Eugene "Jug" Ammons known as "The Boss", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. The son of boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons, Gene Ammons is remembered for his accessible music, steeped in soul and R&B. Born in Chicago, Ammons studied music with instructor Walter Dyett at DuSable High School. Ammons began to gain recognition while still at high school when in 1943, at the age of 18, he went on the road with trumpeter King Kolax's band. In 1944 he joined the band of Billy Eckstine, playing alongside Charlie Parker and Dexter Gordon. Notable performances from this period include "Blowin' the Blues Away," featuring a saxophone duel between Ammons and Gordon. After 1947, when Eckstine became a solo performer, Ammons led a group, including Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt, that performed at Chicago's Jumptown Club. In 1949 Ammons replaced Stan Getz as a member of Woody Herman's Second Herd, in 1950 formed a duet with Sonny Stitt; the 1950s were a prolific period for Ammons and produced some acclaimed recordings such as "The Happy Blues".
Musicians who played in his groups, apart from Stitt, included Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Mal Waldron, Art Farmer, Duke Jordan. His career was interrupted by two prison sentences for narcotics possession, the first from 1958 to 1960, the second from 1962 to 1969, he recorded as a leader for Mercury, Chess, Prestige and United. For the rest of his career, he was affiliated with Prestige. After his release from prison in 1969, having served a seven-year sentence at Joliet penitentiary, he signed the largest contract offered at that time by Prestige's Bob Weinstock. Ammons had the first of two records released by Leonard Chess on the newly-formed Chess Records label in 1950, titled "My Foolish Heart". Both records were released simultaneously. Ammons died in Chicago at the age of 49, from cancer. Ammons and Von Freeman were the founders of the Chicago school of tenor saxophone. Ammons's style of playing showed influences from Lester Young as well as Ben Webster; these artists had helped develop the sound of the tenor saxophone to higher levels of expressiveness.
Ammons, together with Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt, helped integrate their developments with the emerging "vernacular" of the bebop movement, the chromaticism and rhythmic variety of Charlie Parker is evident in his playing. While adept at the technical aspects of bebop, in particular its love of harmonic substitutions, Ammons stayed in touch with the commercial blues and R&B of his day. For example, in 1950 the saxophonist's recording of "My Foolish Heart" made Billboard Magazine's black pop charts; the soul jazz movement of the mid-1960s using the combination of tenor saxophone and Hammond B3 electric organ, counts him as a founder. With a thicker, warmer tone than Stitt or Gordon, Ammons could at will exploit a vast range of textures on the instrument, vocalizing it in ways that look forward to artists like Stanley Turrentine, Houston Person, Archie Shepp. Ammons showed little interest, however, in the modal jazz of John Coltrane, Joe Henderson or Wayne Shorter, emerging at the same time.
Some ballad performances in his oeuvre are testament to an exceptional sense of intonation and melodic symmetry, powerful lyrical expressiveness, mastery both of the blues and the bebop vernacular that can now be described as, in its own way, "classical". Early in his career Ammons played a Conn model 10M Bb tenor saxophone switching to a Selmer Mark VI, he is pictured playing a Brilhart Ebolin mouthpiece. King Pleasure recorded his vocalese take on Ammons' composition "Hittin' The Jug" under the title "Swan Blues". Santana and Les McCann have recorded Gene Ammons compositions. Ammons is considered a major influence on the style of popular jazz tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman; the Golden Saxophone of Gene Ammons - released as Red Top: The Savoy Sessions With Or Without - released as Light, And Moody All Star Sessions - with Art Farmer, Lou Donaldson, Sonny Stitt. In Chicago Up Tight! Boss Soul! Twisting the Jug - with Joe Newman, Jack McDuff Brother Jack Meets the Boss (Prestige, 1962
Regis Francis Xavier Philbin is an American media personality and singer, known for hosting talk and game shows since the 1960s. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame he served in the Navy, got his television start serving as a page for the Tonight Show in the 1950s. Philbin gained his first network TV exposure in 1967 as Joey Bishop's sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show. Sometimes called "the hardest working man in show business", Philbin holds the Guinness World Record for the most time spent in front of a television camera, his trademarks include his excited manner, his New York accent, his wit, his irreverent ad-libs. Philbin is most known as the host of the New York City-based nationally syndicated talk show Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee starting in 1988, which became Live! with Regis and Kelly starting in 2001, continued on with former football player Michael Strahan after Philbin's departure in 2011. Philbin debuted and hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Million Dollar Password, the first season of America's Got Talent.
