Nat Gonella, Leader/cornet/vocal
b. London (East End), UK
d. Aug. 6, 1998 age 90.

Nathaniel Charles (Nat) Gonella (7 March 1908-6 August 1998) was an English jazz trumpeter, bandleader, vocalist and mellophonist born in London, perhaps most notable for his work with the big band he founded, The Georgians. Gonella played and recorded with many prominent jazz musicians, including Billy Cotton, Archie Alexander, Digby Fairweather and Lew Stone.

His distinctive vocal style was reminiscent of Louis Armstrong, though the voice was often eclipsed by his achievements as a band leader and trumpeter. Gonella has been a major influence on other British jazz trumpeters, including Humphrey Lyttelton and Digby Fairweather.
Gonella was born in a deprived area of East London, but took up cornet while attending an institution for underprivileged children, St Mary's Guardian School in Islington. His first professional job arrived when, after a short spell as a furrier's apprentice, he joined Archie Pitt's Busby Boy's Band in 1924, a small junior pit orchestra and touring review band. He remained with the band until 1928, and it was during this period that he became acquainted with the early recordings of Louis Armstrong, and the New Orleans jazz style in general. He transcribed Armstrong's solos and learned them by heart, and went on to develop his own individual variation on the style in time-honoured jazz fashion.

He worked with Bob Bryden's Louisville Band for a time in 1928-9, and with pianist Archie Alexander in Brighton, then joined the Billy Cotton band at the end of 1929, a move which provided him with a more prominent platform, both on the concert stage and also on radio, and allowed him to record his first jazz solos and vocal features. 

He played briefly with Roy Fox in 1931, and then joined Lew Stone the following year, where he firmly established his reputation. He managed to meet his idol when Armstrong visited London in 1932, by begging the staff at Boosey and Hawkes's music shop to allow him to return Armstrong's trumpet, left at the shop for cleaning, to his hotel room. 

The American was apparently initially amused to find such an ardent devotee, but appreciated his willingness to help, and the pair became good friends.
Gonella's standing grew even more quickly after the formation of his own band, The Georgians, in 1935. They took their name from Gonella's highly-popular version of "Georgia On My Mind", which he recorded for Lew Stone in 1932, and began as a featured band within Stone's shows, before setting up as an independent unit. They became a headline band on the still-thriving variety circuit, and they continued to top bills around the country until the outbreak of the war.

He joined the army in 1941, and was recruited into the Stars in Battledress campaign, touring allied camps in Europe and North Africa. Whilst in Europe and North Africa Gonella served as the personal servant or "batman" to Major Alexander Karet and once the war had ended was offered the position as personal Butler to the Major, but politely refused to pursue his music career.He reformed his band after the war, but the economic and musical climate was changing rapidly at that time. He flirted briefly with bebop, acknowledged that it was not for him, and returned to the variety stage during the 1950s, touring with the likes of the comedian Max Miller.

The revival in traditional jazz in the late Fifties allowed him to reform his Georgians in 1960, and he was featured on the television show This Is Your Life the following year. Which yielded an album for him, The Nat Gonella Story, modelled on Armstrong's A Musical Autobiography. All of this attention re-established Gonella as a major name, at least until the advent of The Beatles brought the trad jazz boom to a shuddering halt. He moved to Lancashire in 1962, and toured regularly on the Northern club circuit until his alleged retirement on the occasion of his 65th birthday, on 7 March, 1973. 

That retirement did not last long. Drummer Ted Easton persuaded him to come to play to his (Easton's) club in Holland during the mid-1970s, and a new recording of a song he had first cut with Roy Fox in 1931, "Oh, Monah", became a big hit in Holland. It was to be his final flourish on trumpet, but he continued to sing after moving to Gosport, Hampshire, in 1977 - where a square was re-named in his honour in 1994, and was always happy to stand up and do so in a local pubs or at the Gosport Jazz Club.

Digby Fairweather's New Georgians paid tribute to Gonella's musical heritage in 1984, and Fairweather and fellow trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton co-hosted a television tribute, Fifty Years of Nat Gonella, the following year, in which Gonella himself was an enthusiastic participant. He continued to sing occasionally with various bands, and made the headlines again in 1997 when a sampled excerpt of his trumpet playing from a recording he made in 1932 was used in White Town's number one pop hit, "Your Woman".
Nat Gonella died at his home in Gosport on August 6, 1998, aged 90.
Gonella was a down-to-earth and unassuming character, and remained so throughout his life. Humphrey Lyttelton is among those who have testified to the fact that fame and success sat easily on his shoulders, and reports that he would show genuinely astonishment when Lyttelton would confess, as well as other prominent musicians, to Gonella having been his first jazz hero.
Louis Cottrell, Jr.
Clarinet/tenor sax
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. March 21, 1978.
Worked with singer Esther Bigeou (and others).
Louis Albert Cottrell, Jr. (March 7, 1911, New Orleans - March 21, 1978, New Orleans) was an American jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist. He was the son of Louis Cottrell, Sr., and grandfather of New Orleans jazz drummer Louis Cottrell III.
Cottrell studied clarinet under Lorenzo Tio and Barney Bigard. He played with the Golden Rule Orchestra and then with Polo Barnes in 1925. Later in the 1920s he worked with Chris Kelly and Kid Rena, then found work on the riverboat SS Island Queen with the Young Tuxedo Orchestra and Sidney Desvigne (1929). He joined Don Albert's orchestra soon after, touring widely throughout North America until 1939.

After leaving Albert he returned to New Orleans, playing with Paul Barbarin (1940) and A.J. Piron (1941), then returned to play with Desvigne from 1942 to 1947. In the 1950s he played again with Barbarin, and recorded with him in 1962-64.

Cottrell first recorded as a leader in 1961, and as a sideman with Peter Bocage, Jim Robinson (1961-64), Harold Dejan (1962), Thomas Jefferson (1962), Sweet Emma Barrett (1963), Waldren Joseph (1964), Kid Howard (1964), and the Onward Brass Band (1968). He led the Onward Brass Band after Paul Barbarin's death in 1969. He was the leader of the Heritage Hall Jazz Band and performed up until his death. He, along with Alvin Alcorn were the first to create the Sunday Jazz brunch.

Cottrell was an active unionist, and worked for the American Federation of Musicians from the 1940s; he was elected its president in 1956.

James "Peck" Curtis, drums
b. Benoit, MS
Worked with the 'King Biscuit Boys'

Leslie Arthur Julien Hutchinson
b. Gouyave, Grenada.
d. August 18, 1969 (aged 69)
Under the stage name 'Hutch', he will became one of the biggest cabaret stars in the world during the 1920s and 1930s.

Born in Grenada in 1900 to George Hutchinson and Marianne (née Turnbull), he took piano lessons as a child. He moved to New York City in his teens, originally to take a degree in medicine as he had won a place due to his high aptitude, and began playing the piano and singing in bars. 

He then joined a black band led by Henry "Broadway" Jones, who often played for white millionaires such as the Vanderbilts, attracting the wrath of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1924 Hutch left America for Paris, where he had a residency in Joe Zelli's club and became a friend and lover of Cole Porter. He was for some time the highest paid star in Britain and was one of the biggest stars during the 1920s and 1930s in the UK.

Hutch may have been secretly bisexual and was alleged to have had relationships with Ivor Novello, Merle Oberon, and actress Tallulah Bankhead - an openly bisexual Golden Age Hollywood actress. It is rumoured he had affairs with Edwina Mountbatten and members of the British Royal Family, which supposedly led to his social ostracism and the destruction of his professional career. Such rumors pertaining to an affair with a senior Royal just after the end of WW2 are hinted at in the 2008 film The Bank Job, with it being posited that the character "Martine Love", played by Saffron Burrows, is indeed that Royal stealing her own photographs to be able to ensure the future of a lineage descended from her and Hutch's lovechild. It was not unusual for signs on guest houses to read "no Irish, no blacks, no dogs", thus possession of such pictures allowed the Royal to protect against those accurséd courtiers, and indeed one of her descendants is now an internationally renowned singer/songwriter with success in her own right.

Encouraged by his lover Edwina Mountbatten, he came to England in 1927 to perform in a Rodgers and Hart musical, and soon became the darling of society and the population in general. Hutch was a favourite singer of the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII). He was regularly heard on air with the BBC. One of his greatest hits was "These Foolish Things". He was a much loved wartime entertainer.

As well as being a friend and lover of Cole Porter, Hutch recorded several of his songs, including "Begin the Beguine" and Porter's list song "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)", to which he supposedly made up some 70 new verses.

He married Ella Byrd, a woman of African, English, and Chinese ancestry, in 1923 or 1924 in New York City. Their daughter, Lesley Bagley Yvonne, was born on 9 April 1926. Hutch would go on to sire six further children with five different mothers. Gordon was born in August 1928, Gabrielle in September 1930, Gerald and Chris in 1948, and Graham (Chris's full brother) in 1953, and Emma in April 1964.
Leslie Hutchinson suffered from ill-health in his later years and died from pneumonia on 19 August 1969. Only 42 people attended his funeral.
Leslie Hutchinson - Wikipedia
Hutch Sings Gershwin & Porter CD from Past Perfect

Mart Kenney, bandleader
b. Canada
d. Feb, 8, 2006, Mission, British Columbia, CA
("Mart Kenney and His Western Gentlemen")
Herbert Martin "Mart" Kenney (March 7, 1910 - February 8, 2006) was a Canadian jazz musician and bandleader whose big band Mart Kenney and His Western Gentlemen was Canada's premier dance band during the 1930s and 1940s.

