Avis ANDREWS: The Sepia Prima Donna

Billed alternately in the ads as “Sepia Prima Donna”, “The Sepian Nightingale”, “Siren of Songs”, “Songbird of the South”, “Bundle of Blues”, “Popular and petite songbird”, “The aristocrat of song”, “The Broadway Favorite and Singing Sensation”, “Second to Marian Anderson” or “Greatest colored soprano” (sic). Still: if we had to rely on Cab Calloway’s autobiography to find out a little more about this singer who was the canary for the orchestra for more than 7 years, we wouldn’t get very far! The Hi De Ho Blog invistigated and tells you almost everything about a great singer (cousin of the singer and TV star Leslie Uggams) admired then and forgotten today. Read the full story →

Mabel GARRETT, The Story of a Cotton Club Girl (1/2)

Appearing just a few seconds dancing with Cab Calloway in the movie Manhattan Merry-Go-Round (1937), this graceful, tall and jumping dancer remained unidentified until we asked jazz dance historian Harri HEINILÄ from Helsinki to help us. Then, with the name in mind, after several weeks of research, we are now able to tell you the story of Mabel GARRETT whose dancing feet crossed those of Cab Calloway many times as well as the path of many other artists of the Harlem scene. A journey with one of those performers who made it on Broadway, on Harlem stages and then had to struggle when hard times come with age… Read the full story →

Cab Calloway’s engagements at the Apollo Theater in Harlem (part 1)

  The Apollo Theater in Harlem is a milestone in the showbusiness’ landscape. Not only for jazz but also for soul, pop, rock, rap, comedy, dance and amateur performances. This venue who has revealed to the world artists like Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown thank to its famous Wednesday Amateurs’ Night, has welcomed thousands of performers, vaudeville acts, Black or white. And among them, Cab Calloway. Thanks to the considerable surviving archives, the many photos, press ads and testimonies (by other performers, reviewers, members of the audience), The Hi De Ho Blog proudly presents the very first history and survey of the 26 week-engagements (plus the many benefits evenings, and other events) when “Hi De Ho” resonated in the 125th Street’s temple of music. Part 1: The Thirties, when the Cotton Club star comes to real Harlem   Read the full story →