Philbin was born on August 1931 in the Bronx, New York City. His father, Francis "Frank" Philbin, a U. S. Marine who served in the Pacific, was of Irish heritage, his mother, Filomena "Florence", was from an Italian immigrant family of Arbëreshë descent from Greci, Campania. They lived in the Van Nest section of the Bronx. Philbin had a Roman Catholic upbringing, he was named "Regis" because his father wanted him to attend the prestigious Regis High School. It was long believed that Philbin was an only child, but on the February 1, 2007 broadcast of Live with Regis and Kelly, Philbin announced that he did have a brother, Frank M. Philbin, who had died from non-Hodgkin lymphoma several days earlier. Philbin said his brother, 20 years younger than him, had asked not to be mentioned on television or in the press. Philbin attended Our Lady of Solace grammar school in the Bronx, graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx in 1949 before attending the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated in 1953 with a sociology degree.
He served in the United States Navy as a supply officer went through a few behind-the-scenes jobs in television and radio before moving into the broadcasting arena. In his earliest show business work, Philbin was a page at The Tonight Show in the 1950s, he wrote for Los Angeles-based talk show host Tom Duggan and nervously filled in one night when the hard-drinking Duggan didn't show up. He was an announcer on The Tonight Show in 1962. In 1957, Regis left his job as assistant news editor to Baxter Ward at KCOP, Los Angeles to make his fortune in New York, his replacement at KCOP was George Van Valkenburg. His first talk show was The Regis Philbin Show on KOGO-TV in San Diego. For financial reasons, he had no writing staff, so he began each show with what has become his hallmark, the "host chat" segment, where he engaged his audience in discussions about his life and the day's events. In 1964, Westinghouse Broadcasting picked up Philbin's talk show for national syndication in the late night time slot.
The show failed to attract many stations and Westinghouse replaced Philbin with Merv Griffin. Philbin gained his first network TV exposure in 1967 as Joey Bishop's sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show on television. In a Johnny Carson-Ed McMahon vein, Bishop would playfully tease Philbin and he would take the barbs in stride, but his feelings were hurt when he learned from the network grapevine that ABC executives were dissatisfied with his work and his thick accent, so during the opening of one 1968 program, he launched an unplanned diatribe about "not being wanted and letting down" the program and abruptly quit on air. A few nights assured by Bishop that all was well and the barbs were not personal, Philbin returned; as revealed in his book, How I Got This Way, this was all a ruse planned by Bishop and Regis to steal the spotlight and attract some of Johnny Carson's viewers. When The Joey Bishop Show was canceled, Bishop returned the favor and walked off the show on the air unannounced, leaving Philbin to carry the night on his own.
In 1964, Philbin took over the show that replaced The Steve Allen Show when Steve Allen left the show. The audience did not accept Philbin as a replacement for Allen's zany antics and the appearance lasted only a little over four months because of dismal ratings. Johnny Carson was too strong in the ratings for the same time slot. According to Philbin, Carson was his inspiration. From 1975 to 1981, he co-hosted A. M. Los Angeles, a local morning talk show on KABC-TV, first with Sarah Purcell with Cyndy Garvey. Philbin's presence brought the show from the bottom of the local ratings to No. 1. During the early 1970s, Philbin commuted each weekend to St. Louis, where he filmed Regis Philbin's Saturday Night in St. Louis on KMOX-TV. A 1978 book called The Great 1960s Quiz, authored by Dan Carlinsky, asked, "Who was Regis Philbin?" The answer was "Joey Bishop's sidekick on his late night show." Philbin's trivial national media presence would soon be revived. In 1981, Philbin and Mary Hart co-hosted a national morning variety series for NBC.
The show lasted 18 weeks. After Garvey left Los Angeles in 1982 and moved to New York City, Philbin rejoined her on The Morning Show, on WABC-TV. At the time, the 9 am time slot for WABC suffered from low Nielsen ratings because of competition from WNBC-TV's Donahue and WCBS-TV's game show block feat
Pennies from Heaven (1936 film)
Pennies From Heaven is a 1936 American musical comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod and starring Bing Crosby, Madge Evans, Edith Fellows. Based on the novel The Peacock Feather by Leslie Moore and a screenplay by Jo Swerling, the film is about a singer wrongly imprisoned who promises a condemned fellow inmate that he will help the family of his victim when he is released; the singer delays his dream of becoming a gondolier in Venice and becomes a street singer in order to help the young girl and her elderly grandfather. His life is further complicated when he meets a beautiful welfare worker who takes a dim view of the young girl's welfare and initiates proceedings to have her put in an orphanage. Pennies From Heaven remains most noteworthy for Crosby's introduction of the titular song, a Depression-era favorite, since recorded by numerous singers; the film features Louis Armstrong in a supporting role. In 1937, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song; this was Crosby’s first independent production jointly with Emanuel Cohen’s Major Pictures and he had a share in the profits.
