lunes, 15 de agosto de 2011

Cab Calloway

Cabell "Cab" Calloway III (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) was an American jazz singer and bandleader.
Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States' most popular African American big bands from the start of the 1930s through the late 1940s. Calloway's band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon "Chu" Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. Calloway continued to perform until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.
Cab Calloway was born in a middle-class family in Rochester, New York, on Christmas Day in 1907 and lived there until 1918, on Sycamore Street. He was later raised in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, Cabell Calloway II, was a lawyer and his mother, Martha Eulalia Reed, was a teacher and church organist. When Cab was young, he enjoyed singing in church. His parents recognized their son's musical talent and he began private voice lessons in 1922. He continued to study music and voice throughout his formal schooling. Despite his parents' and vocal teachers' disapproval of jazz, Calloway began frequenting and eventually performing in many of Baltimore's jazz clubs, where he was mentored by drummer Chick Webb and pianist Johnny Jones.
After graduating from Frederick Douglass High School Calloway joined his older sister, Blanche, in a touring production of the popular black musical revue Plantation Days. (Blanche Calloway herself would become an accomplished bandleader before her brother, and he would often credit her as his inspiration for entering show business.) Calloway attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, but left in 1930 without graduating.
When the tour ended in Chicago in the fall, Calloway decided to remain in Chicago with his sister, who had an established career as a jazz singer in that city. His parents had hopes of their son becoming a lawyer like his father, so Calloway enrolled in Crane College. His main interest, however, was in singing and entertaining, and he spent most of his nights at the Dreamland Ballroom, the Sunset Cafe, and the Club Berlin, performing as a drummer, singer and emcee.

The Cotton Club was the premier jazz venue in the country, and Calloway and his orchestra (he had taken over a brilliant but failing band called "The Missourians" in 1930) were hired as a replacement for the Duke Ellington Orchestra while they were touring. Calloway quickly proved so popular that his band became the "co-house" band with Ellington's, and his group began touring nationwide when not playing the Cotton Club. Their popularity was greatly enhanced by the twice-weekly live national radio broadcasts on NBC at the Cotton Club. Calloway also appeared on Walter Winchell's radio program and with Bing Crosby in his show at New York's Paramount Theatre. As a result of these appearances, Calloway, together with Ellington, broke the major broadcast network color barrier.
Like other bands fronted by a singing bandleader, Calloway initially gave ample soloist space to its lead members and, through the varied arrangements of Walter 'Foots' Thomas, provided much more in the way of musical interest. Many of his records were "vocal specialities" with Calloway's vocal taking up the majority of the record.
In 1931 he recorded his most famous song, "Minnie the Moocher". That song, along with "St. James Infirmary Blues" and "The Old Man Of The Mountain," were performed for the Betty Boop animated shorts Minnie the Moocher, Snow White and The Old Man of the Mountain, respectively. Through rotoscoping, Calloway not only gave his voice to these cartoons, but his dance steps as well. He took advantage of this and timed his concerts in some communities with the release of the films in order to make the most of the attention. As a result of the success of "Minnie the Moocher," he became identified with its chorus, gaining the nickname "The Hi De Ho Man". He also performed in a series of short films for Paramount in the 1930s. (Calloway and Ellington were featured on film more than any other jazz orchestras of the era.) In these films, Calloway can be seen performing a gliding backstep dance move, the precursor to Michael Jackson's "moonwalk"—Calloway said fifty years later, "it was called The Buzz back then." The 1933 film, International House featured Calloway performing his classic song, "Reefer Man," a tune about a man who favors marijuana cigarettes.

