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 →

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 →

BEN BAGLEY, CAB CALLOWAY AND THE GREAT BROADWAY COMPOSERS

On several occasions in the 1970s Cab teamed up with producer Ben Bagley to record musical comedy show tunes for LP salutes to the great popular songwriters.  Bagley’s Revisited series of albums pay tribute to the iconic Broadway composers and lyricists with some of their more obscure and forgotten songs. Those exceptional albums are cherished and widely coveted by collectors. Keller Whalen, for The Hi De Ho Blog, tells you the whole story. And it’s history! By Keller WHALEN Read the full story →

The “ST. LOUIS BLUES” movie (1958): A MISSED OPPORTUNITY

St. Louis Blues (1958) starring Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway is a truly awful film with an outstanding cast.  Our friend and fellow Cab Calloway fan Keller Whalen has left no stone unturned in uncovering the behind-the-scenes details – he even watched the movie several times.  The Hi De Ho Blog is pleased to present a fascinating look at the story of how a bad film was made and the often hilarious reviews that followed its release.  Read the full story →

“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 →

Edwin SWAYZE, The muted story of an extraordinary trumpet 2/4

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 II: In Paris and Holland with the Blackbirds and the Plantation Orchestra Read the full story →

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 →