George Masso was born November 17, 1926 in Cranston, Rhode Island. Most notable for his work from 1948 to 1950 as a member of the Jimmy Dorsey band, but finding the life of a professional jazz musician financially difficult, Masso quit performing following his work with Dorsey and began teaching.
Returning to music in 1973, George recorded and/or performed with Bobby Hackett and Benny Goodman. In 1975 he became member of the World’s Greatest Jazz Band and by the late 1980s and early 1990s, he had recorded with George Shearing, Barbara Lea, Ken Peplowski, Scott hamilton, Warren Vache, Bobby Rosengarden, Woody Herman, Spike Robinson, Bob Haggart, Totti Bergh, Harry Allen and Yank Lawson.
He recorded numerous albums leading sessions on the Sackville, Nagel-Heyer, Arbors, Famous Door, World Jazz and Dreamstreet labels over the course of his career. Trombonist, bandleader, vibraphonist, and composer George Masso, who specialized in swing and Dixieland, rarely performs at 90 years old.
Carl Kress was born on October 20, 1907 in Newark, New Jersey and started on piano before picking up the banjo. Beginning in 1926, he played guitar during his brief time as a member of the Paul Whiteman orchestra. For most of his career, he was a studio musician and sideman buried in large orchestras, and his name was little known.
During the 1920s and 1930s Carl worked recording sessions with The Boswell Sisters, The Dorsey Brothers, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Miff Mole, Red Nichols, Adrian Rollini, and Frankie Trumbauer.
Outside of orchestras, Kress played in several guitar duets with Eddie Lang and Dick McDonough in the Thirties, Tony Mottola in 1941, and George Barnes in the Sixties. The late Thirties saw him recording as a solo with Peg Leg Shuffle, Helena, Love Song, Sutton Mutton and Afterthoughts. During the 1940s, he played Dixieland jazz with Bobby Hackett, Pee Wee Russell, and Muggsy Spanier.
Moving to New York City with his wife Helen who sang with the Satisifiers, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra and Jo Stafford. Guitarist Carl Kress continued a career as a bandleader and session player until his passing away of a heart attack on June 10, 1967 while he was on tour in Reno, Nevada.
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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.