Louis Daniel Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo and Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer and occasional actor, one of the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, different eras in the history of jazz. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. Armstrong was raised in New Orleans. 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. Around 1922, he followed Joe "King" Oliver, to Chicago to play in the Creole Jazz Band. In the Windy City, he networked with other popular jazz musicians, reconnecting with his friend, Bix Beiderbecke, made new contacts, which included Hoagy Carmichael and Lil Hardin, he earned a reputation at "cutting contests", relocated to New York in order to join Fletcher Henderson's band. With his recognizable rich, gravelly voice, Armstrong was an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes.
He was very skilled at scat singing. Armstrong is renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice as much as for his trumpet playing. Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz, by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first popular African-American entertainers to "cross over", that is, whose skin color became secondary to his music in an America, racially divided at the time, he publicly politicized his race to the dismay of fellow African Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation in the Little Rock crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him access to the upper echelons of American society highly restricted for black men. Armstrong stated that he was born on July 4, 1900. Although he died in 1971, it was not until the mid-1980s that his true birth date, August 4, 1901, was discovered by Tad Jones by researching baptismal records. At least three other biographies treat the July 4th birth date as a myth.
Armstrong was born in New Orleans on August 4, 1901 to William Armstrong. Albert was from Boutte and gave birth at home when she was about sixteen. William Armstrong abandoned the family shortly after. About two years he had a daughter, Beatrice "Mama Lucy" Armstrong, raised by Albert. Louis Armstrong was raised by his grandmother until the age of five when he was returned to his mother, he spent his youth in poverty in a rough neighborhood known as The Battlefield. At six he attended the Fisk School for Boys, a school that accepted black children in the racially segregated system of New Orleans, he did odd jobs for a family of Lithuanian Jews. While selling coal in Storyville, he heard spasm bands, groups that played music out of household objects, he heard the early sounds of jazz from bands that played in brothels and dance halls such as Pete Lala's, where King Oliver performed. The Karnoffskys treated him like family. Knowing he lived without a father, they nurtured him. In his memoir Louis Armstrong + the Jewish Family in New Orleans, La. the Year of 1907, he described his discovery that this family was subject to discrimination by "other white folks" who felt that they were better than Jews: "I was only seven years old but I could see the ungodly treatment that the white folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for."
He wore a Star of David pendant for the rest of his life and wrote about what he learned from them: "how to live—real life and determination." His first musical performance may have been at the side of the Karnoffsky's junk wagon. To distinguish them from other hawkers, he tried playing a tin horn to attract customers. Morris Karnoffsky gave Armstrong an advance toward the purchase of a cornet from a pawn shop; when Armstrong was eleven, he dropped out of school. His mother moved into a one-room house on Perdido Street with him and her common-law husband, Tom Lee, next door to her brother Ike and his two sons. Armstrong joined a quartet of boys, he got into trouble. Cornetist Bunk Johnson said. In his years Armstrong credited King Oliver, he said about his youth, "Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans... It has given me something to live for." Borrowing his stepfather's gun without permission, he fired a blank into the air and was arrested on December 31, 1912.
He spent the night at New Orleans Juvenile Court was sentenced the next day to detention at the Colored Waif's Home. Life at the home was spartan. Mattresses were absent. Meals were little more than bread and molasses. Captain Joseph Jones used corporal punishment. Armstrong developed his cornet skills by playing in the band. Peter Davis, who appeared at the home at the request of Captain Jones, became Armstrong's first teacher and chose him as bandleader. With this band, the thirteen year-old. On June 14, 1914, Armstrong was released into the custody of his father and his new stepmother, Gertrude, he lived in this household with two stepbrothers for several months. After Gertrude gave birth to a daughter, Armstrong's father never welcomed him, so he returned to his mother, Mary Albert. In her small home, he had to share a bed with his sister, his mother still lived in The Battlefield
Louisiana is a state in the Deep South region of the South Central United States. It is the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by the state of Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the south. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U. S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes. The state's capital is Baton Rouge, its largest city is New Orleans. Much of the state's lands were formed from sediment washed down the Mississippi River, leaving enormous deltas and vast areas of coastal marsh and swamp; these contain a rich southern biota. There are many species of tree frogs, fish such as sturgeon and paddlefish. In more elevated areas, fire is a natural process in the landscape, has produced extensive areas of longleaf pine forest and wet savannas; these support an exceptionally large number of plant species, including many species of terrestrial orchids and carnivorous plants.
Louisiana has more Native American tribes than any other southern state, including four that are federally recognized, ten that are state recognized, four that have not received recognition. Some Louisiana urban environments have a multicultural, multilingual heritage, being so influenced by a mixture of 18th-century French, Spanish, Native American, African cultures that they are considered to be exceptional in the US. Before the American purchase of the territory in 1803, present-day Louisiana State had been both a French colony and for a brief period a Spanish one. In addition, colonists imported numerous African people as slaves in the 18th century. Many came from peoples of the same region of West Africa. In the post-Civil War environment, Anglo-Americans increased the pressure for Anglicization, in 1921, English was for a time made the sole language of instruction in Louisiana schools before a policy of multilingualism was revived in 1974. There has never been an official language in Louisiana, the state constitution enumerates "the right of the people to preserve and promote their respective historic and cultural origins."
Louisiana was named after Louis XIV, King of France from 1643 to 1715. When René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle claimed the territory drained by the Mississippi River for France, he named it La Louisiane; the suffix -ana is a Latin suffix that can refer to "information relating to a particular individual, subject, or place." Thus Louis + ana carries the idea of "related to Louis." Once part of the French Colonial Empire, the Louisiana Territory stretched from present-day Mobile Bay to just north of the present-day Canada–United States border, including a small part of what is now the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Gulf of Mexico did not exist 250 million years ago when there was but one supercontinent, Pangea; as Pangea split apart, the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico opened. Louisiana developed, over millions of years, from water into land, from north to south; the oldest rocks are exposed in areas such as the Kisatchie National Forest. The oldest rocks date back to the early Cenozoic Era, some 60 million years ago.
The history of the formation of these rocks can be found in D. Spearing's Roadside Geology of Louisiana; the youngest parts of the state were formed during the last 12,000 years as successive deltas of the Mississippi River: the Maringouin, Teche, St. Bernard, the modern Mississippi, now the Atchafalaya; the sediments were carried from north to south by the Mississippi River. In between the Tertiary rocks of the north, the new sediments along the coast, is a vast belt known as the Pleistocene Terraces, their age and distribution can be related to the rise and fall of sea levels during past ice ages. In general, the northern terraces have had sufficient time for rivers to cut deep channels, while the newer terraces tend to be much flatter. Salt domes are found in Louisiana, their origin can be traced back to the early Gulf of Mexico, when the shallow ocean had high rates of evaporation. There are several hundred salt domes in the state. Salt domes are important not only as a source of salt. Louisiana is bordered to the west by Texas.
The state may properly be divided into two parts, the uplands of the north, the alluvial along the coast. The alluvial region includes low swamp lands, coastal marshlands and beaches, barrier islands that cover about 20,000 square miles; this area lies principally along the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, which traverses the state from north to south for a distance of about 600 mi ) and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The breadth of the alluvial region along the Mississippi is from 10 to 60 miles, along the other rivers, the alluvial region averages about 10 miles across; the Mississippi River flows along a ridge formed by its own natural deposits, from which the lands decline toward a river beyond at an average fall of six feet per mile. The alluvial lands along other streams present similar features; the higher and contiguous hill lands of the north and northwestern part of the state have an area of more than 25,000 square miles. They consist of prairie and woodl
Beale Street Blues
"Beale Street Blues" is a song by American composer and lyricist W. C. Handy, it was named after Beale Street, a center of African-American music in Memphis and was published in 1917. The title refers to Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, an entertainment district for the city's African-American population in the early part of the 20th century. "Beale Street Blues" "juxtaposes the 12-bar blues form with an 8-bar counter-theme". Like many of Handy's songs, it is a hybrid of the blues style with the popular ballad style of the day; the song was published in 1917 by the Handy music company. The publication of the song coincided with the beginning of jazz recordings. An early version by Earl Fuller's Famous Jazz Band earned Handy's firm $2,857 in royalties; the song was first popularized for a mass audience when sung on Broadway by Gilda Gray in the 1919 musical revue Schubert's Gaieties. A version by singer Marion Harris was a top 10 hit in December 1921. More however, in the early years after it was written, jazz musicians played instrumental versions of the song.
