Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happy Birthday to. . .

. . .jazzmen Wilbur Sweatman and Eubie Blake, born one year apart on this day in, respectively, 1882 and '83. Eubie famously lived to be exactly 100 years old. Two facts I recall about Eubie is that he was his mother's seventh born child, but all six previous "siblings" had died in childbirth. It was left to Eubie to compensate, and that he did! Also Blake made no secret of the fact that he was a near-lifelong drinker and smoker. And his diet consisted almost exclusively of 7-Up, meat and chocolate. Take that, Adele Davis. Put it in your pipe and smoke it.

Sweatman is, unquestionably far less famous than Blake, but he should be remembered, if for no other reason than being, arguably, the first jazz musician to have recorded. Way back in ought three. . .19, that is. Many other distinguished accomplishments, including a long and lively recording career lasting for nearly 35 years. Famous for playing three clarinets simultaneously (take that, Roland Kirk!). He died in '61. Here's a track from 1918, "Indianola." Not exactly the highest of fi, but I think you'll get the idea.

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