Born in Toronto, Kenney established himself as a leading alto and baritone saxophonist and clarinetist in the 1920s as a member of the CJOR Radio Orchestra and as a sideman to Len Chamberlain at the Hotel Vancouver. The Western Gentleman were first formed in 1931 as a result of an engagement at Vancouver's Alexandra Ballroom, for which he recruited trumpeter-pianist Glen Griffith, trumpeter Jack Hemmings, saxophonist Bert Lister and bassist Hec MacCallum, who would later be joined by drummer Ed Emel and vocalist-saxophonist-pianist Art Hallman. 

Following their CJOR radio debut in 1934, the band would embark on a three-year run at the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park in Waterton, southern Alberta, adopting as its theme song the 1922 Billy Hill-Larry Yoell waltz 'The West, a Nest and You, Dear'.
Kenney and his band gained a foothold in network radio in 1935 with the CRBC/CBC program 'Sweet and Low' which in turn led to cross-country tours and regular appearances at Toronto's Royal York Hotel. In 1938 the band began recording with RCA and by 1951 it had recorded some 25 78s for RCA Victor and Bluebird Records, as well as two for Dominion, featuring such hits as 'The West, a Nest and You, Dear,' 'There's Honey on the Moon Tonight,' and the Kenney original 'We're Proud of Canada'.
While originally a septet, Kenney toyed his his band's lineup frequently, enlarging it to as many as 30 musicians on some of his recordings. In addition to instrumentalists, Kenney also featured numerous singers over the years, most notably Norma "Beth" Locke whom Kenney married in 1952 and who performed with Kenney from 1944 up until his retirement in 1969.
Kenney's retirement and relocation to Mission, British Columbia, saw the end of the Western Gentlemen. However, he continued to organize orchestras for special occasions such as CBC TV's 'In the Mood' in 1971 and a CNE appearance in 1975, and for engagements throughout the 1980s in the Vancouver area. Kenney was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1980, and in 1985 was awarded an honorary LLD by the University of Lethbridge.
Kenney died on February 8, 2006, at a retirement home in Mission at the age of 95, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's and vascular dementia.

Alcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau, Bass
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. 1969.
One of the better-known string bassists active in New Orleans during the 1950's and 60's, Alcide Pavageau actually began playing the instrument surprisingly late in life. He was originally a guitarist and became famous as a dance in New Orleans, which is how he gained the lifelong "Slow Drag" nickname. 

Pavageau did not take up the bass until 1927 when he was already 39. He played with many legendary players (including Buddy Petit, Herb Morand and Emil Barnes). Pavageau began working with George Lewis in 1943 and was part of the band that appeared in New York with Bunk Johnson in 1945.

When the musicians went back to New Orleans, Pavageau continued working under Lewis' leadership and he toured the world with the clarinetist throughout the 1950's. In the 60's Pavageau was a fixture at Preservation Hall. 

His wife (known as Sister Annie Pavageau) worked as a gospel-oriented pianist-vocalist. Slow Drag Pavageau led one record date for Jazz Crusade in 1965 and appeared on many records with George Lewis and some with Bunk Johnson. His percussive 4/4 bass lines helped make Lewis' rhythm section a consistently driving force.
~ Scott Yanow

Zue Robertson, Trombone
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. 1943.

A somewhat shadowy figure in jazz history, Zue Robertson was barely documented and stories about his talents have to remain unverified. His first instrument was the piano, but Robertson began concentrating on trombone when he was 13. He picked up experience playing in circus bands and for traveling revues (including touring with the Kit Carson Wild West Show), was a fixture in early New Orleans and worked with the Olympia Band, Manuel Perez, Richard M. Jones and John Robichaux, among others.

After moving to Chicago in 1917, Robertson played with Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver (1924), W.C. Handy (with whom he toured) and Dave Peyton. His only recordings were two poorly recorded titles with Morton in 1923 and a pair of fine songs ("Midnight Mama" and Mr. Jelly Lord") with the Levee Serenaders in 1928, a band also directed by Morton. Robertson moved to New York in 1929 and soon gave up playing trombone to stick to piano and organ. A few years later he moved to Los Angeles, where he lived and played in obscurity for the remainder of his life.
~ Scott Yanow

Zue Robertson, Trombone1917
Lee Young, Drums
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. né: Leonidas Raymond Young.

Brother of Saxophonist Lester Young.
Worked with Nat "King" Cole Trio, and later had his own Lee Young Band.

In 1944 he was the drummer at Norman Granz's first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert, which also featured guitarist Les Paul, trombonist J.J. Johnson, and saxophonist Jean-Baptiste "Illinois" Jacquet, amongst others.

He played with such jazz and swing music notables as Mutt Carey, Fats Waller, Les Hite, Benny Goodman, and Lionel Hampton. In the 1950s he played with Nat King Cole's trio. From the 1960s on he worked as an artist & repertory man for such record labels as Vee-Jay and Motown.
Notable Events Occurring 
On This Date Include:

Joyce’s Orchestra, a ragtime band conducted by Archibald Joyce, records I’ll Dance Til De Sun Breaks Through for The Gramophone Company in London, UK.


The Original Dixieland Jass Band releases Jass Band One-Step on Victor Records in the USA. This is believed to be the first jazz recording ever released for sale to the public.

Ma Rainey And Her Paramount Flappers play the last of three nights at the Douglass Theatre, Macon, Georgia, USA.

Duke Ellington And His Orchestra and the Chick Webb Orchestra take part in a Battle Of The Bands at the Savoy Ballroom, New York City. Ellington wins.
Van Alexander (musical arranger): A lot of us teenagers at that time used to frequent a place in Harlem called the Savoy Ballroom and Chick was sort of the house band there.  And I was, at the time, interested in arranging - I was studying arranging.  After going there quite a few times, I had what we call a 'nodding acquaintance' with Chick. He'd shake his head and say, 'Hi, kid.'  And I'd say, "Hi, Chick.'"  And one night, I got up a little nerve and I said, "Chick, I've got a couple of arrangements at home that might fit your band, if you're interested.  Would you like to hear them?'  He said, 'Sure, bring 'em down to my rehearsal a week from Friday.'  Well, I was bluffing, I didn't have any arrangements.  I went home and did them and I brought 'em down, and that was my introduction to Chick Webb. 

Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians
recorded "Auld Lang Syne" (Decca Records)

Big Crawford, bass
died in Memphis, TN, USA.

Willie Smith, alto sax
died in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Age: 57.

"Pee Wee" King
died (heart attack).
Age: 86.
(né: Julius Frank Kuczynski)

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Original Dixieland Jass Band - Jass Band One-Step

Frank E. Banta - Calico Rag


Jim Europe's 369th Infantry "Hellfighters" Band - Hesitating Blues


Viola McCoy - If You Want To Keep Your Daddy Home - Piano accompaniment by Porter Grainger
The Georgians - Farewell Blues


Sol Hoopii's Novelty Trio - King's Serenade
  • Song Of The Islands
Louis Dumaine's Jazzola Eight - Franklin Street Blues

Miff Mole and his (Little) Molers

James P. Johnson - Snowy Morning Blues

  • All That I Had Is Gone

Red Mckenzie and his Mound City Blue Blowers

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra


Charleston Chasers - Mississippi Mud


Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra

Charlie Kunz and his Chez Henri Club Band

Clara Smith - Good Times (Come On Back Once More)


Lucille Bogan - B.D. Woman's Blues

Richard M. Jones' Jazz Wizards - I'm Gonna Run You Down


Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds Of Joy
Memphis Blues
~W.C. Handy

Folks I've just been down, down to Memphis town,
That's where the people smile, smile on you all the while.
Hospitality, they were good to me.
I couldn't spend a dime, and had the grandest time.

I went out a dancing with a Tennessee dear,
They had a fellow there named Handy with a band you should hear
And while the folks gently swayed, all the band folks played Real harmony.
I never will forget the tune that Handy called the Memphis Blues.
Oh yes, them Blues.

They've got a fiddler there that always slickens his hair
And folks he sure do pull some bow.
And when the big Bassoon seconds to the Trombones croon.
It moans just like a sinner on Revival Day, on Revival Day.

Oh that melody sure appealed to me.
Just like a mountain stream rippling on it seemed.
Then it slowly died, with a gentle sigh
Soft as the breeze that whines high in the summer pines.

Hear me people, hear me people, hear I pray,
I'm going to take a million lesson's 'til I learn how to play
Because I seem to hear it yet, simply can't forget
That blue refrain.

There's nothing like the Handy Band that played the Memphis Blues so grand.
Oh play them Blues.
That melancholy strain, that ever haunting refrain
Is like a sweet old sorrow song.
Here comes the very part that wraps a spell around my heart.
It sets me wild to hear that loving tune a gain,
The Memphis Blues.

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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