This Day in Black History: Dec. 25, 1907

Cab Calloway

This Day in Black History: Dec. 25, 1907

On Dec. 25, 1907, jazz singer and bandleader Cabell "Cab" Calloway was born.

Published December 25, 2012

On Dec. 25, 1907, legendary jazz musician and bandleader Cabell "Cab" Calloway was born in Rochester, N.Y.

Calloway’s figure is synonymous with jazz music’s big band era in the 1930s. Raised in Baltimore, the young singer left law school in the 1920s to sing with a band called the Alabamians. After success with the band led to a career in Chicago’s jazz scene, the "Hi De Ho" man made his way to New York City, where he landed a gig at Harlem’s Cotton Club. His style of singing popularized "scatting," and his band launched the careers of other jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Ben Webster, Cozy Cole, Chu Berry and Doc Cheatham.

Calloway’s career as a performer spanned several decades, and his most famous hits included "Minnie the Moocher," "Kickin' the Gong Around," "Moon Glow" and "The Jumpin' Jive."

He performed until his death on Nov. 18, 1994, at age 88.

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(Photo: Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Written by Naeesa Aziz


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