Edwin SWAYZE, The muted story of an extraordinary trumpet 1/4

Crowned “The King”, inspired by King Oliver, leader of his own band for a while, famous for composing Jitterbug, noted soloist on muted trumpet and high notes, Edwin Swayze is a musician who deserves to be rediscovered for his intense career that started in Arkansas, made him a bandleader, lead him twice to Europe, and ended abruptly at only 29 during a stay the world-famous Cotton Club in Cab Calloway’s orchestra. Part I: With Alphonso Trent, Sammy Lewis, Jelly Roll Morton, Chick Webb and many more 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 in the movie “Manhattan Merry-Go-Round”, 1937

Among the cameos Cab Calloway did in several movies, this one for Manhattan Merry-Go-Round remains quite obscure and barely appears in people’s minds when talking about jazz on screen. Yet, this short sequence within a mediocre “filmusical” produced by the low budget Republic Studio is in fact interesting for jazz and dance fans: the song, the music with a great tenor sax solo by Chu Berry in his only known filmed appearance and the Lindy Hoppers gyrations plus the peculiar advertising for the movie make it worth some attention. The Hi De Ho Blog tells you everything we know about it! Read the full story →