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(b Palestine, TX, Jan 21, 1902; d Fort Worth, May 2, 1984). American singer and bandleader. He led his own band in Dallas (c1925) and toured Texas, then briefly led the Wolverines. In 1928 he worked as a banjoist in New York, but from 1929 he specialized as a singer. He made a large number of recordings as a leader (1929–31, 1934), as well as with such musicians as the Dorsey Brothers (1928–9), Irving Mills, the Goofus Five, and Ben Pollack (all 1929), the California Ramblers, Joe Venuti, and Frankie Trumbauer (all 1929–30), the violinist Ben Selvin (1929–31), Duke Ellington (1930, notably Nine Little Miles from Ten-Ten-Tennessee, Vic. 22586), and Red Nichols and Benny Goodman (both 1931). During the early 1930s his band held many residencies in New York, and Ballew also led an all-star group which included Bunny Berigan and Glenn Miller. Later he appeared in many films....


Michel Laplace

(b Loda, nr Lantosque, France, March 1, 1917; d Monaco, July 13, 1995). French trumpeter, singer, and bandleader. He was largely self-taught as a musician. He went to Paris in January 1940 and played with the bandleader and saxophonist Raymond Legrand (1940), Fred Adison’s band, the pianist Raymond Wraskoff (1940–41), Hubert Rostaing (1940–41), Alix Combelle’s group the Jazz de Paris (1940–41), Maceo Jefferson, and André Ekyan (1941). In 1943–5 he performed and recorded as the leader of a successful group consisting of a trumpet, five saxophones, and a rhythm section; Dizzy Gillespie was a guest soloist with the band in 1948. Barelli recorded in jam sessions with Charlie Parker and Sidney Bechet (1949), and Django Reinhardt (1952), and from 1966 worked as a bandleader in Monte Carlo. Influenced by Louis Armstrong, Harry James, and Gillespie, Barelli was the most technically proficient French trumpeter; his performance on ...


Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...


Brian Peerless

[Gordon ]

(b Fort Worth, Feb 12, 1914; d Costa Mesa, CA, May 30, 2000). American tenor saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. As a child he played soprano saxophone, and in his teens he worked with territory bands in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1938 he joined Glenn Miller, to whom he had been recommended by Gene Krupa. Miller gave him a highly prominent role, and his playing may be heard on In the Mood and other pieces. Beneke also became one of the band’s principal singers; he often took duets with Marion Hutton, and sang with the Modernaires on such recordings as Chattanooga Choo Choo. He appeared with the band in films and became extremely popular, winning several polls. When the ensemble disbanded in 1942 Beneke toured with the Modernaires. During World War II he directed a navy dance band in Oklahoma, and following his discharge he was selected by the administrators of Miller’s estate to assume leadership of the latter’s band (...


Otto Flückiger

(b Berne, Jan 11, 1912; d Zurich, Nov 28, 1999). Swiss double bass player, singer, and bandleader. In 1935 he joined the Dutch band the Harlem Kiddies, with which he toured Europe until 1939, and in 1937 he recorded I’m in the mood for love in a trio with Coleman Hawkins (first issued on the album 1935–1965: 30 Jahre Jazz Made in Switzerland, 1935–65, EMI 13C152-33894–5). Bertschy married the Dutch singer Kitty Ramon, who sang in his group the Swing Kiddies. During the war he served in the Swiss Army; he also performed and recorded (1941) with Teddy Stauffer’s Original Teddies. After a period with the Lanigiros (1942–6), with which he recorded My Melancholy Baby (1942, Col. ZZ1104), he formed the Continentals, a ten-piece ensemble with which he toured Europe until it disbanded in 1963; the group’s recordings include the album Undecided (...


[Myron ]

(b Youngstown, OH, Sept 23, 1905; d Cincinnati, Nov 26, 1958). American bandleader, singer, and drummer. He attended Wilberforce University, where he sang with Horace Henderson’s Collegians. He then moved to New York and played drums with Marion Hardy’s Alabam-ians, the Savoy Bearcats, and the Mills Blue Rhythm Band (all 1932) and sang with Luis Russell. In 1934 he formed his own big band, which included Shad Collins, Russell Procope, and Happy Caldwell; among the titles he recorded are The Darktown Strutters’ Ball and The Sheik of Araby (1934, Decca 194). His groups of the 1930s and 1940s involved Charlie Shavers and Carl Warwick (both 1935), Art Trappier (mid-1930s), Nelson Williams, Little Benny Harris, Henderson Chambers, and Charlie Fowlkes (all 1939), Chambers, Bobby Plater, and Shadow Wilson (all 1940), and John Anderson and Gil Fuller (both early 1940s). Bradshaw continued to lead big bands into the 1950s, toured Japan in ...


