ARTISTS & PERFORMERS

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Artist Photo Artist Bio
Alvino Rey (July 1, 1908– February 2, 2004), was an American jazz guitarist and bandleader. Early in life he had a knack for music and electronics. When he was eight, he built his first radio, and within a couple years he was one of the youngest ham radio operators in the country. In his teens, he was given a banjo as a birthday present. His professional career began in 1927 when he got a job playing banjo, and during the following year, he became a member of the Phil Spitalny Orchestra. He switched from banjo to guitar, then changed his nam... Continue reading
The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. The group consisted of three sisters: contralto LaVerne (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), soprano Maxene (January 3, 1916 – October 21, 1995), and mezzo-soprano Patty (February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013). Throughout their long career, the sisters sold well over 100 million records. Their 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" can be considered an early example of rhythm and blues or jump blues. The Andrews Sisters' harmonies and songs are still... Continue reading
Andy Kirk (May 28, 1898 – December 11, 1992) was a jazz saxophonist and tubist best known as a bandleader of the "Twelve Clouds of Joy", popular during the swing era. Kirk grew up in Denver, Colorado, where he was tutored by Wilberforce Whiteman, Paul Whiteman's father. Kirk started his musical career playing with George Morrison's band, but then went on to join Terrence Holder's Dark Clouds of Joy. In 1929 he was elected leader after Holder departed. Renaming the band Clouds of Joy, Kirk also relocated the band from Dallas, Texas, to Kansas ... Continue reading
Anson Weeks (February 14, 1896, Oakland, California – February 7, 1969, Sacramento, California) was a pianist and the leader of a popular west coast dance band from the late 1920s through the 1960s, primarily in San Francisco. He formed his first band in 1924 and had key hotel jobs in Oakland and Sacramento, California. By the late 1920s he led a popular regional orchestra and started recording for Columbia in 1928. He garnered favorable attention in late 1931 on the "Lucky Strike Magic Carpet" radio program. His vocalists included Art Wilson... Continue reading
Art Hickman (June 13, 1886 – January 16, 1930) was a drummer, pianist, and band leader whose orchestra is sometimes seen as an ancestor to Big band music. It fits into what are termed "sweet bands", something like that of Paul Whiteman. His orchestra is also credited, perhaps dubiously, with being among the first jazz bands. Jelly Roll Morton disputed this notion, as did Hickman himself. At first he even disputed that "jazz" was music at all, alternatively calling it a kind of bubbling water or just noise. Although born in Oakland, he lived i... Continue reading
Artie Shaw (May 23, 1910 – December 30, 2004) was an American clarinetist, composer, bandleader, and actor. Also an author, Shaw wrote both fiction and non-fiction. Widely regarded as "one of jazz's finest clarinetists," Shaw led one of the United States' most popular big bands in the late 1930s through the early 1940s. Though he had numerous hit records, he was perhaps best known for his 1938 recording of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine." Prior to the release of "Beguine," Shaw and his fledgling band had languished in relative obscurity for... Continue reading
Ben Bernie (May 30, 1891 – October 23, 1943), was an American jazz violinist, bandleader, and radio personality, often introduced as "The Old Maestro". He was noted for his showmanship and memorable bits of snappy dialogue. In 1923 Bernie and the Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra recorded "Who's Sorry Now", and in 1925 Ben Bernie and his orchestra recorded Sweet Georgia Brown. Bernie was the co-composer of this jazz standard, which became the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters. Bernie and his orchestra were heard November 15, 1926, via a remote b... Continue reading
Bennie Moten (November 13, 1894 – April 2, 1935) was an American jazz pianist and band leader. He lead the Kansas City Orchestra, the most important of the regional, blues-based orchestras active in the Midwest in the 1920s, and helped to develop the riffing style that would come to define many of the 1930s Big Bands. They signed with Victor Records in 1926, and were influenced by the more sophisticated style of Fletcher Henderson. More often than not, their pieces featured a hard stomp beat that was extremely popular in Kansas City. Moten co... Continue reading
Benny Carter (August 8, 1907 – July 12, 2003) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. He was a major figure in jazz from the 1930s to the 1990s, and was recognized as such by other jazz musicians who called him King. The National Endowment for the Arts honored Benny Carter with its highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award for 1986. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, and both won a Grammy Award for his solo "Prelude to a Kiss" and received a star on ... Continue reading
Benny Goodman (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader, known as the "King of Swing". In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in America. His concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City on January 16, 1938, is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history: jazz's 'coming out' party to the world of 'respectable' music." Goodman's bands launched the careers of many major names in jazz. During an era ... Continue reading
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