[Dixielandjazz] Re: Jimmy Durante (was Time Wallpaper)

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Thu Jan 6 13:54:42 PST 2005

Regarding:  >Until now, I never realized Durante's great contribution to
jazz (read with sarcasm in your voice).<

Dear Stan, 
There was a lot more to the man than many jazz lovers realise.
Durante was certainly a jazz pioneer, although to bracket him with Louis
Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk and Dave Brubeck
(as Time has) seems a little odd.
The following is from the 'Big Bands Data Base'.

'Jimmy Durante. b. 1893, New York, N. Y., d. 1980, Santa Monica, CA.
I have included Jimmy Durante here because of his extraordinary background.
As a very young vaudevillian, just after WW1, he formed one of New York
City's first 'dixieland' jazz bands (Durante's Novelty Jazz Orchestra).
Nicknamed 'the Schnoz' because of his large nose, he went on to become one
of America's most popular and beloved comedians. Very few people remembered
his start in show business as a musician. Throughout his vaudeville years,
and also his screen years, he often wrote little novelty tunes, which he
sang on stage. 
In 1933, he composed the song "Inka Dinka Doo", a song which was closely
identified with Jimmy for the rest of his life.
Jimmy died in California at age 87. Ethel Merman and a whole host of stars
attended his funeral.'

There is a lot more in the history books, if you care to search it out.
Look out for the following early recordings (most of which I have on LP and
CD) that prove Durante's claim to jazz fame:
Bailey's Lucky Seven
Jimmy Durante's Jazz Band
Ladd's Black Aces (alluded to by Mike Logsdon, in his one-line reply to you)
Lanin's Southern Serenaders
Original New Orleans Jazz Band
Whiteway Jazz Band 
Kind regards,

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