Cab Calloway

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Decades: 1950s 1960s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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Cabell Calloway, 25 December 1907, Rochester, New York, USA, d. 18 November 1994, Cokesbury Village, Hockessin, Delaware, USA. Involved in showbusiness from an early age, vocalist Calloway was an occasional drummer and MC, working mostly in Baltimore, where he was raised, and Chicago, where he relocated in the late 20s. He worked with his sister Blanche, and then, in 1929, he became frontman for the Alabamians. Engagements with this band took him to New York; in the same year he fronted the Missourians, a band for which he had briefly worked a year earlier. The Missourians were hired for New York’s Savoy Ballroom; although the band consisted of proficient musicians, there is no doubt that it was Calloway’s flamboyant leadership that attracted most attention. Dressing outlandishly in an eye-catching ‘Zoot Suit’ - knee-length drape jacket, voluminous trousers, huge wide-brimmed hat and a floor-trailing watch chain - he was the centre of...

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