Max Kaminsky was born on September 7, 1908 in Brockton, Massachusetts and started his career in Boston, Massachusetts in 1924. By 1928 he was working in Chicago, Illinois with George Wettling and Frank Teschemacher at the Cinderella Ballroom and in New York for a brief time in 1929 with Red Nichols.
From about 1933-1938, he worked in commercially oriented dance bands, and recorded with Eddie Condon and Benny Carter’s Chocolate Dandies, with Mezz Mezzrow. He played with Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, and performed and recorded with Bud Freeman. He worked again with Shaw from 1941 to 1943, who led a navy band with which Kaminsky toured the South Pacific.
From 1942 he took part in important concerts in New York City that were organized by Condon at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall, and from the following year he played Dixieland with various groups. He also worked in the 1940s with Sidney Bechet, George Brunis, Art Hodes, Joe Marsala, Willie “The Lion” Smith, and Jack Teagarden.
Moving into television, Max led Jackie Gleason’s personal band for several seasons, then toured Europe with Teagarden and Earl Hines’ All Stars in 1957, and performed at the Metropole and Ryan’s in New York at intervals from the late 1960s to 1983, the Newport Jazz Festival and the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
In 1963 he published My Life in Jazz with V. E. Hughes, in 1975 and 1976 he recorded as a leader that well illustrate his style, which is full-toned, economical and swinging in the manner of King Oliver, Freddy Keppard and Louis Armstrong. At one time he played with the Original Dixieland Jass Band.
Trumpeter Max Kaminsky, known for his Dixieland and whose legacy lives on at the Hogan Jazz Archives at Tulane University, passed away on September 6, 1994, one day before what would have been his 86th birthday.
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Cedric Wallace was born August 3, 1909 in Miami, Florida. He moved to New York City in the 1930s, where he first started playing in a band led by Reggie Johnson at the Saratoga Club.
Later in the decade Wallace worked with Jimmie Lunceford before joining Fats Waller’s band from 1938-1942, the association for which he is best known. He played with Waller at the peak of his popularity and plays on many of his biggest hits.
He also recorded with Una Mae Carlisle, Maxine Sullivan, Champion Jack Dupree, Pat Flowers, Gene Sedric, and Dean Martin. Cedric led his own ensemble in New York in the 1940s which featured Eddie Gibbs on bass for a time, and continued to perform well into the 1970s.
Double-bassist Cedric Wallace passed away on August 19, 1985 in New York City.
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Karel Krautgartner was born on July 20, 1922 in Mikulov, Moravia and began to play piano at the age of eight. In 1935, after moving to Brno, he found interest mainly in the radio broadcasting and especially in jazz. He began to study clarinet privately with Stanislav Krtička, acquiring necessary skills and inherited a fanatic passion for clarinet construction and its components.
In 1936 Krautgartner founded the student orchestra Quick Band and six years later signed his first professional contract as a saxophonist in the Gustav Brom Orchestra in the hotel Passage in Brno. In 1943 he gradually created Dixie Club and started to arrange in the Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller styles. During 1945 – 1955, the core of the Dixie Club moved gradually to Prague and became a part of Karel Vlach orchestra. Karel became leader of the saxophone section and started to contributing his own compositions.
1956 saw him founding the Karel Krautgartner Quintet along with Karel Velebný. The group played in various line-ups modern jazz, swing, dixieland and accompanied popular singers. From 1958 to 1960 he performed with the All star band, an orchestra playing in west-coast style, and dixieland with Studio 5. Between 1960 and 1968 he became the head of the Taneční Orchestr Československého Rozhlasu (Dance Orchestra of Czechoslovakia Radio), renamed to Karel Krautgartner Orchestra in 1967.
Following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, he emigrated to Vienna, Austria in 1968 and became the chief conductor of the 0RF Bigband. Later he moved to Cologne, Germany. Clarinetist, saxophonist, arranger, composer, conductor and teacher Karel Krautgartner passed away on September 20, 1982 in Germany.
Antonio Sparbaro, better known as Tony Sbarbaro or Tony Spargo was born on June 27, 1897 in New Orleans, Louisiana to an immigrant Sicilian family. Early in his career he played with the Frayle Brothers Band, possibly as early as 1911 and the Reliance Band of Papa Jack Laine.
After doing side work with Merritt Brunies and Carl Randall he joined the Original Dixieland Jazz Band for their initial recordings in 1917. Tony became its leader in the 1940s and remained a member of the ensemble until its dissolution in the 1960s. At the time the band broke up he was the only founding member still in the group.
Sbarbaro composed for the group, writing the tune Mourning Blues among others. He remained a fixture of Dixieland jazz performance for most of his life, performed at the New York World’s Fair in 1941 and with Connee Boswell in the 1950s. Later in life in New Orleans he played with Miff Mole, Big Chief Moore, Pee Wee Erwin, and Eddie Condon. Quitting music in the Sixties due to the popularity of rock & roll, drummer Tony Sbarbaro passed away on October 30, 1969.
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Sing Miller was born James Miller in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 17, 1914. He started out his career singing with the Harmonizing Browns Quartet and playing banjo, but in the late 1920s he switched to piano. He did solo freelance work and as an accompanist in New Orleans in the 1930s, playing with Percy Humphrey for a time.
Serving in the military during World War II, after his discharge he played with Earl Foster’s band from 1945 to 1961. During the 1960s he was a regular at Preservation Hall, working with Kid Thomas Valentine, Kid Sheik Colar, The Humphrey Brothers, Jim Robinson, and Polo Barnes. He did asolo tours of Europe in 1979 and 1981, and recorded two full-length albums under his own name, a 1972 effort for Dixie Records and one in 1978 for Smoky Mary.
Pianist Sing Miller, who was a longtime performer on the New Orleans jazz scene, passed away on May 18, 1990.
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