The film was distributed by Columbia Pictures. In prison, Larry Poole, a self-described troubadour, is approached by an inmate named Hart, on his way to the electric chair. Hart asks Larry to deliver a letter to a family called Smith near New Jersey. After finding the family, which consists of a grandfather and a young girl named Patsy, Poole tells them that the letter holds a key, reveals that the condemned man had unintentionally killed Patsy's father and that he is giving the Smith family his old house and former hideout, the only thing he has to give as atonement. Susan Sprague represents the county welfare department and it is her job to see that Patsy is raised "properly", or the girl will go to an orphanage. A variety of misadventures befall Larry as he tries to help "Gramps" out with Patsy to save her from the orphanage, all while Susan and he are falling in love, paternally. To get cash for a restaurant license, Larry is injured. While he is in hospital Gramps comes to let him know that the county has taken Patsy away.
Larry believes Susan had Patsy placed in the orphanage. It is discovered that Susan had no part in it, but she loses her job defending Larry and his care of the child. Larry has the circus perform for the children so that he can'break Patsy out', when Patsy lets Larry know how Susan feels about him, their attempt to free Patsy fails. Afterwards, Larry finds out that Susan has gone to New York and he goes there to find her. While in New York, Susan is approached by two policemen looking for Larry, not to arrest him as she suspects, but to bring him back to the head of the County Welfare Department to help deal with Patsy, who has gone on a hunger strike; the policemen are watching Susan's apartment in the hopes. When he does, they make him leave with them, after he and Susan reveal their feelings for each other; when they return to the orphanage, the head of the welfare department begs Larry to help them with Patsy. Larry agrees to adopt Patsy and raise her with the help of Susan, who agrees to marry him and be a mother to Patsy.
Bing Crosby as Larry Poole Madge Evans as Susan Sprague Edith Fellows as Patsy Smith Louis Armstrong ¤ as Henry Donald Meek as Gramp Smith John Gallaudet as J. C. Hart William Stack as Clarence B. Carmichael Nana Bryant as Miss Howard Tom Dugan as Crowbar Miller George Chandler as Waiter Nydia Westman as Slavey¤ Although this was not the first time that a black performer was given prominent billing in a major Hollywood release, special billing was given to Armstrong at the insistence of Bing Crosby, who insisted on Armstrong's being hired for the movie. Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times commented, inter alia, "Conceding that Mr. Crosby is as good-natured as and that Miss Evans is so attractive a social worker that we are tempted to apply for relief and be investigated, the chief honors properly belong to little Miss Fellows. Hers is an exceptional performance for a youngster, skirting the perils of bathos in her tender scenes and playing her rebellious ones with comic impertinence. Mr. Meek as the grandfather, Nana Bryant as the harried superintendent of an orphanage and William Stack as a welfare commissioner are excellent in the supporting rôles.
In sum, “Pennies from Heaven” is one of Mr. Crosby’s best."Variety: "Pennies from Heaven may qualify as a fair grosser because of Crosby’s name, but it’s a weak picture with a story that has little movement and only a scattered few mild giggles. It’s spread pretty thin over 80 minutes, despite a good tuneful score which should be no handicap… Film won’t advance Crosby although Crosby may overcome its faults to some extent. Best individual impression is by Negro cornetist and hi-de-ho expert. Not as an eccentric musician, but as a Negro comedian he suggests possibilities, he toots his solo horn to a nice individual score, plus his band chores. Crosby has a couple of songs that will be reprised into fair popularity..." "Pennies from Heaven" played during the opening credits, as background music, sung by Bing Crosby "Skeleton in the Closet" by Louis Armstrong and His Band "So Do I" by Bing Crosby and danced by Edith Fellows.
Corrina, Corrina (film)
Corrina, Corrina is a 1994 American feature film set in 1959 about a widower who hires a housekeeper/nanny to care for his daughter. It was directed by Jessie Nelson, in her feature film directing debut, it was the final film. The film opens in late 1950s Los Angeles at a quiet pot-luck wake for Annie Singer, who has died and left husband Manny and daughter Molly. We meet father Harry and the other characters; as friends and family leave, it is apparent. Molly will no longer speak due to her mother's passing, there is a need for a housekeeper/nanny so that Manny can return to a shaky job writing commercial jingles for his best friend and boss, Sid. After one nanny washes out, Corrina Washington interviews for the position. Molly responds well to Manny hires her. A strong bond is formed between them. Corrina works out a system to "talk" with her without making her speak. Corrina sees the early struggles of life after Annie's passing, Molly begins to interact more with Corrina. Molly begins to spend time with Corrina's sister and family, who take her to church and welcome her into their home.
At an office party, Manny is introduced to a perky white divorcee with two sons. Manny is not ready to date. Corrina's sister Jevina encourages her to date a black man, but Corrina isn't interested. A frightened Molly returns to school, she runs into Corrina's arms at the end of the day. That night, Molly awakes from a nightmare and Manny run to her side but she is scared and angry. Corrina tells her she is allowed to be mad. Manny admits to her how much he misses her too; that night Jevina chastises Corrina for pretending to become a part of this family. A terrified Molly begs Corrina to let her stay home from school and she secretly agrees. Corrina spends more time with them, she and Manny discover they are more compatible with each other than anyone else, he confides in her about Annie and she talks about her long gone former husband. They share a love of music and she assists him on his new jingle. After a successful advertising campaign, he comes home with flowers for Molly as well as Corrina.
Their private celebration is interrupted by a visit from Jenny, which Corrina takes as a cue that she is not meant to stay. The next day, a flustered Corrina goes to work; as they say goodbye, they share a kiss on the cheek. Corrina and Manny begin to fall in face prejudice as an interracial couple. Molly asks her grandfather Harry to make sure; that night and Manny talk about their spouses and share a moonlight dance and kiss, witnessed by Molly. After weeks of not attending school, Corrina thinks it's time for Molly to go back, but she says she's not yet ready, Manny finds out that Corrina had been letting her skip school. In a fit of anger, he tells her that she is not Molly's mother and fires her, taking a heartbroken Molly home. Molly becomes withdrawn again, Manny learns that Harry has died. After the funeral, he goes to visit Corrina at her house to tell her of Harry's passing and to properly apologize. After an unsuccessful talk, she overhears his not-so quiet prayers to God to help him out.
She informs him that she quit and he assures her that she was replaced. They embrace and he begins to kiss her, she brings him inside to formally meet her family. The film ends with Molly singing "This Little Light of Mine", she gives in and joins her in the joyful song. Soon Manny and Corrina show up and Molly joyfully runs to Corrina as the credits roll. Whoopi Goldberg as Corrina Washington Ray Liotta as Manny Singer Tina Majorino as Molly Singer Jenifer Lewis as Jevina Washington Larry Miller as Sid Joan Cusack as Jonesy Wendy Crewson as Jenny Davis Don Ameche as Harry Singer Erica Yohn as Eva Singer Lynette Walden as Annie The film received mixed reviews from many film critics criticizing Nelson's failure to address the complications surrounding a romantic interracial relationship in the 1950s. Roger Ebert confessed that he enjoyed it but wrote, "...seems as shy as the characters about the charged issues of race and romance. After it was over I felt that, yes, it was warm and good-hearted, but there was more of a story there to be told."
Janet Maslin of The New York Times praised the actors and actresses for their work on it but echoed a similar criticism regarding Manny and Corrina's relationship, "The affection between them is evident, but not by the end of her story has Ms. Nelson decided what sort of affection it is; that may be true to life, but for an otherwise mainstream movie, it's trouble." It holds a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 18 reviews. The film was not a box office success, grossing $20,160,000 in the U. S. However, due to the film's consistent showing on the TBS channel, the film became a favorite and found a new audience. Corrina, Corrina on IMDb Corrina, Corrina at AllMovie Corrina, Corrina at the TCM Movie Database Corrina, Corrina at the American Film Institute Catalog Corrina, Corrina at Rotten Tomatoes
Dinah Washington was an American singer and pianist, cited as "the most popular black female recording artist of the'50s". A jazz vocalist, she performed and recorded in a wide variety of styles including blues, R&B, traditional pop music, gave herself the title of "Queen of the Blues", she was a 1986 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Ruth Lee Jones was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Alice Jones, moved to Chicago as a child, she became involved in gospel and played piano for the choir in St. Luke's Baptist Church while still in elementary school, she sang gospel music in church and played piano, directing her church choir in her teens and being a member of the Sallie Martin Gospel Singers. She sang lead with the first female gospel singers formed by Ms. Martin, co-founder of the Gospel Singers Convention, her involvement with the gospel choir occurred after she won an amateur contest at Chicago's Regal Theater where she sang "I Can't Face the Music".