[William Steven ]

(b New Orleans, Aug 30, 1908; d Los Angeles, Feb 9, 1964). American bandleader and singer. He began his career as a soft-shoe dancer in 1926 and toured extensively as a dancer and singer until 1933. From 1934 to 1938 and again from 1945 to 1948 he led his own big band, which at times in the mid-1930s included Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson (both of whom contributed arrangements), Ben Webster, Cozy Cole, Edgar Battle, Taft Jordan, and Glyn Paque. The band’s compelling swing may be heard on A Viper’s Moan and Bryant’s sentimental style of singing on his own composition It’s over because we’re through (both 1935, Vic. 24858). Bryant later worked as master of ceremonies for radio broadcasts from the Apollo Theatre in New York, and as a disc jockey, an actor, and a radio announcer; he may be seen in two episodes of the television series “Showtime at the Apollo” (...


Roger T. Dean

(b Sydney, May 26, 1942). Australian trumpeter, singer, and bandleader. In 1959 he participated in Sydney Jazz Club workshops. After playing in 1961 with the Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band, the following year he formed his Olympia Jazz Band in Sydney, which included the guitarist and banjoist Geoff Holden (who had introduced him to jazz), the clarinetist Peter Neubauer, and the double bass player Dick Edser, and which often played at the Brooklyn and Orient hotels. In 1966-7 he performed overseas, among other places in New Orleans and Europe, and recorded with Alton Purnell, Barry Martyn, and Capt. John Handy. Back in Sydney he returned to the Orient Hotel. He recorded Geoff Bull's Olympia Jazz Band (1969, Swaggie 1261) and continued to lead a number of versions of the Olympia Jazz Band. In 1974 he revisited New Orleans, and thereafter he traveled frequently between the two cities; he recorded in New Orleans with several veteran musicians and he organized Australian tours for Purnell and Sammy Price. Bull briefly ran a restaurant in ...


Géza Gábor Simon and Rainer E. Lotz

[Eduard; Buttler, Eddy]

(b Budapest, 1902; d Budapest, c1981). Hungarian alto saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. He learned to play piano at the age of seven and led his first band when he was 14. At 16 he began to study singing at the National Conservatory in Budapest. He performed on alto saxophone and sang as the leader of the Jolly Boys (also known as Buttola Ede Jazz-Zenekara), who toured Denmark, Norway, Germany, and Austria (1927–34) and first recorded in Copenhagen in 1929. From 1936 to 1943 Buttola made many recordings with his own big band in Budapest, including Caravan (1937, Radiola 70) and Bei mir bist du schön (1938, Radiola 116), as well as swing interpretations of music by Rachmaninov, de Falla, and Dvořák. Besides his principal activities he also played clarinet, baritone saxophone, piano, and accordion, and he was the music director of the Radiola Electro record label....


Howard Rye

[Pindar, Blanche Calloway ]

(b Baltimore, 1902; d Baltimore, Dec 16, 1978). American singer and bandleader, sister of Cab Calloway. She left Morgan State College to perform in local revues in Baltimore. In the mid-1920s she worked as a soloist at the Ciro Club, New York, then toured extensively in revues. In 1925 she recorded as a blues singer accompanied by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones. Calloway held residencies in Chicago, and in 1931 she performed with Andy Kirk at the Pearl Theatre in Philadelphia and recorded as the leader of Kirk’s band. She then formed her own orchestra, which included such sidemen as Puddinghead Battle, Vic Dickenson, Clyde Hart, and Ben Webster; it recorded in 1931 and again in 1934–5 and continued to tour until 1938, when bankruptcy (filed under her married name, Blanche Calloway Pindar) forced Calloway to disband. She formed a new band, which toured from January to ...