Hot Lips Page

Picture of Hot Lips Page

The name Oran Thaddeus Page might not immediately jump out at you, but as a trumpeter, Oran had a huge influence on The Big Band Era.  More widely known as Hot Lips Page, he began his career as a member of the Oklahoma City Blue Devils in 1927.

Hot Lips played and toured with the Blue Devils until 1931, then joined the ranks of the Bennie Moten Orchestra.  He became known throughout the Midwest as one of the hottest, up and coming trumpet players.  After the death of Moten, Hot Lips spent time with Count Basie's band but was never really known as an official member of the band.  

In 1937, Page formed his own Orchestra and had some immediate success.  But over time, as talented as Hot Lips was, he struggled to maintain a regular working band.  Throughout the 1940's, Page managed to tour the United States and Canada, but it's believed he did so with up to 13 different bands and combos that featured his name.

It's also important to note that in 1941 and 1942, Page joined on with Artie Shaw's band as a vocalist and trumpet soloist.  In that short period of time, he recorded over 40 sides with Shaw.

It's estimated that Hot Lips Page made over 200 recordings during his career is considered by many to be one of the founders of what came to be known as rhythm and blues.  Page passed away in 1954 at the age of 46.

Listen to: "Skull Duggery" by Hot Lips Page and His Band

You can hear the hot trumpet of Hot Lips Page right here on Swing City Radio.

Watch: Drum Boogie from 1941

Picture of Gene Krupa

Today's film clip is from the 1941 film "Ball of Fire".  It features Gene Krupa and His Orchestra in their prime performing the classic "Drum Boogie".  The director of this film did a fantastic job capturing the raw energy that Krupa and the band put into all of their appearances.

The beatiful Barbara Stanwyck appears onstage as the vocalist, but the truth is that Martha Tilton provided the singing voice and Barbara was just lip syncing.

"Ball of Fire" was a comedy film released in 1941 and starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. 


Watch: "Drum Boogie" by Gene Krupa and His Orchestra from 1941

Podcast: Show 147 - Oh! Ma-Ma. I'm Beginning To See The Light.

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Oh! Ma-Ma. I'm Beginning To See The Light. - Show 147 - 

Features vintage Big Band recordings by Chick Webb, Ray Noble, Dick Jurgens and Tiny Hill.  Ronnaldo also plays an old ad from Admiral Radio.

* All music in this podcast are Creative Commons.  Artists are credited within the podcast.

Listen to: Oh! Ma-Ma. I'm Beginning To See The Light. (Show 147)
Podcast Episode

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Tiny Hill

Picture of Tiny Hill

Tiny Hill (Harry Lawrence Hill) was one of the biggest bandleaders of the era.  Not purely based on his popularity, it was because he weighed in at over 365 lbs.  For a time, Hill was billed as "America's Biggest Bandleader".  Hill was also a drummer and a vocalist.

In 1931, Hill formed his first band which was simply known as the "Fat Man's Band." Dixieland jazz and hillbilly music was their original focus but by the last 1930's, Hill and his band were churning out warm dance music.

Helped by good exposure on the radio station "WGN" based out of Chicago, Tiny Hill aquired a nice follwing throughout the Midwest. In the early 1940's, Hill branched out and developed a national audience and toured the country.  1943 saw Tiny Hill and His Orchestra become the summer replacement band on the hit radio show "Your Hit Parade.

Listen to: "Angry" by Tiny Hill and His Orchestra from 1939

Tiny and his band continued to enjoy success for many years, well into the 1950s, until the end of the big band era.  You can hear the music of Tiny Hill right here on Swing City Radio.

Soundie: "Drink Hearty"

Picture of Red Allen

Today's Soundie features Red Allen and J.C. Higginbotham performing "Drink Hearty".  This was released to Panoram in March of 1946.  It was one of five Soundies the duo did together.  Two others were: "Count Me Out" and "House On 52nd Street".

Red Allen is best remembered as an excellent sideman that played with Fletcher Henderson and Benny Goodman.  J.C. Higginbotham is best known for his work with Chick Webb, Mills Blue Rhythm Band and Louis Armstrong.

Excellent Soundie.  Enjoy!

Watch: "Drink Hearty" by Red Allen and J.C. Higginbotham from 1946.

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