ARTISTS & PERFORMERS

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Artist Photo Artist Bio
Bert Ambrose (11 September 1896 – 11 June 1971), was an English bandleader and violinist. Ambrose became the leader of a highly acclaimed British dance band, Bert Ambrose & His Orchestra, in the 1930s. Ambrose began playing the violin while young, and travelled to New York City with his aunt. He began playing professionally, first for Emil Coleman at New York's Reisenweber's restaurant, then in the Palais Royal's big band. After making a success of a stint as bandleader, at the age of 20 he was asked to put together and lead his own fifte... Continue reading
Bert Lown (June 6, 1903-November 20, 1962) was a violinist and orchestra leader. He was born in White Plains, New York. He began as a sideman playing the violin in Fred Hamm's band, and in the 1920s and 1930s he led a series of jazz-oriented dance bands (the most famous being the Biltmore Hotel Orchestra), making a large number of recordings in that period for Victor Records. In 1925, with Hamm, Dave Bennett, and Chauncey Gray, he composed the well-known standard "Bye Bye Blues." He also wrote some other songs, including "You're The O... Continue reading
Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), was an American jazz musician and singer-songwriter with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. Holiday was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills, which made up for her limited range and lack of formal music education. While there were... Continue reading
Billy Cotton (6 May 1899 – 25 March 1969) was an English band leader and entertainer, one of the few whose orchestras survived the British dance band era. Cotton is now mainly remembered as a 1950s and 1960s radio and television personality, but his musical career had begun in the 1920s. In his younger years Billy Cotton was also an amateur soccer player, an accomplished racing driver and the owner of a small plane which he piloted himself. In the early 1920s, he worked at several jobs, including as a bus driver, before setting up ... Continue reading
Billy Eckstine (July 8, 1914 – March 8, 1993) was an American jazz and pop singer, and a bandleader of the swing era. He was noted for his rich, resonant, almost operatic bass-baritone voice. Eckstine's recording of "I Apologize" (MGM, 1948) was awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999. He attended Armstrong High School, St. Paul Normal and Industrial School, and Howard University. He left Howard in 1933, after winning first place in an amateur talent contest. Heading to Chicago, Eckstine joined Earl Hines' Grand Terrace Orchestra in 193... Continue reading
Bing Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark warm bass-baritone voice made him the best-selling recording artist of the 20th century, having sold over one billion records, tapes, compact discs and digital downloads around the world. The first multimedia star, from 1931 to 1954 Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses. His early career coincided with technical recording innovations such as the microphone. This allowed him to develop a laid-back, intimat... Continue reading
Bob Crosby (August 23, 1913 – March 9, 1993) was an American jazz singer and bandleader, known for his group the Bob-Cats. Crosby was born in Spokane, Washington, and is one of the younger brothers of vocalist Bing Crosby. Like his brother Bing before him, Crosby attended Gonzaga College, but he dropped out to seek a career in music. Crosby began singing in the early 1930s with the Rhythm Boys, which included vocalist Ray Hendricks and guitarist Bill Pollard, and with Anson Weeks (1931–34) and the Dorsey Brothers (1934–35). He led his fir... Continue reading
Bob Eberly (July 24, 1916, Mechanicville, New York – November 17, 1981, Glen Burnie, Maryland) was a big band vocalist, best known for his association with Jimmy Dorsey and his duets with Helen O'Connell. His younger brother Ray was also a big-band singer, most notably with Glenn Miller's orchestra. He recorded the original version of "I'm Glad There Is You" in 1942 with Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra. The song subsequently became a jazz and pop standard. In 1953, Eberly and Helen O'Connell headlined a summer replacement program for Perry Com... Continue reading
The Boswell Sisters were a close harmony singing group, consisting of sisters Martha (June 9, 1905 – July 2, 1958), Connee (December 3, 1907 – October 11, 1976), and Helvetia "Vet" (May 20, 1911 – November 12, 1988), noted for intricate harmonies and rhythmic experimentation. They attained national prominence in the United States in the 1930s. In 1925 they made their first record for the Victor Records. They appeared on radio programs and recorded music to be dubbed into films. The trio had a program on CBS from 1931 to 1933. After a few ... Continue reading
Buddy Rich (September 30, 1917 – April 2, 1987) was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. Widely considered one of the most influential drummers of all time and known for his virtuoso technique, power, and speed, Rich was billed as "the world's greatest drummer" during his career. He performed with many bandleaders, most notably Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Count Basie, and led his own big band. Rich’s talent for rhythm was first noted by his father, who saw that Buddy could keep a steady beat with spoons at the age of one. He began playin... Continue reading
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