After winning a talent contest at the age of 15, she began performing in clubs. By 1941–42 she was performing in such Chicago clubs as Dave's Rhumboogie and the Downbeat Room of the Sherman Hotel, she was playing at the Three Deuces, a jazz club, when a friend took her to hear Billie Holiday at the Garrick Stage Bar. Club owner Joe Sherman was so impressed with her singing of "I Understand", backed by the Cats and the Fiddle, who were appearing in the Garrick's upstairs room, that he hired her. During her year at the Garrick – she sang upstairs while Holiday performed in the downstairs room – she acquired the name by which she became known, she credited Joe Sherman with suggesting the change from Ruth Jones, made before Lionel Hampton came to hear Dinah at the Garrick. Hampton's visit brought an offer, Washington worked as his female band vocalist after she had sung with the band for its opening at the Chicago Regal Theatre, she made her recording debut for the Keynote label that December with "Evil Gal Blues", written by Leonard Feather and backed by Hampton and musicians from his band, including Joe Morris and Milt Buckner.
Both that record and its follow-up, "Salty Papa Blues", made the Billboard "Harlem Hit Parade" in 1944. In December 1945 she made a series of twelve recordings for Apollo Records, 10 of which were issued, featuring the "Lucky Thompson All Stars."She stayed with Hampton's band until 1946, after the Keynote label folded, signed for Mercury Records as a solo singer. Her first record for Mercury, a version of Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'", was another hit, starting a long string of success. Between 1948 and 1955, she had 27 R&B top ten hits, making her one of the most popular and successful singers of the period. Both "Am I Asking Too Much" and "Baby Get Lost" reached Number 1 on the R&B chart, her version of "I Wanna Be Loved" crossed over to reach Number 22 on the US pop chart, her hit recordings included blues, novelties, pop covers, a version of Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart". At the same time as her biggest popular success, she recorded sessions with many leading jazz musicians, including Clifford Brown and Clark Terry on the album Dinah Jams, recorded with Cannonball Adderley and Ben Webster.
In 1959, she had her first top ten pop hit, with a version of "What a Diff'rence a Day Made", which made Number 4 on the US pop chart. Her band at that time included arranger Belford Hendricks, with Kenny Burrell, Joe Zawinul, Panama Francis, she followed it up with a version of Irving Gordon's "Unforgettable", two successful duets in 1960 with Brook Benton, "Baby" and "A Rockin' Good Way". Her last big hit was "September in the Rain" in 1961, she notably performed two numbers in the dirty blues genre. The songs were "Long John Blues" about her dentist, with lyrics. Told me to open wide, he said he wouldn't hurt me, but he filled my whole inside." She recorded a song called "Big Long Sliding Thing" about a trombonist. In the 1950s and early 1960s before her death, Washington performed on the Las Vegas Strip. Tony Bennett said of Washington during a recording session with Amy Winehouse: "She was a good friend of mine, you know, she was great. She used to just come in with two suitcases in Vegas without being booked.
And she'd just put the suitcases down. And she'd say "I'm here, boss", and she'd stay as long. And all the kids in all the shows on the Strip would come that night. They'd hear that she's in town and it would be packed just for her performance". According to Richard S. Ginell at AllMusic: was at once one of the most beloved and controversial singers of the mid-20th century – beloved to her fans and fellow singers, her principal sin was to cultivate a distinctive vocal style, at home in all kinds of music, be it R&B, jazz, middle of the road pop – and she would have made a fine gospel or country singer had she the time. Hers was a gritty, high-pitched voice, marked by absolute clarity of diction and clipped, bluesy phrasing... Washington was well known for singing torch songs. In 1962, Dinah hired a male backing trio called the Allegros, consisting of Jimmy Thomas on drums, Earl Edwards on sax, Jimmy Sigler on organ. Edwards was replaced on sax by John Payne. A Variety writer
Lester Willis Young, nicknamed "Pres" or "Prez", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and occasional clarinetist. Coming to prominence while a member of Count Basie's orchestra, Young was one of the most influential players on his instrument. In contrast to many of his hard-driving peers, Young played with a relaxed, cool tone and used sophisticated harmonies, using what one critic called "a free-floating style and diving like a gull, banking with low, funky riffs that pleased dancers and listeners alike". Known for his hip, introverted style, he invented or popularized much of the hipster jargon which came to be associated with the music. Lester Young was born in Woodville, Mississippi, on August 27, 1909, his mother was Lizetta Young, his father was Willis Handy Young from Louisiana. Lester had two siblings – Leonidas Raymond, who became a drummer, Irma Cornelia, he grew up in a musical family. His father was a teacher and band leader, several other relatives performed professionally. While growing up in New Orleans, he worked from the age of five to make money for the family.
He sold shined shoes. By the time he was ten, he had learned the basics of trumpet and drums, joined the Young Family Band touring with carnivals and playing in regional cities in the Southwest In his teens he and his father clashed, he left home for long periods. Young left the family band in 1927 at the age of 18 because he refused to tour in the Southern United States, where Jim Crow laws were in effect and racial segregation was required in public facilities, he became a member of the Bostonians, led by Art Bronson, chose tenor saxophone over alto as his primary instrument. He made a habit of leaving, working going home, he left home permanently in 1932. In 1933 Young settled in Kansas City, where after playing in several bands, he rose to prominence with Count Basie, his playing in the Basie band was characterized by a relaxed style which contrasted with the more forceful approach of Coleman Hawkins, the dominant tenor sax player of the day. One of Young's key influences was Frank Trumbauer, who came to prominence in the 1920s with Paul Whiteman and played the C-melody saxophone.
Young left the Basie band to replace Hawkins in Fletcher Henderson's orchestra. He soon left Henderson to play in the Andy Kirk band before returning to Basie. While with Basie, Young made small-group recordings for Milt Gabler's Commodore Records, The Kansas City Sessions. Although they were recorded in New York, they are named after the group, the Kansas City Seven, comprised Buck Clayton, Dicky Wells, Young, Freddie Green, Rodney Richardson, Jo Jones. Young played clarinet as well as tenor in these sessions. Young is described as playing the clarinet in a "liquid, nervous style." As well as the Kansas City Sessions, his clarinet work from 1938–39 is documented on recordings with Basie, Billie Holiday, Basie small groups, the organist Glenn Hardman. Billie and Lester met at a Harlem jam session in the early 30s and worked together in the Count Basie band and in nightclubs on New York's 52nd St. At one point Lester moved into the apartment Billie shared with Sadie Fagan. Holiday always insisted their relationship was platonic.
She gave Lester the nickname "Prez" after President Franklin Roosevelt, the "greatest man around" in Billie's mind. Playing on her name, he would call her "Lady Day." Their famously empathetic classic recordings with Teddy Wilson date from this era. After Young's clarinet was stolen in 1939, he abandoned the instrument until about 1957; that year Norman Granz urged him to play it. Young left the Basie band in late 1940, he is rumored to have refused to play with the band on Friday, December 13 of that year for superstitious reasons spurring his dismissal, although Young and drummer Jo Jones would state that his departure had been in the works for months. He subsequently led a number of small groups that included his brother, drummer Lee Young, for the next couple of years. During this period Young accompanied the singer Billie Holiday in a couple of studio sessions and made a small set of recordings with Nat "King" Cole in June 1942, his studio recordings are sparse during the 1942 to 1943 period due to the recording ban by the American Federation of Musicians.
Small record labels not bound by union contracts continued to record and he recorded some sessions for Harry Lim's Keynote label in 1943. In December 1943 Young returned to the Basie fold for a 10-month stint, cut short by his being drafted into the army during World War II. Recordings made during this and subsequent periods suggest Young was beginning to make much greater use of a plastic reed, which tended to give his playing a somewhat heavier, breathier tone. While he never abandoned the cane reed, he used the plastic reed a significant share of the time from 1943 until the end of his life. Another cause for the thickening of his tone around this time was a change in saxophone mouthpiece from a metal Otto Link to an ebonite Brilhart. In August 1944 Young appeared alongside drummer Jo Jones, trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, fellow tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet in Gjon Mili's short film Jammin' the Blues. In September 1944 Young and Jo Jones were in Los Angeles with the Basie Band when