Personalities | Hot Lips Page | Thirties | Jazz & Blues
(Trumpet, vocals, 1908–54)
Oran Thaddeus Page surfaced in the Bennie Moten Band as a powerful blues player, often using a plunger mute. He was with the as-yet unknown Count Basie in 1936 and might soon have left Kansas City as one of that fabled band of brothers had he not been approached by Joe Glaser. Glaser was Louis Armstrong’s manager, and he saw in Page’s playing and singing another Armstrong; he signed him and took him to New York.
In 1938 Page fronted a band and recorded two sessions for Victor that showcased him as an Armstrong clone. Page’s solos were polished, regal and majestic, using many of the spectacular glissandos and dramatic breaks familiar on Armstrong’s Decca records. But stardom never came and the band soon broke up. He joined Artie Shaw for five months in 1941–42, reaching his biggest audiences and posting some of his best performances (‘There’ll Be Some Changes Made’). He freelanced in traditional and small swing groups in the 1940s.
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