Sadik Hakim was born Argonne Thornton on July 15, 1919 in Duluth, Minnesota and was taught piano by his grandfather and started playing professionally about 1939. In 1944 he moved to New York City and was hired by Ben Webster. A participant in the emergence of bebop, he shared piano duties with Dizzy Gillespie on Charlie Parker’s famous “Ko-Ko” session.
He recorded with Dexter Gordon and Lester Young, heard on the latter’s I’m Confessin’, also credited with co-writing Thelonious Monk’s standard “Eronel” and is rumored to have written a few famous bop tunes credited to other composers. He adopted his Muslim name in 1947.
Hakim moved to Montreal after visiting in 1949 and was a big fish on the small bebop scene there, working with Louis Metcalf’s International Band. Compelled to leave Canada following a drug bust in 1950 he returned to New York and through the decade worked with James Moody and George Holmes Tate.
He returned to Montreal from 1966 to 1976, leading bands and recording with Charles Biddle. He led a few recording dates from 1976–1980 and cut an album with Sonny Stitt in 1978. Hakim played “Round Midnight” at Monk’s funeral in 1982, and the pianist and composer passed away himself the following year on June 20, 1983.
Ivie Anderson was born on July 10, 1905 in Gilroy, California. From age nine to thirteen, she attended St. Mary’s Convent and studied voice. At Gilroy grammar and high school, she joined glee club and choral society. She also studied voice under Sara Ritt while in Nunnie H. Burroughs Institution in Washington, DC.
Ivie’s career officially started around 1921 when she first performed in Los Angeles, California. From 1922 to 1923, she was brought to New York City by joining a pioneering African-American musical revue Shuffle Along. By 1924 and 1925, she had already performed in various locations such as Cuba, the Cotton Club in New York City and in Los Angeles with the bands of Paul Howard, Curtis Mosby and Sonny Clay.
1928 saw Anderson singing in Australia with Clay’s band, starred in Frank Sebastian’s Cotton Club in Los Angeles and soon after, she finally began touring in the States as a solo singer.
With a sweet, clear singing voice, she was a popular attraction with Ellington’s band. Over Ellington’s long career as bandleader, his indifference toward vocalists changed with the hiring of Anderson, who was generally considered the best vocalist he ever employed.
Her outstanding performance of “Stormy Weather” in the movie short Bundle of Blues in 1933 was only eclipsed by the later and far better known version sung by Lena Horne. She also appeared as a singer in the Marx Brothers movie “A Day At The Races” in 1937 and the same year in Hit Parade of 1937 as Ivy Anderson.
Suffering from asthma for years, jazz vocalist Ivie Anderson passed away on December 28, 1949.
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Earle Warren was born on July 1, 1914 in Springfield, Ohio. He was the primary alto saxophonist and occasional singer in the Basie orchestra in its formative years and its heyday, from 1937 to the end of the 1940s. After the break-up of Basie’s 1940s band, in 1949, he worked with former Basie trumpeter, Buck Clayton.
Earle also played some rock´n roll working for Alan Freed in Alan Freed’s Christmas Jubilee, December 1959, which was the very last big Alan Freed show before payola put an end to the legendary Freed. He also appeared in the 1970s jazz film of Count Basie and his band, “Born to Swing”.
In his later years, Warren performed often at the West End jazz club at 116th and Broadway in New York City, helming a band called The Countsmen, which also featured fellow former Basie-ite Dicky Wells on trombone and Peck Morrison on bass. He lived part of the time in Switzerland where he fathered a child in a May/September romance. Alto saxophonist Earle Warren passed away on June 4, 1994.
Paul Wesley “Doc” Evans was born on June 20, 1907 in Spring Valley, Minnesota and learned piano and drums as a child. He went on to play saxophone in high school and during his college years played with the Carleton Collegians. By the late Twenties gave up saxophone for the cornet to play Dixieland in Minneapolis.
Doc played through the Great Depression, turning down offers to play outside of the Midwest. In 1947 he recorded for Disc Records and led the band that played for the opening of Chicago Jazz Limited club. He stayed in Chicago until 1952, and then embarked on nationwide tours, recording frequently along the way, particularly for Audiophile Records.
He returned to Minneapolis and continued playing jazz up until his last recordings in 1975. He founded the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and conducted it until his death on January 10, 1977 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His legacy was marked in 1999 with the yearly Doc Evans Jazz Festival, founded in Minnesota.
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Benny Payne was born on June 18, 1907 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and began playing piano when he was 12, working as an organist at a Philadelphia church as a teenager. His professional career started in 1926, working locally and with Wilbur Sweatman’s band for six months in 1928.
Fats Waller gave him some unofficial lessons; they recorded two piano duets in 1929. Payne worked as accompanist for singer Elizabeth Welch, was a member of the Blackbirds of 1929 show and toured Europe, appeared in Hot Chocolates and accompanied Gladys Bentley.
His foremost claim to fame was as Cab Calloway’s regular pianist during the singer’s prime years from 1931 until he had to join the Army in late 1943, then again after the war until ’46. Although he did not solo much, he was a major asset to the group and gave the big band stability in addition to contributing to the solid rhythm section.
He worked with Pearl Bailey, led his own trio and then started working in 1950 started a long relationship as pianist and musical director for lounge signer Billy Daniels until the singer’s death. In 1964, Payne appeared on Broadway in a revival of “Golden Boy” with Daniels and Sammy Davis, Jr.
He primarily performed in the cabaret world, led only one recording session as a leader for Kapp Records in 1955. Pianist Benny Payne retired and settled in Los Angeles, passing away on January 2, 1986.
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