Alex Hill

Alex Hill (April 22, 1906 – February 1937) was an American jazz pianist.

Hill was a child prodigy on piano, which he learned from his mother. While studying at Shorter College he met Alphonse Trent, and began arranging material for him. He graduated in 1922 and played in various territory bands, including Terrence Holder's. From 1924 to 1926 he led his own ensemble; later in 1926 he played with Speed Webb, and in 1927 he spent time with Mutt Carey's Jeffersonians and Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders.

Late in 1927 he relocated to Chicago, and held a job as an arranger for the Melrose Music Publishing Company, while simultaneously arranging for the Carroll Dickerson Orchestra. He played with Jimmy Wade in 1928, Jimmie Noone in 1929, and Sammy Stewart in 1930. In 1929, Hill plus the guitar players Dan Roberts and Alex Robinson, recorded for Paramount Records billed as the Hokum Boys. Later that year, Ikey Robinson recorded for OKeh Records, both with Jimmy Blythe and later with Hill. In addition, in the second half of 1929 this ensemble was joined by Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell, issuing a small number of recordings billed as the Famous Hokum Boys.

While on tour with Stewart he moved to New York City. There he arranged for Paul Whiteman, Benny Carter, Claude Hopkins, Andy Kirk, Ina Ray Hutton, the Mills Blue Rhythm Orchestra, and Duke Ellington. He also did charts for Fats Waller, Eddie Condon, and Willie Bryant. Additionally, he became staff arranger for the Mills Music Company. He and Fats Waller did a show together in New York called Hello 1931, and accompanied Adelaide Hall. He recorded his own composition Passing Time With Me with Art Gillham on Columbia Records on October 7, 1930.

Hill again put together his own group in 1935, but after playing at the Savoy Ballroom, he disbanded the ensemble due to his tuberculosis. He moved back to Little Rock, Arkansas, and died in 1937 at the age of 30.

Most of his recordings can be found on Alex Hill 1928-34, released on CD by Timeless Records in 1998. It includes recordings he made with Albert Wynn, Jimmy Wade, Jimmie Noone, Junie Cobb, Eddie Condon, and the Hokum Trio, in addition to 11 tunes he did as bandleader.

Birth and Death Data: Born April 19th, 1906 (Little Rock), Died Little Rock

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1938

Roles Represented in DAHR: piano, composer, songwriter, lyricist, tenor vocal, leader, arranger

Notes: Sometimes listed as Alexander Hill.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 71 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-48755 10-in. 12/14/1928 Rolling mill stomp State Street Stompers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48756 10-in. 12/14/1928 Panama blues State Street Stompers Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48887 10-in. 2/15/1929 Beau-koo jack Earl Hines Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-50831 10-in. 4/16/1929 Quality shout Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-57249 10-in. 12/10/1929 It's all gone now Down Home Boys Male vocal duet, with guitar and piano instrumentalist, piano, vocalist, tenor vocal, songwriter  
Victor BVE-57250 10-in. 12/10/1929 You do it Down Home Boys Male vocal duet, with guitar and piano songwriter, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-58942 10-in. 7/26/1932 I would do anything for you Larry Murphy ; Williams' Cotton Club Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor BVE-63135 10-in. 9/12/1930 (You were only) Passinig time with me George Bias ; King Oliver Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer, lyricist  
Victor BVE-67799 10-in. 1/16/1931 Keep a song in your soul Chick Bullock ; Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor BRC-68221 10-in. 6/4/1931 I'm crazy 'bout my baby The Melody Four Vocal quartet, with jazz/dance band lyricist  
Victor BRC-68823 10-in. 3/25/1931 I'm crazy 'bout my baby (And my baby's crazy 'bout me) Walter Ashby ; Snooks Friedman Memphis Stompers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor BS-77277 10-in. 12/9/1933 Low down rounders blues Charlie McFadden Male vocal solo, with piano songwriter  
Victor BS-77285 10-in. 12/9/1933 Stormy weather blues, part 1 Walter Davis ; Roosevelt Sykes Male vocal solo, with piano composer, lyricist  
Victor BS-77286 10-in. 12/9/1933 Stormy weather blues, part 2 Walter Davis ; Roosevelt Sykes Male vocal solo, with piano composer, lyricist  
Victor BS-78063 10-in. 10/2/1933 Answer my heart Chris Fletcher ; Hotel Lexington Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo lyricist  
Victor BS-81022 10-in. 1/3/1934 Dixie Lee Sid Peltyn Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-81088 10-in. 1/22/1934 'Long about midnight Cotton Club Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor BS-81938 10-in. 3/16/1934 Armful o' sweetness Leo Zollo and his Benjamin Franklin Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer, lyricist  
Victor BS-81943 10-in. 3/16/1934 Delta bound Sid Peltyn Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo lyricist, composer  
Victor BS-82528 10-in. 5/16/1934 Armful o' sweetness Fats Waller and his Rhythm Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer, lyricist  
Victor BVE-86449 10-in. 12/14/1934 Baby Brown George Gray ; Sepia Serenaders Instrumental trio, with male vocal solo composer, lyricist  
Victor BS-87083 10-in. 1/5/1935 Baby brown Fats Waller and his Rhythm Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo (takes 1 and 2); Jazz/dance band (take 3) composer  
Victor BS-89818 10-in. 5/8/1935 'Long about midnight Willie Bryant Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor BS-101258 10-in. 5/27/1936 (I would do) Anything for you Benny Goodman Orchestra Jazz/dance band songwriter  
Victor BS-102400 10-in. 8/1/1936 I'm crazy 'bout my baby (And my baby's crazy about me) Fats Waller and his Rhythm Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo lyricist  
(Results 1-25 of 71 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Hill, Alex," accessed August 8, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104820.

Hill, Alex. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 8, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104820.

"Hill, Alex." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 8 August 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104820

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