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Walter Page's Blue Devils
The Blue Devils were an early Kansas City Jazz band, several members of this band would go on to and play in Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra and the Count Basie Orchestra. The founder of the Blue Devils was Walter Page. The band started in Oklahoma City in 1925. The Blue Devils played in the Southwest and travelling by car played small clubs and dance halls. In 1928 Jimmy Rushing and Bill “Count” Basie joined the band, and would play with them until the following year when Bennie Moten lured Basie away from the band.Walter Page's Blue Devils

Shortly after Basie’s departure, Durham quit and later Rushing and Lips Page would also join Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra. The Blue Devils regrouped and hired Lester Young and Druie Bess, but Moten ended up absorbing most of the Blue Devils, even including Walter Page.

Walter Page Blue Devils
Walter Page’s Blue Devils, sometime in the 1920s. (Page is holding a trumpet in the front row, third from left.)

After a series of misadventures in 1933, The Blue Devils found themselves stranded in Virginia, without instruments or money. They hopped a freight train back to St. Louis. Moten ended up hiring the remnants of the band, including Lester Young. After Moten’s death in 1935, Count Basie took over the Kansas City Orchestra.


Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Blue Devil Blues
11-10-1929 Kansas City, Missouri Vocalion 1463
(Count Basie)
11-10-1929 Kansas City, Missouri Vocalion 1463

Walter Page's Blue Devils

Artist Instrument
Alvin Borroughs Drums
Walter Page Tuba
Hot Lips Page Tumpet
Reuben Lynch or Thomas Owens Guitar
Ted Manning Alto Saxophone
Dan Minor Trombone
Reuben Roddy Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Rushing Vocals
James Simpson Tumpet
Buster Smith Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Charlie Washington Piano

Walter Page's Blue Devils

Goin’ To Kansas City, by Nathan W. Pearson, Jr, University of Illinois Press, 1994


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