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Bill Doggett was one of the most important forces helping to usher in the dawn of Jazz Organ in the mid 1950s, along with his peer and mentor, Wild Bill Davis.
Doggett and Davis kickstarted the golden opportunities that Jimmy Smith, Richard Groove Holmes, Jack Mc Duff, Charles Earland and a whole new generation of Jazz Organists and Jazz Organ Combos would enjoy from the mid 1960s through the 1980s
Without Bill Doggett and Wild Bill Davis, Jazz and Rock organ would not have had experienced a veritable renaissance that catapulted Jimmy Smith forward to Joey De Francesco in Jazz and Billy Preston forward to Chester C.T. Thompson in Rock & Soul to become icons of jazz organ.
Wild Bill Davis,pianist with Louis Jordan circa 1946 Will Bill Davis and Hammond B-2
My uncle replaced Bill Davis in Louis Jordan's Band 1947-1951 when Davis went out on the road as a Jazz Organ Combo
1947-51 discography with Bill Doggett
Lucky Millinder Orchestra, The Savoy Ballroom, The Ink Spots, Ella Fitzgerald and Decca Records
My uncle 1941, pianist-arranger with Lucky Millinder Orchestra photographed in The Savoy Ballroom
Bill Doggett is important in the annals of Harlem 1930s-40s jazz history
As pianist with The Lucky Millinder Orchestra, Bill Doggett had his film premiere in the 1939 All Black Cast Harlem movie, Paradise in Harlem.
Paradise In Harlem showcases as musical entertainment The Lucky Millinder Orchestra, the legenday blues singer, Mamie Smith, The Juanita Hall Singers and other popular singers of the era.
Doggett also was featured in great cameos in The Soundies that The Lucky Millinder Orchestra made to promote their new records.
Soundies were the short lived film precursors to MTV videos including Four or Five Times below which featured the orchestra's "Girl Singer", the great Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Watch for the young Bill Doggett "Piano solo" at 0:33-0:48
An early William Doggett composition recorded by Lucky Millinder. Doggett was to Lucky Millinder what Billy Strayhorn was to Duke Ellington. William Doggett came from Philadelphia, William Strayhorn came from neighboring Pittsburgh. Both arrived in Harlem in 1939 Something To Live For by Billy Strayhorn from his 1935 Pittsburgh Show: Fantastic Rhythm- this 1939 Brunswick is the first recording of the newly formed collaboration of the young Billy Strayhorn with The Duke Ellington Orchestra.
The years 1941-1945 Doggett was a Decca Records artist who joined two other iconic artists on the Decca Records label, The Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald.
Doggett was pianist and arranger for both The Ink Spots and for Ella Fitzgerald.
Several of the famous and well remembered Ink Spots hits were actually arranged and recorded with Bill Doggett, the pianist.
In a special marketing package arranged by Decca Records and The Gale Agency which represented The Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald, Doggett, The Ink Spots with Ella Fitzgerald recorded several sessions for Decca Records .
As Ella's pianist and Music Director during this time period, Doggett would continue to be an important force in Ella's career from 1951-53.
During the years 1946-47, Doggett shined as both pianist and composer on important sessions with Illinois Jacquet All Stars, The Lucky Thompson and Johnny Otis Orchestras recording for Apollo and Excelsior Records.
Check out the sidemen that Bill played with on these historic 1945-47 78rpms by clicking below.
Notable during this time period were his recordings with Count Basie's legendary "girl singer" Helen Humes. This classic Louis Jordan like Jump Blues Be Baba Leba recorded on the Philo label was one of several recordings she made with The Bill Doggett Octet. Hear it in the music player below
In the early 1960s, his popular Rock N Roll tours were embellished in the recording studio.
Ella Fitzgerald, and Della Reese recorded albums showcasing Bill Doggett, the arranger.
Most notable is that Ella asked Norman Granz to have her long time friend and colleague to arrange and conduct her new record: Rhythm is My Business. The Orchestra is All Star and is one of Ella's signature "stereoRaMa sound" recordings at the dawn of Stereo Sound "Stereo Demontration Record"
Bill Doggett had been Ella's pianist and Music Director in the mid 1940s and during the years 1951-53 was responsible for key big hits of Ella's including the wonderful scat singing anthem, Smooth Sailing. Listen to Smooth Sailing below in the music player
In the mid 1960s after leaving King Records, Doggett kept innovating and recorded this "Mod-styled" album in 1964 for ABC Paramount called WOW
Below:1957 King Records The Doggett Beat for Dancing Feet featured the jazzy tune Soft, heard in the music player below.
Soft is a classic pre cursor to the popular early 1960s Jet Set
" Lounge Music" sound heard in many of the RCA Victor 'ping pong stereo' recordings of 1959-1963 Note, the similarity of Soft to many of the popular Esquivel early stereo recordings for RCA Victor.
One of Bill's great late period Lp/Cds showcases many outstanding tracks including the iconic Doggett Sound in "Just A Blues" available on amazon.com.
@2016 Bill Doggett Productions