b. June 6, 1891, Circleville, OH, USA
d. August 25, 1971,
New York, NY, USA.

né: Theodore Leopold Friedman
~by Bruce Eder
It's difficult to believe, based on a paltry pair of compact discs of Ted Lewis' music that exist, that from the beginning of the '20s until the mid-'30s, he was one of the most popular music acts in the world, cutting million-selling records when those scarcely happened more than once a year. It's even harder to comprehend that Lewis maintained an active recording, radio, movie, television, and concert career for 50 years, 1917 to 1967, and enjoyed respect from members of the jazz community that was unique for a leader of a dance band. Ted Lewis was never considered a great, or even a good jazz player -- though he was a better player than he got credit for being -- and wasn't taken seriously as a singer (even by Ted Lewis), nor was most of the music that he recorded considered good jazz.

For most of the '20s, his biggest decade for record sales, he favored dance and novelty numbers that today evoke the zanier side of the era. Even his catch phrase -- "Is everybody happy?" -- seemed by the end of '30s to be a quaint echo of the so-called Roaring Twenties. He was a figure like Paul Whiteman, but more of a musician, and also resembled Al Jolson, as a personality as much as musician. Lewis also employed an extraordinary array of talented musicians and even a few future legends -- the men who passed through the ranks of his band included Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Muggsy Spanier, Jimmy Dorsey, Frank Teschemacher and George Brunies, and even Fats Waller did a turn with the band.
Ted Lewis and his Band

Bert Lown, Violinist and Orchestra Leader
Born June 6, 1903
Died November 2 (or 20), 1962
~by Scott Yanow
Bert Lown, who occasionally played violin, led a series of superior jazz-oriented dance band sides during 1929-33, 82 selections in all. 23 of his band's best performances have been reissued on the TOM CD Bert Lown & His Orchestra and they are his chief musical legacy, along with the fact that he was one of the composers of the standard "Bye Bye Blues." 
As a violinist Lown worked for a time in the 1920's as a sideman, including in 1925 with cornetist Fred Hamm's band. He collaborated with Hamm, Chauncy Gray and Dave Bennett on "Bye Bye Blues" which they first recorded on May 1, 1925. 

In 1929 Lown began his series of recordings and among his sidemen along the way were (at various times) trombonist Miff Mole, drummer Stan King and (most importantly) bass saxophonist Adrian Rollini (who was succeeded by Spencer Clark in 1931). 

During 1930-31, Lown's band was employed regularly at the Biltmore Hotel in New York, frequently broadcasting on the radio. During this period Lown also composed "You're The One I Care For" and "Tired." His orchestra only recorded two sessions apiece in 1932 and 1933 and by the mid-30's Lown was no longer leading a band, instead booking and managing orchestras before dropping out of music altogether. In later years, Bert Lown held executive positions and was involved in CBS-TV from 1951 until suffering a heart attack in 1962.

Bert Lown - Wikipedia

Jimmie Lunceford
b. June 6, 1902, Fulton, MO, USA
d. July, 1947 (heart attack), Seaside, OR, USA.
~by Scott Yanow
The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra has always been a bit difficult to evaluate. Contemporary observers rated Lunceford's big band at the top with Duke Ellington and Count Basie but, when judging the music solely on their records (and not taking into account their visual show, appearance and showmanship), Lunceford's ensemble has to be placed on the second tier. His orchestra lacked any really classic soloists (altoist Willie Smith and trombonist Trummy Young came the closest) and a large portion of the band's repertoire either featured the dated vocals of Dan Grissom or were pleasant novelties. And yet, the well-rehearsed ensembles were very impressive, some of the arrangements (particularly those of Sy Oliver) were quite original and the use of glee-club vocalists and short concise solos were pleasing and often memorable. Plus Lunceford's was the first orchestra to feature high-note trumpeters (starting with Tommy Stevenson in 1934) and had a strong influence on the early Stan Kenton Orchestra.