"Beale Street Blues" has been recorded by dozens of artists. The song is now in the public domain in the United States due to expiration of the copyright. Most recordings of it are still covered by their own copyrights. Jack Teagarden used the song as a vocal showcase in the 1930s and 1940s, recorded it with several bands in that period. In the big band era, only a few of the well-known bands recorded it. Since the 1950s, the song has been associated with trad bands. In the Paramount Pictures 1958 movie St. Louis Blues, starring Nat King Cole as Handy, Ella Fitzgerald sings a rendition of this song. If Beale Street Could Talk, a 1974 novel by the American writer James Baldwin, refers to this song in its title; the novel was adapted as a film of the same name and released in November 2018 after being screened at the 2018 St. Louis International Film Festival. List of pre-1920 jazz standards Song lyrics at Wikisource NEH Blues page, with links to on-line recordings of "Beale Street Blues"
Bebop or bop is a style of jazz developed in the early to mid-1940s in the United States, which features songs characterized by a fast tempo, complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and numerous changes of key, instrumental virtuosity, improvisation based on a combination of harmonic structure, the use of scales and occasional references to the melody. Bebop developed as the younger generation of jazz musicians expanded the creative possibilities of jazz beyond the popular, dance-oriented swing style with a new "musician's music", not as danceable and demanded close listening; as bebop was not intended for dancing, it enabled the musicians to play at faster tempos. Bebop musicians explored advanced harmonies, complex syncopation, altered chords, extended chords, chord substitutions, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies. Bebop groups used rhythm sections in a way. Whereas the key ensemble of the swing era was the big band of up to fourteen pieces playing in an ensemble-based style, the classic bebop group was a small combo that consisted of saxophone, piano, double bass, drums playing music in which the ensemble played a supportive role for soloists.
Rather than play arranged music, bebop musicians played the melody of a song with the accompaniment of the rhythm section, followed by a section in which each of the performers improvised a solo returned to the melody at the end of the song. Some of the most influential bebop artists, who were composer-performers, are: tenor sax players Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, James Moody; the term "bebop" is derived from nonsense syllables used in scat singing. It appears again in a 1936 recording of "I'se a Muggin'" by Jack Teagarden. A variation, "rebop", appears in several 1939 recordings; the first, known print appearance occurred in 1939, but the term was little-used subsequently until applied to the music now associated with it in the mid-1940s. Thelonious Monk claims that the original title "Bip Bop" for his tune "52nd Street Theme", was the origin of the name bebop; some researchers speculate that it was a term used by Charlie Christian because it sounded like something he hummed along with his playing.
Dizzy Gillespie stated that the audiences coined the name after hearing him scat the then-nameless tunes to his players and the press picked it up, using it as an official term: "People, when they'd wanna ask for those numbers and didn't know the name, would ask for bebop." Another theory is that it derives from the cry of "Arriba! Arriba!" used by Latin American bandleaders of the period to encourage their bands. At times, the terms "bebop" and "rebop" were used interchangeably. By 1945, the use of "bebop"/"rebop" as nonsense syllables was widespread in R&B music, for instance Lionel Hampton's "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop". Bebop grew out of the culmination of trends, occurring within swing music since the mid-1930s: less explicit timekeeping by the drummer, with the primary rhythmic pulse moving from the bass drum to the high hat cymbal; the path towards rhythmically streamlined, solo-oriented swing was blazed by the territory bands of the southwest with Kansas City as their musical capital. Ability to play sustained, high energy, creative solos was valued for this newer style and the basis of intense competition.
Swing-era jam sessions and "cutting contests" in Kansas City became legendary. The Kansas City approach to swing was epitomized by the Count Basie Orchestra, which came to national prominence in 1937. One young admirer of the Basie orchestra in Kansas City was a teenage alto saxophone player named Charlie Parker, he was enthralled by their tenor saxophone player Lester Young, who played long flowing melodic lines that wove in and out of the chordal structure of the tune but somehow always made musical sense. Young was daring with his rhythm and phrasing as with his approach to harmonic structures in his solos, he would repeat simple two or three note figures, with shifting rhythmic accents expressed by volume, articulation, or tone. His phrasing was far removed from the four bar phrases that horn players had used until then, they would be extended to an odd number of measures, overlapping the musical stanzas suggested by the harmonic structure. He would take a breath in the middle of a phrase, using the pause, or "free space," as a creative device.
The overall effect was that his solos were something floating above the rest of the music, rather than something springing from it at intervals suggested by the ensemble sound. When the Basie orchestra burst onto the national scene with its 1937 recordings and nationally broadcast New York engagements, it gained a national following, with legions of saxophone players striving to imitate Young, drummers striving to imitate Jo Jones, piano players striving to imitate
Paul Samuel Whiteman was an American bandleader, orchestral director, violist. As the leader of one of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920s and early 1930s, Whiteman produced recordings that were immensely successful, press notices referred to him as the "King of Jazz"; some of his most popular recordings included "Whispering", "Valencia", "Three O'Clock In The Morning", "In A Little Spanish Town", "Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers", "Wang Wang Blues". Paul Whiteman led a large ensemble and explored many styles of music, such as blending symphonic music and jazz, as in his debut of Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. Whiteman recorded many jazz and pop standards during his career, including "Wang Wang Blues", "Mississippi Mud", "Rhapsody in Blue", "Wonderful One", "Hot Lips", "Mississippi Suite", "Grand Canyon Suite", "Trav'lin' Light", he co-wrote the 1925 jazz classic "Flamin' Mamie". His popularity faded in the swing music era of the mid-1930s, by the 1940s he was semi-retired from music.
He experienced a revival and had a comeback in the 1950s with his own network television series, Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue, which ran for three seasons. He hosted the 1954 ABC talent contest show On the Boardwalk with Paul Whiteman. Whiteman's place in the history of early jazz is somewhat controversial. Detractors suggest that his ornately orchestrated music was jazz in name only, lacking the genre's improvisational and emotional depth, co-opted the innovations of black musicians. Defenders note, he worked with black musicians. His bands included many of the era's most esteemed white musicians, his groups handled jazz admirably as part of a larger repertoire. Critic Scott Yanow declares that Whiteman's orchestra "did play good jazz... His superior dance band used some of the most technically skilled musicians of the era in a versatile show that included everything from pop tunes and waltzes to semi-classical works and jazz. Many of his recordings have been reissued numerous times and are more rewarding than his detractors would lead one to believe."In his autobiography, Duke Ellington declared, "Paul Whiteman was known as the King of Jazz, no one as yet has come near carrying that title with more certainty and dignity.
Whiteman was born in Colorado. He came from a musical family: his father, Wilburforce James Whiteman was the supervisor of music for the Denver Public Schools, a position he held for fifty years, and his mother Elfrida was a former opera singer. His father insisted that Paul learn an instrument, preferably the violin, but the young man chose the viola.. According to Chris Popa, Whiteman was Protestant and of Scottish, Irish and Dutch ancestry, although he is listed as Jewish in an interview with Michael Lasser. Whiteman's skill at the viola resulted in a place in the Denver Symphony Orchestra by 1907, joining the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 1914. In 1918, Whiteman conducted a 12-piece U. S. Navy band, the Mare Island Naval Training Camp Symphony Orchestra. After the war, he formed the Paul Whiteman Orchestra; that year he led a popular dance band in the city. In 1920 he moved with his band to New York City where they began recording for the Victor Talking Machine Company; the popularity of these records led to national fame.
In his first five recordings sessions for Victor, August 9 – October 28, 1920, he used the name "Paul Whiteman and His Ambassador Orchestra" because he had been playing at the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City. From November 3, 1920, he started using "Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra."Whiteman became the most popular band director of that decade. In a time when most dance bands consisted of six to ten men, Whiteman directed a more imposing group that reached of up to 35 musicians. By 1922, Whiteman controlled some 28 ensembles on the East Coast and was earning over a $1,000,000 a year. In 1927 the Whiteman orchestra backed Hoagy Carmichael singing and playing on a recording of "Washboard Blues". Whiteman signed with Columbia Records in May 1928, leaving the label in September 1930 when he refused a pay cut, he returned to RCA Victor between September 1931 and March 1937. In the 1920s the media referred to Whiteman as "The King of Jazz". Whiteman emphasized the way he approached the well-established style of jazz music, while organizing its composition and style in his own fashion.
While most jazz musicians and fans consider improvisation to be essential to the musical style, Whiteman thought the genre could be improved by orchestrating the best of it, with formal written arrangements. Eddie Condon criticized him for trying to "make a lady" out of jazz. Whiteman's recordings were popular critically and commercially, his style of jazz was the first jazz of any form that many Americans heard during the era. Whiteman wrote more than 3000 arrangements. For more than 30 years Whiteman, referred to as "Pops", sought and encouraged promising musicians, composers and entertainers. In 1924 he commissioned George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, premiered by his orchestra with the composer at the piano. Another familiar piece in Whiteman's repertoire was Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé. Whiteman hired many of the best jazz musicians for his band, including Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Steve Brown, Mike Pingitore, Gussie Mueller, Wilbur Hall, Jack Teagarden, Bunny Berigan.
He encouraged upcoming African American musical talents and planned to hire black musicians, but his mana
Pee Wee Russell
Charles Ellsworth "Pee Wee" Russell, was a jazz musician. Early in his career he played clarinet and saxophones, but he focused on clarinet. With a individualistic and spontaneous clarinet style that "defied classification", Russell began his career playing Dixieland jazz, but throughout his career incorporated elements of newer developments such as swing and free jazz. In the words of the poet Philip Larkin, "No one familiar with the characteristic excitement of his solos, their lurid, asthmatic voicelessness, notes leant on till they split, sudden passionate intensities, could deny the uniqueness of his contribution to jazz." Pee Wee Russell was born in Maplewood and grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma. As a child, he first studied violin, but "couldn't get along with it" piano, disliking the scales and chord exercises, drums – including all the associated special effects, his father sneaked young Ellsworth into a dance at the local Elks Club to a four- or five-piece band led by New Orleans jazz clarinetist Alcide "Yellow" Nunez.
Russell was amazed by Nunez's improvisations: " played the melody got hot and played jazz. That was something. How did he know where he was or where he was going?" Pee Wee now decided that his primary instrument would be the clarinet, the type of music he would play would be jazz. He approached the clarinettist in the pit band at the local theatre for lessons, bought an Albert-system instrument, his teacher was named Charlie Merrill, used to pop out for shots of corn whiskey during lessons. His family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1920, that September Russell was enrolled in the Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois, he remained enrolled there until October the following year, though he spent most of his time playing clarinet with various dance and jazz bands. He began touring professionally in 1922, travelled with tent shows and on river boats. Russell's recording debut was in 1924 with Herb Berger's Band in St. Louis he moved to Chicago, where he began playing with such notables as Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke.
