Bob Effros

Bob EffrosRobert “Bob” Effros was born December 6, 1900, in London, England. His Russian Jewish parents emigrated shortly afterward from London to Memphis, Tennessee. Bob ran away from home at age eleven and was hired as a purser on a Mississippi riverboat. There he learned to play the cornet leading him to his true love, the trumpet.

Between 1917 and 1919, Bob Effros served as a bugler in the United States Army. After the war, he played in a band in Baltimore led by dancer and vocalist Bee Palmer. When Effros arrived in New York, his only friend was from Memphis: W.C. Handy, “Father of The Blues.” Mr. Handy sent to the young trumpeter to Sam Lanin for his first gig, and was hired at the Roseland Ballroom.

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Bob played with the Vincent Lopez Orchestra from 1921 through 1927, performing constantly in New York and London. The Lopez Orchestra toured Europe extensively. The most infamous trip was in 1925, on the steamship Leviathan. Effros, Cugat, Joe Tarto, and others had to smuggle their instruments on board per Lopez’ instructions. The orchestra toured for two months at the Kit-Cat Club, Piccadilly Palace, and other British Clubs.

Bob Effros flourished as a musician and composed over a dozen hit songs, including “Tin Ear” and “Why Don’t You Get Lost?” By 1929, Bob was recording under his own name and churning out hits such as “Sweet and Hot.” Bob’s success is attributed to hundreds of trumpet performances with many great bandleaders such as Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Red Nichols, Harry Reser, and Ben Selvin (with whom he composed “Memr’y of This Dance”).

Effros relished performing with Max Fleischer Orchestra for countless Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons. His contribution to cartoon music and sound effects remain his greatest claim to fame.

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Bob was a staple in the radio studios through the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s with The Hit Parade, Camel Hour, and Philco Radio Show. He settled in Queens, NY, where he met his wife, Selma. He lived a healthy, happy life and died in his sleep at age 82. Music, family, and friends made him one of the happiest people one could ever meet!

Barbara Effros is the eldest granddaughter of legendary jazz trumpet player Bob Effros. She is writing a book about Bob Effros, his friends, and his legacy as a musician in the formative years of jazz. She can be reached via email at [email protected]; visit her blog at

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