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Luis Russsell and his Orchestra
The Luis Russell Orchestra started in Chicago and then moved to New York. They were one of the most innovative bands of their day, but never had the commercial success that they deserved. They are generally considered to be one of the first Swing bands. The outfit featured some of the best hot musicians from New Orleans, such as Barney BigardOmer Simeon and Pops Foster.

Luis Russell and his Orchestra
Luis Russell and his Orchestra Left to Right: Red Allen, Greeley Walton, Paul Barbarin, Charlie Holmes, Luis Russell, Albert Nicholas, Will Johnson, Pops Foster, J.C. Higginbotham, Otis Johnson.

The band first backed up Louis Armstrong in 1929 on the record “Mahogany Hall Stomp“. By 1935 Louis Armstrong had taken over the orchestra altogether and for the next eight years they functioned solely as back-up band for Armstrong, with Luis Russell acting as the musical director.

Luis Russsell and his OrchestraMany Jazz historians bemoan the fact that Russell “sold out” and chose to support Armstrong rather than developing his own distinct style, but we should remember that all of this happened during the height of the Depression, when so many great African-American musicians were forced to leave the music business altogether. Not to mention that they were playing with one of the world’s greatest artists, Louis Armstrong.

ddd discography

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
After Hour Creep 1943 New York, New York Manor
1002-A
All The Things You Are
Vocal refrain by Lee Richardson
5-29-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1035
At The Darktown Strutters Ball
Vocal Chorus by Sonny Woods

(Shelton Brooks)
8-8-1934 New York, New York Banner
33179
Melotone
13146-A
Boogie In The Basement
(Luis Russell)
1945 New York, New York Manor
1006 A
Case On Dawn
(Luis Russell / Spencer Williams)
12-17-1930 New York, New York Vocalion
1579
Deep Six Blues 10-19-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1072
Doctor Blues
(Luis Russell / Paul Barbarin)
12-17-1929 New York, New York Okeh
8766
Dont Take Your Love From Me
(Henry Nemo)
5-29-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1020
Feelin’ The Spirit
(Luis Russell)
9-6-1929 New York, New York Okeh
8766
Freakish Blues
(Luis Russell / Paul Barbarin)
8-28-1931 New York, New York Victor
22815
HMV
B.4897
Ghost Of Freaks
(Luis Russell / Paul Barbarin)
8-8-1934 New York, New York Banner
33367
Melotone
M 13334-B
Garbage Man Blues
(Luis Russell / Klages
10-4-1945 New York, New York Manor
1002-B
Goin’ To Town
(Hughie Prince / Harold Mooney)
8-28-1931 New York, New York Victor
22789-A
Bluebird
B-7367-B
Gloomy Sunday
Vocal refrain by Lee Richardson

(Seress / Javor / Lewis)
1946 New York, New York Apollo
1071
Gone
Vocal refrain by Lee Richardson
10-19-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1086
High Tension
(Bee)
9-5-1930 New York, New York Okeh
8849
Hokus Pocus
(Luis Russell)
8-8-1934 New York, New York Banner
33367
Melotone
M 13334-A
Honey, That Reminds Me
(Nesbit)
12-17-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
6046
I’m In A Low Down Mood
Vocal by Lee Richardson

(Charles Stewart)
10-19-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1046
I’m Yours

10-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1046
I’ve Been A Fool Again
Vocal refrain by Lee Richardson

(Kizer / Luis Russell)
10-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1071
I’ve Got A Gal
(Whose Love Comes C.O.D.)

(Kizer / Luis Russell / Armstrong)
9-13-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1022
I Got Rhythm
(George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin)
10-24-1930 New York, New York Melotone
M-12000
Jersey Lightning
(Luis Russell)
9-6-1929 New York, New York Okeh
8734
Parlophone
R 740
Louisiana Swing
(Luis Russell)
5-29-1930 New York, New York Okeh
8811

404047-A
Louisiana Swing
(Luis Russell)
5-29-1930 New York, New York Okeh
8811

404047-C
Luke The Spook
(Biggs / Luis Russell)
10-19-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1086
Muggin’ Lightly
(Luis Russell / Levy)
9-5-1930 New York, New York Okeh
8830
Moods
(Rube Bloom)
8-8-1934 New York, New York Vocalion
My Blue Heaven
(Walter Donaldson / Richard Whiting)
8-8-1934 New York, New York Banner
33399
Melotone
M 13366-B
My Silent Love
Vocal refrain by Lee Richardson
5-29-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1035
Ol’ Man River
Vocal Chorus by Sonny Woods

(Jerome Kern / Roger Hammerstein)
8-8-1934 New York, New York Banner
33179
Melotone
13146-B
On Revival Day
(Andy Razaf)
5-29-1930 New York, New York Okeh
8811

404049-A
On Revival Day
(Andy Razaf)
5-29-1930 New York, New York Okeh
8811
Parlophone
2186

404049-B
Panama
(Lambert / Dolin)
9-5-1930 New York, New York Okeh
8849
Poor Li’L Me 5-29-1930 New York, New York Okeh
8830
Primitive
(Rube Bloom)
8-8-1934 New York, New York Banner
33399
Melotone
M 13366-A
Sad Lover Blues
(Luis Russell / Richardson)
1945 New York, New York Apollo
1012
Saratoga Drag
(Luis Russell / Greely Walton)
12-17-1930 New York, New York Okeh
1579
Saratoga Shout
(Luis Russell / Charlie Holmes)
12-17-1929 New York, New York Vocalion
8780
Savoy Shout
(Luis Russell / Louis Metcalf / E. Victor)
1-15-1929 New York, New York Okeh
8760
Say The Word
(From the revue “The Third Little Show”)

(Harold Adamson / Burton Lane)
8-28-1931 New York, New York Victor
22789-A
Song Of The Swanee
(Luis Russell / Dux / Walter)
12-17-1929 New York, New York Okeh
8780
Sweet Memory
(Luis Russell / Holmes / Kizer)
5-29-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1020
The (New) Call Of The Freaks
(Paul Barbarin)
9-6-1929 New York, New York Okeh
8734
The Very Thought Of You
(Ray Nobel)
1945 New York, New York Apollo
1012
1280 Jive
(Luis Russell / Williams)
1945 New York, New York Apollo
1022
Walkin’ Slow
(Luis Russell / Williams)
10-19-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1079
You Gave Me Everything But Love
(Sam Thread)
10-19-1946 New York, New York Apollo
1072
You Rascal, You
Vocal by Henry Allen

(Sam Thread)
8-28-1931 New York, New York Victor
22793-A
You Taught Me How To Smile Again 1945 New York, New York Manor
1006 B

Luis Russsell and his Orchestra

Artist Instrument
Gus Aiken Trumpet
Red Allen Trumpet, Vocals
James Archey Trombone
David Bee Alto Saxophone
Lee Blair Guitar
Paul Barbarin Drums, Vibraphone, Vocals
Chick Bullock Vocals
Robert Cheek Trumpet
Bill Coleman Trumpet
Leonard Davis Trumpet
Vic Dickerson Vocals
Pops Foster Bass
J.C. Higginbotham Trombone, Vocals
Teddy Hill Tenor Saxophone
Charlie Holmes Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Will Johnson Banjo, Guitar
Henry Jones Alto Saxophone
Bingie Madison Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Albert Nicholas Clarinet
The Palmer Brothers Vocals
Lee Richardson Vocals
Dick Robertson Vocals
Luis Russell Piano
Rex Stewart Cornet
Nathaniel Story Trombone
Greely Walton Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Dicky Wells Trombone
Sonny Woods Vocals

 

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