Burlesque house: A place where people go to watch a show that is characterized by dancing, comedy, and stripteasing. Found on this page: Fanny Brice.
Cabarets: A manner of entertainment that typically consists of singing, dancing, and playing music. They typically have a specific venue where the performance takes place such as a restaurant or night club. Found on this page: Bessie Smith.
Chambermaid: A maid whose job it is to typically take care of and maintain the bedrooms and bathrooms in a hotel, inn, etc. Found on this page: Ethel Waters.
Colored Waif’s Home for Boys: An institution in New Orleans for misbehaving and troubled young men. Found on this page: Louis Armstrong.
Minstrel shows: A form of entertainment that consists of singing, dancing, and telling jokes. The performances were usually carried out by white actors in blackface in order to play the role of black people. Found on this page: Bessie Smith.
Speakeasy: A place where people were able to safely purchase alcohol during the time of prohibition. They were usually found as night clubs accompanied by some sort of entertainment. Found on these pages: Billie Holiday and Helen Morgan.
Stenographer: A person who translates oral speech in to written shorthand. Found on this page: Ethel Merman.
Vaudeville: A theatrical form of entertainment that has a wide range of possibilities. A typical performance contained many unrelated acts such as singers, dancers, comedians, acrobats, magicians, etc. Found on these pages: Fred Astaire, Boswell Sisters, Eddie Cantor, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Cliff Edwards, Helen Kane, Sophie Tucker, and Ethel Waters.
Fred Allen: Fred Allen was of the greatest American comedians to ever live. He performed on the radio and on television with various programs and shows including connections with NBC and CBS. Allen also performed on Broadway and Vaudeville. His Vaudeville acts often consisted of various acts such as juggling, singing, and performing with a ventriloquist dummy, but his main focus was always on his comedy. He performed with Jimmy Durante on NBC’s program The Big Show. Found on this page: Jimmy Durante.
Count Basie: Count Basie was a jazz pianist, composer, and organist born in America. At a young age he became fond of jazz and began playing piano while touring with other jazz groups. In 1935 he formed his his own group named the Count Basie Orchestra. This group stuck around for a long time and under Basie’s lead made many innovations to jazz music including playing with a large band, using two split tenor saxophones, and placing an importance on the rhythm section. Many musicians found fame via Basie and he often played with many different singers such as Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker. Found on these pages: Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker.
Irving Berlin: Irving Berlin was an American songwriter and composer. His lyrics in his songs were simple, not complex, and represented how Americans felt which helped him become one of the greatest lyricists to ever live. He wrote over 1,500 songs and some were used on Broadway and in Hollywood movies. Many of Berlin’s songs were re-recorded or performed by some of the greatest singers including Fred Astaire, Al Bowlly, Bing Crosby, and Judy Garland. Found on these pages: Fred Astaire, Al Bowlly, Bing Crosby, and Judy Garland.
David Bowie: David Bowie was a singer, songwriter, and actor born in England. He was one of the most popular artists of his time recording many albums and boasting large sale numbers. He is remembered for his prominence in popular music which he changed through his innovate tunes and visual presentations of his performances. Found on this page: Bing Crosby.
Russell Brooks: Russell Brooks was an American pianist who strove for success but never found much. However, he did know another very talented pianist, James P. Johnson. Brooks knew Johnson and introduced him to Thomas “Fats” Waller, his brother’s friend from school, and Johnson helped Waller tremendously in order to make him into a star of a pianist. Found on this page: Thomas “Fats” Waller.
Natalie Cole: Natalie Cole was born in America and was a singer, lyricist, and actress. She was the daughter of Nat “King” Cole, so she had legendary talent in her blood. She became popular in the 70s as an R&B and pop artist. Towards the end of her career she found success by re-recording her father’s songs which became huge hits. Found on this page: Nat “King” Cole.
