Showing posts with label Jack Teagarden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jack Teagarden. Show all posts

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Irving Mills sings (with Jack Pettis And His Pets) 1928


Irving Mills
Correspondent Beverly Mills Keys sent a link to a song in which Irving Mills is the vocalist. Historically, of course, Mills was not known as a singer - although he did contribute to a few recordings, including some by Duke Ellington. Mills is better remembered as an entrepreneur who managed many artists in the 1920s and 1930s, including Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. In the realm of the song St. James Infirmary, of course, he was - as Joe Primrose - an alleged composer.

Therein lies another story.

Irving Mills is a central character in my tale of St. James Infirmary. So it is good to actually hear his voice.

Jack Pettis
Below is the YouTube video Beverly Mills Keys sent to me, a 1928 recording by Jack Pettis and His Pets. For this song Irving Mills assumed the pseudonym of Erwin McGee. In other records he sang as Sonny Smith, Goody Goodwin, and so on. The pseudonyms were sometimes necessary, as he often recorded with predominantly black musicians; racially mixed performing groups could be, uhm, difficult in those times. (Mills, to his credit, was one of the first to record racially integrated bands.)

Pettis, though, was Caucasian, as were the members of his bands; an innovative saxophonist, he recorded occasionally with Mills' "Hotsy Totsy Gang" alongside such youngsters as Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Gene Krupa ...  all soon to become among the biggest names in jazz/pop music. Mills had an uncanny way of recognizing talent.

You can read more about Jack Pettis here.

It is likely that Mills was managing Pettis when this record was made. "Baby" was written by two of Mills' stable of songwriters, early in their careers, Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh. Both were eventually inducted into the songwriters hall of fame.

Mills' vocal comes in at about 58 seconds.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

SJI and The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong

Here's a very interesting (and long) essay about Louis Armstrong and his versions of "St. James Infirmary." I accidentally bumped into this blog on my way elsewhere. I'm flattered that this gentleman, Ricky Riccardi, refers to this humble site - and excited about the information he provides. Among the treats to be found here is a radio broadcast in which you can listen to Louis talk about Don Redman, Jack Teagarden, and "St. James Infirmary."

All this is a prelude to Mr. Riccardi's upcoming (2010) book about Armstrong's later years. Sounds like it will be well worth keeping an eye open for.
Inquiries into the early years of SJI