Bob Effros: No “Tin Ear”

We undoubtedly learned about star jazz trumpeter Bob Effros (1900-1982) through his granddaughter Barbara, who maintains a blog devoted to his legacy and is working on a book that treats of same.

Born in London to Jewish parents from Russia, Effros was raised in Memphis, where he worked on riverboats and became smitten with the music of King Oliver. He was a bugler in World War One, then made his way north, first playing in a band with Bee Palmer based out of Baltimore, then moving to New York, where he knew W.C. Handy.

Effros played with the Vincent Lopez Orchestra from 1921-27, then formed his own band. He cut over a hundred records over the decades and was popular on radio from the 1930s through the 1950s. Singers he backed over the years included Cab Calloway, Jimmy Durante, Al Jolson, the Boswell Sisters, Fanny Brice, Ruth Etting, Annette Hanshaw, Libby Holman, Mae Questal, Bessie Smith, and Ethel Waters. At various times he played with the bands of Xavier Cugat, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman, and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and with such musicians as Red Nichols, and Fats Waller. He even played on Vitaphones and Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons. Much like Louis Armstrong, he settled in Queens. He also composed several original tunes, such as “Tin Ear”.

Like many in his generation, Effros gradually retired as his type of music went out of style in the rock era.

Much more on the Effros blog here.

And for more in vaudeville and show biz history, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous,