Remembering Calvin Boze©2001JCMarion


In the mid thirties in Texas, a band at Wheatley High included Tom Archia on saxophone in the orchestra, while Richie Dell played piano. Their bandmates included Illinois and Russell Jacquet, Arnett Cobb (tenor saxophone), Calvin Boze (trumpet), and George Haynes on drums. Later in college the Prairie View Collegians included Calvin Boze, and his high school band mate Tom Archia . The band also included a pianist-vocalist and chemistry major and future teacher named Charles Brown. In the early forties Calvin Boze also branched out as a vocalist with the Southwestern territory band of Marvin Johnson. By the mid forties Boze was a member of the Milton Larkins Orchestra where he joined another Texas born high school band mate, hard charging tenor sax star Illinois Jacquet. Another member of the band was alto sax player and vocalist Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. During the latter forties Boze developed a vocal style patterned after Louis Jordan.

By January of 1950 Boze was in the middle of a long extended gig at Los Angeles' Georgia's Playroom. The other members of the combo were Don Wilkerson on tenor sax, Floyd Turnham on alto sax, Chuck Waller on baritone sax, Willard McDaniel on piano, Ulysses Livingston on guitar, bassist Bill Cooper, and drummer Walter Murden. The current record out on Aladdin of "Workin' With My Baby" and "Satisfied" proves to be a moderate R & B hit in his home state of Texas. In February the Calvin Boze Combo is scheduled to follow Johnny Otis into the Barrelhouse Club on Central Avenue in Watts. In March Aladdin #3045 - "Waitin' And Drinkin'" and "If You Ever Had The Blues" is released. Soon after the new record is out the Boze band appears at the annual Easter Promenade Show hosted by the L.A. Sentinel.

In April Boze and his band help celebrate the second anniversary of disc jockey Joe Adams at KOWL radio. In may Aladdin #3055 is released featuring the songs "Safronia B" and "Angel City Blues". The band embarks on a West coast tour with The Ravens and a new lineup for the band now includes Sheridan Black on alto sax, Chuck Thomas on tenor, Fletcher Smith on piano, Clarence Jones on bass, and Leroy McCleary on drums. In June Calvin is on stage with Dinah Washington at the Club Oasis in L.A. , and soon after makes his first tour of the Northeast as they do a tour of theaters including the Howard in D.C., Royal in Baltimore, the Uptown in Philadelphia, and the Apollo in New York. "Safronia B" turns out to be the best selling tune in the career of Boze and gets good reaction by audiences during the band's in person appearances. In late September Aladdin Records releases #3065 - "Lizzie Lou" parts one and two as listed by The Calvin Boze All Stars.

In October Calvin and Dinah Washington appear at Chicago's Pershing Ballroom. In November Aladdin Records plans to release a R & B LP album that will include three tunes by Boze. The album will be called "Blues After Hours". At years end Calvin and Dinah Washington continue their Midwest tour with stops at Cleveland and Gary, Indiana, at the city armory. After returning to Los Angeles for the new year Aladdin releases #3097 - ""Beale Street On A Saturday Night" and "Choo Choo's Bringing My Baby Back To Me". This was followed by #3086 - "Baby You're Tops With Me" and "Slippin' And Slidin'" and in July #3100 - "I've Got News For You" and "I Can't Stop Crying". Boze continues to get work in the Los Angeles area, while his record sales don't measure up to some of his earlier efforts. In November the instrumental "Fish tail" and the interesting title, "I'm Gonna Steam Off The Stamp" to wind up the year.

In early 1952 Boze is back at a favorite location with his band, the Club Alabam on Central Avenue. In March Aladdin #3122 is released and the tunes featured on the new record are "Hey Lawdy Miss Claudie" and "My Friends Told Me". In June Boze records "Good Time Sue" and "Keep Your Nose Out Of My Business" on #3132. In the fall Calvin Boze and his combo record "Looped" and "Blow Man Blow" on #3147. The song "Looped" is the big R & B tune of the fall. Tommy Ridgely also has a version of the song and he and Boze fight it out for top R & B honors. The song is also covered by Wally Mercer on Dot and Mel Smith on RCA, both pop music versions. Boze closes out the year with Aladdin #3160 - "Shamrock" and "Having A Time" with the Maxwell Davis Orchestra. By early 1953 Calvin Boze had virtually disappeared from the recording scene in L.A. and today remains a distant memory for those that were a part of the scene in the late 40s and early 50s. To others he is an unknown participant in the formative years of the R & B era. What remains for listeners to re-discover this "lost" talent are two CDs that are hopefully available for all to hear -

CALVIN BOZE : The Complete Recordings, 1945-52 Blue Moon BMCD 6014

28 tracks, 70 mins, recommended Excellent West Coast jump blues by fine and undeservedly obscure singer and trumpet player recorded between 1945 and 1952 with musicians like tenor saxist/ arranger Maxwell Davis, guitarist Chuck Norris and others. His recordings often are reminiscent of Louis Jordan with their easy going swing and slyly witty lyrics. Includes his 1950 hit "Safronia B", his reworking of Big Bill Broonzy's "Just A Dream" and other like "Waiting And Drinking" , "Lizzy Lou", "Beale Street On A Saturday Night", "I'm Gonna Steam Off The Stamp", "Shamrock" and others.

Choo, Choo Bringing My Baby Home on the Route 66 label from Sweden released in 1989. Includes many of the Aladdin tracks

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