Don D'Arcy, Vocal
aka John Anthony Arcesi
b. Sayre, PA, USA.
d. April 12, 1983
Born John Anthony Arcesi in Sayre, Pennsylvania on February 11, 1917. John's father Antonio Arcesi, (pronounced 'RCC'), and his mother, Maria Marchone, were born in Sezze, Italy. Antonio traveled alone to America at the turn of the century leaving his wife and first born son Ignatius behind in Italy until he could establish himself. Upon reuniting in America, Antonio and Maria had four more children. Josephine, Loretta, Louis and Johnny. Johnny's mother died of pneumonia when he was only 10 months old. When Johnny was still a child, his father Antonio (Tony) played an Enrico Caruso disc on a Victrola and this inspired Johnny tremendously. As a result he became a child prodigy and local celebrity, singing whenever possible in public or private in the Sayre, Athens and Towanda area of Pennsylvania, as well as Waverly, New York, and as far as Scranton, Pennsylvania and Elmira, New York.
He turned professional at about the age of 10 after winning a talent show/contest that was produced in Sayre at the Sayre Theatre by the great 'Blackstone the Magician', Harry Blackstone, Sr. in c.1927. Young Johnny sang for every club or organization in the area that wanted talent to perform for their various causes, i.e., The Elks, Lions, et,al. He would also sing for the patients at the local Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. In 1933, after a fire almost destroyed the family home the previous year, young Johnny, at the age of 16, with his father's blessing, decided to travel alone to NYC to become a band vocalist. His childhood idols and inspirations were Bing Crosby, Russ Columbo, Red McKenzie, as well as other popular singers of the day. 
Click here for John's Bio

Matt Dennis, Songwriter
b. Seattle, WA,
d. June 21, 2002 Riverside, CA, USA 
~by Joslyn Layne

Songwriter, pianis, and singer Matt Dennis composed hit pop songs for Tommy Dorsey's band and Frank Sinatra during the 1940s and 1950s. Born into a vaudeville family in Seattle, in 1914, Dennis learned how to play the piano at a young age, leading to a job with Horace Heidt while Dennis was still in his teens. 
He eventually moved to Hollywood, where he worked in clubs accompanying singers such as Martha Tilton, Merry Macs, and the Pied Pipers. Dennis was still with the Pipers when they joined up with Tommy Dorsey, and served as arranger, composer, and coach for Dorsey.

During his service in WWII, Dennis did radio work and arranged music for Glenn Miller's AAF Orchestra, among others. Dennis' chief collaborator was lyricist Tom Adair, and his best-known tunes include "Will You Still Be Mine?," "Let's Get Away from It All," "Everything Happens to Me" (1941), and "Angel Eyes" (1953), but he also penned "We Belong Together," "We've Reached the Point of No Return," and "You Can Believe Me." Dennis also did a series of recordings for the Glendale, RCA, Jubilee, and Kapp labels. He later worked on television, radio, and as a nightclub entertainer into the 1960s. 
Matt Dennis, 88, Big Band-Era Songwriter - Obituary; Biography ...

Photo of Edison with cylinder phonograph in 1878
Thomas Edison
Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park", he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.
Edison was a prolific inventor, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. More significant than the number of Edison's patents was the widespread impact of his inventions: electric light and power utilities, sound recording, and motion pictures all established major new industries world-wide. Edison's inventions contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures. His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison developed a system of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power station was on Pearl Street in Manhattan, New York.

Claude Jones, Trombone
b. Boley, OK, USA. 
d. 1962 
~by Scott Yanow

For nearly 30 years, Claude Jones was a reliable trombonist who was both a fine soloist and a valuable section player in big bands. 
The future brother-in-law of Quentin Jackson, Jones began playing trombone (after some trumpet and drum lessons) when he was 13. After attending Wilberforce College for a time, Jones dropped out in 1922 and joined the Synco Jazz Band (an ancestor of McKinney's Cotton Pickers). He played off and on with the group into 1929. Jones gained some recognition for his work with Fletcher Henderson (1929-31). He worked with a variety of top swing bands including Don Redman (1931-33), back with Henderson (1933-34), Alex Hill and Chick Webb before settling in for a long stretch with Cab Calloway (1934-40).

In the early 1940's Jones played with the Coleman Hawkins big band, Zutty Singleton, Joe Sullivan, Henderson a third time (1941-42), Benny Carter, Don Redman (1943), a second period with Calloway and then Duke Ellington (1944-48). Jones had more opportunities to solo with Henderson's Orchestra then he did with the other bands and he was underutilized during his Ellington years. After working with Henderson's Sextet in 1950 and briefly back with Duke in 1951, he became a mess steward aboard the S.S. United States, passing away at sea 11 years later. In addition to his many records with Henderson, the 1928-29 version of McKinney's Cotton Pickers and most of the other big bands with which he had stints, Claude Jones made recordings with Connie's Inn Orchestra (1931), Jelly Roll Morton (1939) and Louis Armstrong-Sidney Bechet (1940) although never as a leader. 
Joe Jordan
d. Sept. 11, 1971 
~by arwulf arwulf 
Born in Cincinnati, Joe came up in St. Louis and received musical training at the Lincoln Institute in Jefferson City. In 1900, young Joe performed as fiddler and percussionist with the Taborian Band of St. Louis. He also appeared with Tom Turpin, Sam Patterson and Louis Chauvin in a singing four piano act. In 1902 he went to New York to collaborate with Ernest Hogan, known in show business as The Unbleached American. At the beginning of the 20th century, the rapidly developing U.S. entertainment industry was largely founded upon the exploitation of ethnic stereotypes. Hogan's big hit was called “All Coons Look Alike To Me", and the stage show that he and Jordan cooked up was “Rufus Rastus". Another example of the prevalent racial thematic was “Dandy Coon", created by Chauvin and Patterson in 1903.
Jordan stage managed and directed the music for this bit of minstrelsy, which toured with a cast of thirty including a “beautiful octoroon chorus". When the show disintegrated in Des Moines, Jordan made for Chicago. He began performing at the Pekin, a former casino/saloon at 27th and State that had been converted into a beer garden by Robert T. Motts. Jordan commemorated this hot spot with the “Pekin Rag", published in 1904. He briefly returned to St. Louis in order to play the Faust Restaurant at the 1904 World's Fair.
Now known as an expert at lickety-split orchestration on demand, Jordan returned to New York in 1905 to work with Ernest Hogan and James Reese Europe at organizing and directing the Memphis Students, a group of seventeen Afro-American men and women who were not students. Nor were they from Memphis. Their premiere appearance was at Proctor's 23rdStreet theater in the spring of 1905. James Weldon Johnson said that this “playing-singing-dancing orchestra" was “the first modern jazz band ever heard on a New York stage." Instrumentally, the ensemble contained saxophones, brass, banjos, guitars, mandolins, piano and drums. Later in 1905 they played Paris, London and other major European cities. Jordan composed “Rise And Shine", “Oh, Liza Lady", “Goin' To Exit" and “Dixie Land" for this group. He also came out with the “J.J.J. Rag". Back in Chicago, Motts' establishment was developing into an all-purpose entertainment center, known locally as the Pekin Temple of Music.
In 1906 Motts expanded his operation by erecting the Pekin Theatre right on top of the existing “Temple". With the opening of the revised and enlarged Pekin (one of America's first Afro-American-owned theatres) on March 31st 1906, the Negro District of South Side Chicago began to transform itself into a launching pad for the jazz explosion of 1915-1925. Mr. Jordan conducted the 16 piece house orchestra and served as composer and musical director, all for a weekly salary of twenty five dollars.
Increasing his involvement with the scene in New York, Jordan wrote a couple of songs for Ada Overton Walker; first “Salome's Dance" and then in 1909 “That Teasin' Rag". (Its main theme was swiped and used by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band on their 1917 recording the “Original Dixieland One Step". When Jordan heard the record, he filed a lawsuit! All of the platters were recalled, and the labeling was changed to include the phrase “introducing ‘That Teasin' Rag' by Joe Jordan"). Also in 1909, Jordan collaborated with Bob Cole and Rosamond Johnson on “Red Moon", a Broadway operetta which broke Jim Crow convention by having persons of color perform serious romantic songs, expressing realistic human emotion. This was something apparently not permitted, especially outside of New York City.
In 1910 Jordan wrote “Lovie Joe" for Fannie Brice. Barred as a black man from entering the theater where Brice premiered the song, Jordan stood outside on the pavement and wept when he heard the public demanding eight encores. Jordan went to Germany in 1911 with King and Bailey's Chocolate Drops. On his way back he performed his way through England. Landing at the Pekin once again he resumed his duties there for about three years. His songs dating from this period include “Dat's Ma Honey Sho's Yo' Born", “Oh Say Wouldn't It Be A Dream" and “Brother-In-Law Dan". He did very well in Chicago's real estate market, and in 1917 the J. Jordan Building was erected at the corner of 36th and State. In 1918-19 he was assistant director and financial advisor for Will Marion Cook's New York Syncopated Orchestra.
In 1928 Jordan conducted a band made up of Jabbo Smith, Garvin Bushell, James P. Johnson and Thomas “Fats" Waller in the musical revue “Keep Shufflin'". Jordan's touring band was called the Ten Sharps and Flats. 

He conducted the Federal Theatre Project's Negro Unit Orchestra in New York during the 30's. In 1936 Jordan worked with James P. Johnson, Porter Grainger and Asadata Dafora providing music for a Federal Theatre Project production of Shakespeare's Macbeth staged by Orson Welles. In 1939 Jordan led a symphony orchestra augmented by a 350 voice chorus at Carnegie Hall. He composed songs in collaboration with W. C. Handy, led military bands during WWII and settled into years of successful real estate in Tacoma, Washington where he passed away on the 11th of September, 1971.

Lebert Lombardo trumpet
b: London-Ontario, Canada
d. June 16, 1993, Ft. Myers, FL, USA.
One of the Lombardo brothers. Lebert Lombardo (February 11, 1905 - June 16, 1993) was a younger brother of Royal Canadians bandleader Guy Lombardo. Along with other brother Carmen, he a was member of the original Royal Canadians, playing trumpet and occasionally singing. His younger brother Victor Lombardo joined the band later, although Victor was never a partner; ownership of the band remained with the three older brothers.
Famed trumpeter Louis Armstrong named Lebert as one of his favorite trumpeters, citing Lombardo's ability to play the melody beautifully.
After Guy Lombardo's death in 1977, Lebert's son Bill briefly assumed the role of bandleader. They both retired a few years later, ending the involvement of the Lombardo family in the band.
John Mills Sr. at bottom
John Mills, Sr. vocals
d, Dec. 8, 1967.
né: John Charles Mills.
Member: (founder) of "The Mills Brothers" vocal group who achieved their greatest fame during the Big Bands era. Between 1910 and 1915, four boys were born to John and Eathel Mills in Piqua, Ohio. John, a barber, led a barbershop quartet; Eathel, a music teacher, performed light opera. Together, they taught John Jr., Herbert, Harry and Donald the intricacies of close harmony singing.
In 1999, Donald Mills, the youngest and last original member of the renowned Mills Brothers died, closing the 70 year career of the Mills Brothers vocal quartet. 
From their beginnings in the 1920s, they sold more than 50 million records, singing 2,246 songs, including the hits “Up a Lazy River” and “Glow Worm”. They broke down all sorts of racial barriers. 

Donald was only 7 when he and his brothers - John Jr., Herbert and Harry - began performing in their hometown of Piqua, Ohio. They developed a unique style that included mimicking musical instruments. In 1928, they began performing on Cincinnati radio station WLW-AM. 

In 1930, they auditioned for CBS in New York. Executive William S. Paley put them on the air immediately. The next day, the brothers signed a three-year contract, thus becoming the first African-Americans with their own national radio show.
The original Mills Brothers were John Mills Sr., John Mills Jr. (b. Feb. 1911, Piqua, Ohio, USA, d. Jan. 23, 1936, Bellefontaine, Ohio, USA, tuberculosis). Harry Mills (b. August 19, 1913, d. June 28, 1982), Herbert Mills (b. April 2, 1912, Piqua, Ohio, USA, d. April 12, 1989, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA), and Donald Mills (b. April 29, 1915, Piqua, Ohio, USA., d. Nov. 13, 1999, Los Angeles, California, USA. (complications of pneumonia) Age: 84).
"Josh" White
Blues/Folk singer/guitar
b. Greenville, SC, USA. 
d. Sept. 5, 1969. 
né: Joshua Daniel White. 
His father was a preacher, and he first sang gospel, returning to that music at various times in his career as a Blues singer and folk entertainer. As a singer of secular Blues, -such as "Jim Crow Train", "Sissy Man Blues", and "Silicosis Blues", he used such names as "the Singing Christian", and "Pinewood Tom" White. From 1932 on, he was well recorded, and even toured Europe in the post-WW2 years.
Notable Events Occurring 
On This Date Include: 

Larry Clinton Orchestra recorded "Martha" (Victor). 
Bea Wain vocal. 

Debut of NBC radio show "The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street". Henry "Hot Lips" Levine was the bandleader. The show combined music and satire built around the three Bs of music: Barrelhouse, Boogie Woogie and Blues.

William Roy Hardison, died.
Age: 69.
Member: "Gully Jumpers," a group formed 1927 with members Paul Warmack (Mandolin, Guitar, Vocals, August 16, 1889, Tennessee, USA, d. July 2, 1954), Charley Arrington (Fiddle, 1893, Tennessee, USA, d. Unknown), Roy Hardison (Banjo, July 19, 1896, Tennessee, USA, d. February 1966), and Burt Hutcherson (Guitar, 1893, Tennessee, USA, d. July 10, 1980)
Edmond Hall, clarinet
died in Boston, MA, USA.
Age: 65.
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Joseph C. Smith's Trio
  • Kisses

The Happy Six - Behind Your Silken Veil (Introducing: What Would We Do Without The Girls)
  • How Many Times? - (Introducing: The Sheik)
  • Leave Me With A Smile (Introducing: I Wonder If You Still Care For Me)
Kentucky Serenaders

Viola McCoy accompanied by 
Fletcher Henderson's Jazz Five

Henderson's Club Alabam Orchestra - Sud Bustin' Blues

Paul Ash and his Orchestra - Thanks For The Buggy Ride

Red and Miff's Stompers - Davenport Blues

J.C. Cobb And His Grains Of Corn
  • Boot That Thing
  • Smoke Shop Drag

Zack Whyte and his Chocolate Beau Brummels

Slim Lamar and his Southerners - Better Than Nothing
Charles Fulcher and his Orchestra - Atlanta Gal


Annette Hanshaw - Happy Days Are Here Again - (from "Chasing Rainbows")

Annette Hanshaw -  I'm Following You! - (from "It's a Great Life")


The Clicquot Club Eskimos

  • I'm Happy When You're Happy
  • One Little Raindrop

*That's a Plenty

that's a plenty!

Ba da ba dop ba dop
Real pazas

that's a plenty's got a beat in it
The rythm's got a lot of heat in it
now betcha five
ten to five
it's gonna getcha doing wat its doing to me

The dixie land comes oozin out of it
the dixie landers sure are proud of it
they call it jazz
what it has
that's a plenty for me!

Gonna hed on down to new orleans
bassin street and fine cuisine
you don't have to have the means
a little bit of rythm and your going right with them

Shut my big round rolling eyes
if you don't rocket to the skies
hey boy
say boy
that's a plenty for me!

You're gonna get mellow when that fellow blows his horn
down where the blues was born
you'll be gone
the trumpets are trumpin gonna do me sumpin gonna
be it out brother there's no other remedy
and that's a plenty
plenty for me!

blow the horn
blow the horn
don't you hear that happy sound
beat the drum
beat the drum
you can tell we're rythm bound
take my hand
we're going to dixie land!

wa wa wa wa x3
dabadopdaba dotdada

once you start you're gonna stay in it
everynight you're out cafe in it
swing your queen
what i mean
brother your as god as any human could be

and when you're in the mood there ain't no stoppin it
live it breathe it blow your top in it
that is jazz
what it has
that's a plenty for me!

thar's a plenty for me

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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