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|
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.
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