Jazz Birthday

Omer Simeon by Joe Busam

Omer Simeon

Omer Simeon was born July 21, 1902, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Though born in the Crescent City, Simeon ironically did not start to play clarinet

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Ted Lewis

Ted Lewis

Ted Lewis was born Theodore Leopold Friedman on June 6, 1890, in Circleville, Ohio. He learned piccolo as a member of the Circleville Boys’ Band

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Vic Burton

Vic Berton

Vic Berton was born Victor Cohen in Chicago on May 7, 1896. Vic grew up in a middle-class household, though one with a streak of

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Alberta Hunter

Alberta Hunter

Alberta Hunter was born April 1, 1895, in Memphis, Tennessee. She never knew her father, and was not happy with her stepfather. She left home

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Frank Teschemacher

Frank Teschemacher

Frank Teschemacher was born March 13, 1906, in Kansas City, Missouri. After his family moved to Chicago in 1912, Frank took up a number of

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Joseph “Wingy” Manone

Joseph “Wingy” Manone was born February 13, 1900, in New Orleans. Manone acquired his lifelong nickname when, at the age of 10, his right arm

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Harry Reser

Harry Reser

Harry Reser was born Harrison Franklin Reser on January 17, 1896, in Piqua, Ohio. Harry, a first cousin of the airplane-inventing Wright Brothers, demonstrated remarkable

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Irving Fazola

Irving Fazola

Irving Henry Prestopnik (Irving Fazola) was born in New Orleans on December 10, 1912. He started on piano, but as he switched to reed instruments—first

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Buck Clayton

Buck Clayton

Wilbur Dorsey “Buck” Clayton was born November 12, 1911, in Parsons, Kansas. Buck learned piano at an early age, then studied trumpet with his father

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Max Morath by Joe Busam

Max Morath

We are delighted to extend birthday greetings to ragtime scholar, polymath, and entertainer Max Morath, who turns 95 on October 1st. Max was born on

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Raymond Scott by Joe Busam

Raymond Scott

Harry Warnow, known to us as Raymond Scott, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 10, 1908. Warnow grew up with parallel interests in

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Helen Kane by Joe Busam

Helen Kane

Helen Kane was born Helen Claire Schroeder in New York City on August 4, 1904. Her first stage experience was in school theatricals, but by

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Seger Ellis

Seger Ellis

Seger Pillot Ellis was born July 4, 1904, in Houston, Texas. As a teenager, Seger much admired the local pianists in the city, Jack Sharpe,

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Don Murray

Don Murray

Don Murray was born in Joliet, Illinois, on June 7, 1904, and attended high school in Chicago. In his teens he earned a reputation as

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Red Nichols

Red Nichols

Ernest Loring “Red” Nichols was born May 8, 1905, in Ogden, Utah. He began playing cornet when he was five, played with his father’s brass

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Jimmie Noone by Joe Busam

Jimmie Noone

Jimmie Noone was born April 23, 1895, in Cut Off, Louisiana. Noone started playing clarinet after his family moved to New Orleans in 1910. By

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Jean Goldkette by Joe Busam

Jean Goldkette

Jean Goldkette’s date and place of birth remain a matter of conjecture. According to Wikipedia, he was born March 18, 1893, though May 18 of

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Lil Hardin Armstrong

Lil Hardin Armstrong

Lillian Hardin was born February 3, 1898, in Memphis, Tennessee. Lillian received piano tutelage first from her third-grade teacher, eventually matriculating at a more formal

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Lew Shaw

Lew Shaw

This month we celebrate one of our own: Lew Shaw, who turns 95 on January 14, and whose latest installment of Jazz Jottings may be

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Jabbo Smith

Jabbo Smith

Jabbo Smith was born Cladys Smith in Pembroke, Georgia, on December 24, 1908. After the death of his father, his mother found it increasingly difficult

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Joe Sullivan Piano

Joe Sullivan

Joe Sullivan was born Joseph Michael O’Sullivan in Chicago on November 4, 1906. The last of nine children, Joe demonstrated serious musical ability at an

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Eddie Lang by Joe Busam

Eddie Lang

Eddie Lang was born Salvatore Massaro in Philadelphia on October 25, 1902. His personal and musical history is inextricably linked with that of Joe Venuti,

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Vaughn De Leath

Vaughn De Leath

Vaughn De Leath was born Leonore Vonderlieth in Mount Pulaski, Illinois, on September 26, 1894. At age 12, Leonore relocated to Los Angeles with her

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Abe Lyman

Abe Lyman

Abe Lyman was born Abraham Simon on August 4, 1897, in Chicago, Illinois. He and his brother Mike changed their last name to Lyman because

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