Profiles In Jazz

George Lewis and Bunk Johnson

Bunk Johnson: Profiles in Jazz

There have long been two extreme schools of thought about trumpeter Bunk Johnson. His most partisan fans thought of him not only as a genius,

Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway: Profiles in Jazz

He has been gone for 25 years but everyone still knows who Cab Calloway was. The “Hi-De-Ho Man,” the singer of “Minnie The Moocher,” an


Paul Whiteman: Profiles in Jazz

A household name during the 1920s, Paul Whiteman led the most popular orchestra of the decade. He expertly mixed together occasional jazz pieces with semi-classical

jelly roll morton

Jelly Roll Morton: Profiles in Jazz

Jelly Roll Morton was a towering figure in early jazz, and one with a very large number of accomplishments. As a pianist who had his


Nat King Cole: Profiles in Jazz

The Nat King Cole story is a tale of two major talents, both owned by the same person. Equally skilled as a jazz pianist and


Ethel Waters: Profiles in Jazz

During the 1921-25 period, it seemed as if every African-American female singer who could carry a tune was being rushed into a recording studio to

Eddie Lang

Eddie Lang: Profiles in Jazz

The finest jazz guitarist of his short lifetime, Eddie Lang was masterful as both a melodic soloist and a sophisticated accompanist, whether playing bluesy single-note

Billie Holiday Profiles in Jazz

Billie Holiday: Profiles in Jazz

She had a small voice that could not compare to that of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. She never scatted and her improvising tended to


Clarence Williams: Profiles in Jazz

Jazz history books often leave his name out, but Clarence Williams was a major force in the 1920s and ’30s and had quite a career;

Frank Sinatra and Harry James

Harry James: Profiles in Jazz

Next to Louis Armstrong, Harry James was not only the most famous trumpeter of the 1940s but remains a household name decades after his death.

Bessie Smith in 1924

Bessie Smith: Profiles in Jazz

Accurately billed as “The Empress of the Blues” during her prime years, Bessie Smith was not only the top female jazz and blues singer to

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Buddy Bolden: Profiles in Jazz

Cornetist Buddy Bolden’s life is shrouded in mystery. He was the George Washington of jazz- first at nearly everything. And as with Washington, many legends

Bunny Berigan

Bunny Berigan: Profiles in Jazz

Bunny Berigan was arguably the top jazz trumpeter of the 1930s (not counting Louis Armstrong), with his main competition being Henry “Red” Allen, Roy Eldridge,


Eddie Condon: Profiles in Jazz

Eddie Condon took extremely few guitar solos in his career (all very early), did not sing after the 1920s, and only wrote a couple of

Tommy Dorsey-trombone

Tommy Dorsey: Profiles in Jazz

He was the “Sentimental Gentleman of Swing,” a trombonist with perfect breath control, a pretty sound, and a melodic swinging style. Tommy Dorsey led one

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John Kirby: Profiles in Jazz

He was probably the only bassist during the Swing era to lead a successful band. John Kirby was not a major soloist on the level

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Bobby Hackett: Profiles in Jazz

Bobby Hackett was a cool-toned cornetist who always sounded relaxed no matter what the setting or the tempo. Once, when he was trying to sell

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Fletcher Henderson: Profiles in Jazz

In November 1934, Benny Goodman was in a bind. His new orchestra had just won an important time slot on the Let’s Dance radio show.

Chris Barber 768x352 - Chris Barber: Profiles in Jazz

Chris Barber: Profiles in Jazz

Strange as it seems, there was a time when it was not unusual for trad jazz recordings to be on the pop charts in Great

Bob Crosby and Family

Bob Crosby: Profiles in Jazz

Bob Crosby definitely had an unusual career. Being the younger brother of Bing Crosby, the most famous singer in the world for quite a few

Jabbo Smith

Jabbo Smith: Profiles in Jazz

Jazz history is full of bright flames, artists who come out of nowhere, make a very strong impression, and then burn out, often having a

Earl Hines

Profiles in Jazz: Earl “Fatha” Hines

Earl “Fatha” Hines was one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. Frequently he would play ringing octaves with his right hand (called “trumpet

Red Nichols

Profiles in Jazz: Red Nichols

Red Nichols was one of the finest cornet players to emerge during the 1920s—yet, for various reasons, he was underrated throughout much of his career

Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa: Profiles in Jazz

The First Star Drummer He was the first drummer to be considered a superstar and a matinee idol. Before Gene Krupa hit it big with

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Coleman Hawkins: Profiles in Jazz

How many jazz musicians from the 1920s were involved in playing modern jazz of the 1960s? I can only think of three: Duke Ellington (who,

Armstrong Hot Five - Kid Ory: Profiles in Jazz

Kid Ory: Profiles in Jazz

Before the rise of Miff Mole, Jimmy Harrison, and especially Jack Teagarden in the late 1920s, Edward “Kid” Ory was the most important influence on

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Profiles in Jazz: Artie Shaw

Success at Every Turn Artie Shaw was a unique figure in jazz history. A competitor of Benny Goodman both as a clarinetist and a bandleader,

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Django Reinhardt: Profiles in Jazz

He was one of the most extraordinary individuals in jazz history, a largely illiterate gypsy who also happened to be one of the greatest jazz

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Henry “Red” Allen: Profiles in Jazz

Jazz history is full of innovators, interpreters, and individualists. The innovators change the way that the music is played and influence both their contemporaries and


Sidney Bechet: Profiles in Jazz

Sidney Bechet was a unique figure in jazz history. A masterful soprano-saxophonist and clarinetist, he recorded the first significant jazz solos (other than pianists). Bechet,

Fats Waller

Fats Waller: Profiles in Jazz

Most of the major jazz musicians excelled in one or two areas. For example Jack Teagarden, the subject of last month’s Profiles In Jazz, was

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Jack Teagarden: Profiles in Jazz

The Double-Threat One of the most beloved figures in jazz history, Jack Teagarden was a double-threat as a trombonist and a singer. Before he arrived

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Ella Fizgerald: Profiles in Jazz

She Could Swing When confronted with the recordings and performances of Ella Fitzgerald, several questions come to mind. Could anyone outswing her? Was anyone a


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