star dust

star dust

Hoagy Carmichael sings Jew-Boy Blues with Venuti's band

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Recorded between 1930-33. Hoagy Carmichael,composer, vocalist Hoagy Carmichael is remembered today as one of America's great composers of popular songs. Several of his tunes, like "Star Dust" ,"Georgia on My Mind" ,"Up The Lazy River", "Lazybones", "Skylark" and "Heart and Soul" have become standards which are still widely performed. While studying to be a lawyer at Indiana University, Hoagy wrote a couple tunes for a band called Curtis Hitch's Happy Harmonists. The songs were "Washboard Blues" and "Boneyard Shuffle" and they were recorded in 1924 for Gennett records with Carmichael on piano. Through his association with this band he meet Bix Beiderbecke, who was a member of the Wolverine Orchestra at that time. The two became close friends and the Wolverines went on to record Carmichael's "Riverboat Shuffle". Music publisher Irving Mills heard the Wolverine's record and wrote Carmichael asking if his company could publish the song, to which Hoagy agreed. Carmichael himself led several other sessions at Gennett, where he recorded the first version of "Stardust" in 1927. But Carmichael took a job in Florida as a law clerk after graduating. While there, he unexpectedly heard a recording of his song, "Washboard Blues", by Red Nichols and his Five Pennies. He had been unaware that the song had been re-recorded. It was then that he decided to abandon law and become a musician. Carmichael returned to Indiana and resumed his music career. Several of his friends, including Bix, were playing in Paul Whiteman's Orchestra by this time. Whiteman was familiar with some of Carmichael's Gennett recordings and also went on to record Hoagy's "Washboard Blues" in 1927. Hoagy sings and plays piano on the track and it holds up as one of the Whiteman Orchestra's best performances. In 1930 Isham Jones and his Orchestra had a huge hit with a ballad version of Stardust. By 1935 Hoagy was working in Hollywood as a songwriter and he also became a character actor, appearing in over twenty films throughout his career. In 1941 he had a number one hit with the song "Huggin' & Chalkin". In 1951 he won an Oscar for his song "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" that was performed by Bing Crosby in Paramount's "Here Comes the Groom". In 1956 Carmichael recorded an excellent LP called "Hoagy Sings Carmichael" on the Pacific Jazz Label. The record placed Hoagy back into a no-nonsense Jazz setting for the first time in years and featured several West Coast Jazz musicians including Art Pepper on alto saxophone. In 1959 and 1960 he was a regular on the western TV series Laramie. In the 1960s he composed two orchestral works, "Brown County In Autumn" and "Johnny Appleseed" which were unsuccessful. He never resumed his songwriting career after the failure of these two works. Joe Venuti was the first great violinist of Jazz. The music he made with Eddie Lang would later be a major influence on Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli in France. He was born aboard a ship as his parents emigrated from Italy and trained to be a classical violinist from an early age. He met Eddie Lang in 1913 while attending school in Philadelphia and started a local group with him three years later. The two would go on to play and record with each other frequently up until Lang's death in 1933. Venuti played briefly with Red Nichols, toured with Jean Goldkette and played in the orchestra of many Broadway shows. He co-led a band with Eddie Lang off and on through most of the 1920's, that included Jimmy Dorsey, Red Nichols and Frank Signorelli of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. In 1929 he joined the Paul Whiteman Orchestra but was injured in an auto accident; he was able to re-join the band in 1930. Venuti was able to keep working as a musician the rest of his life. He enjoyed a resurgence of interest in the 1970s.