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Teddy Hill

Though he led an effective big band through the entire 1930s, Teddy Hill is best-remembered for managing Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, a nightclub where experimental jam sessions ultimately resulted in the birth of the lingua franca of jazz: bebop. Ahead of that, his musical profession began after shifting to NY in 1927, where he became a member of George Howe’s music group (which become Luis Russell’s within weeks), remaining until 1931. He began his own music group in 1934, bringing in such sidemen as Roy Eldridge, Chu Berry, Dicky Wells, Expenses Coleman, and Dizzy Gillespie (who documented his 1st solos while with Hill). The music group played in the Savoy Ballroom frequently and toured Britain and France in the summertime of 1937, but by 1940, Hill experienced left the music group business to be able to manage Minton’s. There, such players as Gillespie, Berry, Charlie Christian, Jimmy Blanton, Thelonious Monk, and Kenny Clarke jammed after their regular gigs until at night wee hours, training advanced harmonic improvements. (Indeed, among the jams documented by lover Jerry Newman was presented with the name “Through to Teddy’s Hill.”) Minton’s importance waned after Globe War II, though, so when it discontinued its music plan in 1969, Hill became supervisor from the Baron Lounge.

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