Frank Signorelli was born in New York City on May 24, 1901 and was a founding member of the Original Memphis Five at age sixteen in 191. He went on to join the Original Dixieland Jazz Band briefly in 1921. By 1927 he was playing in Adrian Rollini’s New York ensemble, and subsequently worked with Eddie Lang, Bix Beiderbecke, Matty Malneck and Paul Whiteman.
1935 saw him as a part of Dick Stabile’s All-America Swing Band and from 1936 to ‘38 he played in the revived version of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He recorded with Phil Napoleon in 1946 and with Miff Mole in 1958.
As a songwriter, Signorelli composed I’ll Never Be The Same, initially called Little Buttercup by Joe Venuti’s Blue Four, Gypsy that was recorded by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, Caprice Futuristic, Evening, Anything, Bass Ale Blues, Great White Way Blues, Park Avenue Fantasy, Sioux City Sue, Shufflin’ Mose, Stairway to the Stars and A Blues Serenade which was recorded by Signorelli in 1926, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra in 1935 and Duke Ellington’s version in 1938.
On December 9, 1975, pianist Frank Signorelli, who never led a recording session, passed away in New York City, New York.
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Warren Smith was born on May 17, 1908 in Middlebourne, West Virginia and and taught by hi s multi-instrumentalist father, he began playing piano from age seven. He learned cornet and saxophone before settling on the trombone.
Starting out in Harrison’s Texans, a territory band in the 1920s, Smith followed with an extended half-dozen year run in Abe Lyman’s employ in the 1930s. He worked with Bob Crosby in Indianapolis, Indiana during late in the 1930s before returning to work with Lyman briefly and closing out the decade.
Moving to Chicago, Illinois in the Forties, he settled in with Bud Jacobson and Bob Scobey, before heading to the West Coast to work with Jess Stacy and Lu Watters. In 1955 he toured with Duke Ellington, then played with Joe Darensbourg from 1957 to 1960. Through the Sixties he performed with Wild Bill Davison and Red Nichols.
On August 28, 1975 in Santa Barbara, California swing and mainstream trombonist Warren Smith, who never led a recording session but was fortunate to be able to make his living performing, passed away of natural causes at age 67.
Wilbur Odell “Dud” Bascomb was born on May 16, 1916 in Birmingham, Alabama, the youngest of a family of ten children, and brother of tenor saxophonist Paul Bascomb. He played piano as a child but settled on trumpet, first playing with Erskine Hawkins at the Alabama State Teachers’ School, now Alabama State University in 1932. It was here that Hawkins led the Bama State Collegians band. Remaining with Hawkins until 1944, he soloed with him on many of his most well-known recordings.
Eventually he moved on to play in his brother’s septet, that became a big band later in the decade. He played briefly with Duke Ellington in 1947. During the 1950s Bascomb played for three years at Tyle’s Chicken Shack in New Jersey, leading a quintet which counted Lou Donaldson among its members.
He toured Japan three times with Sam Taylor and Europe with Buddy Tate in the 1960s, in addition to touring and recording with James Brown. He recorded sparingly as a leader and his Savoy Records sessions in 1959-60 were not issued until 1986.
Trumpeter Dud Bascomb passed away on December 25, 1972 in New York City. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979.
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Edmond Hall was born on May 15, 1901 in Reserve, Louisiana, into a musical family. His father, Edward, played the clarinet in the Onward Brass Band, joined by Edmond’s maternal uncles, Jules Duhe on trombone, Lawrence Duhe on clarinet, and Edmond Duhe on guitar. The Hall brothers, Robert, Edmond, and Herbert, all became clarinetists, but Edmond was first taught guitar by his uncle Edmond. When Hall finally picked up the clarinet, he played it within a week.
Tired of working as a farm-hand, by 1919 he left for New Orleans where he signed up with the band of Bud Rousell, then with trombonist Jack Cary and blues cornetist Chris Kelley. His first big break came in late 1920, when he went to a dance at Economy Hall, saw Buddy Petit and discovered his clarinet player had left the band and the following Saturday Hall was sitting in with Petit’s band as a replacement until 1922.
Arriving in Pensacola, Florida in 1923, there was a series of band as he joined Lee Collins, then Mack Thomas, the Pensacola Jazzers, where Hall met the young trumpeter Charles “Cootie” Williams, on to “Eagle Eye” Shields, the Alonzo Ross DeLuxe Syncopators, finally in 1928 with pianist Arthur “Happy” Ford.
1929 saw Edmond moving back to New York he joined Charlie Skeet’s band, followed by Claude Hopkins and an invitation to play the Savoy Ballroom. By 1935 he left Hopkins and took residency in Billy Hicks’ Sizzling Six. Hall’s new sound on the clarinet led him to recording with the big stars and in 1937 he had his first recording session with Billie Holiday, sitting alongside tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Leaving Hicks he stepped into Café Society, joining Joe Sullivan’s band in late 1937. In between the regular job at the Cafe Society he recorded with Bud Freeman, Teddy Wilson, Charlie Christian, Henry “Red” Allen, J.C. Higginbotham, Art Tatum, Big Joe Turner, Hot Lips Page, Zutty Singleton, Meade Lux Lewis, Big Sid Catlett, Josh White, Ida Cox, Coleman Hawkins, Helen Ward, Vic Dickenson, Sidney de Paris, Wild Bill Davison, Eddie Heywood, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden among others.
In 1941 Edmond led his first recording session as a leader, joined Teddy Wilson’s outfit, and made recordings as Edmond Hall’s Blue Note Jazzmen, the Edmond Hall Sextet, the Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet, Edmond Hall’s Star Quintet, Ed Hall and the Big City Jazzmen, and Edmond Hall’s Swingtet. Very popular among the musicians and critics and was frequently invited to the New York Town Hall Concerts led by Eddie Condon.
By 1944 Hall began fronting his own band, becoming a draw for Café Society. More recording dates followed for the famous Commodore Records and Blue Note labels. While business at the Café Society was exceedingly good, Hall appeared at Town Hall Concerts in between. Hall relocated successfully with his band to the Café Society Uptown and would also play for World War II servicemen.
Throughout his career he would perform with pianist George Wein, Louis Armstrong’s All Stars, tour Europe, settle in Los Angeles, California to shoot the film High Society with Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby, and appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. In 1952, Hall, Buzzy Drootin and Ralph Sutton appeared as the Ralph Sutton Trio in Saint Louis, where they played the Encore Lounge for several weeks and were the first mixed trio there. He received the Esquire Magazine Silver Award for clarinet, a certificate for nomination as one of the outstanding jazz artists of 1961 from Playboy Magazine and was awarded as the best Clarinetist by the English Melody Maker.
Clarinetist and bandleader Edmond Hall, who also played alto and baritone saxophones and is perhaps best known for the 1941 chamber jazz song Profoundly Blue, which is regarded as a pre-World War II jazz classic, passed away on February 11, 1967 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Cal Collins was born on May 5, 1933 in Medora, Indiana and first played the mandolin professionally as a bluegrass musician in the early 1950s. After service in the Army, a move to Cincinnati, Ohio that lasted twenty years, saw him switching to jazz guitar after hearing swing guitarists Charlie Christian, Irving Ashby, and Oscar Moore.
Benny Goodman hired him in 1976 at the age of 43 and he spent three years with the orchestra and then three years making albums for Concord Records. As a sideman, Cal worked with Scott Hamilton, Warren Vache, Rosemary Clooney, Ross Tompkins, Woody Herman, John Bunch, and Marshal Royal.
By the early 1980s, Collins returned to Cincinnati and slowed down his career. He joined the Masters of the Steel String Guitar Tour in 1993 with Jerry Douglas and Doc Watson and recorded his last album in 1998.
Guitarist Cal Collins, who recorded from eleven albums as a leader, passed away of liver failure on August 27, 2001
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