The greatest band you never heard of – but heard a lot of

The Missourians started out in the 1920s as Wilson Robinson’s Syncopators. Then it became known as Andrew Preer’s Cotton Club Orchestra when it played in that venue.

Then the band changed its name to the Missourians in 1927 and took up residency at the Savoy Ballroom in New York City from 1928 to 1929.

Cab Calloway took control of it in 1930.

“Prohibition Blues” – The Missourians (1930)

Recorded February 17, 1930, New York, NY


Here’s how the band rocked with Cab Calloway as the front man the year of the transition. Note: NOT speeded up. This is how they played it.

“Some of these Days – Cab Calloway and the Missourians (1930)

 


Seven years later…on film.

“Some of these Days – Cab Calloway and His Orchestra (1937)


And then this!

Dorothy Donegan and Gene Rogers on pianos with audio visual effects portrayed not common until decades later. (Sony debuted its JumboTron at Expo ’85 in Japan.)

Hungarian Rhapsody…Swing! – Cab Calloway and His Orchestra (1944)

Members of the band over the years

Trombones

Claude Jones, Lammar Wright, Keg Johnson, DePriest Wheeler, Tyree Glenn, and Quentin Jackson.

Trumpets

R. Q. Dickerson, Dizzy Gillespie, Mario Bauza, Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham, Reuben Reeves (1931), Shad Collins (mid-1940s), Paul Webster (mid-1940s), and Jonah Jones.

Tuba

Jimmy Smith

Saxophones

Thornton Blue, Hilton Jefferson, Ben Webster, Leon “Chu” Berry, Chauncey Haughton, Rudy Powell, Andrew Brown, Walter “Foots” Thomas, Ike Quebec, Arville Harris (1931) and Jerry Blake.

Piano

Earres Prince, Benny Payne, Dave Rivera (mid-1940s)

Guitars

Eddie Durham, Danny Barker

Bass

Milt Hinton

Drums

Leroy Maxey, Cozy Cole, J. C. Heard (mid-1940s)

– Ken McCarthy
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