Maury Deutsch: Maury Deutsch was an American trumpet player, composer, and music teacher. He was set to attend Brooklyn College for his musical talents, but when World War II occurred he enlisted in the navy. Due to his musical talent he was stationed in Virginia to compose, arrange, and play trumpet for the Navy Orchestra. After the war he continued to practice music and began teaching from his house in New York City. One of his students he taught was Charlie Parker who eventually rose to stardom. Found on this page: Charlie Parker.
Dorsey Brothers: The Dorsey Brothers were a jazz group that formed in New York City and was led by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. The group only recorded albums in the studio and never performed in front of a live audience. The group had a large amount of success with their studio recordings and nearly all their members were the great white jazz musicians living in New York City. Eddie Lang was one of these members in which he played guitar for the group. Found on this page: Eddie Lang.
Antonin Dvorkak: Antonin Dvorkak was a well known Czech composer. Dvorkak’s music had its own style in which he pulled elements especially the rhythms from the folk music of Moravia and Bohemia. He took these folk styles of music and skillfully used them to create his own unique style. This style was eventually recognized after he refined his music through the years and began winning competitions for his symphonies. He became an international hit and then moved to the United States where he wrote his most famous and successful orchestras. Found on this page: Art Tatum.
Fred Elizalde: Fred Elizalde was a Spanish Filipino pianist, composer, conductor, and bandleader. He was taught music his whole life as he grew up, and he eventually formed a band called the Quinquaginta Band. This group was largely successful and helped influence British jazz and classical music. He took American influences of his music especially of rhythms and fused them into his own orchestra. One way he did this was by incorporating American singers which included Al Bowlly. His incorporation of American principles into his music became very popular among audiences in the United Kingdom and across the globe. Found on this page: Al Bowlly.
Duke Ellington: Duke Ellington was a composer, pianist, and bandleader born in America. His career consisted of leading his jazz orchestra for more than 50 years. He is considered to have had a large impact on increasing the popularity of jazz music through his innovative use of his orchestra. His big band recorded his compositions for American record companies, composed musicals on stage, and performed in movies. Found on this page: Billie Holiday.
Ella Fitzgerald: Ella Fitzgerald was born in the United States and grew up to be a jazz singer. Her early influences such as the Boswell Sisters helped to distinguish herself with her tone, diction, and improvisation. She began her career singing with various bands and orchestras and eventually rose to fame as an individual artist. She found a lot of success while collaborating with some of the greats such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. She also appeared on television shows as a guest and sang in numerous films. Found on this page: Boswell Sisters.
Aretha Franklin: Aretha Franklin is an American musician especially as a singer and songwriter. Franklin started her career when she was very young singing gospel in her father’s church. She looked up to Bessie Smith when she first began in order to find some style in her vocals. This helped her to find massive success in the music industry as she is one of the best selling singers of all time. Found on this page: Bessie Smith.
George Gershwin: George Gershwin was a composer and pianist from America. His compositions covered classical and popular music styles which meant that he was able to have success in operas and on Broadway. He worked on Broadway until his death with his brother, Ira. His legacy as a composer continues to live on today as his compositions have been used in film, television, jazz standards, and covers by other artists. Found on these pages: Fred Astaire and Art Tatum.
Ira Gershwin: Ira Gershwin was an American lyricist. With his brother George the pair wrote many famous songs and Broadway shows. He was considered to be very creative in writing songs and, this became very apparent after he continued to write great hit even after his brother died Found on this page: Judy Garland.
Dizzy Gillespie: Dizzy Gillespie was an American composer, bandleader, singer, and trumpeter. He was a major innovator in jazz as he added complex harmonies to his already difficult improvisation style. He was also very essential in creating and popularizing bebop with Charlie Parker. Found on this page: Charlie Parker.
Jean Goldkette: Jean Goldkette was a French bandleader and pianist. He was the leader of multiple jazz and dance bands where he played with and lead some of the greatest musicians at the time inlcuding Bix Beiderbecke. He also worked as a Music Director and a booking agent. He made a name for himself in his many business ventures which included leading bands, owning dance halls, and and running an agency for orchestras. Found on this page: Bix Beiderbecke.
Benny Goodman: Benny Goodman was an American musician, bandleader, and clarinetist. He is well known for leading popular jazz groups and is credited for making jazz a respectable music form. He helped many jazz artists find their careers, and he led an integrated jazz group during a time of racial segregation in America. Found on these pages: Bessie Smith and Joe Venuti.
Billy Graham: Billy Graham is an American evangelist. He started his career as a Southern Baptist Minister and eventually became very popular. His large rallies and broadcasted radio and television appearances helped him become very well known among the American public. He had his own television show, Billy Graham Crusades, which ran on air for more than 50 years collecting millions of viewers in the process. He was a strong opponent of segregation and worked closely with several presidents. As a result of all of his media outlets he spread Christianity to more people than anyone else. Found on this page: Ethel Waters.
Stephane Grappelli: Stephane Grappelli was a French violinist. Guitarist Django Reinhardt and Grappelli formed the jazz group, Quintette du Hot Club de France, in 1934. This decision was inspired by another violin and guitar duo, Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang, that played many influential songs together. Grappelli and Reinhardt’s group was one of the first jazz bands using only string instruments. Found on this page: Joe Venuti.
Coleman Hawkins: Coleman Hawkins was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He was essential in establishing the saxophone as an instrument that can be used to create jazz music. Even though he played largely with big bands during his career he’s also given credit for helping develop bebop. Found on this page: Art Tatum.
Fletcher Henderson: Fletcher Henderson was an arranger, composer, bandleader, and pianist born in the United States. He was crucial in the creation of big band jazz music and swing. He largely helped connect the traditional jazz era to the swing era. For these contributions he’s considered one of the greatest black and jazz bandleaders to ever live. Found on this page: Thomas “Fats” Waller.
Clarence Holiday: Clarence Holiday was an American musician who played guitar and banjo with Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra. He also recorded songs with other major jazz musicians from the time such as Benny Carter. He was the father of Billie Holiday who went on to become one of the greatest jazz singers in history. Found on this page: Billie Holiday.
Lena Horne: Lena Horne was an American singer, dancer, and actress. She had a long career consisting of singing in a chorus, performing in nightclubs, acting in films, performing on Broadway, and recording jazz and pop albums. Through all of these experiences she made a name for herself as one of the great performers to live. She is also remembered for her strong social activism during the Civil Rights era which actually kept her out of work for a bit during the Red Scare. Found on this page: Russ Columbo.
Vladimir Horowitz: Vladimir Horowitz was a composer and classical pianist born in Russia. He’s considered one of the greatest pianists of all time for his virtuoso style, timbre, and connection with his audience. Through his music he was able to connect with his listeners and bring about strong feelings of enthusiasm. Found on this page: Art Tatum.
James P. Johnson: James P. Johnson was an American composer and pianist. He was extremely influential in the stride style of jazz piano and in the transition from the ragtime era to the jazz era. As a result of being a leader in the development of jazz he helped to mentor many future jazz greats such as Art Tatum and Thomas “Fats” Waller. Found on this page: Thomas “Fats” Waller.
Lonnie Johnson: Lonnie Johnson was a songwriter, singer, guitarist, and violinist born in America. He sang blues and jazz, but he’s largely remembered for his influences on incorporating the guitar and violin into jazz music. One of the ways he did this was by becoming the first person to ever play an electric violin. Found on this page: Eddie Lang.
Janis Joplin: Janis Joplin was an American singer. Her very powerful singing style and natural talent helped her to become an influential artist. She was especially remembered for her strong stage presence and ability to put on an excellent performance. Her emotional singing style was largely influenced by Bessie Smith who sang and performed with a similar attitude. Found on this page: Bessie Smith.
Frankie Laine: Frankie Laine was born in America, and he was an actor, songwriter, and singer. He was very talented in his unique ability to sing in a variety of genres which included big band, pop, jazz, blues, gospel, rock, folk, and country. He also appeared on NBC’s “The Big Show” with a bunch of other great talents including Jimmy Durante. Found on this page: Jimmy Durante.
Carole Lombard: Carole Lombard was an American actress. For a short period in her career she was the lead in multiple dramas, but the vast majority of her acting success came in comedy. She thrived in smaller roles in comedies as a result of her energetic and funny personality. Found on this page: Russ Columbo.
Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five and Hot Seven: Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five and Hot Seven were Armstrong’s two jazz bands that he led. The hot five group played a New Orleans style jazz with trumpets, clarinets, and trombones. The group used a lot of improvisation techniques and hence they were very influential in implementing improvisation into jazz. His Hot Seven group played a very similar style, but Armstrong began to dominate the solos himself. Found on this page: Louis Armstrong.
Marx Brothers: The Marx Brothers were an American family comedic group. They performed on Vaudeville and Broadway and in films. The group consisting of five members are known by their stages names of Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, and Zeppo. Chico, Harpo, and Groucho were at the heart of their acts, and their characters developed complex personalities. They are considered by many to be some of the greatest comedians of all time. Found on this page: Helen Kane.
Thelonious Monk: Thelonious was an American composer and jazz pianist. He is well known for his unique improvisational style in which he would abruptly stop and start playing. His unorthodox to piano is represented by the way he would dress in suits, hats, and sunglasses. He would also stop playing at times during a performance to dance on stage. For his unique playing style he is the second most recorded jazz composer only trailing Duke Ellington. Found on this page: Charlie Parker.
Bennie Moten: Bennie Moten was a bandleader and jazz pianist born in the United States. He was the bandleader of the blues group called the Kansas City Orchestra. He implemented the riffing style in his band that was then used by many big bands in years to follow. The group eventually recruited Count Basie which gave their music a new feel with Basie’s piano play. Once Moten died Basie lead some of the other members in forming his own orchestra group. Found on this page: Charlie Parker.
Ray Noble: Ray Noble was an English arranger, composer, bandleader, actor, and comedian. Noble wrote the music for his band which helped his friend Al Bowlly’s career tremendously. Noble also spent a lot of his time as a radio comedian. He eventually was influential in bring comedy to television and in films. Found on this page: Al Bowlly.
Charlie Parker: Charlie Parker was an American composer and jazz saxophonist. He played a very rapid style of jazz and introduced techniques such as rapid passing chords, chord substitutions, and variations of altered chords. These things helped Parker become a pioneer of the jazz style known as bebop. Due to his foundations in bebop and personality as an intellectual in addition to being an entertainer, Parker was influential in certain movements and subcultures. Found on this page: Errol Garner.
Cole Porter: Cole Porter was a composer and songwriter born in America. Porter had a fond interest in theater, so he found work writing songs for Broadway. Unlike most other songwriters at the time, Porter wrote both the lyrics and music for his songs used in the musicals. In addition to writing musicals, he also wrote many songs for popular films. Found on these pages: Fred Astaire and Judy Garland.
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian conductor, composer, and pianist. His first orchestra wasn’t well received and this sent Rachmaninoff into a depression. After therapy he wrote his second composition that found a lot of success in Russia, but he had to move to the Untied States during the Russian Revolution. In America he spent most of his time touring as a pianist, so he wasn’t able to work on many composition. He’s remembered for his song like melodies and incorporation of the piano in his compositions. Found on this page: Art Tatum.
Ma Rainey: Ma Rainey was an American blues singer. She was known for her powerful voice, energy, and lyrics. She was also one of the first blues artists to record, so she received the nickname as the Mother of the Blues. She worked in a group with Bessie Smith influencing her and mentoring her before her and her husband left the group to from their own duo group. Found on this page: Bessie Smith.
Django Reinhardt: Django Reinhardt was a composer and jazz guitarist born in Belgium. Despite being born in Belgium Reinhardt grew up in France and his music more more linked to French culture. He created a new style of jazz guitar that became very popular and remains so to this day. He also is known for forming one of the first jazz groups to be recorded. Found on this page: Joe Venuti.
Debbie Reynolds: Debbie Reynolds was an American singer and actress. She found a lot of success in the film and music industry; Reynolds was nominated for numerous awards in acting and reached the top spot on the Billboard charts. She performed on Broadway, as a cabaret, and even on her own television show. In her later years she became a business owner and remained connected to the film industry. Found on this page: Helen Kane.
Al Rinker: Al Rinker was an American born musician. Music had always been an integral part of his community as his sister had already become a popular jazz singer before Rinker began his career. He began his musical career by forming a duo group with friend Bing Crosby. After a few years performing with the group and variants of the group with other members Rinker decided to go solo. Many of his songs that he wrote were used in films. Found on this page: Bing Crosby.
Ginger Rogers: Ginger Rogers was an American dancer, singer, and actress. Her career started after winning a dance contest which landed her a role on vaudeville. This eventually led to her performing on Broadway. Her most remembered films are ones she made with her partner, Fred Astaire. She also made appearances and had success on the radio and television. Found on this page: Fred Astaire.
Artie Shaw: Artie Shaw was an author, actor, bandleader, composer, and clarinetist. He was an important piece in jazz history. He’s known as one of the greatest jazz clarinetists, he led one of the largest jazz band, and he was a pioneer of Third Stream music which mixed classical and jazz music forms. Found on this page: Billie Holiday.
Frank Sinatra: Frank Sinatra was a singer, producer, and actor from the United States. Despite never learning how to read music, Sinatra had an inherent understanding of music and worked very hard to be the success that he was. He was a perfectionist and honed all of his musical and non-musical talents to become not only an outstanding singer, but also a great performer and film actor. Found on these pages: Russ Columbo and Al Jolson.
John Stark: John Stark was an American publisher of music particularly from the ragtime genre. Stark met Scott Joplin Sedalia and offered him money for compositions of music. Stark helped Joplin publish his music and also aided in marketing his music as well. Stark’s musical career is defined by his successful ventures with Joplin. Found on this page: Scott Joplin.
The King Cole Trio: The King Cole Trio was a group formed by legendary performer, Nat “King” Cole in Los Angeles. The other two musicians were Oscar Moore on guitar and Wesley Prince on bass. Cole lead the group with his jazz solos, and the group was popularized through the use of the radio. The group found a lot of success producing records and performing on stage and on the radio. Found on this page: Nat “King” Cole.
Danny Thomas: Danny Thomas was an American actor, producer, singer, and nightclub comedian. His career began in acting in films and then on television. He also appeared on the radio and on talk shows. One of these shows was NBC’s “The Big Show” which had many other talented acts. Found on this page: Jimmy Durante.
Frankie Trumbauer: Frankie Trumbauer was a jazz saxophonist born in the United States. Despite finding the vast majority of his success with the saxophone, Trumbauer was very talented and also played many other instruments such as the bassoon and clarinet. He also made a lot of compositions of saxophone music and worked with Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti’s group. This was one of several small jazz groups he performed with and another being a trio including Jack Teagarden. Found on these pages: Eddie Lang and Jack Teagarden.
Paul Whiteman: Paul Whiteman was an American director, composer, bandleader, and violinist. Whiteman was very important to the beginnings of jazz. Using his big bang style he led groups with style that mixed symphonic music and jazz. He influenced many jazz musicians that came after him with this style. He also found success on television in the later years of his career. Found on these pages: Bix Beiderbecke, Eddie Lang, and Jack Teagarden.
Wolverines: The Wolverines were an American jazz orchestra. The group recorded several records with Gennett Records. They performed at dance studios throughout the country, and their live acts were very popular. The group’s interest came from Bix Beiderbecke’s talented cornet play, and after he left the group they found little success. Found on this page: Bix Beiderbecke.
Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.: Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. was an American producer for Broadway. Most of his Broadway success can be attributed to his Ziegfeld Follies acts that spanned many years. Through these acts he was able to help popularize many great musicians including Fanny Brice and Eddie Cantor. Found on these pages: Fanny Brice and Eddie Cantor.