“The Pajama Game” (1973-1974): tops and bottoms in black and white

After Cab Calloway’s success on Broadway with Porgy and Bess (1952-1954) and Hello, Dolly! (1968-1972), the Great White Way seemed to be wide open to another long-term run with the revival of The Pajama Game. Despite great cards in hand, the curtain dropped on the show after just 65 performances. The Hi De Ho Blog tells you why Cab has better luck in a white tuxedo than in black pajamas… Read the full story →

Cab Calloway’s “Blues Make Me Happy”

Cab Calloway’s 1962 album of standards, Blues Make Me Happy has recently been released on CD on the Sepia label. The original Coral LP has been re-mastered and cleaned up for the first time using the CEDAR noise-reduction process, with rare bonus material from the Coral and ABC-Paramount labels.  The new CD “Blues Make Me Happy The ABC-Paramount and Coral Years 1956-1961” includes a booklet with full discographic details and very informative liner notes by Christopher POPA, webmaster of the Big Band Library website. It’s unfortunate that Cab didn’t record more albums of standards or contemporary tunes during this era, because he was at the height of his powers as a vocalist.  Although the rapid high-pitched scatting and vocal pyrotechnics of the hot-jazz 1930s were somewhat diminished, they were more than equaled by a mature and powerful voice, perfect diction and breath control, and an impressive three-octave range. The Hi De Ho Blog brings you the whole story, reviews the CD, and adds new information about this milestone yet underrated album.     Read the full story →

The Cab Calloway TV Show in 1959 from the Rancho Don Carlos in Winnipeg, Canada

This show is one of a kind testimony of the way Cab Calloway sang and toured in the late fifties, when times were harder than during the Swing era. And, on a personal matter, this is a TV show I’ve been privileged to watch at Cab Calloway’s house in Westchester along with Cab’s daughter, Cecelia. I thought I’d never see it again, but here it is, after a dedicated fan posted it on YouTube. Read the full story →

Cotton Club Revue Season #2: 1958, from Miami to...

The second year, expected to fulfill the hopes of the first season, didn’t happen the way it was supposed to. With many changes in the leading parts, certainly lacking pizzazz, with a downgraded show, the 1958 Cotton Club Revue had also had to face bad luck. Even the GONE Album recorded to support the show was released right after the closing of the engagement in Miami… But it takes much more to dishearten Cab Calloway! Read the full story →

Cotton Club Revue Season #1: 1957, from Miami to New York and Las Vegas

In the Fifties, Miami became the place to be: hotels and resorts, nightclubs, beaches, the city was magic. Before retirees, tourists were the main source of income. It made sense for entrepreneurs to try their luck with an ambitious revue. Glamour, chorus girls, tap dance and entertainment were on the menu. And if you add Cab Calloway as the main course, you’re headed for success. So they say. And so it happened... well, at the beginning.     Read the full story →

GONE album “Cotton Club Revue of 1958”

Released in March 1958 to support the Cotton Club Revue, which was then touring in Miami and the USA (see our forthcoming article), this LP is Cab Calloway’s very first album – in the modern sense. Despite genuine qualities, this record went straight into the dustbin of discographers and jazz critics. It seems nevertheless to warrant some interest since, besides its two releases at the time, an unofficial vinyl emerged 30 years ago and an official release even popped up on CD in August 2014. Read the full story →

“Cab Calloway ’68”: the everlasting album with Bugs Bower

In March 1968, Cab Calloway released an album entitled “Cab ‘68” with 11 songs arranged and conducted by Maurice Bugs BOWER. The LP was the first release by label P.I.P., of Pickwick International. Leaning on the Hello Dolly!’ success, Cab sang tunes from the Broadway repertoire with new arrangements that were also of a new kind for the 60 year old king of Hi De Ho. The goal? Reaching a new and younger audience. We’ve been lucky and honored to interview Dr. Bugs Bower who has fond memories of this record. You’d never guess he’s 92! Read the full story →

Lammar WRIGHT as told by Wilmer WISE, his bandstand friend

Lammar WRIGHT (1905-1973) was an incredibly talented trumpeter who played in Cab’s orchestra between 1930 and 1944. He was one of the Missourians when Cab grabbed the band. Wilmer WISE (born in 1936) is another incredibly talented trumpeter, who has been playing in many fields, from big bands, Broadway pits, philharmonic orchestras, to rock and soul studio groups. We were honored to meet and interview him in October 2011 about his bandstand friend, Lammar Wright with whom he worked between 1956 and 1967. Read the full story →

Dotty SAULTERS: the petite singer larger than life (part 1)

She was the canary in Cab Calloway’s orchestra between 1943 and 1947 and her rather garish voice is heard on many live recordings… Nevertheless, she is actually a complete stranger in the eyes (especially the ears) of jazz connoisseurs.  Do not rely on reference books either: they do not even know she exists.  Yet Dotty SAULTERS was a helluva little woman, a singer and exceptional entertainer, not to mention a great tap dancer.  She was married to Honi Coles, the great tap dancer, and her life was always pulsed by the rhythm.  And what rhythm!  What a woman!  The Hi De Ho Blog reveals everything we know about Dotty Saulters. Here's the first of 3 part biography about Dotty: the first one is her life BEFORE working with Cab Calloway...   Read the full story →

Memory tour of Manhattan Theaters with Christopher Brooks Calloway

On October 9, 2013, I had the pleasure to interview Cab Calloway’s grandson, Christopher Brooks Calloway. Guitarist and bandleader of the Cab Calloway Orchestra, Christopher has been entertaining audiences with his performance and personality for more than 30 years. His grandfather sang with him on several occasions, but as a mentor, Cab remains a permanent influence on Christopher. During my last trip to New York, for a few hours we chatted and walked around Times Square stepping from one theater to another, seeking the places where Cab Calloway played. We shared histories and anecdotes and Christopher opened his heart about his grandfather’s legacy. Read the full story →

“Cabu Swing”: a book about music by the greatest Cab Calloway fan

Amateurs de jazz, de dessins, d'humour, de joie de vivre, vous allez vous régaler ! En 224 pages, vous allez (re)découvrir la vie de Cabu et sa relation avec la musique depuis toujours. Les esquisses comme les dessins finalisés de ce maître de la caricature sont les témoins de plus d'un demi-siècle vécu au rythme de toutes les musiques. Avec naturellement un penchant particulier pour ses idoles comme Charles Trénet et Cab Calloway bien sûr. Read the full story →

“COTTON CLUB PARADE” (october 1932)

Revue du Cotton Club de Harlem : * Paroles de Ted Koehler * Musiques d’Harold Arlen * Mise en scène de Dan Healy * Vedettes : Aida Ward, Cab Calloway Chansons publiées : * Harlem Holiday * I’ve Got a World On A String* * That’s What I Hate About Love* * The Wail of The Reefer Man* Read the full story →

Welcome to The ‘new’ Hi de Ho Blog

From the Cotton Club to the “Blues Brothers”, from the roaring 20’s until his death in 1994, Cab CALLOWAY has been a larger than life entertainer, first known for his song created in 1931 that drove him to fame: “Minnie The Moocher”. Read the full story →

Flip O’Vision: Cab Calloway’s flipbook (1949)

48 mm x 33 mm (1.89 inch x 1.30 inch)... These are the measurements of one of the most picturesque objects that can be found related to Cab Calloway! It is a small flip book published in 1949 by the TOPP brand of chewing gum. TOPPS released these flip books to get into the race with the irresistible growth of television. They were offered 5 cents with packs of tablets. The series would have counted up to 60 different flip books, among which is Cab Calloway. Read the full story →

The King of Hi de Ho and the Presidents

  Many jazz fans will be delighted by this story told by Cab Calloway in his autobiography, Of Minnie the Moocher and Me: at an evening reception in honor of Duke Ellington, Richard Nixon approach Cab Calloway and told him "My wife and I really like what you're doing, Mr. Ellington" True or not, it indicates the presence of Cab at the White House and his relationship with the U.S. leader. The Hi de Ho Blog will tell you a little more... Read the full story →

Juke Box #5, november 1948 : Cab Calloway in a comics

In 1948, while his popularity was rather low and his concerts became downright rare, Cab Calloway enjoyed the limelights of the release of a short comic about him published by Famous Funnies editions. Entitled "Cab Calloway, dean of American jive", the 3 pages are ​​part of the Juke Box series published from March 1948 to January 1949. The whole series was about music. Many famous artists ​​appear: Spike Jones, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Peggie Lee, Tommy Dorsey, Mel Tormé, Xavier Cugat, Stan Kenton, Lena Horne, Bettie Hutton, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Mercer, Woody Herman, Al Jolson, Guy Lombardo, Buddy Rich, etc. and Cab Calloway of course! Read the full story →

“The Grand Larceny”, an article by Cab Calloway (Oct. 1937)

  Cab Calloway s'est exprimé plusieurs fois dans les journaux et magazines de son époque, en dehors des interviews. Dès 1931, son premier article paraît dans le magazine britannique Rhythm. Aujourd'hui, nous allons nous intéresser à celui paru en octobre 1937 dans les colonnes de Musical News & Dance Band. Cet article fut le premier d'une série écrits spécialement pour cette revue anglaise par des chefs d'orchestre américains. Avec cet article de Cab intitulé "Vol qualifié" (Grand Larceny), le ton était donné : règlement de compte avec les critiques, les journalistes et les musiciens blancs et noirs... Read the full story →

Loretta THOMPSON and her “Hi de Ho Rock and Roll” (1958)

Les amateurs comme les contradicteurs du Hi de Ho font parfois d'effrayantes découvertes. Comme preuve, la rencontre du Rock country et du Hi de Ho sous la houlette de la jeune Loretta THOMPSON. Enregistré le 18 novembre 1957 avec son groupe "The Rockers" pour le label UNITED, "Hi de Ho Rock and Roll", ne dure pas assez longtemps pour que l'on ait envie de bazarder son équipement stéréo par la fenêtre. Read the full story →

LIttle Lulu : The Baby Sitter (1947) with Cab Calloway

Little Lulu est un personnage qui a été créé en 1935 pour le magazine Saturday Evening Post. Après être passé d'un cartoon à un dessin puis à une planche complète, Little Lulu est devenu l'héroïne de comic books (que les collectionneurs s'arrachent) et de quelques cartoons produit par Famous Studios pour la Paramount. A partir de 1943, ces petits dessins-animés étaient projetés avant le programme principal au cinéma. La série des Little Lulu vient d'ailleurs remplacer celle de Superman qui datait de 1940. "The Baby Sitter" est le 25e des 28 épisodes des aventures de Little Lulu. Et si The Hi de Ho Blog vous en parle, c'est parce qu'il y a du Cab Calloway dedans ! Read the full story →

Cab's musicians' first job

Les journaux de l'époque fourmillent de petits articles aimablement "suggérés" par les relations presse d'Irving Mills. Parmi ceux-ci, on trouve la trace des premiers métiers exercés par les musiciens de Cab Calloway. Après tout, ces dieux de la scène étaient des humains comme les autres puisqu'ils avaient été charpentiers, mécaniciens, postiers, etc. Voici la liste retrouvée des différentes professions passées de ce formidable orchestre. Read the full story →

May 1958: Cab Calloway at the Olympia in Paris

When Cab Calloway began his series of galas May 22, 1958 at the Olympia in Paris, it has been a few years since he had performed in France. The first time was in 1934 during his European tour of the Cotton Club, then a few weeks at the Paris Empire Theatre in Porgy and Bess in 1953. There is some documentation on this series of concerts in Paris during the "events" in Algeria whose repercussions in France caused riots in the capital. This is also an opportunity to see how the audience spent an evening attending a show in the new Olympia reopened in 1954 by Bruno Coquatrix. Read the full story →

William Thornton BLUE: the creative but forgotten clarinettist

Listen to Cab Calloway’s recordings from the early 1930s ... If your ear is dominated by a hopping, acrobatic and remarkably creative clarinet sound, you are enjoying one of the great forgotten musicians in the History of Jazz who spent more than 30 years in an asylum: William Thornton BLUE. It is my good friend the late Christian Bonnet (1945-2017) — whose ear was particularly demanding - that made me discover the talent of this clarinetist and alto saxophonist whose solos give a unique sound to the first Calloway shellacs... The Hi De Ho Blog will tell you the almost unknown story of the man who nicknamed himself “The reputed Blue”. Read the full story →