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|
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.
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