Monday, March 15, 2010


Jazz cornetist James Dugald McPartland, best known s Jimmy McPartland, was born on March 15, 1907, in Chicago, Illinois, brother of Dick McPartland (guitarist). He started playing violin at age 5, then took up the cornet at age 15. He was a member of the group of young musicians known as the Austin High School Gang. This group originally included Jimmy and his brother Dick, Frank Teschemacher and Bud Freeman. They were later joined by Eddie Condon, Dave Tough, Jim Lanigan and Joe Sullivan.

At the age of 17, on Bix Beiderbecke's recommendation, Jimmy was invited to replace Bix Beiderbecke in the Wolverines. He made his first recording while he was with the Wolverines in 1925. He remained with this group for just over a year, then worked with the bandleader Art Kassel and others before joining Ben Pollack in 1927. Later that year, with members of the Austin High School Gang (using the name McKenzie and Condon's Chicagoans), he made recordings that introduced and defined the exciting, energetic style that was later called "Chicago Jazz". With Pollack he achieved considerable fame; his colleagues included Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Harry Reser, Tony Parenti, Eddie Condon, and Bud Freeman.

After leaving Pollack in 1929 he worked in and around New York. McPartland worked with Russ Columbo during 1931 and 1932, and with Horace Heidt, Smith Ballew, Harry Reser during 1933-1935. He led his own group from 1936 to 1941 with sidemen such as Rosy McHargue, clarinet; Joe Harris, trombone; Boyce Brown, alto; and George Wettling, drums. His last major job before he entered the Army was with Jack Teagarden.

During military service (1942-1945) he was a combat soldier in the Normandy invasion. He was discharged in 1945 and stayed on to play with the USO. In Europe he met and married the English pianist Marian Turner. He performed at the
International Jazz Festival in Paris in 1949.

After returning to the USA he led various groups and performed extensively with Marian McPartland. In 1953 he began playing regularly in New York. During this period he performed frequently at Nick's. During 1954, in addition to spending several months leading his own group at the Metropole in New York, he visited England and made guest appearances on BBC. He joined Tony Parenti at Jimmy Ryan's Club during 1965-1966. He remained active into the 1980s, playing with his own ensembles and others. Jimmy and his wife Marian performed together at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1978.

His wife, pianist Marian McPartland writes: "The music Jimmy and I made together is very special to me. It was always fun, from our first gig together in Chicago in the forties at the Rose Bowl (a bar next to a bowling alley!); and the dates at the Royal Box and the Monticello Room, were memorable, too. There have been many club dates and concerts that we've played since then, and Jimmy kept right on working some gigs with me until 1990. The last concert that he and I played was at the University of Chicago. It was planned as a tribute to him, and he loved every moment of it, accepting the applause with grace and good humor."

Jimmy played the cornet given to him by Bix Beiderbecke throughout his career.

Jimmy died in Port Washington, New York in 1991, three days before his 84th birthday.

Jimmy plays "I Found a New Baby"

Selected CDs

"Jimmy McPartland Recordings After Hours", (Grammy Award)

"Chicago and All That Jazz", Eddie Condon, Bud Freeman, Bob Haggart, Gene Krupa, Jimmy McPartland, Pee Wee Russell, Joe Sullivan, Jack Teagarden with Lil Armstrong and Blossom Seely (Verve V-8441).

"Chicago Jazz Album", Eddie Condon and his Chicagoans, Jimmy McPartland and his orchestra, and George Wettling's Chicago Rhythm Kings (Decca DL 8029).

"Chicago Style Jazz", (Columbia, with Eddie Condon) Dixieland!, Jimmy McPartland (Harmony HS11264) 1957. Dixieland, vol. II, Jimmy McPartland (Palace M-751).

"Dixieland at Carnegie Hall", Jimmy McPartland, Wild Bill Davison, Pee Wee Russell, Vic Dickenson, George Wettling (Forum SF9011) 1958.

"Down the Middle", Jimmy McPartland and his orchestra, with Marian McPartland (Concert Hall Society CHJ1227).

"Gems of Jazz and Chicago Jazz", Four tracks (Decca) Great Jazz Trumpets, Bix Beiderbecke, Bunny Berigan, and Jimmy McPartland (Joker SM 3122) 1924-1937.

"Jimmy McPartland - One Night Stand", features Jimmy live at the Atlanta Jazz Society. (Jazzology Records J-137, 3008 Wadsworth Mill Place, Atlanta, GA 30032)

"Jazz Meeting in Holland", Bud Freeman and Jimmy McPartland meet Ted Easton's Jazzband. (Circle Records CLP-10, 3008 Wadsworth Mill Place, Atlanta, GA)

"Meet Me In Chicago", Jimmy McPartland and Art Hodes (Mercury SR 60143).

"On Stage" , Jimmy McPartland and his all stars (Jazzology J-16).

Reference - Jimmy's webpage

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