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Joe Bushkin

Joe Bushkin (November 7, 1916 – November 3, 2004) was an American jazz pianist.

Born in New York City, Bushkin began his career by playing trumpet and piano with New York City dance bands, including Frank LaMare's Band at the Roseland Ballroom in Brooklyn. He joined Bunny Berigan's band in 1935, played with Eddie Condon from 1936–37, and with Max Kaminsky and Joe Marsala, before rejoining Berigan in 1938. He then left to join Muggsy Spanier's Ragtime Band in 1939. From the late 1930s through to the late 1940s he also worked with Tommy Dorsey & Eddie Condon on records, radio and television. He worked with Dorsey for Bing Crosby in 1940 on The Road To Morocco soundtrack and several commercial sessions. Wartime United States army air corp turned him back into a trumpeter; he also recorded with Lester Young on piano and directed music for Moss Hart’s morale-booster Winged Victory on Broadway for six months before serving in the South Pacific. After his service in World War II he worked with Louis Armstrong, Bud Freeman and Benny Goodman.

Bushkin performed with Louis Armstrong and his All Stars with Velma Middleton singing vocals for the famed ninth Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. The concert was produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr. on June 7, 1953. Also featured that day were Roy Brown and his Orchestra, Don Tosti and His Mexican Jazzmen, Earl Bostic, Nat "King" Cole, and Shorty Rogers and his Orchestra.

He married Francice Netcher, elder sister of socialite Mollie Wilmot. The couple had four children – Nina, Maria, Terasa, and Christina. They lived in Santa Barbara, California, on a ranch.

His best-known composition might be "Oh! Look at Me Now", with John DeVries, written when he worked in Tommy Dorsey's band. That song would become Frank Sinatra's second hit and one of his most enduring songs right after "Polkadots & Moonbeams."

One of Bushkin's television appearances was on a thirty-minute Judy Garland musical special produced for the General Electric Theater which aired on April 8, 1956 on the CBS Television Network. According to Coyne Steven Sanders, author of the book Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show, Bushkin was a last-minute replacement for the classic pianist Leonard Pennario. On that program, he accompanied Garland on piano as she sang the songs Last Night When We Were Young and Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries. (Sanders, Coyne Steven, Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show pgs. 20-21 - Zebra Books - Kensington Publishing Company).

In his 60s, Bushkin's semi-retirement was ended by an offer from Bing Crosby for them to tour together in 1976 and 1977; Bushkin also appeared on Crosby's 1975 Christmas TV special with Fred Astaire. He also performed in a concert series at New York's St. Regis hotel in 1984 that celebrated his 50 years in show business.

Bushkin died in Santa Barbara, California, in 2004. "He had hoped to live to 88, as a piano had 88 keys."

Birth and Death Data: Born November 7, 1916 (New York City), Died November 3, 2004 (Santa Barbara)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1935 - 1953

Roles Represented in DAHR: piano, composer

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 82 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor MS-023740[d] [DAHR Test] 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately late April 1935 Don't wake my heart Bunny Berigan Orchestra ; Dick Wharton Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor MS-023738 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately early June 1936 Now it can be told Bunny Berigan Orchestra ; Ruth Gaylor Jazz/dance band and female vocal soloist instrumentalist, piano  
Victor MS-023739 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately early June 1936 Flat foot floogie Bunny Berigan Orchestra ; Ruth Gaylor ; Bernie Mackey Jazz/dance band and vocal soloists instrumentalist, piano  
Victor MS-023740 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately early June 1936 Cowboy from Brooklyn Bunny Berigan Orchestra ; Dick Wharton Jazz/dance band and male vocal solos instrumentalist, piano  
Victor MS-023741 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately early June 1936 Pied piper Bunny Berigan Orchestra ; Ruth Gaylor Jazz/dance band and female vocal soloist instrumentalist, piano  
Victor MS-023742 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately early June 1936 Wearin' of the green Bunny Berigan Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor MS-024474 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately early July 1838 Small fry Bunny Berigan Orchestra ; Ruth Gaylor Jazz/dance band and female vocal solos instrumentalist, piano  
Victor MS-024475 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately early July 1838 Hi yo, Silver Bunny Berigan Orchestra ; Ruth Gaylor ; Dick Wharton Jazz/dance band and vocal soloists instrumentalist, piano  
Victor MS-024476 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately early July 1838 I used to be color blind Bunny Berigan Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor MS-024477 16-in. (33-1/3 rpm) approximately early July 1838 Sing, you sinners Bunny Berigan Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043375 10-in. 11/10/1939 At the jazz band ball Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043376 10-in. 11/10/1939 I wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate George Brunis ; Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043377 10-in. 11/10/1939 Dipper mouth blues Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043378 10-in. 11/10/1939 Livery stable blues (Barnyard blues) Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043894 10-in. 11/22/1939 Riverboat shuffle Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043895 10-in. 11/22/1939 Relaxin' at the Touro Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043896 10-in. 11/22/1939 At sundown Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043897 10-in. 11/22/1939 Bluin' the blues Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-045745 10-in. 12/12/1939 Lonesome road Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-045746 10-in. 12/12/1939 Dinah George Brunis ; Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-045747 10-in. 12/12/1939 (What did I do to be so) Black and blue Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-045748 10-in. 12/12/1939 Mandy, make up your mind Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-048939 10-in. 4/23/1940 East of the sun (and west of the moon) Tommy Dorsey ; Sentimentalists Jazz/dance octet, with male vocal solo and male vocal ensemble instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-048940 10-in. 4/23/1940 Head on my pillow Tommy Dorsey ; Sentimentalists Jazz/dance octet, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-051278 10-in. 6/13/1940 Funny Little Pedro Tommy Dorsey ; The Pied Pipers ; Sentimentalists Jazz/dance band, with mixed vocal ensemble instrumentalist, piano  
(Results 1-25 of 82 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Bushkin, Joe," accessed August 14, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105660.

Bushkin, Joe. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 14, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105660.

"Bushkin, Joe." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 14 August 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105660

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