How Cab Calloway left his agent Moe Gale for Irving Mills

  Moe GALE (né Moses Galewski, 1899-1964) fut le premier agent qu'eut Cab Calloway. Il signa avec lui un contrat qui faisait de lui un artiste pieds et poings liés pour 10 ans, avec un salaire fixe de 100 $ par semaine. Si cela semblait une fortune pour Cab au moment d'arriver à New York, cela relevait de l'escroquerie pure et simple : en quelques semaines, Cab allait « valoir » plus de 500 $ par semaine. Mais ça n'est pas tout…     Read the full story →

Elmer: Cab Calloway’s (not so) hidden brother

  The name “Calloway” was a huge path to success.  Before Cab, of course, there was Blanche, the elder sister (born in 1903) who started out with Louis Armstrong before having her own orchestra in 1931.  But what few of us know is that Cab had a younger brother who also happened to lead his own orchestra.  But to find out more about Elmer Calloway, you have to search and search and search.  But don’t try searching at Cab’s house.   Read the full story →

Jitterbug: from the bar to the screen!

  Enregistré le 22 janvier 1934 à New York, le titre Jitter Bug est une oeuvre commune d'Edwin Swayzee (trompettiste depuis 1932 avec Cab) et de Cab Calloway. Les avis sont multiples sur l'origine du mot Jitter Bug. Il faut dire qu'à l'époque où est sorti le disque de Cab, il connut un tel succès que beaucoup voulurent s'en arroger l'origine, Cab le premier. En fait, le Jitterbug était une danse pratiquée au Savoy Ballroom de New York dès 1926 (au moment de son ouverture). Ses danseurs furent célèbres plus tard sous le nom des Lindy Hoppers (que l'on voit avec bonheur dans A Day At the Races et Hellzapoppin'). Comme on était à l'époque de la Prohibition et que les mouvements hystériques des danseurs faisaient penser à des ivrognes, on appela cette danse jitter-bug en référence à la jitter-sauce (l'alcool frelaté). 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 →

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 →

Lockwood Lewis: the forgotten Missourians’ bandleader before Cab Calloway’s coup

Lockwood Lewis is associated with Cab Calloway’s rising fame at the moment the latter took over the baton of the Missourians after a famous (and supposedly) battle of bands at the Savoy in 1930. This event has overshadowed Lockwood Lewis’ long career that spanned from an admired teacher, to one of the Harlem’s favorites and a respected Union man and circus bandleader. Meanwhile, he was one of the Black Devils during World War One. What a life. What a forgotten artist! Not anymore, thanks to The Hi De Ho Blog. Read the full story →