Billy Cotton and His Band-Doing The Uptown Lowdown
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Billy Cotton and His Band - Doing The Uptown Lowdown

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Billy Cotton and His Band Doing The Uptown Lowdown


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Isham Jones (Jan.31,1894 - Oct.19,1956) was a United States bandleader, violinist, bassist and songwriter.

Jones was born in Coalton, Ohio, and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, where he started his first band. In 1915 he moved to Chicago, Illinois, which remained his base through 1924. After that he toured England before reestablishing himself in New York City.

The Isham Jones band made a series of popular gramophone records for Brunswick throughout the 1920s. Isham Jones led one of the most popular dance bands in the 1920s and 1930s. Noted musicians who played in Jones' band included Louis Panico, Benny Goodman (although he did not make any records during the short time he was with them), Woody Herman, Walt Yoder, and Roy Bargy.

There was a gap from October 1927 to June 1929 where Jones did not record (probably due to disbanding and reorganization).

From 1929 to 1932, his Brunswick recordings became even more sophisticated with often very interesting arrangements (probably by Gordon Jenkins; Jones was not known to have been an arranger, but he certainly had an ear for offbeat arrangements). During this period, Jones started featuring violinist Eddie Stone as one of his regular vocalists. Stone had an unusual, almost humorous tone to his voice. It seems that Jones was indifferent to vocalists until he started using Frank Sylvano and Eddie Stone starting in 1929 and in 1932, Joe Martin. About this time, a young Bing Crosby recorded "Sweet Georgia Brown" with Isham's group. Crosby at this point in his career was still singing in a jazz idiom, not yet in his better known "crooner" style.

In 1932, Jones signed with Victor and these records are generally considered among the very best arranged and performed commercial dance band records of the Depression era. Victor's recording technique was especially suited to Jones' band. His Victors had an almost symphonic sound. He stayed with Victor until July 1934, when he signed with Decca.

Jones' recordings during this period rivaled Paul Whiteman and other dance orchestras as examples of the very best dance music of the era.


Isham Jones and his Orchestra - Doin’ The Uptown Lowdown (1933)
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