ARTISTS & PERFORMERS

Artist Photo Artist Bio
Larry Clinton (August 17, 1909 – May 2, 1985) was a trumpeter who became a prominent American bandleader and arranger. He became a versatile musician, playing trumpet, trombone, and clarinet. While in his twenties, he became a prolific arranger for dance orchestras; bandleaders Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Glen Gray, Louis Armstrong, and Bunny Berigan all used Larry Clinton charts. His version of Debussy’s "Reverie", with vocalist Bea Wain, was particularly popular. Entitled "My Reverie", his version peaked at #1 on Billboard's Record Buying... Continue reading
Lena Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was an American jazz and pop music singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne's career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theater. Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of 16 and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, where she had small parts in numerous movies, and more substantial parts in the 1943 films Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather. Because of the Red Scare and her political activism, Horne found herself blacklisted and u... Continue reading
Les Brown (March 14, 1912 – January 4, 2001) was an American clarinetist, saxophonist, big band leader and composer, best known for his nearly seven decades of work with the big band Les Brown and His Band of Renown (1938–2001). Brown attended college at Duke University from 1932–1936. There he led the group Les Brown and His Blue Devils, who performed regularly on Duke's campus and up and down the east coast. Brown took the band on an extensive summer tour in 1936. At the end of the tour, while some of the band members returned to Duke t... Continue reading
Lionel Hampton (April 20, 1908 – August 31, 2002) was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, bandleader and actor. Hampton worked with jazz musicians from Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Buddy Rich to Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones. In 1992, he was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996. He moved to California in 1927 or 1928, playing drums for the Dixieland Blues-Blowers. He made his recording debut with The Quality Serenaders led by Paul Howard, t... Continue reading
Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer, singer and occasional actor who was one of the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, and different eras in jazz. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly recognizable gravelly voice, Armst... Continue reading
Louis Jordan (July 8, 1908 – February 4, 1975) was a pioneering American musician, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the Jukebox", he was highly popular with both black and white audiences in the later years of the swing era. Jordan was one of the most successful African-American musicians of the 20th century, ranking fifth in the list of the most successful black recording artists, and had at least four million-selling hits during his career. Jordan regularly topped the R&... Continue reading
Louis Prima (December 7, 1910 – August 24, 1978) was an Italian-American singer, actor, songwriter, and trumpeter. Prima rode the musical trends of his time, starting with his seven-piece New Orleans style jazz band in the late 1920s, then leading a swing combo in the 1930s, a big band in the 1940s, a Vegas lounge act in the 1950s, and a pop-rock band in the 1960s. In September 1934, Prima began recording for the Brunswick label. He recorded "That’s Where the South Begins", "Long About Midnight", "Jamaica Shout", and "Star Dust". Prima and ... Continue reading
Luis Russell (6 August 1902 – 11 December 1963) was a jazz pianist and bandleader. His father was a music teacher, and young Luis learned to play violin, guitar, trombone, and piano. He began playing professionally accompanying silent films by 1917 and later at a casino in Colón, Panama. In 1919 he won $3000 in a lottery, and used it to move to the United States, settling in New Orleans, Louisiana. In Chicago he played with Doc Cook and King Oliver, in addition to occasional jobs under his own name and pick up bands in recording studios. Wit... Continue reading
Margaret Whiting (July 22, 1924 – January 10, 2011) was a singer of American popular music who first made her reputation during the 1940s and 1950s. In her childhood, Whiting's singing ability had already been noticed, and at the age of only seven she sang for singer-lyricist Johnny Mercer, with whom her father had collaborated on some popular songs ("Too Marvelous for Words"). In 1942, Mercer co-founded Capitol Records and signed Margaret to one of Capitol's first recording contracts. Whiting co-starred on the 15-minute musical programs The ... Continue reading
Martha Tilton (November 14, 1915 – December 8, 2006) was an American popular singer during America's swing era and traditional pop period. She is best known for her 1939 recording of "And the Angels Sing" with Benny Goodman. While attending Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, she was singing on a small radio station when she was heard by an agent who signed her and began booking her with larger stations. After singing with the quartet Three Hits and a Miss, she joined the Myer Alexander chorus on Benny Goodman's radio show, Camel Caravan. Goo... Continue reading