Lillian "Lil" Hardin Armstrong
d. August 27, 1971.
aka: Lil Hardin Armstrong. Louis Armstrong's first wife.
This gifted lady was a fine musician in her own right (excellent pianist). She also wrote many of the Freddie Keppard Creole Jazz Band arrangements. She met Satchmo when both were playing in King Oliver's Original Creole Jazz Band (in Chicago). They were married and later Lil was also the pianist with Louis Armstrong's Hot Five.
Lil Harden Armstrong will always be best known for her influence in shaping Louis Armstrong's career (persuading him to leave King Oliver's band and accept Fletcher Henderson's offer in New York) and for her work with Louis' Hot Five and Seven, but she actually had an interesting career after she parted with Armstrong.

Early on she worked in Chicago demonstrating new songs at a music store. She worked with Sugar Johnny's Creole Orchestra and then Freddie Keppard's Original Creole Orchestra before becoming a member of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band. Lil Armstrong's rhythmic piano helped keep the ensembles solid and she made her recording debut with Oliver in 1923. She met Louis Armstrong while in the band and their marriage lasted from 1924-1938, although they separated in 1931.

~by Scott Yanow

Lil played piano and occasionally sang on Louis' famous Hot Five and Seven recordings, and she composed "Struttin' With Some Barbeque." During the latter half of the 1930s she was house pianist at Decca, recording 26 titles as a leader (mostly as a vocalist) during 1936-1940, including her "Just For a Thrill." 

Although she rarely recorded during the remainder of her career (12 titles during 1945-1947, six songs in 1953-1954, two selections in 1959, and an album in 1961), Lil Armstrong remained active during her last 30 years in Chicago.

She recorded a talking record in 1959 on which she reminisced about her days with Louis Armstrong, and ironically she died of a heart attack while playing "St. Louis Blues" at an Armstrong tribute concert less than two months after Louis himself had passed away.

Martin Block Make Believe Ballroom

Martin Block
Amer. Disk Jockey
d. Sept. 19, 1967.
His "Make Believe Ballroom" was perhaps the best known DJ show in all radio.
WNEW [New York] 1934 Make Believe Ballroom
ABC Radio (KSWB) [LA] 1946 - Make Believe Ballroom
WOR [New York] 1965
Inducted into Broadcasting Hall of Fame [New York] 1988
Passed away in 1967.

Bully Buhlan, vocals/pianist
b. Berlin, Germany.
d. Nov. 7, 1982, Germany.
Age 58
First popular singer of Post-WW2 Germany.
Often worked with singer Rita Paul. their greatest hit was "Maecki Boogie", composed for them by Michael Jary.
Bully Buhlan – Wikipedia

Dolly Dawn, Vocal
b. Newark, NJ, USA
d. Dec. 11, 2002, New York, NY, USA (kidney failure).
née: Theresa Anna Maria Stabile, bandleader Dick Stabile's cousin.
As a teen-ager, she was singing on a local weekend radio show under the name Billie Starr. She soon won first place in an amateur talent contest in Newark, conducted by the George Hall orchestra. Two years later, after learning that Loretta Lee, Hall's 'girl' vocalist was leaving the band, Dolly auditioned for Hall and won the job. Hall wanted a different stage name for his new singer. 
After the New York Journal-American columnist Harriet Mencken met Dolly, Mencken reportedly said "Well, you're as dimpled as a dolly, and as fresh as the dawn." Mencken asked Hall "What about Dolly Dawn?" In 1935, Loretta Lee left, and Hall began featuring the 16 year old Dolly Dawn. Her success was almost immediate and just a year later, she appeared in a Vitaphone Short with the Hall orchestra.
Hall's full orchestra had somewhat pedestrian arrangements, and soon Dolly was singing with a small group of musicians from the main band, under the billing "Dolly Dawn and Her Dawn Patrol". The band's, and her, success was greatly helped by their broadcasts from New York's Hotel Taft (later home for the Vincent Lopez band). Six days a week, they were heard in a 30-minute broadcast over the CBS radio network from noon to 12:30. 

On July 4, 1941, in a ceremony at New York's Roseland Ballroom, he officially turned over the band's leadership to Miss Dawn, continuing to serve just as the band's manager. It proved to be the apex of Dolly's career. 

At the height of her success, Miss Dawn was simultaneously under contact to two rival record labels: RCA's Bluebird label with the George Hall Orchestra, and Vocalion, Columbia's Jazz label, as Dolly Dawn and Her Dawn Patrol. In 1941, Hall decided to stop leading his band. 
America entered World War II, and in less than a year, her musicians were drafted into the U. S. Armed Forces. 'Dolly Dawn and Her Dawn Patrol' disbanded. Dolly did continue with a solo career, but never matched her previous success. By the early 1950s, her career was in decline. Until her demise, Dolly performed occasionally in New York clubs. Her signature tune was "You're a Sweetheart".

Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon
b. Montgomery, AL, USA.
d. 1944.
This 5'2" Black entertainer was very active in Chicago, IL, during the 1920s, with his "Quarts of Joy Orch." A great favorite; sometimes appeared as a female impersonator. During WW2, worked for Federal Gov't and continued that till he retired.
~by Scott Yanow

Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon was an eccentric singer and a mysterious figure who disappeared after the mid-'40s. Called "Half Pint" due to being 5'2", Jaxon (who was an orphan) grew up in Kansas City. At 15 he began singing in variety shows and at clubs.

He toured with a theatrical troupe in Texas and Oklahoma, forming with Miss Gallie De Gaston a song and dance team that did well in vaudeville during 1912-24.

When he was 21, Jaxon began working regularly in Atlantic City (usually the Paradise Café) in the summer and the Sunset Café in Chicago in the winter. An expert at staging shows, Half Pint helped Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters (among others) put on their productions. Jaxon, who also worked as a female impersonator, a pianist-singer and a saxophonist, was mostly in Chicago during 1927-41, a period when he made many recordings. In 1930 he formed the Quarts of Joy and he often appeared on the radio in the 1930s. Jaxon used his best-known composition "Fan It" (which would later be recorded by Woody Herman) as a trademark song.

Although still popular, Jaxon dropped out of music altogether in 1941, working for the government in Washington D.C. In 1944 he moved to Los Angeles and largely disappeared, never to be heard from again by the musical world.
Half Pint Jaxon's recordings as a leader (which date from 1926-40) include such sidemen as washboardist Jasper Taylor, pianist Georgia Tom Dorsey, banjoist Ikey Robinson, cornetist Punch Miller, the Harlem Hamfats (1937-38), clarinetist Barney Bigard, pianist Lil Armstrong, and trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen.
Mabel Mercer, vocals
b. Birmingham, England
d. April 20, 1984, Pittsfield, MA, USA.
~by John Bush
Respected and honored by her peers, cabaret singer Mabel Mercer was one of the strongest song interpreters in traditional pop, a large influence on singers including Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, as well as a ready rediscoverer of once-forgotten nuggets like "Fly Me to the Moon." 

Born in Birmingam, England, Mercer was the child of American jazz singer Warren Mercer, Sr. (who died before Mabel's birth) and British music-hall actress Gertrude Doak.
Though she was classically trained in voice, her professional debut came as a dancer, while she was still in her teens. Mercer was back to vocals by the '20s, and during the decade she appeared in clubs throughout Europe as well as the Middle East. 
By the end of the Roaring Twenties, she had settled in Paris and gained fame on the city's cabaret scene, populated and made famous by American expatriates from Cole Porter to Ernest Hemingway.

Mabel Mercer made her New York debut in 1938, and soon began a club residency that eventually lasted twenty years. Her notable influence on Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, and Nat King Cole gained her additional fans; after signing to Atlantic in the early '50s, Mercer recorded several LPs during the decade. During the '60s, she recorded two live LPs with Bobby Short. The following decade saw her appearing at Carnegie Hall and on her own British television special. Despite a brief retirement, she returned in the early '80s and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"Kid Thomas" Valentine, Trumpet
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.

d. 1987
~by Scott Yanow

One of the more controversial of the New Orleans revivalist players of the 1960's, Kid Thomas Valentine was hailed by some partisans as one of the great interpreters of "the real jazz" while others could not get beyond his erratic intonation and his occasionally out-of-tune solos. The feeling was there but the technique tended to be uncertain. However allowances could be made for his advanced age since Kid Thomas was still playing when he was 91!

Valentine (who was often simply known as Kid Thomas) began playing at the age of ten and when he was 14 he joined the Pickwick Brass Band; his professional career would last 77 years. He worked locally until 1922 when he moved to New Orleans, freelancing in a variety of brass and dance hall bands (including his own Algiers Stompers which he formed in 1926) throughout the next few decades. Valentine first appeared on records in 1951 and he was a regular at Preservation Hall starting in 1961, often playing with George Lewis.
Valentine participated in tours of the North that were organized by Big Bill Bissonnette and was one of the last original proponents of the pre-Louis Armstrong New Orleans trumpet style. He recorded fairly frequently after 1951 for such labels as American Music, MNO, Center, Mono, 77, Jazzology, Riverside, Jazz Crusade, Music of New Orleans, San Jacinto, Dixie, Jazz Macon Club, La Croix, Storyville, Paragon, Sonet, Smoky Mary, Maison Bourbon, Honky Tonk, Lulu White's Black Label, Picayune and Maryland Jazzband.
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

"Amapola", was recorded by the
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (Decca)
with a Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Lopez and Hamilton's Kings of Harmony Orchestra
  • Afghanistan
  • Patches


Ted Lewis and his Band
  • Ah-Ha!


Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra
  • Behind the Clouds
  • Drifting Apart


Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra - New Orleans Low-Down

Andy Preer and the Cotton Club Orchestra

Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra - Sunny Disposish


Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra

McKinney's Cotton Pickers - Honeysuckle Rose

McKinney's Cotton Pickers 
  • Zonky - Vocal refrain by Dave Wilborn

Tom Gerun and his Orchestra
  • Atta Boy

Red Nichols' Five Pennies - After You're Gone


Annette Hanshaw - Let's Fall In Love


Isham Jones and his Orchestra - Stompin' At The Savoy


~Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
~Music by Philip Charig

A sunny disposish will always see you through
When up above the skies are black instead of
being blue
Mr. Trouble makes our faces roll on not a smile
Without his saying 'so long'
(I'm on my way!)

It really doesn't pay to be a gloomy pill
It's absolutely most
ridic, positively sil,
The rain may pitter patter
It really doesn't matter
For life can be delish
with a sunny disposish!

It really doesn't pay to be a gloomy pill
It's absolutely most ridic, positively sil,
The rain may pitter patter
It really doesn't matter
For life can be delish
With a sunny disposish!

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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