Dave Apollon, Mandolin

b. Kiev, Russia.
~by Johnny Loftus
Dave Apollon was born in Kiev, Russia, in 1897. Originally a student of the violin, he became acquainted with the mandolin through an old bowl-backed model his father had lying about the house. By the young age of 14, he was performing on the instrument in theaters throughout Kiev, but a stint as a soldier during the Russian Revolution stalled his burgeoning career. After the war, Apollon moved to the Philippines, where he continued playing his mandolin and dancing.
After a brief stop in Japan, he headed for America. 

In 1919, Apollon landed in New York and began working in vaudeville. 1932 saw the release of his first recorded material, a mélange of American ragtime rhythms and Russian folk music on which Apollon was accompanied by a troupe of Philippine string musicians. It was also around this time that Apollon began his movie career, dancing and playing the mandolin in a series of "soundies" based on his vaudeville routines.
In 1937, Apollon married Danzi Goodell. He also opened a nightclub -- Club Casanova -- on Manhattan's Upper East Side. While the mandolin was still a part of his life, only a few singles were released during this period. He appeared in the 1938 Universal feature Merry Go Round and began a stint on Broadway with comedian Ed Wynn. He then recorded a series of performances for the Decca label, accompanied by piano and guitar. These recordings remain the best examples of his virtuosic talent on his chosen instrument. In 1946, Apollon jammed with guitarist Django Reinhardt, who was in New York with Duke Ellington's band.
Apollon moved to California in the early '50s and self-released Lots of Love in 1956. The album led to a performance contract with the Desert Inn in Las Vegas that would last until 1963. Billing himself as the World's Greatest Mandolin Virtuoso, Apollon's dancing and playing were a big hit with the swinging Vegas audiences.

The exposure landed a deal with the Coral label, which released three Apollon albums throughout the late '50s and early '60s. His Vegas experiences were the last performances of his colorful life. Apollon passed away at home in 1972. Noted mandolin players such as David Grisman regularly list him as a significant influence. 
Dave Apollon
Dave Apollon - Wikipedia

Sterling Bose, Cornet
b. Florance, AL, USA.
d. 1958 
~by Scott Yanow 
A good early cornetist who was influenced by Bix Beiderbecke, Sterling Bose never updated his style, even when playing in swing bands. He gained early experience sitting in with New Orleans style bands before moving to St. Louis in 1923. He played and recorded with the Crescent City Jazzers and the Arcadian Serenaders during the next few years. 

Original Crescent City Jazzers - Left to right:Felix Guarino, Sterling BoseJohnny Riddick, unknown, unknown, Avery Loposer.
Bose was with Jean Goldkette's Orchestra in Detroit during 1927-28 (the period after Beiderbecke had departed). He was a member of radio station WGN's house band in Chicago until joining Ben Pollack (1930-33).

Bose worked with Eddie Sheasby in Chicago and then became a studio musician in New York. He was with Joe Haymes during 1934-35, staying with the band for a time after Tommy Dorsey took over its leadership. 

Bose was a key player with Ray Noble's American band in 1936 and that year spent a couple months with Benny Goodman's Orchestra (before Harry James) where his Bix style did not really fit in. Bose then had stints with Lana Webster, Glenn Miller (1937), Bob Crosby (1937-39) and the short-lived Bobby Hackett big band (1939).

He also worked with Bob Zurke's Orchestra, Jack Teagarden's big band, Bud Freeman's Orchestra (1942), George Brunies and Bobby Sherwood (1943). Bose played with Miff Mole and Art Hodes, was briefly with Horace Heidt (1944) and then mostly freelanced in New York and Chicago. He settled in Florida in 1948 where he led his own groups. A long illness led to him committing suicide in 1958 at age 52. Although Sterling Bose never led his own record date, he recorded with quite a few groups in the late 1920's and throughout the 30's. 

John Benson Brooks
b. Houlton, ME, USA.
d. Nov. 13, 1999, USA. John Benson Brooks was an American jazz pianist, songwriter, arranger, and composer. Brooks worked early in his career as an arranger for Randy Brooks, Les Brown, Boyd Raeburn, and Tommy Dorsey. He worked often with lyricists Eddie DeLange and Bob Russell in the 1940s; he and DeLange wrote the song "Just as Though You Were Here," a hit for Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra as vocalist. He wrote "You Came a Long Way from St. Louis" with Bob Russell for Ray McKinley in 1948.