From his earliest career, Russell's style was distinctive. The notes he played were somewhat unorthodox when compared to his contemporaries, he was sometimes accused of playing out of tune. In 1926 he joined Jean Goldkette's band, the following year he left for New York City to join Red Nichols. While with Nichols's band, Russell did frequent freelance recording studio work, on clarinet, soprano and tenor sax, bass clarinet, he worked with various bandleaders before beginning a series of residences at the famous jazz club "Nick's" in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, in 1937. He played with Bobby Hackett's big band, began playing with Eddie Condon, with whom he would continue to work, off and on, for much of the rest of his life – though he complained, "Those guys made a joke, of me, a clown, I let myself be treated that way because I was afraid. I didn't know where else to go, where to take refuge". From the 1940s onwards, Russell's health was poor, exacerbated by alcoholism – "I lived on brandy milkshakes and scrambled-egg sandwiches.
And on whiskey... I had to drink half a pint of whiskey in the morning before I could get out of bed" – which led to a major medical breakdown in 1951, he had periods. Some people considered that his style was different after his breakdown: Larkin characterized it as "a hollow feathery tone framing phrases of an Chinese introspection with a tendency to inconclusive garrulity that would have been unheard of in the days when Pee Wee could pack more into a middle eight than any other thirties pick-up player", he played with Art Hodes, Muggsy Spanier and bands under his own name in addition to Condon. In his last decade, Russell played at jazz festivals and international tours organized by George Wein, including an appearance with Thelonious Monk at the 1963 Newport Festival, a meeting which has a mixed reputation. Russell formed a quartet with valve trombone player Marshall Brown, included John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman tunes in his repertoire. Though labeled a Dixieland musician by virtue of the company he kept, he tended to reject any label.
Russell's unique and sometimes derided approach was praised as ahead of its time, cited by some as an early example of free jazz. At the time of their 1961 recording Jazz Reunion, Coleman Hawkins observed that'"For thirty years, I’ve been listening to him play those funny notes, he used to think they were wrong. He’s always been way out, but they didn't have a name for it then." George Wein's Newport All-Stars album includes a slow blues called "Pee Wee Russell's Unique Sound". By this time, encouraged by Mary, his wife, Russell had taken up painting abstract art as a hobby. Mary's death in the spring of 1967 had a severe effect on him, his last gig was with Wein at the inaugural ball for President Richard Nixon on January 21, 1969. Russell died in a hospital in Alexandria, less than three weeks later. In 1987, Pee Wee Russell was inducted into the Big Jazz Hall of Fame. 1952: Clarinet Strut 1952: The Individualism of Pee Wee Russell 1952: Pee Wee Russell All Stars 1953: Salute To Newport 1953: We're In the Money 1955: Jazz at Storyville, Vol. 1 and 2 with Ruby Braff 1958: Portrait of Pee Wee 1958: Over the Rainbow 1959: Pee Wee Russell Plays 195
Orie Frank Trumbauer was one of the leading jazz saxophonists of the 1920s and 1930s. His main instrument was the C-melody saxophone, a now-uncommon instrument between an alto and tenor saxophone in size and pitch, he played alto saxophone, bassoon and several other instruments. He was a composer of sophisticated sax melodies, one of the major small group jazz bandleaders of the 1920s and 1930s, his landmark recording of "Singin' the Blues" with Bix Beiderbecke and Eddie Lang in 1927, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1977. His major recordings included "Krazy Kat", "Red Hot", "Plantation Moods", "Trumbology", "Tailspin", "Singin' the Blues", "Wringin' an' Twistin'", "For No Reason at All in C" with Bix Beiderbecke and Eddie Lang, the first hit recording of "Georgia On My Mind" in 1931. "Tram" was described as one of the most influential and important jazz saxophonists of the 1920s and 1930s influencing the sound of Lester Young. He is remembered for his musical collaborations with Bix Beiderbecke, a relationship that produced some of the finest and most innovative jazz records of the late 1920s.
Trumbauer and Beiderbecke collaborated with jazz guitarist Eddie Lang. Born of part Cherokee ancestry in Carbondale, Trumbauer grew up in St Louis, the son of a musical mother who directed saxophone and theater orchestras, his first important professional engagements were with the Edgar Benson and Ray Miller bands, shortly followed by the Mound City Blue Blowers, a local group that became nationally famous through their recordings on Brunswick. Trumbauer recruited Bix Beiderbecke for Jean Goldkette's Victor Recording Orchestra, of which he became musical director. After leaving Goldkette, he and Beiderbecke worked in Adrian Rollini's short lived "New Yorkers" band joined Paul Whiteman in 1927. In 1927, Trumbauer signed a contract with OKeh and released a 78 recording of "Singin' the Blues", featuring Beiderbecke on cornet and Lang on guitar. "Singin' the Blues" was a jazz classic recorded and released by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1920. The Okeh recording became. Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra covered it in 1931 in the Trumbauer-Beiderbecke version.
Trumbauer played with Whiteman for eight of the following nine years. He had a separate contract with OKeh from 1927 through 1930, he recorded some of the most legendary small group jazz recordings of the era including Beiderbecke until the April 30, 1929, session, he recorded a handful of sides in 1931 for Brunswick. In 1932 he organized a band in Chicago and recorded for Columbia, but gave up the orchestra and returned to New York late in 1933. During 1934–1936, while again a member of Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, he made a series of recordings for Brunswick and Victor including Jack Teagarden. In 1936 he led The Three T's, featuring the Teagarden brothers. In 1940, Trumbauer, a skilled pilot, left music to join the Civil Aeronautics Authority. During World War II he was a test pilot with North American Aviation, trained military crews in the operation of the B-25 Mitchell bomber, he continued to work for the CAA after the war, played in the NBC Orchestra. After 1947, although he continued to play and record, he earned most of his income in aviation.
Trumbauer died of a sudden heart attack in Kansas City, where he had made his home for some years. He was 55 years old. Lester Young cited Trumbauer as his main influence as a saxophonist; when an interviewer asked Young about his influences, he stated that Frankie Trumbauer was his major influence: "So, it's Trumbauer?" Young replied: "That was my man."His life and career were documented in the biography Tram: The Frank Trumbauer Story by Philip R. Evans and Larry F. Kiner with William Trumbauer. "Singin' the Blues", released by Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke on cornet and Eddie Lang on guitar in 1927 as Okeh 40772-B, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1977. Frankie Trumbauer played the C-melody saxophone solos on the landmark jazz recording. In 2005, his 1927 recording of "Singin' the Blues" with Bix Beiderbecke and Eddie Lang was placed on the U. S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry. In 2008, his recordings of "Ostrich Walk" and "There'll Come a Time" with Bix Beiderbecke were included on the soundtrack to the Brad Pitt movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, nominated for 13 Academy Awards, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story from Tales of the Jazz Age.
Trumbauer's compositions include: "Trumbology" "Plantation Moods" with David Rose "Red Hot", "Wringin' an' Twistin'" with Fats Waller "Barbed Wire Blues" "Troubled" "I Like That" "Bass Drum Dan" "Break it Down" "I'm Glad" "Choo Choo" "Sun Spots" "Eclipse" "Meteor" "Krazy Kat" with Chauncey Morehouse "G Blues" "Tailspin" with Jimmy Dorsey "Crying All Day" "Loved One" "Apple Blossoms" with Joe Venuti, Lennie Hayton, Eddie Lang "Three Blind Mice" with Chauncey Morehouse "The Mayor of Alabam'" "Flight of a Haybag" "Cinderella's Wedding Day" "Runnin' Ragged" "For No Reason at All in C" with Bix Beiderbecke, released as a single 78 on Okeh and subsequently reissued on Columbia and Parlophone. "I'm Glad"/"Flock O' Blues," Sioux City Six featuring Bix Beiderbecke and Miff Mole, recorded October 11, 1924, New York, released as Gennett 5569 "Clarinet Marmalade"/"Singin' the Blues," recorded on February 4, 1927, in New York and released as Okeh 40772 "Riverboat Shuffle"/"Ostrich Walk," recorded May 9, 1927, New York, Okeh 40822 "I'm Coming, Virginia"/"Way Down Yonde