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 February 1st, 1937 (Little Rock)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1938

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

Notes: Sometimes listed as Alexander Hill.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 33 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
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, guitar, songwriter, Vocal group, session supervisor  
Victor BS-77277 10-in. 12/9/1933 Low down rounders blues Charlie McFadden Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, instrumentalist, piano, session supervisor, songwriter  
Victor BS-023405 10-in. 5/18/1938 Draggin' my heart around Ruby Smith Female vocal solo, with piano vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-027940 10-in. 10/19/1938 When Hannah plays piano Bob Ballin ; Rennie McEvoy Male vocal duet composer, vocalist  
Columbia [W]150382 10-in. 5/1/1930 You're bound to look like a monkey when you get old Alex Hill ; The Hokum Trio Instrumental trio, with male vocal duet Musical group, vocalist, tenor vocal, instrumentalist, clarinet, banjo, piano, leader, songwriter  
Columbia W150458 10-in. 4/12/1930 See if I'll care Charlie Green ; Bessie Smith ; Clarence Williams Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with trombone and piano instrumentalist, trombone, vocalist, songwriter, piano  
Columbia W150865 10-in. 10/7/1930 Passing time with me Art Gillham ; Alex Hill Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, lyricist, composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W151417 10-in. 3/13/1931 I'm crazy 'bout my baby (And my baby's crazy 'bout me) Fats Waller Male vocal solo, with piano composer, lyricist, instrumentalist, piano, vocalist  
Columbia W151418 10-in. 3/13/1931 Draggin' my heart around Fats Waller Male vocal solo, with piano lyricist, composer, instrumentalist, piano, vocalist  
OKeh W402169 10-in. 12/5/1928 Beau Koo Jack Louis Armstrong ; Savoy Ballroom Five Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, alto saxophone, trombone, drums, clarinet, banjo, trumpet, arranger, leader, composer, Musical group  
OKeh W403316 10-in. 11/16/1929 Low moanin' blues Snitcher Roberts Male vocal solo, with guitar and piano vocalist, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W404294 10-in. 8/13/1930 Papa ain't no Santa Claus (Mama ain't no Christmas tree) Butterbeans & Susie ; Eddie Heywood Female-male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, contralto, composer, lyricist, instrumentalist, piano, Vocal group  
OKeh W404383 10-in. 7/20/1930 Shout, sister, shout! Clarence Williams’ Washboard Band Jazz/dance quartet, with female vocal solo leader, songwriter, vocalist, contralto, Musical group  
OKeh W404523 10-in. 10/31/1930 You had too much Violet Green ; Lonnie Johnson Female-male vocal duet, with guitar and piano vocalist, composer, lyricist, instrumentalist, piano, guitar  
OKeh W404524 10-in. 10/31/1930 Don’t wear it out Violet Green ; Lonnie Johnson Female-male vocal duet, with guitar vocalist, lyricist, composer, instrumentalist, guitar, piano  
OKeh W404853 10-in. 2/19/1931 Keep a song in your soul Mamie Smith Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band songwriter, vocalist  
OKeh W405180 10-in. 3/29/1932 Wouldn't stop doing it Cora Garner Female vocal solo, with piano songwriter, instrumentalist, piano, vocalist  
Brunswick C2423 10-in. 10/9/1928 Crying my blues away Gut Bucket Five ; Albert Wynn Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group, composer, lyricist, leader  
Brunswick C2428 10-in. 10/10/1928 Mississippi wobble Jimmy Wade Dixielanders Jazz/dance band leader, composer, Musical group  
Brunswick C2627 10-in. 12/4/1928 Tellin’ my troubles Octavia Dick Female vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano, composer, vocalist  
Brunswick C2628 10-in. 12/4/1928 Please let me have it Octavia Dick Female vocal solo, with male vocal solo and piano instrumentalist, piano, vocalist, composer  
Brunswick C2921 10-in. 2/7/1929 Don’t cry, honey Junie C. Cobb ; Grains of Corn Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader, Musical group, songwriter  
Brunswick C3210 10-in. 3/30/1929 Stompin’ ‘em down Alex Hill Piano solo, with traps lyricist, composer, vocalist, tenor vocal  
Brunswick C3211 10-in. 3/30/1929 Tack head blues Alex Hill Piano solo, with traps lyricist, composer, vocalist, tenor vocal  
Brunswick C4105 10-in. 8/21/1929 Beau-Koo Jack Omer Simeon Clarinet solo, with piano and traps composer, instrumentalist, clarinet  
(Results 1-25 of 33 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Hill, Alex," accessed June 22, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104820.

Hill, Alex. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 22, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104820.

"Hill, Alex." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 22 June 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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