If  you have to ask what jazz is,
you'll never know.  
~Louis Armstrong


Louis Armstrong
~ William Ruhlmann
Louis Armstrong was the first important soloist to emerge in jazz, and he became the most influential musician in the music's history. As a trumpet virtuoso, his playing, beginning with the 1920s studio recordings made with his Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles, charted a future for jazz in highly imaginative, emotionally charged improvisation. For this, he is revered by jazz fans. But Armstrong also became an enduring figure in popular music, due to his distinctively phrased bass singing and engaging personality, which were on display in a series of vocal recordings and film roles.
Armstrong had a difficult childhood. William Armstrong, his father, was a factory worker who abandoned the family soon after the boy's birth. Armstrong was brought up by his mother, Mary (Albert) Armstrong, and his maternal grandmother. He showed an early interest in music, and a junk dealer for whom he worked as a grade-school student helped him buy a cornet, which he taught himself to play. He dropped out of school at 11 to join an informal group, but on December 31, 1912, he fired a gun during a New Year's Eve celebration, for which he was sent to reform school. He studied music there and played cornet and bugle in the school band, eventually becoming its leader.

Louis Armstrong and Joe "King" Oliver
He was released on June 16, 1914, and did manual labor while trying to establish himself as a musician. He was taken under the wing of cornetist Joe "King" Oliver, and when Oliver moved to Chicago in June 1918, he replaced him in the Kid Ory Band. 

He moved to the Fate Marable band in the spring of 1919, staying with Marable until the fall of 1921. Armstrong moved to Chicago to join Oliver's band in August 1922 and made his first recordings as a member of the group in the spring of 1923.

He married Lillian Harden, the pianist in the Oliver band, on February 5, 1924. (She was the second of his four wives.) On her encouragement, he left Oliver and joined Fletcher Henderson's band in New York, staying for a year and then going back to Chicago in November 1925 to join the Dreamland Syncopators, his wife's group. During this period, he switched from cornet to trumpet.
Armstrong had gained sufficient individual notice to make his recording debut as a leader on November 12, 1925. Contracted to OKeh Records, he began to make a series of recordings with studio-only groups called the Hot Fives or the Hot Sevens. For live dates, he appeared with the orchestras led by Erskine Tate and Carroll Dickerson.

The Hot Fives' recording of "Muskrat Ramble" gave Armstrong a Top Ten hit in July 1926, the band for the track featuring Kid Ory on trombone, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Lillian Harden Armstrong on piano, and Johnny St. Cyr on banjo.

By February 1927, Armstrong was well-enough known to front his own group, Louis Armstrong and His Stompers, at the Sunset Café in Chicago. (Armstrong did not function as a bandleader in the usual sense, but instead typically lent his name to established groups.) In April, he reached the charts with his first vocal recording, "Big Butter and Egg Man," a duet with May Alix. He took a position as star soloist in Carroll Dickerson's band at the Savoy Ballroom in Chicago in March 1928, later taking over as the band's frontman. "Hotter than That" was in the Top Ten in May 1928, followed in September by "West End Blues," which later became one of the first recordings named to the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Armstrong returned to New York with his band for an engagement at Connie's Inn in Harlem in May 1929. He also began appearing in the orchestra of Hot Chocolates, a Broadway revue, given a featured spot singing "Ain't Misbehavin'." In September, his recording of the song entered the charts, becoming a Top Ten hit. 

Armstrong fronted the Luis Russell Orchestra for a tour of the South in February 1930, then in May went to Los Angeles, where he led a band at Sebastian's Cotton Club for the next ten months. He made his film debut in Ex-Flame, released at the end of 1931.

By the start of 1932, he had switched from the "race"-oriented OKeh label to its pop-oriented big sister Columbia Records, for which he recorded two Top Five hits, "Chinatown, My Chinatown" and "You Can Depend on Me" before scoring a number one hit with "All of Me" in March 1932; another Top Five hit, "Love, You Funny Thing," hit the charts the same month. He returned to Chicago in the spring of 1932 to front a band led by Zilner Randolph; the group toured around the country.
In July, Armstrong sailed to England for a tour. He spent the next several years in Europe, his American career maintained by a series of archival recordings, including the Top Ten hits "Sweethearts on Parade" (August 1932; recorded December 1930) and "Body and Soul" (October 1932; recorded October 1930). His Top Ten version of "Hobo, You Can't Ride This Train," in the charts in early 1933, was on Victor Records; when he returned to the U.S. in 1935, he signed to recently formed Decca Records and quickly scored a double-sided Top Ten hit, "I'm in the Mood for Love"/"You Are My Lucky Star."
Armstrong's new manager, Joe Glaser, organized a big band for him that had its premiere in Indianapolis on July 1, 1935; for the next several years, he toured regularly. He also took a series of small parts in motion pictures, beginning with Pennies From Heaven in December 1936, and he continued to record for Decca, resulting in the Top Ten hits "Public Melody Number One" (August 1937), "When the Saints Go Marching in" (April 1939), and "You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)" (April 1946), the last a duet with Ella Fitzgerald. He returned to Broadway in the short-lived musical Swingin' the Dream in November 1939. With the decline of swing music in the post-World War II years, Armstrong broke up his big band and put together a small group dubbed the All Stars, which made its debut in Los Angeles on August 13, 1947.
He embarked on his first European tour since 1935 in February 1948, and thereafter toured regularly around the world. In June 1951 he reached the Top Ten of the LP charts with Satchmo at Symphony Hall ("Satchmo" being his nickname), and he scored his first Top Ten single in five years with "(When We Are Dancing) I Get Ideas" later in the year. The single's B-side, and also a chart entry, was "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," sung by Armstrong in the film The Strip. In 1993, it gained renewed popularity when it was used in the film Sleepless in Seattle.
Armstrong completed his contract with Decca in 1954, after which his manager made the unusual decision not to sign him to another exclusive contract but instead to have him freelance for different labels. Satch Plays Fats, a tribute to Fats Waller, became a Top Ten LP for Columbia in October 1955, and Verve Records contracted Armstrong for a series of recordings with Ella Fitzgerald, beginning with the chart LP Ella and Louis in 1956.
Armstrong continued to tour extensively, despite a heart attack in June 1959. In 1964, he scored a surprise hit with his recording of the title song from the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly!, which reached number one in May, followed by a gold-selling album of the same name. It won him a Grammy for best vocal performance. This pop success was repeated internationally four years later with "What a Wonderful World," which hit number one in the U.K. in April 1968. It did not gain as much notice in the U.S. until 1987 when it was used in the film Good Morning, Vietnam, after which it became a Top 40 hit. Armstrong was featured in the 1969 film of Hello, Dolly!, performing the title song as a duet with Barbra Streisand.

He performed less frequently in the late '60s and early '70s and died of a heart ailment at 69. Louis Armstrong was embraced by two distinctly different audiences: jazz fans who revered him for his early innovations as an instrumentalist, but were occasionally embarrassed by his lack of interest in later developments in jazz and, especially, by his willingness to serve as a light entertainer; and pop fans, who delighted in his joyous performances, particularly as a vocalist, but were largely unaware of his significance as a jazz musician. Given his popularity, his long career, and the extensive label-jumping he did in his later years, as well as the differing jazz and pop sides of his work, his recordings are extensive and diverse, with parts of his catalog owned by many different companies. But many of his recorded performances are masterpieces, and none are less than entertaining.
Helen Kane, vocalist
b. New York (Bronx borough), NY, USA
d. September 26, 1966
Age: 63.
Related image
~ Eugene Chadbourne
Helen Kane is one of an elite group of performers, the essence of whose entire careers can be captured with a simple, silly, and catchy expression. "Boop-boop-be-doop!" does it for Kane, just like "I can't get no satisfaction" sums up Mick Jagger. It is a pity that these two careers have little else in common; how nice it would be, for example, if a cartoon character based on some aspect of Jagger's personality had become much more famous then Jagger himself. 
That's just what happened with Betty Boop and Kane, but it was not the singer who actually worked the voice of the flapper-cartoon heroine. The Boop-scoop, so to speak, was provided by a performer named Mae Questal, first-place winner in a contest to imitate the sound of Kane's voice.

Like many performers burdened with one overwhelming association, Kane's career was actually much more diverse. She was involved with show business for much of her life, not only as a singer but also as an actress in the early-'30s Hollywood films and a costume designer as well. Kane was a Bronx gal whose real name was Helen Schroeder. Some mildly amusing siblings known as the Marx Brothers were the ones who got her started in show business; she was 17 at the time.

She began appearing in Broadway musicals in 1927, and a 1928 show entitled Good Boy was the source of the "boop-boop-be-doop," a musical request entitled "I Wanna Be Loved by You," specifically. An aspect of her approach to the song, delivering it in a toddler's voice, in turn became a stylistic trademark of some of the so-called "flapper" tuneage created by singers such as Kane and Annette Hanshaw.
The character of Betty Boop evolved out of all this while Kane was a contract player at the Paramount studio, also the home of animation genius Max Fleischer. It wasn't he who first drew the character, however.

The original animator, the pleasant-sounding Grim Natwick, supposedly created Betty Boop by combining attributes of Kane and a French poodle! In a 1950 film biography of "I Want to Be Loved by You" songwriters Kalmar & Ruby, the part of Kane was played by none other than Debbie Reynolds, but it is actually Kane's voice providing the "boop-boop-be-doop."

Abe Lyman
Abe Lyman (August 4, 1897 – October 23, 1957) was a popular bandleader from the 1920s to the 1940s. He made recordings, appeared in films and provided the music for numerous radio shows, including Your Hit Parade.

His name at birth was Abraham Simon. He and his brother, Mike, changed their last name to Lyman because they both thought it sounded better. Abe learned to play the drums when he was young, and at the age of 14 he had a job as a drummer in a Chicago café. Around 1919, he was regularly playing music with two other notable future big band leaders, Henry Halstead and Gus Arnheim, in California.

In Los Angeles Mike Lyman opened the Sunset, a night club popular with such film stars as Mary Pickford, Norma Talmadge, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. When Abe's nine-piece band first played at the Sunset, it was a success, but the club closed after celebrities signed contracts stating they were not to be seen at clubs.

For an engagement at the Cocoanut Grove in The Ambassador Hotel on April 1, 1922, Abe added a violinist and saxophonist. Opening night drew a large crowd of 1500 guests in the Cocoanut Grove, plus another 500 more outside. Lyman appeared on radio as early as 1922. His orchestra was broadcast from The Ambassador Hotel by late March on KOG.

After the band cut their first record under the local label Nordskog Records, they moved a year later to Brunswick Records in summer of 1923. There they made many recordings and were one of Brunswick's leading orchestras through 1935, when Lyman signed to Decca Records. In late 1937, Lyman signed with Victor where he was assigned their Bluebird label. He recorded prolifically for them through 1942. The Lyman Orchestra toured Europe in 1929, appearing at the Kit Cat Club and the Palladium in London and at the Moulin Rouge and the Perroquet in Paris. Lyman and his orchestra were featured in a number of early talkies, including Hold Everything (1930), Paramount on Parade (1930), Good News (1930) and Madam Satan (1930). In 1931, Abe Lyman and his orchestra recorded a number of soundtracks for the Merrie Melodies cartoon series. Notable musicians in the Lyman Orchestra included Ray Lopez, Gussie Mueller, and Orlando "Slim" Martin.

During the 1930s, the Lyman Orchestra was heard regularly on such shows as Accordiana and Waltz Time every Friday evening and on NBC, Coast to Coast. Under the name "Rose Blane" Lyman's wife was vocalist with the band during this period. Lyman and his orchestra sat in for Phil Harris on the Jack Benny program in 1943 when Harris served in the Merchant Marines.
When Lyman was 50 years old, he left the music industry and went into the restaurant management business. He died in Beverly Hills, California at the age of 60.
Abe Lyman

Kenneth Anderson
piano/alto sax/trumpet
b. Pittsburgh, PA, USA
~ Eugene Chadbourne
While having both one's parents be musicians might sometimes be a guarantee that talent will be passed on to the next generation, it could also mean there will be parental arguments about just what instrument the children are going to play. This could have been the case with Kenneth Anderson, who began piano at the age of 10 and added both trumpet and saxophone shortly thereafter. He also became known as a skilled arranger. This craft can only be bettered by the type of technical knowledge of instrument families acquired from actually mastering the instruments. And that is much more than most musician can do. It is somewhat rare for jazz musicians to play both saxophone and trumpet, for example, although there are a few that do. Anderson covered both horns in Clarence Miller's Owl Theatre Orchestra, a hoot of a job that began in 1923.

The following year he bounced around in the horn sections of Charles Cook and Walter Duett's Orchestra. Keyboards were an important part of the next stage of his career. He held down a regular job as solo organist in a Chicago theater while gigging on piano with groups such as Cookie's Ginger Snaps. This delicious sounding band recorded for the Okeh label in 1926 and featured players such as trumpeter Freddie Keppard and clarinetist Jimmie Noone. "Here Comes the Hot Tamale Man" was a highlight of this band's discography, although the juxtaposition of hot tamales with ginger snap cookies was a bit of strain from the digestive point of view. This was the morning of his relationship with Noone, who would continue hiring Anderson through the '30s. He also played piano with leaders such as Dave Payton, Sammy Stewart and Frankie Jaxon. Anderson may have had an even higher profile as an arranger, jotting out scores for Earl Hines and Chick Webb, among others.

By the early '40s, Anderson had begun drifting out of jazz. He became employed by the Illinois state government, retaining his position for nearly three decades while volunteering in several different posts for the Chicago musicians' union. He became a music teacher following his retirement from the government job. He is not related to two younger horn players with similar names, but that hasn't stopped him from being confused with Chicago's screeching high-note trumpeter Kenny Anderson or the saxophonist Kenneth Anderson, both active in several genres.

Fred Norman & Floyd Brady
Floyd "Stumpy" Brady, Trombone 
b. Brownsville, PA, USA. 
(Worked with Sam Price.)
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Floyd Brady was sometimes known as Stumpy Brady, indicating that his choice of trombone as a livelihood might have had something to do with the instrument's length, allowing short people to extend their reach with the instrument's extended metal slide. He learned to play on his uncle's trombone, but had his own instrument at the age of 15. Nonetheless, his early career path was also dominated by an interest in medicine. Opportunities to tour with both the hardly humble John Hawkin's Peerless Syncopaters and the musically milder Gordon Emory Band seemed to have convinced him to lay his stethoscope down in the late '20s. 

By the end of the decade he was also quite loyal to Zack Whyte & His Chocolate Beau Brummels -- who wouldn't be with a name like that -- and also spent some time based out of Toledo with a group led by pianist Cliff Barnett. The trombonist's activities continued to trace an outline around the Great Lakes area, stumping with the Al Sears band in Buffalo, among other engagements. In 1930 he finally showed up on the New York City jazz scene as part of the Andy Kirk ensemble holding forth at the illustrious Savoy Ballroom. This turned out to be a long-running gig, Brady hanging with the Kirk outfit until 1934; the entire group at one point backed up vocalist Blanche Calloway. 
Brady continued freelancing, demonstrating superb taste in his associations. He joined McKinney's Cotton Pickers when trombonist Ed Cuffee took off for a Cuffee break, then was part of pianist Claude Hopkins' marvelous extended group for nearly three years, beginning in 1936. The Teddy Wilson big band employed the trombonist from 1939 onward, and this is where many jazz listeners might encounter him on recordings backing up the great vocalist Billie Holiday. He also accompanied Holiday on tour as a member of Joe Guy's Big Band in the mid-'40s; in between, he jumped around between several different bands for Lucky Millinder, Al Sears, and Count Basie. In the second half of the '40s, it might have taken a bounty hunter to keep tabs on the trombonist. He said goodbye to Guy in Memphis right smack in the middle of a tour, then showed up in Dallas as part of a large band convened by the romping, stomping pianist Jay McShann. Shortly thereafter, servicemen had the pleasure of Brady's company as part of a tour of army bases featuring bandleader Fletcher Henderson. Some tasty gigs with trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Cat Anderson preceded a period of illness in which the trombonist was off the music scene, and eventually was forced to get off the bottle as well. An alcohol-free Brady returned to the music scene in the '60s, but with much less emphasis on recording, working mostly live shows in big bands led by Slide Hampton, Edgar Battle, and Luckey Roberts. Brady recorded with many of the earlier leaders who hired him, and also shows up on sides by singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Bill Coleman, Trumpet
b. Centreville, (near Paris) KY, USA. 
d. 1981
né: William Johnson Coleman.
In 1926, settled in New York City, and played with both Charley Johnson and Cecil Scott. In 1933, with Lucky Millinder on European tour. '34-5, with Teddy Hill and Benny Carter bands. Nov. '26 - April 37, with Leon Abbey band in Bombay, India. Also, 1936 and '38, touring France with Willie Lewis band. In 1939, formed a Co-op group that played in Alexandria, Egypt for the wedding reception of the Shah of Iran and King Farouk's sister. In 1940, he was in the U.S.A. playing with Benny Carter orch., and with Teddy Wilson '40-'41 (at the famed Cafe Society Club).
In Oct. '41, he was with Andy Kirk's orch., playing at the "Famous Door" club on 52nd Street. In 1942, toured South Africa with Noble Sissle's band. '43-4, with a trio in NYC. '45 with John Kirby band in California. In Dec. '45, in USO show that toured the Phillipines. In '46 for one month in Japan. '46-6 with Sy Oliver's band. Then went to France in Dec. '48 and took up permanent European residence. In 1954, he became resident at Paris' 'Trois Mailletz' but did tour to the USA in '54 and '58, and has toured both France, Germany, and North Africa. He has appeared on many French TV and Radio shows and also in 2 French films - 'Printemps a Paris' and 'Respectful Prostitute'.
Bill Cox, C&W vocals 
b. Kanawha County, WV, USA.
"The "Dixie Songbird"
b. 4 August 1897, Kanawha County, Kentucky, USA. 
d. 10 December 1968, USA. 
Known as the Dixie Songbird, Cox made many recordings, mostly for Conqueror Records. Unusually, and in contrast with his seemingly inoffensive nickname, many of Cox’s songs carried contemporary social, cultural and political comment. Other songs were more anticipated ballads and some also contained religious messages.

Among his recordings are ‘When The Women Get In Power’/‘Barefoot Boy With Boots On’, ‘Home In Sunlit Valley’/‘The Model Church’, ‘The Trial Of Bruno Richard Hauptmann’, ‘Fate Of Will Rogers And Wiley Post’/‘Will And Wiley’s Last Flight’, ‘Democratic Donkey Is In His Stall Again’/‘Franklin Roosevelt’s Back Again’, ‘Answer To What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul’/‘The Golden Train’, ‘Don’t Make Me Go To Bed’/‘I Still Write Your Name In The Sand’, ‘Oh Sweet Mama’/‘Didi-Wa Didi’, ‘The Battle Axe And The Devil’/‘Dang My Pop-Eyed Soul’.

Mitchell Herbert "Herb" Ellis, Guitar
b. Farmersville (near McKinley), TX, USA.
A fine guitarist who played effortlessly at any tempo, yet could still conjure up a warm Blues-y sound. After attending North Texas State College, he first joined (1944) Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orch., and then worked with Jimmy Dorsey's band. Member of the "Soft Winds" instrumental/voice trio. In 1953, he replaced Barney Kessel in Oscar Peterson' trio, then toured with trio with 'Jazz At The Philharmonic', - both in the USA and Europe. Left Peterson in Nov. 1958. Worked with Ella Fitzgerald's acc. unit in 1959. Among his compositions are "I Told You I Loved You, Now Get Out" and "Detour Ahead".

Frank Luther, Piano Vocals Songwriter
b. Kansas City, MO, USA
né: Francis Luther Crow.
Luther was raised in Bakersfield, California, and his first work was as a singer/pianist with Gospel quartets. He relocated to New York City in the late 1920s. Then, in 1928, Carson J. Robison broke up with his partner, Vernon Dalhart. Robison joined forces with the Luther Brothers, Frank and Phil Crow, and they became known as the 'Carson Robison Trio'. A little later, Phil left the group, and Frank and Carson continued as a duo, billed as 'Bud and Joe Billings', recording for the Victor, Conqueror and Decca labels during the late 1920s and early '30s.

In 1929, as "Bud And Joe Billings", they released "Will The Angels Play Their Harps For Me?" and "The Wanderer's Warning". From 1933 through 1935, Frank was a regular guest on Ethel Park Richardson's Folk culture dramatizations on radio station WOR and the NBC network. He also appeared in some early Country music films. During the 30's and '40's, he cut some children's records and recorded, mostly for Decca, some stories, ballads and cowboy songs. He went on to become a lecturer on American music and wrote the book "Americans And Their Songs". Frank also recorded with his wife, Zora Layman, and with singing cowboy Ray Whitley. In the '50's, he worked as a music industry executive.

Ken MackIntosh, leader/alto sax
Liversedge (West Yorkshire), UK.
Ken Mackintosh - Wikipedia

Carson J. Robison, composer/leader
b. Oswego, KS, USA. 
d. March 24, 1957, Pleasant Valley, New York, USA.
Age: 66.
This Country-and-Western Singer-songwriter, was also radio's first "Cowboy". In the 1920's and '30s, he recorded a number of hit duets with such artists as Gene Austin, Vernon Dalhart and Frank Luther (b. Francis Luther Crow, 4 August 1905, Kansas, USA). 

Many of the tunes that he composed have since become "standards", such as "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie" and "Blue Ridge Mountain Home." In 1947, 'Carson Robison and His Pleasant Valley Boys' recorded "Life Gets Tee-Jus, Don't It", which was successful for Robison as well as for others including 'Doc' Watson, Arthur Godfrey, 'Tex' Williams, Cal Tinney, and Peter Lind Hayes 

The Carson J. Robison Collection
Carson Robison

Notable Events Occurring
On this date include:  


In Schenectady, NY, the General Electric Radio station 2XAG, later named WGY, began experimental operations with a 100,000-watt transmitter. Later, AM radio stations were not permitted to exceed 50,000 watts.

Jack Taylor, bass and tenor banjo
(b. Summershade area near Glasgow, KY, USA) died.
Age 60.
Memner: "The Prarie Ramblers"

George "Scoops" Carry, alto sax
died in Chicago, IL, USA.
Age: 55.
Played with Earl Hines Orch.

Famed Jazz guitarist Eddie Condon
died in New York city.
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


The California Ramblers

Jay C. Flippen and his Gang - An' Furthermore

Clara Smith - Ol' Sam Tages

Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra
  • Goodbye To Love
  • I'm Forgetting Myself For You - Vocal refrain by Paul Small
  • Same Old Moon (Same Old Sky)
  • She's So Nice - Vocal refrain by Dick Robertson

Ted Weems and his Orchestra - Heartaches


Lucille Bogan - Bo-Easy Blues


Louis armstrong wonderful world

I see trees of green, red roses too 
I see them bloom for me and you 
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world 

I see skies of blue and clouds of white 
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night 
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

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