ARTISTS & PERFORMERS

Artist Photo Artist Bio
Jack Payne (22 August 1899 – 4 December 1969) was a bandleader who established his reputation during the British dance band era of the 1930s. Payne was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, the only son of a music publisher's warehouse manager. While serving in the Royal Flying Corps he played the piano in amateur dance bands. Towards the end of World War I, Payne led dance bands for the troops. He played in a ten-piece band which became the house band at London's Hotel Cecil in 1925. This ensemble regularly performed on the BBC in t... Continue reading
Jack Teagarden (August 20, 1905 – January 15, 1964), known as "Big T" and "The Swingin' Gate", was an American jazz trombonist, bandleader, composer, and vocalist, regarded as the "Father of Jazz Trombone". Born in Vernon, Texas, his brothers Charlie and Clois "Cub" and his sister Norma also became noted professional musicians. Teagarden's father was an amateur brass band trumpeter and started young Jack on baritone horn; by age seven he had switched to trombone. His first public performances were in movie theaters, where he accompanied his m... Continue reading
Jan Garber (November 5, 1894 – October 5, 1977) was an American jazz bandleader. He had his own band by the time he was 21. He became known as "The Idol of the Airwaves" in his heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, playing jazz in the vein of contemporaries such as Guy Lombardo. Garber played violin with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra after World War I and formed the Garber-Davis Orchestra with pianist Milton Davis from 1921–1924. After parting with Davis, he formed his own orchestra, playing both "sweet" and "hot" 1920s dance music. He was h... Continue reading
Jan Savitt (September 4, 1907 – October 4, 1948), known as "The Stokowski of Swing", after having played violin in Stokowski's orchestra, was an American bandleader, musical arranger, and violinist. He evidenced musical ability an early age and began winning conservatory scholarships in the study of the violin. He was offered the position of concert master in Leopold Stokowski's Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, but turned it down, preferring to continue his studies at Curtis Institute. About a year later, believing himself ready, he joined St... Continue reading
Jimmie Lunceford (June 6, 1902 – July 12, 1947) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and bandleader in the swing era. Lunceford went to high school and studied music under Wilberforce J. Whiteman, father of Paul Whiteman, whose band was soon to acquire a national reputation. As a child in Denver, he learned several instruments. After high school, Lunceford continued his studies at Fisk University.  In 1922, he played alto saxophone in a local band led by the violinist George Morrison which included Andy Kirk, another musician destined for f... Continue reading
Jimmy Dorsey (February 29, 1904 – June 12, 1957) was a prominent American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, composer and big band leader. Jimmy Dorsey was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, the son of a coal miner turned music educator, and older brother of Tommy Dorsey who also became a prominent musician. He played trumpet in his youth, appearing on stage with J. Carson McGee's King Trumpeters in 1913. He switched to alto saxophone in 1915, and then learned to double on clarinet. With his brother Tommy playing trombone, he formed Dorsey’s Nov... Continue reading
Joe Loss (22 June 1909 – 6 June 1990) was a British musician popular during the British dance band era, and was founder of the Joe Loss Orchestra. Loss was born in Spitalfields, London, the youngest of four children. He started violin lessons at the age of seven and later played violin at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool and also with Oscar Rabin. Loss started band leading in the early 1930s, working at the Astoria Ballroom and soon breaking into variety at the Kit-Cat Club. In 1934 he topped the bill at the Holborn Empire but in the same year m... Continue reading
Joe Venuti (September 16, 1903 – August 14, 1978) was an Italian-American jazz violinist. In the early 1920s, Venuti moved to New York City, where he played in dance bands and jazz orchestras with Jean Goldkette, Red Nichols, Bix Beiderbecke, Adrian Rollini, and Frankie Trumbauer. He also played in the Roger Wolfe Kahn Orchestra with Eddie Lang, his friend since childhood. Venuti and Lang performed and recorded often together. Their jazz violin and guitar duo provided an example for Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. Venuti pioneered t... Continue reading
Kay Kyser (June 18, 1905 – July 23, 1985) was an American bandleader and radio personality of the 1930s and 1940s. Kyser graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was also senior class president. Because of his popularity and enthusiasm as a cheerleader, he was invited by Hal Kemp to take over as bandleader when Kemp ventured north to further his career. He began taking clarinet lessons but was better as an entertaining announcer than a musician. He adopted the initial of his middle name... Continue reading
King Oliver (December 19, 1881 – April 10, 1938), was an American jazz cornet player and bandleader. He was particularly recognized for his playing style and his pioneering use of mutes in jazz. Also a notable composer, he wrote many tunes still played today, including "Dippermouth Blues", "Sweet Like This", "Canal Street Blues", and "Doctor Jazz". He was the mentor and teacher of Louis Armstrong. His influence was such that Armstrong claimed, "if it had not been for Joe Oliver, Jazz would not be what it is today."  From 1908 to 1917 Oliver ... Continue reading