Josiah "Cie" Frazier, Drums
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. 1985
~Eugene Chadbourne
The wrinkled face of this elderly drummer was once one of the many living pieces of history one can see in New Orleans. Cie Frazier was one of that city's founding fathers of basic jazz drum styles, so in other words he is at the heart of everything jazzy, no matter how far out it might get. He spent his later years as an often-seen member of the musical aggregation that got together nightly and played at least four sets at Preservation Hall for tourists, any one of whom might cough up the 20-dollar tip necessary to spur a performance of "When the Saints Go Marching In." (Any other song cost only a tenner). If one stopped by the club and he wasn't playing drums, chances are a record producer was in town and he was off in a studio, cutting one of the many superb New Orleans jazz albums he was involved with during his twilight years.
Born Jonah Frazier close to the start of the 20th century, he had his own drum teachers, such as Louis Cottrell Sr., the legendary Red Happy Bolton, and another drumming character who went under the name of Face-O Woods. At 17, Frazier joined the righteous Golden Rule Band, a bit of a family affair, with his cousin Lawrence Marrero. The cousins continued playing together in Marrero's Young Tuxedo Orchestra in the mid-'20s. Frazier cut his first recordings with Oscar Celestin's Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra in 1927; he also gigged with various Celestin outfits. In 1928, the drummer joined the orchestra of A.J. Piron, working with the Sunny South Band and the Sidney Desvigne Orchestra in the early '30s. He continued drumming during the Depression by getting gigs in WPA bands, then drummed his way through a Navy stint with dance bands.
He recorded in 1945 with Wooden Joe Nicholas and in the '50s was back working with Celestin, as well as Percy Humphrey, the brass band of George Williams, and random assignments with the Eureka Brass Band. In the early '60s, he became associated with the Preservation Hall scene and was a regular face there for the next two decades. He also created the lion's share of his recording output during this last period, including sides with Kid Howard, De De Burke, George Lewis, Emil Barnes, "Captain" John Handy, and Don Ewell. His drumming on the Reunion of George Lewis and Ewell is considered a textbook example of the New Orleans snare drum style. Steve McQueen's fans may recall Frazier showing up for an onscreen performance bit in the film The Cincinnati Kid; the drummer also gets screen time in the documentary American Music, From Folk to Jazz to Pop. He remained dedicated to the New Orleans groove to the end. Don't assume otherwise, based on a Helen Reddy recording credit, as this was the result of the song mistress' attempt to "go New Orleans" during a dull part of her career.

Buck Griffin
C&W vocals/guitar
b. Corsicana, TX, USA.
Albert C. "Buck" Griffin was an American country musician and songwriter. He was a popular performer live and on radio, though he never scored a hit on record, and was compared to Hank Williams and Conway Twitty. 
Buck Griffin

Graham Jackson
b. Portsmouth, VA, USA. 
~by Eugene Chadbourne

The man who was reportedly the favorite pianist of president Franklin D. Roosevelt was born into a life of music. Graham Jackson's mother was a well-known singer, and he began displaying melodic and rhythmic talents of his own at an age when most children are trying to master tricycles. Jackson's professional career began in Atlanta after his graduation from high school, his skills quickly landing him a job with the house band at the Royal Theater. As time went on he began leading his own group at this venue, dubbing the new outfit the Seminole Syncopaters.
While most of his musical projects took place around the Atlanta area, Jackson did take a hiatus in Chicago, enrolling at a college in order to study the organ. From the mid-'20s, he was back in Atlanta, his group becoming part of the evening's furnishings at the 81 Theater. Jackson also began working during the day as well, teaching music at both Booker T. Washington High School and Morris Brown College. In the '30s and '40s, he was frequently asked to perform for Roosevelt at the "Little White House" in Hot Springs, Arkansas. There is a famous photograph of a weeping Jackson playing his accordion at Roosevelt's funeral in 1945.
Jackson's bandleading activities continued at a brisk pace through the '50s, often in conjunction with fellow bandleader Ray Snead. In the '60s, GovernorLester Maddox appointed Jackson to the state Board of Corrections, a startling appointment for a black man in Georgia at that time, especially coming from a politician famed for racism. Jackson had retired completely from performing by the mid-'70s, and was deceased by 1985, the year he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. This vintage jazz musician should not be confused with the classical pianist of the same name. 
Graham Jackson

Harold "Money" Johnson, Trumpet
b. Tyler, TX, USA.
d. 1978 
~by Scott Yanow

A journeyman player, Money Johnson was one of the stars with the last version of Duke Ellington's Orchestra in the early 1970's. He began playing trumpet when he was 15, worked with Eddie and Sugar Lou's Hotel Tyler Orchestra and his cousin saxophonist Red Calhoun and played in Oklahoma City (where he met up with Charlie Christian) in 1936. 

The trumpeter spent a long period with Nat Towles' Orchestra (1937-42) including staying over when the band was taken over by Horace Henderson (1942-44). Johnson moved up to the big leagues when he joined Count Basie's Orchestra in 1944 but fame eluded him through stints with Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, and Sy Oliver.
Among his later jobs were periods with Panama Francis, Louis Jordan, Lucky Thompson, Buddy Johnson and Cozy Cole in the 1950's, Reuben Phillips in the early 1960's and Earl Hines (1966-68). His highest profile was when he was a member of Ellington's Orchestra (off and on during 1969-74) during which he was well featured. Money Johnson participated in one of the Buck Clayton recorded jam sessions in 1975 and was active up until the night before his death from a heart attack. 
Money Johnson - Wikipedia

Notable Events 

On This Date Include:

Lani McIntyre Orchestra, with Bing Crosby vocal, recorded "Sweet Leilani". Featured in the film "Waikiki, it won an Academy Award.

Herb Morand, trumpet
died in New Orleans, LA, USA
Age: 47.
Worked with 'The Harlem Hamfats' 
Herb Morand: Information from

June Clark, trumpet
died in New York, NY, USA
Age: 62

Billy Kyle, piano
died in Youngstown, OH, USA
Age: 51.
Worked with both Tiny Bradshaw and Lionel Hampton. 
Billy Kyle: Information from

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include: 


All Star Trio and their Orchestra - Answer (Introducing, All She'd Say Was "Umh Hum")


Hitch's Happy Harmonists

Red Mckenzie and his Mound City Blue Blowers


Bertha "Chippie" Hill
  • Trouble In Mind Piano accompaniment by Richard M. Jones - Trumpet by Louis Armstrong


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - By the Shalimar


Leroy Smith and his Orchestra - Rhapsody In Blue
  • St. Louis Blues

The Rhythmic Eight I Ain't Got Nobody

Waring's Pennsylvanians
  • What Do You Say?


Ray Ventura et ses Collegiens
  • If I Had You
  • Let's Do It
  • Makin' Whoopie
  • Your The Cream In My Coffee

Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces
Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces - Take Your Time

Coon Sanders Nighthawks Orchestra - Kansas City Kitty - Vocal refrain by J.L. Sanders


Ben Pollack and his Orchestra - The Beat Of My Heart
  • Alone On The Range
  • Dancing In The Moonlight
  • Here Goes
  • Ole Mammy Ain't Gonna Sing No More
  • The Voodoo


Ted Weems and his Orchestra
  • A Shack In The Back Of The Hills
  • Buffoon - Whistling by Elmo Tanner
  • In My Little Red Book - Vocal Chorus by Perry Como/Whistling by Elmo Tanner
  • Nola - Whistling by Elmo Tanner


Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra
  • Honky Tonk Train Blues - Frankie Trumbauer presents Rene Faure
  • Lady Be Good
  • Little Rock Getaway
  • National Emblem March
  • Never-Never Land Fantasy
  • Stars And Stripes Forever
  • Sugarfoot Stomp
  • Walkin' The Dog
  • Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams


Trouble In Mind

~ Richard M. Jones

Trouble in mind, I’m blue
But I won’t be blue always
I know the sun's gonna shine in my back door someday
Oh, I got that trouble in mind, that's true
I have almost lost my mind
Oh life ain’t worth livin’
Sometimes I feel like dyin’
Tell you what I’m gonna do
I’m gonna lay my head
on some lonely railroad line
Oh, let that 2:19 train ease my trouble in mind
Meanwhile I got that trouble in mind
And I’m blue
But I won’t be blue always
Oh I know the sun's gonna shine in my back door someday
If things don't get better
I’m goin’ down to the river
I’m gonna take my old rockin' chair
Oh and if those blues overtake me
I’m gonna rock on away from here
But now I got to suffer with that trouble in mind
And I’m blue
But I know I won’t be blue always
Oh the sun’s gonna shine in my backdoor someday.

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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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