When Gene Kelly tap danced to Cab Calloway’s orchestra

  En 1934, lors d'une tournée du côté de Pittsburgh, Cab Calloway dut faire face au départ impromptu des Nicholas Brothers, bien décidés à tourner leur premier film à Hollywood. Pour les remplacer, son agent lui envoya sans les avoir vus les jeunes (et blancs !) Fred et Gene KELLY. Voici le récit de cette anecdote peu connue qui permet à des danseurs de claquettes blancs de danser en compagnie d'un orchestre noir, chose plus qu'improbable à cette époque... Read the full story →

Death of Fayard, last of the NICHOLAS Brothers

  Au début, ils étaient 2 : les fabuleux Nicholas Brothers, Harold (mort en 2000) et Fayard (91 ans). Depuis le 24 janvier dernier, il n'y a plus que les images pour se souvenir de ce duo de danseurs étonnants que Cab croisa plusieurs fois dans sa carrière : au Cotton Club et surtout avec le film « Stormy Weather ». 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 →

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 →

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 →

“Hi De Ho” (1937): the Cab Calloway Vitaphone movie with genuine actors… and real music! 1/2

“Hi De Ho” is a Vitaphone movie released on February 20, 1937 by Warner Bros in the Melody Masters Series, that wonderfully demonstrates the musical qualities and stage persona of Cab Calloway and his musicians. But there’s more to know about this 11-mn and 1 reel movie, rarely seen, and often ignored by jazz historians and film or theater scholars: his uncredited cast shows besides Cab three distinguished and established actors nobody noticed.  Until now! (PART 1/2) Read the full story →


Mae Diggs was a singer, dancer, drummer, bandleader, composer and producer. She sang popular songs of the day, sultry blues numbers, and her own compositions.  She danced, usually solo on stage, with sexy, exotic moves dressed in a variety of costumes including a collection of evening gowns.  She played the drums.  She produced entire night club productions and occasionally conducted jazz bands and, for over twenty years, fronted a Rhythm & Blues combo. This is her story of resilience and reinvention. Read the full story →