busy performing in radio, films and television as well as keeping up a tiring schedule of personal appearances. She also maintained an exhaustive touring schedule.

Richard Himber, Leader
b. Newark, NJ, d. 1966.
In addition to his band leading, he also left us a few noteable popular songs such as "Cling To Me", "Day After Day" (Johnny Green/Himber tune), "Footloose and Fancy Free", "If I Should Lose You (Robin/Rainger tune)," "In the Chapel In the Moonlight (Billy Hill tune)" and "Stars Fell On Alabama. (Perkins/Parish tune)"
[ Richard Himber Orch. ]
Theme Song: "It Isn't Fair"
As a child Himber studied the violin, celeste and vibraphone. He started his professional career working on the Vaudeville circuits. In time, he spent three years working with the great vaudevillian Sophie Tucker's act. 
Later, he wrote some wonderful arrangements for another vaudeville and radio star Rudy Vallee. In 1929 he was with Jean Goldkette's orchestra, broadcasting from Chicago, IL. During 1934, he formed his own band for an engagement at New York's prestigious Essex House (also heard on radio). The band was called "Richard Himber and his Essex House Orchestra". Joey Nash was the vocalist. At that time. The Himber band mostly 'inhabited' New York's Central Park South area (the swank Hotel District). The band had an act called "The Parade of Bands". The orchestra would instantly imitate the playing and theme song of any band called out by the audience.

In 1934, his was the featured String Ensemble on the CBS Studebaker Parade of Champions show. Here's a photo of Richard Himber with String Ensemble. Himber is in lower right hand corner talking to his harpist Verly Mills. In 1935, his band was featured on Ludens Cough Drops Program. Here's still another photo of Richard Himber. Himber's early band was a good one especially when Bill Challis was doing the scores.
In the 1930's Himber and the orchestra did a lot of studio work, and the band was great (and occasionally original). When the 'bigbands' came along, he completely changed and started using a stylized type of scoring (he called it 'Pyramid' music). His band was voted best band of 1938. During his vaudeville days, he picked up some magic tricks, and also some eccentric dance routines. In later years, he would often entertain the audiences some some of these routines.
Jack Jackson
b. England, UK.
Played with Jack Hylton and others. 

~by Jason Ankeny

British bandleader Jack Jackson was born in Yorkshire in 1907, going on to study at the Royal Academy of Music. His first professional gigs were as a trumpeter on ocean liners, followed by stints backing Jack Hylton and Bert Ambrose; he also played with Bert Ralston on the ill-fated 1931 tour of South America which ended in Ralston's death.

After two years with Jack Payne, in 1933 Jackson formed his own big band which was soon booked into the Dorchester Hotel, where it remained until the spring of 1939; in between the orchestra cut a number of recordings, some of them spotlighting blues legend Alberta Hunter. Following their stay at the Dorchester, the group toured theaters, ballrooms and hotels until disbanding in 1947; Jackson later moved on to a career in broadcasting. 
Jack Jackson (British radio)

Seymour Osterwall
tenor sax, leader
d. Aug. 3, 1981.
Osterwall led a great Swedish Jazz band.
Other Swedish Jazzmen include Arne Huphers, Nisse Lind, Thore Ehrling, Gosta Torner, Putte Wickman, Bengt Hallberg, Lars Gullin, Arne Domnérus, Ernst Rolf's Jazz Band, Helge Lindberg's Crystal Band, Swedish Paramount Orchestra, Fredrik Ljungkvist, Fredrik Nordstrom Quintet, Magnus Lindgren & The Swedish Radio Jazz Group, Mats Holmquist Stora Stygga Big Bad Band, Lennard Åberg, Bosse Broberg & Nogenja Jazz Soloist Ensemble, etc.

Fred Robinson, Trombone
b. Memphis, TN, USA
d. 1984 
~by Scott Yanow 
It seems odd that trombonist Fred Robinson had such a long life, for he is chiefly remembered for his work with Louis Armstrong from 1928-29, particularly the recordings with Armstrong's Savoy Ballroom Five. Robinson started playing trombone while in high school. After studying in Ohio at the Dana Musical Institute and freelancing, he moved to Chicago in 1927, where he worked with Carroll Dickerson's Orchestra -- an ensemble that Armstrong soon joined. Robinson was on quite a few of Satch's 1928 records and nearly all the ones with Earl Hines, taking a much more subservient role than Kid Ory had with Armstrong from 1925-27 (although Robinson did have some short solos).

He continued working with Armstrong the following year and traveled to New York as part of Armstrong's big band. The trombonist then had associations with many orchestras including Edgar Hayes, Marion Hardy (1931), Charlie Turner's Arcadians, Don Redman (1931-33), Benny Carter (1933), four stints with Fletcher Henderson (1935, 1938, 1939 and 1941), Jelly Roll Morton (with whom he recorded in 1939), Andy Kirk (1939-40), George James (1943) and Cab Calloway (1944-45). Although part of jazz history, Robinson did not have many opportunities to solo with any of these groups; he mostly played in the background. Later associations included Sy Oliver (off and on from 1946-50) and Noble Sissle (1950-51) plus a lot of freelancing. Robinson, who never led his own record date, stopped being a full-time player by the mid-1950s (becoming a subway worker) although he occasionally gigged into the 1960s.
Fred Robinson: Information from

Jimmy Yancey, Piano
b. Chicago, IL, USA
d. Sept. 17, 1951.
(some sources say b. 1898) 
~by Chris Kelsey

One of the seminal boogie-woogie pianists, Yancey was active in and around Chicago playing house parties and clubs from 1915, yet he remained unrecorded until May 1939, when he recorded "The Fives" and "Jimmy's Stuff" for a small label. Soon after, he became the first boogie-woogie pianist to record an album of solos, for Victor. By then, Yancey's work around Chicago had already influenced such younger and better-known pianists as Meade "Lux" Lewis, Pinetop Smith, and Albert Ammons.

Yancey played vaudeville as a tap dancer and singer from the age of six. He settled in Chicago in 1915, where he began composing songs and playing music at informal gatherings. In 1925, he became groundskeeper at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox baseball team. Yancey was a musician's musician, remaining mostly unknown and unheard outside of Chicago until 1936, when Lewis recorded one of his tunes, "Yancey Special." Three years later, producer Dan Qualey became the first to record Yancey for his new Solo Art label. After the Victor recordings, Yancey went on to record for OKeh and Bluebird. In later years, Yancey performed with his wife, blues singer Estelle "Mama" Yancey; they appeared together at Carnegie Hall in 1948.
Yancey was not as technically flashy as some of his disciples, but he was an expressive, earthy player with a flexible left hand that introduced an air of unpredictability into his bass lines. His playing had a notable peculiarity: Although he wrote and performed compositions in a variety of keys, he ended every tune in E flat. He was also an undistinguished blues singer, accompanying himself on piano. Although Yancey attained a measure of fame for his music late in life, he never quit his day job, remaining with the White Sox until just before his death.

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Felix Arndt records his own composition, the ragtime piano solo From Soup To Nuts, in New York City, USA. 

Larry Clinton Orchestra
recorded "Limehouse Blues"

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


The Virginians - Bees Knees


Bailey's Lucky Seven
  • Yearning
  • No Wonder

The Savoy Orpheans - Alabamy Bound

  • You Can Dance With Any Girl At All

Ethel Waters - Sugar That Sugar Baby O' Mine


Louisiana Rhythm Kings - That's A Plenty

Waring's Pennsylvanians

Annette Hanshaw - Mean To Me


Charleston Chasers - Sing, You Sinners

Lee Morse and her Bluegrass Boys - I've Got Five Dollars
Lee Morse and her Bluegrass Boys Walkin' My Baby Back Home

Annette Hanshaw - You're The One I Care For

Annette Hanshaw - Walkin' My Baby Back Home


New Orleans Rhythm Kings
  • Baby Brown
  • No Lovers Allowed
  • (Oh! Susanna) Dust Off The Old Piano
  • Since We Fell Out Of Love


You're mean to me
Why must you be mean to me?
Gee, honey, it seems to me
You love to see me cryin'
I don't know why
I stay home each night
When you say you phone
You don't and I'm left alone.
Sing the blues and sighin'
You treat me coldly each day in the year
You always scold me
Whenever somebody is near, dear
I must be great fun to be mean to me
You shouldn't, for can't you see
What you mean to me

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.

No comments: