Tony Jackson: Father of “Pretty Baby”

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Today is the birthday of Tony Jackson (1876-1921). This seminal musician came up in the Storyville section of New Orleans, where from his teenage years he was to be one of the most sought after piano players in town, and an influence on the likes of Jelly Roll Morton and Clarence Williams. He played in honky tonks, bordellos, saloons and vaudeville houses, and was one of the key figures that helped bring what came to be known as jazz northward when he moved to Chicago in 1912. The most famous song to come from his pen was the standard “Pretty Baby”, the original lyrics to which, legend has it, were written to his male lover. He died without having made any recordings.

To find out about  the history of vaudeville and jazz giants like Tony Jackson consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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