"Sweet" Emma Barrett, Piano
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. 1983.
by ~Scott Yanow
Sweet Emma Barrett, who was at her most powerful in the early '60s, became a symbolic figure with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, playing in a joyous but obviously weakened and past-her-prime style on world tours. Barrett spent most of her career living and playing in New Orleans, including gigs with Oscar "Papa" Celestin in the 1920s and later with Armand Piron.
Sweet Emma, who gained the nickname of "the bell gal" because she wore red garters with bells that made sounds while she played, was purely a local figure until 1961 when she made her finest recording, a Riverside set with the future members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Ironically, as Barrett (through the group's well-received tours) became better known, her playing and singing swiftly declined due to her age, and after a 1967 stroke, she continued to perform despite having a largely paralyzed left hand. In addition to the recommended Riverside set (reissued on CD), Barrett led less significant sessions for GHB (1963-1964), Preservation Hall, Nobility, and a 1978 album for Smoky Mary.

Eric Bernay
label founder (Keynote)
b. Odessa, Russia

Albert Burbank, Clarinet
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. August 15, 1976, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Burbank began playing clarinet at the age of 17 and worked alongside such legendary players as Buddy Petit, Punch Miller and Kid Ory.
A legendary clarinetist with lovers of New Orleans jazz but otherwise somewhat overlooked, Albert Burbank (who had a beautiful tone in his lower register) never had a major name but he generally worked steadily. He started playing clarinet seriously when he was 17, and in the 1920s performed with drummer Arnold DePass' band, Buddy Petit, Chris Kelly, and Punch Miller among others.
Burbank played in dance halls in the '30s and had his own quartet by the war years. Among his associations in the '40s and 50s were Wooden Joe Nicholas, Albert Jiles, De De Pierce, Herb Morand (1949-1950), Paul Barbarin, Kid Clayton, Bill Matthews, Octave Crosby, Ernie Cagnoletti, and (during a rare trip outside of New Orleans to Los Angeles) briefly in 1954 with Kid Ory. Burbank was a regular feature at the Paddock Lounge (1954-1966), Dixieland Hall, and Preservation Hall (1969-1973) and he often worked with Kid Thomas Valentine and Papa French. Albert Burbank only recorded one album as a leader (for Smoky Mary in 1969) but appeared on a variety of recordings as a sideman including with Wooden Joe Nicholas as early as 1945.
~ Scott Yanow
Albert Burbank - Wikipedia

Frankie Carle
b: Providence, RI, USA.
d: March 7, 2001, Mesa, AZ, USA. (age 97).
né: Francis Nunzio Carlone
Frankie Carle had one of the longest careers in big-band music, from the '30s right up through the '80s, more than a half-century of making music, and even more amazing a record given his current lack of representation in the CD bins. Carle began his career as a pianist, taught by his uncle Nicholas Colangelo. At age 13, he landed a gig in his uncle's orchestra, playing for $1 a week; by 1920, he was already leading his own short-lived group. He participated in his first recording sessions -- at Victor -- in 1925 as a member of Edwin J. McEnelley's band, which he joined in 1921.
Carle's first important gig was as a member of Mal Hallett's band, where he got to work with drumming legend Gene Krupa, saxman Toots Mondello, and trombonists Jack Jenny and Jack Teagarden. Although the Hallett band never achieved major success before its breakup in 1937, it did provide Carle with experience and gainful employment, after which he spent a period leading his own band, playing in New England and recording for Decca. Carle officially joined up with Horace Heidt in July 1939, and it was as a member of his Musical Knights, a band with a huge national following on radio, that Carle became much better known. By the early '40s, he felt the time was right to start his own band.
However, in 1941, Carle suddenly found himself in demand from several quarters. Eddy Duchin, who had just been drafted into the Navy, offered Carle the leadership of his band in his absence for a cut of the profits. This led to a bidding war, with Heidt offering Carle $1000 a week plus a five-percent cut of the gross to remain with his outfit; Carle wound up staying on as musical director. About two years later, Heidt decided to exit the music business, and helped Carle form his own band, which debuted in 1944.
His signature tune was "Sunrise Serenade," which had been a hit for Glenn Miller after Carle co-authored it in 1938; he recorded his own version for Columbia in 1945. A sponsor, in the shape of Old Gold cigarettes, was quick in coming, and Carle had a national radio show. Carle's repertory ranged far and wide, from big-band revivals of Stephen Foster numbers like "Swanee River" to contemporary subjects such as "I'm Going to See My Baby," a 1944 release that referred to the anticipated Allied victory in World War II. Their sound had a lot going for it -- in addition to Carle's formidable and highly melodic approach to the piano, there was vocalist Phyllis Lynne, who could evoke simmering passions or wide-eyed innocent romance. Lynne was succeeded by Marjorie Hughes (Carle's own daughter), and resident male vocalist Paul Allen also made a good impression on the public during the mid-'40s. The Carle orchestra had a clean, crisp sound, the trumpets, trombones, and the piano well-delineated; arrangers included ex-Horace Heidt alumnus Frank DeVol. Carle's work, like most of the best pop outfits of the period, incorporated elements of jazz, even though it was principally a dance or "sweet" (i.e. pop) band.
Their music was sparked by Carle's bravura piano style. The big-band era ended, but Carle's career didn't. He didn't chart any records after the '40s, but he was still touring and playing concerts in the '80s, 40 years after he left Horace Heidt's band, and 70 years after he started in the business. Carle was the most senior of surviving big-band leaders until he passed away in early 2001 at the age of 97.
~ Bruce Eder

Linton Garner, Piano
b. Greensboro, NC, USA.
d: March 6, 2003, Vancouver, Canada
Pianist and arranger Linton Garner, the brother of the great pianist Errol Garner, toured and recorded with Fletcher Henderson in the early '40s. Following army service, he wrote arrangements, played in and recorded with Billy Eckstine's orchestra in 1946 and 1947, Earl Coleman and Fats Navarro in 1948, Babs Gonzales in 1949 and Una Mae Carlisle in 1950. He led his own trio at the end of the '50s, and during the mid-'70s was resident pianist at a Vancouver, Canada hotel.

Duke Groner, bass
b. Oklahoma, USA
d. Nov. 7, 1982, Chicago, IL, USA.
Something of an institution on the Chicago jazz scene, Duke Groner hailed from Oklahoma where he grew up in a musical family. His father was picking banjo and guitar, his mother singing, and his sister ticking the ivories. He began with a few violin lessons, which he apparently detested. By high school he was playing piano at dances. After receiving a scholarship to Wiley College in Texas, he joined the college quartet and also sang in a college band. He joined the Nat Towles band as a vocalist after graduating.
A partner in both college and the Towles band was the fine tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate, who described Groner as "a house-stopper...Duke used to sing...and women would just fall out." After a few years of hard work with minimal financial returns, Groner found himself part of a clutch of Towles' musicians that were hijacked to New York by Horace Henderson. Other members included trombonist Henry Coker, trumpeters N. R. Bates and Money Johnson, and tenor saxophonist Bob Dorsey.
The group played week-long stints at both the Apollo Theater and Savoy Ballroom, and then were fired by Henderson, down to the man, leaving one and all stranded in New York. Groner was determined not to crawl back to Towles, as some of the other players did. He stayed in New York and became a house singer at Minton's along with Betty Roche. The house band at this club included some pretty heavy hitters such as Thelonious Monk on piano andKenny Clarke on drums. Groner regarded this as one of the key periods in his career, even though his responsibilities included the unpleasant task of waking Monk up every time an intermission was over.
Henderson eventually made amends by getting Groner a gig with the Jimmy Lunceford band which lasted several months, after which Groner went back to Chicago. He rejoined Henderson in 1942, a gig that ended abruptly when Uncle Sam drafted practically the entire Henderson band.
From his new Chicago base Groner began working with musicians such as tenor saxophonist Buster Bennett, organist Wild Bill Davis and a band named Jelly Holt and His Four Blazers. Groner began playing the bass sometime in 1942, despite a distaste for the instrument. "I use to laugh at the bass players and ask them why they didn't learn to play a flute," Groner said in a series of archival interviews for the Chicago Jazz Institute. He soon realized that as awkward as it was carrying a bass around, a good bassist will always be offered more work than a vocalist.
Near the end of the '40s he organized his first trio as a leader with pianist Horace Palm and guitarist Emmett Spicer. He continued in the '50s with players such as Kirk Stuart on piano, Hurley Ramey on guitar, and Wallace Burton on sax. He also worked as a sideman in groups such as the Four Blazes and the traditional jazz combo of Jim Beebe. Groner fell into ill health gradually and eventually was placed in a nursing home. His musician liked him so much that they gave monthly concerts there.
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Henry Harris, guitar
b. Warren, VA, USA.

Armand "Jump" Jackson
drums, b. New Orleans, LA, USA
Started out in New Orleans, wound up in Chicago. The subject could be the blues backbeat, or it could be the life of Armand "Jump" Jackson. Or it could be both, since the two are almost one and the same. That fat, greasy sock rhythm that was heard on many of the blues records made in Chicago in the late '40s and '50s was created by the one and only Jump Jackson, sometimes while he was booking a tour in his head for one of his bands. In the late '40s, Jackson worked as a bandleader on sessions for labels such as Columbia, Specialty, and Aristocrat; his band backed up vocalists such as St. Louis Jimmy, Roosevelt Sykes, Sunnyland Slim, and Baby Doo Caston. He also drummed on at least a dozen classic urban blues albums, with leaders ranging from the most famous such as John Lee Hooker to the obscure but great Robert Nighthawk.
As well as performing, Jackson was indeed a certified booking agent. His taste for controlling as much of the business as possible spread to his recording career. In 1959 he founded La Salle Records and began putting out his own sessions as well as sides by Eddie Boyd, Eddy Clearwater, Little Mack Simmons, and his old playing partner pianist Slim. Performer Clearwater even got his name from Jackson, who came up with the stage name as a reaction to his friend Eddy Harrington's fondness for blues giant Muddy Waters. The blues audience was ready for clear water as well as muddy, since the change in names was just what this artist apparently needed for his career to start taking off. In 1962, Jackson was chosen as the drummer for the first American Folk Blues Festival tour of Europe, although by then he could feel the cold wind of progress blowing on his neck, even among all the other breezes in the Windy City. The swing-era style of blues drumming he had pioneered was slowly being taken over by a newer kind of hard-edged backbeat, as practiced by blues drummer Fred Below for example.
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Pete Johnson, Piano
b. Kansas City, MO, USA.
d. 1967.
by Scott Yanow
Pete Johnson was one of the three great boogie-woogie pianists (along with Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis) whose sudden prominence in the late '30s helped make the style very popular. Originally a drummer, Johnson switched to piano in 1922. He was part of the Kansas City scene in the 1920s and '30s, often accompanying singer Big Joe Turner. Producer John Hammond discovered him in 1936 and got him to play at the Famous Door in New York. After taking part in Hammond's 1938 Spirituals to Swing Carnegie Hall concert in 1938, Johnson started recording regularly and appeared on an occasional basis with Ammons and Lewis as the Boogie Woogie Trio. He also backed Turner on some classic records.
Johnson recorded often in the 1940s and spent much of 1947-1949 based in Los Angeles. He moved to Buffalo in 1950 and, other than an appearance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, he was in obscurity for much of the decade. A stroke later in 1958 left him partly paralyzed. Johnson made one final appearance at John Hammond's January 1967 Spirituals to Swing concert, playing the right hand on a version of "Roll 'Em Pete" two months before his death.
Jerry Livingston, composer
d. 1987.
Among his best known songs are "Under a Blanket of Blue", and "It's The Talk Of The Town".
Composer Jerry Livingston was born Gerald Levinson on March 25, 1909, in Denver, CO. After completing his studies at the University of Arizona, he played piano in a Denver dance combo, also writing a handful of collegiate stage productions before relocating to New York City in 1932. Livingston soon scored his first hit, "When It's Darkness on the Delta," in collaboration with Marty Symes; the duo reunited the following year for "Under a Blanket of Blue," seeking third-party assistance from Al J. Neiberg to complete "It's the Talk of the Town." Livingston also teamed with composer Al Hoffman and lyricist Milton Drake for a number of hits, among them "I'm a Big Girl Now," "She Broke My Heart in Three," "Ashby De La Zooch," "If I'm Not Back in Five Minutes," and, most famously, the 1943 smash "Mairzy Doats."
After writing "Blue and Sentimental" with Count Basie, Livingston increasingly began focusing his energies on Hollywood; his score to the 1950 Disney animated feature Cinderella generated the Oscar-nominated "A Wish Is a Dream Your Heart Makes" and he also composed music for 1951's animated Alice in Wonderland, in addition to a number of Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis comedies. For television, Livingston also authored themes for Casper, the Friendly Ghost and 77 Sunset Strip prior to his death in 1987.
~ Jason Ankeny

Jean Sablon
b. France.
Very well known on the Continent, and to a lesser extent in Britain and America.
French crooner Jean Sablon was often compared to such big names as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. During his music career, he recorded with some of the world's top musicians, including Django Reinhardt, André Ekyan, Stéphane Grappelli, and Michel Warlop, among others.

Sablon first started singing in musicals and operas, before scoring with such hit singles as "Ce Petit Chemin" (This Small Way), "Fermé Jusqu'à Lundi" (Is Closed Until Monday), and "Puisque Vous Partez en Voyage" (Since You Left on a Journey), and eventually relocating to America during World War II. Throughout the 1990s, numerous compilations of Sablon's work were issued, including Selection of Jean Sablon and Portrait of Jean Sablon, among others.
~ Greg Prato

"Curley" Weaver
C&W guitar
b. Covington, GA, USA.
Curley Weaver, who was known for much of his life as "the Georgia Guitar Wizard," is only just beginning to be appreciated as one of the best players ever to pick up a six-string instrument. Although he recorded a fair number of sides on his own during the 1920s and '30s, Weaver was most commonly heard in performances and recordings in association with his better-known colleagues Blind Willie McTell (with whom he worked from the 1930s until the early '50s), Barbecue Bob, and Buddy Moss. 

Weaver was born in Newton County, GA, in Covington, and was raised on a cotton farm. His mother, Savanah Shepard, encouraged him to sing from a very early age and also taught him to play the guitar, beginning when he was ten-years-old. Savanah Shepard was a renowned guitarist in her own right around Newton County, and also taught guitar legends Barbecue Bob and his brother, Charlie Lincoln, to play the instrument when they were children. Her musical interests lay in gospel but, as in the case of Hicks and Lincoln, her son gravitated in the opposite direction, toward the blues.
Curley Weaver learned to play slide guitar from two legendary (and, alas, never recorded) local bluesmen, Nehemiah Smith and Blind Buddy Keith. He showed extraordinary aptitude and, at age 19, teamed up with harmonica player Eddie Mapp, and moved to Atlanta. There he hooked up with Barbecue Bob and Charlie Lincoln, who quickly showed their younger friend the ins-and-outs of life, busking on Decatur Street, the heart of Atlanta's black entertainment district, with its bars, restaurants, clubs, and theaters.
The association between the three guitarists was to prove providential. Barbecue Bob emerged as a local star first and, as a consequence, was also the first to go into the recording studio for the Columbia Records label in 1927 -- his first releases sold well, and he, in turn, arranged for his brother and Curley Weaver to make their debuts in the studio the following year. Weaver paid his first visit to the recording studio in Atlanta on October 26, 1928, laying down two tracks, "Sweet Petunia" and "No No Blues." Weaver's debut led to more recording work, both as a solo act and in the company of Eddie Mapp, as well as Barbecue Bob. It was also through the recording studio, appearing as the Georgia Cotton Pickers in association with Barbecue Bob, that Weaver first made the acquaintance of Buddy Moss, a 16-year-old harmonica player who learned guitar from Weaver and Bob and later emerged as a major star on the instrument himself. The two were to work together throughout the decade.
Although many of Weaver's recording sessions in the 1930s were in New York, he kept his home base in Atlanta for his entire life, and it was while playing at clubs, parties, dances, picnics, and even on street corners in the early part of the decade that he struck up the most important professional relationship of his life, with Blind Willie McTell. A renowned 12-string guitarist, McTell had begun his recording career in 1927, and was a local legend around Atlanta. The two played and recorded together for 20 years or more, and comprised one of the most important and celebrated East Coast blues teams in history. Weaver's most renowned recordings were done in association either with McTell or Moss, the latter under the guise of the Georgia Browns, during the mid-'30s. His playing, either on its own or in association with either McTell or Moss, was nothing less than dazzling. It wasn't possible for Weaver to sustain his brilliance, though not for lack of his ability or trying. The mid-'30s were a trying time for most blues players. The boom years of the late teens and very early '30s had seen lots of opportunities to perform and record. The Great Depression destroyed much of the marketplace that had led to these successes, and sales by the mid-'30s had, for most bluesmen, dried up considerably from their former levels, and most labels cut back on the chances they were offering to record.
For Weaver, the decade was an even more bitter period. Barbecue Bob had died of pneumonia at the beginning of the 1930s. Eddie Mapp was killed, and Buddy Moss ended up in prison at age 21 on a five-year stretch that, essentially, halted his career permanently. Weaver continued playing with McTell across the South, but the onset of the Second World War saw even a lot of this activity dry up. He continued to play around Atlanta, and in 1950 cut an album's worth of material with McTell for the Regal label. He continued playing whenever he could, and was reunited with Buddy Moss in a trio that performed in northern Georgia but never recorded. Weaver's performing career was brought to a halt only by the failure of his eyesight. He passed away three years later, in 1962, remembered around Atlanta and by serious blues enthusiasts elsewhere, but largely unheralded during the blues revival that he'd just missed being a part of.
Curley Weaver was, by virtue of his virtuosity and the associations that he kept throughout his life and career, a guitarist's guitarist, a virtuoso among a small coterie of Atlanta-based guitar wizards. He never had the renown of Blind Willie McTell, but he was Willie's equal and match in just about every conceivable respect as a player and singer, his six-string being perfectly mated to Willie's 12-string. When he was playing or recording with McTell, Buddy Moss, or Barbecue Bob, the results were the blues equivalent of what rock people later would've called a "super-session" except that, as a listen to the surviving records reveals, the results were more natural and overpowering -- these guys genuinely liked each other, and loved playing together, and it shows beyond the virtuosity of the music, in the warmth and elegance of the playing and the sound.
~ Bruce Eder
Notable Events Occurring 
On This Date Include:


The Original Dixieland Jass Band records Tiger Rag for Victor Records in the USA. When they recorded the same song six months earlier for Aeolian-Vocalian Records, it was a flop. This time, however, it proves to be a major success.

Hal Kemp Orchestra recorded "Whistles"
with Skinnay Ennis vocal. (Brunswick)

Jack Kapp, label co-founder (Decca)
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 47

"Big" Sid Catlett, drums
died in Chicago, IL, USA.
Age: 41.

Tom Brown, bass
died in New Orleans, LA, USA.
Age: 69.

Noel Coward
Songwriter, playwright, director, actor, filmmaker and novelist
Noel Coward died in Jamaica, West Indies.
He was 73.

Sandy Williams, Trombone
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 84.
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


The Original Dixieland Jass Band - Tiger Rag


Ethel Waters - Tell 'Em Bout Me (When You Reach Tennessee)
  • You'll Need Me When I'm Long Gone

Frank E. Ward And His Orchestra - Lots O' Mama


Piron's New Orleans Orchestra - Do Just As I Say

The Tennessee Tooters - Red Hot Henry Brown


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - No Foolin'

University Six - Lazy Weather


Clara Smith - (I'm Tired Of) Fattenin' Frogs For Snakes


Vic Berton and his Orchestra - Mary Lou


The Ink Spots - That Cat Is High


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
  • A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody
  • Minuet in Jazz
  • Soft Light and Sweet Music
  • The Toy Trumpet


The Three Deuces
  • About Face
  • Deuces Wild
  • Jig Walk
  • The Last Time I Saw Chicago

Joe Sullivan - Andy's Blues
  • Del Mar Rag


Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra - Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea


A Pretty Girl Is like a Melody

A song first composed by Irving Berlin in 1919.

I have an ear for music,
And I have an eye for a maid.
I like a pretty girlie,
With each pretty tune that's played.
They go together,
Like sunny weather goes with the month of May.
I've studied girls and music,
So I'm qualified to say...

A pretty girl is like a melody
That haunts you night and day,
Just like the strain of a haunting refrain,
She'll start up-on a marathon
And run around your brain.
You can't escape she's in your memory.
By morning night and noon.
She will leave you and then come back again,
A pretty girl is just like a pretty tune.

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: