Tagged: Teddy Wilson Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:03 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Bob Crosby, Cozy Cole, , , Johnny Hodges, Jonah Jones, , Teddy Wilson, Tot Seymour, Vee Lawnhurst   


    In a comment to my last post (on composer Kay Swift), a certain mister mused that more posts should follow devoted to women songwriters of the 1920s-30s, of whom there were too few. I’ve since found that two of those few got together to form what was the era’s only successful female songwriting partnership: VEE LAWNHURST (composer) and TOT SEYMOUR (lyricist). We shall proceed accordingly forthwith….or forthwith accordingly. Whatever.

    Let’s start with their biggest hit, a #1 bestseller for 11 weeks in 1935, AND THEN SOME:

    VEE LAWNHURST (1905-92), born in NYC, was a pianist, singer, teacher, and a pioneer in radio broadcasting. She worked with several lyricists before teaming with Tot to write a lot of hits in the mid to late 1930s, including the title song from the 1935 film ACCENT ON YOUTH, played here by the DUKE ELLINGTON Orchestra (Johnny Hodges on alto sax):

    TOT SEYMOUR (1889-1966), also born in NYC, was a multi-talented writer, including special material for such stars of the day as Fannie Brice and Mae West, then turning to popular song writing in 1930, working with various composers until teaming with Vee Lawnhurst. Among their many fine songs is this 1937 Billie Holiday classic featuring such jazz greats as Jonah Jones, Ben Webster, Teddy Wilson and Cozy Cole:

    Apparently Vee and Tot wrote no Christmas songs, which is just as well because you’ve probably already had more than your fill. So I’ll just close by wishing you a Happy Humbug….and then some.


    • obbverse 1:52 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      So over the bellowing carols and mindless Merry Christmases, roll on blessed silence and boxing day sales!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:02 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        ….and then some!

        Thanks for the comment, o.b., and may I be the last to wish you a mindless Merry Christmas..

        Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 4:01 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      do enjoy your posts … is it my hearing, I didn’t catch any words in #2?

      Happy Humbug keep on toe tappin 🙂


      • mistermuse 11:19 am on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Your hearing isn’t failing you, Kate. I posted the Ellington instrumental version because I dig Duke and Johnny Hodges’ gorgeous alto sax solo late in the recording. But never fear –you can hear the words here, in this non-jazz record:

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 5:23 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink

          who doesn’t love the Duke, but as you were talking about her song writing … appreciate the link!


      • mistermuse 8:19 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Kate, I placed the Duke Ellington instrumental to go with the Vee Lawnhurst paragraph because she wasn’t the lyricist half of the team It fit there better there because the other two links had vocals.

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 11:04 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink

          lol no need to defend yourself, your post!
          But I had expected lyrics so probably didn’t absorb the magic music as much as I should have, my fault entirely 🙂


    • Elizabeth 6:35 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I love their ambiguous first names which may have allowed them more success.


      • mistermuse 9:44 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        That’s possible, Elizabeth, but I’d like to think that their intelligence and talent had more to do with it. For example, there’s the common name of Dorothy Parker, the famed wit and writer in the 1920s & 30s (who, btw, also wrote the lyrics to a few good songs, such as I WISHED ON THE MOON) .

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ashley 3:01 pm on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I had never heard of Bob Crosby and when I looked him up I see that he had many children one of them called Harry, better known as Bing. (Wow! When I was first reading your post my dear wife was looking over my shoulder and later said something like “that looks very like a young Bing Crosby!” You see we work as a team and usually sort most things out). Have a wonderful Yuletide yourself.


      • mistermuse 4:31 pm on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Ashley, the Bob Crosby in my first clip was actually Bing’s younger brother. There may have been another Bob somewhere in the Crosby family tree, but this Bob was born in 1913 and looked and sounded somewhat like his older brother. In 1935, he became the front man and vocalist for the band which recorded AND THEN SOME, and which went on to become one the best big bands in the business until 1942, when it disbanded, and Bob served in the military in WW II


    • magickmermaid 12:22 pm on December 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve always loved 20s and 30s tunes! And old films!


      • mistermuse 9:24 pm on December 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        You got that right, mm….and speaking of 1930s tunes, here’s a Christmas tune from 1934. Enjoy!


  • mistermuse 6:20 pm on November 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Lucky Luciano, Maple Leaf Rag, Scott Joplin, Teddy Wilson, The Entertainer, The Sting, Treemonisha   


    Today is the birthday (11/24/1896) of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, the infamous NYC Mafia gangster….but I’ll leave the celebrating to murder, mayhem and mobster lovers. I’m a jazz lover, and it’s my lucky day because I get to celebrate the birthdays of my favorite jazz pianist, Teddy Wilson (1912) and my favorite ragtime composer/pianist, Scott Joplin (1868).

    Teddy and Scott who, you ask? Well, they were (and remain) unsurpassed in their artistry, but I forgive your unfamiliarity, because Wilson’s renown failed to survive the post-WWII pop music climate change and subsequent rock revolution, and Joplin was underappreciated even in his own time.

    There have been many great jazz pianists, but Teddy Wilson has long been my favorite. I could try to explain why, but why add more superlatives to this entry in Roger Kinkle’s THE COMPLETE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF POPULAR MUSIC AND JAZZ 1900-1950:
    Master jazz pianist. Consumate artist with flawless taste, delicate touch and ideas, subdued, relaxed and easily identifiable style. Prominence middle to late 30s with Benny Goodman combos. Same period led combos on dozens of classic jazz record dates. Acme of relaxed, swinging combo jazz. Billie Holiday featured predominately on vocals. 

    Here is some of that great Teddy Wilson/Billie Holiday “magic”:

    Scott Joplin pioneered ragtime music. His most famous compositions were MAPLE LEAF RAG (1899) and THE ENTERTAINER (1902). Those songs may not ring a bell, but you’ve heard them if you saw the great Paul Newman/Robert Redford film THE STING (1973) — every song on the Academy Award-winning soundtrack was a Scott Joplin rag and helped spark a national revival of his ragtime music. He died in 1917, a few years after the failure of his  African-American opera Treemonisha, which was revived to well-deserved acclaim in 1972. Here are clips from that wonderful production:

    • arekhill1 6:38 pm on November 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “Tremonisha” could stand to be revived again, I expect…hopefully we’ll see it down the road.


    • mistermuse 8:50 pm on November 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      TREEMONISHA was produced on TV in Feb. 1986 by the Houston Grand Opera Company. I taped it at the time and I think I still have the old VHS tape in my collection that I haven’t gone through in years. It is truly a memorable experience.


    • scifihammy 12:52 am on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Yay! Great jazz! Took me right back to my childhood and my dad playing the piano for me at home. Thanks for the treat 🙂


    • mistermuse 6:21 am on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      As always, my pleasure.


    • ladysighs 7:46 am on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Listening as I go through my Reader. 🙂 Music is making me read real fast. lol Speeding through the blogs at a jazzy pace. 🙂


    • mistermuse 9:01 am on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “Sounds” like you’re a good multi-tasker. That’s “Nice Work If You Can Get It” (remember that oldie?). I’d rather concentrate solely on listening to the music, but “To Each His Own.”


    • linnetmoss 12:31 pm on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Love them both. Here’s to the Maple Leaf Rag 🙂


    • mistermuse 4:44 pm on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

    • Don Frankel 6:30 am on November 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Muse those old gangsters were great proponents of Jazz as they owned a lot of the clubs everyone played in. I remember in one of your articles the very funny story told by Fats Waller’s son about how Al Capone had more or less kidnapped his father so he could listen to him play.

      You know I probably couldn’t tell you too much about Teddy Wilson but I recognized his piano playing.


    • mistermuse 10:46 am on November 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I remember that story, Don. The gangsters had good taste in those days (at least, in music)!


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