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Teddy Hill - JPop.com
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Teddy Hill

Teddy Hill

Teddy Hill


Teddy Hill (December 7, 1909 in Birmingham, Alabama – May 19, 1978 in Cleveland, Ohio) was a big band leader and the manager of Minton's Playhouse, a seminal jazz club in Harlem. He played a variety of instruments, including drums, clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophone. After moving to New York City, Hill had early gigs with the Whitman Sisters, George Howe and Luis Russell's orchestra in the 1920s, later forming his own band in 1934, which found steady work over the NBC radio network. Read more on Last.fm
Teddy Hill (December 7, 1909 in Birmingham, Alabama – May 19, 1978 in Cleveland, Ohio) was a big band leader and the manager of Minton's Playhouse, a seminal jazz club in Harlem. He played a variety of instruments, including drums, clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophone. After moving to New York City, Hill had early gigs with the Whitman Sisters, George Howe and Luis Russell's orchestra in the 1920s, later forming his own band in 1934, which found steady work over the NBC radio network. Over several years it featured such major young musicians as Roy Eldridge, Bill Coleman, Frankie Newton and Dizzy Gillespie. Hill's band played at the Savoy Ballroom regularly, and toured England and France in the summer of 1937.

After leaving the band business, Hill began to manage Minton's Playhouse in 1940, which became a hub for the bebop style, featuring such major musicians as Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke. Hill left Minton's in 1969, long after its musical significance had declined; he then became the manager of Baron's Lounge. In 1935, he recorded a four-tunes session for ARC (Banner, Conqueror, Melotone, Oriole, Perfect, Romeo). In 1936, he recorded two sessions (four tunes) for Vocalion. He signed with Bluebird in 1937 and recorded 18 tunes over three sessions. Teddy Hill married Louise Welton in the 1920s.

Their daughter Gwendolyn Louise Hill was born in 1930. Over time, Teddy and Louise separated and eventually divorced. Then, in the late 1930s, a singer named Bonnie Davis started working as a singer in New York, initially in Teddy Hill's band. She and Hill had a daughter together, Beatrice Hill (born October 29, 1945 in New York City), who later became the singer Melba Moore. Though he led a successful big band throughout the 1930s, Teddy Hill is best-remembered for managing Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, a nightclub where experimental jam sessions eventually led to the birth of the lingua franca of jazz: bebop.

Prior to that, his musical career began after moving to New York in 1927, where he joined George Howe's band (which become Luis Russell's within months), staying until 1931. He started his own band in 1934, attracting such sidemen as Roy Eldridge, Chu Berry, Dicky Wells, Bill Coleman, and Dizzy Gillespie (who recorded his first solos while with Hill). The band played at the Savoy Ballroom regularly and toured England and France in the summer of 1937, but by 1940, Hill had left the band business in order to manage Minton's. There, such players as Gillespie, Berry, Charlie Christian, Jimmy Blanton, Thelonious Monk, and Kenny Clarke jammed after their regular gigs until past the wee hours, working out advanced harmonic innovations.

(Indeed, one of the jams recorded by fan Jerry Newman was given the title "Up on Teddy's Hill.") Minton's importance waned after World War II, though, and when it discontinued its music policy in 1969, Hill became manager of the Baron Lounge. © Richard S. Ginell allmusic.com Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..

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