Cab Calloway
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The orchestra of Cab Calloway (1907), that replaced Ellington's band at the "Cotton Club" in 1931, was famous for the leader's scat-jive vocals that debuted with Minnie the Moocher (march 1931), as well as for Jitterbug (january 1934), composed by one of his trumpeters, Edwin Swayzee, the song that gave a name to the style of swing dancing. But Calloway also architected the frenzied Some of These Days (december 1930), the nonsensical Scat Song (february 1932), Harry White's oneiric Evenin' (september 1933). He was a virtuoso of singing, combining Louis Armstrong's scat singing with a broader and more powerful vocal range. His ironic scat phrase "hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-ho" not only led the band but also inspired the audience to sing along. His lyrics for the saga of Minnie used the lingo of drug addicts and gangsters (HArold Arlen's Kicking The Gong Around of 1931), while songs like You Dog (october 1931) were full of sexual innuendos. Even in these songs, where the words are clearly sung, Calloway managed to introduce a vocabulary of original vocal effects.

Cab Calloway's orchestra, that replaced Ellington's band at the "Cotton Club" in 1931, was famous for the leader's scat-jive vocals that debuted with Minnie the Moocher (march 1931), as well as for Jitterbug (january 1934), composed by one of his trumpeters, Edwin Swayzee, The Calloway orchestra of the 1940s was a different beast, relying on bassist Milt Hilton (1936-51), one of the great virtuosi of the instrument, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie (1939-41), who had replaced Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham (1932-39), and tenor saxophonist Chu Berry (1937-41) to pen sophisticated instrumentals such as Hilton's Pluckin' the Bass (august 1939), Don Redman's Cupid's Nightmare (july 1940), Benny Carter's Lonesome Nights (august 1940) and Victor Young's Ghost of a Chance (june 1940).

Calloway died in 1994.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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