ARTISTS & PERFORMERS

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Artist Photo Artist Bio
Erskine Hawkins (July 26, 1914 – November 11, 1993) was an American trumpet player and big band leader from Birmingham, Alabama, dubbed "The 20th Century Gabriel". He is most remembered for composing the jazz standard "Tuxedo Junction" (1939) with saxophonist and arranger Bill Johnson. The song became a popular hit during World War II, rising to No. 7 nationally (version by the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra) and to No. 1 nationally (version by the Glenn Miller Orchestra). During 1936 through 1938, he recorded for Vocalion Records as "Erskine Ha... Continue reading
Fats Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano, and whose best-known compositions, "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose", were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1984 and 1999. At the age of 14 he was playing the organ at Harlem's Lincoln Theater and within 12 months he had composed his first rag. Waller ultimately became one of the most popular performers of his e... Continue reading
Fletcher Henderson (December 18, 1897 – December 29, 1952) was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of big band jazz and swing music. He was one of the most prolific black musical arrangers and his influence was vast. Fletcher is ranked along with Duke Ellington as one of the most influential arrangers and band leaders in jazz history, and helped bridge the gap between the Dixieland and swing era. His mother, a teacher, taught him and his brother Horace to play the piano. He began lessons by the... Continue reading
Frank Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer, actor, and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants, he began his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. He found success as a solo artist after being signed by Columbia Records in 1943, becoming the idol of the "bobby soxers". He re... Continue reading
Frankie Carle (March 25, 1903 – March 7, 2001), was an American pianist and bandleader. As a very popular bandleader in the 1940s and 1950s, Carle was nicknamed "The Wizard of the Keyboard". "Sunrise Serenade" was Carle's best-known composition, rising to No. 1 in the US in 1938 and selling more than one million copies. Carle started out working with a number of mainstream dance bands. In 1934, he played with Mal Hallett and his orchestra. In 1935, he had his own orchestra and was billed in an ad for one night club as "America's Greatest Pian... Continue reading
Freddy Martin (December 9, 1906 – September 30, 1983) was an American bandleader and tenor saxophonist. Martin led his own band while he was in high school, then played in various local bands. After a couple of years, his skill began attracting other musicians. One such musician was Guy Lombardo, who would remain friends with Martin throughout his life. One night, when Guy could not do a certain date, he suggested that Martin's band could fill in for him. The band did very well and that's how Martin's career really got started. In 1938, he si... Continue reading
Gene Krupa (January 15, 1909 – October 16, 1973) was an American jazz and big band drummer, band leader, actor, and composer. Known for his highly energetic, flamboyant style and for his showmanship, Krupa is considered one of the most influential drummers in jazz history and one of the first major percussive soloists. He studied with Sanford A. Moeller and began playing drums professionally in the mid-1920s with bands in Wisconsin. He broke into the Chicago scene in 1927, when he was picked by MCA to become a member of "Thelma Terry & He... Continue reading
Glen Gray (June 7, 1906 – August 23, 1963) was an American jazz saxophonist and leader of the Casa Loma Orchestra. Gray was born to Lurdie P. and Agnes (Gray) Knoblauch in Roanoke, Illinois. His father was a lifelong railroad worker who died when Glen was two years of age. His widowed mother married George H. DeWilde. Gray graduated from Roanoke High School, where he played basketball. He is said to have joined the Army at seventeen, and two years later he was living at home with his family. He was employed as a bill clerk for the railroad. H... Continue reading
Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904 – missing in action December 15, 1944) was an American big band musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was the best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best known big bands. Miller's recordings include "In the Mood", "Moonlight Serenade", "Pennsylvania 6-5000", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "A String of Pearls", "At Last", "(I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo", "American Patrol", "Tuxedo Junction", "Elmer's Tune", and "Little Brown Jug". While he was traveling to entertain... Continue reading
Gus Arnheim (September 4, 1897 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – January 19, 1955 in Los Angeles, California) was a pianist and an early popular band leader. He is noted for writing several songs with his first hit being "I Cried for You" from 1923. He was most popular in the 1920s and 1930s. He also had a few small acting roles. In 1928-31, Arnheim had an extended engagement at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles. In 1930, when Paul Whiteman finished filming The King of Jazz for Universal, The Rhythm Boys vocal trio, consisting of Bing Crosby, H... Continue reading
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