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Cab Calloway

One of the great entertainers, Cab Calloway was a household name by 1932, and never really declined in fame. A talented jazz singer and a superior scatter, Calloway's gyrations and showmanship on-stage at the Cotton Club sometimes overshadowed the quality of his always excellent bands. The younger brother of singer Blanche Calloway (who made some fine records before retiring in the mid-'30s), Cab grew up in Baltimore, attended law school briefly, and then quit to try to make it as a singer and a dancer. For a time, he headed the Alabamians, but the band was not strong enough to make it in New York. The Missourians, an excellent group that had previously recorded heated instrumentals but had fallen upon hard times, worked out much better. Calloway worked in the 1929 revue Hot Chocolates, started recording in 1930, and in 1931 hit it big with both "Minnie the Moocher" and his regular engagement at the Cotton Club. Calloway was soon (along with Bill Robinson, Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington) the best-known black entertainer of the era. He appeared in quite a few movies (including 1943's Stormy Weather), and "Minnie the Moocher" was followed by such recordings as "Kicking the Gong Around," "Reefer Man," "Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day," "You Gotta Hi-De-Ho," "The Hi-De-Ho Miracle Man," and even "Mister Paganini, Swing for Minnie." Among Calloway's sidemen through the years (who received among the highest salaries in the business) were Walter "Foots" Thomas, Bennie Payne, Doc Cheatham, Eddie Barefield, Shad Collins, Cozy Cole, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton, Mario Bauza, Chu Berry, Dizzy Gillespie, Jonah Jones, Tyree Glenn, Panama Francis, and Ike Quebec. His 1942 recording of "Blues in the Night" was a big hit.

With the end of the big band era, Calloway had to reluctantly break up his orchestra in 1948, although he continued to perform with his Cab Jivers. Since George Gershwin had originally modeled the character Sportin' Life in Porgy and Bess after Calloway, it was fitting that Cab got to play him in a 1950s version. Throughout the rest of his career, Calloway made special appearances for fans who never tired of hearing him sing "Minnie the Moocher." ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

It's cool to chill and blast some tunes my mom an dad were diggin! Damn. I'm. 61 So you know. Cab ain't ever gunna fade away!!!
Great voice and great ENTERTAINER! I don't think he gets nearly the credit he deserves for his influence on modern music and performance. If you watch video of him, you're as enthralled as audiences 80 years ago must have been.
:) timeless.
Cab is one of the best
Only Cab can Scat like That! HEY NOW!
I saw cab late in his life at the Montreal jazz festival he was out in the place des arts before his show it was my closest brush with greatness
Betty Boop!
lastgasp61
No lyrics for Are you hep to the jive?
Years ago, my Mom and I were watching an old movie on TV when Cab Calloway came on all dressed in white and performed. My Mom told me how she had seen him live back in the '30's or '40's. As an adult, years after my mother died, I sat with my husband and friends at the Long Beach Jazz Festival and out on the stage came Cab Calloway, all dressed in white, and he belted out numbers with as strong a voice as I remember from the movie. What a remarkable career! Wish my Mom could have been with me.
hilaire_myse l f . c o m
Call me A CAB!!
lastgasp61
Look 9in the fendel Mendel, Have a bagel Fagel INDEED
Time to go see Red Tails and revisit hard times for even famous African Americans. Then, look at today's election coverage and see how far, if at all, we have come.
yeah thanks to government regulation in the war era, the fabric rationing put a halt to zoot suits
erica_trejo1 9
i love cab calloway!!!
The bio forgot his raising the orphaned Jake and Elwood Blues,,,,,
One of the TRUE greats. Love this guy! We just dont see talent and performances of that same caliber anymore.
Don't forget his appearance in the Blues Brothers movie
jblank4
Total badass!
Cab is the shizznit
bdmiller10
Amazing... another time... some serious artistry and collaboratio n . . . We're talking SKILLS here...
he is freakin beastly!!!!! <3
beans and cornbread had a fight
the best entertainer of the 30s and the 40s!!!!!!!!! !
♥♥♥
dog_broth
Just wish I could go back in time and attend one of his concerts. What an experience that must have been!
HI-DE-HO Mother F*&k$rs!
martin.barri e
Cab!! say no more
soundmanvide o
forget the suit, the Blues Brothers was cool, yes...but the mans TALENT? awesome, amazing, remarkable.. . . we are but mere mortals to his abilities... .
I can't believe they forgot to mention his appearance in The Blues Brothers...
I have my zoot suit!!!!!
Zesty sent me an E-mail address to order a zoot suit shander1, thanks Zesty!!!!
shandler1
Zoot suits pretty much have to be custom ordered, nowdays.
I'm serious...wh e r e do I get a zoot suit??????
airbagsml
I dig this wild stuff man!
where do I get a zoot suit?
Solid!!!
"I Love To Singa" with Cab Calloway and Al Jolson is a thing you've got to hear, along with "Cabin In The Cotton" (without Jolson).
How about Sesame Street scat lessons?
I love this Jive-Turkey!
i love it
IT DON'T GET NO BETTER THAN THIS!!!

MAYBE " FATS "
stevenlaib
One should not overlook his role in the Blues Brothers Movie.

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