Although he was trained on several instruments and was featured on flute on "Liza" in the 1940s, Jimmie Lunceford was much more significant as a bandleader than as a musician. While teaching music at Manassa High School in Memphis in 1927, Lunceford organized a student band called the Chickasaw Syncopators, recording two songs that year and a pair in 1930. After leaving Memphis, the band (known by then as the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra) played in Cleveland and Buffalo and cut two songs in 1933 that were not issued until decades later.
1934 was the breakthrough year. The orchestra made a strong impression playing at New York's Cotton Club, waxed a few notable songs for Victor and then started recording regularly for Decca. Their tight ensembles and colorful shows made them a major attraction throughout the remainder of the swing era. Among their many hits were "Rhythm Is Our Business," "Four or Five Times," "Swanee River," "Charmaine," "My Blue Heaven," "Organ Grinder's Swing," "Ain't She Sweet," "For Dancers Only," "'Tain't What You Do, It's the Way That Cha Do It," "Uptown Blues" and "Lunceford Special." The stars of the band included arranger Sy Oliver (on trumpet and vocals), Willie Smith, Trummy Young (who had a hit with "Margie") and tenor saxophonist Joe Thomas.

In 1939 it was a major blow when Tommy Dorsey lured Sy Oliver away (although trumpeters Gerald Wilson and Snooky Young were important new additions). Unfortunately Lunceford underpaid most of his sidemen, not thinking to reward them for their loyalty in the lean years. 
In 1942 Willie Smith was one of several key players who left for better-paying jobs elsewhere and the orchestra gradually declined. Jimmie Lunceford was still a popular bandleader in 1947 when he suddenly collapsed; rumors have persisted that he was poisoned by a racist restaurant owner who was very reluctant about feeding his band. After Lunceford's death, pianist/arranger Ed Wilcox and Joe Thomas tried to keep the orchestra together but in 1949 the band permanently broke up.

Raymond Burke, Clarinet
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. 1986. 
by Scott Yanow

Raymond Burke had a long career and was considered a reliable player in his native New Orleans where he spent virtually his entire career except for a brief period in the late 1930's when he was in Kansas City. Although three of his uncles played music, Burke was entirely self-taught. He became a professional musician around 1920 and played with Blind Gilbert's band in the mid-1920's and Henry Walde's Melon Pickers the following decade. 

Among his many musical associations during the following decades were Sharkey Bonano, Johnny Wiggs, George Hartman, Wooden Joe Nicholas, the Dukes of Dixieland, George Girard, Johnny St. Cyr, Punch Miller and Kid Thomas Valentine. Burke, who frequently led his own bands, was a fixture at Preservation Hall after it opened in 1960 and he remained active (and a local legend) into the mid-1980's. Raymond Burke recorded some isolated titles early on (including "Solitude" in 1937) and led albums for NOR (1949), Paramount (1952), Southland (1953 & 1960), Land O' Jazz (1975), 504 (1979) and Smoky Mary (1983). Among his sidemen on those recordings were Wooden Joe Nicholas, Johnny St. Cyr, Johnny Wiggs, Alvin Alcorn, Thomas Jefferson and Butch Thompson.

Denver Darling
C&W singer/songwriter
b. Whopock, IL, USA.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
Former New York City radio cowboy Denver Darling is best remembered for his patriotic World War II songs. Darling -- his real name -- was born in Whopock, Illinois, and raised in Jewett. When he was twelve, a neighbor introduced him to the guitar. Seven years later, he began working at a radio station in Terre Haute, Indiana. Over the next six years, Darling sang at several Midwestern radio stations, and at the end of 1937 came to New York City, where he would spend most of his career. When not appearing on the radio two or three times daily, he would perform at the well-known country nightclub the Village Barn, from which performances were occasionally broadcast nationally.

In November 1941, Darling made his recording debut; in the midst of his second session, World War II erupted. His subsequent patriotic songs, such as "Cowards Over Pearl Harbor," "The Devil and Mr. Hitler," and "When Mussolini Laid His Pistol Down," were designed to inspire troops and provide comfort for their families back home. Over the next five years, he released 36 singles, not all of them were patriotic; Darling also recorded under the name of Tex Grande and his Range Riders. His final sessions were in 1947 when he cut 12 singles for MGM, after which he began having throat problems and grew uncomfortable with big city life. He and his family moved back to Jewett, where Darling lived as a farmer for the next 30 years. Although his war songs were very popular at the time, they have largely faded into obscurity.

Hillbilly-Music.com - Denver Darling
William "Fats" Jefferson, piano
b. Waco, Texas, USA.

Leroy Maxey
Born June 6, 1904 in Kansas City, MO
~Artist Biography by Eugene Chadbourne
Leroy Maxey is a classic jazz drummer credited with high honors for innovation in the use of his bass drum pedal and tom-toms. Of much more importance to the average human being, of which drummers have proven themselves not to be, is the fact that Maxey is the dude playing in the Cab Calloway band during the all-important "Minnie the Moocher" performance immortalized by Betty Boop. This touch with immortality--how many drummers, after all, can even come close to having backed up this Betty--easily puts Maxey over the top in terms of famous drummers, yet there are still people carrying ridiculous amounts of equipment around who would rather discuss the Maxey approach to "four on the floor," later to be perfected by his successor in the Calloway band, comfortable Cozy Cole, in which the subtle alteration of rhythmic accents seems influenced by Native American music.

Dave Lewis' Jazz Boys
Leroy Maxey (drums), DePriest Wheeler (trombone), Bill Story [?] (banjo), Lawrence Denton (clarinet), Dude Knox (piano), Roland Bruce [?] (violin), Lewis (alto sax); Troost Dancing Academy, 15th Street and Troost Avenue; Kansas City, Missouri; c. 1920

Maxey certainly hailed from a Native American mound, Kansas City to be exact. By the early '20s he was one of the rhythm section players in Bennie Moten's group, a source of what has come to be known as the "Missouri groove." Maxey soon fell in with a band whose membership remained remarkably consistent through an evolving series of leaders. It began as Willard Robinson's Syncopaters, at first a territorial touring troupe and then a house band at the New York City Cotton Club. This group changed its name to the Missourians when the present leader, Andrew Preer, dropped dead. When Cab Calloway took over, the band's fortunes rose from hip club residency to the international hit parade. Maxey kept playing with Calloway until forced to retire due to health problems in the late '30s. He played on dozens of recordings in the '20s and '30s.
Leroy MAXEY: the drummer without solo 

Gid Tanner, C&W, fiddle
b. Thomas Bridge, GA, USA
d. May 13, 1960.
né: James Gideon Tanner ('The Skillet Lickers' band).
James Gideon Tanner (b. June 6, 1885 Thomas Bridge near Monroe, Georgia, d. May 13, 1960 Dacula,Georgia) was an American old time fiddler and one of the earliest stars of what would come to be known ascountry music. His band, the Skillet Lickers, was one of the most innovative and influential string bands of the 1920s and 1930s. Its most notable members were Clayton McMichen (fiddle and vocal) and the blind Riley Puckett (guitar and vocal).

Gid Tanner made a living as a chicken farmer for most of his life. He learned to play the fiddle at the age of 14 and quickly established a reputation as one of the finest musicians in Georgia. Early on, he participated in several fiddle conventions together with his rival Fiddlin' John Carson, what one of them didn't win, the other would. Tanner reportedly had a repertoire of more than 2000 songs.
Tanner and Puckett traveled to New York City in March 1924 to make the first of a series of duet recordings for Columbia Records. The first recording made with the Skillet Lickers was “Hand Me Down My Walking Cane,” recorded in Atlanta on April 17, 1926. It was released by Columbia on a 78rpm disc backed with “Watermelon On the Vine". The group would eventually record more than 100 songs for Columbia before splitting up in 1931. Three years later, Tanner and Puckett reformed the Skillet Lickers and had several releases on Bluebird Records. Tanner stopped making records in 1934, but continued performing into his seventies.
Legacy and influence
Many of the songs they recorded remain popular with bluegrass and country musicians to this day. Among their best-known songs are "Alabama Jubilee", "Shortnin' Bread", "Old Joe Clark", "Casey Jones", "John Henry", "Bully of the Town", "Bile Them Cabbage Down", "Cotton-Eyed Joe", "Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss", "Soldier’s Joy", "Bonaparte's Retreat", "Leather Breeches", "Four Cent Cotton" and their biggest seller, "Down Yonder". Their comedy recordings, including "A Corn Liquor Still in Georgia" and "A Fiddler’s Convention in Georgia" were equally popular.
The lyrics of the Skillet Lickers' music used language then common among rural white Americans at the time, but which today is considered offensive and racist, including song titles like "Nigger in the Woodpile" and "Run Nigger Run".
Gid Tanner & The Skillet Lickers were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1988. Following his death in 1960, Tanner's grandson and great-grandson continued performing as the Skillet Lickers. Phil Tanner, Gid's grandson, hosts an open jam session on Friday nights in a refurbished chicken house on his father's old farm in Dacula, Georgia.
Songwriter Bob Dylan wrote and performed a version of Gid Tanner's "Down on Tanner's Farm", retitled and reset as "New York Town". It can be heard in Martin Scorsese's documentary on Dylan, No Direction Home.
Henry Whitter
C&W rural folk music pioneer
b. Grayson County, VA, USA.
~Biography by John Bush
Guitarist and harmonica player Henry Whitter was co-billed with G.B. Grayson on a series of popular hillbilly sides recorded for Victor during the late '20s. Born in 1892, he was one of the first folk/countryfigures to use the harmonica rack allowing musicians to simultaneously play guitar and harmonica. Among the songs that Grayson and Whitter made popular were "Tom Dooley," "The Banks of the Ohio," "Train 45," and "Handsome Molly." After Grayson was killed in 1930, Whitter rarely performed and he died in 1941.
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Bing Crosby received a Platinum disc commemorating his 200,000,000 record sold. 10 years later, he received a 2nd Platinum disc when Decca had sold 300,650,000 records. During Bing's lifetime career, sales, on 179 labels in 28 countries, totaled over 400,000,000 records.

Pianist Preston Sandiford died in Boston, MA, USA. 
Age: 77. Best recalled for his work with singer Helen Humes. 

Stan Getz died in Malibu, CA, USA.
Age: 64.

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Bailey's Lucky Seven

  • Chicago
  • Covered Wagon Days
  • Those Longing For You Blues


Raderman's Jazz Orchestra - Jene Sais Pa Pa


Waring's Pennsylvanians - June Night
Ray Miller's Orchestra - Where Is That Old Girl Of Mine?


Dixieland Jug Blowers - Southern Shout
  • National Blues

Eddie Peabody


Lee Morse and her Bluegrass Boys - Mother And Dad


Ethel Waters

The California Ramblers - Painting The Clouds With Sunshine


Irving Mills' Hotsy-Totsy Gang - Deep Harlem

Jimmie Lunceford and his Chickasaw Syncopaters
In Dat Mornin' with preaching by Moses Allen

Sweet Rhythm


John Turner Layton (m) Henry Creamer (l) 1921 as rec by Dick Robinson w Irving Mills & his Hotsy Totsy Gang  
June 6th 1930 New York
Won't you strut Miss Lizzie, Get busy! I wanna see you walk; Oh, the folks all see the way you syncopate, Hear the whole town talk! When you move so preety, It's a pity The other girlies frown, But the men you meet Like the way you shake your feet; Oh, you knock'em dizzy, Strut Miss Lizzie Brown! Go down the street, by the school, Pack your feet you struttin' fool! Strut your stuff by the kirk, Trot your tootsies by the church! Through the alley, dodge the cans, Shake Miss Ellie's pots and pans. Cool your dog, we're comin' through, Except for Lennox Avenue!
also rec by:
Lucille Hegamin & her Blue Flame Syncopaters '21
Mary Stafford w Charlie Johnson & his Orch '21
The Norfilk Jazz Quartette '21

Eddie Condon & his Band '39
Laurie Cresco & his Goodtime Jazz

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 si

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