Calloway made his "first proper Hollywood movie appearance" opposite Al Jolson in The Singing Kid in 1936. He sang a number of duets with Jolson, and the film included Calloway's band and cast of twenty-two Cotton Club dancers from New York. According to music historian Arthur Knight, the film aimed in part "to both erase and celebrate boundaries and differences, including most emphatically the color line." He also notes that "when Calloway begins singing in his characteristic style – in which the words are tools for exploring rhythm and stretching melody – it becomes clear that American culture is changing around Jolson and with (and through) Calloway. . .":watch
Calloway's was one of the most popular American jazz bands of the 1930s, recording prolifically for Brunswick and the ARC dime store labels (Banner, Cameo, Conqueror, Perfect, Melotone, Banner, Oriole, etc.) from 1930–1932, when he signed with Victor for a year. He was back on Brunswick in late 1934 through 1936, when he signed with manager Irving Mills's short-lived Variety in 1937, and stayed with Mills when the label collapsed and the sessions were continued on Vocalion through 1939, and then OKeh through 1942. After the recording ban due to the 1942-44 musicians' strike ended, he continued to record prolifically.
Calloway's vocal style is a blend of hot scat singing and improvisation coupled with a very traditional vaudeville-like singing style. Many of his ballads are devoid of tone bending jazz styling.
In 1941 Calloway fired Dizzy Gillespie from his orchestra after an onstage fracas erupted when Calloway was hit with spitballs. He wrongly accused Gillespie, who stabbed Calloway in the leg with a small knife.
In 1943 Calloway appeared in the high-profile 20th Century Fox musical film, Stormy Weather.
In 1944 The New Cab Calloway's Hepsters Dictionary: Language of Jive was published, an update of an earlier book in which Calloway set about translating jive for fans who might not know, for example, that "kicking the gong around" was a reference to smoking opium.
In the 1950s Calloway moved his family from Long Island, New York to Greenburgh, New York, to raise the three youngest of his five daughters.
In his later career Calloway appeared in a number of films and stage productions that utilized both his acting and singing talents. In 1952 he played the prominent role of "Sportin' Life" in a production of the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess with William Warfield and Leontyne Price as the title characters. Another notable role was "Yeller" in The Cincinnati Kid (1965), with Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret and Edward G. Robinson.
One of Cab Calloway's zoot suits on display in Baltimore's City Hall, October 2007
Calloway appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on March 19, 1967 with Chris Calloway. In 1967, Calloway co-starred opposite Pearl Bailey as Horace Vandergelder in an all-black cast change of Hello, Dolly! on Broadway during its original run. It revived flagging business for the show and RCA released a new cast recording, rare for the time. In 1973–1974, Calloway was featured in an unsuccessful Broadway revival of The Pajama Game alongside Hal Linden and Barbara McNair.

1976 saw the release of his autobiography, Of Minnie The Moocher And Me (Crowell). It included his complete Hepsters Dictionary as an appendix.
Calloway attracted renewed interest in 1980 when he appeared as a supporting character in the film The Blues Brothers, performing "Minnie the Moocher", and again when he sang "The Jumpin' Jive" with the Two-Headed Monster on Sesame Street. This was also the year the cult movie Forbidden Zone was released, which included rearrangements of, and homages to, Calloway songs written by Danny Elfman, a Calloway fan.
Calloway helped establish the Cab Calloway Museum at Coppin State College (Baltimore, Maryland) in the 1980s, and Bill Cosby helped establish a scholarship in Calloway's name at the New School for Social Research New York City. In 1994, a creative and performing arts school, the Cab Calloway School of the Arts, was dedicated in his name in Wilmington, Delaware.
In 1986, Calloway appeared at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s WrestleMania 2 as a guest judge for a boxing match between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. T that took place at the Nassau Coliseum. Also in 1986, he headlined to great success a gala ball for 4,000 celebrating the grand opening of one of the top hotels in the US at the time, the Dallas-based Rosewood Hotel Co.'s Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas, Texas. In 1990, he was the focus of Janet Jackson's 1930s-themed music video "Alright", appearing as himself at the end. In the United Kingdom, he also appeared in several commercials for the Hula Hoops snack, both as himself and as a voice for a cartoon (in one of these commercials he sang his hit "Minnie The Moocher"). He also made an appearance at the Apollo Theatre.
In May 1994, Calloway suffered a stroke. He died six months later on November 18, 1994. His body was cremated and his ashes were given to his family. Upon the death of his wife Zulme "Nuffie" Calloway on October 13, 2008, his ashes were interred next to her at Ferncliffe Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.

Cab Calloway (25 de diciembre de 1907–18 de noviembre de 1994) fue un famoso cantante y músico de jazz estadounidense. Calloway fue un importante músico de scat y su banda fue una de las orquestas de jazz afroamericanas más populares de Estados Unidos entre los años 30 y 40. La orquesta de Calloway tenía a músicos como los trompetistas Dizzy Gillespie y Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxofonistas Ben Webster y Leon "Chu" Berry y el bajista Milt Hinton. Calloway siguió haciendo música hasta su muerte en 1994 a la edad de 86 años.
Cab Calloway nació bajo el nombre Cabell Calloway III en una familia de clase media en Rochester, Nueva York, y fue criado principalmente en Baltimore, Maryland. Su padre, Cabell Calloway II, era abogado, y su madre Martha Eulalia Reed era profesora y pianista de iglesia. Los padres reconocieron el talento musical de su hijo, y recibió clases privadas de canto en 1922. Continuó estudiando música y canto a lo largo de su vida escolar. Aunque sus padres y profesores de canto no aprobaban el jazz, Calloway comenzó a frecuentar y finalmente a interpretar en varios clubes de jazz en Baltimore, donde sus mentores fueron el batería Chick Webb y el pianista Johnny Jones.
Tras graduarse de la educación secundaria Cab se unió a su hermana mayor, Blanche, en la realización de un tour de la revista de música afroamericana Plantation Days (Blanche Calloway se transformaría en líder de banda luego que su hermano lo hiciera, y Cab la acreditaría a ella como la inspiración a entrar al negocio del espectáculo).

