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Frank Trumbauer 

Major Jazz bandleader of 1920s and 1930s. 

Also known as "Tram". 

Recorded Singin' the Blues. 

Became Musical Director of Jean Goldkette's Victor Recording Orchestra. 

He and Bix worked briefly in Adrian Rollini's band.

Joined Paul WHiteman in 1927. Played for him for 8 years. 

He recorded some great stuff between 1927 and 1930. 

Recorded for Brunswick in 1931, organized a band in Chicago that he abandoned in 1932. 

Between 1934 and 36, he was again a member of Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, ad made a series of recordings for Brunswick and Victor Records. Often including Jack Teagarden. 

Singin' the Blues

Recorded in 1927. 

Originally recorded by Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1920. 


Personal background

He was not what one finds in Jazz. Married at 20, didn't drink, etc. (446) background

Born on May 30, 1901 in Carbondale, Illinois (447) 

Changed his name to "Trombar" page 468

How he was unique/his style

Page 460 didn't enjoy jam sessions. He liked to prepare in blah blalh way

Rudy Wiedoeft introduced the saxophone to America, but TRumbaeur made the originally considered weak C-melody sax into something profound (447)

Trumbauer provided a unique voice to Jazz because of the above ^  (he used an unusual interment in an unusual way). 

He played the C-melody sax in the only way it could be played and anyone else who tried to play it would have to end up sounding like him, so nobody did and that resuled in him being able to dominate the instrument. 

THere was a split in his musical persona. He seemed almost random at times. It made his music intriguing though. At the same time he had some grace with his songs. (449)

He sort of acts above the music? 450-451

When playing with Bix, Tram seems to try to seek contrast. Be opposite. (451) 

He developed a manner of playing between Singin the blues and 1929. The manner is more important than what he played (451) 

The only other person who played the C-Melody sax with any distinction still didn't play like Trumbauer, he couldn't handle being between alto and tenor (452). 

Page 460 Young quote about how Trumbaur played (very useful) 

Mid 464 is about how he improvises and how it makes him different and maybe even ahead of his time (really good) 

Bottom of 469, a quite by Trumbauer "has tone, style, and beauty in prashing, it will live" 

His influence

"I never miss sunshine" recorded June 14 1923 had an enormous effect on sax players everywhere (page 448)

Significance of Trumbaur in Jazz History is on page 450 

Singing the blues permanently changed the way musicians whatever their race, thought about playing jazz solos. (451) 

Page 460 How a guy views Tram's influence on another musician (also useful

Page 461 Someone's opinion/admiration of Tram 

Bottom of 462 is how great he was in the 1920,s he was a miracle

His cool, intellectual style of playing was a major influence on Lester Young, and something of his style can be found in the Cool Jazz movement of the 1950s and 1960s. -


C-melody saxophone was easier to use. Could read music over a pianists' shoulder. .

Weidoeft had an affect on Tram? (450)

Page 459 on what makes a piece unique 

Mid 465 is about a guy who thinks tram sucks, and the author provides a counter 

Singing the blues

"Singin' the blues" is mentioned on 450 (look at singin' the blues in the index 848 oss) 

Singing the blues permanently changed the way musicians whatever their race, thought about playing jazz solos. (451) 

Everybody knew Singin the blues (451) 

For the first time, people took a song (singing the blues) and emulated the entire thing in their style. (451) 

Page 417-419. A lot of info on singing the blues


Page 70, impact of sining the blues

What is his style? 

He often exhibits a sense of device: phrases, "licks," clever in conception but unrelated to any emotional sense of song or moment, seem to have been fitted together for maximum effect. At bright tempos, he reels off strings of unsyncopated eight notes, which often emerge sounding like method-book exercises. Yet running parallel is another, at times contradictory, track: an ability to plasticize and smooth out a melodic line, lending it grace and coherence with long held notes, gentle arcs of phrase, and a logic of development rare in hot music of the early '20s. Page 449