Jimmy McPartland
Cornet, b. Chicago, IL, USA.
d. March 13, 1991.
né: James Dougald McPartland - Wife is pianist Marian McPartland.
Jimmy and his brother Dick were original members of the now legendary "Austin High School Gang".
~by Scott Yanow
A solid Dixieland cornetist with his own lyrical sound (initially influenced by Bix Beiderbecke), Jimmy McPartland played the music he loved for over 60 years. The younger brother of guitarist Dick McPartland (1905-1957), Jimmy was a member of the legendary Austin High School Gang in the 1920s. He was Bix Beiderbecke's replacement with the Wolverines during 1925, joined Ben Pollack's band in 1927, and recorded with the McKenzie & Condon's Chicagoans during their famous session. McPartland was one of the main soloists (along with Benny Goodman) with Pollack and he stayed with the band into 1929. He then moved to Chicago, working steadily through the 1930s. While stationed overseas during World War II (1942-1944), he met his future wife, English pianist Marian Turner.
McPartland freelanced at Dixieland sessions during the next four decades, working with Eddie Condon, Art Hodes, and other Chicago jazz veterans and often leading his own band. Although eventually divorced from Marian McPartland, they were still close friends and occasionally played together, remarrying just a few weeks before Jimmy McPartland's death two days short of his 84th birthday.
Many of his best early recordings were collected on an MCA two-LP set in the 1970s. In addition, he recorded as a leader for Harmony, Prestige, MGM, Grand Award, Jazztone, Epic, Mercury, RCA, Design, Jazzology, Halcyon (Marian's label), and Riff.

George Avakian, Producer
b. Armavir, Russia

Spencer W. Clark
Bass Sax/drums
b. Baltimore, MD, USA.
d. May 27, 1998.
~by Eugene Chadbourne
If anything, Spencer Clark is a near mystical figure whose talents would greatly inspire later generations of multi-instrumentalists in creative music. He was an early master of the bass saxophone, thus a hero to many reed players who have set out to conquer instrumental territories at the extreme ranges of pitch. Clark also ignored traditional boundaries within instrument families that might keep a drummer playing only percussion instruments or a brass player from puckering up his lips. Clark was a string player, including mandolin as one of his earliest instruments and string bass much later on. He also played cornet and trumpet, and as for reeds, he began with clarinet. This was the instrument family with which he did his professional gigs -- by then he was on C-melody sax, the year was 1923 and the location was New Rochelle, NY.
It was the virtuoso Adrian Rollini who inspired Clark's interest in what is almost the lowest and largest of saxophones. Both the former maestro and his young protege performed in movie theater orchestras. In 1925 and 1926, Clark would often substitute for Rollini himself in the recording band the California Ramblers. In the mid-'20s Clark was also performing with Joe Tenner's Stage Band and bandleader George Carhart, the latter presenting a ticket to faraway places via his regular stints on ocean liners. In 1928, Carhart took Clark to Europe in an excellent band that also included Bud Freeman and Babe Russin. Clark would also gig with Danny Polo while sampling the European lifestyle, as well as with the Berlin-based Julian Fuhs.

Informal Sessions At Squirrels-That's A Plenty. with Bill Priestley, cornet; Squirrel Ashcraft, piano; Spencer Clark, bass sax, Jack Howe, clarinet; Bud Wilson, trombone; Hoyt Smith, drums.
Clark was more and more able to provide his employers with a variety of instrumental talents. A gig from the spring of 1929 shows instrument cases coming up like daisies in a garden, Clark covering bass sax, guitar, and trumpet for Belgian bandleader Lud Gluskin. In 1931, he returned to New York City and was largely associated with Will Osborne and Fred Waring, indicating a move into dance band land. This trend would continue, and for the next several years, he blew trumpet in Ozzie Nelson's band. From 1933 through 1936, he switched over to saxophone again but was also known to gig as a string bassist.
In the ensuing decades, he began to downplay music, although he doesn't seem to have ever given it up completely. He worked for a newspaper, several airlines, and as a purchasing agent for the city of Highland Park. In 1954, he began playing bass sax for Freddie Wacker's Windy City Seven, cutting an album with the group in 1957. He managed to keep his bass saxophone case in the door during the '60s, meaning regular gigs, since there is not a bandleader alive who would close the door on such an instrument case. Clark retired to North Carolina in the early '70s. There he formed his own trio with his wife Mary Clark on piano, and several different drummers, performing throughout the western part of the state.

Ford T. Dabney
(ragtime) piano
b. Washington, DC, USA
Songwriter Ford Dabney squatted astride a massive mound of royalty gold based on the song "Shine" alone , recorded by Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Bing Crosby, to start with just the first three letters of the alphabet. Already publishing sophisticated numbers such as "That Minor Strain" as early as 1910, Dabney's career is more the stuff of epic poems then Tin Pan Alley ditties. He was a struggling young theatre owner in Washington, wrote "Haitian Rag" while employed as the president of Haiti's official musician from 1904 to 1907 and first gained notoriety as a vaudeville performer.
One of his most important close musical associates was bandleader and composer James Reese Europe, both of whom became collaborators of famed showman Florenz Ziegfeld. The show Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolic was actually performed on the roof of the New Amsterdam Theater in Manhattan; for Dabney and Europe, the showbiz adage "break a leg" had milder implications than usual considering the potential for a serious accident under these circumstances. A much safer side of their musical life was the Clef Club, an exclusive gathering point for the best players where many of the new developments in black orchestral music were born amongst idle chatter and casual jamming.
Dabney wrote what would be his most famous song early on in his career. Following the death of Europe--stabbed by one his percussionists during a 1919 performance--Dabney lost something of his creative edge. He was unable to maintain a standard suitable for Ziegfield's men with cigars, or for jazz critics either, apparently, quick as they are to criticize the 1919 Dabney's Band for a percieved lack of variety. Ford Dabney's Syncopated Orchestra was another of his active performing units. Among Dabney's best composed pieces were a set of eight written with Europe for the husband and wife dance time of Vernon and Irene Castle.
Fired by the Broadway bosses in 1920, Dabney faltered in the mid '20s, partially because he just wasn't interested in updating his sound to include the latest developments in jazz. After the '30s her remained part of the New York music scene, but the engine was in idle. He was often approached as a consultant, working for example on the 1943 film Stormy Weather.
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Bobby Henderson
Jazz piano/vocals/trumpet
b. New York, NY, USA
d. Dec. 9, 1969.
né: Robert Bolden Henderson, aka: Jody Henderson, and Jody Bolden.
This 'stride pianist' who early in his career played in Harlem, and New York's 52nd Street clubs, later lived in comparative obscurity in upstate New York for years until re-discovered by John Hammond (who recorded him.) Bobby, who's boyhood friend and idol was Fats Waller, began his career in the late 1920s, playing in such Harlem clubs as 'Pod's and Jerry's', 'Yeah Man', and 'The Stable'. (In 1933, Bobby was Billie Holiday's accompanist at 'Pod's and Jerry's' club.)
In the later 1930s, he moved "downtown" and was often heard playing on New York's famed 52nd street at such Jazz clubs as the 'Onyx Club' and 'The Famous Door'. Curiously, despite a prodigious technique (he could easily play open twelfths with both hands), he shied away from playing with bands, and worked mainly as an intermission pianist and entertainer. In the 1950s, Henderson was playing in upstate New York cities, most notably in Albany, New York, and using the names of Jody Bolden, and sometimes as Jody Henderson. Bobby Henderson was not very well recorded, but in 1969, John Hammond and Sherman Fairchild induced him to come to New York City where he recorded an album later named "A Home In The Clouds". It was his last recording session. Very ill when he took the bus from Albany, Bobby died a short time later.
Bobby Henderson (Pianist) – Wikipedia
Bobby Henderson | AllMusic

Bertha "Chippie" Hill, singer
b. Charleston, SC, USA.
d. May 7, 1950, New York, NY, USA
One of the better classic blues singers of the 1920's (and much less vaudeville-oriented than many of her contemporaries), Chippie Hill was one of the few singers of her generation to make a full-fledged comeback in the 1940's. One of 16 children, she started working in 1916 as a dancer before she became better known as a singer. She toured with Ma Rainey's Rabbit Foot Minstrels and then was a solo performer on vaudeville for a long period.

Hill settled in Chicago in 1925 and recorded regularly for a few years. After working steadily in the Chicago area until 1930 (including touring with Lovie Austin), she eventually left music to raise seven children. Hill occasionally sang during the next 15 years (including with Jimmie Noone) but mostly worked outside of music. She was rediscovered by writer Rudi Blesh in 1946, working in a bakery.
Appearances on Blesh's "This Is Jazz" radio series resulted in her coming back to the music scene, performing at the Village Vanguard, Jimmy Ryan's and even appearing at Carnegie Hall in 1948 with Kid Ory. She sang at the Paris Jazz Festival, worked with Art Hodes in Chicago and was back in prime form in 1950 when she was run over by a car and killed. Chippie Hill, who introduced Richard M. Jones' "Trouble In Mind" in 1926, recorded 23 titles during 1925-29 with such sidemen as Jones, Louis Armstrong, Shirley Clay, Georgia Tom Dorsey, Tampa Red and Punch Miller. She also recorded nine selections on two dates in 1946 with Lee Collins, Lovie Austin, Baby Dodds and Montana Taylor.
~ Scott Yanow

Lightnin' (Sam) Hopkins
blues vocalist
b. Centerville, Texas.
Best known record: "Ball of Twine"
Sam Hopkins was a Texas country bluesman of the highest caliber whose career began in the 1920s and stretched all the way into the 1980s. Along the way, Hopkins watched the genre change remarkably, but he never appreciably altered his mournful Lone Star sound, which translated onto both acoustic and electric guitar. Hopkins' nimble dexterity made intricate boogie riffs seem easy, and his fascinating penchant for improvising lyrics to fit whatever situation might arise made him a beloved blues troubadour.
~ Bill Dahl

Harry James
b. Albany, GA, USA
d. July 5, 1983
né: Harry Haag James.
by William Ruhlmann
Harry James was one of the most outstanding instrumentalists of the swing era, employing a bravura playing style that made his trumpet work instantly identifiable. He was also one of the most popular bandleaders of the first half of the 1940s, and he continued to lead his band until just before his death, 40 years later.
James was the child of circus performers. His father, Everette Robert James, was the bandleader and trumpet player in the orchestra for the Mighty Haag Circus, and his mother, Maybelle Stewart Clark James, was an aerialist. Growing up in the circus, James became a performer himself as early as the age of four, when he began working as a contortionist. He soon turned to music, however, first playing the snare drum in the band from about the age of six and taking trumpet ...

Zarah Leander, vocals
b. Karlstad, Sweden
d. June 23, 1981, Stockholm, Sweden.
née: Zarah Stina Hedberg.
As a small child, Zarah Leander studied piano and violin, and at just age 6, sang on stage for the first time. As a teenager she lived two years in Riga, Latvia (1922-1924), where she learned to speak German. In Riga, she worked as a secretary, married Nils Leander (1926), and had two children (Boel (girl) 1927 & Göran (boy) 1929).
Then, in 1929, Ernst Rolf, an entertainer and producer, engaged her for his touring cabaret show. Now, for the first time, Zarah sang "Vill ni se en stjärna," ('Do you want to see a star?'), which soon became her "signature" tune. 1930 found her back in the capital, Stockholm, where she participated in four cabarets, and made her first recordings (including a cover of Marlene Dietrich's "Falling in Love Again"). She also had a small part in a film. 1931 saw her definitive break-through when she played the role of Hanna Glavari in Franz Lehár's operetta 'The Merry Widow'.
In 1929, she divorced Nils Leander. (Her 2nd husband was the journalist Vidar Forsell (after they married he became her manager). They were married 1932-1943. No children. Her 3rd husband was pianist Arne Hülphers, with whom she worked with for 25 years. They were married 1949-1978, -his death) In the following years, her career flourished as a popular Scandinavian stage and film artist. Though she had proposals from Hollywood, where a number of Swedish actors and directors were working, and despite the political situation, Zarah opted for a career on the European continent. Austria and Nazi Germany were much closer, and she was already well-versed in German.
Then in 1936, she achieved International fame when she starred in the play 'Axel an der Himmelstür' at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, directed by Max Hansen. The play was a parody of Hollywoood and Marlene Dietrich - the wonderful German actress who had fled a Europe dominated by Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. She landed a contract with UFA in Berlin, which stipulated that half of her high salary would be paid in Swedish currency to a bank in Stockholm, Sweden. Before and during World War 2, Zarah was very popular in Germany, where she soon became known as "the Nazi Garbo".
In 1935, she received a Mercedes-Benz 500K from 'Adolf Hitler', and was even filmed in that car by Victor Tourjansky. In 1937, she was on the cover of 80 German magazines. She soon became UFA's leading film star, participating in 10 films, that greatly aided the Third Reich's propaganda effort. Because of this, the Swedish and International Press exhibited some criticism of her work. It is interesting to note that Zarah Leander continued to produce movies in Nazi Germany even after two of her grandparents (Jews) died in the concentration camps. Her usual role in these films was that of a femme fatale, independently minded, beautiful, passionate and self-confident. Her last film in Nazi Germany premiered on March 3, 1943.
Many of the songs that she sang in these films had a somewhat frivolous nature. During one of the Allied air raids on Germany, her villa in the fashionable Berlin suburb of Grünewald was destroyed. In addition, when the increasingly desperate Nazis began to pressure her to apply for German citizenship, she decided to break her contract with UFA, leave Germany, and return to Sweden, where she had purchased a mansion at Lönö, outside Norrköping, Sweden. In Sweden, Zarah found herself greatly shunned because of her extensive association with Nazi propaganda. She did manage to land a few engagements on the Swedish stage, and after the war ended, she eventually returned to tour Germany and Austria, giving concerts and acting in musicals. However, she never regained the popularity she had enjoyed before and during the first years of World War II. There is an interesting afternote on her career.
According to a 2004 book by Anthony Beevor, ("The Mystery of Olga Chekhova"), she worked for Soviet intelligence during World War II, passing information about Nazi Germany to a Soviet contact during her visits home to Sweden. Perhaps, her best recalled release is: "Der Wind Hat Mir ein Lied Erzählt", ("The wind told me a song") (622 kb) Here's a Postcard of Zarah and the lyric.

