Louis Armstrong- Skeleton in the closet (1936)

From the American musical comedy movie from 1936, Pennies from Heaven directed by Norman Z. McLeod.

Teddy Buckner – Trumpet
Fletcher Galloway – Trumpet
Allen Durham – Trombone
Arcima Taylor – Reeds
Caughey Roberts – Clarinet, Alt saxophone
Bumps Myers – Tenor Saxophone
Ramon LaRue – Piano
Wesley Prince – Acoustic Double Bass
Lionel Hampton – Drums



Ethel Waters With Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (1932)

Ethel Waters (October 31, 1896 – September 1, 1977) was an African-American blues, jazz and gospel vocalist and actress. She frequently performed jazz, big band, and pop music, on the Broadway stage and in concerts, although she began her career in the 1920s singing blues. [source]

Johnny Hodges – Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone / Fred Guy – Banjo, Guitar / Harry Carney –  Baritone Saxophone / Wellman Braud – Bass / Otto Hardwick – Clarinet, Alto Saxophone / Barney Bigard – Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone / Sonny Greer – Drums / Duke Ellington – Piano / Juan Tizol – Trombone / Lawrence Brown – Trombone / Tricky Sam Nanton – Trombone / Arthur Whetsol – Trumpet / Cootie Williams – Trumpet / Freddie Jenkins – Trumpet / Ethel Waters – Vocals



Al Bowlly – Moon Love (1939)

Albert Allick “Al” Bowlly (7 January 1898 — 17 April 1941) was a popular Jazz guitarist, singer, and crooner in the United Kingdom and later in the United States of America during the 1930s, making more than 1,000 recordings between 1927 and 1941.The evening of his death on 17 April 1941, Bowlly and Messene had just given a performance at the Rex Cinema in High Wycombe. Both were offered the opportunity of an overnight stay in the town, but Bowlly opted to take the last train home to his flat in Jermyn Street, London instead. Bowlly’s decision proved to be fatal; he was killed by a Luftwaffe parachute mine which detonated outside his flat later that evening. Bowlly’s body appeared unmarked: although the massive explosion had not disfigured him, it had blown his bedroom door off its hinges and the impact against his head proved fatal. Bowlly was buried with other bombing victims in a mass grave at the City of Westminster Cemetery, Uxbridge Road, Hanwell, London, where his name is spelled Albert Alex Bowlly.


Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit (1939)

“Strange Fruit” is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. Written by the teacher Abel Meeropol as a poem, it exposed American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. Such lynchings had occurred chiefly in the South but also in other regions of the United States. Meeropol set it to music and with his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, performed it as a protest song in New York venues, including Madison Square Garden. The song has been covered by artists, as well as inspiring novels, other poems and other creative works. In 1978 Holiday’s version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. Abel Meeropol was a white, Jewish high school teacher from the Bronx and a member of the Communist Party. He sometimes published under the pen name Lewis Allan, after two sons who were stillborn. The lyrics are under copyright but have been republished in full in an academic journal, with permission. In the poem, Meeropol expressed his horror at lynchings. He had seen Lawrence Beitler’s photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. He published the poem under the title “Bitter Fruit” in 1937 in The New York Teacher, a union magazine. Though Meeropol had often asked others (notably Earl Robinson) to set his poems to music, he set “Strange Fruit” to music himself and the piece gained a certain success as a protest song in and around New York. Meeropol, his wife, and black vocalist Laura Duncan performed it at Madison Square Garden.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.


Django Reinhardt / Stéphane Grappelli / Eddie South – Improvisation On 1st Movement From Concerto In D Minor by JS Bach (1933)

Improvisation On 1st Movement From Concerto In D Minor by JS Bach is arranged by Django Reinhardt and recorded in Paris in 1933.

Gypsy jazz (also known as gypsy swing or hot club jazz) is a style of jazz music often said to have been started by guitarist Jean “Django” Reinhardt in the 1930s. Django was foremost among a group of Gypsy guitarists working in and around Paris in the 1930s through the 1950s, a group which also included the brothers Baro, Sarane, and Matelo Ferret and Reinhardt’s brother Joseph “Nin-Nin” Reinhardt.

Many of the musicians in this style worked in Paris in various popular  Musette ensembles. The Musette style waltz remains an important component in the Gypsy jazz repertoire. Reinhardt was noted for combining a dark, chromantic Gypsy flavor with the swing articulation of the period. This combination is critical to this style of jazz. In addition to this his approach continues to form the basis for contemporary Gypsy jazz guitar. Reinhardt’s most famous group, the Quintette du Hot Club de France, also brought fame to jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli. [source]

Django Reinhardt – Guitar
Eddie South – Violin
Stéphane Grappelli  – Violin



Gene Krupa – Blues Of Israel (1935)

Israel Crosby (January 19, 1919 – August 11, 1962) was an African-American jazz double-bassist born in Chicago, Illinois, best known as member of the Ahmad Jamal trio from 1957 to 1962. A close contemporary of Jimmy Blanton, Crosby is less considered as a pioneer, but his interactive playing in Jamal’s trio and that of George Shearing shows how easily and fluently he displayed a modern approach to jazz double bass. He is credited with taking the first recorded bass solo on his 1935 recording of ‘Blues for Israel’ with drummer Gene Krupa (Prestige PR 7644) when he was only 16. He died of a heart attack two months after joining the Shearing Quintet.


[via Thomas Morgan]