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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....

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Guillermo I. Olliver and Rainer E. Lotz

[Mike; Muhiddin, Ahmed]

(b Constantinople [now Istanbul], Sept 24, 1905). Argentine bandleader, banjoist, guitarist, and singer of Turkish birth. While attending the University of Michigan he played banjo under the name Ahmed Muhiddin in student bands (1924–31) and in an orchestra led by Jean Goldkette (1927). He worked as a newspaper correspondent in Uruguay and at the same time played in and around Montevideo in a trio led by the pianist Luis Rolero, with which he later moved to Buenos Aires; after this group disbanded in 1934 he joined the Dixie Pals, led by the violinist Paul Wyer, with which he recorded several tracks for Victor, including a version of his own composition Africa (1934, 37642). From 1936 to the early 1940s he played with the pianist Rene Cospito and his Orquesta Argentina de Jazz, with the drummer Mario D’Alo’s Rhythm Kings, and in a group modeled after the Quintette du Hot Club de France that included Hernán Oliva (violin), Dave Washington (second guitar), and Louis Vola (double bass). In the late 1930s, by which time he had taken the name Ahmed Ratip, he studied harmony with the bandleader Russ Goudy. Early in ...