Album:The Chronological Lovie Austin 1924-26
Lovie Austin was one of two female jazz pianists in 1920s Chicago. Of course the other was Louis Armstrong's wife Lil Hardin. Lovie was mostly an accompanist but she also recorded as a leader. She was born Cora Calhoun Sept. 19, 1887 in Chattanooga, TN. After studying music in college, she toured the vaudeville until she moved to Chicago in 1923. As house pianist for Paramount Records in Chicago, she backed up singers Alberta Hunter, Ma Rainey, Ida Cox and Ethel Waters. Her song Downhearted Blues was a hit for Bessie Smith. She also recorded with her band the Blues Serenaders from 1924-26. Traveling Blues was recorded in 1924 with Tommy Ladnier on cornet, Jimmy O'Bryant on clarinet and W.E. Burton on drums. Trombonist Kid Ory recorded with Lovie in 1926. You can get all of Lovie's recordings on this CD. Lovie was musical director at the Monogram Theater in Chicago for many years and she didn't record after the 20s. She led bands and toured theaters for the Theater Owners Booking Association. Piano legend Mary Lou Williams says she saw Lovie perform when she was a child and she considers Lovie to be a big influence on her music career. Lovie had a bit of a comeback when she recorded the 1961 album Alberta Hunter with Lovie Austin's Blues Serenaders for Riverside Records. Lovie Austin died on July 10, 1972 at age 84. Especially as a woman in jazz, Lovie Austin was an unsung pioneer of jazz. Here's a video for Traveling Blues by Lovie Austin and her Blues Serenaders.