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David F. Garcia

[Chocolate]

(b Ranchuelo, Las Villas, Cuba, April 4, 1928; d Mohegan Lake, NY, Jan 6, 2016). Cuban trumpet player, active in the United States. Known for his uniquely traditional Cuban style, Armenteros began playing trumpet in the youth municipal band of Ranchuelo. After moving to Havana in 1949, he made his first recordings with René Álvarez y Su Conjunto titled “Llego María La ’O” and “Jovenes del muelle.” He later became a member of Arsenio Rodríguez y Su Conjunto and the Beny Moré orchestra, performing on Cuban radio as well as recordings. Armenteros performed in New York for the first time in 1956 as a member of Fajardo y Sus Estrellas. Soon afterward he moved there, performing and recording with Machito and His Afro-Cubans, La Sonora Matancera, Larry Harlow, Moncho Leña, Charlie Palmieri, Eddie Palmieri, Grupo Folklórico y Experimental Nuevayorquino, and many others through the 1970s. After that he recorded with Cachao, John Santos, and Poncho Sanchez, as well as led his own recording projects totaling more than eight albums. His performance and recording career encompassed seven decades. Recordings of his playing demonstrate the idiomatic markers of Cuban trumpet playing and music, including ...

Article

(b Memphis, TN, Feb 3, 1898; d Chicago, IL, Aug 27, 1971). American jazz pianist, singer, bandleader, and composer. She studied keyboard privately from an early age and had hopes of becoming a concert pianist. While she was enrolled at Fisk University, her mother and stepfather moved to Chicago, where in 1917 she took a job as a sheet music demonstrator, which led to her joining the Original Creole Jazz Band as its pianist. It was her first job playing jazz and she decided not to return to Fisk. She subsequently worked with several bands, including King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, with which she performed in San Francisco in 1921 and made her recording debut in 1923. By this time the band included louis Armstrong, whom she married in 1924. Armstrong’s place in jazz history was assured by her participation on Oliver’s Gennett recordings and Louis’ Hot Five sessions for Okeh. She played an important role in Louis’ move into a brighter spotlight before their separation in ...

Article

Gene H. Anderson

[Dippermouth Papa Dip Pops Satchelmouth Satchmo ]

(b New Orleans, LA, Aug 4, 1901; d New York, NY, July 6, 1971). American trumpeter, singer, and entertainer.

Despite his lifelong claim of 4 July 1900 as his birthday, Armstrong was actually born on 4 August 1901 as recorded on a baptismal certificate discovered after his death. Although calling himself “Louis Daniel Armstrong” in his 1954 autobiography, he denied knowledge of his middle name or its origin. Nevertheless, evidence of “Daniel” being a family name is strong: Armstrong’s paternal great-great-grandfather, a third generation slave brought from Tidewater Virginia for sale in New Orleans in 1818, was named Daniel Walker, as was his son, Armstrong’s great-grandfather. The latter’s wife, Catherine Walker, sponsored her great-grandson’s baptism at the family’s home parish, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church on Canal Street.

Armstrong’s mother, Mary (“Mayann”) Albert (1885–1927), a recent arrival in New Orleans from rural Boutte, Louisiana, was living with relatives “back o’ town” on Jane Alley when she met Catherine and Daniel Walker’s grandson, William Armstrong (...

Article

David F. Garcia

[Desiderio Alberto]

(b Santiago de Cuba, March 2, 1917; d San Diego, CA, Dec 2, 1986).American entertainer, bandleader, and television producer of Cuban birth. Arnaz left Santiago for the United States when his father, the mayor, was exiled upon the fall of the Machado government in 1933. Arnaz began his career as a singer in Miami and joined the internationally famous Xavier Cugat orchestra in the late 1930s. He started his own band, which recorded with Columbia in 1941 and Victor from 1946 through 1951. While Arnaz was the leader and featured singer, the band also recorded with prominent American singers, including the Andrews Sisters and Jane Harvey. Arnaz also appeared in the Broadway and film versions of Too Many Girls in 1939 and 1940, respectively. He married the film actress Lucille Ball, and the couple eventually starred in and produced their classic television show, I Love Lucy (featuring Arnaz as a bandleader), from ...

Article

Bill C. Malone

revised by John W. Rumble

[Richard Edward]

(b Henderson, TN, May 15, 1918; d Brentwood, TN, May 8, 2008). American country-music recording artist and television performer. He personified country music’s commercial expansion during the period 1940–70. His father died when Arnold was 11, and the family became sharecroppers on the farm they had owned in Chester County, Tennessee. By 1936 he had begun working on radio programs and in beer joints, first in Jackson, Tennessee, and then in Memphis and St. Louis. Becoming the featured vocalist of the band led by Pee Wee King on the radio program Grand Ole Opry in 1940 heightened his profile. Arnold began to perform under his own name in 1943 and subsequently headlined the show’s segment broadcast over the Mutual Network. He made his first recordings for RCA Victor in 1944.

Between 1945 and 1955 Arnold scored 66 top-ten country hits; 21 reached number one including “That’s How Much I Love You” (RCA, ...

Article

Paul Oliver

[James; Gitfiddle Jim]

(b Lovejoy, GA, Feb 15, 1901; d Chicago, IL, Nov 8, 1968). American blues singer and guitarist. He grew up on a farm in Georgia, learning to play guitar at the age of ten, and was an accomplished musician by the time he settled in Buffalo at the age of 18. In the 1920s he performed in local clubs and traveled with other singers as far south as Mississippi. Arnold played a steel-bodied guitar laid horizontally across his lap, stroking the strings with a glass flask to produce a wailing sound. Although his natural voice was low, the singing on many of his records is high pitched; he often employed a buzzing tone as a drone to accompany guitar solos. As Gitfiddle Jim he recorded “Paddlin’ Blues” (1930, Vic.), an instrumental tour de force, in Memphis, but despite his dazzling technique, Victor did not record him again. In ...

Article

Chadwick Jenkins

(Jeanne)

(b Detroit, MI, Aug 6, 1932; d Santa Monica, CA, April 13, 1986). American jazz harpist and bandleader, daughter of the jazz guitarist Wiley Thompson. She attended Cass Technical High School with Donald Byrd and Kenny Burrell, and took up piano, double bass, saxophone, and, eventually, harp. She then studied piano and music education at Wayne State University. Although she performed on piano in nightclubs, she had settled on harp as her primary instrument by 1952. She also formed a trio in which her husband, John Ashby, played drums. During the 1960s, Ashby presented her own radio show and, with her husband, formed the Ashby Players, an African-American theater group. Down Beat included her on its poll of best jazz performers in 1962, and by the late 1960s, she was in demand as a studio musician, in which capacity she recorded with Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, and Diana Ross, among others, and on movie soundtracks. Ashby’s most celebrated albums include ...

Article

Bill C. Malone

revised by Barry Mazor

[Chester Burton ]

(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in 1946 joined Red Foley. After beginning his association with the “Grand Ole Opry” he settled in Nashville in ...

Article

Bryan S. Wright

(b Indianapolis, IN, May 21, 1888; d Pasadena, CA, Sept 1, 1972). American Composer and pianist. She was born into a musical family: her father, John Henry Aufderheide (1865–1941), was a semi-professional violinist and his sister, May Kolmer, was a noted pianist who performed with the Indianapolis SO and taught at the Metropolitan School of Music. Aufderheide learned classical piano with Kolmer, but showed more interest in popular music. While a teenager in finishing school in New York, she composed her first rag, “Dusty Rag” (1908), which was arranged by Paul Pratt and published initially by an acquaintance from Indianapolis, Cecil Duane Crabb. Following several months completing her education in Europe, in the spring of 1908 Aufderheide returned to Indiana, married Thomas M. Kaufman, and settled in Richmond, Indiana. “Dusty Rag” had not sold well in her absence owing to Crabb’s limited distribution, so when Aufderheide produced several more after her return, her father, a prominent banker, used his considerable resources to establish J.H. Aufderheide & Company to publish her works. He reissued “Dusty Rag” with greater success and in the three years that followed published roughly a dozen of his daughter’s rags, waltzes, and songs in addition to works by such other regional composers as Gladys Yelvington, Julia Lee Niebergall, Paul Pratt, and Crabb. Several of Aufderheide’s more popular piano rags were given lyrics and published in song form. Her career as a pianist and composer was brief, spanning just four years. Despite the commercial and critical success of her compositions “The Richmond Rag,” “The Thriller!,” “Buzzer Rag,” and “Blue Ribbon Rag,” by the age of 23 she had ceased composing. She and her husband adopted a daughter in ...

Article

Jefferey Wanser

[Lucas, Lemuel Eugene]

(b Gainesville, TX, June 24, 1900; d Palm Springs, CA, Jan 24, 1972). American singer, composer, and pianist. He received his stage name from his stepfather. He began his career by joining the circus at the age of 15 and soon thereafter reached New Orleans where he played piano in parlor houses. After military service in World War I, he met Roy Bergere, with whom he subsequently toured in a vaudeville duo. Austin began writing songs and moved on to work for Mills Music in New York as a demo singer. After he made his first recording for Victor Records (1924), his crooning style, influenced by African American work songs and cowboy singers, came to the attention of the producer Nat Shilkret, who teamed him with Aileen Stanley for a duet, “When my Sugar Walks down the Street” (Vic., 1925). Within months Austin became a star in his own right with hit songs such as “Ain’t she Sweet” and “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue,” and continued this streak throughout the 1920s with “My Blue Heaven” and “Girl of My Dreams,” among others. Austin then started his own music company, recorded with Fats Waller, and performed extensively on radio and in concert. In the early 1930s he also appeared in several Hollywood films as a singing cowboy. His singing style soon became outdated, and he began other ventures, including starting nightclubs in New Orleans, Hollywood, and Las Vegas, as well as traveling shows. He revived his singing career in the 1950s, when he appeared on television and in nightclubs. Austin composed or copyrighted 85 songs. His last appearance was at a New Year’s Eve concert in Miami in ...