Theo Uden Masman, Piano
b. Cirebon, Indonesia
d. 1965.

Bob Wilbur
Clarinet/alto-soprano sax
b. New York, NY.
Studied clarinet as a child, and was leading his own band while still a teenager. He studied the soprano sax as a student of Sidney Bechet, and even recorded with Bechet. This certainly gave him a solid background in traditional Jazz, still, an avid desire to expand his abilities led him to further studies with Lennie Tristano. In the mid-1950s, he led a band blending traditional with modern Jazz concepts.
From the late 1950s - '60s, Wilber played and recorded with such great Jazzmen as Bobby Hackett, Benny Goodman, Bechet, Jack Teagarden and Eddie Condon. From the early 1970s to 1979, he and Kenny Davern had the group Soprano Summit, a band that attracted a world-wide audience. Afterwards he formed the Bechet Legacy Band, a band that recorded extensively, often on his own record label, 'Bodeswell'. Throughout the 1980s, he continued leading his Bechet Legacy band, recording, and accompanying his wife, singer Joanne 'Pug' Horton.
The early 1990s found Wilber reunited with Davern for concert appearances. In December 2000, Wilber performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Active in Jazz education, Wilber has also been musical director of the Smithsonian Jazz Repertory Ensemble, the house band for some of the 'Duke' Ellington conventions. In addition to writing for films, (notably recreating Ellington's music for the 1984 film The Cotton Club, he also recreated a Benny Goodman band for anniversary performances of the 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. In collaboration with Derek Webster, he has published his a
atobiography, Music Was Not Enough.

The Gumm Sisters
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:


Talking Machine World magazine reports that Paul Specht‘s Society Serenaders recently accompanied Vaughn De Leath in a radio broadcast from the Hotel Addison in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

In Chicago, boogie-woogie pioneer Clarence 'Pinetop' Smith (June 11, 1904 - March 15, 1929) "Pinetop" was killed this date when he was accidentally shot in a Chicago dancehall while trying to break up a fight He was 24 years old. The gunman was aiming at someone else.


Singing trio The Gumm Sisters play the last of seven nights at the Golden Gate Theatre, San Francisco, California, USA. One of the sisters, Frances Gumm, will find stardom after a name change to Judy Garland. 

"Cowboy" Loye, "Loye Donald Pack," died.
né: Loye Donald Pack.
b. June 3, 1900, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

"Billboard" magazine debuted a new feature, - their chart of top selling record albums.

Lester "Pres" Young, tenor sax,
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 49.
Tenor Saxophonist Bud Freeman
one of the top tenors of the '30s
died in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
He was 84.
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Marion Harris


Esther Bigeou
  • Beale Street Mama - Piano Accompaniment by Clarence Williams
  • I'm Through With You (As I Can Be) - Piano Accompaniment by Clarence Williams

The Georgians - Snakes Hips


Johnny De Droit and his New Orleans Orchestra


Don Bestor and his Orchestra - Hey Mister Have You Seen Rosie's Sister?

Vincent Lopez And His Casa Lopez Orchestra - Rhythm Of The Day
  • Song Of The Flame

The Original Jazz Hounds, featuring James P. Johnson

  • Lucky Long
  • All That I Had Is Gone


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - Lovable


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - Louise

Dorsey Brothers Orchestra
  • Button Up Your Overcoat
  • I'll Never Ask For More
  • Mean To Me

Annette Hanshaw - Lover Come Back To Me
Annette Hanshaw - You Wouldn't Fool Me, Would You?

Geoffrey Gelder and his Kettner's Five

  • Carolina Moon
  • Sweethearts On Parade
  • I Ain't Never Been Kissed
  • There's A Rainbow Round My Shoulder

The Washingtonians (led by Duke Ellington)

  • Saratoga Swing
  • Who Said ‘It’s Tight Like That’?


Ted Lewis and his Band - In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town
  • My Woman!


There's no use talking,
You're so lovable!
When we go walking I throw out my chest,
Say, you're the best;
Others just imitate
Kisses that you create!

You got a way of epttin'
That just drives me wild!
Heaven above-able,
Made you so lovable,
Love me, lovable child!

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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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