ARTISTS & PERFORMERS

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Artist Photo Artist Bio
Charlie Spivak (February 17, 1905 or 1907 – March 1, 1982) was an American trumpeter and bandleader, best known for his big band in the 1940s. He played with Paul Specht's band for most of 1924 to 1930, then spent time with Ben Pollack (1931–1934), the brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey (1934–1935), and Ray Noble (1935– 1936). He played on "Solo Hop" in 1935 by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. He spent 1936 and 1937 mostly working as a studio musician with Gus Arnheim, Glenn Miller, Raymond Scott's radio orchestra, and others, followed by perio... Continue reading
Chick Webb (February 10, 1905 – June 16, 1939) was an American jazz and swing music drummer as well as a band leader. From childhood, he suffered from tuberculosis of the spine, leaving him with short stature and a badly deformed spine; which caused him to appear hunchbacked. The idea of playing an instrument was suggested by his doctor to "loosen up" his bones. He supported himself as a newspaper boy to save enough money to buy drums, and first played professionally at age 11. At the age of 17 he moved to New York City and by 1926 was leadin... Continue reading
Claude Thornhill (August 10, 1909 – July 1, 1965) was an American pianist, arranger, composer, and bandleader. He composed the jazz and pop standards "Snowfall" and "I Wish I Had You", the latter recorded by Billie Holiday. Thornhill entered the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music at age 16. That same year he and clarinetist Artie Shaw started their careers at the Golden Pheasant in Cleveland, Ohio with the Austin Wiley Orchestra. Thornhill and Shaw went to New York together in 1931. Claude went to the West Coast in the late 1930s with the Bob H... Continue reading
Clyde McCoy (December 29, 1903 – June 11, 1990), was an American jazz trumpeter whose popularity spanned seven decades. He is best remembered for his theme song, "Sugar Blues", written by Clarence Williams and Lucy Fletcher, and well as the co-founder of Down Beat magazine in 1935. McCoy was a member of one of the families of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, and was based at various times in Los Angeles, New York City, and at Chicago's Drake Hotel, where he first performed "Sugar Blues" in 1930. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6426 Hol... Continue reading
Coon-Sanders Nighthawk Orchestra was the first Kansas City jazz band to achieve national recognition, which it acquired through national radio broadcasts. It was founded in 1919, as the Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra, by drummer Carleton Coon and pianist Joe Sanders. Coon was born in Rochester, Minnesota in 1893. Sanders was born in Kansas in 1896. Sanders was known as "The Old Left Hander" because of his skills at baseball. He gave the game up in the early 1920s to make dance music his career. The orchestra began broadcasting in 1922 on WDAF, ... Continue reading
Count Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and to improvise accompaniment for silent films at a local movie theater in his home town of Red Bank, New Jersey. By 16 years old, he increasingly played jazz piano at parties, resorts and other venues. In 1924, he went to Harlem, where his performing career expanded; he toured with g... Continue reading
Don Redman (July 29, 1900 – November 30, 1964) was an American jazz musician, arranger, bandleader and composer. He was named a member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame on May 6, 2009. Don began playing the trumpet at the age of three, joined his first band at the age of six and by the age of 12 was proficient on all wind instruments ranging from trumpet to oboe as well as piano. He studied at Storer College in Harper's Ferry and at the Boston Conservatory, then joined Billy Page's Broadway Syncopaters in New York City. In 1923, Redman ... Continue reading
Doris Day (April 3, 1922 or 1924) is a retired American actress and singer. Day began her career as a big band singer in 1939. Her popularity began to rise after her first hit recording "Sentimental Journey", in 1945. After leaving Les Brown & His Band of Renown to embark on a solo career, Day started her long-lasting partnership with Columbia Records, which remained her only recording label. The contract lasted from 1947 to 1967 and included more than 650 recordings, making Day one of the most popular and acclaimed singers of the 20th cent... Continue reading
Duke Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and bandleader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death in a career spanning over fifty years. Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward, and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Some of the musicians who were members of Ellington's orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered to be... Continue reading
Earl "Fatha" Hines (December 28, 1903 – April 22, 1983), was an American jazz pianist and bandleader. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of jazz piano and, according to one major source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz". In 1925, after much family debate, Hines moved to Chicago, Illinois. The city was then the world's jazz capital, home to Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver. Hines started in The Elite no. 2 Club but soon joined Carroll Dickerson's band, with whom he also... Continue reading
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