Cuando el tour finalizó en Chicago, Cab decidió permanecer en Chicago junto a su hermana, quien tenía ya una carrera como cantante de jazz en esa ciudad. Sus padres esperaban que Cab se convirtiera en abogado como su padre, por lo que Calloway estudió en Crane College.
Su mayor interés, sin embargo, era cantar y trabajar en el espectáculo, por lo que pasó varias noches en el Dreamland Cafe y Sunset Cafe, donde participó como baterista, cantante y MC.
Llegó a la zona una gira de jazz, y la orquesta de Cab Calloway fue contratada para reemplazar a la de Duke Ellington mientras estuvieran en la gira. Calloway rápidamente adquirió popularidad y la banda se volvió en una de las principales de la gira junto a la de Ellington, Cab y su grupo tocaron a lo largo del país mientras no actuaban en el Cotton Club. Su popularidad creció con las transmisiones radiales de la NBC en el famoso cabaret Cotton Club. Calloway además apareció en el programa de radio de Walter Winchelly en el show de Bing Crosby en el Paramount Theatre. Como resultado de estas apariciones, Calloway, junto a Ellington, rompieron la barrera racial existente en el espectáculo.
En 1931, grabó una de sus canciones más famosas, "Minnie the Moocher". Esa canción, "St. James Infirmary Blues" y "The Old Man Of The Mountain" fueron interpretadas en los cortometrajes animados de Betty Boop Minnie the Moocher, Snow White y The Old Man of the Mountain, respectivamente. Gracias a la magia del thaumatropio, Cab no solo aportó con su voz para estos dibujos animados, sino que también sus pasos de baile. Cab se aprovechó de esto haciendo coincidir la fecha de sus conciertos con los estrenos de estos cortometrajes para ganar mayor atención. Debido al éxito de "Minnie the Moocher" fue identificado por su coro, ganando el apodo "The Hi De Ho Man." En 1943 apareció en la película musical de 20th Century Fox, Stormy Weather.
En 1941 Cab Calloway echó a Dizzy Gillespie de su orquesta luego que reaccionara violentamente cuando Calloway fue escupido mientras estaba en el escenario. Acusó erróneamente a Gillespie, quien amenazó a Calloway con un cuchillo.
En 1944, fue publicado el The New Cab Calloway's Hepsters Dictionary: Language of Jive, nueva versión de un libro en el cual Cab tradujo para sus fanáticos algunas frases que probablemente no conocían, por ejemplo, "dar puntapiés al gong" ("kicking the gong around") era una referencia a fumar opio.
En los años 50, Calloway trasladó a su familia de Long Island, NY, a Greenburgh, NY para criar a tres de sus cinco hijas.

Calloway se volvió muy popular durante este tiempo, apareciendo en varias películas donde requerían de su voz y pasos de baile. En 1952, interpretó a "Spotin' Life" en una producción de la ópera de George Gershwin Porgy and Bess con William Warfield y Leontyne Price como artistas principales. Otro papel notable fue "Yeller" en The Cincinnati Kid (1965), con Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret y Edward G. Robinson.
En 1967 Calloway protagonizó mediante el personaje Horace Vandergelder una nueva versión del musical Hello, Dolly! (aun cuando todavía existía el original) junto a Pearl Bailey. El éxito permitió una versión grabada por RCA. Entre 1973 y 1974 participó en The Pajama Game de Broadway junto a Hal Linden y Barbara McNair.
En 1976 fue lanzada su autobiografía, Of Minnie The Moocher And Me (Crowell). Que incluía su diccionario completo como apéndice.
Calloway llamó nuevamente la atención en 1980 cuando apareció en la película The Blues Brothers cantando "Minnie The Moocher", y nuevamente cuando cantó "The Jumpin' Jive" con el monstruo de dos cabezas en Sesame Street.
Calloway ayudó a crear el Museo Cab Calloway en el Coppin State College (Baltimore, Maryland) en los años 80 y Bill Cosby ayudó a crear una beca bajo el nombre de Calloway en el New School of Social Research New York City. En 1994, una escuela de arte llamada Cab Calloway School of the Arts fue dedicada en su nombre en Wilmington, Delaware.
En 1986, Calloway apareció en Wrestlemania 2 del World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) como árbitro invitado para una pelea de box entre Rowdy Roddy Piper y Mr. T que tuvo lugar en el Nassau Coliseum y en 1990 hizo un cameo en el video musical de Janet Jackson "Alright". En el Reino Unido apareció en varios anuncios del producto Hula Hoops, como él mismo y la voz de un personaje animado (en uno de estos comerciales cantó "Minnie The Moocher").
El 18 de noviembre de 1994, Calloway murió luego de sufrir un accidente cerebrovascular seis meses antes.
En 1998, The Cab Calloway Orchestra (dirigida por el nieto de Cab, C. Calloway Brooks) fue formada para honrar el legado de Cab Calloway en el ámbito nacional e internacional.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario