Adelaide Louise Hall was born on October 20. 1901 in Brooklyn, New York and began her stage career in 1921 on Broadway in the chorus line of the Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake hit musical Shuffle Along. She went onto appear in a number of similar black musical shows including Runnin’ Wild on Broadway in 1923, in which she sang James P. Johnson’s hit song Old-Fashioned Love.
In 1925, Hall toured Europe with the Chocolate Kiddies revue that included songs written by Duke Ellington, backed by the Sam Wooding Orchestra. The following year appeared in the short-lived Broadway musical My Magnolia after which she appeared in Tan Town Topics with songs written by Fats Waller and had a short road tour on the TOBA circuit. She then starred in Desires of 1927, with a score written by Andy Razaf and J. C. Johnson, that toured America for a year between 1926 and 1927.
In 1927 Adelaide recorded her wordless vocals on Creole Love Call, The Blues I Love To Sing and Chicago Stomp Down with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. The recordings were worldwide hits and catapulted both careers into the mainstream. She and Duke Ellington went on to record I Must Have That Man and Baby. She starred on Broadway with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Tim Moore and Aida Ward in Blackbirds of 1928. The show became the most successful all-black show ever staged on Broadway at that time and made Hall and Bojangles into household names. It was this musical that not only secured her success at home and abroad in Europe when the production was taken in 1929 to Paris, France, where it ran for four months at the Moulin Rouge. In Europe she rivaled Josephine Baker for popularity on the European stage.
With Blackbirds′ music score written by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, Hall’s performances of the songs I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby, Diga Diga Do, Bandanna Babies and I Must Have That Man made them into household hits, and they continued to be audience favourites throughout her long career. Through the 1930s she would perform on Broadway again with Bojangles in Brown Buddies, toured worldwide, discovered and hired blind pianist Art Tatum and recorded with him Strange as it Seems, I’ll Never Be The Same, This Time it’s Love and You Gave Me Everything but Love. She would continue to tour America, Canada and South America before turning to Europe once again and settling in Paris, France. Her husband, Bert Hicks, opened a nightclub for her called La Grosse Pomme where she entertained often. The Quintette du Hot Club de France featuring Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli were one of the house bands at the club.
Leaving Paris for London, England in 1938, she lived out the rest of her days there, becoming one of the most popular singers of her time. Hall recorded I Can’t Give You Anything But Love and That Old Feeling at London’s Abbey Road Studios with Fats Waller. Throughout her career she made more than 70 records for Decca, had her own BBC Radio series Wrapped in Velvet, making her the first black artist to have a long-term contract with the BBC, became one of the highest paid entertainers in the United Kingdom and appeared on the stage, in films, and in nightclubs, of which she owned her own in New York, London and Paris.
Adelaide would go on to record with Humphrey Lyttleton, and perform alongside Lena Horne, Spike Milligan, John Betjeman, Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Fela Sowande, Rudy Vallee, Jools Holland, Tony Bennett, Phyllis Hyman, Jacques Loussier, Alan Downey, Wayne Sleep, Ronnie Scott, Stan Tracey, the New Swingle Singers, Elisabeth Welch, Gregory Hines, Bobby Short, Honi Coles, Edith Wilson, Nell Carter, John W. Bubbles, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Stephane Grappelli, Mel Torme, Zoot Sims, Carmen McRae and Chick Corea, among a list too vast to mention.
She pioneered scat singing along with Louis Armstrong and is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s first jazz singers, holds the accolade of being the 20th century’s most enduring female recording artist, her recording career having spanned eight decades, In the 100 Great Records of the 1920s she is at number 26 with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, singing The Blues I Love To Sing, and her recording of the Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh tune I Can’t give You Anything But Love represent 1928 in the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) celebration of its centenary timeline of songs chosen to represent the past hundred years.
Singer, dancer, actress and nightclub chanteuse Adelaide Hall, who entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world’s most enduring recording artist having released material over eight consecutive decades, passed away on November 7, 1993, aged 92, at London’s Charing Cross Hospital.
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Red Richards was born Charles Coleridge Richards on October 19, 1912 in New York City. He began playing classical piano at age ten, and from the age of 16 concentrated on jazz after hearing Fats Waller. His first major professional gig was with Tab Smith at New York’s Savoy Ballroom from 1945 to 1949.
Following his stint with Smith, in the early Fifties Red played with Bob Wilber and Sidney Bechet. He toured Italy and France in 1953 with Mezz Mezzrow’s band alongside Buck Clayton and Big Chief Moore, and also accompanied Frank Sinatra during his time in Italy. He went on to work with Muggsy Spanier on and off from 1953 through the end of the decade, and then with Fletcher Henderson in 1957-58. During 1958 he did some time as a solo performer in Columbus, Ohio, then played with Wild Bill Davison in 1958-59 and again in 1962.
1960 saw Richards formed Saints & Sinners with Vic Dickenson, playing with this ensemble until 1970. He joined drummer Chuck Slate and his band in 1971 and stayed with him most of the year. He recorded an album with Chuck called Bix ‘N All That Jazz and following this he worked with Eddie Condon from 1975 to 1977. In 1977 he played with his own trio through the following year. He played and toured worldwide with Panama Francis’s group, the Savoy Sultans from 1979 through the 1980s and recorded with Bill Coleman in 1980.
Pianist Red Richards continued to tour almost up until the time of his death and passed away on March 12, 1998 in Scarsdale, New York.
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Barney Kessel was born on October 17, 1923 in Muskogee, Oklahoma and began his career as a teenager touring with local dance bands. When he was 16, he started playing with the Oklahoma A & M band, Hal Price & the Varsitonians. It was here that his band mates lovingly nicknamed him “Fruitcake” because he would practice up to 16 hours a day.
Moving on to bands such as that led by Chico Marx, he quickly established himself as a key post-Charlie Christian jazz guitarist. In 1944 he participated in the film Jammin’ the Blues that featured Lester Young, and by 1947 he was recording with Charlie Parker’s New Stars on the Relaxin’ at Camarillo session for Dial Records.
Known for his innovative work in the guitar trio setting, in the 1950s, he made a series of albums called The Poll Winners with Ray Brown on bass and drummer Shelly Manne. He was also the guitarist on the 1955 Julie London album Julie Is Her Name, which includes the million-selling standard Cry Me a River and features a guitar part from Kessel which illustrates his melodic chordal approach in a minimal jazz group. During the 1950s he released three Kessel Plays Standards volumes containing some of his most polished work.
Barney was a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio with Brown for a year, leaving in 1953 and turning the chair over to Herb Ellis. He went on to play with Sonny Rollins in the late 1950s and recorded the Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders album. A first call guitarist at Columbia Pictures during the 1960s, he became one of the most in-demand session guitarists in America, and is considered a key member of the group of first-call session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew. In this capacity he played outside the jazz genre on hundreds of pop recordings, including albums and singles by Phil Spector, The Beach Boys, The Monkees and many others.
He appeared in an acting part playing a jazz guitarist named “Barney” in one episode of the Perry Mason TV show. He wrote and arranged the source music for the jazz combo, including a jazz version of Here Comes the Bride that was featured in the story. He played Mr. Spock’s theme on bass, which first appeared in the Star Trek episode Amok Time.
During the 1970s, Kessel put on his educator hat and presented his seminar The Effective Guitarist in various locations around the world. During this decade he performed extensively with Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd as The Great Guitars.
Guitarist Barney Kessel was rated the No. 1 guitarist in Esquire, DownBeat, and Playboy magazine polls between 1947 and 1960. In 1961 The Gibson Guitar Corporation introduced The Barney Kessel model guitar onto the market and continued to make them until 1973. Having been in poor health after suffering a stroke in 1992, he passed away of a brain tumor at his home in San Diego, California on May 6, 2004 at the age of 80.
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Carli Muñoz was born Carlos C. Muñoz, on October 16, 1948 in Puerto Rico. A self-taught pianist, his music of choice was jazz, European avant-garde and American pop music. Among his early influences were ragtime, early American ballads, boogie woogie and classical music, especially that of Erik Satie and Edgard Varèse.
When Carli turned 16 he headed to New York City with a rock band he co-founded with Jorge Calderon called The Living End, AKA: Space, and for 18 months was the house band at a New York club. He later moved to Los Angeles, California where he worked with Charles Lloyd, George Benson, Wilson Pickett, Jan and Dean, The Association, Chico Hamilton, Wayne Henderson, Les McCann, Peter Cetera and Evie Sands.
From 1970 through 1981, Muñoz toured with the Beach Boys, playing Hammond B3 and piano. Following this period in his career in 1985 he returned to Puerto Rico and stayed out of the spotlight. 1998 saw him opening a restaurant, Carli Cafe Concierto.
His most recent releases include a solo piano project Love Tales, Both Sides Now, with bassist Eddie Gómez, drummer Joe Chambers and flautist Jeremy Steig, Live at Carli’s Vol. 1, Live at Carli’s Vol 2 and Live at Carli’s Vol 3, recorded live at Carli Cafe Concierto, and Maverick with Eddie Gómez, drummer Jack DeJohnette, Don Byron on clarinet and tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, and a tribute album In My Soul, in memory of both Carl and Dennis Wilson.
Pianist Carli Muñoz, sometimes spelled Munoz, continues to perform jazz in his restaurant and often returns to the mainland to perform and record.
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Bert Wilson was born on October 15, 1939 in Evansville, Indiana and contracted polio from a public swimming pool at age 4, and for the rest of his life was in a wheelchair. When he was 10, he heard the music of Charlie Parker in a Chicago hospital school, an experience he often said affected his life far more than the disease.
After graduating from high school Wilson moved to Los Angeles, California where he became interested in the avant-garde “free jazz” of Ornette Coleman. In 1966 he moved to New York, where he lived alone on the sixth floor of a building with no elevator. In New York City and Los Angeles he recorded with fiery alto saxophonist Sonny Simmons, drummers James Zitro and Smiley Winters and trumpeter Barbara Donald.
As an educator some of his students over the years have included the Dave Matthews Band’s Jeff Coffin, Los Angeles ace Ernie Watts, Tower of Power member Lenny Pickett and Latin percussionist Michael Olson. It was Olson in 1979, who along with keyboardist Michael Moore, of the band Obrador, learned that Wilson was living alone and miserable in Woodstock, New York and threw a benefit concert to move him to Olympia, Washington.
From that time forward, Bert was an active participant in the Northwest jazz scene, performing at the Earshot Jazz Festival and other major events, as well as, performing weekly with saxophonist Chuck Stentz at the Water Street Cafe.
On June 6, 2013 tenor saxophonist Bert Wilson, who did things on the saxophone that nobody else could do, passed away of a heart attack at age 73 in Olympia, Washington. He left behind many recordings as a sideman and as a leader of his own band, Rebirth.
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